Circle of Healing or… Perpetually Late to the Party
Yes I know that every other healer out there in the entire WOW blogosphere finished this weeks ago. You were probably hoping that it was done, that you wouldn’t have to skim through another post of the same things over again. Too bad… I’m late to the party as always and I’m here to bore you with answering these questions.
Back when the first round of Circle of Healing appeared in the blogosphere I was playing a rogue. With Cataclysm I chose a new main, and found myself healing on a regular basis.
This Circle of Healing 2.0 meme was started by Saunders and has since been answered by healers of all classes and playstyles. It even had a Tanking spinoff at one point.
1. What is the name, class, and spec of your primary healer?
Kaelyra, Resto Shaman
2. What is your primary group healing environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)
10-mans are my primary environment, as well as 5-mans when I can find the motivation to earn that extra VP.
3. What is your favorite healing spell for your class and why?
Riptide! It’s a lovely instant-cast spell that interacts in interesting ways with other spells – providing the yummy Tidal Waves buff and boosting Chain Heal when consumed. I love casting it on cooldown. I love the pretty Power Aura I created for the Tidal waves buff, and I love seeing the green dot on my raid frames. I cannot imagine Shaman healing without it (I started her in Wrath obviously).
4. What healing spell do you use least for your class and why?
This is a tough one – I really feel like I use every spell in my toolbox in various situations. I’ve begun using Healing Surge less and less since it was nerfed, although sometimes it is necessary for a quick save.
5. What do you feel is the biggest strength of your healing class and why?
Our biggest strength from my perspective is flexibility. We’re don’t particularly excel at anything, but we can do any job that needs to get done. This is very valuable in a 10-man where composition isn’t usually ideal. This jack-of-all trades theme applies to our healing toolbox, our buff totems, and even our ability to CC or use a ranged interrupt.
6. What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your healing class and why?
I’m going to have to agree with other shaman here and say range. In 10-mans, Chain Heal is near useless on many fights due to mechanics that require us to spread out. Healing Rain is fantastic, but only if people can clump up and stand in it. I just love when I lay down a Healing Rain and the encounter dumps a big patch of fire over the top of it. Our totems are still a bit clunky – making our buffs less desirable than the equivalent in other classes because we have to keep those totems alive and in range of our raid. Even our Spirit Link Totem cooldown is very range-centric.
7. In a
25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best healing assignment for you?
I’m going to change this question because I’ve never healed a 25-man (except maybe a Vault of Archavon run or two in Wrath).
In a 10-man raiding environment, I think the best assignment for me is a clumped up group of people (ala the ranged in Magmaw). If it’s a fight where that isn’t possible, I usually focus on the offtank and a bit of raid-healing.
8. What healing class do you enjoy healing with most and why?
Druids. It may be partially because my husband plays one, or that I still wish I was a druid. That aside, I love their hots and their raid healing abilities. And despite popular opinion, they can Tank heal quite well. In a 10-man environment they are also very flexible which is a huge value-add. Two of raid’s five possible healers are druids and I always enjoy having them around.
9. What healing class do you enjoy healing with least and why?
I’m going to say Disc priests just because I’ve almost never healed with one and I don’t really understand them. The few times I’ve tried to heal with one it ended up being an undergeared priest in a PVP Disc spec trying to fill in in a pinch, and that usually doesn’t work out well.
10. What is your worst habit as a healer?
Getting distracted by something and letting it cause my performance to suffer. This can be someone talking in vent, someone dying, or getting angry at myself because I took avoidable damage – and it causes my focus to slip and everything goes to hell. I need to get better at keeping that intense level of concentration I require to do a great job. There is such a careful line to tread between tunnel vision and getting overwhelmed by too much data.
11. What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while healing?
There are so many things that annoy me (perhaps that is my worst habit as a healer instead of what I wrote above). If I have to pick one it would be someone taking avoidable damage over and over again. If you stand in the same fire every time, or constantly pull threat off the tank I start getting pissed. At that point I begin to question whether it is worth it to keep you alive. Seriously, I’m not interested in healing more than one tank (or two in a raid) and if you continue to pretend you are one, I will not waste my mana saving you. If you get hit by that avoidable encounter mechanic almost every time, then you are at the bottom of my priority list.
12. Do you feel that your class/spec is well-balanced with other healers for PvE healing?
I think we are safely in the middle of the pack. We have some weaknesses, and we’re not “the best” at anything (as evidenced by Paragon not taking us to their HM Rag kill), but we are very versatile. Our mastery is decent for progression content and useless for farm content. Blizzard has continued to adjust our spells when we fell behind other healers.
13. What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a healer?
I look at Recount, and World of Logs (when one of our fine guild members is thoughtful enough to capture it). The biggest evaluation tool for me really is whether people died or not, and if they died, how could I have prevented it.
14. What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your healing class?
The frequent uproar of top-notch guilds like Paragon not taking us along spreads the opinion that we aren’t good healers. That’s really true – we just don’t provide anything unique enough to be a part of the raid comp of an undergeared, cutting edge team trying to eek every shred of benefit out of composition. They are playing a different game then us, and I’m not convinced that Blizzard can ever balance classes completely at that level. For normal content – even for your typical hard mode raider, we are still viable.
15. What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new healers of your class to learn?
Totems. We don’t have that many actual healing spells, but remembering to keep totems up and choose the right one at the right time is rather complex. Being able to cast Mana Tide, Fire Elemental, Spirit Link, Tremor Totem, and even Earthbind on the fly during an encounter is crucial to excelling as a Resto Shaman. Oh, and after you cast one of those specialized short-term totems you have to get your regular totem back up. I’m sure you have enough hotkeys for all that right?
16. If someone were to try to evaluate your performance as a healer via recount, what sort of patterns would they see (i.e. lots of overhealing, low healing output, etc)?
I don’t cast my cooldowns as often as I should. It took me a few weeks after learning Spirit Link Totem to actually use it in an encounter.
My overhealing is generally quite low, at least compared to my usual Paladin and Druid counterparts. My output is usually first or second since I typically raid heal or combo heal the raid with an offtank.
As far as spell choices go, I use Riptide with utter abandon, maximizing the Tidal Waves uptime. Greater Healing Wave is a frequent choice for tank healing and for players who stood in something bad.
I also make use of Telluric Currents quite frequently by casting Lightning Bolt. I love weaving LB in between heals. On farm content, being able to DPS a bit makes me feel more useful, and on progression content it gives me a mana safety net that is very reassuring. I tend to freak out a bit when running low on mana.
17. Haste or Crit (or Mastery) and why?
I have haste up to the first softcap of 916 and after that I try to balance Crit and Mastery. The stat priorities for Resto Shaman are rather fuzzy depending on the encounter and raid size so I think the balanced approach works best for me.
18. What healing class do you feel you understand least?
This is a tossup between Paladins and Disc priests. I’ve only healed on my Paladin to level 40 or so, and my priest has always been Holy.
19. What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in healing?
I’m an addon junkie – I love configuring my UI, adding auras, and creating macros. Instead of taking hours to explain that here I will direct you to my plethora of UI posts.
20. Do you strive primarily for balance between your healing stats, or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?
Balance is key for me to maintain my versatility. Intellect wins out over anything else, and I like to have as much Spirit on my gear as is reasonable, since I hate having mana issues. Among the other secondary stats I don’t lean too heavily on any one. Mastery is still a foggy area for me but I’ve come to see its benefit.