Yesterday I opened up my mailbag and found the following question:
“I was recently “informed” that resto druids are “Dead Last” in effectiveness of tank healing. I realize our raid heals are kick ass, but to have someone tell me we suck as tank healers, or that we should be last priority when assigning a healer to a tank, struck a nerve. I’m curious as to what your thoughts are! To be quite honest this has enraged me a bit… obviously I’m a bit biased… but I am wondering if there is proof to back me up that resto druids are fantastic tank healers, as well as raid healers.”
Now, I noticed that Bell had a similar query and provided her thoughts on the topic. She has some very good points, so I very much suggest that you go read what she had to say on the matter! However, I thought I’d share my two cents as well.
My first comment would be that what you were told, and what you were perceived to have been told, seem to be a little bit different, at least from an outsider’s view =). The comment that was made, being that we are the least effective tank healers, is, well, it is pretty spot on. However, I don’t read that as saying “Druids suck as tank heals” as much as “There are others that can do the job better”. And there is a big difference in the two.
Every class is going to have strengths and weaknesses that it will need to play towards. The key is finding where each will excel, and playing towards those strengths, and maximizing your raid so that everyone can utilize those strengths. I’ve always viewed druids as the sort of “safety” net of healers. We are there to provide blankets for damage, with our HoTs adding support for the other healers. And, for me, I’ve always included the tanks into that net. It is rare that I don’t have some hots up on my tanks regardless of my healing assignment.
I feel a bit like this safety net is what we bring to the raid. A cushion that helps everyone out. And I like that. I’ve always liked the heal over time aspect of druids and feel this is what makes them so interesting…and in my opinion makes them the most dynamic of the four healing classes. Our strength, if you will, is to be able to cushion. Even back in TBC where you almost always had a druid on the tank rolling LB, and that person’s role was “tank healing”, you were still a cushion. Your HoTs in there keeping the tank stable in between your bomb heals from your direct healing classes.
Now, other classes have other strengths as well. I don’t think that you will find a Holy Paladin who will tell you “I’m the most effective raid healer”, or a disc priest that will tell you “I am the most effective raid healer”. It’s not that they cannot do the job, it’s just that there is likely to be another class that can do it better. And that is really what the question above is asking, is it not? Can’t Druids be the best at tank healing? And unfortunately, I feel the answer to that is “no”.
Can we tank heal? Absolutely! Can we do a good job at tank healing? For sure! Is there a class that can do it better than we can? Yes.
Well Beru, I hear you wonder, substantiate that! *sigh* alright, if you insist!
Throughput – While we can put out really impressive numbers, I think that you will find a full HoT rotation plus Nourish spam will start to play on your mana pool. It’s sustainable, sure, but let’s think about the throughput of the other two stereotyped “tank” healing classes: The Holy Paladin and the Disc Priest.
A holy paladin, for all intents and purposes, has unlimited mana. This is no joke! They have a 1.2-1.3 second heal that will hit the tank for ~16k and upwards…and they can heal two tanks at once. Which makes them almost broken overpowered on any multi tank encounter. I do not think you will find a more mana efficient tank healer or effective out there. Their single target healing throughput is far beyond anything that we can provide.
The Disc Priest is not as crazy good throughput wise as a holy paladin is, but they too have amazing mana returns anytime their shields “heal” (prevent damage). If they shield smartly, and utilize their other heals wisely, as long as their targets are taking damage and eating up their shields, they can also go on almost forever. Their direct heals may not be as juicy, although there is probably a good argument out there for penance, but their contributions are still quite significant.
Damage Mitigation – This is where I feel that this is where it becomes pretty cut and dry that we are the least effective as far as tank healers go. Tank healing isn’t just making the green bar move up, but it is also providing a benefit that will prevent the tank for taking damage to begin with. This is one thing that druids completely lack. I think the argument is that we are keeping a steady, constant stream of life flowing, which is true! But it’s also something I do even when I’m “raid” healing. I have nothing extra to offer to the tank, I have nothing that could have caused him to take less damage.
A Shaman has Ancestral Fortitude, which acts just like a priest’s inspiration, which reduces the targets physical damage taken by a whopping 10%! Most encounters where tank damage is a concern, you want at least one of these two buff’s gracing your tank. Less damage to the tank means, well, less heals the tank needs!
A Paladin in addition to having a completely overpowered *ahem*, and juicy direct heal, also offers sacred shield, which is a damage absorber. Damage absorbed, again, means less heals needed for the tank!
The Disc Priest offers the almighty beefed up Power Word: Shield, and Divine Aegis. Both of which are very large damage absorbers on the tanks, again meaning that the tank needs less healing!
Priests also offer mitigation in the form of Pain Suppression (Disc) and Guardian Spirit (Holy). While both abilities have a healthy cool down, they also both can save a tank’s life in a pinch.
Unfortunately, druids have…HoTs. We have no equivalent mitigation abilities other than being able to keep our heals active over a period of time, and on the move. These aren’t things to be discounted, by any means, however it also mean that as far as tank healers go, we are really the least effective. Not because we can’t do the job well, but because we have the least to offer in that role.
When you raid, you want to maximize your team. Often that is going to mean that you want to put the best person in the job that fits them best and offers the most to your raid. While I understand that you aren’t happy to be told that you aren’t effective at doing something, the truth is that if there is someone on your team that can do the job better, they should be tasked with playing to their strengths.
It is my personal belief that druids are very capable of performing the role of tank healing if needed, and will probably put up some very respectable numbers in that role; but, I also would have to agree that where we are in the game right now, we truly are the least effective tank healers. It’s not that we are bad at it, or can’t do it…it’s just that there are others who fill that role better!
Does anyone else have any insight on this topic? Are there any druids that solely tank heal for their raids that would like to offer up their thoughts?