Relearning to Heal   26 comments

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As timely as it may be, this post isn’t referring to the upcoming Cataclysm changes. Although, I do think the title would be appropriate for that as well! What I actually want to talk about is, well, relearning to heal! Have I confused you yet?

Awhile back you may recall that I mentioned I am working on leveling a mini-me. That is another little druid to tinker around with, who is, down to her professions, an exact copy of Beru. I have gotten her up to level 70 through a combination of questing and LFD healing, and on my journey I have had to relearn how to heal without all of the tools and gear that Beru has available to her. It has been quite the challenge, and anyone who says “healing is boring” should go make themselves a mini-me and challenge themselves.

The Low Levels

I actually found these levels to be some of the hardest for me to heal – until I got used to healing without all of my tools again. As a druid, you have very limited tools when you start, and I learned to appreciate every one of them. In your early instances you will start with the basics: Healing Touch, Regrowth and Rejuvenate. You will actually use healing touch quite a bit (at least until you get swiftmend!), and remembering that it is a long cast takes some getting used to.

You often run short on mana, and your group is frequently composed of 4 tanks and a healer. Well, not technically, but you know what I mean! I had honestly forgotten how much I valued Lifebloom and Swiftmend until I would go to hit my keybinding for them and realize that they weren’t tool that I had available to me yet. If things get a little ugly in your group, the healing can be very tricky. Not just because you have limited tools, but because your mana feels every spell that you cast. I probably used more mana potions in these lower levels than I have used on Beru in the past month.

Hello Swiftmend, how I’ve missed you!

Somewhere around level 40 you can get swiftmend, and what a blessing it is! I know in this day of zerg instancing it’s hard to remember your tanks dropping more than half their life in one trash pull, but when you are leveling up, this is the reality of things. Until you get swiftmend, you have two options – Healing Touch and Regrowth. And let me tell you, while that Healing Touch is juicy when it lands, I am usually biting my nails hoping that I win the race between the cast time and the tiny sliver of life the tank has left.

Swiftmend is a god send. It really nicely fills a gap in druid healing in the mid-levels. Now when the tank drops half his life, I can fill it back up quickly, and without worry that he’s going to die before I can get a heal off.

I can’t say that I “missed” swiftmend, as I use it fairly frequently during raids, but I do think that I can say I underappreciated swiftmend as a tool in the lower levels, having received it for the first time at 60, I suppose I never realized its value to leveling healers. Once you obtain it, it’s one of the best tools in your tool kit!

Wild Growth

This spell wasn’t the bees knees that I thought it would be as I was leveling. Sure, it’s nice to have in a pinch, but it’s really expensive at those lower levels. You have to actually think about when to use it, because over use will quickly mean an empty mana bar. Hmmm…I wonder if the devs got their new healing model from leveling some healers? I digress!

Wild Growth, while nice to have and convenient for those times everyone is taking damage, really wasn’t the staple in my lowbie tool kit that Swiftmend was.

Traveling Through the Dark Portal

Burning Crusade instances are different from those old and loved vanilla instances. And you know what? The trash is still hard! Especially if tanks don’t know the zones and have bad pulls. Which subsequently means that there is frequently challenges with the healing! I can’t tell you how many LFD groups I joined that were missing a healer and the group was running back in this bracket.

The biggest part of the problem, I think, is that a lot of tanks don’t really understand that they need defense. And once you get out to the Outland Instances it does start to matter. But not only that – a lot of people are either still learning to play their classes, or are still stuck in a zerg mentality from WotLK 80’s. This causes problems, because you also have tanks that are still learning to tank. What all of this means is that there is a lot of healing that needs to happen!

Of course, you are in and out of the Outlands so fast, that you really don’t get to experience all of the instances in the zone.

The Bloom is the Word

Lifebloom. Obtained somewhere around level 64, if I’m remembering correctly, it quickly became one of my favorite instancing spells. It fills in a very nice gap on the tank – especially when the rest of the group is flailing around. While it’s still a little expensive, it definitely plays well with the little druid in trying to keep the tank alive.

Much like Swiftmend, it’s another one of those spells that I was very glad to get, because when I didn’t have it, I definitely missed not having it. I also think it’s something that I had underappreciated and undervalued for the leveling process.

Into Northrend

I’m just starting my journey in Northrend, but I can tell you that I’m already missing Nourish. Yes, this is Beru. Yes, I really just said that I miss Nourish! No, I’m not feeling very well today, but that has nothing to do with it!

At level 70 I don’t have Nourish yet, and I am desperately feel the gap. Part of what makes it such a gap is that again there is another step up in challenges as you enter the Northrend instances. And…there are still tanks that don’t understand defense (hi, you need it!). Tanks regularly have their health plummet to less than half their life, and I am finding that the cooldown on swiftmend just isn’t fast enough. Sure, I’m keeping my HoTs up, but there are times that I long for that quick tick of health that Nourish would bring. I find that I am, once again, playing Russian roulette with Healing Touch and the Tanks life.

Going Forward

I intend to continue with this project. It’s been so long since I haven’t had Beru’s gear and abilities to carry me through almost everything that I’m finding it fun to relearn what I’m doing with Elentari. Not only that, but I think that recognizing Elentari’s shortcomings have made me more aware of things when I heal with Beru. It’s actually a project that I’d recommend for every healer!

If I manage to get there before Cataclysm hits, I’m looking forward to going through the gearing process and finding what struggles I have as a fresh 80 healer. Of course, if I don’t get there before Cataclysm I will still be relearning to heal, just in a different way!

Surely I’m not the only one that has taken on this exercise? Did you find anything different than I did? How about those of you new to leveling a druid, what have your experiences been like? Have you found certain spells to be amazing after you’ve received them?

Posted September 15, 2010 by Beruthiel in Alt-aholic!, Druid Healing, Healing

26 responses to “Relearning to Heal

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  1. it is fun to ‘relevel’ your main again :) I have a Druid on horde that I’m trying to get to 60

  2. Sounds like a fantastic idea to be honest, maybe I should create a mini-me priest too! =) might get me hooked to an ‘alt’ for once, hehe! and indeed, we’ve forgotten how it used to be, we might remember some of the harder instances before lvl60, but we don’t really remember how we used to heal them and how tough some of it was. I generally think that we more or less carried most tanks during leveling-up too, back then nobody really knew or cared much about his gear and stats and it would never have occurred to a tank to make something easier for the healer. it was very refreshing when this mindset changed in TBC, along with the good old blame-the-healer phrase.

  3. I have always been a big fan of LB and I’m very sad that it’s only usable on one target at a time now.

    I don’t think I could bring myself to level another druid (I took 2 priests to 70 and needed a buddy to help the second time around), but I could definitely see myself changing races, perhaps. :)

  4. Another wonderful benefit of Lifebloom is that it returns mana when it blooms. That’s not really a big consideration at end game (for now), where tree mana regen is practically endless, but it’s just amazing for levelling! :)

  5. I never learned to heal in the first place. Why would I bother to do this?

  6. Sounds like fun! I found the glyph of healing touch helped fill the Nourish-shaped hole in my muscle memory while leveling my second Druid. It does mean you lose the really big heal but it just took so long to cast I don’t think I ever bothered. Hooray for swiftmend though ;)

    • I thought about glyphing healing touch, but just couldn’t seem to bring myself to do it. I don’t even have a good reason for why I couldn’t!

      • glyph of healing touch was so good for me while leveling my druid. especially healing those tank that are really not tanks(spec or defence geared)

  7. Honestly, levelling my druids in dungeons, I didn’t miss Swiftmend too much.. it’s later when I don’t have Nourish that I am really finding it difficult to adjust.. I keep trying to cast it and it’s not there, argh! :P

  8. I’ve been leveling a mini-me too! I’m not mirroring things as closely as you, for starters the little shaman is hordeside. My husband has gone Horde and rather than server transfer and cross factions I decided to level my very neglected Horde shaman. It’s kind of a do-over. She got Engineering which is something I always wanted on my main and bought dual spec ele/resto which of course the main couldn’t have (and the main leveled enhancement anyway). Hey, as long as she was joining my husband’s toons it was easy to use him to sneak her some gold.

    It has been extremely educational and it has helped me to not panic concerning the changes that are incoming for Cataclysm. Having to watch my mana and choose my heal? I do that every time the little one ques for a random. In some ways I like it better, we’ll see if Blizz manages to balance things out.

    The little shaman has also hit Northrend so I’ve got most of the tools in my toolkit. I very rarely miss Hex and don’t need Lava Burst as Resto but I sure do miss teh purplez sometimes. On the plus side Rocket Boots and my parachute cloak have been so fun I’ve decided the main must have engineering! I’m going to level up a new farming alt in Cata so she can drop one of her professions in order to get it.

    • I honestly didn’t intend to be a mirror copy, I started out with the intent to go Feral/Resto. I just didn’t seem to work out that way! I think it’s because I hate having to chase targets down :)

  9. I’ve not done the mini-me leveling, but I had a similar experience when I decided to level a druid (as tank) through dungeons only. And wow low-level tanking is not at all like end-level tanking. You have no aoe taunt, no real threat abilities and most definitely not enough rage! It’s painful at beast, but also a good way to learn how to do the basics I guess – stuff we forget when we have the gear we need and add-ons, raid buffs and whatnot :)

    • I definitely think that the low level dungeons teach a person a lot about how to play. It’s such a shame when people just want to zerg through them with the battle cry of GO GO GO!

      I firmly believe that if more people took the time to truly learn how to play at those lower levels we’d see better players overall at 80!

  10. I leveled a mini-me disc priest, and I had a blast doing it! You definitely do feel the mana pinch at lower levels. I made a point to talent exactly as I would for lvl 80, which meant giving up a lot of mana regen I could have had for leveling. I also learned to love Holy Nova in a whole new way, and even glyphed for it eventually. Prayer of Healing arrives in our toolbox fairly late and is sooooo slow people were dying before i could get it off. I loved playing around with the tools you get as you level up, and did a little dance of joy when I finally could get penance. The only thing that annoyed me about the whole process were the number of people who kept telling me I was nuts for doing it!

    • I swear – when I got innervate I think I stood up and did a little dance! Mana really is tight in those lower levels. Perhaps this is more how Cataclysm is going to be? hah!

  11. I did a mini-disc priest, precisely because I wanted to see what the levelling process was like: Tsark, my main, was levelled as Shadow (and raid healed as Shadow for a while, but I digress – ah the naivete of the early vanilla days…), so I never really levelled as Disc. I only switched to that spec at 80, so everything was new. I agree that there’s been some learning – though in my case, I think I learned to appreciate the mana cost reduction talents more than anything else.

    Also – minor mistake Beru: you say you get Lifebloom at 74, but clearly you mean 64 (which I think is right about the right answer anyway) :-)

  12. I’ve been wanting to level a mini me as well. I just kept starting them as boomkin instead. My main and original druid leveled resto. I think it’s time to respec a baby to resto and do it all over again. Maybe a horde tree this time around. I actually just started one too. The hardest part is doing it with no BoA gear as she’s on a different server from my 80s. But then I can get the real feeling of a do over.

    • Or just get to 40 as moonkin and dual spec! It really is great, and it makes leveling less painful. Now that Dual Specs are out, I’m not sure that I’ll level anything not in a DPS spec again :)

  13. I tried it as a priest, not my main tho, leveled up a new one and did some dungeons. Was always like “Where is my…. oh wait, I don’t have that yet” :P

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