It’s been about a year and a half since I participated in answering Miss Medicina’s Circle of Healing questionnaire. In fact, it’s been so long that I’d wager many bloggers don’t even know that there was this fantastic questionnaire floating around the internet that engaged so many players from all different flavors of the game! Well, as it turns out while Saunder was working through a series of posts on improving his toon and he recalled how much he learned from everyone’s answers.
Recognizing that many bloggers and members of the community may not have had the chance to participate in the original version, he has decided to reboot the questionnaire with the hope that those new, and old, would again participate and use it not only to grow as a community – but as an educational tool for others! I think that this is fantastic, and was tagged by Vidyala to offer my thoughts!
Onto the survey!
What is the name, class, and spec of your primary healer? Beruthiel, Resto Druid.
What is your primary group healing environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans) My primary focus is 25 man progression raiding. Although I also have experience with druid healing in 10 man raids as well via Beru or Elentari (my mini-me!).
What is your favorite healing spell for your class and why? Right now I think I’d probably say Tranquility. While it’s not my most utilized spell, I like that it requires precision to maximize its use. You have to think through an encounter to decide the best times to utilize the spell so that you a) aren’t going to have to move mid-cast and b) are giving your raid the best benefit from the ability. I like that unlike most of my other HoTs, this is something I feel is more than just a buffer heal for my team - it has significant impact and is potentially life saving if utilized at the right time. I like learning fights and trying to pinpoint those key times to use tranquility – going through an encounter and making mental notes on different times to test using the spell for maximum effectiveness while still timing the cooldown to make the most out of it over the duration of the fight.
What healing spell do you use least for your class and why? I think this would probably depend on my role for a given encounter. If I’m assigned to tank heal – I’d probably say Regrowth because of it’s prohibitively expensive cost and minimal healing. However, if I’m raid healing it’s likely Healing Touch. Largely because of its lengthy cast time – by the time I can get it off without Nature’s Swiftness someone has likely already dealt with the damage to that member of the raid.
What do you feel is the biggest strength of your healing class and why? Druids still remain in a bit of an odd place in Cataclysm. We have always been the “throughput” healers, with our HoTs acting as buffers to assist with raid damgae until other healers can effectively deal with the damage. However, in a “triage” model this role is a bit awkward. At least that is how it’s played out for me, anyhow. I still feel that our biggest strength is our ability to add healing buffers and our sheer throughput, but the value of that has shifted a little and as a result being a druid has, at times, been tricky. However, I do still very firmly believe that druids are still exceptionally powerful healers and still provide valuable healing buffers to the raid. I can do almost anything any other healer can do – it’s just a matter of working out how. We have our struggles, but they are really just challenges. Puzzles that you must solve utilizing your toolbox to fit the pieces together.
I would also be very remiss to not touch on our mobility as one of our best strengths. That is, our ability to heal on the run. It is a huge asset to us, and we are one of the only healing classes with this amount of mobility available to us, while still remaining very effective.
What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your healing class and why? I have two big concerns with my class. The first is our continued lack of a mitigation cooldown – be it either a tank saver or a raid saver. Tranquility is nice, don’t get me wrong, but we remain the only class that doesn’t have a unique mitigation ability to offer to our raid team. I mean hunters get a mitigation cooldown for pete’s sake! In this “bring the player not the class” environment – it really is apparent that we are missing this ability. And as someone who has healed 10 mans with 2 two druids and 25s with three druids, I assure you it is something that is noticed. There are just some things that sheer numbers cannot fix.
The second is oddly also what I listed as our strength. That is that being HoT healers – and still lack major burst healing. This has been somewhat resolved with the changes that we’ve seen to Wild Growth and Effloressence, but it is still brutally apparently when working through content where there is significant fast paced raid damage. There have certainly been times that I’ve felt frustrated and ineffective to do my job. It’s not nearly as bad as it was at the start of the expansion – but I still think that it’s a weakness of the class. All of that being said, I do my damnedest to time my cooldowns to be as effective as possible during those burst moments so I can put out as much healing as quickly as possible.
In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best healing assignment for you? Druids are in a pretty unique position this expansion in that I feel that can be equally effective as a tank healer or a raid healer. I, personally, prefer raid healing and gear/spec for that assignment – but I’ve also done well with tank healing and I think that druids can be very powerful tank healers. We lack any mitigation abilities and/or cooldowns, which is a weakness to our tank healing, but we are still quite capable of doing the job well. As such, I would say that for me my best healing assignment is raid healing, but only because that is my preferred healing assignment.
What healing class do you enjoy healing with most and why? Honestly, I think I like healing with all of them and I’m not sure I could pick just one! I think that all three classes play well with a druid’s strengths. To answer this question honestly, I’d have to say “whichever class pushes me the hardest”, which ultimately is up to the player. I’m competitive, and I like to be pushed to excel. I like having to work hard, and I like healers that force me to really buckle down and know my class to be competitive, while at the same time maximizing my assignment for a win.
What healing class do you enjoy healing with least and why? Unlike the above answer, I actually do have a response for this! Having raided druid heavy regularly, I would say that this expansion that has sometimes made things harder on the raid. We’ve been very fortunate with having an exceptionally skilled druid team, but sometimes you can feel the lack of cooldowns and the slowness of getting a raid topped up quickly that is the result of being druid heavy. We’ve done it and it is possible. I get so mad when people tell me it’s not. But it does often make some things more challenging than they need to be, and it can put strain on your healing team. That being said, I’d take a strong druid healer over a weaker healer of another class any day and we’d still make it work. We’d just have to be more creative about it than if we had 3 holy paladins and 3 disc priests. I did say I liked puzzles and challenges! ;)
What is your worst habit as a healer? Trust. It is very hard for me to trust that everyone is going to do their job and I need to do mine and trust they will do theirs. I am not wonder woman. I cannot do everyone’s job and still do mine. I can damn well try, but it’s likely I’m going to falter somewhere and it’s going to be bad for the raid. Some day I may understand this. Some day. Until that day, it’s a constant struggle for me.
What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while healing? Heeeeeaaaaal me! Please don’t ask. Unless, maybe, you are a tank. Then, maybe, I won’t hate you if you ask. All I do night in and night out is stare at health bars. I can damn well see who has life and who doesn’t! You don’t need to tell me that you need life – chances are good that I already know.
A very close second on this are healers who stray from their given healing assignment when their assignment is in danger. This is most frequently tank healers who let their tank die because they were healing the raid instead of the tank.
Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other healers for PvE healing? For the most part – yes. I still think we could do with a touch more burst healing, but it’s not game breaking at this point. I also think it would help to have a mitigation cooldown – but I’ve already gone over that as well! For the most part, I think druids can fit in well with any healing team, and can do very well with cooperative play in a PvE environment.
What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a healer? World of Logs and Comparebot. After every raid I look at my healing. I ask myself “could I have done something different to yield better results”. I look at the top players of my class and compare what they are doing to what I am doing to see if I could/should change something. I often pick up little tricks this way (like how to get that 4th tranq on Heroic Nef!). I have also compared myself to myself before. If I kicked ass one night, and didn’t feel as confident another I’ll review my performance from each night to see where the differences were – and sometimes they aren’t me! It can be anything from other healers stepping up their game, to the raid playing better. I can’t stress enough how important I feel the self-evaluation process is to improving as a player!
What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your healing class? That druid healing boils down to “LAWL REJUV WG SKILLZ”. There are a lot of intricacies with druid healing right now that are so much more than just mashing those two buttons. The playstyle has become very involved and you must play well, utilizing many of the tools in your toolkit, to manage your mana while maximizing your output.
What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new healers of your class to learn? Mana management and dealing with burst damage. The first thing I ask/look for when any druid complains about being constantly out of mana is “how much rejuv are you using”. If they are out of mana early in encounters, the answer is likely “too much”. It really does take some time to find that fine line where you know what you can do with your mana and be able to push it to its limits. It’s very easy to fall into the Rejuv trap – as it’s our “raid healing” spell – and over utilize the ability early on.
Hand in hand with that is learning when/how to time your cooldowns to best deal with burst damage. It isn’t always easy, and sometimes seems counter-intuitive. Yes, you really do want to pop over into ToL and start blanketing the raid BEFORE the damage starts so they are running and blooming when damage hits. Yes, you want to prep and efflorescence to make sure you can hit it the second that burst comes. Yes, you want to queue up Nature’s Grace to get that extra haste to reach the next breakpoint during/right before you expect burst damage to come in. There are tricks – they just take experience and practice to master!
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)? That I do use a lot of Rejuv and Wild Growth and that the two spells count for about 60% of my overall healing. But that I also have near 100% uptime on lifebloom, over 80% uptime on Harmony, and that I’ve maximized my cooldowns during the encounter. They’d also see that I really, really suck at using berserking (I need to fix this, seriously). They’d also probably see that I’m a strong healer and competitive with my healing team. I’d have high overheal – but such is the life of a druid. They may also see that from time to time I die to really stupid shit ;)
Haste or Crit and why? Haste. As a raid healer I want to be at 2032 haste (2005 for most – I run slightly higher to get extra ticks with my Shard of Woe activated) so that I reach my 2005 WG breakpoint and the next Rejuv breakpoint with my Shard active.
What healing class do you feel you understand least? At this point, I think it’s resto shaman (hence why I tagged two of them!). I haven’t leveled my shaman yet and I’m not nearly as familiar with the tools they have available to them. I try to keep up on what’s happening, but I don’t fully understand the class and I’m not entirely sure that I am maximizing ours as a result.
What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in healing? I’m a pretty big Grid/Clique supporter. I also have a heavy set of Power Auras to assist me as well.
Do you strive primarily for balance between your healing stats, or do you stack some much higher than others, and why? I will push haste to reach my desired breakpoints over many other secondary stats. I do this because with my preference for raid healing, I need to make sure that I’m maximizing the tools I have to do the job well. And, well, hitting haste breakpoints is one of those things. Of course, it makes planning gear upgrades pretty much a nightmare, but what can you do?!
The questionnaire asks you to forward it to other healers not of your class to get their perspective on healing as well. I’m going to cheat a little. I’ve picked three healers not of my class, but I’ve also picked one within my class as well. (Sue me!). I don’t know if she has time with her busy schedule, but I always love reading Vixsin’s take on shamaning and would love to see her responses if she is able to participate. I’d also love to read Borsk’s thoughts on the art of the Resto shaman as well! From the light side of things, I’d be interested in hearing Kurn’s thoughts on how paladins are being treated in Cataclysm. And from my own neck of the woods, I’d be thrilled to see what perspective Jasyla has to offer on calling nature the druid way!