My Rocky Relationship With Healing Touch   7 comments

The other day when I gave my thoughts on Druid Healing for the questionnaire that was placed on the official WoW forums, I stated that Healing Touch was probably the least used spell in my arsenal.  However, since that time, I’ve had a few people ask me about that choice, and had others comment that Healing Touch played an important role in their healing rotations, so I wanted to take a minute to clarify.

What do you mean you don’t use Healing Touch?!

Relating to your questionnaire answers – how can healing touch be your least used spell?

To start, I’d like to clarify something: by indicating that healing touch is my least used spell, I’m not saying that I never use it.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  I utilize healing touch every encounter.  But of all of the spells that I find in my tool kit, it’s the one that I generally have the least reliance on to do my job.  To be sure, there are some encounters where it is my clutch spell, such as Alysrazor and Baleroc.  I even get a fair amount of use out of it in Beth’tilac.  But when I compare it to the other spells in my toolkit, I just don’t use at as much as my other spells.

I feel that this needs some further clarification.  I raid on a 25 man HM progression team.  My raid will usually have 1-2 Holy Paladins and 1-2 Disc priests.  Outside of Baleroc and Alysrazor, I do not spend a lot of time tank healing.  That isn’t to say that I never heal the tank – because I do.  It also isn’t to say that if I see the tank’s life in peril I don’t toss him some healing (often in the form of a HT) – because I do.  But when we have several healers in the raid who excel at single target tank healing largely handling the task, the amount of healing that I need to provide the tank on a given raid night is much more limited.

I keep my LB on the tank.  I do my best to make sure that doesn’t drop off.  I generally keep a rejuv on the tank.  And I heal the tank when he’s in need of extra healing from me.  But the majority of my healing is done to the raid, and is independent of the tank.  In that setting, I rarely need to hit a raid member with a healing touch.  It packs a punch, but it’s very slow and nine times out of time by the time I’ve executed the heal another raid member, or HoTs, have brought that player’s life to a state where my 2.2 second Healing Touch is either 80% over heal or completely wasted unless I have Nature’s Swiftness to pair it with so that it’s instant.

As such, outside of buffering the tank, Healing Touch isn’t one of my “go to” abilities for raid healing.  At least not in a 25 man setting.  Again, it’s not that I never use it, I use it all the time.  It’s just the spell I feel that I use the least in my raid setting.

That being said, I also have some experience on healing with my alt druid in a 10 man setting as well.  And I’ve thought about the role of Healing Touch in that setting a little more.  I do think that I utilize healing touch more in my 10 mans, but not to a point where it’s dominate in my spell selection there either.  It’s just used with a little more frequency.  Again, though, I think it’s important to temper that with the knowledge that I also always run my 10 man with a Holy Paladin who is a beast and rarely needs anything but tertiary assistance in keeping the tanks alive.  But some of that boils down to the level of trust I have in the other healers on my team.  I would guess that if I was more nervous about the tank dying, I would probably be more proactive in making sure he stayed alive.  I certainly would expect Healing Touch to have a healthier role in my toolkit if I was more largely responsible of the life of a tank.

What about Lifebloom and Harmony?

Specifically, do you refresh lifebloom with nourish, or just use LB again? And what are you using to keep harmony up when swiftmend is on cooldown?

I generally tend to favor refreshing lifebloom with nourish, or if I’ve let it go too long, just refreshing the lifebloom so it doesn’t drop.  I will keep harmony active with whatever spell fits my needs the best at the time I need to refresh the buff.  If I have an OoC proc, I will probably Regrowth.  If swiftmend is off CD, it’s usually swiftmend.  But most often I refresh harmony with Nourish.  And usually on my Lifebloom target, so that I can kill two birds with one stone.  For me, I almost always have 3 rejuvs out on my raid, and nourish is a fairly speedy way for me to refresh Harmony.  I would probably say that nourish is my “filler” spell, if I am just waiting around for damage to go out or there just isn’t much to heal (Healing Staghelm comes to mind here).

However, it’s important to go back to my earlier comments about my responsibilities in my raid.  For me to toss out a nourish when there are two or three other healers predominately taking care of the tank, it’s not a huge deal.  It’s a little extra buffer (that is likely mostly overheal).  I’m not solely responsible for managing a tank’s life.  The same goes for my 10 man play, in fact, I think I actually use more Nourish in my 10 man than I do in my 25s!  But when push comes to shove, you’ve got to make a decision on what is best for your raid team and your given tasks in that raid.

Do I think Healing Touch is a Bad Spell?

Not at all!  I just want to reiterate that I use it!  With some frequency!  But the question we were presented was “what is your least used spell”, and when I go through the checklist of my healing spells that one is the one that falls into the “least used” category.  Honestly, now that I’m thinking on it a little more I probably should have said “thorns”.  Since they’ve changed the way that the ability works, I can honestly say that it’s something that I almost never cast most raids.

But let’s get back to Healing Touch!

I think that the spell is situational.  I think that given the right opportunity and time the spell does exactly what it needs to do – a slow heal that will heal for a large amount.  My biggest beef with it – if you even want to call it that – is that there are other  healers who offer more to “tank healing” than druids, and therefore are better suited to do the job.  That isn’t to say that druids cannot, or that they cannot do it well, it just means that other classes offer something more.  In a raid where you have many options, it seems silly to not optimize those options.

However, if you look at a fight like Alysrazor, where I spend a very large amount of time being concerned with the tank’s life you’ll see that I rely heavily on Healing Touch.  And it does exactly what I need it to do – provide large healing to a single target.  And in that situation, it’s just fine!  The problem is that I’m frequently not in that type of situation, making Healing Touch a less valuable piece of my toolbox.  That isn’t saying that it’s not an important ability for me, and I think that’s an important distinction to make.

I hope that helps clarify my answer some!  I’m sure that I view this differently than others, and I don’t know that any one view is “right” or “wrong”.  At the end of the day, a lot of what you do depends on your raid team – and no two of those are the same 🙂

Posted September 21, 2011 by Beruthiel in Druid Healing, Mail Bag

7 responses to “My Rocky Relationship With Healing Touch

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  1. Yeah, when I was raid healing I can’t think of a time where I used healing touch (this was T11 with no fights like bael/alys). I didn’t even have nature’s swiftness as part of my spec and when I did get an OOC proc it was always for regrowths so I could get back to raid healing quicker. Now that I tank heal healing touch is a major part of my toolbox.

    I have to agree on thorns, I’m not entirely sure what the purpose of that spell is anymore. Help the tank with hatchlings when we were first learning alys is the only use I’ve figured for it. It must have some more specific PvP purpose.

    • I know at the start of this tier there were even specs that were leaving out things like Naturalist and Empowere Touch. So I know I’m not the only one who wasn’t using a ton of Healing Touch in a 25 man setting 🙂 I really do think a lot of it will have to do with the responsibilities that you have in your raid.

  2. Well that was far more comprehensive an answer than I was expecting, thank you!
    I’m going to tinker with my playstyle and see what happens.

  3. I remember when Firelands came out and we were struggling a bit to get the birdies down on ALY, I’d thorns my tank on cooldown and witht he damage increase, it was doing almost 2mil damage sometimes! I think it might have helped us a bit …sometimes we’d JUST get those birds done in time.
    I also use it a lot on AOE pulls in dungeons, or things like RYO, just a bit of threat buff and little bits of damage…if my mana is ok, why not?

    • That’s Blix btw. Odd. Wrong name.

    • The other druid in our raid would do this with some regularity, however our tanks didn’t have an issue getting their adds down generally, so I always felt that my GCDs were better spent healing the tank/cleansing/topping up raid members who took damage. That’s not to say that Alys isn’t a great example of when to use it, because it is! I, personally, just didn’t feel it outweighed the healing that could be done with those extra GCDs in our group 🙂

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