As you may have already noticed, things are looking a bit different around here. I took some time yesterday to overhaul a few pictures including my banner to reflect a recent change that has taken place: I changed my main raider to my Druid.
Before we start assuming things, let me make one thing clear: I still love my Priest. Ever since BC, the Priest class has been my favorite class in WoW. I enjoyed spamming Flash Heal, Power Word: Shield, and Renew in Wrath. Even now in Cataclysm, I enjoy the Priest’s way of healing over any other healer.
So why did I switch to playing a Druid?
1. Priest Overload
My guild has been expanding our roster over the past few weeks. Originally, there were only 2 Priests on our roster: An officer who played as Holy and myself who chose to go Discipline. At the time we were an extremely Druid-heavy healing team (I blame Lissanna). Over a period of about 6 weeks we had a few healers leave the guild, so we recruited a few more to fill our roster for some upcoming vacations that some of our raiders would be taking. We recruited 3 Priests. Not 1 or 2. 3 Priests. That very next raid, 5 out of the 7-8 healers were Priests.
This is to give you an idea of our healing roster:
x2 Holy Paladins
x1-2 Restoration Druids (One of our Druids has been going Balance due to being short on DPS)
x1 Restoration Shaman
x1 Discipline Priest
x3-4 Holy Priests (One of our Priests has been going Shadow due to being short on DPS)
Now, I’ve been playing a Priest since BC. I know the strengths and weaknesses of our class and for each spec. Priests tend to excel at healing when people are grouped up or are within the 30 yard limit for Prayer of Healing. This is because most of raid healing Priest’s throughput is based on Prayer of Healing and because PoH is a group heal it’s absolutely essential to be near each other to get maximum effectiveness. It’s the strongest group/raid healing spell in the game, even surpassing Chain Heal. But because it’s limited to groups, it can also be one of the weakest. Overall, I think it’s safe to assume that Priests are balanced around Prayer of Healing.
Too much of one thing can be bad for your healing team. I realized this after the first week of raiding with 5 Priests (some of our DPS were on vacation). Many of the boss fights in Firelands have players spread out, while others have them somewhat lumped together. Where we do quite well on bosses like Shannox due to everyone being extremely close, we really suffered on bosses like Rhyolith where everyone is running around and can be over 30 yards from each other. It was brutal. Priests just aren’t as effective on those fights and it really shows on WoL. Meanwhile Druids and Paladins do exceptionally well. Why? Because Druids and Paladins aren’t balanced around a group heal and can be just as effective outside the 30 yard line as they are within it.
2. A Worthwhile Cooldown
Being extremely Holy Priest heavy, we lacked effective cooldowns. It’s true. I’m one who has been an advocate of giving Holy an effective CD to make them more worthwhile for raids. Could you imagine being in a raid with 4 Holy Priests in a time where CDs are quite necessary to survive boss mechanics? In it’s current iteration, Divine Hymn just doesn’t cut it. It’s on an unbearably long 8 minute CD and heals for significantly less than it’s cousin Tranquility. In fact, a Balance/Feral Druid’s version of Tranquility is stronger than a Holy Priest’s Divine Hymn. Holy doesn’t really have any type of effective CDs that can help stabilize the raid. And apparently Blizzard is OK with that.
Well, I’m not OK with it. If our guild has any chance of progressing we need these CDs to do so. I find it interesting that Blizzard developed fights that specifically call for CDs at certain points, yet they are absolutely OK with the supposed “most versatile” healing class/specialization to not contribute to a CD rotation. Surprisingly, Holy Priests have the strongest tank cooldown in the game, but because Holy doesn’t “excel” at tank healing like other classes/specs the CD tends to not get used as much as it should. It’s also bad enough Holy Priests are balanced around group healing spells, but now they lack a raid CD as well. To be honest, I’m absolutely surprised that people have clinged to the spec for this long. I certainly don’t fault them for it. Holy is a fun spec to play. But there are just too many things that need to be fixed ranging from Intellect and throughput scaling to the lack of a major CD before I consider playing it again.
What I’d like to see get fixed before I consider jumping onto the Holy boat again:
1. Better Intellect scaling
2. Regen less dependent on Spirit
3. A worthwhile CD
I can live with the group healing deficiency because Prayer of Healing is what defines us as a class and I don’t want us to be “perfect” because every healing class has it’s strengths and weaknesses. But in a gaming world where CDs can “make or break” an encounter, it really is important that Holy Priests can contribute just as much as our healing teammates.
Lets get something clear. I don’t want Holy to have a Tranquility clone. I recently had an idea about a good CD for Holy that makes it diverse for both tank healing and raid healing. Blizzard should completely scrap Divine Hymn. Instead, have Chakra affect Guardian Spirit. While in Chakra: Serenity, Guardian Spirit works in it’s current iteration. When in Chakra: Sanctuary, Guardian Spirit becomes a raid-wide ability. Have it prevent deaths to the 10 lowest hp raid members and increase their healing received by 20%. The Guardian Spirits would constantly switch from different raid members depending on who has the lowest health pools for it’s duration. This gives Holy a unique raid-wide CD that can prevent deaths. It’s not a Tranquility clone. It’s not a damage prevention ability like Power Word: Barrier. It’s not a combination of both a la Spirit Link Totem. It’s Holy’s own unique CD.
So overall, I guess you can kinda say I’m “boycotting” the Holy Priest spec. Until Blizzard gets their act together, I’m not going to spec it and I won’t play it in raids. One of our Holy Priests has decided to go Discipline, so I decided to move over to my Druid for some extra healing throughput for our raids and I’m loving it. And no, it’s not because of Tranquility. Harmony has completely fixed what I hated about Druids at the beginning of Cataclysm.
*Disclaimer* To all the Holy Priests out there. Keep in mind I’m doing this because I think it’s best for me and my personal playstyle. What I do for me doesn’t mean it’s the best decision for you. If you enjoy Holy, then play it. I’m an advocate for playing a spec that you enjoy. Everyone has different standards. Currently, Holy just doesn’t match the standards I want for my personal healer.
Side Note: To hear some different opinions on the whole “bring the CD not the player” debate, check out what Oestrus and Tomaj have to say on the topic. I think they both bring up some valuable points.