Me: I had a long talk with Hephaestus last night.
Me: Oh, he's going to leave his wife and come get me and we're going to elope and run off to China and become gold farmers for the rest of our lives.*
*If Heph's wife is reading this, please don't take this seriously. I was joking, I swear!
Ahem. So, yeah, I had a long chat with my good friend Heph last night. We hadn't spoken in a while, so it felt good to catch up. I guess he thought I had stopped playing and I thought he had outgrown the little priest who had followed him around like a doting puppy dog. Turns out we were both wrong - I had been playing Tiella and had stupidly forgotten to tell him that I had a mage toon, much less that she was my new raiding main. Oops.
One thing that came of our long conversation was Heph's impressions of WoW these days. I think I might have panicked a little inside when he told me that he was "not impressed with Cata." Yeah, my heart twisted in fear. Here was someone who had been loyal to WoW since beta, had done everything and been everywhere within the game. He was the pillar that I wished I could have been. As ancient as the Titans. Eternal. He'd always been. He always would be. And Cata was pushing him away. It was going to do him in.
After dealing with that immediate reaction, I reminded myself that nothing lasts forever. Just as Loch Modan had been drained and the Western Plaguelands had begun to bloom, the world changes. People move on. So, I accepted it and encouraged Heph to do what he needed to do, even if that was to take a break and get some fresh air. In the meantim, however, we talked about what it was that had disappointed him.
Just like lonomonkey mentioned in his post, Heph was unable to really put a finger down on what had let him down. One thing he did say was that Cata was supposed to make WoW simpler, but it seemed to have done just the opposite. A bit later, he added that until Blizzard fixes the healer nerfs, his raiding guild is feeling rather gimped.
I've been doing some thinking of my own and have put those two thoughts together. I don't know if this is what Heph was trying to put his finger on, but it's saying something to me. Quite simply: Healing is too complicated.
Ghostcrawler has said in previous blue posts that tanks have so much to worry about, they shouldn't have to worry about complicated rotations. Apparently, however, Blizzard doesn't think that applies to healers. The healers who have to balance their spells and their targets to keep the raid alive and still preserve their mana. All while taking on the responsibility of keeping everyone else alive (so much so that if there's a wipe, people immediately blame the healers. No pressure!) That in itself isn't complicated enough. Instead, Blizzard has given some of the most complicated rotation systems to healers. Pallies? Now have holy power to work with. Druids? Now have to manage instant HoTs vs. cast-time heals in a much more complex variation of buffs, stacks and all sorts of stuff I don't understand. And priests? Holy priests have Chakra. Talk about complicated! One spell is activated, then set based on which heal is used next, then that buff it gives affects all the healing spells in different ways. Oi! Oh, and Disc priests didn't miss out either - most of that tree now emphasizes healing through dealing damage.
Some people will argue with me, and say that they like the complicated play of the healing rotation. But I believe that healing would be just as rewarding if you took out the complicated rotations and let the healers manage their mana in a straightforward way. That in itself would complicate things, as they tried to fit the spell for the situation. Isn't that just what Ghostcrawler has suggested healers should be doing? So, why are we muddying the waters with added mechanics that only make a stressful healing situation worse?
I can tell you one thing. I'm glad I'm not healing right now. Last night, Heph and I headed into Molten Core to try and get the last piece of my T1 priest set. He tanked. I healed. I tried to use Chakra. I really did. And I can tell you that it made my head hurt. It was even more complicated than trying to manage my mana as an arcane mage, kiting as a frost mage, or maximizing my dps on short fights as a shadow priest. And I was only healing one other person. I can't imagine trying to do it when I'm working with a full raid of 10 or 25 people.
No, thanks. I'll stick with my dps role for now. And I'll thank the Titans that I have access to one of the best healers on Khadgar, who just happens to be the GM of my guild.