So a while back I’ve braved the horrors of LFG and pugged a couple of normal Utgarde Keep and Nexus runs for my then-early-70 draenei priest, Talá. My first ever try at healing in 70+ instances was UK at 69, which was somewhat traumatizing, even with a kind group (read: a group who didn’t kick me out for the number of times we wiped, or I died, or the shadow priest had to backup heals; the whole group actually either had healer mains or alts, lol).
Prior to Northrend, I’d been healing holy-specced with Healbot. As I did lowbie instances though, I realized that I was doing a lot of shielding; so it made sense to me to respec to discipline. I’d also felt that in addition to having too many raid frames (on Eilonwyn I was running with Pitbull and Decursive; on my priest I was running with Pitbull, Decursive and Healbot!), Healbot was sometimes being a bit too smart for me. It’s possible I just hadn’t configured it correctly, but knowing plenty healers went with Grid and Clique for healing, I decided I’d go with Pitbull and Clique (and get rid of Decursive).
So, a spec change and a UI change was probably not the best way to go about trying a “new” dungeon as heals. It put me off even playing with Talá for a while, as I wasn’t too keen on leveling her if I was just going to go DPS in endgame again.
After a while, I finally did join LFG, with a comment about being a newbie disc heals. Almost surprisingly, I did get people to invite me along (woo!) and was able to practice, and I seem to be doing relatively well as the parties I’ve been to have told me. The last one I’ve tried (after a long break of not playing her) was Old Kingdom; sadly we kept wiping :(
I can certainly use more practice, especially with the “rotation” (and my click-bindings!), but it’s not so bad. I basically keep shields up on the tank, drop a Prayer of Mending on a melee DPS everytime it’s up (ranged sometimes too), and shield people up if there’s raid damange going around. I can have a good bit of trouble with too much raid damage though, as I haven’t exactly found the best way to deal with it other than Circle of Healing which positively consumes mana like arcane mages (nom nom nom!).
The gameplay is certainly quite different from a DPS point of view, and something I feel keen enough to continue playing with. The pressure can be worse, and the rewards not-as-evident. With DPS there is a sense of satisfying finality when the boss dies; with Arcane there are even “exciting” phases when you pop all your cooldowns and burn mana for some extreme pew pew. With heals it’s either you failed to keep people alive, or you didn’t. It’s certainly a good thing to experience though; healing has opened my eyes to a couple things in fights I’ve done countless times as DPS, like how annoying it really is for the healer if the DPS is being stupid, or even small things like “oh, there is raid damage in this encounter?”
I haven’t really decided on getting parties and raids will be easier on a healer. I know there is a general shortage of healers/tanks sometimes but I’ve seen a lot of instances where you end up being on standby if you have a particular “role”, i.e., a tank or a healer; one raid can only bring so many tanks and healers into an encounter after all.
But, cheers for all end-game healers! This is one (squishy) DPS who certainly appreciates you. <3