On the Problems of Lowbie Healing


Quick sketch post tonight.

Lowbie shaman healing has pointed out flaws with healing model that further exacerbate balance problems in low level PvP. Level 10 primarily.

All healers are not created equal.

Shammy has 1 heal – long, slow – and a defensive shield. Shield helps mitigate dots but not high burst. Also, can only be placed on single target. Slow direct heals can’t keep up with the burst – too weak. Have to stack Haste to make it work.

Pally has 1 slow heal, and an instant one with Holy Power. A ltitle more versatile but still problematic if you don’t stack Haste.

Druid has 2 (?) HoTs, one instant, one cast time. Three if you count Swiftmend. Rejuv is good because it’s instant, but must have Swiftmend to make it work. Swiftmend can keep up with burst (kinda) but CD is too long; also consumes Rejuv through level 25. Rejuv can’t keep up. HoTs are just too weak.

Disc has 1 instant shield (which can be potent), 1 HoT, 1 Channeled instant on CD, 1 direct cast. PW:S allows instant negation of burst, with Renew healing previous damage taken. Penance serves as a great filler spell when you need to heal NOW. Direct cast is fast, expensive heal, not slow.

Holy, I haven’t played yet.

Just looking at the ability distribution, it’s pretty clear why Priests dominate as healers in the early brackets.

But it’s also interesting to see how hard it is to heal well in this kind of PvP. The burst damage is something you need a toolkit of spells to handle, and 3 out of the 4 classes lack those tools. I can handle the burst at 70 on a druid, no sweat. I can’t handle the burst on a druid at 10.

Much like the difference between warriors and hunters, priests and shamans have very different skills at 10-14. Shamans have PvE skills, but they have this weird hybrid of all kinds of three different roles. Priests have two roles, and two specs are healing, so their healing bag is more stocked.

If quick, dirty heals were more prevalent, maybe even instant, healers might become more effective in low level PvP.

That, in turn, might be a different kind of fix to lowbie PvP. Don’t fix burst – fix healing the burst instead.


1 Comment

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One response to “On the Problems of Lowbie Healing

  1. Kierbuu

    Haven’t thought much about other healers, but I like working with shaman a lot. I’ve been wondering if it might be a good idea for Blizzard to switch out Earthshield for Riptide as the specialization bonus. Earthshield is nice, however, the healer has no control over when a charge is consumed. It doesn’t help that when combined with healing stream totem in PvE content, resto-shaman learn to just stand back and rarely ever use any of their healing spell. No burst in PvP and lazy habit formed in PvE. If Riptide got a early start a shaman could have some limited, instant, burst healing in PvP and have a healing spell that keeps them engaged in PvE.