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Luumis Served Vodka: Let's Talk Healing

Article originally posted on Manaflask

ne of the main cornerstone pieces to what makes vodka such a great raiding guild is our healing core. We expect a lot out of our healers. The first thing we tell any applicant during their interview is that healing apps have the hardest trial and the highest failure rate. We only carry a minimum number of healers on the roster, and expect them to be able to pull off the impossible. One of the other things that’s never mentioned is that during progression, never expect to get gear until after all of the dps do as well as how much we underheal every encounter. There are a ton of healing feats that our core has achieved. Three healing Heroic Ragnaros during progression is one. Having our healers prove their mettle by solo healing Heroic Ultraxion; Blossomz was the first with a 15% zonewide buff.
Here’s the video:

And here’s the log.

Past achievements aside, we’re now just under 2 months from the start of MOP, and we have been testing the changes to our classes for a while. Furthermore, we’ve finally gotten to test how each class does in raid content so now I can finally give an accurate assessment on the status of the five healing classes at the moment. Please keep in mind that these rankings are from a hardcore raider’s point of view. The criteria I take into consideration making these rankings are tank healing, aoe healing, burst healing, raid cooldowns, mana longevity, and raid ultility. Without further ado, let’s start with the strongest healing as for the latest build on the MoP beta servers!

#1. Holy Paladin

Paladins are the best healers in MOP at the moment? That is probably the question that is running through every single person’s mind right now. I can assure you without a doubt that the current iteration of paladins is broken. Before the nerfs, Mistweaver Monks could push 3 or 4 times the next healer’s hps; well holy paladins right now can, for the most part, double up on the next healer. I can link you a snapshot of an recent WOL for a MOP beta boss pull to give you an idea of what’s going on:
Here was one pull with a Resto Shaman, a Mistweaver Monk, and a Disc Priest: http://i.imgur.com/PCNbu.png

Here is literally the next pull when Blossomz woke up, late for raid by 45 minutes: http://i.imgur.com/jyXoy.png

As you can see, there are huge discrepancies with HPS here. Once again, sorry I can not give away vodka strategies or how we did on X MoP Boss, but with the extra healing throughput, one can assume we made more progress than with the previous healing setup. Healing throughput aside, the tools a paladin can bring are pretty huge. The whole time they aren’t healing one, but two targets at once through Beacon. Their raid cooldown is Devotion Aura which reduces magical damage taken by 20% and is amazing for most fights where there is a scripted event where you know a ton of raid damage will happen. Paladin raid utility doesn’t stop there; they have their Hand of Freedom, Hand of Protection, Hand of Sacrifice, Hand of Purity , and Hand of Salvation in order to avoid various encounter mechanics. For instance in Firelands you could avoid the transition stun on Majordomo Staghelm by putting your hand of protection on a person. To make paladins even better, they now have a talent called Clemency that gives them the ability to use one of their Hands twice before incurring the cooldown; this is true only iif you don’t count the 18 day cooldown on the ability.

#2 Restoration Druid

WIthout a doubt, Resto Druids fall into second place in my rankings. Blizzard’s stance for healers is that they want us to all have about the same healing throughput and utility, but Resto Druids still come out ahead of the others because of how easy it is for them to heal on the move. Most encounters have a mechanic that necessitates movement or you die. Now let’s break into some of the specifics about why druids are so good. If memory serves me right, only 3 or 4 of the 16 bosses really make it so that you can stack for the entirety of the fight.

Let’s start with their new big money spell, Wild Mushroom: Bloom. If you’re familiar with the Boomkin wild mushrooms for aoe damage, this spell is pretty much the same thing, but heals your friends rather than damages your enemies. You can plant three mushrooms at a time and with a 483 ilevel, each mushroom will heal for around 20k giving you a total of 60k burst healing on the raid. While I still need to 100% confirm if there is a cap on how many people can get healed by this spell, it appears that there isn’t a cap on the healing either. You can understand why I’m calling it the big money spell now. Say you know the raid is always going to take 150k raid damage across the board every 30 seconds, since you know when it happens, you can lay down your field of mushrooms and instantly bloom them in order to burst back 60k hp. This spell alone makes druids one of the best burst healing raid healers aside from monk revival. I do need to mention that Blizzard did push the 15913 build and Bloom got eviscerated. According to the datamined patch notes, they changed Bloom to only do a third of the healing compared to before.

The other new spell for druids that has incredible raid utility is symbiosis. You can either give one of your tanks another personal cooldown, and/or you can pick up another utility spell for yourself to take advantage of some encounter mechanic/gimmick. You can pick up Ice Block or Cloak of shadows or deterrence to give you another way to avoid damage or deal with a raid mechanic like soaking Zonozz’s orb or Ultraxion’s hour of twilight. The uses for symbiosis are endless and can be adjusted for each raid encounter!

#3 Mistweaver Monks

As of the current beta build, I would have to put mistweaver monks in the middle of the pack when it comes to healers. Gone are the days when zen sphere and renewing mists coefficients made it so that they were healing for 3 to 4 times the next healer, but Mistweavers are still very, very good. Their raid healing is comparable to a druid’s, but just not as effective and strong. Their raid cooldown, zen meditation, is currently buggy, but a 90% damage reduction is amazing. Their other healing cooldown is Revival which can be described as a raid wide Lay on Hands that dispels all debuffs. One of their high points is the ability of further their mana by chilling out and sipping tea, thus making them probably the best healing class in term of mana longevity.

#4 Restoration Shaman

While I list Resto Shaman at four in the rankings, it by no means indicates that we are bad. Our main problem right now is twofold. First, our mana sustainability is awful. Yes, blizzard says changes to this are on the way. Supposedly we’ll gain more mana from Mana Tide and our Water Shield will gain more passive regen to put us in line with other healers. Second, we don’t really have the impactful raid utility that the other raid healers have. Sure we have Spirit Link Totem. Yes, you can cheese some boss mechanics with Grounding Totem (usually fixed within a week of being found out) or Tremor Totem, but the reality of it is that the only real reason you want to bring a Resto Shaman to your raids is for Ancestral Vigor. While we might be pretty good for stacked up healing, druids can do the same thing, but better through Wild Growth, Efflorescence, and Wild Mushroom: Bloom. We can’t even heal on the move effectively without using a 2 minute cooldown. Hopefully, with some changes to our mana sustainability, Resto Shaman will be much stronger and be able to vaunt up in the healer rankings.

#5 Holy/Discipline Priests

Let me quote a great man, Rabz, on the priest situation, “Does Blizzard even know what they’re doing with Priests? We’re like swiss army knives that someone dropped in the toilet” Regardless of spec, priest mana sustainability is the worst out of all the healing classes. Their raid utility is pretty much limited to Barrier and Shields. I don’t even consider lifegrip a good raid utility because any case where you need to lifegrip someone is pretty much a case of poor individual skill on the player getting gripped. You could make a case of gripping melee out in order to speed them up so they can get to a dps target sooner, but then you’re only saving 1-2 seconds. Hopefully Blizzard will take a step back and thoroughly evaluate the priest situation, and realize that it’s not that priest don’t have good utility of mechanics, rather it’s just that everyone has better utility and way better throughput.

Conclusions/tl;dr

Paladins are the strongest healers as of the current beta build. I would group druids, monks, and shaman closely together with druids slightly ahead of the other two. Finally priest healers are bottom of the barrel and are in need of huge changes. Remember this is purely from the perspective of a progression raider. The only thing that’s important to us is what can these healers bring to the table at raid.