Sunday, December 14, 2008

Cooldowns Coming Soon

The patch notes for Patch 3.0.8 are out and the big news in the healer world is the Druid/Priest "nerf." Circle of Healing and Wild Growth are being changed to add a 6 second cool down.

I have heard mostly negative responses to the change from the Druids and Priests in my guild, more from the Druids than the Priests. And the changes have brought about the resurgence of the "who is the best healer" debate.

The best healer is always going to be the healer that pays attention, knows their role, understands the encounter, reacts quickly, and uses all available tools. There are four classes that can heal for a reason, and in my opinion, no one class outshines the others in all situations.

Priests have the widest range of abilities, and a good priest will be able to use all (or at least most) of them. They can single target heal, AoE heal (and will still be able to, just not by spamming CoH), reduce damage taken, preemptively heal, and group heal. Only extreme pessimists expect this change to reduce the effectiveness of Holy Priests.

Likewise, Druids shine at healing multiple targets by stacking HoTs and are invaluable for helping absorb spiky damage. The sheer number of HoTs they have at their disposal didn't change; all that happened is that one of them received a cooldown.

Paladins are still excellent single-target healers, and with Beacon of Light, they are able to heal both the tank and others in the raid at the same time.

Shamans have always been known as Chain Heal spammers, but in WotLK we received some more tools for our arsenal. We are now effective in five man dungeons, can be excellent tank healers, can instantly heal someone with Riptide, and are still able to raid heal (when the raid cooperates by standing somewhat close together). I have heard grumbling that Chain Heal was not affected by the changes, but unlike Circle of Healing and Wild Growth, it is not an instant spell. The 2.5 second cast time may not be equivalent to a 6 second cooldown, but it is not something that can be used on the move, so in most encounters Shamans are unable to continually cast it with no interruption at all.

I don't think the changes in Patch 3.0.8 will affect the raid composition in my guild. Even before Blizzard announced their plans to make it more about bringing the player instead of the class, we tried to do that. I know our healers will adjust quickly and still be as awesome as ever. Doomsday is not coming soon to a Tuesday near you.

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