Miss Medicina's healing questionnaire

Miss Medicina posted a sort of meme to get healers talking about themselves. I wasn't tagged by anyone, nor is this a "healing blog" per se, but I'm definitely a healer at heart and felt like answering the questions anyway, so there!

What is the name, class, and spec of your primary healer?
Shintar, priest, holy.

What is your primary group healing environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)
With Shintar I'm mostly healing raids these days, both ten-mans and twenty-five-mans, simply because she's done all the five-mans to death and has got absolutely nothing to gain from running them anymore. I still like healing five-mans though and keep running (and healing) them on my alts.

What is your favorite healing spell for your class and why?
Like Miss Medicina I like circle of healing for its effectiveness, but I think prayer of mending still holds the top spot for me, simply because it's so unique and fun. No other healing class has a spell even remotely like it, and the randomness of the bounces can sometimes lead to great results if you know how to make a situation work in your favour. For example many a melee character has been saved by my ProM bouncing back and forth on the King Ymiron encounter, after he decided to dump a spirit fountain next to the tank just before stunning everyone. In raids with lots of raid damage or multiple tanks it also feels great to shoot it off every cooldown and then continue to cast something else, safe in the knowledge that your little ambassador of holy healing powers is doing its job just fine even without you watching.

What healing spell do you use least for your class and why?

I rarely ever use Holy Nova for healing, only for loldps.

What do you feel is the biggest strength of your healing class and why?
That we have so many different healing spells and thus have a tool for every situation.

What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your healing class and why?

I think our biggest strength is also our biggest weakness in some ways. We're good at everything but not really great at anything, leaving us with a bit of an identity crisis. I often have the impression that even the developers aren't sure what priests are really supposed to be about other than "they heal lots". We still don't stack that well in raids, and are rarely the first choice for a specific role, making us feel like stopgap healers sometimes. "Well, we don't have a shaman to heal the raid. I guess one of the priests can do it. If we must."

In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best healing assignment for you?
Raid healing that isn't too spammy, because it leaves me with some time to do other useful things like throw renews on the tank (and thus plays to the priesty strength of being able to do a little bit of everything). Extremely spammy raid healing always leaves me feeling inferior to a chain-healing shaman, because oh, circle of healing is on cooldown again, not everyone is in range for prayer of healing and so on. Heavy tank healing on the other hand makes me run out of mana fast, and easy tank healing is just plain boring.

What healing class do you enjoy healing with most and why?

I think this isn't so much a matter of class as of... chemistry, for lack of a better word. It's about being able to predict what the other healer will do when and where, and complementing each other in the process. I had great fun learning ten-man Naxx with a resto druid friend of mine for example, we were playing very well together.

My current Trial of the Crusader ten-man on the other hand has me grouped with another holy priest, and our teamwork is pretty good as well. Not to mention that having dual divine hymns, prayers of mending and circles of healing is kind of awesome.

What healing class do you enjoy healing with least and why?

I haven't made too many great experiences teaming up with paladins and shamans. Obviously we can make it work to get things done, but in tends to feel a bit like we're constantly stepping on each other's toes. So in the case of the shaman I'll be casting renew on someone who's just taken a little bit of damage at the same time as the shaman casts riptide, when the melee gets stomped I cast circle of healing just before his chain heal goes off and so on. Similarly I don't feel that I have great synergy with paladins because they'll be able to easily solo-heal any tank, leaving me to twiddle my thumbs, but if there's AoE damage all of a sudden I suddenly have to go into overdrive because they just can't keep up.

What is your worst habit as a healer?
Being competitive. Healing is supposed to be a team effort, but I can't help looking at the healing metres and wanting to be on top (or at least high up). I don't need to brag to anyone about it, but it's probably more important for my personal satisfaction than it should be.

What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while healing?

Lack of recognition for healers and their work. As long as the boss dies, it doesn't matter if healing was easy or hard, or if everyone actually did their job. So what if all the dps stood in the AoE? You healed through it so it obviously wasn't a problem, right? Or to give another example, in one of my Trial of the Crusader runs last week I was duo-healing with a holy pally who was extremely clueless about how to play his spec. We made it through, he got loot at the end and everyone was happy - while I just felt exhausted because he had barely contributed a quarter of all healing, but who cares, eh?

Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other healers for PvE healing?

I think that at the moment things are pretty well-balanced. However, I'm sure that it's only a matter of time until some mechanic will surface again that suddenly makes one kind of healer vastly overpowered for some reason or another.

What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a healer?

Well, whether my target lived or died obviously does matter, but other than that I like to look at healing metres on Recount and World of Logs. I check how I compare to other healers and especially to other holy priests (if there are any). If there's a big difference I look at what spells we both used; you can learn a lot that way. Oh, and my own survival matters too, of course. I always feel like such a failure when I die to environmental effects because I was too busy staring at health bars. A dead healer is a useless healer.

What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your healing class?
That we can dispel anything other than magic and diseases. Though this has got better as of late.

What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new healers of your class to learn?
Getting to grips with all the different healing spells and when to use them. You can usually recognise newbie priests by the limited amount of spells they use, be it flash heal spam or a prayer of healing at the slightest sign of group damage, simply because they haven't yet figured out that there might be better ways of doing things. I remember running Karazhan with the priest alt of one of our druids and he never used prayer of mending even once. /gasp

If someone were to try to evaluate your performance as a healer via recount, what sort of patterns would they see (i.e. lots of overhealing, low healing output, etc)?

I tend to place pretty high on overall healing done and about mid-field on overheal. The most remarkable thing though, and one that I find striking every time I compare myself to our only other active holy priest at the moment, is how addicted I am to instant casts: prayer of mending, circle of healing and renew specifically. Even though they are also useful I tend to avoid flash heal and prayer of healing whenever I can.

This is a habit that I developed in the past year due to my computer not being quite up to WOTLK standards. I never had any performance problems during BC, but the first time I walked into twenty-five-man Naxxramas everything just locked up. I was absolutely horrified at first and worried that I might have to stop raiding altogether due to being completely useless while playing at two frames per second, but like someone who lost a limb I managed to adjust by getting stronger in the areas that are least affected by lag spikes and low frame rates: my instant cast spells.

Haste or Crit and why?
Well, I try to maintain a balance, but I'm leaning towards crit: Due to the aforementioned computer troubles I have problems to get many spells off even within their normal cast time, so haste wouldn't do much for me. When you only see one frame per second, reducing your global cooldown by a half-second does nothing for you.

What healing class do you feel you understand least?
Resto shaman, simply because it's the only healing class that I haven't levelled to eighty and raided with yet. It's in the works though.

What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in healing?

I'm a Healbot user and very fond of it. I used to be an addon-avoiding purist (and some people complimented me on my healing skills even back when I manually targetted everyone and then clicked on the healing spells on my action bars) - until one day I got to watch a friend who plays a resto druid play on her home PC. She had Healbot installed and I was just stunned. You could heal people just by clicking on their health bars? It was obvious to me that this would save a lot of reaction time, and since I was (and still am) dedicated to being the best healer I could be I just had to get the addon as well.

I also have a timer addon to track my renews and such, but I think I accidentally disabled it the other day but didn't end up missing it that much, as Healbot's integrated tracking worked well enough for me.

Do you strive primarily for balance between your healing stats, or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?

I try to maintain a balance, though my main priority for enchanting and gemming is spellpower. I don't stick runed gems in every socket though - in fact being able to go for (sometimes relatively useless) socket bonuses is one of my guilty pleasures as a healer. When you're dps there's usually one way and one way only to gem for absolute maximum dps, and it usually involves ignoring socket bonuses. For healing things are a lot more flexible, so people aren't likely to argue with me if I decide to go for a purple gem just to get the six stamina socket bonus too.


  1. Thanks for joining in! I've been reading your blog for awhile now :)

  2. I like your assessment and agree with, and see myself, in almost everything you write (except that I don't raid anymore..).

    I used to think that "our biggest strength is also our biggest weakness" (the "jack-of-all-trades-but-master-of-none doctrine") was true, but I see it happens as a DPSing rogue as well as a healing priest that it's really the player and not the character/gear that matters most. Back in my raiding days I could usually outperform better geared characters probably just be being "on edge". I ate my buff food, drank my elixirs/flasks, used my trinkets and CDs and build macros to "spam" spells not sharing GCD and generally tried to be the first to reach the raid member in trouble.

    Anyhow. Good write-up :)