Tonight we finally went back into ICC for the first time since the patch, and I was curious to see how the new holy would perform in what's currently the closest thing to "current" content (even if it's nearly a year old by now). At heroic Lady Deathwhisper I finally ran into the mana problems that a commenter brought up in response to one of my previous posts. Up until then I hadn't really noticed much of a difference in my mana regeneration rate while running lower-tier content, so I was very surprised when I suddenly got a "not enough mana" message halfway through phase two. I hadn't popped my shadowfiend yet, so I did that and was okay for the rest of the fight, but it still felt strange considering how much I overgear the place and that we had the thirty percent buff up.
I suppose it's not crippling right now, but it still kind of irks me to be honest. I'm all for the slower healing model with nerfed mana regen that's been advertised for Cataclysm, but suddenly running out of mana on WOTLK fights that you've been doing easily for months feels kind of... unfair. Still, as I said, not an unsurmountable problem; I reckon it should be okay with slightly more careful mana management.
However, looking at the healing meters was outright depressing. I've been duo-healing with a resto druid for a while now and our output has always been very close to equal. I liked that, because it meant that we were both doing our jobs and nobody was being carried. However, since the patch he absolutely pwns me on the meters, doing about twenty-five percent more healing than me across the board. I feel like I've got a freaking brick tied around my neck and am bringing the whole raid down, and that we could be doing so much better if I brought my own resto druid instead. (It seems to be pretty much common consensus on the forums that resto druids are about a mile ahead of everyone else at the moment.)
And of course I still can't get over just how clunky my whole spell arsenal feels right now, what with the clumsiness of the Chakra states and so many talents having no synergy whatsoever. I could ignore the sudden mana issues and get over the throughput nerf if I was still having fun, but I swear holy priesting has never felt worse and less fun to me than it does now.
I decided to turn my attention to the forums to see how other priests felt and whether I could get any helpful advice. On the EU forums at least I found relatively little complaining, a few happy comments from people who absolutely love the new model, and a couple of concerns from others based on holy priests having the lowest mana regen of all healing classes right now and being absolutely terrible in level 85 raids on the current beta ("10khps behind and going oom still" as one poster put it").
On the US forums I found a similar thread bemoaning the current state of holy priests, where the poster was told off with arguments such as "it is you" and that "holy is fine". What I found interesting in this case however, was that one of those commenters backed her claim up with a link to World of Logs, which showed a twenty-five man raid where two supposedly holy priests were topping the healing meters. I was actually happy about this! There was hope after all; I'd just have to adjust my play style to follow the example of those amazing priests!
Unfortunately, it turned out to be a bit of a sham. What the poster neglected to mention was that both priests had a discipline dual spec that they were using for the Lich King, and at the end of the night thirty percent of their healing done was made up by shield spam from that one fight, making the numbers of their oh-so-great holy performance look artificially inflated.
They did do well as holy on several fights though, so I investigated that, and it turns out that they mainly managed to get high numbers because there were no resto druids in the raid and they spammed Renew. I went to look at a couple of logs from other raid guilds on my server and found similar results. I found one log where a holy priest had topped the meters on a night of heroic Sindragosa attempts with no resto druid in the raid, but under any other circumstances holy performance was usually anywhere between lackluster and outright terrible.
So, in summary: holy priests are fine, if you can afford to just spam Renew and there's no resto druid in the raid. So much for increasing complexity and encouraging us to use our amazingly large toolbox, eh?
I have half a mind to just heal with my druid for the rest of this expansion. I'm not usually a "flavour of the month" person, but at the moment holy priesting doesn't just feel underpowered to me, it feels plain not fun.
I know it's not supposed to be balanced around level eighty content; I know they are still tweaking things for level 85 on the PTR as we speak, but well... considering I have all healing classes at eighty and they are all reasonably geared, I just see no reason to stick it out with one that I just don't enjoy right now. I still love the class for its many great spells and for representing the ultimate healer in WoW, but as it stands I think I'd be better off just giving it a rest until the developers figure out how to do holy priests some justice again - for my own sanity more than anything else.
(Oh, and I never cared much for disc in PvE, so I'm not keen on going down that route either, even if it's supposed to be reasonably powerful right now.)