Remember Miss Medicina's healing questionnaire from about two years ago? No? Well, either way, Saunder from Non-Squishy Heals would like to revive it, and he asked me to fill it in as well. Why not, I thought, the game has changed quite a bit since then and it should be interesting to see whether my answers to the questions have changed as well compared to last time. So, without further ado:
What is the name, class, and spec of your primary healer?
Shintar, holy priest.
What is your primary group healing environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)
With Shintar I mainly heal ten-man raids these days. Once a week I also do rated battlegrounds, and with 4.2's new valour items I might be coaxed into healing the occasional five-man as well, but generally I'm not keen on doing five-mans on my raiding character.
What is your favorite healing spell for your class and why?
I'm really fond of the different holy words associated with Chakra. The instant heal on a short cooldown from Holy Word: Serenity is just awesome and I wouldn't want to have to do without it anymore, and the glowy floor caused by Holy Word: Sanctuary - while situational - is both visually impressive and fun to place. Also, they do feel kind of special for not being available to me at all times.
What healing spell do you use least for your class and why?
Desperate Prayer. I actually specced into it for PvP but I've got it on some really convoluted keybinding that I can never remember when I would need it the most. Holy Nova is still not very useful as an actual healing tool, but it does a decent job at interrupting flag caps in PvP. That said, I have to say that Blizzard has done a really great job at making all the other healing spells viable for holy in some way or another this expansion, even after they added no less than three new ones. Body and Soul gives me a reason to cast the occasional shield even as holy, and even Lightwell has finally gained some acceptance. That's pretty damn impressive in my opinion.
What do you feel is the biggest strength of your healing class and why?
That we have lots of fun spells to play with and can produce a considerable amount of burst AoE healing.
What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your healing class and why?
I may be imagining it, but I've got a vague feeling that we're starting to fall behind a bit in terms of mana regen. I healed a Zul'Aman run the other day and was running low after nearly every single trash pull. I'm fully raid geared, that really shouldn't be happening in a five-man! Maybe it was just that particular group, but I'm not sure. It seems to me that in raids the other healers also always have more mana left at the end of a fight than me.
In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best healing assignment for you?
I don't really know, as I haven't set foot in a 25-man in over a year! I would guess that holy priests still shine as raid healers.
What healing class do you enjoy healing with most and why?
I find this one hard to answer because our current raid healing roster is pretty much all priests, all the time, so I haven't had much interaction with other healing classes in a while. I'm not sure if PvP counts, but I love it when a paladin has my back there, because I know they'll keep me up if I get focused. Then again, a lot of this is also about trust and mutual understanding between players, regardless of which class they play.
What healing class do you enjoy healing with least and why?
See above. Though I have the vague feeling that druids are lagging behind a bit in terms of dealing with burst damage, and there seems to more of that than of regular AoE, which always makes me worry that if my own heal doesn't land in time, the druid's HoTs won't be able to keep up.
What is your worst habit as a healer?
I think my worst healing habit these days is being lazy about theorycraft and optimisation. I'm not sure how much of that is truly related to healing and how much is simply me getting tired of classes getting changed back and forth every couple of months (what, Holy Shield is an activated ability again? Come on) and me having to relearn everything, but the fact that healing is only ever about being "good enough" has certainly amplified it. Healing more can only ever go so far in making an encounter go more smoothly, because you can only heal as much damage as is being taken, so trying to optimise beyond that feels kind of pointless.
What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while healing?
This is still the same as two years ago: people being completely oblivious to what the healers are doing and just assuming that it's all easy. This includes things such as tanks never using any cooldowns and then wondering why they went splat, or people commenting that "healing is easy on this fight, right" while the entire raid gets drowned in waves of AoE. I don't expect praise for my job all the time, but some kind of acknowledgement that health bars don't keep themselves up and that someone does in fact have to work at keeping everyone alive would be nice every now and then.
Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other healers for PvE healing?
Yes. PvE healing strikes me as quite balanced at this time. That said, I'm actually miffed now that holy is the only healing spec that is not PvP viable (not that this prevents me from playing it anyway, but you know what I mean). I didn't mind while disc was only good for PvP and holy was only good for PvE, but now that discipline works for both I don't know why holy couldn't receive the same treatment.
What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a healer?
Whether people live, and numbers on Recount to see whether I carried my weight compared to the other healers. We don't bother with detailed combat logs anymore since nobody can be arsed to record and upload them.
What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your healing class?
That holy is uncool because it doesn't focus on shiny bubbles.
What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new healers of your class to learn?
WTF do all these spells do? Chakra, what?
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)?
Without meaning to blow my own horn, I always have pretty high output with pretty low overheal. What I find more interesting these days however is just how many spells I use. On an average encounter I'll easily have a dozen different sources of healing, and with a pretty wide spread as well. This goes with what I said earlier about all holy priest spells being useful for something these days, and I take pride in being able to find the right niche for each spell.
Haste or Crit and why?
Crit is still crap for priests these days, despite of the recent buff to critical heal size, so it's no contest.
What healing class do you feel you understand least?
I have a level eighty-five of each healing class now, but the one I understand the least these days is definitely the paladin. With the dungeon finder queues and Call to Arms it's very tempting to run my own pally as a tank at all times, so I've hardly done any healing on her since 4.0. Paladins also used to make great healing alts because of how simple and straightforward they used to be, but these days there's holy power and a gazillion different procs, so whenever I do give healing on my paladin a try I just flail around a lot, unsure of what the hell I'm doing. This is not a criticism of the class at all by the way, I'm just saying that they need more dedication and time investment to be played correctly these days and I don't have that at the moment.
What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in healing?
Healbot 4 life! Don't need anything else.
Do you strive primarily for balance between your healing stats, or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?
Well, intellect is king for all healers these days, including holy priests. Spirit is the next big thing, and after that it's down to haste vs. mastery. I prefer haste and gem for it because I can feel the results of it more than I can extra mastery, which only really shows up on Recount as more healing done without any input from me. Still, the only things I reforge are crit (go away) or anything into spirit if the item doesn't already have spirit on it.
Now, Saunder also asked me to pass on the questionnaire love, preferably to people who play a different class than me, so I'm going to tag Vidyala, since she's back to being a holy paladin full time, and The Grumpy Elf - while he's mainly a hunter, he's been complaining about spending too much time healing as of late, so I'm sure he's got some insights about (shaman) healing to share.