Saturday, August 14, 2010

Holy priest healing has been sucking lately

My priest is almost level 75 now but sadly I have been leveling him as shadow lately and in 90% of cases I'm queuing as dps in the dungeon finder.

Something has happened after I hit Northrend and it's not good. I can't heal anymore.

In Azeroth I had no problems healing. I ran most dungeons as a holy healer and I did great. I loved healing and as a result it was always easy to get into a group.

In Outland I started having some problems. Dungeons were somehow much tougher and I started hesitating more and more as a healer as levels went by. I started running a lot more dungeons as dps rather than healer.

In Northrend disaster struck. I couldn't heal for peanuts. I attempted healing about 3 or 4 dungeons. In one of them I gave up and left the group after telling them that I didn't feel capable of healing the rest of it. In another I barely pulled through to the end. In yet another one I dual-healed with the main healer because he had some difficulty doing it, and still we barely pulled through.

I have no idea what's going on. It could be me, or it could be crappy tanks/groups or it could be the dungeons themselves which are a lot tougher. For this reason I have mostly given up on healing. My leveling consists purely of queuing up as dps in the dungeon finder and questing in the meanwhile.

When healing, I use Healbot and I think it's great. My modus operandi is to put a Prayer of Mending on the tank, then when he takes a few hits I'll put a Renew and then Flash of Light whenever he takes too much damage and Renew can't compensate. If excrement hits the cooling device, I will pop a PW: Shield. That's my main rotation and it worked great until Outland. Back then I didn't even have Prayer of Mending.

Now though, it seems that tanks are taking so much damage that I find myself spamming Flash of Light continuously, barely making it through the fight and finding myself drained of mana at the end. I am aware that Greater Heal is a more efficient spell in terms of mana but the cast time is too long and by the time I finish casting it the tank could be dead!

I didn't mention Circle of Healing but I think it's the best feature of holy healing. Unfortunately it does have a weakness: range. I usually have to stand right next to the tank in order to get everyone in its radius and very often it misses one or two people.

Here's what my spec looks like at level 74: 13/52/0.

I really don't know what to do at this point. Leveling is fine as shadow dps but I really wanted to be a good healer, as this is my first healing character. I'm considering going discipline but I've never healed as disc and I'm afraid I'll mess that up too. In fact discipline has it's own perks in my eyes.

I'll relate a short anecdote about discipline healing. I was running a random heroic with my retribution paladin and at one point after a fight, we were heading towards the next group of mobs when the following conversation occured:
Tank: "Healer don't you need mana?"
I look at the healer's mana bar and it was almost empty, perhaps only 1/5 full. The healer was a priest.
Healer: "No, keep going I'm fine."
Tank: "Oh wait I just realized you're disc. You guys don't need mana."
Healer: "lol"

So to my mind discipline priests seem to be very mana efficient. On the other hand they don't seem to have a cool instant AoE heal spell like Circle of Healing. Generally the disco priests I've run with have performed very well.

One other thing that might be a factor here is that people who are running heroics are often very well equipped and also experienced. In leveling dungeons, people don't have the best gear and sometimes they haven't run that dungeon before. Many tanks are also awful and I've had my full share of crappy tanks, having just today run with a major asshole who insulted everyone, complained that he didn't win a roll for a spellpower cloak and then intentionally pulled a boss and wiped the group.

Therefore, maybe one of the reasons why I can't heal properly is that tanks are very bad and they take a lot of damage. Personally I have pretty good gear, most of it being blue items from dungeons and a few heirlooms.

Maybe this looks like a plea for help but until further notice I think I'll just give up healing and level as dps. Less stress and much less responsibility.


Erinys said...

If you want to keep healing, I would definitely give Disc a try. Personally I prefer it to holy for all 5 man content. Yes, you don't have circle of healing, but you can shield all 5 people instead when AoE damage is incoming. It's also far stronger for tank healing and unless the group is really bad, in 5 mans that's where the bulk of your healing should be going.

Sannin said...

I have a 74 holy priest and am only having problems healing when the "Tank" is really an impatient dps who queued as a tank because its faster.

I ALWAYs check to see if the tank is really a tank. right now I get about 2 out of 5 runs where the tank is at def min and speced right.

Darth Solo said...

@Erinys I saw that group-wide shielding thing often and always wondered how the hell those disco priests do it?? I'll have to look into it.

@Tristan yeah, that happens to me occasionally too. Some people really are dicks. Honest dude that I am, it never occurred to me to check their equipment.

Bloodshrike said...

That was MY spellpower cloak!!!!

My priest is level 44 so far, and I'm thinking about healing Zul'Farrak to get some levels. Maybe when I hit Outlands I'll heal Ramparts some, but I really doubt I'd heal Northrend regular dungeons. Like you said, most people really don't seem to be geared/have a clue at that point.

My hunter didn't get into Northrend dungeons until my first heroic, and I think I'll continue that trend.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't give up healing so quickly, if you enjoy it.
Give discipline a try, it's a lot of fun. If you've made up your mind that you want to be holy after all, I would still suggest that you use PW:S on your tank - even though it won't absorb as much or have any special procs like disc. priest's bubble, it's still a very good spell that you shouldn't ignore.
Also, as a priest, you shouldn't forget about all your other heals. Although a lot of them feel really situational (Binding Heal, for example), using them at the right time is what makes priest healing so much fun.

Darth Solo said...

@Bloodshrike so you were that guy... :)

@anotheralt I don't want to give up healing because it gets me quicker in dungeons and it's a break from endless dps-ing. Not to mention that it used to be fun in Azeroth.

I've decided that I'll give discipline a try.

I do use other spells. I try to use Binding Heal whenever I'm damaged because it's much more efficient than healing the other guy and then myself separately.

Mister K said...

You might want to check what spells you are using. If you go to the trainer as your shadow spec, your holy spells on your bars won't get upgraded automatically like they noramlly do. I assume you are usually questing as shadow so you probably go back to the trainer as shadow and train up then. check your spell levels and macros to make sure you are using your highest level of spells. Just a thought

Darth Solo said...

No I'm fine there because I use Rankwatch. Not only that but Healbot doesn't care about spell levels.

I hate the way the old spell stays on your bar in your other spec. Blizzard should fix that.