Friday, February 18, 2011

Proposed Healing CDs and Homogenization in WoW

Alright, I have a bee in my bonnet. It relates to one of the latest announcements Blizz made in regards to shaman and druid healing.

In Addition- Restoration Druids and Restoration Shaman

We agree with the sentiment among some players that Restoration druids and Restoration shaman are lacking in the healing cooldown department. The shaman buff and Power Word: Shield adjustment above should bring all healers reasonably close in terms of throughput. The decision on who to bring then might end up being dictated by the strong cooldowns offered by paladins or priests. This isn’t the kind of thing we can address via a hotfix, but it is something we are looking at for the next major content patch.

What Saz has to say on the subject: Don't give me no stinkin' CDs I say! Stop tinkering with my classes/specs...leave me be!

Call me old fashioned, or call me naive simply because I haven't played Cataclysm yet, but I think that the proposed added healer cooldowns are a bit unnecessary. I've always loved having a niche as the offspec resto shaman (or on the incredibly rare occasion, resto druid or disco priest) and losing that niche just feels like something is getting stripped away from the decision to play that certain class, or in the case of priests, spec. With this new fangled homogenization, everything just feels...blurred and very cloned.

While my comfort level with this whole idea of homogenization decreases, there seems to be a few issues cropping up play wise. It seems to me, viewing from the sidelines at least, that the more Blizzard is trying to make everything more of the same, the more they're struggling to balance everything properly. Once upon a time the healing meters were taken with a large grain of salt simply because you couldn't judge the difference in healing output between a disco priest, a restoration druid, or a holy paladin. A talented raid leader could simply look at the healing meter and tell if a healer was worth their salt.

Now, it almost seems that Blizzard is wasting a load of time trying to cater to the QQers who no longer wish to raid heal, but feel like they should now be their guilds dedicated tank healer, or tank healers wanting to now fill the role as a raid healer. Not only that, I also think that they're trying to get every class within the three roles available (that is to say, Tank, DPS, and Healer) to be equal on this now apparently all important meter system. I feel that Blizzard is caving into the pressure of "Well, if X class has this, why can't my Z class have it too?!?!?" and "But hunters are doing the most damage! I want to do that as a *insert some other DPS spec here*" and now also it seems "Holy priests have amazing numbers on the healing charts...why can't I do that as a holy paladin?!"...Really now, this whole thing seems to be getting just a touch out of hand. Give them an inch it seems, and they will indeed try to take a mile.

I can remember a time where you brought either a holy paladin or a discipline priest to take care of your tanks, and then either a holy priest/druid/shaman or a duo combination there of to take care of your raid body (in a 10 man raid, of course...25s would require roughly double that number). Holy paladins did little to no AoE healing, but had those bomb heals to keep up the tanks. Disco priests again didn't have much in terms of AoE healing capabilities, but their mitigation bubbles and massive slow cast heals did the trick. Towards the end of Wrath new tricks were being added to these classes to increase raid healing, and like wise, the AoE raid healing classes began to "tank heal." Honestly, I thought that any druid or shaman healer that claimed that they should be the tank healer was off their rocker. Any shaman I came across specced into Healing Way was a damn fool in my book. I felt that us shaman had our place, and that was for raid healing, our totems, and heroism/bloodlust. We were brought because of our abilities as an individual player and for the abilities of our class. Towards the end of WotLK everything began to feel like everything was bleeding together. As a raid leader I was pulling in PuG shaman and druids to raid heal, and I'd occasionally get the comment of "but I'm a tank healer..." Again, called me "old fashion", but this was frustrating to me to say the least.

Now, don't get me wrong. This idea of "bring the player, not the class" is a brilliant idea - at least on paper - and I think that Blizzard is very noble in trying to turn this idea into a reality. But for me, the reason why you choose to play a certain class was for its niche, its play style. If I wanted to sheep things and rock the portals I'd roll a mage, if I wanted to raid heal I'd roll a holy priest, restoration druid, or restoration shaman, and if I wanted to tank with my face I'd switch my druid to a bear. I liked how once upon a time character classes felt special. Now looking on from the sidelines, everything is beginning to look bland.

Honestly, TotalBuscuit has managed to put my thoughts on all this homogenization hoopla into words better than I feel that I've managed to in one of his Azeroth Daily posts (skip ahead to about 10:19 for the specific topic I'm speaking of).

I suppose I'm feeling a sort of loss of identity with my characters, both in healing (regardless of how often I may or may not use my alternate specialization for PvE purposes) and in general. The new changes simply do not sit well with me, and fairly rare is my gut wrong.

I know I haven't been really hands on lately with the game, but I still try to keep up with things as much as possible. All of these changes will affect how I play the game once I manage to return to my beloved characters. Am I simply being foolish? Or do you folks who play regularly feel somewhat similar?


  1. As a Raiding Shaman. I may say that while i do agree with you. Healing Cooldowns are necessary and would be nice to have.

  2. Due to the changes in how healing is done now, yes, the cooldowns do seem necessary just to keep shaman and druids competitive.

    I guess my big issue is with the fact that we've lost our niches, and those niches are what kept us competitive throughout prior expansions. I do like the fact that Blizzard wanted to make healing more difficult - really, I appreciate that whole heartedly - but I think that the changes that they've made class wise have forced them into a corner where they need to give all healing classes similar abilities/cooldowns, which I'm not too fond of. Pallies/discos had their big CDs to make sure the tanks lived through the big bad stuff, us raid healers through shier awesomeness of their specialized AoE abilities healed the raid.

    I guess I just feel that they went a bit overboard in how they did things. Raid healers should be able to take care of the raid, provided that the members of the raid know how to move out of the big bad stuff and actually know how to use their class's defensive CDs properly, without having to worry about popping some huge CD to save the group as a whole.

    The balances just feel horribly out of whack. Maybe I just need time to adjust (which adjust I shall, whether I like it or not!), but I have a feeling I won't shake this loss of identity thing.

  3. No, I agree completely. I love my shaman as he has always been and change worries me but when you look at the charts we need to be useful in someway. We need either CD's or mitigation abilities just to be competitive.

  4. Aye, so it seems. I'm just not a huge fan of yet more changes, haha.

    Here's to hoping we get something incredibly bad ass at least.