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On healing in Cataclysm

I know I’m rather late to the party, being a slow and nosy sort of leveler lately, but I’ve hit 85 and gone on a bit of a dungeon spree with the guildies. Not everyone’s quite geared enough to make it into the heroic queue, so it’s all been normal, but that’s given me enough confidence and spare offspec drops to give healing a whirl. I have to say, I do enjoy it a lot more than Wrath-style healing. Having something approaching time to make decisions turns healing from a frantic game of whack-a-mole to a more strategic game of conservation and planning—sort of like a slower RTS, I’d say, with your attention demanded in a number of areas, but time enough to /think/ before the decisions must be made. The new spells also are intriguing: Unleash Elements gives you a second instant heal and a boost to your next direct healing spell, while Healing Rains can be extremely powerful if the whole party’s taking moderate AOE.I could actually see myself as a primary healer if my guild needed it, something I would never consider in Wrath.

I have noticed a definite trend towards more complex fights in the dungeons, with some very fascinating mechanics: a sky dragon who controls the winds, for example, will have you either massively sped up or slowed down (attack, cast, and movement) depending on if you are upwind or downwind of him. There are mobs in the Vortex Pinnacle that cannot be fought, but instead feign while being watched, leading to healers staring at them while we fight the other trash and then backing away before moving on. We have purposely never read strategies on these bosses, relying on common information (don’t stand in it, pick up adds, that sort of thing) and quick glances at tooltips to learn the encounter, which is always such a fresh feeling. Wipes have been rare, and frequently hilarious; we guessed poorly that the giant maelstrom of shadowy death that the crab…silithid…/thing/ in Grim Batol puts out needed to be run away from, instead of heading into the center, for example. However, our skill and the still somewhat forgiving environment of normals has made learning things this way quite reasonable.

Overall, I’ve been very much enjoying the new endgame, and I’m looking forward to raiding.