Wednesday, March 16, 2011

How to Heal Part 2: Choosing the Healing Class for you!

So you read part 1 of the guide and decided that maybe healing is your thing afterall.  This is great as your 1 step closer to bringing all those green bars back up!  So the next clear question is probably "what class should I play Tamek?"  Well I can't tell you which class you'll enjoy best because I am not you.  Each healing class has styles, I've had a love affair with hots here recently so my druid is my current favorite for example.  Maybe you want direct healing only though since you can't stand waiting for those hots, or maybe you want a lil bit of everything.  So I will break down the different styles and some of the utilities for each of the classes and let you decide, also please don't just pick one based on it being the current fotm.  Choosing one you genuinely enjoy will make you much happier regardless of whether or not it is "op."

*Note these are very general overviews of each class/spec, any more detailed questions email me or comment.  Also the specialization bonuses are the bonuses for choosing that spec.  The bonus listed that I say is their "mastery" is received at lvl 80 and is spec specific. 

Priest




Priests are the only class in the game with 2 different healing specializations.  A healing priest may spec into the Discipline tree to focus on shields and other such absorption effects, or Holy for a extremely versatile spec with very strong aoe heals.  Priests have the biggest "toolbox" of all the healers with many different unique spells.  Along with the basic 3 spells (covered in the next part of the How to Heal series) priests also have a wide variety of other healing spells, the best magic dispel, and can also dispel diseases.  Priests are also the cloth wearing healing class.

Discipline specialization bonuses:
Penance (a quick channeled heal)
Meditation (all healing specs have this, allows for 50% of spirit to regain in combat)
Enlightenment (increases intellect by 15%)
Shield Discipline (Their mastery increases the potency of their absorb affects)

Discipline has 3 potent cooldowns and 2 different play styles. As a discipline priest you can focus on either being a "smite spec" priest or a regular discipline priest with heavy focus on shielding.  Discipline priests are effective healers with strong cooldowns capable of powerful burst throughput.

Holy specialization bonuses:
Holy Word: Chastise (A stun that transforms into different heals based on your chakra stance)
Meditation (all healing specs have this, allows for 50% of spirit to regain in combat)
Spiritual Healing (Increases all healing by 15%)
Echo of Light (holy's mastery creates a small hot after every direct heal)

Holy has an interesting playstyle in managing their "chakra" stances.  They choose stances based on their healing style and anticipating which one will be more useful.  Holy has extremely strong aoe healing and a powerful cooldown.

Druid




Restoration Druids are a unique healing class in that most of their focus on healing is on their "hots."  Hots are healing over time effects, and can be very powerful when layered together.  Druids have a pretty solid toolbox with aoe and single target healing.  Druids can dispel magic (when talented) curses and poisions.  Druids lack a mitigation cooldown but have a strong output cooldown in tree of life.  Druids are the leather wearing healing class.

Restoration specilization bonuses:
Swiftmend (A powerful instant cast heal that consumes 1 over your hots on the target (unless glyphed))
Meditation (all healing specs have this, allows for 50% of spirit to regain in combat)
Gift of Nature (increases healing by 25%)
Disentanglement (allows the druid to shapeshift out of roots)
Symbiosis (increases healing done to targets that already have one of your hots on them)

Restoration druids have one of the most unique playstyles in healing, having to juggle interactions between several different spells.  Druids lack in burst healing, but make up for it with very strong sustainable overall healing.  The hot focused nature makes them not as fun for everyone, but very enjoyable to those who like that playstyle.

Shaman






Restoration Shaman are very interesting healers with powerful aoe and single target healing.  Shaman have a few unique spells that keep them feeling fresh and different from the other classes.  Shaman are the mail armor wearing healing class.  Shaman can dispel curses and magic (when talented).  Shamans lack any strong cooldowns (unless you count heroism a 30% haste raid wide buff (Note there is one in development now though)), but have a strong mana cooldown with Mana Tide Totem. Shaman also have a unique buffing system with their totems that allows them to bring a very large amount of buffs.  Shaman also have special enhancements they put on their weapons for bonus effects.


Restoration specilization bonuses:
Earth Shield (A unique heal that places a shield on the target that will heal them after they take damage)
Meditation (all healing specs have this, allows for 50% of spirit to regain in combat)
Purification (Increases heals effictivness by 10% and reduces Healing Wave and Greater Healing Waves cast times by 1 second)
Deep Healing (Increases the effictivness of your heals on wounded targets (lower health means bigger heals))

Shaman rely heavly on spell interaciton to get the greatest effect from their heals.  To be a good Restoration Shaman you have to understand these interactions and use them to their greatest effect.  Their movement has come a long way from Wotlk especially with the abillity to have instant cast ghost wolf (which is usable indoors), but they still don't have an instant cast aoe heal for when the whole group needs healing now while your moving.  Regardless they are still a powerful and versatile healer with unique heals, interesting spell interactio, and a large amount of buffs.

Paladin




Holy Paladins are very powerful healers with extremely strong utility.  Paladins have a unique resource system called "Holy Power."  Holy Power builds up between 1-3 and can be used to use special mana free heals that are stronger the more Holy Power you have.  In adition Paladins also have several strong cooldowns along with 2 great utility abillities; Beacon of Light (which passively sends 50% of all your healing to its target), and Protector of the Innocent (which passively heals yourself if you heal anyone else).  Paladins also can dispel poison disease and magic (when taleneted).  Paladin's are the plate healing class.

Holy Specilization Bonuses:
Holy Shock (Holy Pallys main holy power generator, heals for a decent amount is instant and mana efficent)
Meditation (all healing specs have this, allows for 50% of spirit to regain in combat)
Walk in the Light (Increases healing effictiveness by 10%)
Illimunated Healing (Holy Paladin's mastery, creates an absorb effect after healing a target)

Paladins are very strong healers with powerful instant cast, and mana free heals.  Paladins also have their own unique resource system and several mechanics (beacon, judging) they must manage.  Paladins also have a wide variety of buffs through auras and normal buffs.  They lack proactive healing (hots/shields that can be put on a target before the damage is taken) but make up for it in very strong throughoput.  They also have the advantage of no gear competition since there are no other plate spell users. 


All of the healers are very capable of anything you would like to do with them.  They all also have very distinctly different styles that keeps them all feeling fresh and different from each other.  Remember if you try one healer and decide that their style is not for you that doesn't mean you won't greatly enjoy one of the other healers.

If you have any further questions or anything else feel free to email me or comment here.

Happy Healing!

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