So Kae of Dreambound has “tagged” me for “a little healing questionnaire going around the interwebs” (well I was second choice, but we offspecs have to take what we can get after all). The instructions from the blogger who started it are:
Post this questionnaire, with your answers, on your blog. Pick the healing class you know most about (or is the focus of your blog) for the questionnaire, and then send it over to another healing blogger you know and love who heals with a DIFFERENT class. Include a link to the blogger who sent you the questionnaire, as well as a link to the blogger to whom you are sending it.
The idea is that you participate in a “chain of healing bloggers“. So the interests of promoting blogal healing chains…
What is the name, class, and spec of your primary healer?
My primary and favourite healer is my shaman, Chayah, who is offspecced restoration. She uses a variation of the “cookie cutter” resto spec that’s notable for having both Healing Focus and Healing Way, but no Elemental Weapons.
What is your primary group healing environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)
During most of 3.1 I was a raid healer in Ulduar, as the transition from 2-healers for Naxx and 10-man hard modes in 3.0 to 3-healers OH GOD THE DAMAGE OH GOD in Ulduar had my guild in a bit of a bind. Since that situation was mostly remedied by a couple of great new healers joining us, I mostly heal heroic 5-man PUGs (because PUGers can’t see past that giant red cross on the LFG interface) but still dust off the offspec for some 10-man heroic action.
What is your favorite healing spell for your class and why?
I have to say Chain Heal, though it’s a close call between that and Earth Shield. Chain Heal is just a beautiful spell. It’s very powerful if you use it right, but it can be a tough call: do I have time to cast it? Will it chain to anyone? Is Riptide on the primary target? Do I have Tidal Waves already and would I be better off casting a couple of LHWs? The combination of strength and weakness combined with the great spell looks and fun mechanic is a winner for me.
What healing spell do you use least for your class and why?
Uh, I can’t really answer this – I’m a fan of the entire shaman healing toolkit. On most fights my combat log parses show a really even distribution of healing-by-spell. 3.2 has just created a beautiful sweet-spot for resto shaman design and playstyle. But if you can call it a healing spell, I guess my least used is Tidal Force – I only use it with my Nature’s Swiftness macro, and the longer cooldown means it’s not always ready when NS is.
What do you feel is the biggest strength of your healing class and why?
It’s fun. I mean, really seriously fun. I’ve healed as level 60s, 70s and 80s of all the healing classes except Paladins and I just keep coming back to my Shaman. Balance-wise, I suppose our biggest strength is our powerful single target healing with good AoE options combined with spammability: our spells generally don’t have cooldowns, but they do benefit from “weaving” or “rotating”. That means when the damage starts to pile on, a shaman can respond in a way that’s somehow graceful and beautiful.
What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your healing class and why?
Movement can be a problem, though with riptide and our fast HWs it’s not too bad. The lack of a proper tank-saving tool is a problem in some 10-man encounters.
In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best healing assignment for you?
Honestly, the only thing I hate more than 25-man raiding is healing in 25-man raids. Stick me on the MT and give me some nice music to listen to and I suppose I could tolerate it.
What healing class do you enjoy healing with most and why?
That’s pretty hard to answer. Anyone who does their job well is a pleasure to heal with. And there are some people who you just develop an intuitive cross-healing style with, no matter their class/spec. I guess disc priests might edge slightly ahead because they make up for one of my class weaknesses – the (near) inability to effectively prevent damage.
What healing class do you enjoy healing with least and why?
I was a healer-leader long before I was a raid or guild leader, and I’ve always appreciated the synergy and strengths of using multiple class/specs in a heal team. I suppose I’m least comfortable with holy priests, since I could never get the hang of the spec for myself and find it hard to predict what a holy priest is going to do. It just feels like a less interesting, less powerful shaman to me. Having said that though, I have played with some fantastic holy priests with whom it’s a pleasure to heal.
What is your worst habit as a healer?
Refreshing Water Shield constantly. It’s a habit I picked up in 3.0 and I still find myself doing it every time I’ve got a spare GCD. Even to the point where I’ll stand there spamming Water Shield. It’s pretty silly since 3.2 changed how Imp. Water Shield works.
What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while healing?
I hate being told what to do. Which is ironic as in my WoW career I’m pretty sure I’ve told countless healers what to do (though nowadays for guild healers I tend to just trust them to get on with it). My second biggest pet peeve is when people stand too far apart for Chain Heal to jump, though that’s the fault of so many encounters drilling it into peoples’ heads that they need to always SPREAD OUT.
Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other healers for PvE healing?
Yeah, we have our strengths and our weaknesses. But I’m aware there are some situations that vastly favour a particular class – Anub’arak and paladins, or Mimiron and disc priests, or Algalon and resto druids – whereas resto shamans don’t really seem to have any fight that really favours them beyond their staple Bloodlust. Almost kinda makes me miss the days of Grounding Totem being crucial (or at least really helpful) for beating certain encounters. But I also feel that Shamans are so well-rounded that the lack of a particular strength doesn’t bother me.
What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a healer?
I use a function of mana remaining at the end of a fight and number of people who died. :) Generally I evaluate my performance as I go in terms of things like buff uptime, reaction speed, response to encounter mechanics, etc. Healing meters and parses are interesting but don’t really have any effect on how I heal.
What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your healing class?
There’s a misconception amongst shamans that we’re only good for spamming LHW these days. There’s a contrary misconception amongst non-shamans that we’re only good for spamming Chain Heal. But I think honestly, most non-shamans don’t know what to do with a shaman healer in a PUG raid (and I’ve experienced the same for resto druids, incidentally).
What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new healers of your class to learn?
Gear balance between haste, crit, spellpower and mana regen. Until you get to tier 8 level, resto gearing is a bit of a nightmare.
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)?
I like to think they’d see no patterns whatsoever :) But it would depend hugely on the fight. In general there’d probably be a constant Chain Heal presence (even if not accounting for much of total healing) and no particular spell dominating raw healing output.
Haste or Crit and why?
Since 3.2, haste without a doubt. This is largely because all the resto gear since tier 8 has thrown crit at us like it’s nobody’s business, and because at tier 8 level mana regen and spellpower start to become ancilliary concerns. Pushing my Chain Heal to 1.8 seconds with the 4-piece tier 8 bonus and a big whack of haste is just a vast increase in the usefulness of that spell, and generally all our spells benefit from casting a bit faster more than anything else. Though I really like the way crit works for resto shamans, I just wouldn’t stack it.
What healing class do you feel you understand least?
Holy priests. Despite having played as one and having played with many, I just can’t “get” the playstyle.
What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in healing?
This questionnaire just goes on forever.
Uh, I used to heal using sRaidFrames (which replaced CTRA :) ) by clicking on people and using a keybind to cast the spell I wanted. Ulduar changed that. Now I use Clique, Grid, Power Auras and ShieldsUp in a configuration that’s improved my reaction times and spell “rotation” immeasurably and, I think, taken me from being a decent healer to a great healer.
(As mentioned above I also use a macro that combines Nature’s Swiftness, Tidal Force and Healing Wave.)
Do you strive primarily for balance between your healing stats, or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?
While many other high-end shaman healers were advocating stacking crit and intellect and spamming LHW/riptide, I basically refused and balanced my stats according to my experience of encounters. Being in a 10-man situation, I found mp5 a lot more necessary, and I saw the value of haste despite the unfortunate LHW-GCD-cap issue. Gearing up to tier 8+ has allowed me to focus more on haste and throughput in general, but my gear’s still basically pretty balanced because I find that I need that versatility in a 10-man situation.
Oh wow, it’s over. That took ages. Anyway I guess it was pretty fun. And now I get to tag guildmate and fellow off-spec healer Sinespe over at his shadowpriestly blog Anathema. Tee hee.