There’s a revived meme going around, originating with Miss Medicina, that consists of a questionnaire about how and why you heal. I’m glad it’s making the rounds and have loved reading the responses to it, and was delighted when fellow guildmates (and classy guys) Rades and Snack tagged me to join in the fun.
DAS RULES: 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.
What is the name, class, and spec of your primary healer?
Liala, Disc Priest. Natch.
What is your primary group healing environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)
What is your favorite healing spell for your class and why?
Penance. Penance is a huge Ohshit healing spell, but also turns you (and your camera) in the direction of your target. I know a lot of people hate that, but I frequently Penance people just to figure out where they’re standing.
What healing spell do you use least for your class and why?
Heal (the irony!). It now costs too much and heals for too little to be a part of our toolbox. Oh, and I use Flash Heal much, much less than other Disc priests, preferring to give Renew time to tick in most cases.
What do you feel is the biggest strength of your healing class and why?
Instant response time. Disc healers can plug several health gaps at once- not just on the tank- while waiting for a big group heal to come in from a Shaman, Druid, or Holy Priest. Of course, all that requires you to be more communicative than any other healing class, which can be a good or bad thing depending on the company you keep.
What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your healing class and why?
Instant response time. The other side of the hyperactive, short-term healing coin is that if you look away for more than two seconds- your mind wanders, say, or you sneeze more than once in a row- you’ll come back to find everyone is dead.
In a raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best healing assignment for you?
On the off-tank with an eye on the rest of the raid. If a large healing spell is incoming from a fellow healer, it’s easy to bubble several melee or more than one tank to bridge the gap between casting and healing. When a raid co-healer knows that, and lets me know they need a few seconds of preventing additional damage without necessarily healing everyone up (“Big heals inc, need ten more seconds!”), I get all misty-eyed.
What healing class do you enjoy healing with most and why?
Shamans. The offical reason is that Chain Healing works amazingly well with that whole You-Prevent-Damage-While-I-Poo-Out-A-Huge-Heal situation described above. The unofficial reason is their totems. I like to stand in the middle of ’em. Makes me feel safe.
What healing class do you enjoy healing with least and why?
Paladins. The standard answer to this is, I think, Disc priests, and that can truly be abysmal if you don’t like the other Disc priest you’re healing with, but you can actually work with another Disc priest to coordinate your bubbles. Paladins, though, rely on someone NOT preventing damage on their targets (and I frequently bubble their targets in a confused panic). It always ends in tears and recriminations.
What is your worst habit as a healer?
RENEW RENEW RENEW!!! … RENEW! …. …. …. …. RENEEEEEEEEWWWWWWW!
What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while healing?
Unsolicited advice. This makes me want to punch a fool in the face. I don’t give anyone advice on how they play the game they’ve bought to pass the time in the manner of their choosing and certainly don’t want it. On the other hand, I adore it when people give me feedback when asked, and it’s nearly always spot-on (Corollary: I’ve found people who give unsolicited advice invariably aren’t worth listening to.)
Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other healers for PvE healing?
Not at all. We’re dominating, unadulterated, masterful MACHINES of PvP!! /flex
What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a healer?
I check my World of Logs records against the WoL records of the same fight for the top Disc priests (Ensidia, etc.) and the logs of friends whom I know to be solid Discos.
What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your healing class?
It’s hard to say. When I first started playing in Wrath, people kept expecting me to raid heal, which was completely impossible and very perplexing. Now, we’re just as firmly pigeonholed as tank healers, but I really think our best utility comes from tank healing while simultaneously bubbling the occasional raid member to give a raid heal time to finish casting.
What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new healers of your class to learn?
The variety of spells. Blizzard’s spoken intent for Cataclysm was to improve the ‘granularity’ of healing for Disc priests, and I think they succeeded well in so doing. However, increased granularity does mean increased choice, which in turn makes life more difficult for beginners. That, along with the fact that Disc priests really have two specs within one tree- the SmiteSpec (using Atonement) and the ShieldSpec (no Atonement), as I think of them- and there is really a lot of choice and experimentation required that may not be to everyone’s liking.
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)?
Like most Disc priests, my overhealing is pretty low, and total healing looks abysmal (until you add in prevented damage through shields). My use of Renew is higher than most, just because I like it, and I don’t cast Power Word: Barrier nearly as often as I ought to. In general, though, I blow all my cooldowns- needed or not!- because I’d rather use them too early than wait until I really need them and potentially not use them at all.
Haste or Crit and why?
Crit. Balance in all things, sure, but you can manage your casting choices and time to minimize the effect of Haste; you can’t manage anything to get a big heal.
What healing class do you feel you understand least?
What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in healing?
I don’t use many add-ons at all. The only raiding add-ons I use are Skada to check trends in damage taken and DBM to get the warnings. I do write a huge number of my own macros, though, and think that the most useful macros for Disc priests are (a) smart Shadowfiend to lock in a target for him to attack, (b) a Warning Yell before casting Hymn of Hope and (c) a raid announcement for casting and on whom you have cast Pain Suppression. Other than that, I use the default raid frames and no key modifiers! SACRILEGE!
Do you strive primarily for balance between your healing stats, or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?
I tend to overstack Crit Intellect and understack Spirit and Haste. By not prioritizing Haste, my mana situation rarely gets out of control since I’m not casting as quickly. Conscious casting can, I think, minimize the need for more mana, reduce overheals, and forces you to play a very rapid-fire class with more deliberation- which, in turn, I think makes you a better Disc priest.
The tendency for Discos is to shoot out a huge number of spells incredibly quickly, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. It’s what makes us so different and fun! However, playing to deliberately minimize that aspect of Disc priesting, once you have mastered doing it that way (that bit’s important), creates a zen state quite unlike any other class I’ve ever played.
But, of course, I’m biased.
Many thanks to my prompters, Rades and Snack, for their kind prompting to participate in this questionnaire; it was very fun to do and absolutely fascinating to read the responses of the many people who have participated thus far! I’m now supposed to tag someone not of my class to do their own version of this, so I’m passing the baton to Vixsin at Life In Group Five, a Resto Shaman.