3.1 healer changes… sigh.

I have the good fortune to be part of a really stellar healing squad with Totally Raiding, Inc.. We're good, and we work really, really well together. I love (love!) raid healing as a shaman; I loved raid healing as a priest, too, but I love the particular methods and spells I work with as a shaman even more. (Mind you, I haven't raid healed as a priest since, um, before Burning Crusade. But still!)

3.1 brought about a host of nasty mana regeneration nerfs. Most notably for me, Mana Spring Totem got changed to a replenishment-esque x mana every 2 seconds buff to a Blessing of Wisdom clone — perhaps even the anti-Blessing of Wisdom, since Mana Spring totem now removes Blessing of Wisdom if I drop it. (Eeeuuurgh.)

I hit on a metaphor for why I don't like the mana regeneration nerf the other day, and if this is too pretentious, forgive me, but here's the deal:

Healing is an art, not just a series of spellcasts. Working with a really good healing team is utterly fantastic, because between knowledge of each other's personalities, tendencies, strengths, and instincts, you have a pretty good idea of whose healing is going where when stuff starts happening to the raid. Ulduar has given us a bunch of nasty raid-wide damage to deal with, and yet because of our healsquad leetness, we've adjusted pretty darn fast and have come up with a lot of reasons to use utility talents and abilities that didn't come up very often in Naxx/Maly/Sarth. The healer channel is full of intelligent strategy and ways of keeping people alive, and that? That's fun.

I will grant you that perhaps the complete and utter lack of worry about mana regeneration is not what Blizzard had in mind for healsquads. Given that Mana Tide totem is a 31-point talent — once the crowning glory of the Resto tree — you can understand that they want us to need that sucker. But it's frustrating to have synergistic abilities (Mana Spring totem/Blessing of Wisdom) turn into competing abilities — since Mana Spring removes BoW, if we're going to use BoW at all I can't have Mana Spring up at all, lest it remove the buff from someone who's going to go out of range later. It's frustrating to know that I can help with mana regeneration, but to have one of my key utility abilities (+1% hit) party-only, so my raid has to pick between stacking me with the healers for mana regen or stacking me with melee — and usually the tanks — for hit, tremor totem, and disease/poison cleansing totem.

Worrying about mana regeneration is like having to worry about how much your paint costs. Okay, yeah — paint costs do go up, especially with the economy in the shape it's in now. But at this stage, our healsquad has a team that's been winning blue ribbons at art shows for the last six months, and now we're being told "your art is too nice — we're increasing the cost of your paint so your paintings will look crappier."

Sigh.

I like working out new ways of working with the healsquad to improve our efficiency, help each other out if we've got issues, and stack our buffs in the most synergistic way possible. I'm sure in another month or two, we'll have worked around this. But it's a pain in the tail having to rework my spec over and over again because the artwork the healsquad turned out was too damn good.

Apr 29th, 2009
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