Healing in Cataclysm

World of Warcraft - CataclysmBlizzard changed healing with the latest expansion, Cataclysm. They wanted to make healing more challenging, so that healers could no longer get away with using only a couple of spells to heal (like Holy Paladin Holy Light spam). For players like me who used most or all of the healing spells in their arsenals, healing wasn’t supposed to change that much… but healing feels very different to me in Cataclysm.

My biggest complaint is that the different healing classes feel too similar now. They all have an inexpensive, quick, small heal; a more expensive, slow, greater heal; and a quick, expensive, large heal. I use HealBot and I have the same sorts of healing spells mapped to the same mouse/key combinations… and it feels like I could heal effectively on any of my healers without knowing which one I’m healing as. I really hope Blizzard is planning on making the healing classes feel more unique in Mists of Pandaria. I know that monks, at least, are supposed to have a pretty unique healing style that focuses on melee damage.

I do, however, like how Blizzard started encouraging healers to DPS (for example, adding the AtonementEvangelism, & Archangel talents to the Disc Priest tree). I’m not sure yet if that’s really useful at level 85, but I had fun healing via Smite while I was leveling. 😉

Another change is that healers have to pay much more attention to their mana in Cataclysm. This is to prevent healers from spamming one or two expensive healing spells, though, so it makes sense. Maybe it changes after you get into raiding gear (I haven’t done any raid healing yet in Cataclysm), but in dungeons I find myself drinking a lot, which is more annoying than anything. I really wish water refilled mana faster. :-/

Perhaps I play differently than other healers (or maybe I just need to get better gear), but healing used to feel more creative and fun than it does now. I’m hoping things improve as my gear gets better. 🙂

WoW Addons

Nick and I started playing World of Warcraft again last month, after a little bit of peer pressure. 😛 Well, I was asked which addons I use, so here are some of the main ones:

  • Altoholic – Yeah, I’m an altoholic. I love learning all the different classes and specs. I have leveled every class, except for rogue and hunter, to level 80+. Because I play so many different characters, Altoholic is a godsend. It allows you to see the gear, talents, skills, inventories, achievements, etc. of all of your characters without having to annoy your friends by switching back and forth between them.
  • Auctioneer – One of WoW’s most popular addons, Auctioneer simplifies the auctioning experience.
  • Bagnon – I’m not sure I could play WoW anymore without this addon. 😛 It combines all of your bags into one large bag that is very customizable and searchable. It does the same with your personal bank and guild banks (although I typically disable the guild bank option).
  • Deadly Boss Mods – Another addon all WoW players should have. DBM is extremely helpful with boss fights in raids and dungeons by providing warnings and timers and such.
  • Dominos – While there are tons of other addons you can use to modify your action bars, I really like the simplicity of Dominos. With this addon, you can move and customize the padding, spacing, columns, scale, opacity, etc. of the 10 action bars.
  • HealBot – I doubt there is an effective healer out there who doesn’t use a healing addon. HealBot is the addon I use and it is probably the most popular. It gives you a grid of character bars that you can customize with your own savable skins. This lets you quickly switch between one skin for 5-man dungeons and another for raiding or PVPing or whatever. With HealBot, you assign spells and macros to different mouse and keyboard+mouse combinations, so that healing someone is as simple as pushing a button or two above that character’s bar. HealBot also does handy things like monitor aggro and buffs, so it’s useful for more than just healers.
  • NeedToKnow – Well, I haven’t actually used this addon yet; I only got it on Tuesday when I was re-downloading my addons for Patch 4.3. It is supposed to be a good replacement for DoTimer, an addon I used to use that is no longer being updated. DoTimer was super helpful for DoT-based classes (like Affliction warlocks), because it shows when the DoTs are going to expire on your targets. It looks like NeedToKnow has more features than DoTimer had, but I’ll have to spend some time customizing it to see what all it can do for me.
  • Postal – Helpful mailbox addon. It autocompletes names for your alts, friends, guildies, etc. and, most importantly, lets you open all of your mail with one click.
  • Recount – Another addon most WoW players have. Recount is a damage (and healing) meter.
  • TomTom – Navigation addon that lets you add and reset waypoints. It also has an optional arrow that will point you in the direction of your destination.