originally posted on 1-16-17
For basically my entire World of Warcraft career I’ve been a dps player. Put in the most simplified of terms, my job was to kill shit as fast as possible. My first character in 2008 was a Rogue, my first to hit 80 was a Warlock, and I thought I had found my calling as a Frost Death Knight. I’ve played a Rogue, a Warrior, a Paladin, a Warlock, a Mage, a Death Knight, a Hunter, and briefly a Priest and a Druid. This was all long before Legion mind you. Then you can throw in Demon Hunter.
When you really break it down, the role of a dps is a simple one; your life revolves around watching huge damage numbers pop and how long is takes for you to decimate something from 100% HP to dead, with the occasional interrupt in there. Again, this is the simplest of terms here. This can sometimes feel repetitive. At times even boring.
One of the potential problems that has been discussed about Legion is that once you’ve taken a character to 110 and through all the new zones (with the exception of dungeons/raids), you’ve basically seen all there is to see. So imagine doing that with multiple characters. When Legion released I revisitied my Death Knight, Hunter, Mage, and Rogue. Along with the Demon Hunter they’re all sitting somewhere between levels 101-104, except the Hunter, I leveled her to 110.
And I got a little bored. I have to admit that I’m an altaholic. I enjoy seeing how all classes play and what both factions are like. The problem with that is you never fully commit to a playstyle. With how Artifact Power in Legion works, not committing to a character and playstyle can be debilitating. So I made a decision. I wanted to play a healer.
A healer makes the most sense for me in a lot of ways, and so far I’ve enjoyed the challenge and change of pace. I often feel that my self esteem is directly linked towards how much I help others, and that really fits the role of a healer perfectly. You get to save people in times of desperation. You can give others newfound hope and renewed drive in a situation they had resigned to being hopeless.
Since starting to play a healer I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been adventuring and stumbled across a poor soul who had bitten off more than they could chew – their HP at critical levels. I throw them a few heals and they know that, at least in that moment, I’m basically saying “I’ve got you, do your thing.” I never just throw down some heals and leave, I always make sure they can finish their fight.
The hard part was choosing which healer to play. There are 4 classes that can heal, and all in different ways with different strengths and weaknesess. I decided to give myself a challenge and play a Discipline Priest. They are not your typical healers. A typical healer (again in the simplest of terms) keep friends alive. They help mitigate incoming damage, and heal accordingly. It sounds as simple as playing a dps character, but much more rewarding – also much less forgiving when you make mistakes.
A Discipline Priests healing is directly related to the damage they can dish out. Basically, they apply a buff (spell) called Atonement on a friendly target, then start to attack an enemy. The damage they do to their targeted enemy is relayed back as healing to their friendly target with the Atonement buff. At some point, the amount of friendly targets that have the Atonement buff increases the damage you do, thus you heal more. It’s a high risk, high reward way of playing. It’s not without its pitfalls though. When there’s nothing to damage, a Discipline Priest can’t really heal effectively. Well, they can, but it’s a very minimal heal and not very good for topping off between fights. Also, their biggest healing spell puts a counter on a friendly target, and when that counter hits 0, that target TAKES damage. Which means this ability can only really be used to alleviate immediate high damage DURING a fight so you can patch them up directly after the damage spike (with Atonement -> damage).
It’s been said about Discipline Priests that they’ll never be at the top of the healing charts, nor the bottom. They are not a very requested class, and that’s a part of why I chose to play one – to be out of the box. However it definitely has its ups and downs.
I was in a dungeon late the other night and just so happened to have a group with a cocky tank and trigger happy dps. Our tank barely waited more than a second for the next pull, and if he did our more squishy dps would jump the gun before him. Now given how a discipline priest works, you would assume that this would actually work out better, but it didn’t. There’s a point where the amount of damage they’re taking significantly trumps the time it takes to apply Atonement on your targets, then start doing damage yourself. There’s Global Cool downs to consider, there’s which targets need Atonement most, and there’s the fact that Power Word: Shield can only be on one target at at time. This is why pausing to make sure everyone’s ready (AND NOT AGGROING AN ENTIRE ROOM AND A HALLWAY WHEN THE REST OF YOUR PARTY IS STILL CATCHING UP TO YOU) is at times an extremely helpful thing when you’re running a dungeon with other people.
We managed to not wipe (when everyone dies – I’m not sure how, someone pulled off a miracle and it definitely wasn’t me), and afterwards our Warrior tank typed:
“yo you need to work on your heals.”
I replied with:
“you need to work on your social skills and group etiquette,”
To which our Demon hunter dps responded:
“OH SHIT BURN”
I followed up with:
“you clearly don’t understand how Disc works.”
Our mage dps interjected:
“you’re disc? Respect man I can’t handle that playstyle”
From that point on our tank slowed down significantly, and we made it through to the end with little problems.
I once read that a good healer knows how to tank and a good tank knows how to heal. I think this is on many levels true. If you understand how all the different roles work, your understanding for how the group works as a whole becomes much more clear to be able to lead the line. Nowadays people are too concerned with their own numbers. With such an emphasis on min-maxing numbers, not to mention how certain class mechanics work, there’s an overeagerness to jump from fight to fight ASAP.
The amount of people who have played many classes outside of what they’re comfortable with seems to be fairly small to me. There’s a mentality of “chose a class that can wreck enemies fast and hard to burn through content” that exists that I’m not a fan of.
Admittedly, I’m still new to being a healer and chose one of the more difficult healing classes, but a little consideration from tanks and dps, especially when I’m a group would be helpful. I even start every dungeon run I do with a friendly “hey guys just a heads up I’m still learning disc,” and usually that helps.
**I’ve actually since revived my druid (balance/restoration) and have been having a blast. I chose a Druid a long time ago for their versatility (and how fun is shape-shifting), and the utilities they possess for almost any situation and am having more fun with it than I’ve had playing WoW in a long time. So I may have found my calling. More on that soon.