We love Healing.
As you can see from the nature of this site, we dedicate just about all our World of Warcraft time to healing. We find it fast-paced, exciting and it’s never the same, so when we look for things to do in WoW, we look to the healing side of things. Unfortunately, healing content is somewhat limited, but this has always been the case since the beginning of WoW, so what’s the point of writing about it? Well let’s take a look the current state of content for us Healers…
Currently at maximum level there is more content than there ever has been before, Blizzard has been working hard to try and provide us with as much content as possible and has come through with the goods beyond anything we could have imagined, so much so that some say it’s too much content! But that’s a different post altogether… So what is the content that is available to all players…
Now, you might already be able to see where I’m going with this, but humor me for a moment.
Patch 5.3 is currently live on the PTR and with it it will bring a whole bunch of new content, however, we’re not seeing any new content from a healer perspective. Although healing content can sometimes be what you make it (you CAN “heal” in scenarios etc, but you really wouldn’t), there just really isn’t much new content for healers.
First of all, Blizzard has stated there will be no new 5 man dungeons in Mists of Pandaria as stated by a tweet by Dave Kosak:
Okay ppl listen (especially you, @gamebreakertv ) – we're not planning more 5-mans IN MISTS. The next x-pak will have plenty again! <3 5-man
— Dave Kosak (@DaveKosak) March 13, 2013
If this holds true, this will be the first time ever in the History of World of Warcraft that there won’t be a new dungeon or heroic dungeon included later in an expansion. Original WoW(i.e. Dire Maul), The Burning Crusade(i.e. Magister’s Terrace), Wrath of the Lich King(i.e. ICC instances) and Cataclysm(i.e End Time etc) all had at one point at least one new dungeon added. So we have to ask, what has changed in 8+ years to suddenly change the approach to this particular part of the game? And this is on top of a lack of healer-levelling content from the start of Mists of Pandaria.
I was so excited when Mists of Pandaria came out to try out the new talent system while running all the new dungeons. I logged in and ran the first two, both went well and I got a good handle on things. Levelled to 86 and went back to the dungeon finder, only to find there weren’t any new dungeons. ‘Okay’ I thought, a little surprised and a little dissapointed, I continued to run the same 2 dungeons while throwing in a few quests here and there.
Along comes level 87, 2 new dungeons… 2?!… I thought I was going to have access to all 9 new dungeons that came with the game, perhaps at level 88 there will be a flurry of dungeon releases… Along comes level 88: Nothing. Level 89: Nothing. With 4 dungeons to run through, the chance of getting the same dungeon again and again is greatly increased. Nevertheless, because I love healing, I continued to spam dungeon queues. Unfortunately by the time I reached level 90, with such repetitive dungeons(4) I was almost burnt out on healing dungeons already.
Luckily, upon hitting level 90 we gained access to all dungeons in heroic versions. But I could imagine that with a new talent system, no “normal” dungeons experience and wearing early gear, some may have had a bad experience when it comes to healing those heroics, further dis-heartening and discouraging to continue healing. Do you know where I learnt to heal for PvE? It wasn’t doing quests… It wasn’t in PvP… It certainly wasn’t doing scenarios… It was in dungeons while levelling up, and then in Heroic Dungeons. The lack of ‘normal dungeons’ between 85-90 is so troubling for the healing community, especially with the new Mistweaver Monk spec.
So what new content is coming in Patch 5.3 and beyond?
Scenarios, Solo Scenarios, Heroic Scenarios, additional Brawler’s Guild bosses, additional pets for Pet Battles, Dailies, Legendary Quest expansion, a new Battleground and a new Arena. Besides PvP content, these content areas are somewhat all DPS based content areas. Yes, technically, healers could do these either by speccing as DPS or just grinding through it as a healer. But “technically” isn’t acceptable. Ever been flamed for being a Healer in a Scenario? How much longer has your dailies taken while being a healer? Is Brawler’s Guild even possible as a healer?
Granted, this is an “in between” patch, so a patch between “Raid” patches. This means this isn’t a patch that will include a Raid. But at the end of Patch 5.3, when Throne of Thunder raid has been done to death (if it hasn’t already now), what will we healers be doing? The same old Raid over and over again? I don’t really see any light at the end of the Patch 5.4 and beyond tunnel either.
Now I’m sure that there will be some out there: “Just play DPS for goodness sake!” You’re free to say that, but I choose to heal. It’s what I like to do. I find more personal satisfaction when successfully healing through sticky situations as opposed to seeing ‘big dps numbers’ jump out at me. That’s my choice, just as you have yours.
Story and Lore
Story content and continuation used to come through the form of Dungeons and Heroics. With Magister’s Terrace dungeons continuing from Tempest Keep and setting up for The Sunwell raid, the ICC dungeons were EPIC in terms of setting up to kill Arthas in Wrath, and helping Thrall through End Time for example was great for setting up Dragon Soul. This latter dungeon was fantastic as it was the first time many people could continue on that dungeon story through Looking for Raid. Now some important parts of the story and lore content seems to be hidden away in scenarios… And after Looking for Raid opened so much content to people…
Scenarios, DPS based (let’s face it) mini-dungeons that have a huge amount of story and lore locked away inside. If I’m a healer, I’m not going to enjoy scenarios, so I’m not going to do them. Therefore I’ll avoid them and miss out on the story attached to them. Or do I just grin and bear it? Would you grin and bear it if you had to heal for something, or you had to tank for something, when you enjoy DPS more than anything?
It has always been this way.
Healers are only needed when healing is needed. Dungeons, Heroics and Raids. It’s not that there isn’t as much content for healers as there used to be, it is that there is so much more content for non-healers now than there used to be and this stands out. I would imagine it being a similar issue for tanks.
We have 2 theories as to why the development team has taken this route. First, with less dungeons while levelling up, perhaps this will encourage more players to focus on questing and will help towards gaining rep. If you levelled without doing any quests and doing dungeons only, upon reaching level 90 your rep(required for gearing purposes) would be minimal and you would be behind.
Our other theory includes that there are almost always too many DPS within LFD and LFR queues, so how do we get some of those DPS players out of the queue to balance it out and reduce queue times? – let’s give them way more things to do. I believe they hope this will cut down the ratio, but we don’t see it this way. We believe there are just too many DPS out there and dungeon queues can only be solved by providing more incentive for players to roll healers and tanks, especially with the pressure that comes with both of these roles.
A really interesting tweet came from one of the community managers Bashiok, it reads:
@Jagoex The off-spec loot option in 5.3 might help a bit. Some future ideas may help a bit. How do we get more people to tank/heal?
— Bashiok (@Bashiok) April 8, 2013
Now there are two things that are really important about this tweet. Number 1 is regarding the new off-spec loot option, but I think we’ll address that in another post. The second important point is how do we get more people to tank or heal?
The question Bashiok asks about how do we get more people to tank or heal. This is such a difficult question. How can you match the self-gratification that comes with topping dps charts, seeing big crits and just stabbing or melting faces? We don’t think there is a way to reach such a means. The die has been cast and cannot be taken back. With each expansion the crit numbers get bigger and higher, and therefore the larger the DPS community becomes. When the devs were tossing up about the big item squish, we really wish they had gone the other way to not only squish item numbers, but also DPS egos…
Anyway, that’s about it for this post. Mostly a collaboration of many thoughts that have been going around my head that I just had to get down on ‘paper’. Haven’t really provided any solutions for the problems, but hopefully it get others thinking. I guess I’ll leave you with one more thought for today…
Lack of healers and tanks indirectly causes a lack of new traditional 5-man content… Could we increase the amount of DPS players required for dungeons and raids to cover a larger DPS to Tank and Healer ratio and therefore reduce queue times and increase the desire for new 5-mans? What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!