For the moment my guild has more or less stalled out on raiding, due to the holidays gobbling up everyones’ lives and many people being more interested in exploring and levelling alts than raiding anyway. Such is the price for playing with a casual guild. I like these guys too much to leave them just to raid, so I’m stuck in neutral for now. Hopefully we’ll get going again soon – I want to finish off Heroic Sindragosa before she becomes trivial!
On the chances I’ve been getting to heal lately – mostly 5-mans – I’ve noticed that reactive healing has become much more difficult to pull off than it’s ever been in the past. Rejuvenation is so expensive now that with its 12-second duration, it’s usually very inefficient to heal proactively with it. I can still do it, but only at times when mana isn’t a major concern. When it is, its use is mainly restricted to the tank, periods of widespread party-damage when I don’t think I have time to spare a Nourish for everyone, or when I have to move. The only other proactive healing tool we have is Lifebloom, which is usually something you only use on the tank, and is so cheap and easy now that it’s not something you really have to think about.
I find that Lifebloom is actually what I miss most about the old style of druid healing – sure it was awkward and had a tendency to send you into a gruesome pit of helpless OOMness if you weren’t careful. But dealing with its eccentricities was a challenge, and it was also powerful and versatile – depending on how you used it, it could be a powerful HoT, a tank-healing cooldown, a cheap non-emergency raid heal, an occasional source of free mana, or even a mana battery. Of course, back then we didn’t need the last three functions much, but they were there and I had fun playing with them. Now that Rejuv is so expensive I find myself really wanting them, but only the first two functions still exist, and with Empowered Touch working with both Healing Touch and Nourish now, the second probably won’t be practical either.
I find it somewhat ironic. Before, we were good ten-man tank healers, able to keep two tanks up through truly nasty amounts of damage with a little supplemental help from the other healers in the raid. One of the most fun and challenging things I’ve ever done in this game was tank healing the Lich King. The problem was that most druids didn’t know we could do it because it was hard and took practice. Now, with brainless Lifebloom management and efficient direct heals, tank healing takes far less skill, but is also weaker, at least for ten-mans, where one healer usually has to heal both tanks. It doesn’t look like as much fun to me, really.
On the other hand, the change to Rejuvenation’s cost may finally force us to use more varied spells when raid healing, which could only make things more interesting. I may have to rethink my philosophical devotion to tank healing.