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World of Warcraft Healing Classes: Strengths, Weaknesses, Pros, and Cons - Part 1 Druid and Priest

by: aquagem ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 5/2/2012 • Leave a comment

The healer is arguably one of the most important members of any raid team. Blizzard has given us a myriad of choices for healing classes. In this article, we will review the strengths and weaknesses of each class as well the contributions they make in a raid group.

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    MMO Healing in General

    There are many aspects of healing in MMOs that are the same from game to game. These basic principles are important to understand when analyzing any healing class in any MMO. I highly recommend that you read An Introduction to Healing in MMORPGs.The information in that article is useful to players of any experience level.

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    Restoration Druids

    Pros

    For a long time now, many people have been begging for Restoration Druids to be nerfed since they have a buffet of talents that make them appear more powerful than other classes. Most of their spells are instant casts, which gives them mobility. They can throw out HoTs on main tanks and other raid members while swiftly moving out of danger. This comes in handy during fights that require a lot of movement like the “Dance Dance Revolution" fight with Heigan in Naxxramus. They have more Heal over Time spells than any other class and what’s more? Some of them stack, making the HPS even more effective. They also have a spell that is an AoE AND a HoT all in one. Innervate is another useful tool that Druids have as it increases the target’s spirit based mana regeneration by 400% and allows mana to fully regenerate while casting. Druids also have the invaluable ability to resurrect a team member during combat and I’ve personally see plenty of wipes avoided as a result of this nifty tool. Druids do well healing single targets like main and off tanks.

    Druid 

    Cons

    Druids are leather wearers so if the tanks aren’t watching carefully, these healers can be quickly taken down by bosses and mobs. When a druid dies, the group loses their battle rez and Innervate along with the flurry of HoTs that can keep a tank alive during strenuous battles. Though druids possess one Area of Effect Spell in Tranquility, they must keep channeling in order to maintain the spell and the cool down is very long. Aside from that, this spell is a huge threat generator and means certain death for any Resto Druid that dares use this during combat. These healers are not ideal for multiple targets.

    Druid 

    A. Useful Stats

    1. Spirit – This increases the effectiveness of Innervate

    2. MP5

    3. Intellect

    4. Spell Damage

    B. Strengths

    1. Innervate

    2. 4 Heal over Time Spells:

    a. Lifebloom - Heals the target over 7 sec. This effect can stack up to 3 times on the same target

    b. Regrowth – Direct heal that also has a HoT affect that lasts over 21 seconds

    c. Rejuvination – Heals the target over 12 seconds

    d. Wild Growth – Heals up to 5 raid members within 15 yards for 7 seconds

    3. Raid Buffing Abilities

    a. Mark of the Wild – increases target’s armor and resistances

    b. Tree of Life – while in tree form increase party and raid healing received by 6% for those within 45 yards

    4. Cleansing

    a. Abolish Poison - Attempts to cure 1 poison effect on the target, and 1 more poison effect every 2 seconds for 8 sec.

    b. Remove Curse – Dispels one curse from the friendly target

    5. Rebirth – resurrects an ally during combat

    6. Oh $#@* Button

    a. Battle Resurrection – gives the druid the ability to resurrect another player while in combat. This is very useful for circumstances when a tank or another healer die early into the fight.

    b. Swiftmend – consumes a Rejuvination or Regrowth affect on a friendly target turning it into an instant heal

    c. Nature’s Swiftness – Turns any nature spell less than 10 sec into an instant cast

    C. Weaknesses

    a) Leather Wearer – Pretty Squishy

    b) Absence of worthy AoE spells make this class less effective at healing multiple targets

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    Sample contents.

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    Holy Priests

    Pros

    Back in the early World of Warcraft days, Priests were referred to as the one class that was created for the sole purpose of healing and reigned supreme over them all. Priests are armed with more healing spells than the other classes and have a palette that includes HoTs, AoEs, and a variety of direct healing spells. They also have the ability to control aggro and can buff other team members.

    Priest Casting 

    Cons

    The first healing class I ever played as a Holy Priest which I leveled to 70. After constantly being killed within seconds of being targeted in PVP, I decided to start anew with a Resto Shaman and haven’t been able to play my priest ever since. The two main reasons which contribute to this lack of desire are rapid mana depletion and low survivability. Also, priests only method of recouping mana is a spell that has to be channeled. This is very difficult to do when going OOM in the middle of a boss fight. I enjoyed playing my Priest when I had nothing else to compare it to, but healing as a Shaman has been a lot more fun for me.

    A. Useful Stats

    a. Spirit

    b. MP5

    c. Intellect

    d. Spell Damage

    e. Haste

    B. Strengths

    1. AoE Spells

    a. Circle of Healing – Heals priest and other party members within 15 yards

    b. Prayer of Mending – Places a spell on the target that heals them the next time they are hit with damage. After the heal takes affect, this spell jumps to another party member within 20 yards. It can jump up to 5 times and last 30 seconds after each jump.

    2. Direct Heals

    a. Flash Heal – With a 1.5 second cast, this is the priest’s fastest healing spell Not as mana efficient but good at topping off during times of need

    b. Lesser Heal – The most ineffective of all priest heals and is rarely used at higher levels

    c. Heal – This is the priest’s medium heal

    d. Greater Heal – Largest of all the heals but is slowest with a 3 second cast

    e. Binding Heal – Heals the priest and a target simultaneously

    3. HoTs

    a. Renew – Heals over 15 sec

    b. Lightwell – Party members can click on the Lightwell to obtain a 6 sec HoT. Damage cancels the affect. I found this useful in PVP for raid members to heal up in between fights while guarding a certain location. It’s also useful to warlocks for Lifetap.

    4. Raid Buffing Abilities

    a. Power Word: Fortitude – Increases Stamina

    b. Shadow Protection – Increases resistance to Shadow Damage for 10 minutes

    c. Power Word: Shield – 30 second shield that absorbs damage and prevents the interruption of spell casting by damage

    d. Fear Ward – Can only be active on one target at a time. The next fear cast on the target will fail. Very effective on main tanks.

    5. Cleansing

    a. Cleanse

    6. Oh $#@* Button

    a. Guardian Spirit – A spirit is called to watch over the target. Healing received by the target increases 40%, and also prevents the target from dying by sacrificing itself. This sacrifice terminates the effect but heals the target of 50% of their maximum health.

    b. Spirit of Redemption – When the priest dies, he/she takes on the form of the Spirit of Redemption which allows mana free casting of any pure healing spells for 15 sec. This can aid in the prevention of a group wipe.

    c. Fade – The priest fades from view, resetting all agro

    d. Hymn of Hope – Restores 2% mana every 2 seconds to all party members within 40 yards. Lasts 8 seconds.

    Priest Casting 2 

    C. Weaknesses

    a) Runs out of mana very quickly and Hymn of Hope to restore mana is not as effective during combat since it must be channeled

    b) Cloth Wearer – Most vulnerable of all healing classes

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