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Nov 12

With 2.3 scheduled to roll in a couple of days, one of the changes I’m eagerly anticipating is the revision of healer gear. Almost all healing gear is being modified to add spell damage as well, approximately equal to one-third of the item’s +heal value. As an example, Breastplate of the Lightbinder (a plate healing chestpiece with +88 healing) is being updated to add 30 spell damage in addition to the +heal.

This is a welcome change for almost every healer in the game; healers have long bemoaned their itemisation, and the frustration of one’s complete inability to quest and farm has led to a lot of healer burnout (which is bad for pretty much everyone, as high healer turnover harms raid groups and guilds alike).

This change, however, is going to make raiding life a lot more interesting, from two perspectives:

Paladins
Holy paladins can generate a pretty solid amount of DPS (stop laughing, I promise it’s true) with what’s known as the shockadin playstyle, relying on Holy Shock and Seal/Judgement of Righteousness to deliver a decent amount of holy spell damage (which has the advantage that Holy resistances are very rare, too). As an example, with about +750 spell damage on my DPS set, I can pull around 350 sustained DPS – which is far from great, but I’m specced for healing/offtanking. If I ditched the OT part of my spec and sacrificed a little bit of healing efficiency, I’d be looking at more like 450 DPS – considerably more against demons and undead. (In fact, I’m going to go test this on the PTR after I’ve written this post.) In comparison, in healing gear one’s DPS looks more like the 80-100 range.

However, raiding shockadins are so rare as to be all but non-existent; holy paladins on raids are pretty much always healers. At the moment, despite the fact that we wear plate and a goodly portion of our raid synergy (the seal/judgement mechanic) comes from melee, there’s zero incentive to get into close combat – the bonus of a judgement on the target is generally not worth the added healing load of an extra body in melee. So healadins sit back, the seals and judgement on their actionbars going virtually unused.

This may change in 2.3 – obviously, a healer paladin is still going to need to spend most of their time healing. However, the potential to actually deal some worthwhile damage while still in healing gear really suits the paladin’s nature as a hybrid; assigned to spot-healing (or a pull with lower healing needs)? Join in melee, put up judgement of light on the target, and half your healing work is done – you can whale away with seal/judgement of righteousness while your melee swings keep judgement of light active, and just throw some flashes of light to top people up. Obviously, this isn’t going to happen on every fight – or even most fights – but the fact that it’s at least a worthwhile option adds some much-needed versatility to a spec whose contribution to a raid consists of mashing two buttons.

Speaking as a healadin, thumbs up.

Off-Healers
Many raids have one or more off-healers – people who can heal if needed, but are far better suited to pewpewing away. Shadow priests, elemental shammies and boomkin are the classic examples (since holy shockadins just don’t tend to raid, and ret pallies/feral druids/enhancement shammies have totally different gear needs for their roles). Using these people to best advantage tends to be a dilemma for heal leads and raid leaders: what happens when you have a target who needs a bit of healing, but not much? Why, you put an off-healer on the job. But what do they do in between, or after the healing? They pewpew half-heartedly while stuck in heal gear.

The High King Maulgar fight is a perfect example, for those of you familiar with Gruul’s Lair. The offtank for Blindeye needs some healing, but not that much, and not for long; Blindeye is the first kill target, and doesn’t do much damage even while he’s up. An off-healer would be perfect for healing the Blindeye offtank, but what gear should they wear? If they wear healing gear, they’ve got all the DPS ability of a bag of wet feathers and they may as well AFK for a coffee once their heal target’s done tanking Blindeye. If they wear DPS gear, they’ve got sod-all in the way of mana efficiency and conservation for healing (since healing and DPS mana regen/conservation mechanics tend to be different for most classes), so by the time they’re done healing they’re low on mana, and there’s nothing sadder than seeing a shadowpriest resorting to wanding.

2.3 fixes this kind of dilemma. You put your offhealers in healing gear, and they’ve got the mana longevity and efficiency to finish their healing duties with a goodly amount of mana left – and then they can turn to pewpewing and still do 60-75% of the damage they’d do in full DPS gear. (Of course, this assumes that your offhealer is nearly as well-geared for healing as they are for DPS, but in my experience that’s generally true.) Suddenly, your hybrids really are hybrids, able to do more than one job reasonably effectively, rather than people who can do more than one job – but only one at a time.

Speaking as a healer lead, thumbs up.

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