Starting on the Ground Floor
Resuming healing after two or so years’ idle time is a scary adventure.
There has been some semi-serious talk of me coming back as the team’s "main" on Alleria and letting our long-suffering GM return to her Mage – especially now that Frost is viable, and she’s a big Frosty-head. Nothing’s written in stone yet, but prior to The Patch, we ran a lot of Heroics to get me back into the groove.
It was utterly terrifying. I haven’t healed in anger for the entire Cataclysm expansion. Most terrifying of all was the mana regen, or lack thereof. It’s hard to get the hang of Smite Healing when that blue bar is the center of your existence. Back in the LK days, I could practically ignore it. Not so much, now.
Jasra 2.0 – code name "Jazreal" – is a young Night Elf priest on another server, rolled to run with some friends, and I’ve gone Disco with him as well. At his level, Smite Heals isn’t yet a thing – hadn’t gotten the talents yet – but the mana issue was still there.
Last night, Jaz made his first attempts at healing since the patch dropped, and the mana regen was amazing. That blue bar was almost irrelevant; the mana flowed like water. And – assuming your tank is not specced Feral – Disco priests don’t seem to have much trouble keeping everyone alive, either.
I’ve yet to go out myself since the patch, but the changes are very encouraging.
The only thing that bothers me is the whiffs of unhappiness that I am hearing regarding the mana cap at max level. So, the OP-ness of Disco sub 30 may not carry over to Disco at 90. Whether you need to conserve mana due to low regen rate, or due to having a very small mana "tank", makes no difference. You lose a lot of flexibility. In my guild, which usually two-heals, flexibility is a must-have.
The Disco healing skillset is very different now. A lot of abilities have been migrated to higher levels, such as Renew ((Which I realize isn’t considered a proper part of the Disco rotation, but I don’t care.)) have been moved to higher tiers. Poor Jaz has Flash Heal and Penance ((By the way, I love how Penance "locks" you on to your target and keeps you facing it even after you stop casting.)) and PW: Shield and that’s about it.
A log of healers are complaining about such changes; having to "learn it all over again, every single expansion" is a burden to some. A lot of people would probably complain if there WASN’T any change, either. "Blah blah blah Blizzard is just coasting blah blah blah". Blizz can’t win that game, so they shouldn’t play it, IMO.
I personally don’t mind the changes. These games are a series of puzzles to solve. That’s one of them.
If I only wanted to look at the scenery, I’d play Second Life instead.