Healing Changes in Patch 6.0 and Beyond

An overview of the changes coming to healing in World of Warcraft Patch 6.0 and what it means for you, the healer.

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The era of Warlords of Draenor is here
and there is no turning back. Healing is one aspect of the game that
will see some major changes in Patch 6.0 and beyond. What are these
changes and what do they mean for you as a healer in World of
Warcraft? Read onward to find out:

Healing Past and Present

Healing in World of Warcraft today is a
far cry from what it once was. Back in the days of classic WoW,
healing was a difficult task, especially when raiding with 40+
players. It took strategy, timing, and more than a tiny bit of skill
to pull off the task. If you misread the situation, took your eyes
off health bars, or even cast a tiny bit too late, a raid wipe was
potentially in your future. In those days, raids lived or died
depending on their healers.

These days, healing seems to have
become an afterthought. Smart heals rule the day and while it still
takes some skill to pull off the job, it is nowhere near the
challenge of days past. Some may even claim that healing is boring,
lackluster, and even monotonous. This is a sad state of affairs for a
job that used to be considered one of the most intense in the game.

Burst Damage Overload

First and foremost, Blizzard's future
plans for healing are to once again make it challenging. This doesn't
mean that healing will be necessarily harder, but instead “more
varied, interesting, and skillful”. At this moment in time, thanks
in large part to gear, healers are able to restore health at an
alarming rate. To combat this and make healing interesting, Blizzard
has made more and more fights with random burst damage.

This method of burst damage works, but,
it seems health bars are either always totally full or totally empty.
There is no middle ground. This leaves healers constantly feeling
like the players they are healing could perish at any second, forcing
them to cast large or “smart” heals.

It is time things change. The plan is
to have players spend more time in the in between stages instead of
being either 100% or 0%. This way players still can get a healer's
attention, without being in danger of imminent death. With this idea,
healers will also be able to use more heals in the arsenal.

Revamping Healing in 6.0 and Beyond

With all this in mind, Blizzard has
designed a comprehensive plan to totally overhaul how we heal in
Patch 6.0 and beyond. Here is a rundown of the major ideas behind the

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Less Heals, More Damage

Currently, heals restore so much health
that they can easily keep up with any damage most bosses throw out
there. This has lead us to the nasty cycle of burst damage to make up
for that. To combat this problem, heals will now be consistently
buffed less than creature damage. The power of heals will also scale
significantly less in this expansion. This is a deliberate change, to
ensure that one heal can't fill an entire health pool, which tends to
make healing a pretty boring affair.

“Smart” Heals

One of the major types of heals healers
have turned to in this era of burst damage is the so-called “smart”
heal. These heals auto-target the most injured target and heal them.
A very powerful tool, but a mindless one that takes all the challenge
out of healing.

In Patch 6.0 we will be getting back to
the days when healers had to pay attention and care about who they
were healing. One “smart” heal won't fit all situations, and
healers will have to dig in their healing kit to find the appropriate
heal for the situation.

With that being said, “smart” heals
won't be going anywhere. Instead they will be totally reworked to
randomly pick any injured target instead of the most injured. With
this change in place, smart heals will still be useful, they won't be
the automatic go-to heal.

Multi-Target vs. Single-Target

Another balancing act is in the works
between multi-target and single target heals. Players shouldn’t be
casting multi-target heals just because they are easier. Multi-target
heals will have their efficiency reduced so that players don’t just
automatically go to this choice. Once again, Blizzard is working to
make healers actually think about what heals they are using and why.

Mana Regeneration

Low mana cost spells like Nourish and
Holy Light are being removed from the game, due to lack of depth.
This may make you nervous about how you will have enough mana to
heal. Blizzard has a solution for that too. Mana regeneration is
reported to have been upped by a large amount. So, while you may be
casting heals that cost more mana, you will also be regenerating more
mana back at the same time. This will allow healers to effectively
heal, but also have to think about where they are spending their
mana, something that has been sorely lacking in the game experience.

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I, Healer

What does all this mean for you, the
healer? It means that healing is going to become a challenge. In
order to be successful you will have to pick the right heals for the
right situation, instead of relying on one heal to do the job. You
will need to think about how much mana you have and how you should
spend it. No heal will be the automatic “go to”, instead you will
have to know which heals you have in your arsenal, how much they
cost, and decide which is appropriate for the situation.

This may seem scary, change always is,
but I assure you it is for the best. Healing used to be an intense
activity, taking massive amounts of concentration. While healing
should never be overly difficult, it should be enough of a challenge
that some skill is required. There should be a chance for exceptional
healers to shine, something that is almost impossible with the
current status quo.

While I do know that learning to heal
with these new changes might prove to be a test, I think they are
finally taking healing in the right direction. There shouldn’t be
an automatic “I win” button, because what fun is that? What do
you think of the healing changes coming in Patch 6.0 and beyond? Do
you think healing with these changes will be a struggle? What other
changes would you like to see in future patches? Share your thoughts
with us in the comments section below!

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About The Author

Amunet, also fondly known as Memtron, is an organic life form best known for its ongoing obsession with Blizzard Entertainment's numerous properties. To that end, Amu has authored hundreds (thousands?) of the most popular World of Warcraft guides, editorials, and Top 10 lists on the planet. When not gaming and writing, Amu is busy chasing after her three children in a perpetual loop of ongoing disaster.

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