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.

Troll Priest Healing

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 overhaul:

Paladin Healing

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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