As of today, I got my hunter and my shaman to 85. I usually don’t pug with the hunter. When levelling and gearing the hunter, there was always a bunch of guildies to go with, maybe with one pugged dps, but more often, we had two groups running at the same time. The run was either careful with crowd controls, delicate pulls, or just a wotlk-like run once everyone was geared and the mobs weren’t too tricky. We usually finish our heroics in 35 minutes, even the longest ones.
I don’t pug with the hunter because I do heroic for either loot or badges. I can live without both of them and if I can’t find a guild group to do my daily, it’s not a problem for me. I don’t like unknown tanks with my hunter because I don’t know if the aggro will be ok or if I will be able to CC correctly without the big loaf in plate aoe-ing around like an idiot… And, as a dps, I find it more tiring, because you have to be active all the time, like the tank. I don’t feel like that when healing.
I levelled my shaman as elemental for questing, but did dungeons as a healer. I levelled nearly on my own because not many guildies had levelling toons, and only my boyfriend sometimes came with me to tank. I noticed people said it when they didn’t know the dungeon and generally, people take time to explain the strategies. But when I reached the level 84-85 dungeons, things became to get odd.
I noticed a lot of 85’s around, most of them quite geared, because they were literally mana sponges. When a mage and a tank feel like they have the same amount of HP to the healer, there is a problem. I have a theory. There is several reasons why 85’s are in normal dungeons. first, their ilvl isn’t high enough to get to heroics. This is easily solved, I didn’t need that much time to reach my 329 cap, with quest items, honored reps and a few drops.
Another reason is that they grind rep. I hate that because healing overgeared people compared to you is stressful. Spend half a mana bar to top off a rogue is disgusting really… I actually don’t top off anyone except myself and the tank, the rest is supposed to have food, or cooldowns.
The last reason is that nobody want them in their heroic… This is my own opinion. People are pretty touchy around the vote-kick feature in heroics. It’s very understandable : heroics are fun and well balanced, but an idiot not knowing anything about crowd controls or doing two miserable thousands dps is one fucking dead weight. In normal, it’s alright, the healer will just have to drink after every single pull but who cares… In heroics, people wipe and get pissed, and kick.
I remember my first Vortex Pinnacle with the shaman. My BF was tanking with his DK. He sets up marks, and ask the hunter to trap the blue square, while I would control another elemental. We asked him to pull. We waited. Waited. Waited. And then we got bored and pulled, only cc-ing one mob, while healing through. We had to wait for him at every pack, his dps was abysmal, he was always afk. I don’t know why we didn’t vote kick him. He was clearly leeching xp on our back. It served us as a lesson.
I also ran a normal Grim Batol with all puggies, they were nice, didn’t know the fight, didn’t play exactly well, but we got through it without too much wipes (and spent 2 hours there…). They broke controls, they didn’t switch targets on adds (you know, the elemental Drahga summons ? Yeah that one… Healed through… Or not…), stayed in aoe in general, but they were nice and chatty, and willing to learn. It felt like babysitting a little but I liked it. They were very happy to kill the last boss and thanked me a lot about guiding them through pulls, assist order and bosses. It wasn’t very productive (I don’t remember if I got any loot or whatever), seeing the time I spent there, but I had great time.
About the spirit gear debate, I don’t have any special opinion. For me, LFD is the jungle. If I need something, for main spec, I need, for offspec, I will generally check if a caster needed it too and leave it because I’m a carebear. I understand some people trying to get inappropriate gear (like mages and warlocks with spirit) just to pass the 329 ilvl threshold. I won’t approve it if you roll against a real Spirit user, and would probably vote-kick you. There is plenty of ways to pass that threshold without ninjaing.
I tried a few LFD heroics, but so far, I didn’t stay. Maybe it’s my battlegroup, but heroic pugs seem pretty shitty. In the guild, we never go LFD if out numbered, 3 Quichons is the minimum, preferably with a guild tank. It looks like most people in LFD think Cata heroics are facerollable. We are pretty quick at kicking a pugee : when you are a dps breaking cc and barely doing 5k dps when everyone is at 8k, including our rerolls, or a healer not able to hold our geared tanks under cooldowns during a pull with at least 2 CC, you’re out.
I’m getting used to healing in Cataclysm. It’s fun. I’m not panicking when everyone is low HP, because it’s not actually as low as we might think : health pools are quite high now and if your frame is showing 10% hp, it’s still around 10k hp left. I’m having a lot of fun with the shaman new tools. I used to quick healing wave everyone at the end of WotLK, but in Cataclysm, I needed to adapt and I’m enjoying it so far.
I really like the synergy between the new shaman spell (unleash elements) and the other spells. I’m now quite well geared, well enough to relax in heroics. I find healing very relaxing now, you have some time to think it over a bit : which spell, who to heal, in which order, will they take more damage soon ? I would never heal dps between packs of trash, they will either regen automatically (out of combat regen is very high) or they should have food. And anyway, they don’t need to be full life. They won’t be killed. I would top off before bosses when I have time to drink.
I noticed though that melee dpsers tend to die a lot in my dungeons. The thing is that I don’t know why they take so much damages. Are they staying in shit or is it a fight mechanic I can’t see ? At the beginning of the run, I would check if the melee player takes a lot of damage, if this damage isn’t too tedious to heal (big health pool = mana sponge) and where he is on the damage meter. You have to put pretty high numbers here to climb my healing priority ladder. If you enter the category "useless mana sponge", your repair bill will be high, because I will only save your butt when I have extra mana and time, which never happens except when someone goes afk, or when I need to keep you alive if I don’t want to lose more time and mana rezzing you.
I also don’t heal dpsers staying in fire. When you have something bad under your feet, you will get the heal you would need if you run out of it immediately. If you screw up, you die. It’s not that I’m angry at you, even if I am actually because you drive my attention to you when I need to watch out for the rest of the team. It’s because if I try to save your butt, I’ll need heavy healing spells, costing an arm and a leg in mana, I might lost my tank or someone else and might not have enough mana to finish the fight. Letting you die means the fight will be longer, but I should have enough mana.
There is no more debate between the officers in my guild about "should I change main toon between my hunter and my shaman ?". At first, we needed me in raid, on the hunter or the shaman, whatever, and the shaman wasn’t ready : so we decided i would focus on my hunter, what I did. So I geared the hunter at best, I bought a Darkmoon Fair Card, it cost me half of my savings, I put rare gems and enchants, got exalted to both reps giving me epics, I did a lot of heroics to get every Justice points item that was an upgrade. Then, we recruited a healer. And now, I got quite a few loots this week in raids : I have an up-to-date ranged weapon and TWO trinkets, something that never happened to me before so close after the release of new content…
So, changing mains isn’t an option any more. We need my dps (which is insane… seriously, SV hunters will be nerfed), all that gear I got mustn’t go to waste. I feel odd, because I love raiding as a hunter, but I’m currently dying out of curiosity to see what it’s like to heal in raid now. I didn’t changed many things as a hunter, I watch my health as much as before, I do as much dps as possible while helping to control/dispell/whatever. Nothing new except the new fights. Healing changed a lot. And I’d love to see it.