Whenever I try out a new healing spec, my first instinct is to try to figure out what my “mana neutral” button presses are. At low levels this is troublesome since our toolkit is under-developed, and most of the time at low levels, mana is pretty much infinite, allowing healers to pew pew while being bored out of their socks.
Let’s take a look at Paladins. Yes, I have a level 84 paladin, which I have levelled through tanking AND healing. I switched into a healing spec after getting bored of tanking Utgarde Keep for the seven hundreth time and I never looked back.
My first step was to stick to the basic rule of Cataclysm healing: Mana Conservation. How could I heal the tank and everyone else efficiently, and also retain as much mana as possible. Obviously, spamming the “easy” flash heal wasn’t the trick. We have a beacon, which reproduces 100% of Holy Light, and 50% of all other heals. So put that up, and use Holy Light on all the things. We also have a quick instant heal that builds up holy power for the Healing Laser, and a single target big heal. Obviously then, those are used depending on the situation, whether or not you want to build up points to heal a potential incoming aoe damage, or large health spikes.
Though this is just basic stuff you can derive from reading the talent trees. Putting it all into practise is another thing. You’ll need to get a feel for the speeds and strength of your various heals, predict incoming damage on the tank as well as DPS, so you can use a Holy Light on one of the silly melee taking damage.
An excellent reason for the dungeon finder is that sometimes…some PUGS just…don’t know what they are doing. Ever. I take this as a golden opportunity to test out my “Oh Shit” healing capabilities. Everyone is taking damage, multiple mobs are being pulled. My first question is still: “How can I ‘oh shit’ heal while being as mana efficient as possible?”. Usually this is when Flash of Light comes into play, but when damage smooths out, I switch back to Holy Lightning the silly melee DPS who caused the trouble to begin with.
For all you new healers out there, well first of all you won’t be at this blog but…well here’s a tip. Take a look at ALL your possible healing spells, and look at the mana cost of each of them. We are programmed to be a society of instant gratification seekers, hence Regrowth, Flash Heal, Flash of Light, Flash Flush(Whatever Shamans Use). Those are quick and strong, but EXPENSIVE.
Going OOM is not heroic. Going OOM, and when I say OOM it means your Mana is below 60% for no reason at all, means you probably didn’t need such quick heals. Think about it. Though possibly at the very very end phases of boss fights, I tend to go balls to the walls in heals for the hell of it just cause I know I can drink up right afterwards.
(After creating, deleting, and recreating my various Shaman toons, I made a brand new Goblin one, and this time I won’t delete it!)