I've run with a few druid healers since the changes and it just feels wrong. I will get used to it in time but not seeing a tree around is really bugging me. I know it is only a cosmetic thing but seeing the tree stood out. When I am on my Hunter I usually stay toward the back near the healer. I keep second guessing myself when I stand next to a night elf. It just does not feel right.
The think my biggest gripe is that Druid healers do not really look much like healers in my mind when they are not in Tree. A Priest you can see it a healer. A Shaman, less so and a Paladin less so but they still look different enough. A Druid without a shape just looks wrong. It just looks like you have a night elf tagging along not doing anything. Sure, I know they are healing but they just look horrible doing it. We need Tree back. I do not like these elves trying to pass them off as healers. It is not right.
So with the need to PuG for 2 healers the other night the absence of healers is glaring lately. With 3 possible healers away at the moment and no certainty that they will return come Cataclysm we are going to need to get more healers.
With the plans Blizzard announced to make healing and tanking more difficult to make it more enjoyable I do not see there being many new healers coming up. I also see a lot of healers quitting over it. I understand the challenge of things and how that can make it exciting but there will not be enough people that like that to keep the servers stocked with enough healers (and tanks) to make raiding viable for many guilds.
The thing blizzard does not understand about making things more challenging is that not everyone likes a challenge and not every challenge is the same. While I DPS on my Hunter I had looked to the simulators and saw that with all possible raid buffs and debuffs my best possible DPS should be around 9K based on my gear. So it becomes a challenge for me to try and get the most out of what I have. Managing procs and such I have been able to toast what the simulator says is the best I can do. I've done 11K (outside of ICC) even if the simulators said that I would top at 9K. See, that is a fun challenge. The reason it is a fun challenge is because in most cases if I did not meet the challenge and only did 8K no one would complain. It is still good enough.
With adding challenge to healing they are creating a situation like I mentioned with my Hunter but for a healer. However the huge difference is that if the healer makes the wrong decisions on which heal to hit and which person to heal then people die. For my Hunter the options are limited. Shoot single target, AoE, or target adds. All of that is usually not an opinion sort of thing. You know what you need to do. You follow your rotation or priority, whichever your class uses, and you move along. Sure there is a lot of adjusting to do so you get out max DPS and it can be very challenging to do so but it is not like the challenge that a healer deals with.
Why are they adding difficulty to something that can very well be extremely difficult to begin with? If me as a hunter needs to move and it lowers my DPS for a few seconds it is no big deal but if me as a priest needs to move and it lowers my options to heal then someone can die. Healers have enough challenge as it is. Why add more?
Lets talk ez mode, so to speak. Back in BC hunters where ez mode, just hit steady shot six thousand times and you will be fine. Whatever finger was over that one button will probably be swollen but you did the best you can do easily. Paladins while level were ez mode and some say end game where. I have not personal end game experience with it but I can surely say leveling a paladin is/was ez mode. Never below 95% health, never below 95% mana, and you kill everything in your sights, even things 7 or 8 levels higher then you without breaking a sweat. Mages are ez mode now and before. I am still in all quest gear with the exception of 2 drops I got from heroics and I am already leading the DPS charts in the dungeons I am in. Pressing 2 over and over is just so freaking hard you know.
Why not make an ez mode healer or an ez mode tank? I know now that we over gear things it is like that to some extent and that will always happen when we over gear things. What we need are the flavor of the month healers and tanks. People hate those face roll flavor of the month DPS characters and I can understand that. People roll them because they are easy. However, when things change and they are not easy any more you get some of those people that stick with it and become truly great at the class.
There will always be good players and bad players. Good players play what they like to play or what their guild needs. Bad players play whatever is face roll. Being most of the people that play the game would be closer to what is called a bad players that means that most of the players are DPS. That is the reason you always find people looking for healers and looking for tanks.
Make a healer class face roll for a while and let the bad players play that. It is not a bad thing, hear me out. Healers have enough to do as it is right now. They need to decide what spell to use and it seems like there are more healing spells for a healer then there are damaging spells for a DPS. They need to decide who to heal, the type of heal they need, the mana required for it, how long the fight is going to be so you know when to heal right away and when to conserve, when AoE will be coming, priority on who to heal once the AoE hits, etc, etc, etc. Anyone that has ever healed will tell you that there is a lot more going on for a healer then for any other class in the game. A tank gets beat on, DPS beats on the one that is beating on the tank, they all have a singular focus whereas the healer has to worry about all of them as well as themselves.
Making a face roll healer is also not the same as making a face roll DPS. My Mage can pull upwards of 4500 DPS in all quest greens just by hitting the 2 button. That is face roll. A healer can never be that face roll. They still need to watch all their fellow adventurers but it can be made to be much easier. Make a healing class simple. One HoT that has fast, large ticks. One powerful direct heal. One AoE heal. That is it. Simplify their life. No more choosing which spell. It will make it easier for them. This will make more people want to be healers. Sure, this class should not as effective as the others but it would really help with the lack of healers around to begin with and the major lack of healers I am expecting once Cataclysm hits and they make healing more challenging like they want to.
After some time you can change things up some and make it harder and maybe but they enough people will have fallen in love with the class that they will keep playing the class and helping the balance.
Back to what made me think about healers and the lack of them in my guild at the moment. I've leveled my Priest to heal for the group but that is not my main. My main is my Hunter and that will not change. I am invested in my Hunter. Time played, achievements done, mounts collected, pets collected, etc. While there are some really annoying changes with it that I would rather never had happened it is still my main and will remain that way. If I could transfer achievements to another character then maybe I would consider moving over to a healer full time. Being that will never happen, I will not be changing.
If I was to change however what would I do? I love my Priest. Disc is amazingly fun and versatile but we have a priest in the mix so for best buffs and options I would need to choose one of the other three.
Shaman: I am enhancement and have no resto gear what so ever. So not only would it be learning something new it would be gearing something new. From what a few resto shaman friends told me resto healing is like one of those "for dummies" books. Resto healing is healing for dummies. So maybe it is face roll and I just do not notice it? I can say one thing for sure. My Enhancement Shaman would occasionally throw a heal and its heal is usually on par if not great then my Disc Priests heals. Imagine what it would be like in resto. I might be willing to try it but would not look forward to gearing up for it with only a few weeks left in the game so to speak.
Druid: I have all my resto gear already. Have my spec all made. Have no desire to ever use the gear or the spec. No tree means no interest in playing it for me. It is really that simple. I wanted to be a Druid healer to be a Tree, not to be an Elf. I already am an Elf. When I play something else I do not want to be an Elf. I want to be a Tree, that simple. If they bring Tree back I would gladly be a Druid healer again.
Paladin: I'm only level 49, what can I say. I am Ret. I can tank as Ret. I can heal as Ret. I can DPS as Ret. So having a dual spec this early for that character has not even come to mind yet. Getting to 80 before Cataclysm would not be a problem if I actually tried. My Pally is a dual gatherer so I would be leveling like lightning. Would I want to heal? From what I hear it is not a lot of fun like the other classes can be and add to the fact that there is something wrong with a character wearing plate and being such a pansy ass that they stand away in the back. At least getting gear would never be a problem. Gearing up a Pally healer is the easiest gear ramp up of everything in the game. Not sure I would like the style.
Priest: This is my healer. It is Disc and Holy. I really only heal Disc. Holy does not appeal to me. I like preemptive healing and not responsive healing. With that in mine Druid might have worked for me with it's myriad of HoTs, to bad it lost tree and is no longer an option.
If I were ever to switch to a full time healer for my guild I would PuG with my Hunter which would still create problems because my Hunter would be my first priority. I just do not have a good outlook for healer recruitment being the changes that are coming. I do not see many healers coming up the pipes. The only ones I do see are Disc Priests because in truth when it comes to enjoyable play as a healer there really is no other option. They can DPS, Heal, Assist and PvP well in one spec. Why would you ever want to play another type of healer?
The future of healers looks really bleak and unless Blizzard does something to make healing ez mode there will never be any sizable amount of new players taking it up.
In all honesty I do not care if my healer had it easy because they are so over powered and only need to hit one button. All I want are a few freakin' healers so I do not need to be one full time. I should not need to switch to be a healer, there should be more in the game. If the lack of healers around is not a glaring design flaw on the part of Blizzard I do not know what is.