I started to level my Priest last night. It was level 81, just a hair over it, being I had healed two runs in blackrock and was also doing the cooking and fishing dailies normally. So I had a 1 level head start so to speak.
I played for a couple of hours and got 2 levels already. The leveling experience is a complete and total joke now. I never thought I would say this but they really need to do something to slow down leveling. It is just moving so damn fast.
Think of it this way. When a healer can get two levels by questing in less then three hours you know something is wrong. Yes, I am leveling in Disc. I don't have any desire to level Shadow even if it would be more effective time wise. The leveling process is so quick to begin with.
I am also old school mentality when it comes to Priests and Warriors. Priests should heal and Warriors should tank. If you do not heal or tank as main spec you are doing it wrong.
Of course while leveling I am using the AA Spec. The Archangel really seems to keep me going. Never once did I need to stop for mana and I heal myself for an ample amount even if the self healing portion is smaller then the healing portion would be for others.
I did notice the penalty of hitting level 82 as soon as I leveled. With the AA build I could chain pull for years on end and never be out of mana. At 82 I actually noticed it starting to go down. Slowly, ever so slowly, but it if I were to do 8-10 mobs in a row I might even find myself at half mana. Something I have not experienced since healing heroics when I first hit 80. It is something I will have to get used to and I guess this is a moderately good way to start getting used to it.
At level 82 the shield is still godly. It would last entire fights. Once I hit level 83 that was now a thing of the past. Most mobs one shot the shield. This does not bode well for leveling Disc. Not at all. The penalty for hitting 83 was even more noticeable then the penalty for 82 was. The good part however is I was now leveling in Deepholm. Mobs are mostly few and far between there so I could not exactly chain pull even if I wanted to. So the larger mana drain was really never an issue. The time between pulls got me back to max anyway.
Being I am leveling like lightning I set an idea in mind. Quest until I get tabards and then move on. Quested Vashj'ir until I opened the port, then moved to Hyjal until I was 82, then Deepholm until I got Earthern up and Thrazane unlocked and up to friendly. After hitting 83 I just did the lead in quest to Uldam so I could open that up as well.
Will quest there until 84 and go to Twilight Highlands just to do the opening quests there and unlock the port there and then I will go back to Uldam until I hit 85. I would guess that even as a healer I could do the next 2 levels in less then 5 hours. Maybe even 3 1/2 hours if doing 81-82 in around 2 hours is any indicator of how ridiculously stupid and easy the leveling is now.
I imagine that on a DPS character with full rested I could get from 80-85 in less then 4 hours no problem, possibly even get it in 3 if I do not have any gathering professions to distract me. Is it just me of does there seem like there is something horribly wrong there?
I don't know about others but I really like leveling as Disc. It is slower then Shadow would be but it allows me to not have to have another set of gear and all I really need to make it work is have the Glyph of Smite on and it is smooth.
I have noticed one little issue I have with things while leveling however. The amount of healer gear from quests is extremely low. I got two pieces in Deepholm yesterday and that is all. I replaced some other pieces with items that where just so much better but they were not what I would call ideal healer gear. Good thing my Priest is a Tailor. I am capable of making a piece here and there to cover the gaps.
The drop rate of cloth seems to be better for my Priest also. Maybe it is my imagination really or it could be because I am not leveling first aid on that character and using all the cloth for leveling my tailoring but it sure seems like I am seeing more cloth then I did while leveling my Hunter or my Rogue.
Looking to the future and the dungeons that are going to be my next step after 85 and I am beginning to question being Disc a little. As normal mobs are destroying my shield in one shot now I am left to think how useful a shield will actually be in the damage mitigation department. Is it really going to be worth wasting the mana on something that will not even completely stop one hit?
Shielding was usually my way of raid and dungeon healing. DPS would take AoE damage here and there and 90% of the time a shield would be more then ample to handle anything that came their way while I concentrated on keeping the tank up.
From my experience in heroics on my Hunter there is a lot more AoE that is unavoidable or even incidental and that damage is not just tickling people. Like the second boss in GB when he turns and decides that he wants to shoot his fire at you. Even if you move instantly you will get hit by 2 or 3 ticks of it and that is 20K per tick. A shield is just not going to cut it to get someone into a safe health position if that happens.
Using my experience as a DPS for these fights I will decide what I believe to be the best healing practice. On something like that an instant shield and renew will buy some time for the person to move and then I will have to decide on if I want to throw a heal or something else on them based on their life. But having better shields would be nice. A shield that would at least last long enough for them to get out of the fire would be a god send but I do not see that happening until I completely over gear heroics.
I am liking the prospect of the challenge that heroics will carry with them but I am worried about the quality of DPS in the game. The same people that I dread running with on my Hunter will be the people I have to run with on my healer. That is scary for more reasons then one. The one being that if I am healing I know that my DPS is not there. I do not want to get into a boss fight and see everyone 8K or less on boss fights knowing that I could do more while half asleep.
The better the DPS are at their job the better I can be at mine healing. The difference between me going oom causing a wipe and a successful run is the difference of having 3 DPS doing 10K each and 3 DPS averaging 7K.
Even in the laughfest that WotLK was I would see DPS doing 1K in heroics. So far Cataclysm has been no different. I was in a group with me doing 12K (no heroic gear remember) and the other two DPS doing 4K and 5K in heroic gear. If I am healing then my 12K DPS is not there and sorry, but I am not going to heal for people that can not pull at least 8K.
One run where we had people coming and going we went through an Elemental Shaman doing 5K, a Ret Pally doing 4K, another Ret Pally doing 5K, an Enhancement Shaman doing 3K and finally a Mage that rocked at 6K. I am not shitting. By the point the Mage came along I was happy to see 6K. If it where not for me pulling 11K and a DK pulling 12K we would have never finished that dungeon. If I see DPS on a boss fight like that I will have no issues leaving the group. At least as a healer I know I can be back into one instantly.
That instant dungeon queue is also why I said while leveling I want to get all reps to at least friendly. No need for more, the tabards will get me all the rep I need the rest of the way.
My one worry about healing is AoE healing. I have never felt comfortable with it. I've read on how to do it and I have tried it in practice and I always feel like I am doing something wrong. I always feel like I could be doing better. I always feel like there is something I am missing. I get nervous when I heal. I mean real life nervous. As if these people really did depend on me. I think I take healing way to serious. I never want to see anyone die and it bothers me when I lose someone and when there is huge AoE I always seem to lose someone. I need to work on that one area more then anything else.
I am guessing that this weekend I can get my Priest to 85 and maybe even my Druid to 85 which also has healing as an offspec. Then it becomes time to start working on gearing up my healer(s). My druid is a bear but I will not tank in a random. Ever again. Tried that in the easy LK content and it was horror story after horror story so I am never even going to consider attempting it in Cata. Not even if you paid me.
You could offer me 500 bucks right now to tank just one heroic and I would say no thank you. The retards that play this game could not do what they where supposed to do when it was easy, I have no faith in them being able to do the right thing when it requires more then 2 brain cells.
I will gear my tank this time the same way I did last time. I'll run full guild five mans once in a while when I have some time. I won't gear up fast but the piece of mind I gain from not running randoms is well worth being slow to gear up.
Ever since a healer refused to heal me because I was hogging all the mobs and if I wanted to fight all the mbos myself I could heal myself. But I'm the tank? That doesn't mean you can't let other people fight any of the mobs. I have hated tanking in pugs since.
Healing is just so much easier. Step out of the bad. Keep everyone alive. No DPS epeen to worry about. No aggro monkeys to worry about stealing my threat. Just heal. So much easier.