One of the most wonderful things in warcraft when it concerns classes is that there are no two that are truly the same. Each class plays differently and as such there is usually something that will fit the play style of the person, it is just a matter of finding the class that plays the way you like it.
For every person that loves the rapid fire button mashing quick decision making always something to hit play style of the hunter there are many that dislike it. For every person that loves the methodical waiting for combo points and slow building energy for a planned and oft times delayed for maximum effect attack of ferals and rogues, there are many that would find it too slow. There is a little bit of difference, sometimes not very pronounced, between each and every class that makes this game great. It is great because if you look you will be able to find something that fits, or very closely fits, the style of game play you enjoy.
But healing right now doesn't seem to have that, at least not for me. All play styles are exactly the same as far as I am concerned, at least at their base level. All healing play styles are basically "I'm out of mana". All healing play styles lost their inexpensive heal for triage healing. All healing play styles lost their movement abilities in the form of instants when we are now required to move more than we ever have before.
There is nothing fun about that type of play style. Not even in the slightest. There is nothing fun about feeling helpless when out of mana or forced to move when someone is dying and there is nothing you can do about it. The fact that none of the healing classes can escape that is what makes it even worse. At least with damage dealers if you do not like the mana conservation needs of an arcane mage, or the waiting on energy for the planned attack of a rogue, there is another game play style that you could embrace, one you could enjoy. But all healers are limited by the same set of factors. The exact same set.
At the beginning of an expansion it is always harder on healers than it is on all other classes in my opinion. Each raid group rides on the backs of their healers at the beginning of every expansion. It has been like that as long as I have been playing. The soft enrage timer of bosses are not the timers blizzard puts into the game, but the timer on when the healers go OOM.
So it is not like I am inexperienced with this feeling of overwhelming uselessness of being a healer at the beginning of an expansion, but it is the first time I did not feel as if there were something I could do about it, gear wise, gem wise, enchant wise, food wise, to help out the situation. With no way to regenerate mana outside of the built in mechanisms that do, so there is no "help" you can seek when first starting out.
I took some time yesterday to run all the LFRs on a few healers. Not so much to practice my healing only, but to test out some new abilities, new styles of healing, new ways to make myself not feel so helpless as soon as the fight passes some mark where I am constantly OOM for the rest of it. I played around a bit and saw myself getting better with the mana management part of the game play. All while actually healing for more in the process. But I was not enjoying it. Not at all.
While I have managed to get better at mana management and I only found myself going OOM when there was a serious lack of healing and I tried to make up for it, and was incapable of doing so as it made me go OOM faster which in turn made it even worse, I started to get more disconnected with the classes I was healing on. It was not fun. I was doing okay, I was getting better, I was just not enjoying myself at all.
Even if I started to do well, doing well does not equal having fun. I can do well on a class and not have fun playing it. So this complaint about healing is not because I feel I can not "do well" because I can, it is because it is not fun. If I am to heal, I want to have fun while doing it, is that too much to ask?
The main thing is that even if I have started to get better at managing my mana, I am not enjoying it. Healing should not be only about mana. I can adapt to losing my triage heal, I can adapt to losing some instants, I can adapt to losing some other utility, but I am not adapting to the mana issues, because I should not have to because healing shouldn't only be about mana and that is what it feels like now. It should be about choosing the right tool from your toolbox. It should be about teaming up abilities so one will buff the next for maximum effect. It should be able timing your burst healing for when needed, timing your big direct heal or defensive cooldown for heavy tank damage, knowing when you can let someone sit missing a little life and when you need to throw a heal on them or the next unavoidable AoE might get them. Healing should be about healing. It should not be able mana conservation.
Even more so it should not be about mana conservation when there is so few places to get increased mana regeneration. From the sometimes seemingly impossible task of finding a piece with spirit on it, to no spirit gems, enchants, foods, you name it, they are doing everything they can to make healing about mana and mana only. That is not a fun play style. They do not deny my hunter with his agility flask, which is needed to better do his job but they deny my shaman her spirit flask even if it would her better do her job.
I would like to see healers have choices like damage dealers do. To have a different style of play between them. Not just different buttons with different names and different spell visuals all tied together with the exact same play style of stand still and watch your mana.
I still enjoy the challenge of healing. I still like the feeling of people depending on me. But with the lack of spirit meaning the lack of mana, the decreased number of instants with the combined need to, what seems like, always be moving and the one and a half second global cooldown, which seems like an eternity now that there are fewer instant and you know a near 2 second cast has to follow up that 1 and a half second global cool down makes me feel helpless as you are watching someones health go down and you know that you will never be able to save them. Why? Because in a game like this 1 and a half seconds is an eternity and when it is followed by a 2 second cast time it might as well be damn near forever. When you combine that with the lack of mana and always going OOM it is just not a healing style I am digging. I am doing it, I have healed up to heroic so far, but I am not enjoying it in the slightest.
I'm not exactly sure why I am still even healing at all, even at the easiest level, the LFR setting. I'd like to see them make mana more plentiful, have instants make a come back, lower the global cool down and decrease the healing done of the spells. Yes, decrease the healing done of spells. This would mean less healing is done per spell but with a 1 second global a few instants and no real mana worries you can do as many as you want, as quickly as you want, and it would mean healing would be more about the skill of choosing the right people to heal and the right combination of abilities to use to maximize the healing effects of them instead of the mana management game it is now.
I would like to see a rapid fire button mashing quick decision making healing spec like the healer version of a hunter. Always doing something. I would like it to be about making the right choices on what buttons to hit to get the appropriate heal instead of what buttons to hit to conserve mana. I am just not enjoying this warlords style of healing, how about you?