Maybe it’s the geek in me, but I never fail to find flowcharts and graphs amusing when they are populated by WoW content. The Venn of tradechat content on GraphJam, the random diagram describing feral kitty or paladin dps, or the L2Tree guide—they all make me chuckle and nod in agreement. They also make me think “if only healing was that simple”.
Back in BC I played a mage, and it was wonderful. I trounced people on meters (pre-Funwell), I got to kill things, and I had a cool polymorph macro that I delighted in using. But, arguably, the goal in every fight was the same for me: maximize dps. I had my optimum dps rotation that I stuck to religiously and the only variability I encountered was due to movement, either the boss’s or my own, fight mechanics, or target switching. So in the end, everything started to feel the same to me because my actions were the same no matter the encounter. When my guild collapsed mid-way through Sunwell (quite literally and figuratively, our guild leader had a mild stroke one night,) I saw the opportunity to change things up and main switched to my Resto Shaman. It’s a decision I will never regret, because as I see it, variability is what a healer’s job is all about. For a good healer, there simply is no healing rotation.
Now, before you jump all over me, I will concede that every healer out there has a sequence of heals that will assure them maximum throughput, provided that certain conditions exist (being able to stand in one place is a significant factor, especially for a shaman.) But, by virtue of the fact that encounters contain any number of damage variables (scripted and player based), a healer cannot predetermine what heals they will cast and in what order, before the fight starts. For people like me, who like being stressed and having to think on their toes, this makes healing a delight. In general, I maintain the perspective that as a healer, if I have the capacity and power to do so, I should always be healing. So, my conditional decision tree looks a bit messy:
Note: I could have made it even more complicated by including movement decisions (where to move and in what increments), special totem conditionals (alternate drops, positioning, refreshing), and mana pot usage but I wanted to keep it as healing-centric as possible.
Things that you might take notice of: Yes, I absolutely am one of those healers who will go off my assignment if my assignment is not taking predictable and regular damage. Yes, my healing rotation involves heavy use of riptide. No, I don’t use Healing Wave. (I’ll save that reasoning for another post.) And yes, I will precast based on anticipated damage within a 2-3 second window. Furthermore, I go through that whole decision tree in less than a second. IMO, healing is where the excitement is.
One last flowchart!