I consider myself a good healer, I’ve been round the block a few times and have healed most things in the game with little difficulty. Sure I know healers that are way better than me regardless of class but in general I feel that I can cope with anything thrown at me.
Sure at the beginning of Cataclysm some of the encounters made us all ask the same question I pose in the title here but like you, I powered through, relearned the old style of healing, adjusted to the changes (/mourn Flash Heal) and even embraced the Atonement playstyle and have gone on to complete all heroic 5 man instances pre nerf and progressed reasonably well. I’m currently at 7/13 in T11 and you may well be further in or even in heroic modes, but I have never really doubted my ability as a healer. But just recently there has been 1 encounter that has frustrated me immensely and caused me to really doubt myself.
The encounter? You may guess. Atramedes? No. Chimaeron? No. Ertan, the Mild Mannered Vizier? Could be! You will probably be surprised to hear that and don’t get me wrong the fight pre-4.0.6 was a ridiculously easy fight and thankfully Blizzard realised this and gave him a well deserved buff and the comment in the patch notes reads:
He now knocks away players standing too close to him when he retracts his Cyclone Shield, which now inflicts Nature damage if it touches players.
Now he did also lose some HP but not a great deal. On our first visit shortly after the patch my guild group got Vortex Pinnacle as our random. We knew the changes but were all in a mix of heroic and raid gear and really expected no issues. We obeyed the changes and ran out all took massive damage from the lightning bolts which I simply couldn’t heal through. My group heals were too weak and my single target heals too slow to get all back up to sufficient health in time for the next phase and after 3 wipes we swapped around and I respecced from Disc to Shadow and Cork went from Balance to his usual Resto and we killed him on the first attempt after the swap. I felt a bit bad about it and just put it down to having a bad day.
A few days ago a similar guild group got Vortex Pinnacle as our random and once again I failed to heal through the damage we wiped a few times and then as we were only after our daily Valor points simply requeued and got Grim Batol and powered through there without any issues. I was now sure that the Vortex Pinnacle thing was my fault and felt pretty bad. To make matters worse, a day later a bunch of alts got the Vortex Pinnacle as the random and the Babaghanoush a Resto shaman (played by Cork) just healed through without any problems.
The strategy we use is:
- Phase 1 – Aggro Ertan and all hug up;
- Phase 2 – Move out and stay hugged up when cyclones close in on Ertan;
- Phase 3 – Move in and hug up on Ertan when cyclones move out;
My spell selection is:
- Phase 1 – Smite and pre-shield all group members and keeping up Prayer of Mending;
- Phase 2 – Starts initially with Heal and as more people take damage move to Prayer of Healing and Binding Heal, still keeping up Prayer of Mending;
- Phase 3 – Generally this is where it all goes wrong as people are low on HP and the damage taken moving back in and people start dropping as I don’t get enough HPS (healing per second) from Prayer of Healing combined with Prayer of Mending and Power Word: Shield to keep people alive;
Now the strategy we are using is the one I have read everywhere (post 4.0.6) so now I’m now at the point of not knowing if:
- Disc priests just don’t have the HPS throughput to heal through the damage;
- If I just have bad spell selection on this fight;
- I just got unlucky with people taking way too much damage;
- The person behind Cork and Babaghanoush is a vastly superior healer than me and is able to heal through our flawed strategy
- I suck at healing;