DPS love their meters. Who’s epeen is bigger than everyone elses? Look to the meter! Healing is a bit different, meters don’t tell the whole story- even if you analyze World of Logs or WWS reports, you still can’t really understand healing by meters. There is just too much unquantifiable information that exists.
Enter the Valithria Dreamwalker encounter. Blizzard finally implemented a fight where you have to ‘heal a boss to death’… erm life? Healers rejoice!! Finally a fight where we can flex our epeens, show off our HPS numbers, and have the proverbial pissing contest with all the other healers.
Sorry priests! You simply don’t have the throughput that is needed to pump out the HPS to that of a Shaman, Druid or a Paladin. Our single target heals, even if we spent the talent points to maximize, do not hit hard or fast enough to outdo these 3 classes. As I stated during RaidWarning’s Power Word: Fail, I think a lot of priest healers are having a hard time with this encounter soley based upon their egos. We finally get a fight that is all about big heals… and priests, because of our throughput design, simply can’t shine when it comes to big numbers on this fight.
This brings up a very difficult conversation and I’ve seen a number of threads about this on the WOW Forums over at PlusHeal and comments on other blogs. Who do you send into your portals? Generally speaking you want to send in your highest HPS classes and get them as many stacks of the buff as possible. Priests tend not to be the high single target HPS class… our highest HPS spells are our multi target spells. (Binding Heal, Prayer of Healing, COH). That is where Holy Shines. And with Discipline, it’s all about damage mitigation from Divine Aegis and PW: Shield, not pure HPS.
That being said, Priest’s have a very important job on this fight: keeping the raid alive while the other healers are inside the portals getting buffed and when they are healing Valithria. If you only have one priest, you likely will want them as Holy so they can provide a Glyphed Guardian Spirit buff on Dreamwalker every 60 seconds. If you have more than one, having your Discipline healing the tanks and tossing out PW:S on the DPS will often really be handy for abilities. (ie. Lay Waste)
Here is the make-up my guild uses for our 10 and 25 man Heroic Valithria Kills:
Heroic ICC10: We typically run 2 or 3 healers for Heroic 10, so we have our Boomkin swap to Alt-Spec Resto and go into the portals with our Holy Pally. I stay in Holy spec and heal outside.
Heroic ICC25: We run 8 healers total: 6 going in, putting a Holy and Disc Priest outside.
(While this is out make up for Heroic, the same logic applies to Normal mode)
By no means am I saying that a priest cannot go into the portals, that certainly isn’t the case. Hell, on my 10 man’s first Heroic kill… I was going in. The key, when you are going into portals, is to be coordinated. Get your first cloud, reset your buffs (ideally with someone else), then group up quickly and fly around getting your stacks. (Remember to pop the last cloud moments before you get sent back out of the dream world). It is more important to have coordination in the dream world, than anything else. So that means, if you have a Druid who can’t keep their stacks up and a Holy Priest who can… you likely will net better having the priest be buffed, and the Druid to heal outside.
Your DPS needs to be very clear in understanding that they need to do all they can to avoid extraneous damage, as the healers need to be putting full attention on healing the Dragon. Healers that are outside of the portals, can assist healing the dragon as they can– however should conserve their mana for healing the damage that is going on outside. (As holy, I typically will burn Surge of Light procs and the occasional Renew on Valithria)
We typically save Heroism for the portal that ends around the 5 minute mark. Be sure to time your Guardian Spirit cooldown to sync with the portal ending at that time. We’ve found that our DPS begin to get overwhelmed at the 6 minute mark, so the Heroism not only helps the healers dump big amounts of heals, it also provides the DPS a chance to catch up on adds.
The key to this fight is to remember that it is not a DPS race, if you are lasting over 6 minutes and she isn’t healed to 100% you likely can cut back on DPS and add more healing to the fight. Your first few portal rotations will take some learning, and figuring out the best way to “pop” the clouds certainly can be difficult. (I SWEAR I fly straight through them, and they don’t pop!!) Stick to it, and your raid will get it. And priests, remember— its not about meters, its about working with your raid and getting the job done. Besides, who else brings Guardian Spirit?