Monk Meditations

I was out of town most of this past weekend, but I managed a couple of hours playing late Sunday night. I used my time to finish out my weekly LFR run for runes on my Mistweaver panda.

For me, the whole LFR experience is vastly different for my healer than it is for any of my DPS. For one thing, it feels fantastic to queue for an LFR and get in within a few minutes. I soooooo hate the hour long DPS queues, Blizz just has to try something else with that. For another thing, I have to say I actually enjoy LFR on my healer, whereas it is just a drudge chore on a DPS. Part of that may be because if I find my healer in a really toxic or dysfunctional group, I have the luxury of dropping group and immediately finding another. This is not true of my DPS characters. But I think another  factor in my enjoyment is that I find the raid mechanics for a healer to be less hectic. Mainly all I have to do is stay out of bad stuff, stay in range of the raid, and do my thing by focusing on my HealBot bars. Finally, healing is a relatively new role for me, so it still feels fresh and fun, I am not jaded by years of doing it, like I am for damage roles.

This is not to say it is easier or less stressful. I find healing to be quite stressful while I am engaged in it, but when a fight is over I feel an enormous sense of accomplishment — something I never feel as a DPS in LFR. I consider healing to be challenging, but I think that is because I still am very much a novice at it. I do notice that many of my moves are starting to inch into the realm of “muscle memory”, which is desirable because it means I can start to focus on some of the class nuances, not put my entire conscious attention on basic spells and rotation mechanics.

I don’t know what it is about Mistweaver healing that I enjoy, but something about it is very fun for me. MW monks are by no means the healer of choice for this expansion, however. We are mediocre as raid healers, pretty useless as tank healers, and decidedly below average as hybrid damage/heals when we fistweave. We have very little burst heal capability, beyond one raid cooldown, no fancy absorbs like disc priests, and our HoTs have a fairly complex implementation mechanic. Checking WoWProgress, there are only something on the order of 3-4 monks in the top 150 healers on almost any server or in any region. And those are the elite of the class. For the rest of us, “dismal” is a pretty good adjective.

Still, I find the MW mechanics fun. I have dabbled in other healing classes — holy and disc priest, pally, druid, even a bit of shammie — but I could never get past a few levels, maybe to about 40 or so, before I gave up on them. Each time, I could tell that I was just not getting the proper feel for the class. Also, I was put off by what seemed to be a requirement to level as a non-healing spec, then switch to heals in groups. This seemed horribly inefficient to me, and I still think it is. Blizz owes to healers to configure the leveling experience so that it is not so completely skewed towards all damage all the time.

It is this bias that will make ring completion challenging on my MW. Getting the final set of 33 runes will be easy, but slogging through the dailies in Tanaan to get the oil and other things needed for the naval part of the ring quest line will be awful. I am not looking forward to it, even though MW’s have it comparatively easy when it comes to damage abilities while in healing spec. (Of course, I am spoiled by having 2 hunters and a warlock, for whom the dailies are really trivial.) Grouping up for them is an obvious solution, but at this late point in the expansion, at least on my server, almost no one is interested in doing that when they can easily solo everything.

But back to what I was saying. I loved MW from the start. I was fascinated by its power at early levels, entranced by the idea that I could actually level as a healer. And MW healing prior to WoD was very powerful and fantastically fun to do. It is less fun now, with the huge nerf to instants, but I still enjoy it. I like working to maximize raid heals with the Renewing Mist/Uplift mechanic, there is something extremely satisfying about getting ReM up on a large number of the raid just at the point where there is a ton of raid damage, then blowing 4 Uplifts in a row to keep everyone healthy. It is a beautiful thing when you get the timing just right. And — coming from a history of hunters, which have zero raid cooldowns — having Revival in my arsenal really feels good. I also like the complexity of the interplay of Soothing Mist with other healing spells.

I hardly ever do fistweaving. For one thing, I don’t like melee as a damage dealer, and for another I feel like you basically end up doing both crappy damage and crappy healing. If the raid leader asks, of course I will do it, but there are not many situations where it is useful — the only one that comes to mind is if the team already has a couple of superstar healers and needs just a small DPS boost without losing a healer to get past a boss. Just doesn’t happen that often, at least in my admittedly sparse experience.

I really hope Blizz has some decent improvements in store for Mistweavers in Legion. My guild will be looking to switch out some raid roles, mainly to have more healers. Given my disillusionment with what Blizz is doing to hunters, it might be a fun change of pace for me to have a healer main for an expansion, assuming that MW will be a viable raiding spec. (Besides, everyone else will be looking to main their new Demon Hunters.) Hey, life is change, right?

About Fiannor
I have a day job but escape by playing WoW. I love playing a hunter, and my Lake Wobegonian goal is to become "above average" at it.

2 Responses to Monk Meditations

  1. Bodhi Rana says:

    Once I got my Garrison Barracks to level 2, I took a tank body guard and finished leveling as heals. It made dungeon runs a lot smoother for me. Where as, in previous x-packs, I’d have to change mentalities between leveling and dungeoning (dps/heal). That felt really disjointed.

    • Fiannor says:

      My experience with a bodyguard — especially a tank — has been less than positive. Always pulls everything in sight, often leading not only to her death, but mine too. But I agree with you, there are times it can be helpful to a squishy healer.

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