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Homogenization

I love how Blizzard want to give healers their own ‘niche’, when really all they’ve done for Cataclysm is turn them into the same class with different icons and armors. Priests, Paladins and Shamans all have three primary heals: a fast cast and mana inefficient heal; a go-to heal for all occasions; and a big hitting and mana inefficient heal.

Shamans are the new Druids, with AoEs out of every orifice, but maintaining some slither of tank healing. Priests are the new Shamans, with roles in everything thanks to Chakra. Druids are still Druids, with an “oh shit” button. Paladins are just… I have no idea. Take this quote for example, directly from a blue post found on MMO-Champion:

We want paladins to be slightly more interchangeable with other healers. In Cataclysm, you should be able to have a Holy priest on the tank and a Holy paladin on the raid.

No. No no no. I’m all for giving Paladins a bit of oomph in the AoE arena just because that means we might be able to do Halls of Reflection without having to mash my Holy Light button on one target at a time and hope that it works. Instead Blizzard have gone too far the other way, they’ve not only changed Beacon around so much that it now looks like more of a chore to maintain than a help, but to imply that they’re potentially better raid healers than a Holy Priest? Pah.

It seems to me that every class now has a ‘raid’ and ‘tank’ healing ability, and the whole homogenization thing is only furthered by the fact that every talent tree has near identical masteries (add a HoT, heal more if they’re low, add another HoT, and maybe another HoT), so now the only difference between healers is how pretty the skills look.

  • Flash Heal, Flash of Light, Lesser Healing Wave, Nourish(?) are all the quick identically mana inefficient heals.
  • Heal, Holy Light, Healing Wave, no idea of the Druid spell, but they’re all the identical go-to heals.
  • Greater Heal, HOLYLIGHTMOTHERFUCKINGHOLYHOLYLIGHT (new Paladin talent for Holy), Greater Healing Wave, Healing Touch are all the powerful but identically mana inefficient heals.

Perhaps I’m musing over nothing, I think it’s nice that some classes have a bit more power to vary their roles (ever been in a ten man with two raid healers only to find that your group has recruited a third raid healer?), but they should at least have some niches. And they really don’t have that many as they are, so why change them?

  • Tank Healer: Paladin, perhaps Shaman.
  • Raid Healer: Druid, Holy Priest, perhaps Shaman.
  • Raid Migitation: Discipline Priest.

There are only three roles. The only healer that hasn’t been turned into an idle clone right now is the Discipline healer, who’s only “still going” because they can bubble and no other healer really can. Holy can do everything, Paladin can do everything, Druid can do everything, Shaman can do everything. Even the only thing that really made the Shaman that desirable has been given to Mages. I don’t understand why they’re adamant that “take the player not the class” can still stand when they go sharing some skills but not others. Where’s my Rebirth for my Shaman, or my Divine Sacrifice for my Priest, or my Guardian Spirit for my Paladin (oh wait, Guardian of the Ancient Kings pretty much covers that in a different-but-similar way), instead you go giving my Paladin Wild Growth, my Shaman Tranquility, my Holy Priest epic tank healz and to top it off, you go telling Discipline that “shielding isn’t always the answer”, so what, another Holy Priest except with different buttons to mash?

I’m fine with the Cataclysm changes, really I am. Shamans got some good stuff, Priests got some excellent stuff, Paladins got some cop-out stuff, Druids got some… same stuff (i.e. nothing new). The fact that healers now have to be mana smart, and that my HoTs can crit and be hasted more than make up for the dribble that was the Paladin release and some of the less-thought-through changes like Life Grip, but I like to have my musing and whining, just to look back in a couple of years and say “yeah, god that was a stupid thing to muse about” or “I was so right about these changes”.

I’m leaning on my Priest rather heavily at the minute as my favorite for Cataclysm. Holy looks pretty awesome, it’s versatile and I get all of my favorite skills made even better (Renew critting, holy shit about time), and Disc might be okay depending on how the shielding changes are made and how much more ‘favorable’ healing might be versus shielding. I still have a few months to make up my mind, so I’ll probably lean another way in a couple of weeks, I should probably keep a tally chart and just see which way I’ve leaned the most until release. Yeah, let’s do that:

Shaman: 1
Druid: 1
Priest: 1
Paladin: 0

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