1. What is the name, class, and spec of your primary healer?
My main healer is a Paladin by the name of Thosif. He is, confusingly enough given the title of my blog, a human and not a dwarf, although I'm very tempted to change that.
2. What is your primary group healing environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)
I am a dedicated PVE healer, so my main healing environment is anywhere people are trying to kill Internet Dragons. I enjoy raiding in particular, and I love the intensity and accountability of the 10-man raiding format where there isn't anyone else to cover for me if I make mistakes. It's the most delightful kind of stress imaginable.
3. What is your favorite healing spell for your class and why?
Lay on Hands, or as I like to call it: The Reset Button. It is the most deliciously overpowered spell in the game on a measly seven minute cooldown when properly glyphed and talented. There is no other spell in the game that can instantly reset a Tank's health and give the caster a huge chunk of mana at the same time. There is no greater feeling of exultation than a perfectly timed Lay on Hands that saves a person from imminent death. I look for any excuse I can find to cast it.
I just wish it could Crit and transfer through the Beacon of Light. I miss those days, but if there ever was a spell that was overpowered, that was it.
The biggest problem with Lay on Hands is when I accidentally hit it a split second too late to save the target. I have Auto-Self-Cast set to On, and so if I cast LoH just a split second too late and my tank dies, it automatically casts it on me, usually wasting a large majority of the heal. I've had to create a macro to only cast it if my target isn't dead to work around the problem. My Tank will still die, but at least I don't blow a long cooldown for no reason any more.
4. What healing spell do you use least for your class and why?
Flash of Light. It's definitely the Holy Paladin's most useless spell. It's better now that Infusion of Light makes it instant, but it's still too expensive relative to the amount it heals, and it's cast time isn't fast enough to justify ever using it. I admit, however, that I do use it occasionally when a raid member is on the brink of death. It's a rare occasion when I do, though, and it normally means that the person in question is a single stiff breeze away from being a floor smear.
5. What do you feel is the biggest strength of your healing class and why?
As far as healing in Cataclysm goes, the Holy Paladin's biggest strength is Mana Efficiency. This point is proven every single patch as Blizzard frantically nerfs us to bring Holy Paladins down to the same level of efficiency as the rest of the healing classes, and each time the plate-wearin' battle medics just roll with it and keep bombing the big, expensive heal. Holy Paladins simply have a staggering array of unique methods that regenerate a silly amount of mana - Divine Plea, LoH and Judgements - in addition to options like potions and trinkets that are available to all classes. I continually find it astonishing how quickly I can make a dire mana situation comfortable again by just intelligently using the tools available.
6. What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your healing class and why?
Raid Healing, no question. With only Holy Radiance and Light of Dawn to add a tiny amount of AOE healing to a raid setting, Paladins are hard pressed to keep up with the other classes when the raid is taking a lot of damage. And if everyone is spread out then we're completely screwed.
Interestingly, Blizzard started Cataclysm with the goal that each healing class would be able to fulfill both tank and raid healing roles, and yet it seems that each change that they make pushes Holy Paladins back towards being specialized Tank Healers. I don't mind this because I actually like the idea of a degree of specialization in the healing classes, but I do find the inconsistency in Blizzard's approach a bit annoying. Am I as a Holy Paladin capable of being a Raid Healer that is as effective as a Shaman, Druid or Priest? As of 4.2, the answer is no.
7. In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best healing assignment for you?
In light of what I discussed in the previous question, my best healing assignment is on the tanks. We have a lot of flexibility and utility when it comes to Tank Healing that we simply can't bring to the raid. A single, skilled Holy Paladin can go a long way towards keeping two tanks up - although he will need some help.
8. What healing class do you enjoy healing with most and why?
I adore Paladin healing. There is a spell for any situation that can come up in an encounter and the Holy Paladin's answer is not necessarily limited to pouring more healing onto a target to solve it. Got too much threat? Hand of Salvation. The mage pulled aggro again and is about to die? Hand of Protection. Your tank is about to take a staggering amount of damage? Hand of Sacrifice. Ooops, the Tank is about to become worm food? Lay on Hands. Need an eight second vacation from all worries? Bubble, baby.
9. What healing class do you enjoy healing with least and why?
Well, I can't say that I'm an expert on the other healing classes. Aside from the Paladin, I have raid healed in WotLK with a Priest (both Holy and Discipline) and done low-level dungeons with my Shaman. My druid is still languishing at level 20, so I wouldn't say that I have a good grasp on tree healing yet.
Each of the different healing classes feels different, and I appreciate each one for what they do best. I enjoy my priest, and miss the days of the bubble-spamming discipline style. I also really like the little Shaman: There's nothing quite like healing with bouncing laser beams. And while I haven't got a good feel for Druid healing, I have always loved Heal Over Time spells, and that style of healing really appeals to me.
To avoid sounding like a complete cop-out, though, I suppose that the class that has the healing style that I like the least is probably the Shaman. I find that having all cooldowns tied to totems needlessly complex compared to the simplicity of the Paladin abilities. Having to turn off one ability - Healing Stream Totem, for example - to activate another and then remembering to reactivate the first one seems a lot more clunky than could possibly be fun. I can see myself healing a raid as a druid, but I'm not sure if I can keep all the various totems straight to the point where I could be effective on a Shaman. Time will tell, I guess.
10. What is your worst habit as a healer?
Well, one of the officers of my guild would say that it's letting Enhancement Shaman die too frequently.
As with most healers, I can tend to focus on my raid frames too much and not be as aware of what's going on around me as I should be. It's killed me more times than I can count. I call it getting Gridlocked.
Also, every now and then I'll accidentally hit the Whisper Reply button while healing and get stuck in the chat box and unable to heal or move. It's easy to tell when this happens to me, because I'll die and then immediately say, "11111111111wwwwwwqqqqqqqqq333333333" to the raid. It's kind of embarrassing, honestly. I can already see the comment section filling up with people telling me to switch to Clique.
11. What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while healing?
My biggest pet peeve when it comes to healing is when a Warlock Life Taps himself to the brink of death and then expects me to heal him mere seconds before a pull. This is why you guys are so squishy! Life Tap is a great tool, but it's not designed so that you don't ever have to use water to regenerate mana. All you're doing is forcing me to drink after I heal your lazy ass.
12. Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other healers for PvE healing?
If by well-balanced you mean ridiculously overpowered, then yes.
Seriously though, I think that Healing is in a good place right now and all of the healing classes are well balanced right now. Healing numbers in the raids that I've seen have been very close, and any healing class can top the meters on any given fight. A rare victory for the Bring the Player Not the Class concept.
13. What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a healer?
I use Recount, and I look at my spell choices and performance after most boss fights, particularly the wipes. I haven't really used World of Logs much, although I understand it's unrivaled as far as deep performance analysis goes.
But the main criteria that I use is the ol' Did my Healing Assignment Die? method.
14. What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your healing class?
The biggest misconception that people have about Holy Paladins is that they seem to think the we're not absolutely awesome in every way. Flaws are for other, lesser healing classes.
Another misconception is that all Holy Paladin players become extremely arrogant once they put on Intellect plate, and I have no idea why this myth keeps persisting. It's a mystery.
15. What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new healers of your class to learn?
The thing that most new Holy Paladins have a hard time getting used to is that one of the most fundamental things that must be done constantly has nothing to do with healing: Judging. Casting Judgment returns a significant amount of mana and gives us our Judgments of the Pure buff. The one thing it doesn't do is actually heal, so it's a little counter-intuitive that a healer should be wasting a Global Cooldown on it. Once that lesson is learned, mana problems tend to become a lot easier to deal with.
Also, it takes a long time for a new Paladin healer to get used to all of the utility spells that are available. There are a lot of them, and they aren't going to be something that will be used every single fight, but are extraordinarily powerful when used at the right time. Believe me, the Mage that's topping the meters will adore the Paladin that casts Hand of Salvation on them to help reduce their threat so they can rock out even more DPS.
16. If someone were to try to evaluate your performance as a healer via recount, what sort of patterns would they see (i.e. lots of overhealing, low healing output, etc)?
They would likely notice that I strictly follow my policy of never healing Rogues. Just kidding, I love my stealthy, backstabbing brethren.
A very close analysis of my healing logs would show a very good usage of short-term cooldowns such as Judgement and Holy Shock, and an appallingly poor usage of long-term ones. I admit, I'm awful at using my throughput cooldowns like Avenging Wrath or Divine Favor. It's a flaw that I'm working hard to overcome, and just put together a couple of new Power Auras to remind me to use them and let me know when they're available. I'm just always afraid that I'll use a cooldown and then not have it available when I truly need it. As far as flaws in my game go, this is probably the biggest.
17. Haste or Crit (or Mastery) and why?
I have always been a Haste fan. I like the responsiveness that haste allows, and the throughput benefits in undeniable. I ate, slept and pooped haste in Wrath of the Lich King.
However, with the changes to Mastery in 4.2, let's just say that I'm crit-curious. At some point I am going to experiment with a Crit/Mastery build and see how that goes. I'm pretty sure that the pure healing numbers will be great, but I'm not sure about how it's going to feel: Is it going to feel so slow and clunky as to make healing no fun? Are my heals going to arrive a split second too late all the time? I don't know, but at some point I'm going to give it a try.
18. What healing class do you feel you understand least?
Druids, for the simple reason that I haven't ever really played one before - at least not in any meaningful content. Although I do keep up with a lot of Druid bloggers, so I think I have a decent theoretical understanding of the class.
19. What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in healing?
I don't do any healing at all if Grid is not installed. It is my minimum requirement as far as addons go. Thankfully, the developers seems to respond quickly when Blizzard breaks it with a patch and it's downtime is typically very minimal. I also have GridManaBars and GridSideIndicators installed and customized. I have it configured just so, and it is a warm, fuzzy blanket of comfort when I step into a new dungeon because while the encounters may be unfamiliar, Grid is always there for me.
I also use Deadly Boss Mods, Mik's Scrolling Combat Text, Power Auras, Stuf Unit Frames (not the Raid Frames), Recount and Omen. I try to keep my user interface relatively stock and basic - it's more patch resistant that way - but I've been noticing that more and more addons have been creeping in as I try to improve my healing performance. But I really try to make Grid and Power Auras do most of the heavy lifting as opposed to having more addons.
20. Do you strive primarily for balance between your healing stats, or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?
A Holy Paladin that isn't stacking Intellect these days is an rarity, certainly. The secondary stats are more up in the air, however the vast majority of Holy Paladins came down on the side of Spirit and Haste. Unfortunately, until patch 4.2 our Crit and Master simply weren't good enough to bother with. Now that our mastery has been vastly improved there is a little more wiggle room for out-of-the-box thinking.
Well, there we go. 20 questions answered - some more thoroughly and less glibly than others, but answered nonetheless. I hope you enjoyed it or, at the least, didn't find it offensive. Now to tag two more healers representing different classes to pass it on.
I throw it over to Angelya of Revive and Rejuvinate and Oestrus of The Stories of O. I can't wait to see what these lovely ladies have to say.
EDIT: I also tagged Glorwynn of Heavy Wool Bandage to answer this questionnaire as well. She has answered here from her unique perspective as a dedicated, but low-level healer. Give her a read!