Back in January (and) I had been discussing the differences in healing capabilities of my two main characters – my Paladin and my Druid. And at the time I had said I preferred my Paladin for raid healing and my Druid for PVP healing.
I enjoy both styles of healing very much, though I’m leaning toward the Holy Paladin as my preferred Raid healer and my Resto Druid as my preferred PVP healer. If you are new to healing either would be a terrific choice to start out as.
But after getting some additional opportunities to raid heal on my Druid where I concentrated to a greater extent on just keeping HOTs up on as many people as I could, keeping Regrowth and Rejuv up on the tanks, and throwing Wild Growth out whenever it was up, I may have to change my mind about that. In those instances – like in a 10-man run – where you only have one or perhaps two other healers, the greater heal over time and AOE healing abilities of the Druid class really come to the fore. I topped out at over 5.1k HPS on Koralon and Emalon in VOA-10 yesterday for example. Admittedly those fights offer a lot of AOE damage and for the most part, everyone is in groups during both of those fights. But the other healer was a Resto Shaman, so I would have thought he’d have been closer to me healing wise, yet he was only getting up to around 2.5-2.7k HPS on both of those fights. I’ve healed those fights on my Paladin and topped out around 4-4.3k HPS.
I think the biggest difference really comes down to mana efficiency though. In heroics both of my healers are geared well enough where I hardly have any mana issues. With my Paladin judging I never go below 95% mana in heroics and generally have zero issues healing anything that is thrown at the group. Likewise with my Druid I usually just keep the tank Rejuv’ed and throw Wild Growth up to cover the group. Occasionally I might have to throw a Rejuv on someone else, but even keeping Rejuvs up on everyone in the group and keeping Wild Growth up on the group as well doesn’t run me into many mana issues. However I do notice a difference. Whereas I can almost heal with total impunity to mana usage on my Paladin, I do have to exercise greater discipline on my Druid. I definitely notice whether there is mana regen coming from the group or not. In those groups where there is mana regen I will only occasionally have to use my Innervate, but in those groups where there isn’t mana regen I’ll have to use Innervate on those fights that cause a lot of group damage and require me to keep heals on everyone.
It’s a fairly stark difference in that I pay almost no attention to MP5 on my Paladin, gemming almost entirely for either SP, or SP/Haste. Whereas on my Druid every red slot is a SP gem, and every blue slot is a SP/Spirit gem. I pay great attention to my mana regen stats like Spirit and MP5 and I’ve compared what I have with other good Druid healers. I’m very comparable, so I know the difference isn’t a case of me gemming incorrectly. I haven’t run myself out of mana either in heroics or in raids, however I could definitely run out of mana in a raid if I did not pay close attention to my mana usage and use my Innervate whenever it was up. While I love healing on my Paladin, I think that’s simply an issue that Blizzard really does need to look at to a greater extent. Especially if you look at mana efficiency across all healers. In my raids it’s always the Priests that seem to run out of mana first, or come very close to it. When running as Moonkin in my raids I’m forever having to give my Innervates to our Priests. Now I’ve never healed as a Priest, however I’ve raided with enough over the years to see they definitely have mana efficiency issues, so I know it’s not just my imagination when I speak about it comparatively between the Paladin and Druid. In the greater scheme of things, healing capabilities across all the healing classes are somewhat the same, but mana efficiency is not.
Everything being the same with that I’m not so certain I prefer Holy Paladin healing in raid settings over Resto Druid healing any more. However I definitely still do prefer Druid healing for PVP. Mobility is everything in PVP, notwithstanding the 12-second total immunity a Paladin’s bubble gives them. I’ve found it’s just too easy to lock down a Paladin in PVP. Even locked down for a matter of seconds, HOTs ticking on my Druid have saved me so many times that it’s simply too great to ignore. Coming with an ability to get out of most roots/snares, and the speed advantages of travel form make a Resto Druid a dangerous healer in PVP.
Mana efficiency is even more of a problem in PVP than it is in PVE, as your gear does not generally favor regen stats or survivability stats. However, once you get into what I would call good healing gear, and by gemming with Resil/Spirit gems, you can get to very acceptable mana regeneration though you will still have to use innervate regularly as well. My PVP healing set is all Furious/Relentless, with three pieces or Wrathful at the moment. Though my weapon is a PVE staff. As with PVE healing, I have to pay no attention what so ever to my mana efficiency on my Paladin, so the only differentiation comes down to mobility in my mind.
We’ll call it a draw for PVE healing, but for PVP I’m all about Druid healing.