After tunnel visioning my main for a while, decided to return to one of my alts. Im thinking about healing stuff for a change, and was wondering about something.
I had experience as holy pala healing in tbc/wrath/cata, and very minor resto shaman cata healing experience, but a lot of stuff has changed since then.
Could someone please tell me in a few words about how each healing class/spec currently works and performs? What is it good at, what is it bad at, is it fun to play, is it weak/strong compared to others, how does it feel, etc?
IIRC the choice is:
Rpriest/Dpriest (i always disliked priests, so i very very much doubt ill play them)
Monk spec (dream, was it?)
I play a holy pally and we have a resto shammy and a disc priest that I typically heal with. As far as overall performance, they're all good. Disc is probably the strongest right now in terms of raw throughput because of spirit shell.
Pally - plays very different than what you are used to. We now can 'store' holy power up to 5, making it easier for us to throttle our healing. Eternal Flame, beacon and mastery shields are the bulk of our healing now, since Radiance has been changed significantly since cata. While still strong, its no longer the go-to spell it was in dragon soul. Generally speaking, I really like the playstyle, utility and power this tier. I'm also really liking how easy it is to tailor the talent builds and healing style to specific fights.
Druid - have the least experience here so I can't say much. I've seen them heal in pug raids successfully, and they do bring some really nice utility to raids with their cd's, but you aren't likely to seen many topping meters if theirs a pally/disc priest or shamman around.
Shaman - mastery makes them a little funny. Their healing power diminishes as your raid gears up and gets better at executing fights because their numbers depend on people being at lower health. However, they have arguably one of the strongest set of cd's available between healing tide, ascendance and spirit link. Shamans play in a constant maintenance style between keeping various buffs, HoT's and totems up throught the fight, and then putting out some powerful cd's when needed.
Holy priest - again, don't know much from first hand experience but a fellow raid member plays one and seems to like it just fine. Holy's in a bit of a wierd place right now with disc being as strong as it is. Most 10's groups are going to prefer a disc priest for the extra damage of atonement and the power of spirit shell. If you want to play holy, don't let that stop you. It's still a strong spec when played well.
Disc priest - probably the strongest all around healer at the moment. Spirit Shell is hands down one of the best cd's available simply because of how it works (and it scales with mastery, though that's being nerfed in 5.2). Disc brings nice utility to raids in that they add damage through atonement which can help if your raid needs help killing adds more quickly or beating an enrage timer.
Mistweaver Monk - Sadly, again, no serious experience here. They have a few options for playstyle, one of which is to function something like a disc priest with atonement where their melee damage translates to healing. Monks have been brought down significantly since release and are pretty much in line with other healers now, but still quite capable.
When it really comes down to it, any of the specs can be competitive in the right hands. There are situations when one will perform much better than others (see holy pallies EF blanketting on Garalon, or disc using spirit shell on force and verve on zor'lok).
A few more points - could you tell me more about Hpala currently?
Also, how would you recommend leveling 85-90? I have a hpala in cata holy gear, 0 tank/dps gear. Dungeon spam or?
That's actually roughly what I levelled with in MoP. I took a break at the end of Cata and vendored most of my OS gear. I ended up going ret because I still had a ret weapon and just wore my holy set for the rest. You'll end up with most of a full gear set by the end fo jade forest anyway, so its really not much of a setback, and having a holy set available for dungeon runs is pretty nice.
As far as holy pallies right now, I really like where we're at for PvE. PvP is good too but I don't do much of that. We've gotten a lot of new spells in MoP, mostly through talents. The biggest change to healing style comes from Eternal Flame. Because it gives a powerful and long duration HoT effect to word of glory, its already pretty strong. Add on that the HoT ticks trigger mastery shields as well as funneling healing through beacon of light makes it our big throughput heal this tier.
Apart from that, I've really enjoyed the utility we have available, as well as how I can adjust to specific fights both in playstyle and build. Out of our talent trees, I've used 11 of our 18 possible talents just in tier 14, and there are a few more that I could see being used if I were to change my playstyle for some fights.
Beyond that, you just have to go play it for yourself to get a feel for it. Good luck.
Questing is imo still the way to go. I'd say do the dungeon quests but then get to questing. You should be able to quest ok as shockadin up until you get to the hozen or jinyu base in jade forrest (or level with a dps friend until you get there). There you can purchase the "Adventuring Supplies" green gear for ret and level as that. IMO leveling as ret is the way to go, you don't really "learn" anything by leveling as holy. You should find holy to be much the same except with a few more CDs and less holy radiance. However, leveling as ret will help you by allowing you the opportunity to learn to play an off spec, which is a greatly needed skill in hybrid classes. Especially this xpac so far is it pretty important for healers to have an off spec due to the amount of rep we have to grind through dailies and the fluctuation in the number of healers per encounter.