Llyra from the Healing Way blog is starting a series of posts on Healing and fun from the perspective of WoW development. I thought there were a lot of interesting points which I wanted to give my perspective on.
Can healer's enjoy solo-ing? With dual-spec, does this even matter anymore?
So from 70-80 I actually ended up preferring a holy/disc leveling spec for my Priest rather than Shadow. This is mostly because my spirit levels were so high from my raiding 70 gear, that any build with Spirit Tap would have zero downtime, and my spellpower was high enough that mobs would never live long enough for the very long dots to tick to their full extent. In contrast, holy has a spammable damage-up-front spell, and can spec to actually make this damage totally fine for solo content.
With the advent of dual-specs, Llyra discards the idea that this will make hardcore raiders pick a dps spec as a second spec, as they can now min/max even further. While this is totally true for Priests, and I actually do have 2 healing specs on my priest even though I am not a hardcore raider; I don't think this is very true for the other healing classes. I'm not even sure what talent points I would want that I'm not already getting on my Shaman. Maaybe Healing Focus. I've already told you why I don't like Improved Reincarnation. Other than Priests, who have two very different healing trees, the other healing classes are viable in their cookie cutter specs.
How can Blizzard make healing more fun?
Obviously I don't know if this applies to me- I played a DPS class (Rogue) for about a year and got pretty bored, after which I leveled my Priest and that became my main for the next 2 years. I really don't think I'd ever consider playing as my main any class that doesn't at least have the capacity to heal on it. While I do really enjoy the occasions that I get to DPS in my ele spec for a 5-man or for a specific boss where we scale down our healers, it's more of a vacation than anything else; I don't think I'd be happy dpsing every day. DPSing just doesn't seem dynamic enough for me, while healing forces you to constantly be reacting.
That being said, I think the biggest barrier to entry for healers, is that it really is almost unimaginable to be a raid healer without mods. The default user interface just doesn't cut it. It doesn't normally bother me, but I was trying to make a character on the PTR, and I didn't want to migrate all my mods. I found that I had no problems dpsing things there, but I just didn't want to deal with the default UI when it came to healing. I'm sure I could approximate the functions of Grid/Clique (or Vuhdo or Healbot) with the default unit frames and mouseover macros, but it wouldn't be elegant, and it would be pretty miserable overall.
Blizzard has got to be aware that their default unit frames aren't adequate. This would be fantastic if they addressed it some way. In general, I'm having fun as it is though ;)