If you had to increase the healing done to your raid, would you like:
- A healer that casts healing spells.
- A healer that casts very few healing spells but can prevent damage from being done.
- A hybrid class that can give 1,000 healing per second to a small number of people, but does no other healing.
So, on the off-chance you cannot see through my clever ruse and want to know what I am talking about, the numbers correspond to the following (in WotLK):
- Holy priest
- Disc priest
- Shadow priest
And of course I have not provided enough framework to the question for you to be able to answer it properly. The simple answer: It depends, obviously. The question is posed more as a thinking exercise than anything else. Each of the three options have potential benefits and could serve a key role in a raid.
The round-about point I am trying to make is: Why do we not think of shadow priests as healers? Discipline priests are a breed of fairly non-standard healers, specializing more in damage prevention than actual healing in WotLK. What about seeing shadow priests with their party-only health-regen as another wacky type of healer? Perhaps as the strange, eccentric Uncle Al of the healing family?
What buff am I talking about? Vampiric Embrace! With talents, 25% of the shadow damage done by shadow priests is given as healing to all their party members. This is nothing new. In WotLK, the spell will still scale in the same way: 25% damage done -> party healing. The thing is, we will be doing a ton more damage in WotLK. In “endgame” level 80 raiding, I do not find it unreasonable to assume we could pull off close to 4k DPS, properly geared, gemmed, enchanted, and inscribed (obviously, more testing is needed in that regard, but I think that number is a fair hypothesis). That is 1,000 healing per second for their whole party for the whole raid. Yes, incoming raid damage will increase, but from what I understand, not nearly as much as DPS output will.
Sure, you may laugh at 1,000 healing per second. Perhaps you do not find it game-breaking in WotLK. But what about two shadow priests in a group? Or three? What stops us from stacking four into a main tank group? Even if you pair down my estimate, a steady 3,000 healing per second on a main tank through an entire encounter might make things too easy.
But there is that magic word: stacking.
We know Blizzard is trying to limit just this: stacking an “abnormal” amount of characters of a particular class/spec for raid optimization.
Will Vampiric Embrace be changed?
My educated guess? Definitely.
In the meantime, let us fantasize about raids containing only shadow priests and tanks. It’s fun to dream.