Hey, what's going on, guys? It's Jack! While it's way too early for any sort of tier business, I wanted to take the time to talk about what I think the dragon flight healer meta could be looking like for raiding based off past experience, based off of some of the different things I've seen from the dungeon journal, which is available now, as well as just some impressions from very early on raid tiers. Having rated all the mythic raid to yours forever and ever and ever going on eight nine years now or something, what some of those impressions are going to be bringing to the table first and foremost, I wanted to talk about a couple different chapters so you can check them out below and skip around.
Healer Metas Form
First and foremost, I want to talk about how these healer metas are built, because sometimes it just magically appears that one class or spec just starts being insanely good and insanely powerful, and sometimes there's an easy way that teams can get it precisely right. The best teams in the world get everything precisely right. Other times, they're going to be going to the last boss, most notably in the Battle of Dazar'alor, where a lot of different guilds went to Jaina's progress and were like, "Damn, resto druid was middling at best for most of that tier, but it would have been really good for these teams to be able to have one as they got to the final boss." Sometimes you're able to perfectly nail it, and other times, if you're not seeing an impending need or desire to go after that one specific healer for the very end boss, you skip it and you move on with what you have.
Part of it definitely comes into what you‘re gearing obviously healers not going to be the primary sources of loot or primary uh delivery section to be able to insert loot into and even more so going into dragonflight when there is going to be master looter or master looter-esque type of loot systems going on with that there's going to have to be a lot more research a lot more focus and maybe just a lot more m plus runs done for those healers to be able to actually get them some shreds of gear to be able to actually be playable or be able to run with the races as the dps are just going to be fed like mad going into it.
How Raids Impacts Meta
Utility has absolutely been a very important tier, as I mentioned in last tiers. Shaman was really a good tier for utility value, notably on fights like Rastakhan, where you could let your tank die, let the anc totem res them, and then be able to reset tank stacks and do it all over again. Sometimes, a certain spec's utility is just crazy valuable on a load of different boss fights and other times it does come down to we just need a lot of output.
Nyalotha seems to have some similarities to the sepulcher of the first ones with how heavily they have ramped up ticking damage where there are lots of low to mid-level hits that are going out onto the raid rather than something that you can see out of like sire and atherius in phase one where there are just explosions of damage and bursts all over the place that could wipe you out if you don’t have a defensive up or absorbs up or something like that with spirit.
This shows that there is a lot to consider in terms of how raids come into play, and when we are testing raid content, we need to take into account how the raids will impact the game. This is partially dependent on the type of damage that people are taking, but it is also dependent on which healers are pumping out the most healing. For example, in Uldir, way back at the beginning of BFA, holy paladins did terrible throughput. I'm not even trying to exaggerate - if you played a holy paladin back then, you know what I'm talking about.
Holy paladins were still brought because of their devo aura, but they were just terrible in terms of their raw output, which made it so you're not stacking two of them, for example, while resto druid was incredibly good with their two-minute tranq and just how much output it did. But after all deer they nerfed down tranquility or one of his talents that was supporting it—I can't remember—and then that hurt the spec the entire rest of the expansion. Meanwhile, holy paladin after all deer got glimmer of light and that skyrocketed them the rest of the expansion. So when classes have this utility built into them, namely disc priest or holy paladin, there are times where, whether it's their own planning from scaling where it seems like disc priest and holy paladin are not scaling really well in sepulcher, or whether it's just part of the plan, part of the nerfs or buffs that go into classes.
Before we dive into the first raid tier, which is still yet to happen because we have to do raid testing first, one way or another throughput always plays a factor. Utility is always going to play a factor, and how that utility is actually going to impact the fights also plays a factor. We always talk about this priest and how amazing that power barrier can be, which is true, but you get into a fight like ilganov back in nialotha or if you want more present example something along the lines of fate scribe where yeah you could have some uses for barrier on a fight like fake scribe but they’re usually very mid where it's okay you run out there's going to be an explosion from the ad far away usually nobody is actually going to be dying from it unless it was very very early on in the tier but the value of disc on a fight like that was that you’re able to heal everybody when they’re spread off to the four winds and there’s mass damage occurring which is not something that every healer heather’s going to be able to do so you do have that sort of output and how your output is delivered as well as your utility and how your utility starts getting delivered.
Sepulcher is probably the biggest outlier when it comes to raid instances because of the combination of low to mid-level ticks of damage without as much burst soul rendered dormazine and sanctum had just a pretty flat level of ticking damage the entire encounter to keep the healers busy but there wasn't that much going on. So, for a lot of bleeding edge prog, it was healers do damage until it's actually time to break chains and then when you need to break chains, it's just all the cool downs and gobs and gobs of damage reduction burst healing with disk ramps you name it to be able to stem the tide and be able to hold the line to keep everybody alive until the next chain until the next chain to the next chain. Whereas, in sepulcher, you have fights like skullex which is just mass ticking damage. You would have what was pretty difficult fight early on with the pantheon of death where you just had steady ticking damage that just got into overwhelming damage that was ticking everybody so quickly for tons and tons of damage onto the entire raid until you popped a seed which increased all your output. Which actually really heavily favored consistent output healers like holy priests or miss weaver or resto druid.
Even though the rest of the group drew aggro kind of has his ramps but that goes to say that throughput started outweighing a lot of utility indifferent cases lahuvin was a bit of an interesting encounter because of the benefit of being able to kill off two adds at the start of the fight where you could three heal the fight use a disc priest have them pop their omega ramp and barrier and everything to be able to heal up their ten party uh group kill off that ad and then everybody would kind of merge together again and then just felt really terrible the rest of the fight.
Some of those encounters are just about how you can manipulate the raid group and the healer’s strengths to be able to make it work on that particular encounter, but Sepulcher by and large is such a weird outlier because there are odd mixes of like jailer having lots of small bursts while needing a lot of spot healing on bomb targets or azerite beam targets out at range, while you would also just have rygalon which says just put as much healing output as you can on the entire fight every single global—the healer is casting as much as they can—and in both of those cases this had, I mean, on rygalon not really much of a home there, but on jailer it was like the most tight and narrow of windows with which to be able to produce its output.
Now that sort of brings us into the weirdest and probably worst tier the disc has had in a number of years but it required so much oddity in encounter design to actually make that happen coupled with the fact that disc was also not scaling well throughout the raid so once you kind of got through it in raid race for those cutting edge level guilds it just fell off a cliff in terms of its representation because it just didn’t really work out well when everyone’s health pool's increased all the other healers power levels were increasing and they were running things that were protecting them from overheal like the night fae conduit.
Looking at Dragonflight
Keep in mind all of this is coming to come into my thinking when it comes to what dragonflight is gonna be going after because there’s a number of different concerning things about dragonflights healers as they look so far again everything can change and i'm not trying to put together some kind of tier list to be able to influence your decision making right now but i do want to be able to add a sort of highlight to certain concerning things that I’ve already seen so far and what they could possibly be doing to fix it most notably.
Utility is king right we've seen it a billion times where holy paladins and disc priests and pretty often shamans are getting mixed into standard raid metas time and time again, in sanctum we saw the tear capped off by double disc double holy pally and a smattering of shamans here and there a couple guilds were even running with a mist weaver which became the farm king of sanctum of domination but in many cases it was just burst output damage reduction and passive healer damage that disc priest and holy paladin brought out the wazoo with the coming raid tier or the coming expansion.
There's some healers which can completely drop so much of their damage like holy priests where they can choose to not spec into holy fire or chastise if they don’t want to and can run like a damageless build meanwhile mitsweaver is able to take damage buffs in its class tree to be able to further amplify its damage they're pretty easily able to take things like feline stomp which can be an output increase which can be a healing increase which can be a damage increase that they can utilize very frequently so some of the healers are embracing that sort of damage and other ones can completely shy away from it to be able to encourage their output for healing instead of damage.
When it comes to utility probably my biggest concern at the moment is the fact that mist weaver and resto druid and evoker all have a lot of utility in their class trees but don't have tons of crazy utility in their spec trees and what that means is that you could just bring a wind walker or bring a balance through it or bring whoever instead of bringing that healer spec because the utility that they’re getting from those class trees is going to be the same.
In the case of mist weaver there is the avoidance speed or leech buffs that you can give you might be able to have two monks and then one gives leech and then one gives avoidance or something like that i think that could be pretty decent but the king of it is going to be avoidance and damage reduction which it almost certainly will you’re going to be bringing that and once you bring that the value of the other ones are going to start falling off just a bit so when it comes to mist weaver's value to the raid or even evoker right evoker we have talked about a little bit on this channel but it's been you know kind of the capstone one of the crowning achievements of the new expansion as usual but i'm super worried that the spec is just going to be like very situational in terms of its use as preservation in a raid group because all you need to have is one evoker to be able to bring some of the utility like zephyr or maybe time spiral if you wanted to be able to add that mobility into the mix but I think there's other often better options.
I would argue for that sort of movement speed that gets brought into the table but it's just strange because there is that emphasis on class utility, meanwhile on the actual spec trees yeah okay mist weaver's got its revival okay there’s rewind for evoker which is sort of like a hot based potential greater output than revival and then of course you have a billion different things going on with tranq and tons of output options when it comes to resto druid but what’s gonna make you feel really good about bringing one of those three healer specs to the table.
You might notice I left out holy priest because they actually are getting a little bit more utility into the mix by having their divine hymn further amplify healing given to the raid that's pretty good it’s nothing as insane as say holy paladin’s getting damage reduction from devotion aura and a healing amplifier on devotion aura as well to help you tipoff the raid once you've mitigated the damage yeah it's pretty good but it's just to show the fact that there’s some specs that are not really inherently bringing some extra oomph to the table and they’ve really been reliant throughout all the time that i've been rating on these odd situations or these just heavy cut downs of the utility bringers of disc priests and holy paladins and sometimes shamans reliant upon them doing poorly in order for them to start seeing representation in hardcore rating at higher levels.
Mist weaver until this point was the newest healer to the game and it's one of the least represented throughout all of shadowlands rating because of this utility problem and we saw how resto druid for example was just kind of in the grave alongside miss sweeper through a lot of shadowlands and then it takes one really powerful tier like sepulcher and then you start seeing everybody rolling to it everybody switching to it everybody playing it holy priest in a mythic plus environment never saw those i can assure you of that until they started increasing its damage increasing its healing increasing a lot of the reasons why you bring a healer to a key environment and so when what i'm trying to say though is that there’s output increases that'll push people to be able to play a certain spec but there’s also natural utility that is the entire reason that you feel good being a holy paladin being a disc priest being whatever you're consistently bringing to the table and is sought after in hardcore environments and some specs for the longest time.
You just don’t have those things or they have incredibly weak versions of it so what i'm saying is as we get into dragon flight we have very wide talent trees we have talent trees with lots of options to them and lots of different ways that you are able to buff your group a lot of different ways that you can deliver your output you know shaman as we mentioned previously not a great healer on a spread encounter but they can at least spec into primordial wave to help make up for this so that they won’t feel like they're tied to everyone being stacked together.
Evoker doesn’t really have that option at the moment from their class tree which absolutely concerns me but what also concerns me is the fact that evoker, mist weaver and of course resto druid are just bringing middling utility primarily through their class trees which could put them at a disadvantageous position compared toother specs like disc priest and holy paladins who are naturally bringing unique and often irreplaceable utility and it's built into their specialization trees.
The dragonflight talent trees are a wonderful change they're also very wide giving you a lot of options and a lot of different opportunities to change how you want to play and what you bring to the the raid group as i mentioned before holy priests can just opt to just do no damage whatsoever and they can spec more heavily into healing, other specs are able to naturally have their damage increases in class trees and that's okay there needs to be a difference but what i'm saying first and foremost is that if there ever were a time to raise the red flag and raise the attention to the lack of utility that certain healers are bringing the lack of balance across the natural tools that are being brought around the table for the world first race and which will naturally influence the specs that people are playing from a casual level it’s got to be now.
These trees are coming further and further together the final product is getting closer and I’m worried that we're still going to get into the same sort of paladin this priest holy er uh paladin disorientate shaman meta because they bring very unique tools that nobody else has for the table i think something's Gott give i think something's got to change and i think that the consequences of it not changing would be that a lot of people will err away from playing preservation evoker in a raiding environment because this healing is very one-dimensional and very polarizing and in that it's hot or not you're amazing if everybody's stacked together and you are not if anybody has to spread and because it doesn’t bring spec utility it brings class utility which could be replaced by a devastation evoker and that would not be the first time as we can even see with monks.
Monks have had the physical damage aura for a very long time and it just brought brewmaster into the tank meta almost every single tier without fail, something that needs to be changing and if there ever were a time to start making adjustments that would have a long-term impact on the healer meta it needs to be today.
Thanks so much for watching guys let me know what you think if you agree disagree let me know down in the comments below be sure to join our discord as well for our dragonflight beta discussion and i'll let you guys know what we start getting some more videos out for evoker because as i mentioned in this one they need some help, thanks so much for watching guys hope you all enjoyed it I’ll catch y'all next time!