For quite a while, I'd been picking up healing items that no one else wanted. (Since most of our healers have been priests, it's been fairly easy for me to pick up healing leather that might drop.) In the last few months, I'd picked up several pieces, and I'd been feeling a yen to try them out.
I'd tried to heal with my feral spec for a stealth run on Sunday, May 19, with so-so results; we managed to down Mennu the Betrayer and Rokmar the Crackler, but couldn't down Quagmirran in two tries.
For our Karazhan run on May 22, the right combination of circumstances arose for me to go resto for a while. We had two tanks, so I wasn't needed there, and two experienced healers signed up but no junior healers, so I could attend as a junior healer.
It was pretty stressful that night--especially since one of the healers who had signed up wasn't able to make it, so it was just me and one experienced healer. But we muddled through with a fair bit of success. I didn't spread heals around nearly as much as my more experienced partner--but that was exactly the failure mode I was expecting.
We had difficulty on Maiden of Virtue--exactly the boss you'd expect to cause difficulty for an inexperienced healer--but made it through to clear Curator as usual.
I wanted to heal a heroic on Thursday, but we had no tanks log on. So I went looking for a PUG. I found someone seeking a healer for a Slave Pens run, and gave them an offer full of disclaimers: "I just respecced to resto yesterday. I have Karazhan-level gear, but poor skills." I got an invitation that said "no problem, this will be a good training run." With a paladin tanking and two shadow priests among the DPS, it turned out to be a very easy run indeed--mana wasn't an issue at all. We blazed through Slave Pens with only a couple of deaths, and then went on to run heroic Black Morass for dessert.
I got to heal for a guild run through heroic Black Morass on the weekend, which was a little more of a challenge--we had just enough DPS to down one elite before the next portal opened. I lost one member of the party, but managed to bring him back with a battle resurrection.
On Monday, then, I went to heal for the back half of Karazhan. (The Friday run had been called for lack of players.) We had two of our senior healers along, but all of my 'I'll wipe the raid with my incompetence' fears were back.
It ended up going very smoothly. We cleared Shade of Aran, Terestian Illhoof, Chess, Prince Malchezaar, and Nightbane--our first time clearing all of those in one evening. I had the healing rhythm down well enough that I could watch the fight a bit instead of just the health bars. And I ended up doing roughly as much healing as the two senior healers combined.
Now, I don't claim that this means I was a better healer than those two healers--though I do claim that it means that I was a solid part of the healing team. There are several solid reasons why I might have ended up with more healing:
- in tree form, I really can't do anything except heal. If I'm providing enough healing, it makes sense for the other two healers to contribute the DPS they can. In particular, the resto shaman did a lot of good with his interrupts on Shade of Aran.
- Since my main form of healing is a HoT that ticks once per second, it's very easy for me to get two ticks of a HoT onto the tank between the time he tanks damage and any other healer can land a heal.
- I was overcompensating since I didn't know how hard the healing would be, so I had a full suite of healing elixirs and consumables. Experienced healers could take it a bit easier.
I had so much mana regeneration that mana was really never an issue for me in the whole evening. I drank some water once or twice after some of our wipes, and I Innervated myself once. I wasn't even in the group with the casters, which had our shaman and our shadow priest for good mana regeneration. I didn't even have any mana challenges on the ten-minute Nightbane fight--though I did get the benefits of the shaman's mana tide totems in that fight. Not having mana challenges is a good thing for me--I'm still at the stage of trying to make sure I'm distributing enough healing, and I don't want to worry about mana as well.
Soloing with my resto spec has been more of a challenge. I can still down things in cat form, but I can't power through lots of adds the way I can with my feral spec.
I've now gone back to my feral spec, because I'm planning to tank Zul'Aman tonight. But I've made some tweaks to my feral spec--with a more healy feral spec and better healing skills, I might be able to heal well enough to down Quagmirran on heroic now.