I've played them all decently long enough to pick Priest and Pally to be the most fun.
Druids are amazing in PvP, just being so mobile while healing is OP, and a multitude of abilities and CC help tremendously. PvE I found them to be a bit boring, and get into trouble easy with such slow healing in a panic moment. Swiftmend is great don't get me wrong here, but sometimes it's just not enough, and on CD to often. Best class to have around in constant aoe fight though! Mmmmm, regen alllll dayyyy.
Shammies are killer in PvP, fast healing and huge healing, mobility is very good aswell. Able to pump out some dps/cc/interupts in a pinch. Purge is WAYYYY OP here. They shine just aswell in PvE too, but seem to suffer from the '2 button' syndrome more then the other healers do now. Chainheal is still godly, and their new HoT is a wonderfull new addtion to their arsenal, giving you more time to get the party back up before you need to go back to the tank.
Priest is always fun as you have such a wide array of buttons you can press, given any situation. PvP, eventhough they may be a clothie, still survive alot of damage by brute healing force/mitigation. Mana burns, mass dispelling, and solid AOE heals ensure you will never be unhappy having one by your side. They have been at it a long time, and are VERY good at their job, much like warriors.
Pallies have come a long way since the 2 button sterotype that is still thrown around incorrectly. They have a VERY good shield now, no need to stack mp5 in place of more healing power, and finaly almost an AOE heal! They really are at the point of if played inteligently, one of the strongest healers there is. This is what has drawn me to them, quite challenging to be effective in a multitude of situaions. Loken is pie, despite the rumors!
Last edited by Proffessor; 01-07-2009 at 11:30 AM.
I have a Warrior, a Paladin, a Druid and a Priest. I've played all my healing capable characters as Healings specced ones at level 70 at some point for various reasons. My Druid is now 79 (my warrior is level 80).
My personal preference:
I don't play a shaman, and I will refrain from comment on them too much. I can't place them on my preference list fot that matter.
Druids are extremely versitile healers. They lack burst healage, but have plenty of "oh shit" buttons like Swiftmend etc so they can pump out some big haling fast when needed.
Druid excell at healing "on the fly". The can move and heal, making them excellent for certain fights. They have a few great raid "extras" in the form of Rebirth and Innervate as well as the ability to be very creative with their abilities and shapes. FInally they are above average AoE healers through Tranquility (another one of those "oh shit" buttons) and Wild Growth. All these options rolled together make them a really nice choice.
The thing that makes druids fun is also their downside. They have LOADS of abilities and capabilties, and playing a druid right, and getting timings on spells right requires some practice. The poorest thing about druids right now is Gift of the Wild. It's just useless, even when talented for it. When compared to Blessing of Kings, Fortitude etc GotW is laughable. It's not a biggie though, and they are very enjoyable to play imho.
Paladins are possibly the easiest healing class to master. Their basic package consists of only two heals, a fast one and a slow one. I don't feel they are boring though, as Paladins bring a lot of raid versitility. Survivability, aggro drops, awesome buffs, cleansing, you name it, Paladins bring it. They stack well in raids too, making it nice to have several of them along. It's one of those classes which always comes in use. Their easy initial learning curve, and indepth value make them my second choice.
Priests have it all really. A nice HoT, a good AoE heal, a nice fast heal, and a slow big heal as well as a good array of options to deal with any situation. They suffer from the same thing as Druids really. Choosing the right ability at the right time is essential. Priests are not as good at healing on the run as Druids are, but that's offset by their allround awesome array of spells. The have heals on demand for every situation.
Having said that, I don't really like Priest healing. It's too many "dings and dongs" rolled into one for me. because you have so many capabilties, you also watch for LOADS of things. If you liek that Priest is the healer for you, it's not my thing though.
As I said above, I do not play a shaman. Based on experiences I have with shaman healing my while tanking I'll make a few comments.
Shamans, like Paladins, bring a lot to a raid other than healing. Their totems make them adaptable to just about every setup and fight. They don't have a huge array of healing options, but the one that pops out over the others is Chain Heal. Chain Heal is made of pure win for melee, and although Wild Growth and Circle of Healing potentially can do a lot more, it's nice, on demand AoE heals. I wouldn't know where to place em on my preference list though, haven't played one at all.
My main is a tank. I have excellent experiences with all of these classes. If I do have the name a favorite one to be healed by I'll go with Druids and Shamans though. Druids because of their move and heal potential, as well as the easy with which they can deal with CC-ing and silencing mobs/bosses. Shamans because of the way they can adapt to any group with their totems and improve the group in that way.
You underestimate the druid buff eide. It gives 50 to each stat and armor that stacks with all other buffs. For a class like ret or hunter that benefit greatly from a larger mana pool but cannot stack Int effectively the 50 bonus to int is much nicer than 10%. Classes like rogues or enhance shamans get attack power from str and agility but stack agility.
Don't get me wrong resto druids bring little to the raid buff table especially considering the major overall they gave to boomkins making them give more benefits to raid casters than any other class. Mark of the wild shouldn't be taken lightly though.
Also between swiftmend (instant 10k crits every 15 seconds), nourish (8k crit flash heal) and natures swift + HT (instant 13k crits) I never had trouble with spike damage as a druid. Spike damage is where you can clearly see who is doing well on druid heals and who is good at padding heal meters when choosing what druid healer to bring to a raid.
the 51 to all stats is only when MotW is talented. Only resto druids will possible have it talented, as both ferals and moonkins will opt for Furor. In that case MotW is only 37 points.
I agree that every bit counts, but if you put MotW up next to BoK, even talented 51 straight up vs 10% is not so great to say the least. Fort gives 165 Stamina, something all classes benefit from. Most classes benefit from about 3 stats. Of course, gaining 37 points (51 when talented) to each of those is nice, but realisticly, it's not a buff which will have the raid crying if they don't get it. (I'll leave the question whether any buff is worth that out there).
Secondly, the burst thing. I agree with what you're saying. I kinda was looking at Greater Heal and comparing it to HT, which really isn't a fair comparison when you look at Druid and Priest toolsets. Druids have quite a few options, and the trap they got really is not the be lured into idling when thhe HoTs are ticking away, but staying on the ball.
I'd really like to see some numbers instead of "it's good !". maybe somebody could give some information about actual cast time, heal %crit and effective mana cost or an estimation like " you'll never get oom with that" ( with balanced naxx10 equipment i'd suggest...)
that way you should be able to "imagine" how that healer you might want to play really works. (e.g. im curious if shamans are good MT healers because HW seems to burn a lot of mana while LHW seems to be too weak...)
come on, there's got to be a way to campare those healers effectively ;D
Background: Raided @ 70 as both a Holy & Disc Priest; Raiding @ 80 as a Resto Druid; Have borrowed friend's Resto Shaman and Holy Paladin to see what it was like.
Paladin: I hate healing on a Paladin. This is entirely subjective, but it almost requires a mod like clique to be effective in any other role besides a MT/OT healer. Now, when I tank there is noone I would prefer healing me over a Paladin (perhaps a Disc Priest). As stated before: next to no threat; versitile buffs (always need 2-3 in a raid); great aura's; wipe prevention; Plate Armor.
Shaman: Chain Heal is AMAZING for situations where you need to assist healing the MT and the Melee is taking damage as well, or something similar (many fights have this). With all their new abilities, they are a valuable addition to the raid in that it allows the MT/OT healer to breath a little easier due to the Shaman's heals bouncing off the tank. I didn't really like playing them, however. This is because they seem too limited regarding healing versatility to me.
Priest: Perhaps the most well rounded healer in the game (as Holy) and tied for the best single target (as Discipline). Between CoH, PoM, Renew, and PW:S they are nearly on par with Druids for instant healing options while on the move. Surivability has ALWAYS been an issue for them, but that is the price you pay for the sheer number of abilities you have. With that said, Priests have 2 amazingly good buffs: PW: Fortitude and (Discipline) Prayer of Spirit. The ONE caveat I will say when playing this class is that (especially as Discipline) the array of abilities at your command can cause a non-experienced healer to experience a meltdown in an emergency situation.
Druid: My current favorite. A HUGE portion of your heals are instant (Lifebloom, Rejuvenation, Wild Growth, Swiftmend, Nature's Swiftness). Cooldowns are always reasonable (3 Min on Nature's Swiftness, 15 Sec on Swiftmend, 6 Min on Innervate, 20 Min on BRes, 1 Min on Barkskin, 4/7/10 Min on Tranq) and are extremely useful when used properly and not wasted. This is the biggie for Druids, however: They take an astounding amount of skill to truly maximise their potential. What I mean by this is that the other 3 classes have fairly straightforward abilities (Paladins have a few that take some extra skill, mind you); and while a Druids heal spells are the same (very straightforward), it is in the Cooldowns and Shapeshift usage that this extra skill is required. Swiftmend is an amazing instant heal (mine crits for ~10K) on a very short CD; yet many Druids are afraid to use it becaue their may be a worse situation around the corner. Same goes for Nature's Swiftness. Also, many are afraid to shapeshift in a battle. Yet this can save your life in many situations (breaking a snare, dashing to safety, taking a hit as a bear to name just a few); The BRes Druids have can save a raid (OT dropped last night on KT, BRes + NS/HT and back in he went inside of 5 seconds); The Innervate can help stave off of a wipe (Entire Raid hit by a Flame Wave? Tell a Druid/Priest to go nuts and Innervate them). I could cotinue giving examples, but this is the same syndrome I mentioned regarding Priests: Having too many options and needing to know which one to pick. Oh, and regarding survivability: With the advent of 200% armor in Tree, we now have nearly Shaman (minus the shield) armor, along with all our other abilities.
Conclusion: Now, I'm not saying Druids are the best healing class. I think they all bring something different to the table, and all are fun to play for different people. I personally think Druids are the most fun. This is simply because I am ALWAYS looking for a new fight, something to make me take that next step up in my skill level. As a Druid, I get that rush, either from healing or (when I burn out) by tanking. Of note, Paladins have this same versatility!