Is it any easier nowadays, through use of the new LFG Tool and Battleground, to make a Healing class from 10 to 80 while being specced for a Healing tree and not a damage one? And, if it is, any recommended classes to do it with?
I really don't have a preference at the moment. I like the Shaman and their use of Totems, and I like the Priest and their variety of spells, but other then that I'm not settled.
I'm not settled at all, really.
Oh, and I wouldn't do purely Battlegrounds and Instances. I would quest all the way also, using one of those guides.
It matter a lot. Priests can easily solo/instanceheal/bgheal with the right spec. Shamans... not as much to my knowledge, though I'm sure I'll hear from someone if this is not the case.
You should first decide on the class/race that you'll like looking at the most. You don't want to spend 5 years playing a NE Male Priest with terribad casting animations, horrible clipping issues, and skin tight robes that hug your emaciated waist.
Well, what's considered the right spec to Solo, Instance Heal and Battleground Heal for a Priest, then? If I went Priest, I'd probably go Undead for Horde and .. not sure for Alliance. I'll probably be playing Horde.
Well, leveling anything is much faster and easier now than it used to be. So you should enjoy that. Getting mounts early is a HUGE help. And BG's give quite a bit of XP also, if you like to pvp.
I think all healing classes do really well in raids, even though they vary alot in how they heal.
One thing to possibly consider would be what other offspecs does that class offer in case you decide to try something besides healing. Shammies, priest and pallies can all do really good dps, or pallies/bearz can tank. Etc.
@Nez: I plan on getting a Mount ASAP, and I heard BGs give good EXP also so that's why I included them. I can't raid for some time, but I'd like to in the end, which I've seen almost all Healing classes can do. And the Priest and Shaman both have other Specs that I could try, so I'd consider them safe decisions.
Good healing, decent dps potential, mana regeneration. You can't really argue with that, can you? Holy only really overtakes it on healing when you get into raids and are on raid heals (in my opinion).
Shamans only really become decent healers once you hit level 40 (in my opinion also), when you get Earth Shield. And all their talents essentially just improve healing effieciency, and barely effect damage output at all - thus Resto is dreadful for questing.
You certainly can do it that way. I personally leveled a resto druid from 15 to 40 through battlegrounds and instance runs. However, it'll be terribly slow compared to normal questing. But if you don't mind speed, then go ahead and enjoy. Also, I would suggest you take battlegrounds for fun more than leveling; trust me, instance runs are much better for leveling than battlegrounds at around level 25+
As I nearly have finished leveling my priest to 80 I would recommend to spec for Shadow (you can heal till lvl40 anyway) and at 40 spend the 1000g for dual spec to get Disci or Holy as you like (I did that for Disci).
Shadow has been buffed in 3.3 much and it is really worth a try and a lot of fun.
Leveling through the new /LFG is very good, but you will surely need some Gold from Quests .