Last night the guild I am in raided 25 RS and ICC and as I sat there healing and watching the meters, I started to think about what it was like to heal in Pre-BC and BC and how much different it is today. Now, I did not do much healing in raids for Pre-BC, but I did in BC, so I will mostly stick to them.
Sitting there thinking, I remembered the feeling of panic wash over me for some of the BC fights. Fights like Lady Vashj in SSC, Kael’thas in TK, and even Gruul. Of course we cannot forget ZA, a wonderfully tough 10 man with a timer that made you want to pull your hair out. These fights made me feel so nervous (and even sometimes frustrated) while learning them but great once we finally beat the boss. This, of course, comes after hours and hours of a wipe fest. Now, I am not saying that all bosses today are easy breezy. Professor, Sindragrosa, and LK have been plaguing guilds and pugs alike (that is until the crazy buff increases) though many pugs are able to get 9/12 most runs. But I feel the buff and just the general difficulty of the raids in general has been “dumbed” down. Most who played BC remember what it was like to sheep at least 2 adds of the 7 add pulls and when someone would AOE and break the CC, there was a chance of a wipe. I still remember mages yelling over vent at warriors for putting bleeds on the adds! Today, tanks just run into the mobs full force and grab everything while the DPS AOE destroys them.
Whether or not ICC is just easy because of the buff or because of the content itself, think about Ulduar and Naxx as the other recent raids, they were not hard either and if they had a buff they would be like a really long heroic run. The introduction of badges and the ability to run heroics to get good gear, lets people have everything they need with little work. (Yes running a million heroics sucks, but they are not that difficult.)
Having talked about this with other guildies, most feel the reason for the content decline is to appeal to the masses. Which I get, I really do. No one likes to feel useless and helpless in a game. So making the content able to be reached by even the newest players is really just helping them keep players who could get frustrated. When Blizzard makes the game easier, they get more players which to them gives them more fan base and more money.
However, I feel making the game easier is making the older players (or players who have played longer) frustrated. We in turn are feeling useless when doing our jobs. Nothing is specific anymore. Yes some flights may be easier with 2 Holy Paladins instead of 1 but losing one will usually not make a difference. Most healing classes are able to overwrite one another, which is one of the reasons I am welcoming the changes with Cataclysm which seem to promote the differences of each class. In BC, healing classes had their roles and places in the raid. Pallys and Priests would focus on the tanks and the Druids and Shammys would heal the raid. Today I have noticed that almost every healing class can fill every role. Shammys can Lesser Healing Wave spam for tank heals and even Druids can Nourish spam a tank, along with HoTs, to life. Though both of these may not be optimal, they are viable.
Healers are not feeling challenged like they used to, I get whispers from healers who are falling asleep at the wheel or just are jumping around bored during the fights. I feel this was around back in BC but was at a much less effect. The classes that only need to cast 1-3 heals the entire fight are even more bored. I am excited to see just how they will make all of our heals useful in situations. I would like to not just Rejuv/WG spam all the time and cast my many other spells that are never used more often. And reading most of the new talents which give healing increases when a person is at or below 25% , I am hoping the new abilities will show their benefits.
*Now, I have not really went into the discussion of hardmodes, and I have my reasons. Hardmodes are harder….obviously. But once you are successfully able to run through ICC normal mode, hardmodes are really not a big transition.