We’ve finally seen all of the previews of each class and specialization heading into Legion. I wanted to wait until all of the healers had been previewed before writing this in case there were any fundamental healing design changes that might have been apparent from the non-Paladin healer previews.
The single biggest change to healing is the removal of absorption (mostly). And there was much rejoicing. Discipline Priests will still have Power Word: Shield, but it will have a six second cooldown, and Paladins lose their absorption mastery, Illuminated Healing. Similarly, they are removing a lot of absorption mechanics from tank specializations as well. I think this is a great change for healing. Absorbs are an interesting mechanic, but they have been too powerful for quite some time and lead to an unhealthy imbalance between healers.
The second big change to healers is a higher emphasis on damage. Discipline Priests have become a specialization that spends a significant portion of their time converting damage to healing; however, Mistweaver Monks have lost their ability to “fistweave” and, as a result, have lost their immunity to specific ranged-only mechanics. Each healer will now level as their healing specialization and accrue Artifact Power for their healing Artifact weapon rather than level as a damage-dealing spec and change back to healing later. To me, this implies that our damage will be respectable. My guess is that our damage will be relatively similar to a tank specialization’s damage-per-second.
In the same vein, healers will be spending more time doing damage when less healing is required. I should clarify that it’s not absolutely confirmed that we will spend time doing damage on progression bosses, but it was implied during a Q&A on classes during Blizzcon, and the change to healers’ ability to deal damage only reinforces the idea. I’m a little skeptical about this. I know that there’s still a lot of information that isn’t available to us yet, so I’ll hold off on my Final Verdict (ba dum tss), but I will voice some concerns: