Biggest Changes to Healers in Classic WoW if You've Played BFA
Welcome to our overview of the biggest changes to healer classes in Classic WoW as compared to Battle for Azeroth! While healers have been around since vanilla, much has changed over 15 years. If you've been playing BFA without any Vanilla experience but want to get into Classic, or are a Vanilla vet that wants a refresher course, these are the largest changes to healers you should know about.
Before we get into the differences, we wanted to highlight our Classic Healing Class Guides:
Available Classes and Races
There are fewer races and classes available in Classic WoW--no Allied Races, Goblins, Worgen, Draenei, Blood Elves, or Pandaren. In addition, some healers did not have access to as many original races in Classic WoW:
Druids cannot be Trolls
Paladins cannot be Tauren
Priests cannot be Gnomes or Tauren
Shaman cannot be Dwarves
Each faction only had access to three healing types, as Paladins were unique to Alliance, and Shaman were unique to Horde. Without the addition of Pandaren, there are no Monk healers in Classic WoW as well.
Priests in Classic WoW also received two additional abilities based on their race, the most memorable being
for Dwarf Priests.
Each class in Classic WoW has a series of class-specific quests with notable rewards, emphasizing the identity of their particular role. These can teach new abilities such as
or useful gear like
. Every class has a special questline that will take them into
at higher levels.
Priests also have the famous questline for
. You can learn how to acquire this item in our
Many class abilities have multiple ranks in Classic WoW. Each rank of a spell has an increased base healing amount, as well as mana cost.
While the max rank may be the most "powerful," there are reasons for healers to use weaker spells, such as conserving mana or casting spells faster.
To learn about the details of down-ranking and what spells are commonly downranked for healers, check out our
Classic Down-Ranking Guide
As there was no bonus for using a particular armor type, many healers gravitated towards cloth armor pieces in vanilla WoW as it provided the best itemization. For example, Druids and Paladins want
with the +Healing affix, a cloth helm, because of how powerful the +Healing stat is.
Tier sets in vanilla were also hit-or-miss, providing bonuses that were somewhat useful to all roles, instead of bonuses that changed per specialization.
Collecting gear overall in Classic will require a different mentality than BFA, as nothing can Titanforge. This means you will be working towards a clear Best-in-Slot set, targeting certain bosses for their drops.
Check out our BiS guides for more details:
Paladin Buffs and Debuffs
Paladins in Classic WoW were basically buff-bots, as each Greater Blessing lasts 15 minutes, and
are huge for damage, mana gain, and survivability in a raid.
Paladins also provided useful debuffs to apply to bosses:
. As bosses could only have sixteen debuffs active concurrently, raids had to plan what debuffs they wanted active--and what abilities players needed to avoid casting, to avoid knocking valuable debuffs off. Learn more in our
Debuff Management Guide
Don't forget that Paladins are only available to the Alliance!
Players needed to carry around reagents to cast certain spells. No reagents, no spell!
Some notable reagents include
for greater blessings.
Resurrection was more limited in Classic WoW. There was no mass resurrection ability and not all classes could resurrect other individual players.
Only three classes are able to resurrect out of combat:
These resurrections were done one-by-one, leading healers to frequently stop and drink for mana before resurrecting more raid members.
To cut down on time running back between wipes, healers were usually given
so they could pop up after a wipe and resurrect everyone. While riskier, Hunters could also use
to survive a wipe, and attempt to use
on a healer.
, coming in Phase 3, was also a useful self-resurrection trinket for healers.
While Druids could not resurrect other players out-of-combat, they had
, the original in-combat battle rez.
Shamans in Classic woW were limited to the Horde, and were valuable due to the powerful variety of buffs provided by their totems. However, totem buffs were not raid-wide as they are in Battle for Azeroth. This led to multiple Shamans needed to buff different parties in a 40-player raid.
As Paladins were exclusive to the Alliance, Horde did not benefit from the threat-reduction ability
. Horde Shamans instead had to drop
to reduce threat. However, as this is classified as the same type of totem as
, players had to totem-twist every few seconds in order to keep all buffs up.
Learn more about Shaman Totems in the
Totems and Twisting Guide
Over the years, many stats have been added and removed to World of Warcraft. While Mastery and Versatility were not present in Classic WoW, there are many stats modern players will be unfamiliar with when playing Classic.
Classic WoW Stats Guide
describes all stats in a bit more detail. Some things to be aware of as a healer:
While +Spellpower increased damage and healing, +Healing was sometimes a unique stat.
Critical strike, haste, and hit were around in Classic, but they were split between melee and spell variants.
Mitigation stats like resistances were important to surviving encounters like Ragnaros and Huhuran.
The talent system went through a major overhaul ever since Vanilla. In Battle for Azeroth, instead of having three trees of talents with mostly small tuning pieces, you must choose your specialization, which then unlocks the core abilities and traits of it. You can preview the vanilla talents in our
Classic Talent Calculator
In Battle for Azeroth, you can change your specialization at any time, without any cost, as long as you're out of combat. In order to change talents, you must be out of combat and you either need to be in a resting zone, like a major city or inn or to be under the effect of special items that allow you to change talents on the fly, like special Tomes.
In Classic WoW, players must visit a Class Trainer in order to change their talent tree selections. This process has a cost attached to it, which starts as a small fee but increases every time you perform it, up to a cap of . This cost is reduced by per month, to a minimum of . Therefore, players generally stick with one talent build as they level, instead of constantly swapping.
However, class specialization trees are less niche in Classic than they are in BFA; it's not uncommon to see someone with points in a DPS tree tank, or other hybrid builds of multiple specs.
As for class abilities, they are awarded automatically as you level up in BFA, but in Classic, you must go back to your trainer to learn them at various levels. Many abilities also have ranks, with higher ranks providing stronger versions of an ability, although some healers may want to
for various reasons.
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