Medium Heals Nerf
As others have pointed out, we nerfed all of the medium heals.
Very early in beta, some healers were freaking out about running out of mana. To counter this, we made the medium heals really cost effective. We probably overdid it, because more recently, healers were able to handle almost everything with just that one heal. We want it to be part of your package, not your whole package. (Source)
Is it intended that our efficient heals only have about 20% more HPM than our big heals? Or should we expect those to be nerfed as well soon?
If healers stop casting the medium heals completely, then it's likely we nerfed them too far. Up until this change they weren't using the big heals enough.
We had the numbers set at what we thought made sense from a cost per benefit standpoint, but reality is always a little more complicated. Perhaps it was just easier using a single heal and being a B+ healer rather than having to worry about which of multiple heals to use in order to be an A+ healer. (Source)
The big heals get a decent amount of use, and they don't seem to run players out of mana unless the rest of the group is taking unnecessary damage (by say ignoring all the encounter mechanics because they can do so when running Heroic Nexus today).
If there's a heal we're worried about, it's the flash heals, but that's partially because so many of the talented or spec heals are also emergency heals that fill a similar niche -- things like Swiftmend, Penance and Holy Shock. (Source)
You're fortunate if you have to triage. Many healers don't today. The typical experience is to use your fastest heal on everyone who takes any damage. You may get some amount of triage by choosing who to heal, but you won't be losing that either. If you are really choosing today which of your many heals to use, then A) you're in the minority, and B) you won't really have to relearn things for Cataclysm. You'll be ahead of the game.
The Lich King game today has additional problems. Since overhealing doesn't matter, mana regen doesn't matter. Since overhealing is typical, large heals also don't matter, which means critical heals are often wasted. This makes two of the stats that appear on your gear (Spirit and crit) not attractive, which in turn makes the minigame of choosing which piece to use and how to gem and enchant them less compelling as well.
If you just really think it's fun to just cast one heal over and over with no real repercussions for doing so while stacking a single stat on all your gear, then I guess I'll just have to accept that. It's hard for us to understand why you find that satisfying though. (Source)
When we say "spammy" in this context, we mean using the same spell over and over. We're not talking about sitting around on your hands waiting for your mana to come back (and without the five second rule, that won't do much for you anyway).
Think of playing a healer like a real time strategy game. In the Lich King environment, your strategy is basically to crank out infantry as fast as you can and never let up. No matter what your opponent does, your job is to counter him with infantry. It doesn't matter what kinds of units he makes or whether he's going for a fast or slow buildup. Just make infantry. If your race has upgrades that affect things other than infantry, obviously they are of no use to you and you should ignore them. Cost is largely irrelevant too, since you are making one solider over and over.
In the Cataclysm environment, we want you to make a variety of units. Sometimes infantry will do the job well. Other times you may need to mix in some cavalry or siege units as well. In fact, you need to tailor what you're making to the environment. Sometimes you want cheap units. Sometimes you want expensive ones. We want you to consider your upgrades as well. Investing all of them on infantry will make less sense because you have other types of units as well. Yet you won't have enough resources so you'll have to make a decision.
That is really what we're trying to get out of the new healing model: making decisions. We think players have more fun when they are making decisions. When you make the right decision based on the information available, you feel smart. When you make the wrong decision, you feel dumb, and you might cause the rest of the group to have to work harder, or even ultimately cause a wipe.
Blizzard is investing a lot into this change... they must have better reasons then that! I want them to sell it! Front page headline "New Improved Healing System". If they can't do that, then maybe they should question all the hard work they are doing. (Source)
[...] For the most part, you'll still be constantly casting. We do want to buy a little bit of bandwidth though. Making decisions takes actual time (fractions of seconds perhaps, but still time). In the LK healing environment even if you had a variety of effective healing spells, by the time you looked at someone's bar, decided what heal would be most appropriate, and started to cast it, the dude could very well be dead.
In Cataclysm, large health pools will keep most players up for a few hits. That gives you the opportunity to decide if someone needs a little heal or a big heal, or a slow heal or a fast heal, or if they are likely to live long enough for a powerful spell to finish its cooldown. If you use the wrong spell, the target is unlikely to die immediately, but over time you'll realize that your mana has really started to dwindle and the boss has a large health bar still left.
I've said this before, but I remember when tanking back in vanilla, a priest would call out on Vent, announcing that he had a big Greater Heal being cast. Other healers might call out when they were healing someone who suddenly took a lot of unexpected damage. That kind of coordination is very hard in today's raids because you'd only get through the B in "Big heal coming," before the target would be dead.
It's possible to slow down combat enough to provide room for decision making and communication without going to the extreme where healers are doing nothing for large stretches of time because they are so paranoid about running out of mana if they cast a heal that isn't at 100% efficiency or doesn't save a life at that moment. (Source)
Healer mana efficiency in solo
Keep in mind that we're not super concerned with healer mana efficiency when not in a group. Fights are pretty short when you're solo and there are a lot of breaks. What I'm getting at is we're not super concerned with how you perform when self-buffed, so long as you're functional. We're more concerned with how you perform when group buffed, since all of the most rewarding endgame content requires groups. (Source)
Val'anyr competitive @ LVL 85?
Let's put it this way... if it is competitive at level 85, it won't be for long. (Source)