It is odd to think of many of the instanced areas in WoW as “dungeons,” anymore – many of them are very open areas. But that is what they are called.
I have levelled my tank-spec death knight to 85. I played very little on release day due to how crowded it was. I think I dinged 85 on the 11th, basically during the first big rush but obviously towards the end of it. I was expecting it to take longer, but I suppose it was only five levels.
I have since run all of the dungeons on their normal settings, and likewise on heroic, excepting Throne of the Tides and Lost City of the Tol’vir. I’ve got to say that so far I really like what Blizzard has done. I kind of wish I could have leveled a healer first again (as I did in Burning Crusade and Wrath with my paladin) so that I could experience what is perceived as the truly difficult role, at least currently.
I want to point out, though, that I am totally with Blizzard on what is going on with the healer role. If they run out of mana to cast spells and people die, it is very easy for them to blame themselves. It is my feeling, though, that it is almost never their fault. It is the tank’s fault for not using damage-reducing cooldowns, or the damage dealers’ faults for not doing their job to avoid taking damage. Maybe the group should have used a crowd control spell on a different opponent, or maybe (and I think this is the big one, currently) the damage dealers aren’t doing damage fast enough.
In the heroic runs I’ve done so far, only a couple times could I have judged a wipe as the healer’s fault, and even then it is debatable. Every heroic I’ve done (except Vortex Pinnacle) has had one boss that wiped my group at least 3 times before we finally got it. The hardest of these was probably the shadow boss in Halls of Origination. At any rate, it has felt to me like the damage dealing characters have needed to step up their game far more than the healer did.
The bosses remain dps races. However, this is no longer against an arbitrary enrage timer mechanic, where after a certain amount of time the boss just does so much damage that it is impossible for anyone to survive (basically, the boss here is saying “okay, that’s enough of that silliness,” and kills the entire group within seconds from there and you’re all powerless to stop it…leaving you wondering why the boss doesn’t do that in the first place, if it has any semblence of self-preservation). Now, it is a race against the healers’ mana. You need to make the things that are hurting you dead before the healer can no longer keep you alive.
Not to be too harsh on all the damage dealers out there, it could be the tank’s fault as well. As a tank, if you see your health dipping lower and lower and it’s not going back up, or if you know you’re about to take a huge hit or a number of them, you need to think about using a tanking cooldown. As a death knight tank, I’ve found that my cooldowns that I really wanted to save before (for the right time that never came) I’m using all over the place now. Especially my 1-min. cooldown Vampiric Blood, which increases my healing received, making the healer’s heals 35% more efficient, and Rune Tap, which I’m fond of using as a minor group heal since I have it glyphed, healing myself for 20% of my total, and everyone in the group for 5% of theirs. If I notice that everyone’s missing a bit of health, I’ll use that to take just a bit of the edge off for the healer.
This does not indemnify every healer out there from making poor decisions that run them out of mana while healing. But if the healers are doing their jobs correctly, using the right heal for the job at hand, and still run out of mana…it is the fault of your damage dealers, and maybe even tanks.
Remember, too, that this will all get better as everyone continues to gear up. It always does.