I thought, you know -- it sure would be great if there were training dummies for healers. I really did.
Well, turns out I'm not the only one-- Matticus, that amazing young man from the north, put out a great post on this, too http://www.worldofmatticus.com/how-about-a-training-dummy-for-healers/ and Vidyala wrote a great post which essentially sums up that the only way to learn is to play, pride be damned http://manalicious.wordpress.com/2012/08/21/the-road-to-perfection/
I can tell you now, I agree with Vidyala, but I also think that many paths available for learning are better than fewer. Of course you need the on-the-job training, the reading of spells over and over, and yes, the asshats in an instance who inform you, in not-so-gentle terms, of where you went wrong, but I also know the simulated learning before anyone has a repair bill or vote to kick button is launched would sure help prevent the pride before the kick-vote, even if it won't guarantee its elimination. I would love a simulation that informs me "refresh Lifebloom, stack x3, wait for clear casting, (and has information about what glyph or talent point has caused this effect, etc.) and informs me, truly informs me, about what the hell I am doing. This is because---I am a good person, and I want my group's chances of success to increase, not crash. (Many young people I know right now are getting their drivers' licenses and permits, so test drives, simulated events, and road practice is big on my mind now.)
Last night, in fact, a very dear friend and wonderful shaman healer Turkic stepped in for a healer on our normal raiding night. I'm still in Texas, and again, my RL had to pull together some folks who were either late, or absent, or like me, wandering off in the hill country to chase fireflies and enchiladas. Now Turk is indeed a wonderful friend, and a great player. He taught me some of the basics of shaman healing, but though I have the gear, I rarely get to practice anymore. My raid leader/GM, the kind and pragmatic Lothair, also got to talking about shaman healing, and he kindly went through his steps, spells, and actions with me last night. I realized I did not have Telluric in my talent tree, and before the big belly bomb hits I may go ahead and put those talents in so play around with them. (We were both lamenting the new talent trees, and not looking forward to them at all, but like most things, it was not up to a vote.)
I have written so many times about missing true trainers, and how we players who can look to mentors in the game are truly blessed. What if you don't have a patient guildmaster, though? What if you don't have a dear friend who has years of experience, know-how, and then some time to lend a hand?
Well, of course there are the amazing bloggers out there, like Lizzy at Waterbender's - she recently put up a post about the new talent trees, and if I can start healing more with Matty, she will be one of the first places I go, along with Effraeti, my beautiful Draenei friend. For Druid healing, my first stop is Navi, of course, and there are so many wonderful Druid healing blogs out there, I am at no loss for information. For priestly goodness, the head honcho is of course, Matticus, so Zep zips over there, too.
But I still say, a few healing dummies would be a wonderful thing. Think about this: I was sitting here with my little nephew, and he wants to join the fun in Azeroth. His parents have no clue, and because I do, I am so reluctant and hesitant about this sweet kid joining this world of asshats, no guidance, trolls, and jerks. Not every kid out there is bad, or has parents who guide him through, or is some mean little snot--some kids out there think Draenei are cool, know the lore, and think this is a magical, wonderful world still. (Kind of broke my heart, to be honest.) And because he does believe that, I don't want him to play. He started a warrior on my account, and starting hacking away at moths in Azuremyst to get those vials of moth blood (who knew moths' blood had restorative properties?) The flood of emotions while explaining the basics of the game overwhelmed me, for him. I don't need some 40-year-old nerd rager crushing my nephew's spirits, and my player friends: neither do you. (My point is -- we all need to be vigilant to the jerks out there...)
So, perhaps Aunt Matty will help him navigate Azeroth in the future, but time and distance makes that tough. I don't want Blizzard to "raise" him, or any child for that matter, but a few more avenues to learn so playing with others is enjoyable, would be a very good thing indeed.
And dammit, keep cross-realm summons, Blizzard.