I still have a decent chunk of MSQ to go, only about halfway done the core Shadowbringer story. Yet from a skill perspective, there are only 2 bits left to go – Afflatus Rapture (AE heal through blooms) and Temperance which is a boost to healing and reduction of damage received. The former is a replacement for Medica, the latter a raid tool for large AE spurts.
Kaylriene has a few posts on this, coming from a more end-space view and both of us have some healing experience in WoW. There are some concept beats that are important to understand in FF14, then the specifics of how the WHM addresses them. First though is being clear that WoW’s healing model is about reactive healing – the tank is always getting beat down so you’re always triaging who needs healing more. If you actually can DPS (a fistweaving Monk is an example), well that’s gravy.
FF14’s healing model is a pro-active one. There are only a few non-telegraphed attacks in the entire game, so for nearly the entire game all damage is predictable. This is helpful as there are cast times in FF14, which means you will learn the dance of seeing a cast bar, and timing your heal to land just after the enemy attack does (if you need to do it at all). For non-tanks, the majority of deaths are due to not moving in time for the AE attacks, or getting cornered because of overlapping effects. The beauty here is that there aren’t a whole lot of 1-fight only mechanics, quite the opposite. You will learn to recognize good and bad AE (colors), stacking icons, spreading icons, and so on. The order of those attacks, and the speed at which they are thrown at you impact the difficulty more than anything else. So, assuming that damage is predictable and mostly avoidable, you should not be healing much at all – you should be doing DPS to bring down the target.
A second important bit is that FF14 “syncs” your stats to the level of the dungeon. If you’re 80 doing a level 34 dungeon, then your stats will be brought down to that level. You can manually un-sync if you wish, but the LFG tool (Duty Finder) applies it. The HUGE benefit here, from a healer, is that few tanks can actually manage a “wall to wall” pull (if the zone even allows it), because they can’t overgear the dungeon. At max level it’s a different beast, but for leveling, you just won’t see it.
DPS for a WHM is simple – one DoT, one direct damage, and one AE attack. At top levels, you effectively become a Glare canon.
Healing is about as straightforward as you can make it. The player has damage, you heal that damage. Until the later parts of the game, you need to be standing to cast, but once you unlock the healer gauge, you get access to some instant-cast versions, on a timer. You don’t have stances, pets, shields, or any multi-step processes.
That makes the class have the lowest skill floor for healing in the game. And because FF14 puts so much emphasis on player control of damage, there are very few instances where healing mistakes cause a wipe. The DPS likely will have stepped in the wrong thing, or the tank will not be actively using cooldowns on “tankbusters”. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable experience!