Ever since many trinket procs (and the legendary cloak proc) were changed to only proc in combat, it has been a pain being a healer and trying to test procs as well as weak auras. After all, DPS and tanks can beat the training dummies all day long to practice their rotations. But healers? We have to get ourselves in combat, testing weird things like a trinket proc + healing cooldown (how much more will my healing CD hit for if I combine it with a cloak proc and a trinket proc), hot ticks (haste + bad ms = oops), talent build changes (everyone says Talent XYZ is bad, but I want to see for myself without sacrificing my raid while I test), combat mana regen (ie. should I really have just dropped 6k spirit?) or just work on creating or testing a new weak aura to ensure it works.
Unfortunately, for healers, training dummies only keep us in combat for a few seconds if we throw a DPS spell on it, which really isn’t that helpful, and unless you are a disc priest, it really isn’t going to be part of your healing rotation, and the 4 seconds is pretty limiting. @Tiriel suggested dueling someone, which isn’t a bad idea, but still would require you to find someone to duel you without killing you, while you test out rotation, procs, etc.
You can also heal someone attacking the training dummies, but as soon as they stop attacking, you drop combat as well. Again, less than ideal unless you have bribed the person to keep attacking.
Many suggested LFR, but in reality, usually I have to actually heal people because many think Dark Meditation means stand as far out in range as possible with their 400k health pool or that Arcing Smash and Seismic Slam give a haste buff. And don’t forget at least two of those “healers” are actually DPS who queued as healers to get a faster queue, so being able to test things in LFR becomes pretty limited (and I am not one of those who will just AFK bosses in LFR, even if I did want to test something).
Someone else suggested Proving Grounds, but with everything scaled down in levels and with things like 4pc and meta not being active, it’s not going to give any kind of accurate representation to a healer who wants to see hot ticks etc.
My current go to method? Those unlucky turtles at the Pools of Purity, although I admit it does get annoying hearing them attacking me while I wait for a trinket to proc to ensure my weak aura tracking the trinket is accurate or not. Although on a PVP server I have been attacked multiple times while doing this kind of thing, and I just have to hope I can heal them to death until they can chain stun me and burst me down with my 0 resilience.
Now, I realize there are limitations for what a healing dummy can do in terms of *actual* healing, and my idea of a training dummy has nothing to do with HPS or wanting to see how big of a crit I can get. Healers who have strong AOE heals won’t get accurate data from a single dummy (although a group would be awesome). Resto Shaman mastery healing changes based on the health of the target. And HPS isn’t going to be accurate in any kind of a sense of what HPS would be like in a dungeon or raid environment. So it shouldn’t be seen as any kind of true “how well can I heal”.
And people have brought up healing dummies before (hat tip to @veroicone) but most seem to be from the “I want to see my wicked HPS and prove how awesome I am,” which is definitely not why I want a dummy.
But a healing dummy – or even a group of NPCs designed for this purpose (and named after well known healers would be amazing) that allows a healer to stay in combat while healing, that allows cloaks, metas, trinkets, weapons (if healers ever get another proc weapon) to proc to practice rotation, mana, etc. It could even be a special instance, a room, or a specific non-dummy-looking thing, like a Healer Box that @Kristin and @Stormieh_Mw suggested. It could be done similarly to the portable training dummies we saw added to the game, such as the Archaeology reward Anatomical Dummy (and yes, I tried that one too, in case it interacted differently with healers and/or the person who spawned it).
Will we see a healer training dummy in Warlords of Draenor? The comment @Celestalon of Blizzard made makes me think it could possibly happen, which is sure better than “no”. I sure hope so, otherwise I will have to sacrifice more mobs in WoD in the name of healing! If you are interested i reading more comments about it from Twitter click here (warning, there are a lot!)