One thing I had not realized as a tank and/or dps was the level of resources one needs to have on hand to heal. Sure, as a warrior or dk, I might have a few healing potions or flasks to enhance my health or my damage, but not always and certainly not for just a regular ol’ dungeon run. But as a healer? I stock up on drinks to replenish my mana, mana potions, and reagents for buffs. And all that costs money. I do have an alchemist who can make mana potions, but I don’t play that character a lot, so I end up buying potions from the auction house or getting them from the guild bank when I can (my priest is poorsauce). I can’t go into a dungeon without drinks (to replenish mana between fights) and I won’t go in without potions either. I’ve been through many a dungeon where the tank ends up being undergeared and/or the dps draws too much aggro and then I run through mana pretty quickly. If I don’t have a potion to get us through a boss fight, that’s bad. And though I think no one really notices the buffs at this point, I do use my priest buffs–always fortitude and sometimes shadow protection, occasionally divine spirit. Some people ask for buffs. But I kind of knew that buffs needed reagents, but I never really thought about how often one must buy those to keep up. I almost always go through two buff rounds–one at the beginning and one after a wipe (almost every group I’ve been in has wiped at least once)–but then there are the times when we wipe 3 or 4 or 5 times and then I’ve gone through 5 sacred candles. None of these things cost that much, but I tend to keep a stack or two of 20 of most things. It adds up.
Add to that that now that my priest is nearing 80, I’m starting to get gear that needs gems and/or is worth enchanting. That, too, takes resources. And gathering those resources takes either time or money. It’s interesting that WoW incorporates these resource needs in a pretty realistic way. It’s not points or some arbitrary way of saying you’re ready to go into battle. You decide it’s worth investing in these things because your gameplay will be more enjoyable if your group doesn’t die because you’re undergeared or didn’t bring your mana potions. Some people take the approach of being as resourced as possible–having the best gear with all the best enchants and gems, having a full stock of potions, food, drinks. And some try to get buy with the least, sometimes out of necessity, aka lack of funds. I am somewhere in the middle. When I can afford it, either in virtual cash or the real time investment, I try to have an optimal setup for playing. If I don’t have what I need for that enchant right now, I shrug it off. After all, I don’t want to sacrifice too many real resources for virtual ones!