Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Team Healing

I responded to this thread on the WoW Guild Relations Forums. In it, a paladin is complaining that he used to partner up with a shaman, and the two of them healed well together. However, a new priest was brought in, and now the healing in his raid has problems.

As I responded, it struck me how very different raid healing is from other areas of the game. For a tank, the game boils down to the mob and you. You need the healers, but it's not something you can really affect. Other tanks don't really interact with you, unless you need to hand off the mob in a tank rotation. You rely on the healers, but you don't really affect them. You just have to have faith that they will somehow keep you up.

DPS meanwhile is again alone, each person working on their optimal rotation. In the great scheme of things you work as a team, but when it comes down to doing your chunk of damage, you are alone.

Raid healing, on the other hand, is very much a team endeavour. You need to work with the other healers, and your healing style needs to mesh with theirs. As well, an individual healer's duties expand and contract with changes in the fight. If a healer goes down, the remaining healers need to pick up her duties. A good healer also needs to know how the other healers heal, so she can judge if it's appropriate to toss a heal or if it's better to wait for a Heal-over-Time to tick or a large heal to finish casting.

It's a curious mix of aggressiveness and trust. If you aren't healing aggressively, the other healers will take up the slack. But this will cause problems as they stretch too thin. Yet at the same time, if you heal too aggressively, you invalidate their heals, leading to large amounts of overhealing, and stretch yourself too thin.

Sometimes I think the hardest thing about raid healing is learning to NOT cast the heal, to trust that your fellow healers have the situation in hand.

You can feel it though, when you get into that rhythm. When your heals match up with your fellow healers. When you are healing steadily, but not getting stretched or falling behind. I find that the meters usually reflect this state. Lower overheal across the board, and a very even division of healing.


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  2. Hey, realized that my comment just echoed what you said without my noticing it at first. Sorry :P

  3. Hey, we could always do what people in EQ had to do... healing rotations. IE each healer starts their heal 1 second after the last person that way a heal goes off every second. the problem with this is alot of times you don't need a big heal at that moment. It's also very difficult to time the heals. If everyone had instant heals it would be much easier to rotate who's turn it is to heal and such and you could heal only when needed.

  4. Raid healing can be hard. Much of it can be fixed with good mods. I use healbot for example and if other healers in the raid are using it you can see where they are healing before the cast goes off. This is not helpful for MT healing but helps a lot for healing everyone else in the raid. Paladins have by far the easiest healing. We don't make any real choices. Just cast flash of light. And Flash of light is cheap enough that I don't care about overhealing. I with my kara gear even on tier 5 bosses like hydross, I don't have to worry about overhealing (unless I need to holy light). Keep that in mind and talk to the other healer. And if you are using more than 1 tank in an encounter make sure you assign healers and hold the healer accountable if their tank doesn't stay up.


  5. This is my first post, and I must say I LOVE this blog. I visit it everyday, hoping to see a new post :-).

    I believe that communication is key when healing in raids. Our guild is only now stepping into Kara and therefore our average +healing is about 1100-1200. To make sure that none of us get extremely low on mana we simply rotate main healing duties during a fight. A simple "I need to replenish" makes sure that the one on the sidelines comes back up and heals. Having a shammy, priest as main healers and me, a holy pally, makes it a really good mix.

    Using this technique, we hardly ever run out. It's been effective.

    However, it is frustrating when we get blamed for not keeping up when the fight drags on because of lack of DPS and proper CC.


  6. on our 10 man raids its either me(resto shammy) and 2 priests or me a priest and a resto druid. both make ups work great.

    for kara the extra shackles are always useful from more priests but i have to tell ya that the tree druids bonus to healing received to the tank is awesome.

    during trash i just keep earth shield on the tank and let the other 2 heal while i do my abysmal dps and drop totems. during bosses we all 3 heal. during long fights the priests are more mana efficient but the druid has innervate and i have mana tide totem for us all. add in a shadow priest and we dont have mana problems ever.

    we are a casual guild and are just past moross so we dont worry about overheal or cast meters. we just worry about keeping everyone alive. all healers know that healing meters are worthless because of people different healing assignments on the raid and since we dont care about over heal we dont even care about the meter or post them.

    i just spam chail heal when i =t gets hairy and keep earth shield on the tank and drop the dps totems.

    if we one day get a healing pally i cant imagine it hurting the healing group especially since clense would make moross a cake walk.

  7. The problem with Moroes is that his Gurote is not "cleans'able".

    Being a pally I'm obviously bias, but we seem to be a good addition to a party for the simple fact that we almost never get "one shotted" due to our armor rating and our buffs in some cases make a huge difference. I've heard that in an instance like Kara we are more valuable then druids. I don't know if that's true, it's just what I've read.

    My job is almost like yours I just spam flash heals to top up the tanks and it's been effective so far.


  8. Healing rotations are fine (and pretty nice to get going) in Karazhan, but once you move to the 25-mans, it just can't be done.

    With High King Maulgar hitting for 8000 (his whirlwind for 6000 is a relief), my unit frames show that most of the healers are pumping out heals all the time. Of course, I'm spamming Flash of Light anyway, so no change there.

    And from what I hear, Magtheridon has 10k normal hits and 12k cleaves. Great fun to come.

  9. It's always a pain, and meters tell you nothing since people will heal between pulls and other things either to get ahead or because they think they should.

    I tried to stay around 25% overheal and never healed between pulls (since i'd have to drink while the tank is pulling). But the two people who were usually ahead of me on amount healed would have a lot more overheal than me, plus one was a shaman that used some spell constantly to keep everyone topped off. But no one ever yelled at me, they put me on the MT so obviously people thought I was able to do my job.

    They also drank a lot more pots than me, but since their overheal was 40-50% I didn't feel that bad, sometimes I did.

    The problem really only comes up if people start measuring contribution by how many pots you drink. Some people think that if you aren't casting so much you have to drink all the time then you aren't doing your job. Often this has nothing to do with good play, but because somebody was actually not very good, and they are upset and want everyone to suffer the same way they do.

  10. There is really no good way to measure healing effectiveness.

    A paladin spamming Flash of Light is very different to a priest timing his Greater Heals to get the maximum time out of the 5 second rule. If the priest tries to spam Flash Heal, or the paladin spams Holy Light, they are going to run into serious mana issues very fast. A shaman spamming (Lesser?) Healing Wave with full Healing Way is going to outheal both paladin and priest, but on a long fight he's going to go out of mana the fastest. The nature of the fight could force any one of these classes to have the most overhealing.

    Chugging mana pots is most definitely not a good way to measure efficacy. I have a priest in my guild who was a very good healer, but he had no idea about the 5 second rule. As a result, he found himself going through between 3-4 mana pots every Prince fight, and started complaining.

    That said, using mana pots is not a sign of weakness, per se.

  11. Just in response to the anonymous poster... for the Moroes fight you have to use your BoP on people who get the garrote. Have the priest (which you will probably have for the shackle) put renews on people who get the garrote while your on cooldown. You can bubble your self out of it and dwarves can stoneform. If there is another paladin (we roll with 2), then communicate your BoP's etc. Obviously not on the tank :P

  12. Pally healers should consider their spell crit rateing before mana per 5 sec tick, because the more crits u pull off the higher your regen with heals like flash of light. But, as we know flash of light isn't always the best route to undergo on hard hitting mobs. I spec myself according to how much my gear will give me spell crit strike rateing, bonus intellect, and bonus healing (these are all more important than mana per 5 sec.) With that mix any pally healer or main healer for raids like myslef can be very mana efficient and keep up the MT without the concern of a raid wipe.