I’ve been thinking a bit over the last couple of weeks around what makes for a good healer. So being the serious healer I am (please no snickering guildies), I decided to do some empirical research. I wasn't really sure what empirical exactly meant, but it sounded good and serious research is often described as empirical. But what I did was ask some guildies and friends about what they thought made for a good healer.
The answers ranged from the humorous to the serious. Atania, as a rogue, classified a good healer as someone who knows that she exists. She said that if she dies, its her fault and heals are just a bonus for rogues. Ah, I've taught her well that Ata! Our hunter Chachi, classified a good healer as anyone who can keep his pet Joni alive. I try Chachi Hockey Pockey, I really do. But sometimes that pesky cat just won't cooperate!
Anyways, on a more serious note, here are 7 qualities that were mentioned. The first five are probably very obvious and familiar to all, but the last two gave me some things to think about:
1. Know your shit:
Wutan, our pally tank, talked about knowledge of the fight, your group and the other healers. Now knowledge of the fight is obvious. But consider what other classes make up your group. What kind of tank are you healing? What kind of dps? What kind of healers? Your healing strategy may be different when you heal with a priest instead of a pally.
2. Talk back
Wut mentioned letting the raid know what you need as a healer, what is working for you. Whether that is line of sight or aggro issues, or if you think you should be healing someone else. As much as Jess I'm sure wishes at times that I would "communicate" less, its important.
3. Anticipate and adapt:
Venezia, a warrior tank thought a good healer anticipates damage, not only to the tank, but to the raid. Jess talked about anticipation a bit as well, in terms of anticipating the positioning/location of not only the tanks, but the other healers and dps. Vel also talked about a healer being able to adapt, whether it is to a certain boss, a specific group composition, or when things go wrong.
4. Don't stand in the green stuff:
Jess mentioned situational awareness, which I think is more than not standing in the fire/green puddle/red rune, though that is the most obvious part. What is going on around you? What is the tank doing? Where are they? What is the dps doing? Where are they? I think without us even realizing it we are processing all of this information in case the shit hits the fan.
5. Triage baby, triage:
All healers know about prioritizing your heals. Keep the tank up, then yourself, then others. But I think what makes for a really good healer is the ability to process what is going on and prioritize immediately. Usually this has to be almost instinctual. You have no time to think about it.
6. Bring it
Jess thought that part of what makes a good healer comes down to confidence. A good healer welcomes a challenge and is confident in his/her abilities. Perhaps this confidence allows them to stay calm throughout the craziness? They know their abilities and the encounters and are going to do their darndest to keep folks up. When Jess tells me a certain encounter is a "healing fight", my response is: "Bring it".
7. Je ne sais quoi
My friend Rapalicious said that she thinks that you are either a great healer or you're not. It's something you've got. Hmmm interesting. Can someone become a good or better healer, but are certain folks just never going to be great healers? Could someone think about making sure they think about the first five points above, but just not have the reflexes to become great? The instinct?
Is there a certain healing je ne sais quoi where you either got it or you don't?