Monday, May 10, 2010

Are healers more aggressive?

I was having a conversation with Jess the other day and said something to the effect that our roles as a tank and healer seem contrary to our personalities and how we deal with things in game/guild. Meaning that I tend to be more outspoken and yes, perhaps aggressive in many ways, while Jess tends to be calmer and just generally less rawr than I. I mentioned how it seems somewhat contrary to our roles as a healer and tank, and that perhaps I should be the tank of the pair.

Jess' response was somewhat surprising, saying that it may not be as contradictory as I thought because in many ways, healing is more aggressive than tanking. Since Jess has both tanked and healed all of the ICC bosses we've done, it was an interesting thought.

I guess from a physical standpoint, its easy to think of tanking as the more aggressive role, being in the boss' face and taking damage. Likewise its easy to think of healers as being less aggressive because we stand in the back sending green swirlies. But I think what Jess is referring to is more around the function of our action as opposed to where we physically stand.

Jess has mentioned that in many encounters in ICC, there isn't a ton going on for the tanks, which is partly why I think Dreamwalker is such a nice change of pace for our tanks. But Jess has been the second healer with me in two healing Blood Princes and Queen, as well as Putricide and Sindragosa more recently. I remember the first time two healing Blood Queen with Nicolause maybe like a month ago, and my gawd. You are just constantly working your ass off.

A tank has much less to do in a fight like Festergut or Blood Queen, while us healers definitely have to be more aggressive, and are constantly healing to keep everyone up. And yes, I would venture that as a whole or on average in ICC, healers are constantly "working" more than the tanks. But beyond boss fight mechanics, while tanks are taking damage, us healers are throwing out, or giving heals. So yeah, which action is more "aggressive"?

Hmmm, perhaps my adage of Heal like a tank really isn't that far off. Something to think about...


  1. I know that I am MUCH more aggressive when I heal than when I DPS. I have yet to tank (and have no intention of doing so) so I cannot compare those two.

    I am generally more pissy and angry when I heal than when I DPS. My RL is always surprised at how mean I get.

    I do think that healing is much more stressful of a job. We are allowed to be angry and agressive.

  2. I would have to agree wholeheartedly. I'm currently tanking right now, and unusually for me, I am very mellow. When I heal, I yell at people, I get sarcastic, rude even. I think it is because not only do we have to watch ourselves, but the raid as well, and if something happens to the raid, we get angry because it is one more thing that we're doing.

  3. In my experience, tanking is very much about control and defense. When I tank I am controlling aggro of the boss and/or adds, positioning them, and taking measures to defend myself. So it can be active, it does not necessarily feel aggressive. I don't usually feel like I am fighting the boss/adds inasmuch as I am controlling them.

    But when I heal, especially in a raid...grrr! I feel like I am in direct conflict with whatever/whomever is responsible for the damage. Also there's conflict with those you are healing. When somebody does something to get themselves hurt/killed, you can get angry with them too.

    But yes...those roles I think very much fit our personalities.

  4. I think that tanking is more, I guess situationaly involved? I need to know where the bad stuff so I don't stand in it, I need to know where the dps are, or if I need to move something so the dps can kill it without getting killed. Whereas, when I heal, obviously you need to know what's going on, but it is more focused on what kind of damage is going out and when. Also, when you tank, NPC's cant do something stupid, where people can, which is why I think healers are more aggressive

  5. @Koalabear: Hmmm, I've never dpsed so I don't have it to compare to, but you feel more aggressive healing, eh? Interesting.

    @Aituair: Hee hee, us healers are getting a bad reputation! But yeah, when we wiped on Sindragosa last night at 2%, I was definitely the one letting the f-bombs fly while everyone else was much more reasonable. :)

    @Jess: I think you have a unique role in having tanked and healed at end game.

    Very interesting thoughts around tanking being more about being in control, being defensive. You're kind of keeping the calm, keeping the peace.

    And what do you mean, you think these roles very much fit our personalities??!?! Are you saying I am angry all the time? Well, let me show you angry... ok just kidding, I'll calm down now. :)

  6. In ICC there are a lot of fights at the moment where the tanks have little to do and essentially swap aggro now and again to prevent debuffs building. While in the same fight the healers are working their asses off .

    Blood queen on heroic and festergut spring to mind when as a tree I am constanly rolling hots on everyone and tank healing as well while popping mana replenishment. Talking to our main tankers this is really just a bit of movement and swapping aggro now and again. Blizz do reaaly seem to have gone to town with the overall raid damage in ICC and left the tanks twiddling their thumbs are certain points.


  7. I think the reason tank are usually more mellow and relaxed, is we really don't have much to focus on besides our own thing. I don't pay attention to what my healers are doing unless I'm almost dead or don't have all the adds on me. As long as the dps aren't getting smacked, they may as well not be there for all I notice them. I think that tanking is more for the kind of player that doesn't want to worry about other people, but that't just me =P

  8. I get more authoritarian as a healer. Seen too many dps over the years of raiding crapping on the healers - I think my healing chip on the shoulder is worse then my tanking one that is growing. Healers are in the best postion to fix things I think - more likely to know when something is wrong and should be 'agressive / ( confident enough to speak up)

  9. Well, as a healer you're always PvPing, even in PvE content, because those people standing in bad stuff and running out of range are certainly not on your side. I reckon having to fight your own raid more than the boss would make anyone cranky after a while.

  10. I'm a completely mello person in RL, but I have noticed as I have started healing that I get really cranky with my dps...the same dps who are complaining that there was no healing going on when they are the ones getting themselves into harms way in the first place.

    Yeah, I can see healing as quite aggressive, it's a very proactive duty. I have to be aware of everything going on in the raid, watch everyone's movements, and watch everyone's healthbar. So when those stupid dps start complaining I just want to yell "why don't you heal this, mr 'I've never played a healer in my life and really have no idea what I'm talking about'".........

    See what happens, now you've got me all cranky just thinking about it!

  11. Angry healer, checking in!

    I've not tanked, but when I dps I know there is much less pressure on you. On boss fights, tanks are trying to maintain aggro on a single mob, which for many is a snoozefest... while healers, on the other hand, are playing whack-a-mole and dealing with 9 other people that may, or may not being doing the RIGHT thing. And even if they are doing the WRONG thing, the blame tends to come down to "WTF heals?"

  12. I think healing starts to get "jobby" when you have to heal dumb people. If everyone is doing their job, you can heal fine and have a good time, but when people start being dumb, "Wha? Really why is he almost dead? Oh god oh god heal heal heal crap he's dead". If you are at your job, and someone is making it hard and annoying, those people make you want to punch a cat.

  13. @Zetter: We definitely are working our asses off in ICC!

    @Pugnacious: Ooh, I like the word authoritarian in describing us. Sounds a little nicer than aggressive.

    @Shintar: Hmmm interesting thought that we are always PvPing.

    @Gronthe: By saying healers are aggressive, I really wasn't meaning that I get cranky with the dps. I was more thinking in lines of the role of healing itself. I love how you put it, that healing as a proactive duty.

    @Call me kaylex: Haha, is this going to become cranky/angry healer central? Lucky for me, (or actually lucky for them) no one in my raid says stuff like WTF heals. That would just be an ugly ugly situation.

    @Aituair: Again, I don't really tend to get angry or cranky so much with my fellow raid members. I think the aggressive nature comes more from the function of the healing role itself. And we should never want to punch cats!

  14. We shouldn't want too...But :)
    And it isn't that I get angry at them, I get more angry at the fact that I have more to do on-top of whatever the encounter would normally require. I also think that the act of healing, a very involved job, makes you a little amp'd up and aggressive

  15. Tanking is more of a passive sport once you have control over all the aggro. Once you have that you just start your cycle of special tanking abilities to keep it and your waiting on the DPS to do its job and hope the healer has crit heals.

    Healing is more intensive because the pressure is on for everyone's health bar.

    That's how I have seen it when doing both. Tanking is aggressive at first but turns to passiveness once that is established.

    Healing can be intensive at any given moment depending on the scenario.

    My 2 pennahyyyS

  16. Pfft Healers. Need to kill things faster, won't need healers then!!