Friday, September 7, 2007

Healing lessons learned... and still learning

So there have been a couple of lessons that I've had to learn as a healer, some of which I'm still learning.

Lesson #1: Don't run!
Ok, so you're healing in an instance and all of a sudden the mean scary monsters decide to come give you some love. What do your instincts say? Well my initial instincts were: Run! Like crazy! That would lead to some amusing scenes of K screaming, running wildly, hands flailing... the mobs following... and the poor group tank trying to grab the aggro back. This wild spectacle could also lead to me or the tank aggroing additional mobs. Bad news. So now I know I have to stand there and grin and bear it, by throwing up barkskin and my emergency come help me macro.

Lesson #2: Love thyself
Sounds like I took this lesson out of some self help book. Basically it means not to forget how integral your health being up is to the group. There were times when I was starting out that I would be healing everyone else, and forgetting myself. I know, how selfless! But really, this does the group no good. Because a dead healer = a dead tank = group wipe.

Lesson #3: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others"
(Bonus points for those who know where this quote comes from). What does this mean? Well, it means K loves her group members, but unfortunately has to love some more than others. This is a lesson she still sometimes forgets. Her #1 focus is the tank. As much as K would really love to keep everyone happy, she just can't. If things get really crazy, I am going to try like heck to keep my health (see lesson #2) and my tank's health up. So who comes in third? It may depend on who we're fighting, how close the boss is to going down, how much health everyone else has, or how much mana I have. Or it may just depend on how I'm feeling (hee hee, cue cackling laughter and sinister rubbing of hands).

Lesson #4: Look both ways before crossing the street
So your parents probably taught you this lesson as a kid. What does this mean in WOW? Well you have a goal as a healer, keep everyone's health up. This is the goal, i.e. crossing the street. But in going after this said goal, you have to know what's going on around you... there could be a car barreling down the street! I need to get better at lesson #4. A lot of times I am so focused on the green bars on the left side of my screen and would sometimes be totally oblivious to what was going on around me. For example the last dragon boss in Ramparts breathes down fire to the group. The first couple of times in that fight, I died quickly because I didn't even notice that I was standing in fire and burning up!


  1. It would be nice if other guildies would write. (hint hint) I feel like I am boggarting the comment space, but oh well -- I'm a tank which makes me a bit of an, um, I think the technical term is "attention whore".

    Anyway, good lessons. I especially like #3! A minor correction to #2 for our current group:

    dead healer = dead tank = a bunch of vanished rogues who sit around and discuss the merits of various poisons waiting for us to wisp our incorporeal butts back to the instance

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  3. "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others"

    Does the quote come from a book that has the initials AF? (just my druid's instinct) ;)

  4. Ding ding ding! Zane wins the quote of the day award.

    Yes, the quote comes from George Orwell's Animal Farm. Didn't we all have to read that book in middle school?

    Anyways, it should be a book close to a druid's heart given our various animal forms!

  5. Now you know I have a problem with rues lol. I could never get the hang of that but I just try adnstay out of view when I get the itch to go crazy. I'm just commiting suicide not tryin' to take the rest with me lol.

  6. Yeah, healing is really tough. I'm a Feral Druid so I don't have to do it too often, but there's definitely more to it than just playing whack-a-mole with the green bars.

  7. An additional note on #3, that EVERYONE (not just healers) in a group needs to know. When the healer has to throw heals at the DPS/cloth-wearers, she's putting herself in jeopardy in two ways:

    1 - IN 90% (or more) of cases, the DPS members of a group are non-plate wearers. Two of the most effective DPS classes (warlocks and mages... don't flame me here if you're a rogue. Yes, I get it, your eviscerate crits for 100 million dmg. Congratulations)wear CLOTH. What this means to them is that when they do draw aggro, they'll take a LOT more damage from whatever's hitting them. This, in turn, means that the healer has to throw out a bigger heal than she would for the tank. This depletes the healer's mana faster, and everyone know that a healer with no mana usually means a wipe.

    2 - Few people realize that healers create aggro (or threat, or hate) every time they heal someone. This is rarely a problem if the healer only has to heal the tank and herself. In nearly all cases, a good tank can draw a lot more aggro from a mob than a healer can draw to herself. If you factor in the healer having to make up for DPS's lack of damage control by healing them when they draw aggro, you can see how quickly the healer builds up enough aggro so that some (or worse, all) of the mobs jump onto her. A healer can easily double and even triple the amount of aggro she's building with the mobs (who should be focusing their nastiness on the tank) by throwing out just a few big heals to keep her pajama-wearing comrades alive.

    The lesson here is twofold:

    1 - If you're DPS, don't draw aggro. How do you do this? Hold back on your damage. While it's great to watch all those big numbers floating magically away from bosses' heads, it's even greater to watch that boss crumple to the ground because you didn't draw aggro, need a save from the healz, cause the boss to attack the healer, cause the boss to kill the healer, and cause the group to wipe. Moderation, people!

    2 - If you're a healer, don't heal your DPS every time they take a big hit. In fact, maybe you should let them take a few hits so that they can learn their lesson. Also, keep in mind that some characters (like warlocks) have moves that drain their own life to build mana or heal their pets. Be mindful of this and don't heal your warlock every time she/he casts Life Tap. If you're having problems with DPS constantly drawing aggro, boot them from your group. If you're a nicer person than me, or the offender is a friend of yours or a guildie, sit them down at the local Inn, have the bartender pour you some stout, and discuss the the concept of DPS restraint with them. They'll learn. They'll need to. If they ever want to progress in the lvl-70 instances, they'll have to learn to control themselves.

    My two cents. Sorry it's so long. Love the blog, BTW.

  8. Np... I love long comments/posts!

    Yes, it can be a little annoying when the DPSers don't understand the whole aggro/healing issue. Especially when they're at a high level. This is partly why I'm not a huge fan of those damage meters. It can make some DPSers just focus on wanting to be #1 instead of thinking about the entire group and fight dynamics.