Guild & Raid

Healing in Hell or Hell of a Healer?

Hi Everyone, Mukluk here.  You may remember me from such great posts as “The Building of a Shaman UI”  and…this one .   As well as being an Officer and Raid Leader in the Phalanx of Nod, I also help wrangle the healers, which is the subject of today’s post.

Healing assignments. Why do we have them?


This shouldn’t be anything new to Raid Leaders or Healing team Leads but we often see healers (and honestly, their patients) misunderstand what we mean by a healing assignment.  When a raid wipes fingers are whipped out and begin to point.   Someone often pipes up and says “I didn’t get any heals, and that’s why I died”.   The healers then say “Well, I was following my assignment, sorry”.

Why is this always so hard?   Why do we get so fixated on the assignment?     Sometimes healer’s feel “special” about their “healing assignment” and treat it like it’s the ONLY thing they do.    Time to get over yourself, healers.   Healers are not the only raid members with “assignments” that are VITAL to the success of the raid.    In flights with interrupts a dedicated DPS team member (or members, depending on the fight) is often assigned to handle interrupts.   Tanks have either an assignment of “boss” or “adds”…heck.. I would argue that the tanks have it harder than anyone else.  Not only do they need to keep threat on a boss or add, but they often have to SWITCH in the middle of the fight…   Sounds easy…but it’s not. The point is, Tanks and DPS members with assignments are still expected to either hold the boss or pew-pew the boss at an acceptable level..   Their assignments are not mutually exclusive to their role..

I hear you all asking: “What’s the point, Mukluk? “

Healing assignments are guidelines to ensure the maximum spread of healing and a method to reduce healing chaos.  They aren’t the be-all and end-all.   If you are a “Tank Healer” in one fight doesn’t mean that is ALL you do.

Let’s treat raid healing like an emergency room.   In the Emergency Department, everyone has a role, from the person who greets you when you come into, to the nurse that take your vitals to the doctor(s) who see you, diagnose and finally treat you.   When an Emergency Room begins to get busy, however, EVERYONE lends a hand to take care of the patient.  Healing in Cataclysm shares many similarities with the ER.

What are the typical assignments in Raid Healing?

It doesn’t matter if the Raid is a 25 man or a 10 man, the roles are the same.   Here are the roles and what they REALLY mean:

Tank Healing

When you are assigned to “Tank Heal”, what that really means is: Concentrate on the tanks, but if your patient is OK and ISN’T about to take a crap-ton of damage, heal the rest of the raid.   You’re not a one man show, you are NOT the only thing between your tank and certain death.   You are that tank’s primary physician, not their only one.

Raid Healing

When you are assigned to “Raid Heal” what that really means is: Your patients are the Pew-Pew people standing in the bad and otherwise getting damaged. If your patients AREN’T in danger of dying RIGHT THIS SECOND and AREN’T STANDING IN THE FIRE (see rule 1) then look at the tank. Does he need a heal? If so, then HEAL ‘em…  You are the raid’s EMT making sure everyone keeps alive to put a hurt on the boss…

It’s a priority system…otherwise known as TRIAGE.    Key to triage is COMMUNICATION and effective communication requires TEAMWORK..   Healers must communicate and let each other know what’s happening.  If a healer is out of position to heal someone in his/her assigned area, he/she needs to let the rest of the healing team know.   If a healer knows that the tank is about to take a lot of damage (example: Mangle in the Magmaw fight) he/she should also call that out (or listen for the Raid Leader to do so) and other healers should assist in topping off the tank.   Communication. Is. Key.

What Class Makes the Best Tank Healer or Raid Healer?

One of the topics of conversation I often see when it comes to healing is:  Which class should heal the tank and which should heal the raid? Who is best for what?   I may get violent disagreement from others out there, but after researching and reading up on the various healing classes, I’ve come to the determination that IT DOESN’T MATTER!

I hear you saying “Mukluk, you boon… you don’t know NOTHING”   Hang on…hang on..

Yes, some classes have more tools in the arsenal for single target healing (such as Discipline Priests and Holy Paladins). Yes, some classes have more tools in their arsenal for raid healing (Shamans, Druids). However, EVERY healing class has some form of effective AoE heal as well as an effective single-target heal.  In other words, I don’t care if you’re a Pally or a Shaman or a Rogue with bandages (ok..maybe not the rogue)….you CAN handle either Tanks or Raid.

Some of you will argue with sites such as that one healing class is far superior to another.  Others will remind me of their personal history as a Paladin from the days of yore.   I won’t argue with you.   You are quite likely the best Paladin, Shaman or Rogue with bandages out there, and this doesn’t apply to you.   The other 99.99% of us, however, should be able to handle both roles.   When we have Uber-Pally or Uber-Priest with us, then awesome!  We can get even MORE done during our raid, for your abilities make us all better!

If we follow the PRIORITY TRIAGE that I describe above then I could conceivably put the lowest throughput healer on a tank, KNOWING that the rest of the team will support the heals. In fact, since the difference between our healers is usually only about 5%, that’s a realistic situation.   Don’t get me wrong,  I am not suggesting that you randomly put someone on the tank or the raid. Rather,  If you have similarly geared players who KNOW their class and how to heal with it, this is reasonable.  If you have someone NEW to healing, or under-geared, or who just doesn’t react well, this WON’T work.

Perhaps the way to assign heals is by experience:  Your most experienced healers should be on the tanks, since they know when to use the various spells in their arsenal and when to ask for help.  Your new or lesser experienced healers should start with raid.  If you follow the priority system I suggest above, you will get experience healing both the raid and the tank.   Remember though, give your lesser experienced healers some tough assignments as well…that’s how they GET experience.  Have them tank heal on a farm boss…they’ll thank you for it.

In the end, healing is about triage, teamwork and communication.   Without those three attributes, your healing team will fail you.

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