Monday, March 16, 2009

Healing Theory

Since this blog will definitely have a focus on healing, I wanted to post an introduction to some of my thoughts on healing. I will post more entries on individual points as time goes on but I wanted to come up with an outline of sorts on what I think are the keys to being a good healer.

The basic key of being a healer is wanting to help other people stay alive. This goes without saying. But how?

A good healer should want to know what's going on. Who is tanking what? What kind of damage will they take? What kind of AOE or debuffs are flying around? A healer should want to know what happens in each phase, so they can heal effectively.

A good healer should also want to know everything they can that will affect their healing. Who was just hit with that deadly spell? Who has aggro? What debuffs does the MT have? How long until the boss's next ability? If there's something that will affect the raid, the healer should want a way to know when it's happening. This is where mods come in to being a good healer, but I will post more on that later.

A good healer should want to know their toolbox of spells and abilities. They should not rely on one smart-spell or spam all their spells with abandon. They should want to know which of their spells is most efficient, which has the most throughput, which is best for spike damage, how the spells scale with spell power/crit/haste, and which spells are best for unique encounters. A good healer should also consciously manage their mana, being proactive with regen cooldowns, and properly balancing throughput and longevity with their gear choices and spell usage.

A good healer should want to protect anyone in their care. If they are assigned to heal player X, then they should want to do whatever they can to keep player X alive. It should almost be a matter of pride: whatever went wrong on that last attempt, player X didn't die. If there is another player who seems to need healing, a good healer should want them protected too.

A good healer should be a cooperative participant in a healing team. They should be eager to see that all the tanks (or players with special roles in an encounter) are covered by the team, especially in a way that best utilizes all the different healing classes' abilities. They should come to know the other healers too, getting familiar with their skill sets and spell preferences, so as to better work with them.

A good healer should trust their teammates, but also be interested in keeping an eye on the raid as a whole (to the degree allowed by their assignment), and should be ready to help out with a shield or quick heal on anyone who needs it. If someone dies and it was preventable, they should get upset, and if it happens more than once, they should be thinking about how to avoid the problem in the future.

A good healer should also be willing to expand their abilities. They should take it as an interesting challenge when they have to heal a tank as well as shackle an add, dodge an AOE, do a dance, mana burn a boss, or whatever. They should be willing to learn new skills, DPS a boss if it'll help, use a bandage in a tight situation, and do anything they can to help the raid.

This is not a comprehensive list, but I think it covers most of the things I feel strongly about. These are the points I take seriously as a healer, and so they will form the basis for many of my thoughts in this blog.

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