Detangling Healing Assignments

I touched on this previously in a rant about healing meters. But it deserves greater attention than to be a mere foot note.

Healing assignments

The art of assigning healers (cat herding) is a difficult one, often plagued by healers who wish only to perform their preferred role. Note: I said preferred, which is not the same as best. In the previous discussion about heal meters I mentioned someone will repeatedly ask to be given a specific assignment to pad the numbers. Ulduar is a new beast, your numbers mean nothing if your assignment is dead. You could be top of the charts and if the tank is dead off the bat, what does it matter? (yes I am sneaking in a mini rant)

Thursday, WW had a particularly difficult time in Uld. Ever one eager to fix the problem, a few days later I sat down with our resident combat log guru and asked him to go over it with me. (and got him to volunteer helping me understand them to boot! I think I will pressure him to do a blog post about it.) Looking over the logs he had a simple question for me. “Why aren’t you MT healer?” I know (another previous rant covered this very topic. Notice a pattern?) It’s a question I’ve pondered but given that I am often on spot or raid heals and can do a pretty good (not fabulous) job I don’t buck it. Also the healers have been doing a round robin for assignments, and I’m sure at some point when it was my turn I gave myself raid heals. (no I don’t like rocking my heal boat mid raid. Afterwards? Sure thing) Also I wasn’t the only one he did a double take on. You remember Frendan (if not go read my post on this fab pally healer) he was on raid heals most of the fight instead of the MT too.

Ulduar damage isn’t Naxx damage; it’s bigger, meaner, and spikier. Its time to dig deep healers!

The classes you assign are going to be based on what you have available to you. If you have not holy priests and 5 pally healers then you are going to have to make do with what you have. But below is an overview of what role each spec excels at.

MT healers:

Pally healers- this is where they will shine especially with big heals like Holy Lights. Beacon of Light on an OT and this is a pure win. (Yes, I am talking to you Fren. You are pure win)

Disc priests- Shields, damaged absorbed is damaged not needing to be healed. While Penance is a big heal, it is also changed for smaller bites per heal. Flash heal is our other bread and butter heal. My recommendation is to always pair with a big hitter. Also with Weakened Soul you won’t be keeping shield up constantly (with the hits tanks are taking its going to get used. To help out your raid (hello 3% raid wide mitigation) keep yourself and/or the OT shielded as well.

Druid- I like the hots, hots, hots. Even if the druid is focusing on raid heals, tossing some hots on the MT is a great way to help stabilize the spiky incoming damage to your tank. Talents and glyphs can move a resto druid from raid heal to MT heal and back again. Please communicate which you are to make assignments smoother.

Raid healers:

Holy priests- CoH, Prayer of Healing need I say more? (Incase you said yes) holy excels at stabilizing groups fast!

Shaman- Lazer beams of heals! Best for tight groups ala melee. But on fights like XT where you have 3 tight groups they are king as well. Their weakness is when everyone is spread out (thus why melee will always love them)

Druid- as stated above a druid can talent/glyph to remind us why we considered them king of raid heals (before those shammys came to take the name)

Truly any of the raid healers can pick up MT heal duty in a pinch. Particularly with the changes that Bliz has made to the classes. This is meant simply as a general outline for use to make assignments go a bit faster.

Being healer lead is a thankless job with a herd of cats scratching to get their favorite catnip toy. Communicate to your leader (after the raid usually) if you have questions about why you get a certain assignment. Watch your cross healing (to reduce overheals and wasted mana). And don’t go scratching your leader if you don’t get put where you want. They have more on their minds than keeping you happy with milk and treats

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Published in: on May 18, 2009 at 7:16 pm  Comments (6)  
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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I totally agree that they should stop asking me to be MT healer as a Holy Priest. >.< Just because I top the Recount leaderboard doesn’t mean I have the biggest, crit-est heals that would benefit MTs. Plus, it’s such a totaly misconception that if you’re Lead Heals (doing assignments) then you must necessarily be MT healer. I don’t get the logic.

  2. Fresh heallead here. Assigning healers so far has been easy enough. Learning what specs are good at what (especially for druids and shamans) is a tad more tough if you dont have a maxlevel charachter in those classes :*(

    Got to find someone to outline the above *wink* 😉

  3. @ Sparkle Well I have to agree hun, but then I would have to ask do you have good MT healers in your group. I think a lot of people have just adapted to the idea that all priests can flip between MT and raid heals equally well. We can all do the job just some excel and shine more than others.

    @Qi When you started assiging heals did you take time to check people’s spec and see what they are best suited for? I always wonder if heal leads do or not.

  4. Ask your people as well. Often they have a preference towards that which they do good (cause boy does it feel good to be good!). So yes, your healers can often tell you what position they would be best at.

    Don’t do this during raid though, ask after raid. In the beginning I just started with the simple question: “Did you like your assignments tonight?” It normally went from there.

  5. I think also that recount is a necessary addon for a heal assignor. Especially looking back at raid deaths to see what is going wrong and how assignments might need to be changed. And people say “meters dont matter” for healers…. not really true–> yes a disc priest is invisible, and tank healers are not equivalent to raid healers in output but it does let you see who is slacking (holy priest raid healing at the bottom of the meters might need some suggestions on rotation/glyphing/talenting)

    Knowing your healers and their abilities is key–> knowing the individual players style and capabilites is just as important. Why I always grimace when we pug a healer, not that they haven’t been effective most of the time, but healing is a job where you can’t waste assignments to figure out who can do what. That makes wipes.

    Also talk a lot in your heal channel when needed. Don’t smack your healers with silence when there is failure. Discuss problems and try and fix them. You can’t tell dps to dps harder but you can switch healers to be more effective. Also don’t feel locked into your preconceptions of what the assignments should be, especially when you are chain-wiping or otherwise bashing your head against a wall. Be creative in those situations, worst thing that happens is you fail again.

    • As for the meters the problem is the preconceptions raid leaders tend to have about them being the end all be all. It requires time and understanding for a RL to actually decipher what they are seeing. It is pointless to say compare two healers to each other if they are on widely different assignments. Which is part of the growing resistance to meters you will find among healers on forums.

      And while I will agree that it is good to switch up healing, I don’t think it is ideal to give a pally raid healing unless under dire need. They just don’t have the tools to cover the job well enough for it. You have to work with the classes and abilities you have but you still have to make intelligent choices about where they should go.


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