10 Reasons People Don’t Heal

I love healing. I have four healers, three of whom I play fairly regularly. I tend to be automatically drawn to healers in games. I’d shift out from Bookin and throw heals if the group’s dying. As plate DPS I run around telling people to stay still so I can bandage them.

Heck, in Team Fortress I default to the medic when my team’s limbs are flying freely.

But I know a lot of people who avoid healing like a Lich-bourne plague. Curious, I asked a few of them why it wasn’t their cup of tea, and thought back over some of my more negative experiences as a healer. I’m sharing these thoughts to see if anything rings true with you, whether you heal or not.

10. Visuals. Mostly we get to watch lil’ boxes rather than the pretty moving pictures on the rest of the screen. I’ll give that a moment to sink in. We don’t actually see the game we’re playing and paying for, whenever we’re healing in a group situation, just some bars going up and down. I can see why people wouldn’t want to watch that all the time. (Tho settling into the ‘healzone’ and watching those boxes can also be a reassuring balm for a healer. Or maybe that’s just me.)

9. Reaction based. Playing a healer requires you to think fluidly rather than do the same things over again, like DPS rotations. While this might be great at times it can also be daunting to commit to constant thinking in a ‘relaxing’ game. Not only that but healing’s very reaction based – current content tends to require quick twitch reactions both on plain ol’ healing and getting out of yon fiery goo. Those reactions aren’t something some people have permanently at their fingertips.

8. Personal preference. I believe there is a “role” in everyone. Some people ARE healer players. Some ARE tanks or DPS. What you play is obviously personal preference. But if you’re getting uppity when playing your feral cat character because you’re finding the rotation an absolute nitwibble, perhaps you’re unlikely to go for another stressful role – healing – as a change.

7. Perfectionism. I suspect a lot of healers are perfectionists. Deep down, we like to succeed in keeping everyone in tip-top shape. I don’t know about you but if people die from anything other than a one-shot, my thought is usually “I could have done better.” Even if that person died while I was a jot busy, like avoiding adds while jumping out of fire and cleansing a ticking disease. And healing the main tank who’s being mushed by an enraged boss. I can see some people might like to avoid engaging their inner perfectionist regularly.

6. People are stupid. Healing setups and assignments are things which some non-healers don’t think about and aren’t interested in learning about, whether or not it would help them support their healers and organise  more cohesive groups. The amount of times I’ve been in PUGs which have said “we need 5 healers anything will do” and we get 3 trees, 1 holy priest and an offspec resto shaman and are then expected to heal a Festergut25 attempt… which leads on to:

5. Blame game. Other members of the group tend to look to us healers first if someone dies or things go wrong. Sometimes the blame’s genuinely ours – everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes, in PUGs or randoms particularly, we’re just the easiest ones to blame – people died after all, and that’s what wiped us. Yep. Can’t be anything to do with the hordes of uncontrolled adds chewing healers’ faces off. Other times people aren’t blaming us at all but asking for information on what we saw and because many healers carry the can of blame we can get used to assuming blame anyway. It’s an uncomfortable position.

4. Responsibility. Healers are often put in a spotlight. Your tank healer is standing in the fire and your top DPS has eaten a nasty DoT. Which one dies? If you falter then everyone will die, if you make the wrong decision then everyone will die. Everyone might die anyway. Those decisions can be hefty responsibilities to shoulder and it’s easy to have a rabbit-in-the-headlights reaction.

3. No influence. Think about it. If any tank says “jump down that hole” you jump down that hole. If a healer tells someone to do the same, the healer either gets told to “stfu”, kicked, or a reputation for being mouthy – before they’ve finished the sentence. Even when the other half of the sentence is “…because if you don’t those adds are going to rip out your ey-ohnevermindthen” Ah, the trials of being an unsung hero.

2. “Meh: Lose” situation. Being a healer’s far from win-win; there’s no criteria for personal ‘win’. If people don’t die then you’re performing adequately – at present. If people die, you’ve ‘lost’ or failed. The closest healers get to winning is on healing meters, which amount to superfluous and unfair competition given that different healing classes perform in different ways. The healing puppetry show is far more than “Heals Per Second – that’s the way ter do it!”

1. Mystery. Many gamers are used to “survive by killing that horde of zombies” or “save the world by sticking your sword in Mr. Mwhahahha until he falls over”. Not “save the world by by enthusiastically patching up your group’s assorted grazed knees and bumps on the head.” For players used to the former mindsets and styles, I gather that rolling a healer and then progressing through a game primarily with friendly and defensive abilities is a bit like “now go and live the same life as everyone else does using nothing but a chinchilla for defence.”

Now it’s your turn. I’m curious about this – do you have any reasons to add as to why you or someone you know won’t heal? Do you vehemently agree or disagree with any of these – or are you not fussed either way, given that it’s just a game? And do you think shedding light on these things will get healers a little more respect – if indeed we deserve more?

This is an article by Mimetir, an owl (and resto shaman) of a raid leader on The Venture Co. (EU) You can find my twitter feed here.

75 thoughts on “10 Reasons People Don’t Heal”

  1. Someone i know refuses to heal because he is lazy. He would prefer to sit and press buttons 1 and 2 whilst targetting the boss, and refuses to do any dps on adds or anything other than shoot fireballs at the big bad over in the corner. Ties in slightly with number 9, he doesnt think he is motivated enough to swap targets.

    On the other hand, i know someone who wont heal because of health problems – he has a heart disorder and doesnt think his body can handle the stress of healing or tanking in raids!

  2. I have recently become a healer, and only last week got her to 80, and I am finding that the absolute hardest part of being a healer relates into your point 2.

    For me, it’s not so much about winning, as performance.

    There are two states to a group/raid: Killed the boss, or wiped.

    The problem is that it’s very hard to tell which outcome your are influencing.

    If you won, is it because you are a good healer, or because the rest of the raid is good enough to cover for you?

    If you lose, is it because you didn’t heal enough, or because the tank doesn’t have enough mitigation, the DPS aren’t fast enough, etc, etc.

    It’s VERY hard for me to judge this, especially as a new healer. I’m usually the backup, tertiary healer so far in our raids, and in heroics results seem to vary so wildly that I can’t tell if it’s me doing something wrong, or other aspects.

    This leads to a confidence issue, and a non-confident healer is a recipe for failure. So either I will learn to be thick skinned (Barkskinned? 😉 ) enough to assume I am the best there is… Or that I am so hopeless I should stop brining groups down.

    Things were much easier on my hunter. If we wiped, it was rarely because I failed. That’s what tanks and healers were for. 😉

  3. Before I started healing, my reason for not touching it with 10-foot pole was responsibility. I was a relatively new player (and then I was not-so-new, but still a noob), and I was afraid of screwing up and getting bitched at. As DPS, I could screw up and not wipe the group.

    Now that I discovered healing, I can’t see myself not doing it. I don’t need praise and I can bitch back very well when I know it’s not my fault, and the knowledge that I saved a group is enough for me. Maybe it’s just my maternal instincts 😀
    .-= Jen´s last blog ..Blogging muses and chance encounters =-.

  4. Very interesting! I especially like the 9, as it also explains why I can’t play dps anymore as it’s sooooo boring when you’re used to healing 😛

  5. I understand the concept of unsung heroes. I play a warrior tank from time to time and especially in PUG’s, a tank gets complimented on a job well done, but a healer not so much. Even DPS’ers get more thanks for a job well done than healers. The reason for this, I think, is just plain old visiblity. If a tank is performing well its obvious; mobs aren’t eating clothy DPS’ers faces even under immense threat strain. A group of DPS burn a mob down fast and you can tell because they fall fast. While those two roles of players are intently busy holding aggro or knocking the crap out of the mobs, they don’t notice the heals hitting them necessarily because its kind of in the background.

    Only once have I gotten a compliment as a healer, and thats when it was just me and a tank up on Skadi, me popping CD’s and mana regen and pots to stay out of OOM territory and the tank got him down. It was obvious that I was working my butt off to keep the tank up now because there were only two of us.

    So when I do tank, I make a sincere effort to compliment the healer if hes doing a good job.

  6. I really try to compliment healers when they’re doing well – partially because my gf’s a healer, and so I’ve learned how much the total lack of praise sucks – but, and this is a real problem with healing, it’s really hard to tell what was awesome healing.

    Sure, sometimes you can see your tank’s health bar going up and down like the Ubisoft DRM servers, and that’s gotta be tricky, but a lot of the time it’s very hard for any non-healer to tell just how brutally horrible the healing is. I periodically offspec to healer, and it’s often a shock to me that fights which look pretty simple as a tank or DPS suddenly become a looming horror.

    To be honest, I think this is a game design problem. Maybe with Cataclysm reintroducing mana efficiency and tactical healing rather than “aargh, spam the button” it’ll be easier to tell an awesome healer because they’re the ones that aren’t OOM 20 seconds in, but right now healers really have a raw deal.

  7. I came over to wow from eq about 3 years ago and have 4 level 80s, hunter, dk, rogue and just made 80 last week priest. Healing is so much harder in wow, my cleric in eq was part of a 5 man rotation in raids and usually kept the tank alive. I have found the healing in wow is so much more instinctive. I welcome your perspective and will try to improve my healing.


  8. Very insightful stuff. I think #9 is your strongest point though. When I’m healing, I mostly don’t have much of a plan in advance, other than anticipating damage spikes or raid damage phases. When I’m DPSing, it’s all about planning ahead and trying for max DPS — I’ll start a boss fight by planning when I’ll pop my cooldowns. It’s a big mental shift.

    3 is true of DPS too, but it’s maybe the biggest mental shift to playing a tank. I’ve seen a few raids where a separate leader told the tanks what to do, but they’re pretty rare. In 5-mans it’s even less common.

  9. This reminds me about a line in “Faith of the Fallen” by Terry Goodkind about warring with magic.

    If the gifted are using their magic correctly, it will seem like nothing is happening.

    Healing is much the same way.

    Of course, when you’re a tank (and my main is) you learn to respect your healers. I mean… REALLY respect your healers. I see my life bar every once in a while, and I have to give my healers props. There is a determined difference between a good healer and a bad one. My thanks to the good ones.

  10. I’ve got a main tank/dps, and an alt tree/bear druid. I’d say I’m very competent in both dps and tanking. In comparison, I found healing very very stressful. Healing 5 man is ok since I am overgeared to the point where no one dies if I have regrowth/rejuv on them. But 10/25 mans are a nightmare. Either I am too slow, and all my hot targets get healed up to full by someone else (and thus I loose on the meters). Or everyone is dying and I feel lost in what to do. I will definitely never change to a healer as my main raiding role.

    I have a lot of respect to good healers.

  11. @lilham: Don’t worry about the healing meters, just do your job. You’ll end up on top in some fights and at the bottom in others, but as long as no one dies, everything is fine.

    @Matt: Slighly offtopic, but reading the comments I realized another reason I like playing a healer: control. As a tank (although some would disagree) you have to lose control and trust your healers. You can only keep the mobs on you; you can’t keep yourself alive without a healer. This is one of the reasons why I don’t like playing my warrior tank, but I’m ok on my paladin. Lay on hands for the win! (plus judgement, plus actually healing if there’s a break in tanking.)
    .-= Jen´s last blog ..Blogging muses and chance encounters =-.

  12. Awesome!!!!! I have one observation. All the reasons above kinda remind me of a Mom or a Dad!!!!!!!!! I have run across all of those feelings while healing and all of those situations! So….am I a glutton for punishment?

  13. Think you mean “meh:lose” on #2. 😉

    I only recently rolled a healer (disc priest, to be exact). I’ve had a couple healing-capable classes as alts for a while, but never actually healed on any of them, or they never made it past level 15. However, switching from tank to heals really highlighted a few of these for me.

    #10: yeah, I spend a lot of the fight watching VuhDo now, having positioned it close enough to my priest’s feet to make sure I’m not standing near something I shouldn’t. This doesn’t feel a lot different: as a tank, I’m mostly staring at a screen full of boss crotch most times.

    #9: I think people who’ve played priority-based DPS rather than the ones who are still holding on to regular rotations might make better healers. I like the freedom to just cast the best spell for the situation rather than the next one in line – it’s sort of liberating!

    #6: Dear God. If there is a downside to healing, it’s that it makes me cranky sometimes, especially in pugs. If I’m doing *my* best to heal you, since you signed up as the “tank,” why are you running around in Battle Stance with a two-handed weapon and never Thunder Clapping? If I’m drinking, you don’t get to decide when my mana is full (spoiler: 50%? not full), then aggro half of the instance in one pull; you are not 80, you are not invulnerable to damage. ARGH.

    #5: I tend to play the blame game more as a tank; realistically, there’s not often a lot I could do, but I always wonder – what if I’d waited 5 seconds to blow a cooldown? What if I’d pulled him over here instead of over there? However, as a healer, it always feels like I have a more intuitive grasp on when something is actually my fault and when it’s not. No idea why – just a feeling.

    #3: See #6.

    #2: I definitely don’t feel the meh:lose comparison. Is everyone alive? I’m happy. Did I somehow pull this group’s arse out of the collective fires? (Not literally, of course. Yet.) Then woohoo, go me. I’m satisfied with a job well done, for the most part.

    For most of the people who don’t heal, I think the biggest thing getting in the way is simply that it’s not their role. I agree entirely – a lot of people ARE DPS or ARE tanks. To be fair, I’ve thought that about myself a few times – I’ve been DPS since forever, only switching to tanking since ICC opened and finding I enjoyed it just as much. The playstyles are pretty different between healing and the other two roles, though – that might be another factor.
    .-= Stop´s last blog ..Keeping what sticks =-.

  14. I was one of those that said I’d never heal in my wow-life.
    Until I was a skinny ud lock seeing this almighty orc resto shaman shouting mightly: STAY TOGETHER, I WILL KEEP EVERYBODY ALIVE! and, when karazhan was still hard, this guy solo healed Curator.

    I thought OH MY is the first time ever I see such a confident healer !

    I leveled a troll shaman, went resto at lvl 64 and stayed resto as my main role from 2007 to october/2009, when I faction changed and decided to go elemental as main spec, because I was forced to be casual , I couldn’t put my hands on any of the BiS gear anymore, and since people are gearscore freaks nowadays, they would not understand that before you get the whole T10 set, 2 pieces T9 and 2 pieces T8.5 is the ideal to heal anything.

    Sadly with that combination as casual, I get declined from Pugs, and that’s disheartening, that a such competent , skilled, old schooled player, gets declined because I chose the best comvo over GS.

    Anyways, I went resto because I have the hero complex, when I heal, people stay alive.

    I’m still looking forward to see Blizzard implementing something regards to Gearscore Freaks, like removing ilvl on items for example , but that’s another story 🙂

  15. Almost all damage done is perceived as useful. Pug your heroic daily. End up in VH.

    As a Moonkin, do 10K DPS. Puggers will ooh and ah (even though they probably could have done a full clear if you’d been afk the entire time).

    As a Tree, massively outgear the instance. You still might have a whopping 500 effective HPS (and 50 DPS). You can’t heal damage that isn’t taken.

    When I DPS in a raid situation (either PvE or PvP), I’ll notice the times that someone’s health went from near zero to 100%. I’ll thank “the healers”, because I probably won’t know which particular healer made that clutch save.

  16. I leveled my holy paladin with the intent of going ret when it wasn’t a viable raiding spec. Yet I have stayed holy and never looked back since, I can’t really understand why though. I just didn’t like the idea of tanking or DPS-ing and I wanted to be belf with the new class (at the time for the Horde).

    Funny how things work out.

  17. I really don’t know why people avoid healing, because I love it. As Jen mentioned, I like the feeling of control it gives you. As I healer I have the power to save people. When I play a dps I often feel a little helpless.

    The only thing on your list I disagree with is number 10. Even with 25 little health bars on my screen, I still watch the rest of the fight very closely. I think any role can be subject to lack of visuals if they let themselves. As a dps it is just as easy to tunnel vision in on the bosses health bar, your DoT timer or your action bars. As a tank, you most likely get to stare at boss crotch the whole time.
    .-= Jasyla´s last blog ..Where are all the hunter posts? =-.

  18. Tanks are often the ‘Glory position’ in that they are front and center in every encounter (almost every encounter, anyway). DPS meanwhile get to flout big, gaudy numbers that never go to waste – as Erdluf pointed out, dps never goes to waste; bigger is always better (with a few exceptions, of course). Healing, on the other hand, is almost never noticed unless
    – people die (doesn’t always need to be a wipe, either; some people get all cranky for any death)
    – somebody drops from nearly full to nearly dead, and is pulled back from the brink of death. This always gets noticed and is usually complemented (‘Nice heals!’), even if the precipitous drop in health was the result of bad healing in the first place.
    I think some people this sort of play just doesn’t fuel their competitive fire or ‘lust for glory’ in the same way that tanking or dps’ing can.
    .-= jeffo´s last blog ..The Crowd Control Cure =-.

  19. In my experience, people don’t like to heal because of a combination of “it takes more attention” and “more responsibility falls to them.”

    Most people are lazy. They want to get the most out of life with the least amount of effort; because of this, healing in an MMO feels like “work” rather than “fun.” They don’t want to not be able to watch TV while they point 12233412344432 in sequence for 15 minutes. They don’t want to be the one who gets yelled at my the raid leader when Idiot Jimmy didn’t move out of the fire and they couldn’t heal him fast enough.

    They see the negative aspects of it, but never the positive. They don’t see the intangible rewards for it; all they see is the negativity brought on by people who play characters like Stabbitystabstab and Tankymctankerson. They never get that Healymchealerpants is just as valid.
    .-= Professor Beej´s last blog ..Looking for Guest Posts =-.

  20. Less recognition for a less forgiving job. If a raid member dies, it’s a healer’s fault. If there is poor tanking or low dps, it is much more insidious and harder to identify. In a “OMG I did 9k dps” game, healing roles don’t relate at all. Most people will play a game for a sense of accomplishment, achievement, progress, teamwork, etc…you have to work harder to get that as a healer. MOST people don’t realize that it is SO much better to be complimented as a healer than as a DPS player, because DPS is a dime a dozen, and a good healer is perpetually sought after.

    Want to know why most people won’t spend time healing? Our culture is one of instant gratification, and playing as a healer is a long-term venture. Healers are, imo, harder to gear up to the same levels AND it takes longer to stand out because a healer’s reputation is not built after a single engagement, but rather after a consistent string of exemplary performance which can take considerably longer.
    .-= Tim/Smoogee´s last blog ..The Slight Edge and gearing a priest =-.

  21. In my case I’m mostly leaning on #4 for why I don’t heal. As a tank, the whole group can make my job harder, and as a healer, the same is true. As DPS I assist target the tank; blam, blam, blam, life tap — and if someone decides not to heal the tank or if the other DPS peels aggro or the tank goes skipping off into the forest of angry mobs while the healer is drinking, I don’t have the stress of dealing with it, or getting the blame for something going wrong.

  22. Professor Beej: Actually, I find it *harder* to slack as a DPS than a healer. It’s obvious right there on the DPS/damage meters. As a healer (well, maybe it just applies to druids) I can watch a movie while healing the raid adequately, and since healing meters don’t actually mean anything… no one is likely to catch on.
    .-= Jen´s last blog ..Blogging muses and chance encounters =-.

  23. Hehe, I kind of dislike healing, which is why it’s *always* my offspec (dps is MS). My main reason for disliking it is the resentment/frustration that comes with having to heal stupid. Makes me want to kill the people I’m supposed to be cooperatively and nicely raiding with.. and yeah, that’s not so good.
    Granted I’ve switched guilds since that was a huge issue but now I’ve got kind of a mental block/phobia of healing.
    Besides I quite enjoy dps, and I think the competitive nature of it suits me (overall damage done versus dps, stay alive, use my hybrid utility, etc of course all matter).

  24. Reading through the other comments, I notice that few people have any other reasons than those you mentioned, however, I would like to add one:

    While healing has seemed more like whack-a-mole to me than anything, I find that I have very little confidence in many of the DPS that I have run with, to the point where, I often suspect that we would probably wipe, due to not having enough damage going out.

    Now, this doesn’t necessarily include my guild-mates, because the majority of them are quite skilled in what they do. Rather, this includes the majority of PuGs that I get into.

    Additionally, I decided long ago (pre-BC) that DPS would be my main spec on my priest (I know…Shadow Priest during Vanilla /shudder), and very few groups will allow you to roll on off-spec gear, even if they asked you to switch specs for the good of the group (i.e. if they ask you to switch to your off-spec, then it is now your main-spec). This is rather annoying, when I have actually experienced a point where my off-spec was better geared than my main, simply because they wouldn’t let me roll on my main.
    .-= Spazmoosifer´s last blog ..Is it the End of the World? Probably Not. =-.

  25. I agree with every one of those items. As a healer, they’re the sorts of responses that I hear when I tell someone, “Well, if I’m doing such a bad job, why don’t YOU heal it?”

    And what really bugs me sometimes is that people even admit it – but it doesn’t make a difference. For some people, you can sit them down and patiently explain those ten items in simple, easy-to-understand terms, and they’ll agree with you – but it won’t change their view point on healers or healing at all.

    The raid team I’m on in our guild is currently wiping on Putricide – err, I mean, progressed up through Rotface/Festergut (one-shotting everything before then easily) – and I typically heal on my Shaman. Last night, I was asked to DPS up to Rotface/Putricide, and was surprised at how EASY it was.

    I wasn’t top DPS, but then again, my DPS gear isn’t that great (2-piece T9, Triumph pieces and a few odd drops from ICC and ToC heroics); but it was actually relaxing!

    I definitely agree with you that there is a mindset necessary for healing, and some people just don’t have it. Unfortunately, it seems that many of the folks who don’t have that mindset are quick to offer the blame for our mistakes, but rarely laud us for our successes.

  26. Once on a pug the only people alive when the boss died was me (resto shammy) and the tank. One of the dead pugs said; “Nice healing!” I did not know if he was being sarcastic or not until the otheres told me how they were sure that it was a wipe and that my healing was what made the difference. On one raid I was the only toon still alive when the boss died–and I was the healer so had to dps him down.
    On the other hand, every once in a while a tank will keep moving ahead as I am running out of mana and getting chewed up by the adds he left behind. Then when he dies he tells me that I suck as a healer and boots me from the pug. I just changed to elemental and beat the crap out of some bosses to relieve my frustration.
    I am totally convinced that too many players have no idea what it like to heal and how much more difficult they make our job. And yes, several times I have felt like letting the tank die on purpose but I just cannot accept that kind of failure.

  27. I have an 80 rogue and mage (well, and an 80 DK), and I’m currently leveling a warrior tank and a priest healer via 5-man instances. Both are at 48. My main issues with healing:

    – I don’t get to see the game. I thought I’d be able to learn each instance on my healer before hitting it with my tank, but guess what? I’m totally lost, all I do on my healer is run after the party. I hardly see the fight, much less learn the floor plan, I’m busy watching the party’s health bars.

    – I’m always playing catch up. The rest of the party is already running off, I’m still waiting for mana and looking for the corpses I didn’t loot yet. And yes, I really do want a second to stop and level my skinning. What’s your deal pulling the mobs before I even get LOS on the party?

    The idea of healing and tanking really made me nervous. On a 5-man there’s ONE tank and ONE healer, and then “those dps people over there”. Everyone knows when the tank or the healer screws up. But that’s exactly why I had to do both.

  28. For me, the reason I haven’t healed is purely a confidence problem. With DPS and tanking there is something of a rotation, a sense of “do THIS and get DPS/TPS and you’ll be fine, but if you need them, there are these abilities over here”.

    I leveled a priest to 80 with a Shadow main spec and Disc off-spec. I did a little bit of research on the Disc spec, but it’s possible things have changed since I set it up. My main problem is that I don’t know my buttons well enough to look at a health bar and know what sort of heal I should be casting. Do I need a big one, should I toss the frisbee, or will a shield/renew be enough? And which of these buttons is the frisbee again, anyway?

    I tried healing a heroic once so far. I got Halls of Lightning, and I made it through with only one death, a rogue whose health bar I didn’t even see go down, just suddenly he was dead. It was nerve-wracking the whole time. But even though I was “successful”, I am nervous about repeating the experience. I know that the only way to learn is by doing, and I just don’t feel up to the task.

  29. For me, your number 3 really rings true. This is exactly the reason why I love to tank: I control the run.

    I’m a control freak and I want to control the speed of the pulls, mark the targets, and explain the tactics. I HATE it when DPS pulls for me.

    I’m now leveling a healer as it’s the one part of the game I’ve never tried, and it is horrible playing with a bad tank. I try to take control and everyone ignores me.

    However, as a healer in a 5-man you CAN pull off some heroic stuff. e.g. tank dead and a DPS dead, and somehow saving the wipe thanks to clever fading/fearing and positioning versus the DPS, playing aggro ping-pong.

    My biggest problem with healing is that I’m over-analytical: by the time I’ve worked out the right heal to use, the target is dead. I also hate using mana…. Therefore I’m really excited by the sound of Cata healing: it sounds perfect for my playstyle.

  30. In addition to the visual issues, you forgot to mention that heals don’t make all of those really cool “bang! wham! explode!” type sounds that the various dps moves make.

  31. I played one variety of pet DPS and another variety of pet DPS all the way up to 80 until I decided to throw a ton of badges into heirlooms and level my 35 druid as resto via LFG. I just dinged 60 today, and I wish I had started months ago. I was always afraid of the pressure and the responsibility, because that’s what I hated when I tried to tank with my warrior in BC.

    Maybe it’s the heirlooms, but so far healing has been /easy/, and the few times I’ve been involved in wipes have usually been a case of the tank not pulling an add off me, which the rest of the party tends to recognize as not particularly my fault. I mean, I do go hug the tank when I get an add, but they’re still learning, so consecration or d&d isn’t always up, and woe unto the warrior who doesn’t have thunderclap in their rotation.

    And I’m realistic enough to recognize that tanks have to learn how encounters work, so I ride it out. That said, I know full well I can leave a dysfunctional party and get back into a new one in a heartbeat. But usually I just double my efforts and get through the instance if it’s going poorly. But usually it’s a waltz down easy street. The worst is when the tank is pushing my mana regen capability, and even that has a lesson – altering my casting to try and stay in MP5 as much as possible.

    None of which is ever a concern with my hunter. I just pew pew until things die, maybe throwing a misdirect onto the tank to ensure they only try and chew on his face and not mine. Topping the damage meters is fun enough, but I’ve really taken a shine to healing.

    But when I clearly save the party’s bacon (whee, fight just doubled in size and _everyone_ is taking damage!), it seems like parties recognize it, and I get a warm fuzzy feeling out of it. Wouldn’t trade it for anything, now.

  32. @Joar oh but there’s chain heal’s boom sound! 🙂 then again i don’t play wow with sound =(

    Think its an e-peen thing that people don’t play healers. where their success can be quantified easily, either through dmg meters or tanking some big bad ass boss and ‘controlling’ a fight

    from personal experience it seems that people who play tanks/dps would seldom choose to play healers and its usually the other way around. this usually creates the problem of people not understanding the abilities and limitations to various kinds of healers. like for example expecting a holy priest to heal a main tank who is undergeared (in addition to over geared dps who don’t care about aggro /cry) and then blaming the healer for people almost dying.

  33. I find healing is the most accessible role for a casual player. Having taken a longish break (left pre-Ulduar) and just recently returned I’m struggling with the whole Catch-22 of “no gearscore = no chance to get gear”. However, 5 man random heroic PuGs fire almost as fast for my healer as they do for my tank and “Holy Priest, loves to raid heal” at least has a chance of landing a raid slot while “undergeared, inexperienced DPS” has none.

    I found early on that, with limited time. Tanking or healing got me into dungeons faster and both a more rewarding than a simple pew pew.

  34. I was once a healer – I loved healing in TBC. But WotLK ruined healing for me. Whack a mole is not fun. Its all about reaction times – the decision making has completely left the game as a healer because your only decision is ‘what can I spam next to keep someone alive’. I liked managing my mana. I liked deciding I could leave Player A for a but while I brought Player B to full. Now I never run out of mana and just spam buttons as fast as possible and hope.

    I really welcome the changes that Cataclysm promises to healing. For me, this might make it fun again.
    .-= Morrighan´s last blog ..Now thats what I call Cataclysm news =-.

  35. @Morrighan i’ve to agree with you on this =( i’m a healer who actually looks at people’s health and scenario before i determine what kind of heal to use. now in wotlk it feels like a spam fast (which probably led to haste being king atm), kinda like playing Bishi Bashi Champ non stop =\

  36. One of my biggest issues go under 2. “Meh:loose” situation but is taking it one step further. It’s not just about too little reward, it’s even about getting punished when doing a good job. As you get better and your fellow raiders get better there is less to heal. Then one common way to go is to reduce the amount of healers, so basically, have a good team of healers and your efforts are rewarded with not getting to raid as much as before.

    As a healer I still want a challenge so I don’t want to be too many healers, but at the same time I feel bad for those sitting out or having to dps offspec when they would prefer to heal.

  37. Being a healer sucks this time of year. It means I can’t pay attention to playoff hockey during raids. My guild knows when my team just scored because I’ll have ceased all activity for like 7 seconds.

    One of the few times I wish I had a DPS main ^^.
    .-= Matticus´s last blog ..10 Reasons People Don’t Heal =-.

  38. What Matt says 🙂

    My main is a priest, and I have been healing-only for 3 years until spring 2009, when my guild had a healer overflow and I was asked to go shadow.

    Since then, I have continued healing pretty often – single bosses in ICC who require 1 eaxtra healer, raid pugs, heroics.

    I like healing, I am fine with the responsibility, I don’t mind not looking great on HPS recount as I’m now offspeccing etc … BUT LFD IS CHANGING ALL THIS LATELY

    The point missing in the article is the utter lack of respect healers receive in a lot of heroics.

    What happens these days is that players are so much in a hurry that you end up running like a madman behind a tank that will not stop if someone dies, will not give you time to get back to like 40% mana after buffing at start, will pull 3 or 4 packs of mob together also if his gear and spec isn’t up to that etc.

    I want my 2 frost badges, I have various characters, I work -> I tend to do heroics on priest and one of the alts before going to work.
    Hence, I used to enlist as dps/healer to have a shorter queue. If I get on as healer, I respec BEFORE accepting because I have soon learnt that I will not have 20 seconds to drink even at instance start.

    I have good gear and regen, if you give me 45 seconds before pulling first group I will have had the time to buff and get back to full mana.

    If you DON’T wait and NEVER stop once over the full instance, you are likely making it a very annoying experience for me, running and gulping expensive pots so that you can show your epeen while I can’t even have a sip at my coffee or someone will be dead.

    Healing? You don’t deserve it, let me dps please.

    If I have to heal guildies, or reasonable pugs, fine, but my healing heroics is getting more and more infrequent, and the guys in those have made me dislike the healing role for the first time in 5 years.

  39. My vanilla was a Holy paladin. healed all the way through Vanilla and TBC, and while at times it was a stressful experience, it was rewarding in its own way – learning to manage mana, stunning errant mobs, bubbling overexcited mages – great fun. I tended to find that PuGs were a lot more cooperative and there was a lot more working to a groups strengths as a team in raids – more thinking, less zerg..

    In WotLK – there is NO cooperation in PuGs – and no thought at all beyond how fast can i do this. You just rock up – noone speaks to each other (unless something goes wrong ofc), everything is at breakneck speed – and if there is a wipe its down to the healer (unless you get one of those ‘argh panic button’ situations where you save the run by the skin of your teeth (usually down to some ridiculous pull, inattentive dps, or a tank thinking he has more skills and gear than he actually does.).

    So I rolled a Shaman – DPS all the way (with a healer offspec that only my guild gets to see.) The paladin gets dusted off now and then – again primarily for the guild – but I cba with peoples attitudes to healers out of guild anymore. If I am in a PuG with a good healer I will tell them. If I am in a PuG with an undergeared healer or tank I will help out. But don’t ask me to MS heal anymore until peoples attitudes improve – and if OOM (and cc’s) is brought back properly in Cata – I suspect some of these rather overconfident Tanks and DPS will learn fairly quickly that zerging isn’t always the BEST way to run a instance – or theres going to be some impressive repair bills out there.

  40. Thanks for all the responses folks! It’s interesting that most folks wholeheartedly agree with at least one of those points – it looks like these reasons are really rooted into the WoW community, perhaps more than we realised.

    Also perhaps there’s a general if unacknowledged acceptance that healers do the silent work in the background!

    Keep the comments coming – we seem to have hit a topic everyone’s got a bee in their bonnet about 🙂

    @Marymoon – thanks for sharing, really nice to hear a positive turn *towards* healing. I also sympathise with your gearscore woes – I woke up today to hear of the new hosted Gearscore tool on the web. Ye gods…

    @Jasyla – I think managing to watch the screen (rather than overdoing it with Grid/Healbot etc) is a skill that healers *have* to learn, though it can take time; I know a lot of peole at varying stages of having problems with it. Kudos if you’ve fine with it tho 🙂

    @Aloix – Can completely agree with healing stupid and can see why it really puts you off healing. I’ve just PUGed VoA25 and several DPS just stood there in the fire. *sigh*. Even so – do you think the dislike for healing stupid makes some people (healers) more thoughtful DPSers/tanks when alt’ing?

    @Spazmoosifer – Aye, it’s not just a reaction/healing race, a lot of the fights are DPS races to some extent too. I think there’s also an increasing move towards DPS mobility/response as the content progresses, too. It all adds up.

    @Joar – very true. There aren’t as many sense-based effects for healers as for DPS and tanks. I’m someone who learns and takes information in through sound more than sight and I often feel, audio-based, I’m more clued up about what my DPSers are doing than my resto shamans.

  41. I’ve posted to this effect before here (and I am a mainspec healer) but healers have always been and will always be unsung heroes.

    * If the healers are doing their job properly you don’t notice them.

    * It’s easy to say on any encounter where you wipe that it could have been fixed if the healers healed more.

    * I sometimes get out of the end of a raid and I am literally exhausted. I’ve been focussing hard and working hard for 2-3 hours because healing is intensive and a good healer takes every death personally. When a DPS dies I often berate myself because I think “I could have done X or should have done Y”.

    * In my experience nice-minded raiding guilds (and mine qualifies) genuinely appreciates their healing team. They know we often get the rotten end of the stick and that some encounters are miserable for us. They also know that a good healing team provides valuable insights when learning new bosses because we can see what’s happening, what’s going wrong and why people are dying in a way that DPS and tanks can’t.

    * I so agree about healer diversity. I almost shouted over Vent when a guild friend last night was setting up a semi-PUG for ICC25 and we had myself (holy priest) and 3 resto shammy’s as healers. I said we needed 2 more but absolutely no more shaman please. Guess what I got. Somehow we managed to clear the first 4 bosses but I can tell you for free, running with 1 holy priest and 5 resto shammy’s wasn’t the most straightforward thing I’ve ever done…

    * Bottom line is, though, I still love healing. I love that feeling when you somehow manage to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat – those moments when you somehow manage to heal 3 people who are all going to die instantly and my absolute all-time favourite was Mimiron in Ulduar when 2 healers and a tank were left alive at the end and I wanded and DOTted the boss to death…

    I think, more than any other class, healers have to love healing to do it and be good at it. There’s a certain mindset (almost maternal/paternal in some ways) and a genuine wish to help other people.


  42. I think I can add one more reason to the list: The dependency on addons.

    I know quite a few players who dislike addons and prefer to play the game the way it ships. I think it is far easier dps well or tank well with the standard UI, than it is to heal well with it. Sure, it’s possible, but you will probably still find yourself having to write macros (and thus open that can of worms), and you will deprive yourself of a lot of healing potential.

    Anyway, I’m a healer through and through, starting in TBC (shaman) and continuing until today (druid main, and pally/disc alts). I’m pretty sure it takes a certain mind set to enjoy healing, and all the points you listed play a part. Most important from my point of view is: You’ve got to be willing to be the quiet force in the background, content about a job well done, even though people may not notice how well you did it.

  43. I’d like to expand on your #5: The Blame Game. Healers are often expected to have advanced encounter knowledge and the damage models of each fight. At the beginning of the expansion, I heard “What happened there, healers?” and felt it was an attack. Now, when I hear “What happened there, Enlynn?” I know that I’m being asked because the raid leaders don’t actually know where we went wrong.

    Healers are (often) expected to know the where/when/why/how/who of every wipe. If we can’t talk about what happened, it is assumed to be healer fail. A progression-raiding healer is under pressure to be aware of everything that happens and be able to communicate that information to the raid, not only as it’s happening but after the wipe to make a better next attempt. It can be hard when it seems like you’re constantly defending yourself and you’re always blaming someone else for not doing their job.
    .-= Enlynn´s last blog ..Firefighter =-.

  44. I’d like to add that until I rolled my priest healer and started healing raids, I had ZERO idea of how any healing in World of Warcraft worked.


    It was a mystery to me how sometimes I stayed alive, and others I’ve died. It was like some sort of alien world where occasionally I’d have stuff land on me and make me feel better, but I had no idea how it got there.

    Then, I started healing, and it opened up my eyes…

    I have become ten times the DPS / Tank that I was before, because I can understand how healers think, know what they’re probably going to do, and what their tools are for keeping me alive. I also found, much to my surprise, I do in fact like to heal. It’s not a passion for me as it might be for others, but maybe it’ll grow into that one day if I ever have a few more healers. The responsibility I’ll admit is a bit scary at first, but you grow used to it over time if you don’t let it weigh you down.

    One of the more interesting facets of being a healer is that in a raid, it’s kinda like being in a club. You’re a healer, with a small group of healers working together towards a common goal. It honestly felt like we were all clustered together in some back room behind the scenes, making sure everything went all right. It was a fascinating experience.

    Thanks for the perspective on healers, Mimetir!

  45. That’s a really good article. A few of the reasons were quite insightful. I agree that people are stupid; it’s one of the premises I use at work. They’re also lazy. I am delighted when someone proves me wrong on either point.
    Readers might like the reverse of this post, why do you love to tank?

  46. I have played a few healers and always felt quite a rush in keeping everyone alive. It’s also actually possible to be quite influential if you are assertive enough. Tell people who’s getting the heal and who’s not, and why. Tell people not to panic if they get down to below 50%, because that’s how you roll – no overheals, room to use a more efficient heal. Etc.
    I had thought that I would be a healer for life…

    But then I found tanking. It fit. Like a glove. That’s my role now, and in true tank fashion, I’ll be almost immovable from it. 🙂

  47. One unrelated comment: if you only play a healer character, consider taking up a dps offspec if you haven’t done that already.

    In my case, when I went shadow I became a lot more conscius of what was happening on screen, and I was able to use this increased awareness also when in healing spec.

  48. I’d like to add an 11th – “No Super-Zinginess!”. Hmm not very catchy. It kinda ties in with your number 10 on visuals tho. When I have my dps head on, I love seeing the numbers, love the animations, the graphics of the spells being cast, the sound effects, Lock and Load! Double Back Flip Super Combo!!! It’s all really exciting and arcadey and Super-Zingy, and I get to show off to my dps buddies when I’m at the top of the charts.

    When Mally heals, he kinda looks a bit, well, camp, especially with his skirt on. He strikes a catwalk pose, reaches to the sky, AND…. fuzzz a couple of dim lights flash for a second and that’s it. But I just healed 25k in an instant and all ANYONE sees is THAT?! Rubbish!!

    Don’t get me wrong, I love the responsibility and the job in hand, but where IS the fun? Where’s the super-combos? The meaty spell graphics that show you’ve just saved someone’s ass from sure death? Even more, where’s the “You just got your ass saved by Mally – SCORE!” for the dps standing in fire, so that he _knows_ you just rocked? People love the Shammy’s Chain heal cos a) it looks a bit whizz-bang, b) it _sounds_ rather whizz-bang, and c) everyone in the path of it knows they’ve just been whizz-banged. A philosophy to build on perhaps?

  49. @Mally: I love LOVE the look of my HoTs. I once spent 15 minutes in a corner of Ulduar just casting Wild Growth on myself and taking screenshots. I love the animation on the draenei when they cast. Humans are a bit meh, but lucky me, I don’t have a human healer 😛
    .-= Jen´s last blog ..Blogging muses and chance encounters =-.

  50. There’s also another reason, in my opinion: the glory factor. Not in-game, but culturally. There’s plenty of legends and fantasy stories about heroes slaying things or standing stalwart against incredible odds, but the healer is, well, quite literally an unsung hero.

    Nobody ever wrote an epic about Conan the Barber-Surgeon.

    As a result, if most people are looking to play something exciting in a fantasy setting, the humble healer is unlikely to be their first choice.

  51. Hmm. I’ve seen rogues, in particular, with a macro that announces whenever they’ve interrupted something, which turns a normally invisible but incredibly useful role into something visible that people can comment on.

    Perhaps healers need some kind of “Seriously, you would have just died there” whisper macro?

  52. 2,4,9,10

    Those were the reasons that kept me from healing for a very long time. I spent so much time and effort into learning how to play my enhancement shaman, when I first got to 80 I absolutely refused to heal under any circumstances because of that. I liked what I was doing, I was having fun doing it.

    Now I heal. At first I was horrible, I blamed myself for every mistake, and much of the time it actually was my fault. I don’t know when or how it happened, but it seems like one day it just clicked, and now I find healing extremely rewarding.

    It’s not as “fun” for me as my enhancement shaman, but it’s more personally rewarding. I can see and feel the affect I’m having on an encounter, where as a DPS sometimes it’s difficult to see the fruits of your labors with so many others doing the same thing you do, just with different spells.

    As far as getting recognition for good healing, that is up to the tanks to vocalize. In my experience if the tank mentions some outstanding heals that happened during the fight, the rest will speak up and say something as well. But when tanks are silent and/or ungrateful, I can see how it could influence a person to never want to be a healer.

  53. @Mally & Ekatrina (and sort of Mannheimblack):
    As a tank at least, if you’re standing in fire and your health bar is rapidly deteriorating and all of a sudden you don’t die when you expected to… you know it was all heals.

    The big problem with not being able to recognize the EPIC HEAL crit as a tank is that for the scarier bosses, especially later in ICC, your healers all need to spam some really impressive heals that all have to be capable of healing the tank up by about a third of their health and hope those heals land in between the boss’ standard 3-shot 20k phys hits. And keep doing it. Commenting on it would kind of be like commenting on just how amazing the laws of physics are whenever you walk, or exclaiming in wonderment at the magic of photosynthesis whenever you see grass.

    A little appreciation at the END of the fight is probably worthwhile though. 🙂

  54. I’ve always been attracted to the healer class. I love being able to turn the tide in battlegrounds and keeping the group or raid alive in instances. My first raids ever were as a holy priest, back in Molten Core. For AQ 40 I switched to a resto druid. For the Burning Crusade I went Balance and haven’t main healed since, but I did have a resto off-spec for dungeons.

    My priest has been Disc since WotLK and though I’m not the most skilled, I do pride myself in “making it work” and keeping the group alive even if their health is low more often than not because my gear isn’t that great. I of course ran into problems in pug raids though, with people telling me I was a shit healer because my hps wasn’t as high as that holy paladin’s. I amazed that even now people don’t know how disc works.

    I also recently started playing a resto shaman. It’s a struggle for me, because I’m used to relying on my priest’s shields. Usually people are nice when I tell them I’m still learning. The other day I used the random dungeon finder and walked into a Halls of Reflection group with skeletons littered all over the floor. I thought about leaving but decided it could be a fun challenge. Famous last words. The dps would not wait for the tank to get aggro and would get one-shot, or not move out of flamestrike. No one interrupted spell casts. The tank was delusional and thought I was standing on the far side of the side cubby we were standing in and everyone accused me of the wipe. We tried again and the same things happened, and they blamed me again so I just left.

    Healing is a tough job, especially when you don’t have the best gear and are still learning the finer points of your class. I think if less people had a “me first” mentality and did what they could to help the group instead, then things would go smoother.

  55. @Jen: I don’t get that. I mean, I can see how in theory, but when raid damage and tank damage is unpredictable, how can you take your eyes off them long enough and still be able to maintain any semblance of mana efficiency? I can /almost/ see a Holy Paladin Holy Light spamming a tank and Beacon, in a fight like Saurfang.

    You’re right, though, about the meters. Few people care if healing numbers are absurd unless they’re parsing stats. Which is one of the things I like most about healing: the epeen contests come in different categories than being a meter maid.
    .-= Professor Beej´s last blog ..Ron Howard to Direct “The Dark Tower” Movie Trilogy? Bleh. =-.

  56. For me it’s the lack of ability to tell if you’re actually getting anywhere. Healers make people not die, so from a healer’s standpoint, the best situation is before you pulled, and it can only get worse. Only after a lot of experience can a person really appreciate what they’re doing and see that they are improving the situation. But by then they’re probably burn out and sick of it.

  57. Honestly, I’m a far better healer than I am a dps’er. Healing has a convenient grid that offers the easiest targeting you’re going to get in the game. As a tank or a dps’er, your targeting system is just less efficient. Some that I run with can overcome this to perform much better multi-target dps than I, but I just find I bring the most to a raid as a healer.

    Healing 10man hardmodes is among the funnest activites in the game imo. I had one where my 2 fellow healers died with 1 minute to go on Lord Marrowgar-Hard, and I solo’d it for the last minute and got the kill. It was one of the most satisfying kills I got and I felt completely dialed in and ‘in the zone’ to pull it off.

    Anyways, I think all of your reasons are very valid, but I just don’t get why more people don’t enjoy the targeting efficiency that healing brings.

  58. I just became a healer. Now i understand how hard it is for them. And i have nothing but respect for them now. I can unserstand there can be a few crappy healers but over all the whole group needs to pull there weight. I dont care if i get bitched out or praised, the one thing i cant stand is when i ask for Mana and they all run off and do what they do best. At first i tried to save the day but now i just let them all die. And if i let them die the comments come like “only women and noobs ask ppl to wait” and shit like that. So i ask all those that have heals as well as dps like my self to give them a few praises every now and again.

  59. For me, I think I stumbled into healing in a rather backwards way. Many of the things on this list used to apply to me, but most no longer do. I used to be a Rouge main, I killed stuff because that’s what you do in video games. Then, I left my poor rouge at 72 shortly after WoTLK came out because it was too hard to try to get in groups as DPS. But shortly before I left him, I was in a Nexus group with a tree healer and realized that DPS didn’t have to die every run if the healer was on the ball and had HoTs. That tree planted something in my head.

    Eventually I decided to level my baby Druid, thinking a tank/healer might be better for getting into groups. I leveled feral and accidentally discovered when I paid a level 40 hunter 10G to run me through Stockades that healing was a total rush and when done well could save a group from a lot of mistakes. Some people don’t like healing stupid or like giving up control as a tank, and I can understand that perspective. But for me, I felt like as a healer, I had more control over whether we succeeded than anyone else in the group. Even if DPS pulled agro, the hunter left growl turned on, and if the tank was clueless, as long as I had mana, we were going to go down fighting (and in most cases stayed up quite well!). I specced for maximum regen, and it helped a ton. Healing is now my primary spec at 80, and I still love it.

    My newest 80 is now my Mage, and it’s odd how relaxing DPS can be. I can see the bosses and adds, and see the fire I’m standing easier since Vuhdo isn’t in the way or taking my attention. I find both to be fun now. Healing is frantic fun (unless I overgear the dungeon), DPS is easy fun (and much more fun now with LFD), tanking… well I’ll find out in Cata.

    But healing’s definitely in my blood, doing anything I can to save the group when things are going bad. Even when my Druid is queued as DPS, I’m often throwing out heals, saving the group when the healer dies, etc. which is a lot of fun. I’m actually a bit glad that perma-Treeform is going away and CC is coming back so that Druids can use all the tools we have to stay alive and keep the group alive like I did in that insane Stocks run so long ago.

  60. @ Jo: OMG Jo! You just said everything I was thinking! What’s up with that? Tanks- I just buffed the entire group with Fort/Shadow/Spririt, can u give me 10 seconds to get my mana back up before you pull the first half of the dungeon?

    @Tannim: I couldn’t agree more! I’ve been playing a disc/holy priest for…well, practically forever. I got my rogue to 80 a few weeks ago. While I may not be the highest dps on the meters (yet), my survivability is 10 fold compared to alot of my teammates. And it’s all because of my healer. I know when to move, what to get cleansed off me, when to switch targets and burn down adds because those things will one shot ya. We were doing Lady Death on 10 man last night. Everyone was dead except for 1 tank, 1 dps (me) and a healer. We squeaked by because i didn’t (or couldn’t) pull aggo, i moved out of the d&d and i did my job, as did everyone else.

    Healing is very stressful. However, it helps when you have a good healer/tank combo. Someone you’ve run with alot, that you know about and trust. It takes a lot of the stress away. It also helps to have a fantastic healing team in your guild, like I do. After running 10/25mans together since Naxx, we don’t even have to speak to each other on Vent to know that so-in-so is going to get healed. We just know.

    However, there will inevitably be that new tank in guild or the crazy PUG tank who makes you bust out the blood pressure medicine and say a prayer that your reputation isn’t going to be ruined by one fail PUG. See #6– People will ALWAYS be stupid. The good healers, though, can heal through stupid…at least for a little while. After that, you’re on your own. 🙂

  61. 3, 4 and 5 are SO true.
    Everytime something goes wrong, someone feels the need to write “HEALZ??!!!” on chat.

    They always fail to realise that:

    * they were ALL standing in TEH BAD, -I might be a priest but I don’t work miracles. Getting out of the fire/poison takes 2 seconds people. I’m not going to lie here, it WILL make your DPS drop, but then again, you can’t DPS while dead, now can you?

    * a bunch of elite mobs were nomnoming at me -as a cloth user, besides Fade (<– this has a CD, yakno?? =D) there's not much I can do other than heal myself, and I require a LOT of healing to stay alive. I always position myself where they can (should!) see me, just to make a point xD but it doesn't seem to help much.

    * the tank was standing at 500HP, -I'm sorry Mr. Rogue, I WILL heal you, but you're just not a priority when the tank is dying, and having played a Rogue myself, I keep on expecting you to Feint/CoS/Vanish/Bandage if your health bar is dropping fast and you see no heals incoming.

    I can't really agree with number 2 though, I often get praise when we make it out alive of some of those "ZOMGWTF?!" situations that sometimes come up in PUGs… but maybe I'm just lucky :O

  62. Thank you for the article! I have a priest and druid healer “mains” and for some reason am levelling another priest for the opposite faction to see the quests they get. I have dps toons too, but I find healing to be more rewarding – I know when I have performed a “small miracle” and saved a wipe and the feeling can’t be beat. I agree with the comments that healers seldom receive positive feedback in raids etc when doing a good job, especially pugs. I have noticed however that I/other healers often get positive feedback in battlegrounds when healing goes well. I think dpsers realise in BGs how much a good healer can do for them when the situation is not controlled like in a scripted dungeon. I would highly recommend going in to BGs every so often; it is fun and your efforts will be noticed!

  63. Remember the days in ZG where the dps to had to step out and bandage themselves then rejoin the fight (Raptor boss I believe)? In the beginning of ZA I remember I had to have bandages because I would run OOM and have folks come to me for a bandage while I regenned. Or I would holler on vent, “Bandage please.”

    That was when others also had to watch and take responsibility for their health. Now we clean everything up, “Bah, my healer will take care of me.”

    I can’t remember when I started playing this game, but I have always been a resto druid. I have a spriest and a ret pally to help me learn to dps. I am just not aggressive enough, I feel, to do so, but I keep practicing. I love healing and I feel its stress all the time.

    I can’t remember who commented about always following the group and never learning the way through instances. That rings so true for me, I’m always in the back, trying to loot, trying to get mana, trying to catch up to the tank. It seems as a healer you have to be a follower.

  64. I’ve been playing since original release, my second toon was a priest, I’ve raided in vanilla, BC and WotLK up to Naxx25. After a few months of raiding I always got fed up with the drama involved in being a healer, always getting blamed for wipes, not highest on the meters… so I would roll and level a new toon, oddly they were always healing hybrids, I have an 80 shaman ele/enh, an 80 Pally ret/prot and an 80 druid Resto/Boomkin, which I went back to healing since it was Horde. I didn’t realize I was always rolling healing classes until a few months ago. There’s something about healing I can’t get away from, even though I hate it at times.

    But the blame game is what I hate, I’ll run a random and be called one of the best healers the group has ever grouped with and the next one I get told to learn my class or stay DPS.

    The latest fad that has been annoying me is groups don’t eat between fights and expect the healers to heal them out of combat….

    Anyways, great article.

  65. Largely players have forgotten that there is a magic equation, to win the encounter this must be true.

    T + H + (3*D) > Boss

    It’s possible to tweak the numbers, the following is viable, while the encounters take longer the larger healing power means the tank can stay up until the boss is whittled down.

    T + 2H + (1.5D) > Boss

    Similarly (overgeared DPS + overgeared tank) means that the encounter is eating floor before it can do serious damage to the party, less healing is required.

    T + 0.5H + (5D) > Boss

    Unfortunately there is also another element, and in so many occasions at the moment the DPS have more than enough DPS to rip aggro (AoE etc) but cannot clean them up before they can cover the distance and start nomming face.

    D_Threat + Distance > Mob_Health

    Usually in bad pugs this triggers the bitching and whining which is so common at the moment (melee, get away from the spinning mobs). The LFD system does allow players to pull whatever they like knowing there is no personal reputation loss and that they can queue again and get another random, something which was kept under a degree of control pre-LFD (LFD rocks, it’s the people using it who are the problem).

    Cata is going to be a major wake up call for some players.

  66. I played WoW as a hunter at first, and always did average DPS, I wondered why even when i followed all the guides, tried to min/max myself i never got anywhere past the mediocre, yes i did enough to not get kicked or labeled as a ‘bad’ but I was never satisfied. One day I decided to level a priest, with the idea of leveling shadow, however when i did my first random, our healer dropped and I got asked to take up the reigns, i enjoyed it so much that I was able to be successful and didn’t have to worry about topping recount in order to avoid abuse, and I stuck with it. Now with a level 80 Disc Priest that’s seen almost as much of Icecrown Citadel as my hunter minus the Lich King I think that Healing is such a refreshing activity, my anti-video game parents and anti-violence family when scorning my ‘me time’ activities now show interest when I say that my job in a raid group is ensuring that my team-mates don’t die. as for those meter maids that pique on about HPS, why would I continually cast a heal on a tank that’s got full health and is bubbled? yes I will cast preemptively but I won’t cast heals for the sake of the meters. If you’re alive, I did my job, if I wasn’t here, you’d be dead so stop QQing :P. Moral of the story, DPS will often require an almost fanatical devotion to your class, spec gear and rotation, all the guides that say you must spam your hot-keys before the ability comes of cool-down to do decent DPS make me shake my head, i hit it once, and really don’t find it that important to me to go through 5+ keyboards a year just to be ‘Top DPS’, this is why even if the whole idea of not being the heroic tank or the amazing 15k DPS is not for you I recommend trying healing at least once, you don’t know what you’re missing out on.

  67. Back in the days of Circle Muds. I played a healer, and I was *very* good at it, top guild, top of the food chain you name it,   But in Everquest and again in WoW, playing a healer is a joke for me.  I simply am not adept at it.  EQ I was a tad better, but maybe WoW is so much more dynamic in the healing role, ability that I just can’t wrap my head around it. I’ve tried.  Disc priest is as close as I get to liking healing in WoW.  I’ve tried making my druid into a healer and while my guild held my hand and supported me, it was laughable. If my husband hadn’t been a beefed out raid tank, he would have died many times over.  For me after reading your post, I have to say I like rotation and knowing what to do when.  Yes healing is definitely more dynamic and reaction based.  As for some folks being perfectionists, I can be quite.  But healing doesn’t satisfy that for me.  At least in the visual based games vs MUDS of old.  I took care of my dying parents so a healer “role” as far as taking care of people is not beyond me.  I really would *love* to be able to heal as I can play almost any class semi well.  Just not the healing side of any of them.  I play a tank and dps regularly.  But if your post held anything true for me it was people slip into what they are good at/know etc… I’ve played DPS my whole life. And its definitely preferential to do so.
    So unless someone wants to brow beat and torture themselves through doing something out of their norm, I think people should stick to what they like and are good at 🙂
    Thanks for your indepth post!!!
    Ps, sucking at healing won’t stop me from trying a monk healer tho.  I’m open to trying anything once!

  68. As a healer, I agree. I have lots of friends who ask me to come heal a raid or BG, even though at some point they leveled a healer. Their reason is “I don’t wanna babysit every noob in raid to make sure he’s not dying in 1 sec.” Or, in PvP “I don’t want to run around kiting half the team” As we all know, Healers Have to Die is a very popular addon.


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