5 Barriers of a Raid Healer – Part 1: Indecision

5 Barriers of a Raid Healer – Part 1: Indecision

Photo courtesy of dnabil

Each Saturday for the next five weeks, I will be writing about one barrier of the raid healer. Healers are often overshadowed and looked over since we are expected to simply know what to do. With luck, this five part series will help you to become a better raid healer whether you are a varsity or a freshman.

Barrier 1: No definable targets

I want to share with you a real life example. The connection will become apparent soon enough. Whenever I go out to the mall with my friends, we would idly go through every single clothing store in every part of the mall (especially true when travelling with companions of the female persuasion)

The guys would mill about at the front of a store like American Eagle and the girls would actually go into the store to do their shopping (and gossiping). Us men would talk business such as the latest sports news (“did you see that last fight at the game?”), discuss recent stuff in tech (“do you think that video card makes my PC look fat?”) or chat about gaming (“she thinks I pay more attention to that level 70 warrior from Tichon then I do to her!”).

And then 12 PM would strike.

Someone (usually me) would clasp their hands together and say it’s time for lunch! This is inevitable followed by a chorus of “where to’s?”. All that walking around (and shopping bag holding by the guys) does work up a healthy appetite. And no one would have any idea where to go for lunch.

Lack of targets

Everyone had all sorts of ideas. Here’s a typical example:

“Let’s go for dim sum!”
“Fast food sounds good!”
“Food court will be packed. How about the pub?”
“I’m okay with anything. You guys pick!”
“Sushi!”
“I don’t care as long as I eat something in the next 15 minutes!”

(For bonus points, can you guess which one was my catch phrase?)

Does this sound similar to your healing channel? I often find myself unsure of who to heal when I’m the odd Dwarf out in another Guild’s raid. There are no assignments being issued. It’s quite apparent that there seems to be a lack of an infrastructure. No one was taking charge. No one knows who to heal. All the healers are free healing which leads to an occasional tank death or 2.

During the 40 man raid chaos era, I found out quickly that it was impossible to do it all. I restricted myself to a set number of targets. Learn which players are most likely to take damage and stay on target. Don’t wander around with your mouse. Every spell, every action, every movement should be done with a purpose. Heal with a player and a purpose in mind.

This does not mean that it’s against the rules to heal outside your targets. If I notice another player in the raid who isn’t a part of my assignments take a big hit, I will switch to that player to shield and PoM them. That’s generally enough time to absorb another hit and it keeps that person alive long enough for someone else to pick them back up again.

Playing the transition game from 5 to 25 players is a big leap. It can be very difficult to adjust to. The problem isn’t your healing. It’s who you’re healing. And until you get those targets straightened out with your colleagues, you’re going to continue to suck without the proper direction.

Signs of an indecisive healer:

  • You constantly switch back and forth among players which results in raid deaths because you don’t actually heal them.
  • You have a full mana bar almost all the time because of inaction.
  • You feel helpless, dazed, and confused.
  • Your healing is fair, but the difference between you and other healers on meters is a pretty significant difference.

If you begin displaying any of these symptoms, take a step back and analyze your technique. Ask for help. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. There are times I’ve wanted to scream at players in my own raid because we wiped when they didn’t know what to do and they never spoke up about it. So the next time you’re in a raid and no one appears to be taking charge, announce your intentions about who your healing target is. It’s one step in the right direction.

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About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.

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  1. […] Each Saturday for the next five weeks, I will be writing about one barrier of the raid healer. Healers are often overshadowed and looked over since we are expected to simply know what to do. With luck, this five part series will help you to become a better raid healer whether you are a varsity or a freshman. Last week, I talked about indecision. […]

  2. […] was the month where he started his 5 part series that examined the 5 barriers of a raid healer. For those that were thinking about it, he offered 8 rules to forming your pickup raid. For another […]