Five Misconceptions About Healers

Five Misconceptions About Healers

Sometimes there is nothing more frustrating in a raid than watching your raid wipe. I feel that the only thing more frustrating than the wipe itself, is watching the healers get blamed right away. As a raid officer and healing lead seldom do I let things really truly get under my skin. But when I see a wipe and I hear the question in vent

“healers, what happened there?”

It raises my ire. I understand that healing is something that quickly comes under the analytical scope when an encounter fails. But when you have someone assigned to lead the healers it’s their job to find out what happened, and on the off chance they do find something wrong it is their job to address and resolve the issue. When a tank or dps starts berating healers about what happened it gets on everyone’s nerves. We’re going to use the term Healer Rage here. Healer rage can take many forms, quiet determination, outright aggression, passive aggressive behavior (such as “missing” a heal on a target) all the way up to outright quitting. You might remember my first post here on World of Matticus where I talked about the 5 Archetypes of the Healer. I broke down what makes a person choose to be a healer in a game like World of Warcraft. Each of those healers are still around and kicking and always will be.

Today I’m going to talk about some general misconceptions about healers, as well as what triggers Healer Rage and how different healers deal with it.

5. All healers are created equal

There are a lot of people who seem to think you can equally exchange Healer A for Healer B and see no difference in the performance of the raid as a whole. I’m not talking classes here, purely about the player. This might seem like it doesn’t happen but it does, and quite frequently.

“Why not bring Dude B, he’s just as good as Dude A?”

Now I’m not trying to be elitist and talk about difference in skill, but the truth is we all have our strengths. Some healers are better at tank healing, they understand it better. Others are better topping off a raid. Some know the intricacies of a short burst fight and intensive healing, while others still are built for longevity fights. We all have our specialties our niche. The idea that you can take any healer and slap them anywhere and get the same performance is not a good one to have.

Why this causes Healer Rage

Dude B is a tank healer, he revels in it. It is his specialty without question. Dude A is a raid healer, he knows the in and out of everything there is to know about keeping the raid at peak health. Raid officer decides to switch their assignments. Dude A is now on tanks and Dude B is healing the raid. When you take a healer out of a comfort zone it is akin to dumping a bucket of cold water on a sleeping person. While some people can handle a shifting role like that, we all tend to have our preferences. Moving  us from those preferences tends to make us just a tad bit grumpy.

4. All healing capable classes are built equal

Some people think that all classes are equitable. What I mean is that a Resto Shaman is the same as a Holy Paladin as a Resto Druid as a Priest. Lets be honest, while this has become closer to the truth over the many years that we’ve been playing this game, it is still a ways off. Sure my Shaman is capable of healing a single target quite well, But an equally geared Discipline Priest or a Holy Pally will beat me every time and vice-versa for raid healing. Sure you can stick them in that roll, but results might not be optimal. This is considering the merits of the classes and talents without accounting for player skill.

Why this causes Healer Rage

Just like above, when you take someone out of their safe spot people’s nerves are on edge and performance can often times suffer. Over the years I’ve come to realize as healers, we tend to like our niche. When Shaman were usurped as the kings of raid healing, there was quite a loud outcry on the forums and through the WoW universe. This is very much the same as the reasoning behind the rage of number 5. I’ve also noticed in both 5, and 4 here that healers thrust out of their comfort zone tend to be quieter and deal with their rage about it more internally.

3. Healing is Easy!

There are some people out there who feel that healing is the easiest job in the game. I’ll be honest, there was a point where I felt that way. That was when I was playing a hunter in 40 man raids and before I had ever touched the healing side of a Shaman. Nothing could be further from the truth. Healing is one of the most stressful aspects of the game. You are responsible to heal any damage taken in a raid, people look at you to stave off that wipe or to keep them up no matter what, because they think all you do is sit there and spam a few buttons.

Why this causes Healer Rage

Healing can be one of the most challenging roles in the game! Not only do we have to effectively manage our own resources such as mana our own health and consumables, but we also have the privilege of playing broker with yo ur health totals! What people often don’t realize is that as a healer we often have to play triage. Prioritizing heals is more than just making sure the tank is topped off and then spilling over into your group or raid. We have to decide sometimes who lives and who dies! That is a heavy burden and one that we often times have to make as snap decisions. When a healer gets criticized for this, it’s not exactly fair, and can cause not only rage but an added level of stress. This is normally when you’ll find healers raging openly either through comments or possibly even over voice.

2. A healer has to carry those who are under-geared / unprepared

While a healer is capable of carrying an under geared tank or healing through a certain amount of damage from players not moving fast enough out of area damage, it should not be expected of us. There seems to be a large amount of players that believe a healer is obligated to heal the tank that isn’t even trying to mitigate their damage or are woefully under geared for the content. Some people think it is OK for them to stand in the middle of a raging fire on the floor because the healer will heal them through it. You may think I’m making this up, but I’ve seen enough dps actually do this and then when asked about why they would say “because the healer has to heal me!”. This also holds true for people who don’t know the mechanics of a fight, yet insist to pull and bring much unnecessary damage on themselves.

Why this causes Healer Rage

Much for the same reason as number 3. Healing is already challenging enough in some cases. Doing things that while funny, are disruptive and unnecessary can really alienate you from your healer. Tanks don’t randomly go into your dps spec and pull the groups in HoR, it just isn’t happening. If you’re a dps and you’re purposely standing in Rotfaces’s slime quadrant just to get your extra couple hits in, that’s completely unnecessary and honestly it’s rude. It is every raid members job to mitigate as much damage as they can, you can’t rely solely on the healers. Eventually you’ll get healers that will respond to this but ceasing to heal you, or openly being aggressive about your actions.

1. Whenever there is a wipe, blame healers first

There is this mentality that every time there is a wipe, you need to yell at or blame the healers first. After all it’s their job to heal you through anything right? (see number 2.) There are few things more frustrating than seeing the group wipe and to hear someone immediately ask “so what happened there healers?”. What boggles my mind is when this happens despite things like mortuary, big brother, raid buff system or several other mods that people may use that announce who dies and to what. We’ll use one of the new ICC trash mobs for an example, Stinky. Stinky and it’s twin Precious are the pets of Festergut and Rotface. They are also mini bosses very much like the trash pulls leading up to the Twin Emps were back in AQ40. Each has an unique ability, but in Stinky’s case I’ve seen this mini boss / trash pull wipe more groups than some of the bosses! Stinky has three abilities

Decimate: aoe that knocks everyone to 15% health
Mortal Wound: 10% reduced healing done to you stacks up to 100%, placed on tanks
Plague Stench: raid wide aoe that ticks for about 3k every 2-3 seconds

He’s pretty much setup to really mess with healers. If you get an ill timed Decimate followed by a quick Plague Stench it is possible to have multiple people in the raid die in one stroke. Every time I’ve seen a group wipe on it, the first thing I hear asked is why the healers didn’t heal through it. Sometimes I’ve seen it expected of healers to time their group heals perfectly to go off when decimate does! I’m not saying healers shouldn’t be prepared for it, but latency spikes and lag can cause heals to not exactly be spot on, and that should be kept in mind.

Why this causes healer rage

When a boss goes down smoothly you almost never hear anyone say; “That was awesome! Great job healers! That was all you!”, but when a wipe happens you will hear the phrase “what happened healers?” way too often. Not everything is within a healers control. Sometimes things happen that stretch our abilities so thin there is no recovery. Random mob abilities chaining together can cause a group to wipe before a healer even has a chance to react. When someone places this burden on the healers, it’s a short trip to off the rage deep end. Healers are already shouldering enough weight in a run, keeping a group topped off, playing healer triage and managing our resources to keep the group going. Looking at the healers after every wipe can cause healers to snap. I’ve seen healers rage quit raids, I’ve seen them rage quit guilds, I’ve seen them completely stop healing on the next pull just to watch the person who blamed the wipe on them die. I’ve heard stories of even worse events that have gone as far as an entire healing team leaving a guild in one swoop, leaving a raiding guild effectively healer-less.

Healers carry large burdens in a raid or group. Sure sometimes we might make comments about something being so easy because a tank out-gears an instance, but those are welcome breaks. We are not omniscient,we are not gods, we are not capable of predicting what is going to happen and when. We are just playing our role in a group, doing what we can to make things go smoothly. Remember, our job is a stressful one and one vital to the raid. Trust in your healing leads if you have one to make sure healers are doing what they need to be, and trust your healers a bit. Basically cut us a little slack, it’s often times a thankless job.

That’s it for today, until next time folks Happy Healing

 

Images courtesy of Icanhazcheesburger.com and staples

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About Lodur

Lodur is the right hand shaman to Matticus on World of Matticus, and a recruiting officer of Conquest and Co-Host of For the Lore podcast. Read more of his works at WoW Insider.

Comments

  1. Sometimes I’ve seen it expected of healers to time their group heals perfectly to go off when decimate does!

    Errr…why WOULDN’T you expect that? That’s what you were supposed to do on Gluth for the best result (particularly on the tank), there’s a big raid warning that tells you exactly when it goes off and both bigwigs and DBM tell you when the decimate’s about to happen accurately.

    You’re saying that healers shouldn’t be expected to anticipate large raid scale damage? The good ones have been doing that for years. On the hardest fights this was downright required for success in the fight. What you’re saying is that healers should be reactionary, and healers haven’t been reactionary to damage since vanilla.

    I don’t yell at healers, I don’t berate them for the raid wiping – but if they did do something like not have healing planned on a large, known damage spike I’d be pretty annoyed.
    .-= kal´s last blog ..[Druid] The threat value of arpen =-.

  2. “What happened, healers?” is often asked in my guild’s raids as well, but it’s certainly not accusatory. Healers are the ones watching people’s health all the time, so if someone was killed they’ll probably know why. “VitalPersonX stood in the fire”, “5 people got hit by <avoidable ability> at the same time”, etc. Unless there was an error in executing the overall strategy, I would expect the healers to know the cause of the wipe… even if it’s not their fault.

  3. There are different ways to interpret “healers what happened there?”

    I appreciate that question. As healers, we’re watching our raid frames closer than anyone else in the raid. If someone or a group suddenly take massive damage, we’re the ones most likely to see it. When it comes to damage intake, we’re the experts. We’ll be the first to figure where priorities lay in a given fight.

    So when I’m asked “healers, what happened there?”, I’m flattered that I’m given the opportunity to give my input and share my observations with the group.

    Even we do get obviously blamed for things we have no control over, it’s important to stay focused on the goal. Getting angry and defensive does no one any good.

  4. @kal when you account for lag and latency, it will never be 100% spot on. You need to expect a possible second or two delay. When dealing with mechanics of the internet nothing is 100% I’m not saying they shouldn’t plan for it (maybe I miss spoke there) but when you account for lag, latency and other occurrences you have to allow for somethings to happen or have a second or two delay. it happens. As a matter of fact I edited the post to make that clear 🙂

  5. Sure, Kai, I’ll stop healing everyone else in the raid, including the tanks to be sure I’m watching either my boss mod or the boss itself, so I can perfectly time that group heal. Of course by then, there won’t BE any targets for that group heal.

    Because think about it: How many targets do you, as tank or DPS, focus on during a boss fight?

    Now multiply that by 11 or 26, and you have what each good healer is doing.
    .-= Kestrel´s last blog ..Two-Minute Drill: Allude and Elude =-.

  6. Loved this nod to healer rage. I’ve been getting a lot of healer hate from my raid leaders lately because ICC hurts so bad a lot of pressure is on us. I know for sure though that I don’t like being blamed when I’m doing everything I can yet we wipe anyways. I think “healers what happened” might be a lazy way of saying “how’d the damage spike so much our awesome healers couldn’t keep on top of it”. Or it should be what the raid leaders meant to say. >_>
    .-= @valkyrierisen´s last blog ..Healing ICC thoughts =-.

  7. Kestrel, let’s think about this. You’ve got 6 healers or so that don’t have to do much of anything before the decimate. The decimate is the only really dangerous part of the encounter provided a tank doesn’t fail to taunt. Why wouldn’t you be watching the boss timer to time a heal so that people don’t die? You’re saying that these things aren’t preventable – they absolutely are.

    If the healer isn’t able to watch raid warnings or their boss mod and do their job well, I don’t know what to tell you. They should absolutely be able to do both. Heck, they should be able to do that, stand out of the fire, and watch their mana. I’m not saying it’s easy, but that’s the role they chose to play.

    As a tank, I watch raid warnings, raid frames to see who is living/dead and who might need mana and who is and isn’t out of range, the boss’s health, my health, my cooldowns and the general position of the boss and all the environmental crap. If you’re saying you can’t watch the health of the raid and a boss warning…that’s pretty weak.

    Also, why do you have to stop healing anyone? Can you not watch something and heal at the same time? Bizarre.

    Lodur: it won’t be 100% spot on, but it sure can be close to it. If you’ve got lag or latency there are mods that account for that. Heck, _I_ have done this when healing on my wife’s toon; how hard is it to queue up a PoH a second and a half before a boss ability when you know that it’s coming? It’s not like being late by .3 seconds is going to wipe the raid here.
    .-= kal´s last blog ..[Druid] The threat value of arpen =-.

  8. With that said… I equally hate primadonna healers. Blame game is lame. Each individual should be looking at what they can do to minimize their damage taken while increasing their dps. If they die due to stuff thats avoidable thats never the healer’s fault. If the healers are running out of mana and geared then the raid dps is low. Everything is intertwined and good guilds running successful raids know this and adjust accordingly. Raid drama is unnecessary on any normal mode encounter. Where the pressure is usually is in the hardmodes. And really it should be on the backs of the DPS.

    Look at all the new fights that have a compounding factor thats time based. Meaning longer you go the less your success rate is.. You can bet there is a dps threshhold of no return most of the time. So the pressure should be on the tards who keep dying to avoidables as well as low dps’rs.

  9. TY!

    This is exactly how I feel sometimes. I play a priest with main spec holy, off spec disc (all heals, all the time..haha). I was born to raid heal. Lately, I’ve been tank healing our 10 ICC group because it’s nice to have a disc priests shields on Saurfang. While I know enough to get us through pretty easily, there is the occassional WTF moment where I have no idea what to do, why the tank took so much dmg, and my tank goes down. First thing I hear in Vent, “Mort, what happened?”. /sigh.

    I cut DPS a break when we can’t down a boss before the enrage timer. I give tanks a break when all their interrupts are on CD and something funky happens as a result. But the first time a tank dies, mind you, not the 3rd, 4th or 5th time, the 1st time a tank dies, I get a “what happened” whisper. At this moment, I usually say “brb, need a min”, leave my computer, grab a handful of candy (or a shot, if it’s the weekend), count to 10 and return to my desk. I try not to freak out…externally. Internally I wanna reach my hand through the computer, grab whomever made the comment, and give them nuggies until their bald and screaming for mercy!

    This post should be required reading for all WoW players imho.

    Thank you for saying what every healer has been saying under their breath since the dawn of WoW!

    You are officially my new favorite person 🙂

    ~~Mort~~

  10. The first week we squared off against Stinky, all of us were taken by surprise and we lost about 6 or so players.

    The next week, during the trash leading up to Wishbone and Sparky, I coordinated with my healers what our game plan would be. When a decimate is spotted, I would Prayer of Healing group 1 (tanks + melee), the other Priest would prayer of healing group 3. The Resto Shaman would fire chain heals into the melee group targeting Rogues first (slightly lower health then the plate), the Paladins would continue holy light bombing the tanks with appropriate beacons, and the Resto Druid would Growth group 4.

    Since both Priests were in group 5, after we dropped our prayer of healing bombs, we’d unload Holy Novas as fast as possible to get us into the yellow before stabilizing the rest of the raid.

    I lose 3 players that night.

    We’re getting a little better at it.

  11. @kal .3 seconds can indeed cause a wipe. I’ll give you an example from last night. i queued my chain heal 1.8 seconds before the decimate. It should have gone off .1 second after decimate. Due to a lag spike it went off .5 seconds after the decimate and immediately after a pulse of the aura. 10 people died from that lag spike. .5 seconds doesn’t seem like a lot but since timing is all relative between the “objects” in game, yes it can make a difference. but the point was made and agreed that healers should be ready for it and it is expected but the counter point is, well… to put it bluntly. Crap happens.

    @matt yeah first night we all wiped on the first pull, second pull we lost 5. Second week we consistently loose 3 even with hymns, tranquilities and such.

  12. /rageful healer is rageful

    /thumbs up for this one, Lodur. 🙂
    .-= Jov´s last blog ..Seri sez: Dancing with wolves (or perhaps rabid badgers). =-.

  13. Matt: why would both priests be in the same group? Again, this sounds like something you can and should plan for.

    Lodur: if everyone hits a lag spike, people can die. That’s going to suck. But if it’s latency on your part only chances are it won’t as long as everyone else is doing their job. It’s not like your chain heal was going to save 10 people by itself. Yes, crap happens, and yes, if your raid leader is stupid they’ll blame the healers for things like that. If that’s the case – if your raid leader is blaming healers for raidwide lag spikes – it might be time to find a new RL.

    But it’s not like healers can’t be planning for this either, which was my point.
    .-= kal´s last blog ..[Druid] The threat value of arpen =-.

  14. @kal Right I know your point and I agreed 🙂 I just wanted to make sure you got mine. and no I wasn’t saying *I* would have saved 10 people, but that number would have been less had I and a couple other healers not hit that spike. Thank you for a good back and forth on this one 🙂

  15. @kal — PoH is no longer party-limited, it’s group targetable. A lot of times, we (speaking for my own guild, I’m not in Matt’s) will put all the healers in one group for stuff like MTT.
    .-= Jov´s last blog ..Seri sez: Dancing with wolves (or perhaps rabid badgers). =-.

  16. Jov – while PoH isn’t party limited, holy nova IS. If they’re using holy nova to help their party (presumably going PoH-CoH-HN) for this specific fight it seems like a no-brainer to move one of the hpriests out of that group for an instant.

    Alternately you could save your divine sac for the decimates and just do it then so that your pally eats the 75k.
    .-= kal´s last blog ..[Druid] The threat value of arpen =-.

  17. I’m with Nodyen. Yes, Healing is difficult. So is tanking, so is DPSing, especially in ICC. It’s cutting edge content and it’s supposed to be hard.

    I don’t think it was appropriate to group the undergeared with the unprepared players. As a healer, you should be helping to carry undergeared players just like every other geared player does (Tanks and DPS). I do agree that you shouldn’t have to heal people standing in bad, especially on purpose.

    And while a lot of your rage issues make sense, every point is based off of stupid people doing stupid things. The entire article could be summed up in one sentence.

    Idiots do a lot of things to make healers rage out.

  18. @fricassee when I say undergeared I mean undergeared. and it is completely fair to lump them in with unprepared. I certainly wouldn’t like to have to heal a tank with only 300 def in HoR. That’s not fair to me as a healer. In a raid EVERYONE helps eachother, that’s the point of it really. Part of helping is making sure you are prepared and geared properly. and while yes it can be summed up with “idiots make healers rage” it wouldn’t be much fun to write just that 🙂

  19. Nice article.

    “What happened healers?”

    Do you answer:
    A). “We wiped.”
    B). “Your life total went below zero”
    C). “We cannot heal stupid”
    D). “Oh, did we forget to mention we’re on strike?”
    E). “Still AFK”

  20. I completely agree about the tanks with only 300 def – they have no business tanking. I just had to make sure this wasn’t one of those “get out of my party guy who just hit 80” posts that seem so prevalent these days. 🙂

    And I do feel for you on the whole “what happened” comments. It’s the classic misdirect. If I ask someone what happened when something bad happens, no one will suspect that I’m to blame.
    .-= Fricassee´s last blog ..We are not DPS =-.

  21. Sweetiebird got to it first. When asked, “Healers, what happened here?” I respond with, “I can’t heal stupid.”

    If it’s my fault, then I’m going to be the first person to speak up and admit it. If it’s not my fault, I don’t point fingers, but I don’t accept fingers pointed at me either.

  22. I read and understand As i also play the role of healing in raids or tank healing. It is stressful sometimes, what you talk about here I do 100% /agree. Thanks for the great article!
    .-= Christine´s last blog ..New Look Features: WoW Armory! =-.

  23. Very interesting article, and nice points Ophelie. There is no doubt that healing is a very stressful role to fill, and oftentimes the focus of uneducated accusations, the pairing of which can fuel some epic explosions. But I oftentimes think that saying things like “I can’t heal through stupid” shirks the responsibility we have in our chosen role. I can try to educate people about how they’re impacting my ability to keep them alive, but in the end, my job is to do my best to make sure that HP > 0, with no addenda, qualification, or exceptions.
    .-= Vixsin´s last blog ..A Grudging Look at Resto Shaman “BiS” =-.

  24. Healers are bad at DPS

    Matt proves this point again and again

  25. @kimbo Matt is a special case all around… i think we can all agree on that 🙂

  26. I think healers are over reacting to this question. (I’ve been there)

    Mike and Ophelia have it right. Raid leaders ask this question because healers are in a position to most likely know what happened.

    Did the guy die in one hit? Thats something to investigate the logs.

    Did he die to something slowly when there was no reason for him to be taking damage at all?

    Asking the Healers what happened is akin to asking Ron Wilson why the leafs lost yet another game. He is the one focused on all the stuff going wrong, he has the best viewpoint of the entire game.

  27. @tbot I’m not talking about a raid leader asking, that is understandable. But lets say random tank asks it in vent with an accusatory tone.

  28. Reason 2, I think may be some of what separates those who are ‘healers’ and those who ‘can heal’.
    I’ve been playing hybrid classes since vanilla, quite often healing, and doing well at it. However I’ve had enough ‘healer rage’ due to reason #2, that I currently DPS as main spec.
    It’s not healing undergeared people that bothers me (unless they are clearly in over their heads and know it) so much as the other situations.

  29. I would say, that the healers are the best people to know what happened – they are the ones paying most attention to the raid’s life totals, and seeing when the raid is dying.

    Sometimes I’m doing my role as a hunter (switching between adds and the boss etc), and suddenly realise that half the raid is dead, and I dont know when or why.

    The healers are better placed to know if a tank was spiked and died, or lots of people stood in the fire, or multiple healers ended up on spikes at the same time with no one freeing them.

  30. Its posts like this that justify Angry Healers! Love it!
    .-= Pyoska´s last blog ..Healer Vs. PuG: A Survival Guide =-.

  31. @kal – what about those ‘smart heals’? I WG, the other healer decides to heal the same targets the WG landed on… and half the raid isn’t getting any heals and dies. Even with assignments (which IMO are going overboard for raid healing), there’s many ways in which this could (and has) cause a wipe or at least a few deaths.

    @Ophelie – actually, as a healer I’m the worst a RL could ask about what happened. All I see if that there was a lot of damage… but since I’m staring at Grid, not the boss, I can’t tell if the DPS stood in the cleave, or the boss enraged, or there was a puddle of deadly green shit… So, depending on the tone of the question, my answer is either “we wiped” or “X got 2-shot”. Sorry, but for more info they need to go to the combat log.
    .-= Jen´s last blog ..We’re not (all) that bad =-.

  32. “That was awesome! Great job healers! That was all you!”

    That’s pretty much verbatim from our Saurfang 1-shot this week. We managed to get him down to ~46% health by the time the first mark landed on a raid memeber. I made the call to switch strats away from allowing the forst two marked players to die (thus reducing blood gain for Saurfang) to “Let’s keep marked players alive and do this”.

    First marked player was a DK with 30k health and provided little chanllenge to the team of 6 healers to keep alive. Blood gained quickly though and the second mark went out at around 30%. We had two more marks land before Saurfang met his end and they landed on players with mid-20k health pools, one of them a healer.

    Keeping all the marked players alive made this a really easy fight even though our group’s dps isn’t terribad.

    The second ‘shout out’ went to the ranged DPS who kept the blood beasts under control.

    Credit where credit is due. Conversely when the group wipes repeatedly on content I expect people to ‘fess up’ to mistakes (either transient or tactical) so we can work around them and this ability for a healer to analyse their own performance is critical.

    Nothing causes rage in other players like healers disavowing all responsibility in a wipe. Part of being in a team is opening yourself up to criiticism and being honest about mistakes (same goes for leading a raid and you need a thick skin),.
    .-= Ulv´s last blog ..Trial of the Grand Crusader 10 – Jaraxxus is Dead! =-.

  33. Actorious says:

    I see how the more levelheaded opinions seem to have won out on this topic. I’ll admit, I took my cue from the tone of the post, where questioning the healers was a subtle way of blaming them. At the same time, I’m positively glued to my healer’s addons during a fight. Some boss fights are so labor intensive for a healer, I couldn’t tell you anything about the fight other than who took most of my attention during the 3, 5, 10 minutes.

    It’s interesting that healers can be viewed as the more “bird’s eye” players of the raid. I, for one, would struggle to pay attention to much at all, I’m so honed in on health bars and my mana pool. At the same time, I’m probably spoiled by raid leaders that seem nearly omniscient during post-fight discussions.

    At its core, however, this post makes a valid argument. When things go bad, it’s easy to look to the healers as the first point of improvement. When things go smoothly, a good raid leader congratulates the raid, and a not-so-great raid leader may congratulate the main tank, or whichever dps topped the charts.

    Now, I will say that on occassions, healers get their due. Inevitably there is a raid that is heal-intensive, either by design or during execution. Those “back from the brink” and clutch moments are when healers do take center stage, and will sometimes receive praise for reaching over the side of the boat, grabbing the raid group by their collective armpits, and hauling them back into safety.

    Of course, those are the situations that cry-for-attention healers like myself crave.
    =)

  34. I often do ask the healers “what happened?” after a wipe, because they are usually the best source to find out. They know if so-and-so was standing in the slime, or if a tank didn’t move from something in time, etc. I’m never saying “you failed, why?” I just realize that they are often the best source of finding out what went wrong, since they have a better idea of who is taking damage. Lately the answers on Rotface for us are “x stood in the slime pool with the debuff”, “the tank let the big slime catch him”, or “both infection healers had infections”.

    I will definitely agree with the comment about “because the healer has to heal me!” crap. Lately it seems like when I’m healing a heroic on my priest, no one follows any of the fight mechanics anymore, they just stand there and expect to be healed through anything. Why should I have to work so hard so that the others can just be lazy and not move? One time in a heroic I flat out said after a fight “you guys fail at avoiding that” and was met with a “stfu you can heal thru it, i didn’t feel like moving”. Usually they get the point when they stop receiving heals afterwards in the instance, but still, that kind of attitude is ridiculous.

  35. I think you really have to try to look at how the question is asked before getting upset by it. I remember pugging Hyjal once, the RL was a healer. As soon as there was a wipe, he asked, angrily ‘Healers, what happened???’ That approach works for some, but I sure don’t like it.

  36. I don’t often get blamed for deaths as a healer. In guild runs, people tend to know that other factors come into play. It’s not just lack of heals that can cause someone to die. It could have been the tank not using a cooldown or someone taking more damage than they should have.

    In PuGs, I actually get people apologizing to me when they die, which always puts a smile on my face. It’s nice to know that some people realise that their deaths are their own fault.

    The thing that causes me the most healer rage is #2. While I don’t really mind people being undergeared, I hate when people do stupid things like stand in fires and cleaves, making me choose between focusing on them more than I should, or letting them die. Don’t bogart the heals!
    .-= Jasyla´s last blog ..How not to die =-.

  37. I’ll be honest I don’t often encounter healer “rage” in our 25 and 10 mans. And our healing team is often asked “what happened” by our raid leader or even sometimes individual raiders. Perhaps that raider didn’t move out of the poison cloud fast enough. Or perhaps we need to have 6 healers on this fight instead of 5.

    I will chime in here and say that I disagree with Lodur regarding the predictable damage on Stinky. There is no reason anyone should be dying unless they do something extremely stupid (pull aggro). Premptive healing is the key here. Shields, HoTs and cooldowns should be utilized to ensure that everyone stays up. Frankly I don’t know how you are still losing people several attempts in (this is not meant to be derogotory – I just don’t get it. Are you 4 healing this?). This is not a brag, but our team hasn’t lost anyone yet on that fight except the first night when one of the tanks failed to swap. And we are far from being elite.

    Secondly I also strongly disagree about switching healers assignments. Good healers will learn to push through the discomfort and become good at doing the assignment no matter what. We have downed hard content like ToGC 10 with 2 priests and the holy priest was tank healing and I was raid healing as disc. That being said obviously some classes are better suited to certain tasks (I wouldn’t ask the holy pally to raid heal 10 people at once); however, most of the classes can do both just fine. It may not be optimal for cutting edge content, but player skill > than class when it comes to healing.

    Overall I thought this article had some valid points, but was far too cliche. What about when you want to push your healing team? Letting them know their performance/flexibility is not good enough can be useful (done with some tact of course) to getting the boss down, just as much as it is important to let your dps know that an extra 5% dps can make or break the raid’s ability to down the boss. Asking what happened may give the raid an idea of who needs to step it up (not always the dps btw).

  38. As the Healing officer for my guild I can certainly relate to this post. I feel the question is usually asked because we know the answer! It is usually asked about the same time the fail log is posted in raid. I think a lot of raiders don’t fully understand what healers “See” during combat. As the healing lead I am afforded the opportunity to point these things out in vent during combat. ” please move out of the slime spray!” We are usually best equipped to answer the question, so I don’t think we necessarily need to be defensive about it. But yep we do make mistakes too, healers are just as imperfect as the rest of the WoW population.

    Regarding Stinky. One of the major pains on that dog is that Decimate is also a stun. So its not like you can time a Prayer of Healing or Chain Heal to go off as it hits. A lot of the deaths can be avoided if you can pre HoT the raid and get DPS to help. Shadow Priest can Divine Hymn, and all druids (-tank) can Tranquility… looking at you Boonkins! The real problem is getting enough heals on people before the stench kills them after Devistate. We have found it is possible to line of sight the stench if you tank Stinky just inside the doorway to the bosses hallway. Melee and heals can run to the other side of the door frame to avoid it.

  39. evenangelsfall says:

    I agree with much of this post, as someone who plays many classes. My 80s are a DPS and a Healer (the DPS is my main, but I have raided with the healer more, since she’s needed more frequently).

    I do think that the question “what happened healers?” is oftentimes (at least in the guilds that I’ve been in) been less “what did you do wrong?” and more “what did the raid as a whole do wrong?” Of course, many of the raids that I have been in, the RL is either the tank (in which case, he’s usually busy looking at a dragon shin or something), or a Healer. But, it generally stands to follow that the healers will USUALLY be the most likely section of the raid to know what caused the wipe. Either the tank let too many stacks of a debuff get on them, or too many DPS stood around in the fire, or PlayerXDPS was consistently pulling away from the tank (which the tank would notice too, I’d hope, but the healers would definitely notice a continual health drop from this idiot…)

    As a healer, I’m definitely one who makes it clear that if you DO NOT MOVE OUT OF THE BIG CLOUD OF BAD, I WILL NOT HEAL YOU. I cannot and will not heal through stupidity if I want to conserve enough mana to keep the rest of the raid or party up. As an affliction lock, when I see someone spending too much time on me, I try to let them know that if I don’t drop below X% health, I’m generally okay if I don’t have a mob on me, since I have plenty of self-heal utility and am very good at pacing myself and my mana. I figure, if they have one less person that they have to worry about, the better. If I pull aggro despite my aggro meters and threat mitigation, I deserve to get flattened.

  40. I am the co-raid leader and healing coordinator in my 25man raids. The tank is my partner. It gives us a pretty good perspective of the raid at all times and we rely on each other for feedback in private channels as well as constant communication with the healers in party chat. We quickly assess the situation before discussing it in vent and preparing for the next attempt. Keeping the questioning behind-doors limits the rage for both the healers and the DPS. I check with my healers after every fight and praise them, pointing out healers that were particularly strong or who jumped in to assist another healer. If we wiped, I ask what they saw and whether we can improve anything. It only takes a few seconds to ask while we are rebuffing. It helps me discover issues that I am not noticing, or to confirm issues that I already suspected. I hand-pick the healers for my raids and so I try to build up their skill, confidence, and autonomy with each raid. I am quite proud of them as we get stronger and discover ways to work better as a group. I highly advocate any large raid having a healer coordinator/office/coach. It takes a light hand to simply provide organization and support, and makes a huge difference in morale and performance.

    As for gratitude, I know that the DPS will get meter praise at the end of the fight. Therefore, I introduce each healer and his assignment in vent before the raid begins and I have the entire raid give a collective raid/vent “Thank you” in advance. It gives DPS and tanks awareness of who is healing them and who to protect. It also helps the healers feel appreciated. Everyone gets their due at some point during the raid.

    In 10 mans…well…it sucks. The healer rage is ever present. I don’t lead the raids and I often end the night feeling abused and unappreciated. We 2heal content before we are ready and I force-heal the entire night before collapsing and wondering why I don’t switch guilds. I rarely hear “Awesome heals,” although I should be flattered that they think highly enough of my healing skill to carry their undergeared buddies while they jockey for DPS meter spots and goof off in vent. (I wish I could heal and talk through a fight in vent – but everyone would die.) I get very weary of hearing how easy healing is, and how the guy with ten alts can 2heal ICC 10 no problem on his undergeared healer because the content is so easy. Fuming and rushing to exit the game for the night, I wonder why I even bother to heal. Clearly I’m not very good at it if I end the raid stressed, upset, and finding the content difficult while Mr. Pro supposedly breezes through it. (And if ever in a PuG raid I hear someone say, “I 1healed this last week,” I just leave. Clearly I’m not needed.)

    The experience between leading my own 25man raids and being led in 10man raids is vastly different. In one, I enjoy the game and I enjoy my role. In the other, I’m miserable. (Heroics can’t really be evaluated since each one is different. I just try to not let it take up too much time or energy.) Healer rage isn’t just anger. It’s frustrating, unpleasant, and leads to burnout very quickly. Every role has its responsibility and its stressful moments. Not pushing people beyond what they should be expected to handle and then berating them for it goes a long way in reducing the rage. A kind word here and there, as well as asking for their advice or opinion, can make them feel like less of a mule and more like a valued healer.

  41. i would just like to say I agree 100% with this article and I can see from some of the comments that non-healers still don’t get the point because they have never healed. It’s not always a hard job by any means, but there are fights that are tough. And sometimes it’s not even the toughness or mechanics of the fight, sometimes it’s just the responsibility that can cause it to be stressful.

    Just the other night my guild was trying to do Sarth +3 and we almost had him, I wasn’t healing the tank enough and so I started feeling really bad and getting frustrated, especially after the tank (and GL I might add) asks me what’s wrong. I felt like crap, and I even had another main spec healer whisper me and make me feel better because she knew how hard it was. I was talking with one of my buddies afterwards and he was telling me it wasn’t all me, our DPS wasn’t high enough because the 3rd drake was coming down before Sarth was even dead.

    I’d also like to note on this one that there was a tine we would have had him down, but as soon as I went to cast a heal on the tank I had a huge lagspike causing everyone to wipe.

    And I can say I am thankful that I do have a guild that when Saurfang goes down we get a “good job healers”.

    And as a raid healer, I am not afraid to admit when it was indeed my fault, I will do everything I can to fix it, but there is no reason for other people to take the blame for other peoples’ mistakes. Then people start getting discouraged and they try less.

    and yes, I have let a tank die in a heroic because he didn’t know how to give me time to mana up or get loot. That’s the way it goes.

  42. Welcome to the world of being a goalkeeper… utterly essential and 95% of the time totally thankless.

  43. Nice article, and as a holy paladin, I feel your pain…

    One comment, though. “Healers, what happened there?” is a question that’s also easy to misinterpret. I get it a lot from my raid leader, but he never intends it to blame us. He knows that as the healers, and I as healing lead specifically, we will often have a better idea of why we wiped than the tank. I am watching the raid all through the fight, and if we wipe because people don’t move out of the poo fast enough, then I know that. And I respond by explaining why we couldn’t keep everyone up, we fix the problem and go again.

    I get blamed for plenty of other people’s mistakes, but when I’m raiding with my friends, “Healers, what happened there?” is usually just a request for information from someone who knows I’m already digging through Recount and Acheron to find out what went wrong.

  44. @kal: “As a tank, I watch raid warnings, raid frames to see who is living/dead and who might need mana and who is and isn’t out of range, the boss’s health, my health, my cooldowns and the general position of the boss and all the environmental crap. If you’re saying you can’t watch the health of the raid and a boss warning…that’s pretty weak.”

    Sounds like you saying a healer only looks at a few bars and boss warnings – an easy job, compared to you looking at boss, your health, environment and cooldowns.
    Well, surprise, surprise, a healer needs also to watch his cooldowns, the environment (you feel like a noob if you the one dying in fire), the range with all 10/25 raid members you been asigned to heal, my own health, mana and er, health and mana of those other poor souls in your raid. While watching 25 bars and all the rest going on, adding a DBM bar to our sight is possible, and I do it, but don’t brand our job as ‘pretty weak’.

  45. Hmmm – I view all this with mixed feelings.

    I heal (holy priest) and raid lead for my guild so people know better than to blame the healers – if there’s a healing issue then the healing team will deal with it in private. Often it’s that someone is assigned to a role they don’t enjoy and we need to do a bit of a swap-around.

    Last week I did a PUG in ICC10 where I solo healed 2 tanks and a resto druid handled the rest of the raid. We cleared to Saurfang and then consistently wiped with him on about 10% health and only 1 player receiving the ‘mark’. After 4 attempts I simply stated that this was a DPS issue and the amount of abuse I got was astounding. I was actually told that 2 healers was a luxury and that 1 healer was all that was needed on this fight. There’s absolutely no way I can solo heal 10 people in a raid like that including 2 tanks. It’s that sort of attitude that makes me despair of being a healer. What made me laugh is that several people whispered me to say they agreed with me but didn’t want to get kicked out of the raid by the raid leader. Ultimately it ended up as a ‘well replace the lacklustre dps or replace your tank healer – take your pick’ and I was removed. The PUG fell apart at that point. I’m not proud of my actions, but someone has to call a bad raid leader out and I was in the position of being able to do so.

    I’m lucky with my own guild because I’ve taught them to appreciate that healers are the people in raids who plug holes and smooth over mistakes. I don’t with-hold heals from a player who makes mistakes because it’s counter-productive and punishes the other people in the raid when we wipe.

    Healers will always be unsung heroes – if you want pats on the back and cheers then roll a tank.

  46. now if we can get some of these tanks and dps and raid leaders to read this article (and the comments) people might actually grow from this. sucks that its healers comin’ in for the most part (with alts) and yellin’ hip hip hooray /train /cheer. its just a shame that common sense is defeated. especially somewhere like icc where we should all know better by now.

  47. @Nariella I L U. I’ve also quoted that last line in my guild forums. With credit! Thanks 🙂
    .-= @valkyrierisen´s last blog ..Goals: Rep grind! =-.

  48. I think a lot of healers are coming at this topic with the assumptions that (1) the healing class lead is actually aware of and addresses all healing-related issues and/or (2) healers are being blamed for things that are not their fault. If those assumptions are correct in your situation, then yes, people other than the class lead have no reason to blame the healers for a wipe.

    If, however, a wipe actually is the fault of one or more of the healers and these healing-related issues are not being addressed adequately by the healing class lead then it is reasonable to expect non-healers to start questioning why the wipes are occurring.

    And certainly there’s a large middle ground where multiple issues (healing-related and non-healing-related) may be contributing to the wipe and/or where the healing class lead may address some healing-related issues, but may not know every healing class well enough to pinpoint small issues that may be contributing to healers not reaching their maximum performance.

    What I don’t think healers have the right to do is expect special ‘courtesy’ or deference simply because they are healers. No, you don’t often hear ‘awesome job healers’ after a successful raid night, but you don’t often hear ‘awesome job dps’ or ‘awesome job tanks’ either. And while other roles may seem less stressful, a dps that pulls sub-par dps or dies to avoidable raid damage will certainly be criticized as easily as a healer. Unless there is an enrage timer (such as on Festergut) though, the precipitating factor to most wipes is usually a tank death, in which case usually it is the healers who are asked (reasonably) why the tank died. In our guild if the raid wipes due to multiple dps deaths, however, it is usually the dps who are first asked why they died, as the (reasonable) assumption is that usually a dps death is the fault of the dps. And certainly on fights where dps have specific responsibilities (such as immediately switching targets to a spawned add) if those responsibilities are not met the dps will absolutely be questioned as to why.

    Maybe some healers just need to relax and respond reasonably when questioned about a wipe without immediately raging that someone could even question whether healing issues might be occurring. We all make mistakes and lately people seem way too uptight about having calm public discussions as to what went wrong during a wipe.

  49. @ Elena

    well I’m afraid one thing you haven’t considered is that healers are (generally) a rare commodity. Tanks have become more commonplace because of the Death Knight class but are also rare as well. DPS are 2 a penny. Want proof of this ? Try the new LFG as a healer or tank – instant heroics. Try it as DPS and (in my battlegroup at least) you can have a 30 minute wait.

    All too often healers have been at the receiving end of ‘just heal more’ when they are already run ragged smoothing over other peoples mistakes let alone healing the encounter.

    I think healers DO deserve some special courtesy because it is a role not many people want to play, at least regularly, and those people who do play healers (often to the detriment of their other toons) in order that their guild friends can progress in raids are deserving of a thankyou. I should add that my guild is appreciative of the whole healing team and when raid leading I always make sure to single out people who have really pulled out all the stops and give public praise. I also criticise individuals privately and it’s always constructive.

    Generally I find people who think healers are just ‘meh’ have never rolled and subsequently played a healer of their own and genuinely do not understand the special challenges being a healer (especially a raid healer) bring. As to your last paragraph, I have yet to meet a healer who will not accept the blame (indeed admit to it) when they slip up. What we don’t like it being automatically accused because pretty much any encounter can be fixed if the healers heal more – so it’s an easy option for the rest of the group. Certainly for myself I’ve always immediately said over Vent if I’ve made a mistake in healing and if there’s a wipe subsequently explained what I’ve done wrong.

  50. @ Nariella

    For what it’s worth, I play two hybrid classes and while my primary spec is dps, I also heal on a regular basis (always for heroics and pvp and occasionally during 10 and 25 man raids). I think it’s silly to argue that all members of a certain role (whether healers, dps or tanks) behave in a certain manner or have a certain skill level or face a certain level of challenge, and did not suggest this.

    Certain encounters/specs/situations are particularly challenging and others aren’t. Some guilds run Festergut with as little as four or as many as seven healers- obviously the first is more challenging for the healers and the last for the dps. Certain players have more or less gear or experience, a better computer/internet connection, faster reflexes, etc. Arguments that a certain role isn’t challenging have always struck me as ridiculous- you can always add to the challenge by doing everything in your power to maximize your performance and having perfect responses and timing alone is virtually impossible.

    My comment was in no way anti-healer, only anti- those healers who believe they are worthy of special treatment beyond that shown the rest of the raid simply because they are healers. You may feel dps are a dime a dozen, but finding a top quality player is difficult no matter the class/spec, and most top-quality players can comfortably fulfill multiple roles if necessary.

    I don’t think the LFG interface is reliable proof that dps are a dime a dozen either, because it operates under a special set of circumstances. For a heroic a well-geared tank and healer can carry undergeared dps, but not vice versa, and because of this many undergeared players will queue as dps in order to gear themselves out rather than as a tank/healer. A player queueing as a tank in half blues and greens will most likely just get kicked.

    Perhaps on your server and at your level of raiding there genuinely is a dramatic shortage of healers, but I have not generally had this experience. Even if it were the case on our server, however, having to walk on eggshells around one particular group lest you provoke ‘healer rage’ is ridiculous. I have been in a situation where a tank was treated in this manner because no one wanted to go through the hassle of finding a new MT, and it was an extremely unpleasant situation for everyone else in the guild- not only holding back our progress, but infuriating all the other guild members unhappy with special treatment he received.

    In my opinion, if a healer is really finding healing that stressful or unpleasant they should either take a break from the game, find a less hardcore raiding environment or try out raiding as dps and see if they do enjoy it more.

  51. @ Elena

    I’m just going to pick up on a couple of points in your reply that I think are interesting.

    1. Your comment about tanks in blues and greens being summarily kicked is sad but true – I’ve seen it myself. I might baulk a bit at healing them through halls of reflection on heroic mode but for an ‘ordinary’ heroic I’m more than happy to do it. In my experience it’s the dps who quit the group (and are replaced quickly !) presumably because they don’t want a run to last more than about 5 minutes flat.

    I think this reinforces my view that if you’re going to get a player being snotty about things it’s not a healer. I’ve also seen tanks moan when their dps goes higher than a dps class (if you see what I mean). As long as things get done does it really matter – let’s face it, most people are running heroics for emblems these days.

    2. The point about the LFG tool is that it’s across battlegroups, so takes in more than 1 server. I play in Europe so perhaps the US servers are different but I can assure you over here there is a shortage of healers and tanks – and I put the blame for this squarely on the fact that we are the classes that get whinged at by DPS when it all goes wrong (note I am including tanks in this).

    3. I really do not think I agree with your assessment that healing (or tanking for that matter) is as easy as DPS. It is not and I have long advocated that the best dps are those who also have either a tank or healer class in their toons list as well – they have an appreciation for those classes and understand that sometimes a dps is going to die because we really have no choice. I’ve been QQ’d at too often by DPS who I’ve chosen to let die because in my judgment that was the least worst option at a given point of an encounter.

    4. I didn’t say I find healing unpleasant but at times it can be stressful. Having said that for myself I thrive on that but I am aware that other healers don’t enjoy it and a bit of consideration from others would go a long way.

    5. Your ‘precious’ tank I’ve experienced myself so total sympathy there. He actually /gquit in a moment of pique which was a huge relief as it saved me from having to kick him and then deal with the fallout of losing a well geared tank in the guild.

    6. I don’t think I did argue that _all_ members of a certain role behave in a certain way. But I do think, statistically, there’s a tendency to blame healers and tanks when things go wrong.

    Nari

  52. @Nariella
    3. I used to think DPSing was easier than tanking or healing… until I tried them all and realized I am a sucky DPS. I really really like healing, so I’m happy to appreciate the good DPS and let them do their thing.
    .-= Jen´s last blog ..Nature vs nurture? =-.

  53. Rule 1: If a tank dies, its a healer’s fault… ALWAYS.
    Rule 2: If a dps dies due to unavoidable damage, again… healer’s fault.
    Rule 3: If a tank goes 15 seconds without a heal after a tank switch, WHEN THE SWITCH WAS CALLED 10 SECONDS BEFORE IT HAPPENS, its obviously all of the healers fault.

  54. “What happened healers?”

    My favourite answer to that question is “people took more damage than they had health.” It has unfailingly tended to diffuse some of the stress and frustration with a moment’s laughter before we settle down to seriously figure out what happened, and it nearly always deflects the few raid members who do like to blame the healers for everything. (Thankfully, the raid leadership never really tends to blame healers automatically in my guild.)
    .-= elfennau´s last blog ..010 :: Malygos Encounter =-.

  55. As someone new to healing this makes me feel better. Last night, I got stuck in a five man in the Sunken Temple. Never ran it before, certainly never healed it. The tank rushed off after every fight,. not even allowing us time to catch up and loot. Of course, I ran out of mana fast, even thought my priest is geared for int and spirit.

    I called mana, he ran into another group way ahead of us. By the time i got there, he was dead and the rest of the group was almost there. Of course, we wiped.

    Guess who got blamed. He called me a dumb ass and I left. Never doing random instances without one of my guildies tanking again. I told him I’d never ran the dungeon period when we started. I am fully sick and tired of people assuming everybody has been doing this for years and know everything. Especially when stated otherwise.

    /new healer rant

  56. Laele,
    The short version: Don’t worry.

    The long version: a. Maraudon is hell. b. Tanks like that deserve being beaten across the head with the big stick or left to die while you’re laughing. See this as a service done to your level 80 friends: if a tank learns at level 40 that healing drinking = no heals = dead, maybe he’ll stop doing it in heroic. c. Don’t worry.
    .-= Jen´s last blog ..X-realming lowbies – the checklist =-.

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