ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just like any other raid night in Naxx. Your group is relaxed amidst some light bantering after a large pull. The healers have about 50% mana left in the tank and can go a few extra pulls before having to sit down and drink again.
Acknowledging the green light, your tank whips out his gun, locks on to a target, and pulls the trigger. Four mobs come rushing at him as a result of his transgression.
Out of the corner of your eye, you notice a raider standing a bit further away from the rest of the group. Suddenly, his Gnomish form is over taken by a large, black figure.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Shade!Ã¢â‚¬Â, You hear yourself breathe into the mic, rather forcefully.
To make matters worse, another patrol is about to run into your group.
Another raider curses out loud as you wince.
Turns out he was off target and tabbed to yet another group of trash off to the side and manages to get their attention.
What was supposed to be a routine pull is on the verge of becoming a blown pull.
This is the kind of situation that healers dread. At the same time, this is also the kind of situation where healers excel. Differences between average healers and great healers are easily noticeable.
A blown pull can look like anything. It can involve any number of mobs or any number of players. It can happen at any time. A series of minor and trivial events continue to add up until it snowballs and overwhelms the raid.
Are you ready for high stakes Whack-A-Mole?
This is when your brain shifts to high gear and your fingers start to just react on their own. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m going to refer to this is the APC process.
Assess Ã¢â‚¬â€œ The very first thing a healer does is to look around them. Examine the situation by looking at the screen. Get a visual reference on the mobs and see if you can tell who they are running to or who theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re beating on. Ideally, your raid frames will highlight red on players who have aggro. By now, you should have a mental map of what exactly is going on, who is tanking what, and who has pulled aggro with stray mobs.
Prioritize Ã¢â‚¬â€œ This is the fun part. You get to decide who lives and who dies. If the players on your raid frames are flashing red, it means they have threat on some mob. If any one of those players is not a tank, I strongly suggest throwing a shield on them right away. After that, you can only pray that they drop aggro or that they live long enough for a tank to pull them off. Keep your ears open for any keywords.
For example, if you hear the word Ã¢â‚¬Å“ChallengingÃ¢â‚¬Â, you better zero in on that tank immediately.
Cast Ã¢â‚¬â€œ At this time, you should have an idea of who youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re healing. You should simultaneously be vocal about who youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re healing. It lets other healers know who to heal and who not to. If they know youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re healing Bob, then they wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t waste their time or overheals on Bob. On the flip side, if Bob happens to be that guy that said Challenging, then other healers may wish to jump in on that as well.
That entire process above should take about a second to run through in your head. ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s too many variables to account for so itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s difficult to imagine what you would do under certain circumstances. But sometimes it helps if you think about what you would do in such a situation if it ever comes down to it.
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s kind of like being in a mall and knowing where the fire exits are in case thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a fire. Sure you may not need it. But itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s nice to know where they are just in case.
The key here is to be vocal about who youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re healing. Strong communication can turn a blown pull into a salvageable one.
Image courtesy of tvvoodoo