The boss looms before you. Psh! Boss? More like pansy! You’ve worked on this guy for a whileand are just not yet on farm status. You look at your raid frames and see that everyone seems to be taking minimal damage. The tank is taking slight damage, but it’s nothing like the early days of learning Patchwerk. Your mana bar is moderately full, everyone seems to have everything under control. Your finger hovers over Smite/Lightning Bolt/Wrath/Holy Shock.
You start pressing.
In a very broad sense, this makes my skin crawl. The hairs stand up on the back of my neck. My ears start to bleed and my eyes start to fog over. Okay, maybe it’s not that dramatic, but it certainly ignites a chain reaction. Basically, a little bit of my soul dies.
There’s always a reason to need some extra DPS from the healers. I usually only do this at the request of the raid leader. He/She (He, in my case) is running the show. I try to keep cycling Shadow Word: Pain on the boss when I can. As Holy, I can use my Surge of Light proc to throw a quick Smite here or there.
When working on Heartbreaker, I usually expect to stop healing, pop cooldowns, and Smite until that heart is dead. Unless the raid is overgeared for the encounter, this is usually how I’ve seen it done.
Any fight that has a small “add” (Loatheb Spore, for example), it’s not detrimental to help the dps down it quick. It usually requires minimal mana, and can help get the benefit to the raid quicker.
Notice that I said, “a little nudge”. The emphasis is on the word “nudge”.
There’s a point when it becomes excessive. If you find yourself DPSing to a point where you’re making a significant effort to damage the boss, then that’swhere I start to have issue with it. I’ve seen it happen a number of times. Thankfully, I’ve only seen this happen in PUGs. I would really have a tough time in a guild where I continually heal alongside that kind of “healer”.
If you’re paired with someone else to heal a target or many targets, your shift into DPS mode then places responsibility of your original healing job solely on the other healer. I have little faith that most “DPS Healers” will keep an eye on their original assignment if they choose to DPS instead. Imagine carrying a TV up a flight of stairs with someone else. Maybe they could feasibly handle it alone, but it makes it easier if you’re there to help out.
If you’re expending all that mana to do maybe a third of what the other DPS classes are doing, what are you going to do if something unforeseen happens and you have to go into overdrive healing mode? Someone accidentally gets caught in a cleave, or another healer gets bombarded by too many of the wrong orb on Twins. We all know accidents happen. A raid’s strength is measured by it’s adaptability. If you’re not capable of helping out when it’s needed most, then you’re not doing your job.
In my eyes, you’re running the risk of being disrespectful to the other healers in your raid.
Let’s say that you get through the encounter okay. Let’s say everyone’s alive at the end. A key healing piece drops that everyone has been vying for. You roll/bid on it? In my opinion: No. You just spent a majority of the fight DPSing the boss while the other healers did the healing work, right? Why should we reward a player who didn’t do what they were supposed to do? It’s like giving a raise to the guy in the office who sits on his computer checking Facebook all day.
If you find yourself in raids consistently where your healing is not needed, then let a DPS class go in and take your place. You’re essentially taking the raid spot of a player who can do what you want to do, but he/she can do it better. If you’re determined to keep along your path, then re-spec/re-gear/re-gem into a DPS spec. Healing has times of being slow. It’s the nature of the beast. If you’d much rather snipe some damage instead of heal, then guess what? You’re not a healer. You’re a DPS. And as a DPS, you’re not specced or geared right.
Some fights may require more healers than others. Dual spec is a fantastic thing. Make your off-spec a solid DPS spec, complete with proper gear. When you know a fight’s coming up where your heals aren’t needed, recommend to the raid leader that you switch into your DPS gear. If you find yourself in your DPS spec more than your healing spec, it’s time to consider changing your “main spec”. I would be significantly upset if someone was getting healing gear over me, although they DPS’d more than they healed. Would you give awesome tanking gear (an upgrade for the main tank) to the 2nd off-tank who only tanks for 1-2 fights each night?
Is “Healer DPS” taboo? Yes. Why? Because in the eyes of this Discipline Priest, you shouldn’t do it unless the raid leader calls for it. Remember, raiding is a team sport. Maybe you need to take a step back and figure out which part of the team you really want to be on.