Last night we began our weekly lockout of Ulduar once more and were able to one shot every boss through Mimiron except for Thorim who for some reason gave us trouble again. We did skip Ignis and the Iron Council however as we’re trying to get as many shots in at Yogg as possible this week and the only reason we did Razorscale was because we had an extra ten minutes at the end of the raid. Other than the bad wipes on Thorim and some internet issues that made me look like an ass right before Mimi, the night was pretty good if not a little sloppy on a few of the boss fights. Auraiya in particular was not a very pretty fight, but then again, it never is.
However, right before Freya, one of the officers asked over vent is healing assignments had gone out yet. He was met with crickets and had to ask twice more for confirmation before someone said that we were good to go. And we were good to go, but we hadn’t passed out healing assignments yet. I don’t know how it’s come to be, but in <NEED A DISPENSER HERE> we don’t do healing assignments for boss fights except on the ones where it’s required such and even then they’re only minimal at best. The closest we come to healing assignments right now is when we’re told where to stand with our groups or to set up a cooldown rotation.
This isn’t the case every time, naturally, as the Assembly of Iron in particular requires dedicated healers for the tanks and with Ignis we’ll assign someone to make sure the off tanks stay alive. But for the most part we run in blind and just do our thing with minimal pre-meditation. The funny thing is that it works. I’m not sure if it’s a sign of a great healing team or if we have a synergy that just clicks when we begin the fights, but we can’t be all wrong if we’re one shotting bosses and seem to be improving in general at Ulduar, right?
Of course, it wasn’t like this at first. We started doing Ulduar with healing assignments on every fight, making sure that people had their targets and stuck with them and back when 3.1 first hit, that was necessary stuff. It had to be that way or people would die and the raid would wipe. But soon nerfs started funneling down the chute and the fights became easier and easier to the point where the healing team could sort of wing it. Everyone knew their strengths and where they were best suited to cast their heals and that’s what we did, managing to keep 19 other people alive through our iron clad wills. Dramatic, no?
But on the other side of the coin, the raid was sloppy last night with most of the fights ending with at least three or four people on the floor if not more. Not all of it was the healer’s fault obviously, plenty of people were eating avoidable damage and having a slice of concrete pie for dessert, but some people did die from a lack of heals, plain and simple. Without healing assignments, you can’t say who was responsible for letting those people die, so it becomes the fault of the entire team. If we’re all swing healing, then we don’t have the luxury of thinking that it’s someone else’s area if the tank is taking damage or that tree druid’s fault for letting the rogue slowly whittle away. It’s all our faults because we were all in charge of his health.
But does every fight absolutely have to have healing assignments? Well, I suppose that’s going to depend on your team of healers. Some people don’t have initiative and without a direction to be pointed at will be lost and afloat in a sea of incoming damage. Maybe they’ll think that it’s there responsibility to be on the tank and so will four other healers, leaving your raid dangerously vulnerable. Or it could even come down to all your healers abandoning the tank if there’s too much damage everywhere, letting him go down because of spike damage while their attention was elsewhere. A problem with Ulduar is that it has become very easy for people to die if they don’t get immediate healing attention, especially tanks.
So while I somewhat enjoy the attitude of “just heal people”, I am a maverick after all, I also understand the recklessness of it and that it only works because we’re used to the fights and know where and when to expect damage. We’re not perfect, however, and this style of just swinging has probably cost us more than a few wipes even though the healers may be loathe to admit it. So I will say this in closing then: Healing assignments are only necessary for a few fights, but they’re beneficial for all. At the very least so that we know who to blame when someone dies. As long as it’s not Dueg anyways.