Who Needs Healing Assignments?

How we roll

How we roll

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.



8 Responses to “Who Needs Healing Assignments?”

  1. 06/10/2009 at 1:13 PM

    I would agree that healing assignments are useful in all non-trivial fights, and that despite this, many healing teams only seem to put them together for really challening encounters.

    I think assigning healers never hurts, it just takes a moment if you put someone in charge of it (who isn’t already leading the raid). And you get the benefits of people knowing who’s healing, and who should watch who, where everyone should stand, and so on. It probably reduces the number of “Doh!” wipes.

    Another side benefit is that for easy fights, you can point out that you only need X of your healers to heal, and so N – X of them can go DPS if they like. Everyone wins: bosses die faster and healers get to play lolsmite.

  2. 2 Light
    06/10/2009 at 1:36 PM

    I like healing assignments in general, but I have a problem with how they are assigned.

    I see people tend to put you on something based on recount, not on what the class is good for or how you are specced/geared/glyphed. I’ve seen people put holy paladins on raids and resto druids on the MT.

    I’d really like it if the person doing the assigning knew how other healers worked.

  3. 3 Kaelysta
    06/10/2009 at 2:28 PM

    Funny, I was thinking about this in Ulduar last night too. I am the heal lead, and aside from X healers stay in the arena, Y in the hallway, I don’t think I had to give out any assignments.

    For us, and probably any group that has been together for a prolonged period of time, I believe that it is just group synergy at this point in the game. I have a very strong heal team that have all been together since starting Naxx, and we know our class rolls, as well as personal strengths and weaknesses. I have never taken the “just heal people” standpoint however, because it does leave those holes in the ability to find out what needs to be fixed if problems arise. People just seem to know their jobs at this point.

    Last night however was the first night I didn’t explicitly type out jobs, and we added 4 bosses (even cat lady woo!) to the immortal type meta achievement, so I figure we’re ok!

  4. 06/10/2009 at 3:06 PM

    I still think it was because you and Rav weren’t together for Flame Leviathan. So I remain blameless and you get all the blame.

    You like what I did there didn’t you? 😀

    All joking aside though, I think it was just a bad night. We had a string of bad luck with everyone’s dc’s, and just what felt like a lack of paying attention. failbot was going off a LOT. But we smacked the hell out of mimi and that felt good.

  5. 06/10/2009 at 6:25 PM

    Auraiya, especially in 25s, is a brawl. Probably because of the combo of stacking for sonic screams and de-stacking caused by mass fears. Great fight though.

    I like healing assignments. They don’t need to be absolutes, but if everyone is taking heavy damage (e.g. Mimiron phase 2 or Hodir’s Frozen Blows) I like to know I can concentrate on doing my thing and let the other healers do theirs. So I can power heal the MT if thats my job and not throw PoH’s, or I can PoH my raid groups and know that a couple of other healers are dealing with the tanks.

    I think healing assignments as a kinda priority target system works well.

    Gobble gobble.

  6. 6 Tigerfeet
    06/11/2009 at 10:29 AM

    As a raid leader, I’m not the best at thinking on my feet. Terrible quality for a raid lead, I know. Add to that the fact that I’m a complete noob when it comes to healing, what does best with what, let alone how our individual healers perform. My guild leader, however, is well-versed in the ins and outs, but she doesn’t lead raids. She doesn’t lead raids because she’s got a wicked temper and can’t hold her tongue when things go pear-shaped. None of our healers are real ‘leader-types’ either. We used to have a priest raid lead back in BC, but come wrath he re-rolled DK and is now a tank, so that strong feeling of a healing lead isn’t there anymore. Our healers are gentle things, that like to be told what to do.

    So? Our infamous roster. All healing assignments are planned out ahead of time for each fight, and in great detail. We do this the day of the raid while we’re at work 🙂

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