Posts Tagged ‘Healing Assignments


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.



The Need to Lead, A Lazy Healer’s Perspective


Hint: I'm the one in the lead

So lately my buddy Scrat has been somewhat absent from our raids due to real life commitments and unfortunate overtime at work and blah blah blah.  Whatever, he’s not hardcore like Dueg.  However, the problem with that is that Scrat is sort of our unofficial healing lead in the guild.  During the occasional fights that require healing assignments, Scrat’s the man who lays them out and generally he’s pretty good at it.  Without him around though, I volunteered to step into this role and do the job myself.  Much hilarity has ensued.

I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself the healing lead since at the moment there really isn’t a healing lead in the guild.  We’ll often have a couple of officers in the healing channel who’ll weigh in with thoughts and ideas and if it seems the healing isn’t working for whatever reason, they’ll let us know what they think can be done for improvement.  However, other than myself right now, there’s not really anyone to say, “Healer X, you’re on Tank Y.”  So after a few weeks I’m starting to come to the following conclusions: A) There’s more to being a healing lead than just healing assignments, B) I don’t know enough about other healing classes and C) Scrat’s a turd for not showing up to raids and making me do this.

In order to examine what’s necessary to be a healing lead you almost have to look at what’s necessary to be an officer in any given raiding guild.  A firm grasp on the mechanics of not just healers, but tanks and even the occasional dps class is going to go a long way when trying to determine where heals should go for a particular fight.  You also must familiarize yourself with the various encounters you’ll be running up against in order to know how many healers will be effective for it and how to optimize the healing assignments.  You’re not going to be able to get the job done effectively by just making sure every tank has a dedicated healer and must be prepared to be flexible for certain fights.

Then there’s the healing classes themselves.  During the first week that I was doing healing assignments, I completely fell apart when it came to Patchwerk.  Normally we have 6 healers on any given raid, but for that night we only had five.  Being halfway familiar with the fight, I know that in general you can get away with one person on the main tank and two on the tanks eating hatefuls, but which healer on the tank?  Though the main tank doesn’t take as much damage as the off tanks, it’s not like Patchwerk is handing him pillows and a blanket, so I wasn’t sure if I should put a strong single target healer such as a paladin or maybe a lesser one such as myself.  All I knew for sure is I didn’t want a shaman since their single target healing is not as effective.  After a couple of minutes, we got it sorted out and was still able to one shot ol’ Patch, but I still felt almost as if I had screwed up.

This only served to highlight that as a healing lead, you definitely need to be familiar with other classes.  It’s very simple to say that Paladins and Discipline Priests are single target healers and that Shamans and Holy Priests are raid healers, but something is lost in translation there.  Blizzard’s trying to make it that any healer can fill any role in a pinch and therefore there may be subtle differences and certain spells that will optimize certain healers in certain situations regardless of class or spec.  You’ll also need to know when it’s necessary to assign a specific healer to either melee or ranged dps and which ones are going to be optimal for that depending on the fight and the makeup of your dps core.  As a healing lead, one should be familiar with these differences and know the subtly of all the various healing classes at their disposal.  Unfortunately, this means one thing: Research.

However, it would seem that research of just the healing classes is really not enough.  One who wants to be a good healing lead should be familiar with the survivability and abilities of the tank classes as well if they want to be able to effectively assign heals.  A tank who’s going to be able to last longer while taking shots from the big baddie won’t need a hardcore healer and you can get away with one of your weaker single target healers on him.  On the flip side, if you have a tank who’s taking spike damage out the yin yang whether from the boss or because the tanking class is weak for a particular encounter, then you may want to have two healers on him to keep the heals coming constantly.  It’s almost like a subtle balancing act with phat lewtz at the end and a lake of sharks with lasers attached to their heads below.

Of course, there’s also the idea that you must be familiar with your healing team and prepared to adjust assignments accordingly based on variables such as gear and general ability.  I’m not going to place only the paladin on the main tank if half his gear is still dungeon blues regardless of the fact that the class is superior at single target heals.  I’m also not going to do it if the paladin has full epics but has a tendency to disconnect during boss fights (in which case he/she should be re-evaluated as a raider anyways).  There’s also going to be people who prefer a certain type of role and may complain if you try to switch that up too much.  Of course, any raider worth his salt should be able to adapt if not thrive in whatever role you assign them to, but you also want to make sure you keep them happy and let them work in their area of expertise.

With Ulduar right around the corner and the possibility looming that I may have to do the healing assignments on brand new fights I’m thinking the time has come to really buckle down and start doing the research.  Naxx is so easy nowadays and we’ve done Maly and Sarth enough for people to pretty much understand their assignments inherently, so there’s a minimal amount of work for those raids as a healing lead.  However, Ulduar will be a different story and we may need someone familiar with the fights and abilities of other players in order to keep from floundering the first few weeks.  Unfortunately for <NEED A DISPENSER HERE>, I just might be that person, in which case I suggest a healthy dose of prayer to go with that research.  Unless Scrat stops being an ass and starts raiding again… please?


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