Saturday, January 10, 2009

Why We Do the Thing We Do

There have been a few posts recently (Casual WoW; Matticus) explaining the motivation behind healing and also asking  what makes a good healer. I thought I would add my 2 copper. 

Why I Heal: 

1. Playing God
In a perfect world we would be able to keep everyone alive. Alas and alack WoW is not a perfect world. Sometimes the melee insist on standing right next to each other on Kel'Thuzad so that when one gets frost blasted, they all do. Then we healers must chose who is most worthy of our life saving heals. We must quickly figure out who is tanking phase 3, or who puts out the most DPS and let the less worthy melee die. This is a powerful powerful feeling. There are players on the other side of the interwebz, one going "Yes, I made it!" and the other going "*uck, I'm useless now." We can assign those emotions.

2. Playing Wack-a-Mole
Every healer knows exactly what I'm talking about. And the guest post at Matticus described it really well. Mini game within the bigger game. I also like it because it gives me one more thing to think about. I like thinking about LOTS of stuff as once when I am playing anything. (Major reason I LARP). The more you are thinking about gamewise, the less you are thinking about RL. High wack-a-mole fights don't give your brain a second to wander elsewhere. 

3. I'm Married to a Tank Purist
Yakra like NEVER specs DPS. He is SO tank focused. Always. I'm talking like dinner conversations too. So it only makes sense that I'm SO healing focused. Finding groups is SO easy for us that its hilarious. While I love the DPS, sometimes I giggle a little inside when they are looking for a group for 30 minutes, Yak and I come on, ask once, and our group is full. We are also IMPOSSIBLE to gank. We just don't die. And normally we can put out enough DPS between the two of us to kill them. It takes FOREVER, but we just outlive. 

4. Being Needed
I need to be needed. It does things for my self-esteem. Its probably saying something about me IRL. Some people say DPS is more fun than healing. I need to be needed
more than I need to have fun. Healers being in low demand isn't about getting groups for me. Its simply about all the tells of "We NEED another healer."

5. Mothering
Healing is about caring for other people. Remember my perfect world when we can keep everyone alive? Then everyone can have a good time. I want my guildmates to have a good time. I care for my guildmates, my husband, my students. Wife, teacher, and healer makes far more sense than wife, teacher, and DPS KILLING MACHINE.

What Makes a Good Healer:

1. Obsession
Causual WoW said a good healer must enjoy healing, I would like to take that one step farther and say they should be obsessed with it. Wishy-washy healers arn't going to get the job done. Obsessed healers will research their class, dissect fight reports (recount, WWS, etc.), will install healing mods, will QQ when someone dies, and think think think about how they can keep them alive the next time. 

2. Knows They are Part of a Team
They know if they don't top the meter, its okay. They will focus on their targets first and foremost, and only heal other targets when they KNOW theirs is fine or there is a desperate need. They will communicate with other healers, especially about battle rezzes, innervates, or assignment switches. They will congratulate the team. They will defend other healers against the non-understanding DPS and tanks: "Why's that healer so low on meters?"

3. They are Aware
Of their surrounds mostly. Not everyone can play Grid Wack-a-Mole and GTFO of fire. Enough said. 

4. Let the DPS do their Job
If they keep the DPS up, the boss will go down. On many many fights I have NO idea what the boss's health % is. I'm too busy keeping people alive. If I tab to the boss, someone will die. Healers also shouldn't get involved with the DPS, I think. Even if you spec DPS alot, don't put in your two copper. Just like you don't want DPS commenting on your healing output, your shouldn't comment on their damage output. 

5. Know When to Fold-um
If its progression and its a wipe - YOU STOP HEALING. Healing to pad the meters is wasting precious time and motivation. Good healers stop healing, kill themselves as fast as they can, and get rezzing. 


  1. "Good healers stop healing, kill themselves as fast as they can, and get rezzing."

    I never thought about that, but it's actually a very good point. Very nicely written!

  2. Quote: "On many many fights I have NO idea what the boss's health % is. I'm too busy keeping people alive. If I tab to the boss, someone will die."

    Actually, if you have bars showing the MT's target, you should certainly be able to see the target's health. This is important especially since some monsters have specific triggers that they can become more dangerous after a certain point in their health. E.g., frenzied or enraged on the last 15%.

    This goes with your other point, being Aware :) You expect your tanks to get hit harder or take damage faster than at any other time during the course of the fight and must then be able to compensate.

    Just my two cents :)

  3. Whenever the bosses health has some major baring on the fight, someone is calling out in vent what percent they are at.

    Back in the day I had target of target showing so I could see the bosses health, provided I was targeting another healer. I eventually had to turn this of because it did buggy things to buff icons. This was also before I discovered grid corner text, so it was imperative that I see the cool down of my rejuv or regrowth on my target.

    If I REALLY needed to know what the bosses health was at, I could ask the tank sitting next to me.

    Now, with grid corner text it wouldn't really matter if buffs were bugging out. But conveniently, set focus now has a built into the game icon that pops up with the bosses health. This is what I now use to know where we are at.

    The point of that comment I made was to say - there was a long span of time when I didn't know every single second what the bosses health was, and it really didn't make a difference.

    I also don't think I consider the boss's health part of my surroundings. There are tons of other things healers can be aware of (class strengths, their global cool down, tank panic buttons, boss ability names, etc.) I just happen to think not standing in fire is a major demarcation between good and... not so good. Knowing the boss's health will not make me not stand in fire.



About Amy

I've been playing WoW since Easter Sunday 2005, coincidentally the same day I became engaged to my forever husband and tank Chad, aka Yakra. I have held the roles of druid class officer, healing role officer, and general secretarial type officer in two guilds. Currently, I am not playing WoW. When I'm playing, my blog, like my life, is casualcore PvE healing focused. (I love gear math!) When I'm not playing WoW... well, I can't quite tell you what this blog will be about since I have never blogged while not playing WoW! Expect to see reflections on being a married WoW player and on just being married, stories from my other RP adventures (LARPing and table top), and accounts of my life's most meaningful activity: teaching chemistry.

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