Healing is a Team Sport

These are the three most common types of healing styles that I see from new raiders:

  1. Those who follow their healing assignments to the letter.
  2. Those whose who are constantly running out of mana in places where they shouldn’t be.
  3. Those who can really put out extra healing when needed on tough boss encounters.

Which do you want to keep in your raids?
Well, let’s discuss these three types of healers a little more in depth first.

Healer #1 follows her healing assignments to the letter. She does well enough at keeping her healing assignments alive. She may lack sense of the bigger picture a bit, but is reliable in her duties.

Healer #2 is having mana problems. Why? Well, a detailed report from a healing meter would show that this healer is doing a lot of cross-healing, tossing HoTs, quick heals, or group heals all over the board. Sometimes Healer #2’s assignments will die, but she does manage to be doing a great job at healing other raid members who are in need.

Healer #3 doesn’t always have the best of luck keeping her healing assignments alive on trash pulls, but on boss fights, she can really step up, comparatively speaking that is.

The answer? It was a trick question. If you are willing to keep running raids with these types of healers, then your answer is: you want a better healing leader. You should not be settling for this level of ability from your raid healers. All three of these have potential, but need encouragement and guidance to foster improvement, which is the job of a healing leader (or class leader, raid leader, guild leader, whatever). You don’t want to keep any of them unless they can improve.

Healing is a team sport. Yes, there will be strengths and weaknesses. People will have their own way of doing things. Some healing styles will be complementary to others, and some will clash. Horribly. A good healing leader can assess, organize, give feedback, and can lead by example. The leader of a healing team is expected to be the coach, head cheerleader, and star player, and often at the same time.

No doubt the biggest challenge is in getting your team to work as one. Getting these three types of new raiders to work together properly will help them become better healers. The trick is to have them do so while augmenting their strengths and correcting their weaknesses.

Healer #1 seems to just be new, plain and simple. She is probably the easiest one to help improve. It seems she needs to get a good understanding of heal priority across the raid. Yes, she has assignments, but sometimes it may be critical for her to keep that top DPSer or a tank alive. Improving Healer #1 is a matter of increasing her confidence, and the best way to increase confidence is experience. More time spent raiding or doing rigorous heroics, combined with positive reinforcement for those “save the day” moments, will help this healer adapt to her role better.

Healer #2 and Healer #3 sound like they may have been working together too much in the past. Healer #2 seems to not be trusting her other healers, and is healing their assignments a lot. Healer #3 seems to be piggybacking on others efforts until boss fights when she steps up, but just because she has to.

Healer #2 needs to learn to trust. Pair this person with competent other healers. Show by example. Most importantly, tell this healer to communicate with the healing leader (or raid leader, etc.) right away if she feels she is in a place where she has to compensate for others (or for a general lack of healing across the raid). If should not be her decision to fix a serious raid problem on her own. What if the raid is short on healers? She can’t just heal twice as hard to make up for being a healer short. This is an issue for a raid management, not her.

Healer #3 needs firm boundaries and a clear dialogue on expectations, followed by a stern warning. Such laziness should not be tolerated. A simple “Three strikes and you’re out” system should do the trick, as this person should quickly get the idea after the first strike. If not, removal from raids is typically good incentive to step up. Otherwise, you are better off without her.

Addendum:

Some less common types of bad healers to keep an eye out for in your raids:

  • The “OOM-after-1-minute” healer
    Somehow this person concluded that spamming all their most inefficient healing spells nonstop was the best way to heal the raid. Lack of class knowledge is quite obvious in this case. This person either eBayed their character or lacks the intellectual maturity to understand basic class mechanics. You can either try to educate this person in elementary skills or remove them from raids altogether, the later usually being the better choice.
  • The “healing-meter-reader” healer
    Everyone is familiar with those types of players who view topping a meter as a competitive sport. It doesn’t just happen with DPSers, though. Some healers are out to “be the best” in the only way they know how . Unless you can get these healers to understand that quality is better than quantity, they can best serve your raid by warming a bench.
  • The “I-was-in-the-middle-of-a-heal-I-swear!” healer
    Healing is a proactive task, not reactive. Perhaps this healer is lag-ridden; perhaps he is just lazy. In either case, he isn’t getting the job done. No matter how many gut-wrenching exclamations of “Not my fault!” you may have to endure, unless this person can step up the next raid, he has no place being there. A dead healing target is a dead healing target.
  • The “mega-overhealer” healer
    Every once in a while in a raid, it is possible to find someone whose healing is 75% overheals. This person is typically a seasoned healer (with nice gear) who just isn’t paying full attention (possibly talking on the phone while only pressing the button for their max rank heal). Tell this person that if you wanted someone to just press one button without thinking, then you’d be better off using a character piloted by one of those drinking birds. At least those don’t care about loot.
  • The “DPSer” healer
    Healing can be boring at times; we all get that. However, mana spent DPSing is less mana that can be spent healing. It doesn’t matter if your DPS-healer is out-DPSing the rogue who is using raid-time to train her weapon skills higher, or the hunter who is afking with auto-shoot on. Those are issues that need to be addressed by raid management, and not by “lolhealerdps!”And if your healers are getting bored in raids from having nothing to do, then start bringing less healers!
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