Now, I know that a couple of my readers out there are rolling their eyes and declaring “We don’t need no stinkin’ healing assignments.” Yes you do. Seriously. It baffles me how healing teams even function without healing assignments, even in 10’s.
Here’s why healing assignments are so important:
- Nobody dies because “I thought YOU were going to heal him”
- Less overhealing due to 2 people healing the same target at the same time
- Cohesiveness of the heal team
Yes, cohesiveness of the heal team is totally important. In fact, that leads me to point 1…
Healer Communication: Healing Channel?
Healers need to decide on how they are going to communicate before, during, and after the fight.
Before The Fight
You need to hand out assignments and discuss them if necessary. We currently have a healer channel so that we can communicate without disrupting the other commands on vent or in raid chat. However, some might find a separate healer channel superfluous in a 10 man environment. Whatever method you use, make sure all the healers are on the same page.
Healer (post-wipe): oh, I thought we weren’t doing healing assignments.
Me: Of course we are. I typed them into raid chat.
Healer: I was listening to vent and didn’t read raid chat.
You get the idea. Healing assignments don’t mean a crap if people aren’t paying attention to where they’re going to be. Once you know your team well, you won’t have to worry about that. In the beginning, you might want to confirm heal assignments via tells or vent before you pull.
During the fight
You may need to get info to your fellow healers fast. For example, the healers to know that I’m running away from slime or otherwise incapacitated, so that they can cover my healing target and the tank doesn’t croak while I’m busy. Because they need this information in a hurry, voice chat is preferred. (Unless that’s not possible, in which case, make yourself some macros to announce your problem in raid chat or in the healer channel.)
Good: “Zel is running, cover (tank’s name)”.
This briefly lets the healers know what needs to be done. Don’t depend on them to remember your assignment.
Bad: “OMG OMG SLIME EATING MY FAAAACE RAAAA HELP MEH.”
This is bad for a few reasons.
- You don’t say your own name. Nobody knows your voice.
- You don’t tell people what they need to do to react to your predicament.
- You are taking up way too much vent time. Alas would break your fingers for not keeping vent clear.
After the Fight
Usually after a fight, the healers talk about what we can do better, did the assignments work for us, etc. Basically tweaking what we just did if we wiped. Also, we blow off steam about how much the rest of you sucked and totally caused the wipe. Which leads to…
It’s Our Damn Channel
No DPS or Tanks are allowed in the healer channel. Not even the raid leader. Seriously. They joined and I kicked them out. The healer channel is sacred.
Having others in the healing channel is annoying. Even if they do know what they’re talking about, it still wastes time having too many cooks in the kitchen discussing how best to slice the bacon (mmm bacon). Plus, we can’t make FUN of you when you’re right there.
Recently, Windsoar’s guild shut down the healer channel, which blows my flippin mind. Of course, non-healers were also allowed to invade. Dirty dirty DPS and Tanks.
Who Should Heal Whom (The Actual Assignments)
Being a Leader is a Crappy Job
I’m assuming here that someone has to be the leader. Even if there are only 3 healers, and even if you generally do things by consensus, someone has to get the ball rolling.
If nobody else is doing healing assigns, it’s ok to step up and just throw some out there. If you’re totally wrong, someone will say “no that won’t work because…”. In which case you tweak something and now you have workable assignments.
You don’t have to be bossy or omniscient. You just need to start the process.
Oh right, you do have to know a bit about healing classes other than your own. Sorry about that.
Of course, if you get it wrong, another healer will correct you that “my class is lousy at ___”. Or the other healer won’t tell you, and you’ll wipe. You’ll then know for next time.
You also could do some of this “research” junk on the “internet” using “Google F Search.” I hear all the cool kids do that. But at a minimum, you should discover:
- What cooldowns, if any, do your healers have?
- What are the capabilities of that class while moving?
- Are any of the heals limited by range or positioning?
- Does that class excel at aoe or single-target healing?
But, oh no, your knowledge doesn’t end at healing classes. You also have to have some idea of what the tank’s abilities are. (Again, sorry about that.)
- Does the tank wear a shield?
- Does the tank take predictable or spiky damage?
- What kind of cooldowns does the tank have?
- Does the tank smell funny? (Usually yes. Stand at range.)
Who Is Taking Damage and How Much
This varies from encounter to encounter.
- Are there two tanks taking damage at one time or do the tanks “take turns”?
- Is there heavy or light raid damage?
- Is the raid damage on the entire raid equally or 1-2 members randomly?
- Is the damage spiky or predictable?
There are some encounters when we have 2 healers tank-healing and one raid healing – and some where we do the exact opposite.
Often when doing a new encounter, the only way to really find out what your healing needs are is to try it once. Then on the run back, the healing channel looks something like this.
Me: Holy crap guys, that guy hits like a train filled with trucks filled with bricks. I’m gonna go discipline.
Rhee: Ok, and let’s swap tanks. Morehnai is squishy like a girly doll and needs all the bubbles he can get (I’m making this part up).
Me: Agreed. Are we cool on raid healing?
Kotak: Hey, no problem, I can heal anything. I’m awesome. Listen to my accent. (I’m making this part up too)
Me: Can you say: “I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries.”
And we sort it all out based on our often short experience getting our faces melted by internet dragons.
Where Is Everyone Standing
Previously, you overlooked the issue of range between heal targets unless you had a shaman and were worried about chain heal jumps. Now, we should ALL be paying attention to positioning and doing healing assignments accordingly. Someone who is an awesome aoe healer because of healing floor abilities may not be the right choice for raid healing if the encounter doesn’t allow people to bunch up on the healing floor.
Again, this is something you might need to troubleshoot after the first wipe or looking at the logs the next day.
PRO TIP: Healing floor isn’t that useful if raiders fail to stand in the good. You can discuss in the healer channel how best to strong-arm compliance.
If everyone has to be on the move, make sure to assign a healer type that deals well with movement to heal the tank – even if it’s not your strongest single-target healer. We can’t have the tank dying because the healer had to run.
If only some healers have to move, try to assign the healers with mostly cast-time spells to the stationary positions. Again, tank healers should probably take priority.
Trial and Error
Sometimes an unconventional way will work when your best-laid plans fail. If what you’re doing isn’t working, it might be worthwhile to at least TRY different assignments for a pull or two and see if it works. I mean, if you’re already failing, what’s one more wipe?
Following Healing Assignments
My best advice is: Trust in your fellow healers but be aware of everyone’s health. It will waste mana overhealing if you are nervously sniping their heals. On the other hand, you need to step in and assist if it will prevent a death or a wipe. Ideally you work these things out beforehand (such as: cover my assignment when I’m running from slime), but sometimes you have to make split-second decisions and hope you did the right thing.
If Your Assignment Doesn’t Work
You need to speak up – and not during the pull.
- If you’re just not sure that the strategy will work, wait and see if you wipe before you suggest an alternative.
- If the strategy will definitely not work because the healing lead is not in possession of all the information, pipe up early. “I’m specced holy, not discipline” – for example.
Your healing lead wants to hear if it doesn’t work, and why it doesn’t work. There’s no point in wiping if you can troubleshoot the problem. However, let the healing lead make the final call and don’t badger. Especially in a 25. There’s nothing worse than “can we try it my way now? How about now? HOW ABOUT NOW?” (This is why we don’t let DPS into the healer channel, right?)
Remember, if you don’t like how the healing lead is doing it, then YOU can do the job. Do you really want to do that job? (Hint: the answer is hell no.)
Healing assignments are good. You should use them. And keep the dirty DPS and Tanks out of your healing channel and away from healing assignments.