The Mechanics of Healing
For any healing class, the overall goal is the same: to see who needs heals, for how much, and to be able to provide that heal in the most effective (quick and/or mana efficient) manner possible. The basics are the same for any healing class.
1. See who needs a heal
For this, you will want a mod that provides raid frames other than the blizzard default raid frames. The problem with the blizzard default raid frames is that if you don’t click exactly on a very very small area, you do not end up targeting the person. You need frames where you are not playing “find the pixel” to click on.
- My recommendation: Grid
- Alternatives: Healbot, Vuhdo
- Non-healing-centric alternatives: Perl, Xperl, AgUf, PitBull
2. How much of a heal.
Any of these raid frames can be configured to “healer mode.” This means it will tell you how much health is missing in numerical form. Half a health bar for a mage is very different than half a health bar for a warrior. These exact numbers will help you choose which heal to use.
3. Heal, and heal fast
If you’re using the default UI, you have to do a “two-step” – click on your target to select, and then press a button to administer the heal. This wastes time. This is where “mouseover macros” or “click casting” come in.
Click casting: Programs such as Clique or Healbot can allow you to set click-combos for heals. For example: shift+left mouse click could be flash heal and shift+right mouse click could be gheal. You do not first have to click on the person to target him, and doing “shift click” would not change your current “target” while still delivering the heal to the person you selected. This is very fast but takes some getting used to since you have no visual cues as to what is set to which click combo and you have to remember.
Mouseover Macros: These are fairly simple and useful for people who prefer pressing buttons to clicking. Essentially you write a macro that says /cast [target=mouseover] spellblahblah. This means you do not have to click on the person prior to healing him. You simply hover your mouse pointer over the person’s name in group/raid and hit the assigned hotkey on your keyboard.
Yes, you have to decurse too. Any of the unit frames listed should be configured to highlight when a person has a debuff you can cure, and you won’t have to go sifting through all debuffs to find it. Alternatively, you could use decursive which has its own unit frames. I’d advise against this, since it’s a lot to be looking at.
It also might be useful to be able to see debuffs that you can’t do anything about just so you know who might need extra heals.
5. Managing cooldowns
Nothing will slow you down more than hitting an ability and having it say “that spell isn’t ready yet” and you lose precious seconds fumbling for a backup spell. For those who use hotkeys (mouseover macros) you can clearly see that an ability is still on cooldown. For those who use click casting and do not have icons for the heals out in the interface, it is more difficult. A mod such as Powerauras or Tellmewhen can be configured to show you when crucial abilities are off cooldown. Alternatively, you can use Dotimer which has a cooldown tracker.
6. Managing latency
I recommend getting Quartz bar. It shows your latency at the end of your casting bar, so you know when you can safely start casting the next heal without waiting for the first heal to land. This will save you time as well.
Raid Healing in a Team
Healers in a raid work together to accomplish a common goal. The amount of healing done by each member is irrelevant. What is relevant is that the healer covered his or her assignments and did not put strain on the other members of the team.
Generally, the raid leader or other healer in the raid will assign each healer to a role. It is important that you do your role and not try to cover everyone’s role.
- someone really truly looks like he or she is going to die. If you can afford to do it without your assignments dying, toss the heal. Better to step on someone’s toes a little than to let the MT die.
- another healer is somehow incapacitated by fight mechanics or otherwise. It is good for you to keep an eye on raid debuffs and other conditions that would make another healer unable to do his or her job.
Healers should communicate with each other to let the team know when one healer may need extra help at a specific time in the fight.
Communicate with the team lead if you have any questions or issues with your assignment. The team lead may not be aware that you are specced or glyphed a certain way that would make your assignment inappropriate.
If your job is to heal one target, your numbers will be smaller than those of the healer assigned to heal the raid. That’s a given. Don’t snipe heals.