Monday, January 11, 2010

First we try, then we trust...

I'm certain most, if not all, of us have been there... The place where we are given a healing assignment (tank or raid) and we notice some toon, who is some other healer's responsibility, is dangerously low on health. Almost instinctively we pop a Natures Swiftness + Healing Touch and then go about our business healing our assignment, feeling pretty good that we just saved a life... Or did we?

What would happen, do you think, if we never popped that NS+HT heal? Is that toon truly doomed? Was there a big heal from another healer a half second away from being cast? Did we just waste that heal and the mana that goes along with it? What if our big instant heals were on cool down and we had to spam a nourish or three... was someone else healing our assignment while we took a minute to "save a life"?

These are all important questions I'm sure we've all asked ourselves when going "off assignment" during our raids... especially when raiding with healers we're not familiar with.

So what, then, do we do when our fellow healer(s) refuse to trust us to do our jobs? How do we cope when someone else pays as much attention to our assignment as they do to their own? How do we anticipate who he/she is not healing at any given moment so that we can cover them while they're busy "covering" us?

I ask, because this is exactly the dilemma my long time guildie/healing buddy is facing in our ICC guild runs.

There's been a changing of the guard in my guild, so to speak, as I've been on hiatus from our weekly raids and a new resto druid has stepped up to take my place. Naturally, there needs to be some trust building between my priest friend and the new tree, however things are progressing very slowly in that regard.

New tree is over healing the OT, when assigned to raid heals, and that both frustrates and annoys my priest friend. Priest spends a great amount of mana covering raid while tree goes to town on the OT, all the while never certain when tree will decide to stop heals on OT and go back to raid.

In defense of tree, she is single target specc'd (i.e. glyphed and talented to make HT her main heal) and better suited for tank healing than raid healing. She's assigned to raid heals because that's the role that needs filling, but she remains married to her build (like so many of us are) because that's what fits her healing style best.

A quote from tree when I asked if she'd consider giving a raid healing build a try... "ICC isn't exactly the place to be trying out a whole new healing style, is it?"

Good point, though to steal a quote from Hillel the Elder in response... "If not now, when?"

So what do you all think? My guild feels a disc priest is best suited to tank heal these fights, so having the two swap roles is likely out of the question. Is this a case of trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, or is it simply a lack of trust that's preventing our healers from reaching their potential?


  1. As a Disc priest who only recently got enough healadins in guild to get entirely bumped from tank duty, I say: DISC RAID HEALING IS THE BOMB. Yes, the tree is being inflexible here, but in her defense, she's running an unusual build and it's not surprising she feels the need to defend it. (I like Healing Touch too! Tho my druid is only lvl 35.) The problem is that she's not sticking to her assignment, and that's a huge problem — people die when healers can't trust each other to cover their assigned targers *first*. It falls to the healing lead to admonish her on that front and then try to address the underlying cause.

    And I absolutely think you need to try swapping out the priest and the druid, at least a couple of times. As a disc priest, my role in our raids is "float", as opposed to the dedicated tank and raid healers. This means I keep a close eye on both the tanks (running my full bubble and renew buffer as I would while tank healing, and popping in with a penance etc. when my help is needed), but then I'm not stuck there staring their health bar waiting for something to happen. I'm free to bubble anyone else who needs it. I can bubble half the raid in preparation for Koralon's burning breath or Icehowl's massive crash. I can blow penance on a DPSer, which is insanely awesome (taking them from almost dead to full up in one spell!). Penance is fantastic for curing Incinerate Flesh on Jaraxxus, and saving kiting DPSers in Anub, Rotface, or Putricide. I can react immedialy with a PW:S to prevent Saurfang's blood boil from adding to his stack (as opposed to doing it "after the tank's topped off"). I can keep bubbles up on the mage with Incanter's Absorption. I feel so much MORE useful in my current role, compared to tank healing, where I was stuck spamming flash heal after PW:S and penance were on cooldown. I have left the heal bombing to the paladins and struck out into a brave new world. If your priest is at all amenable to trying it, swap the two and see how it goes!

  2. Hi ambient!

    First off, thanks for the disc priest as raid heals break down. VERY interesting stuff. I've always been told that Holy = Raid and Disc = Tank and that's just the way it will always be. Now that I know a disc priest can raid heal, I'll have to re-think the group make-up in my PuGs.

    Secondly, I agree that the priest and the tree should swap roles in their next raid, and even suggested it to our ICC raid leader. But for whatever reason (e.g. politics, power struggles, stubborness) the concensus in the guild is that the tree should make the switch.

    Guild politics such as these are part of the reason I'm on hiatus from our raids, atm. I'm hoping the 'powers that be' figure out a way to let everyone play their characters the way they want to play them and have success raiding while they do it.