Saturday, July 17, 2010

Shared Topic: When should a healer let someone die?

Okay, okay, so I'm a little late to the party (it's been a hellaciously long couple of weeks for me) but Ecclesiasticaldisc posed this question on Twisted Nether recently and I feel the urge to put in my two cents.

The question is: 

When should a healer let someone die? Where do you draw the line on shifting the priority of someone’s heals down (or refusing to heal them all together)? Is it if they upset you personally? If they are consistently standing in the fire? If they have lame dps? If they aren’t managing their aggro? If they go afk for fifteen minutes in the middle of a boss fight? Is it only when it’s jeopardizing the entire group’s success? I believe there is a point for every healer, but where does the gray area fall?

The short answer:  Never.

Here's a quick story for you.  Several months back our guildies scraped together a group for the weekly, which happened to be Razorscale.  Of the 10 toons in the raid, nine were being operated by warm bodied human beings, while the 10th was a toon belonging to the husband of one of our guildies and was being towed through Ulduar on follow.  Just so the husband's toon did not miss out on 5 emblems while he was away at work, his wife logged on to both PCs and both accounts, put her hubby in her seige engine for FL then parked his toon next to the turrets for Razorscale. 

Not surprisingly, during the fight the MIA toon took fireball after fireball to the face and even spent some time roasting in flame breath.  Completely out of range of heals and offering nothing by way of DPS, I imagine most people would've let the toon die and collect his emblems as a ghost.  But not me.  I hauled bark halfway across that room every time he took a hit and stood there healing him until he was out of danger.

Having to justify my actions to the raid leader, I made up some BS about how the toon's presence was saving someone else from taking fireballs and "at least he wasn't dropping flame breath in the middle of the room."  But to be honest, I made the choice I made because I believe a healer's job is to keep everyone alive no matter what. 

If a toon was a jerk to me (and it has happened quite a bit over the years), I would still heal them (and would consider myself an even bigger jerk if I didn't). 

If some under geared, under skilled dpser was doing less damage than the tanks, I would still heal them (and be proud that I was able to see them through to the end of the fight). 

If a noob was standing in fire or dropping some AoE nastiness on the raid, I would still heal them... or try to at least.  (Would I be making my job easier by letting him/her bite the dust?  Yes.  But easy doesn't make it right.)

My job as a healer is not to decide who lives or dies, or what's best for the raid.  My job is to find a way to heal whatever group of toons through whatever raid encounter with as few casualties as possible.  If that means paying extra attention to the jerk in the fire doing white damage along with everybody else who has the misfortune of standing next to him/her, then that's my job. 

And if you'd rather pass on that kind of challenge to go farm some loot that you're just going to replace in a month... then we don't see eye to eye on what makes this game so much fun to play.

Just my two cents...


  1. Since I started leveling a healer, I've actually thought about this question a lot. I have to stand by your answer and give you great respect for it.

    It's tempting to allow your emotions to get the best of you and tip the balance of the scales in the favor of spite. However, you're a healer, you've taken it upon yourself to play this game as such. If you don't give it your best, then why do it?

    Two things about the specific incident you're speaking about come to mind. First, is I feel it was very rude for said person to burden 8 others in that regard. Second, the only excuse you should ever cook up is the honest one. "I'm a healer, I'm just doing my job." ;)

  2. Thats why i don't heal.....let them all die!!!

  3. i love you beck (this is your main tank bear)

  4. Well I am glad u don't let me die. I'm far to OCD to let toons die lol.

  5. You are nuts. It's a game. I put up with the antics of guildies and newbs, but if someone is being a jackass or has a high enough gs to know better in a PUG, I would totally let them die. I like to make them run back as well. They will never learn the game otherwise. It doesn't make me feel like a jerk at all - I feel like a teacher. =D