Friday, February 1, 2008

Assignment: Healing

No. This isn't some bizarre game where I give you homework. Instead I want to talk about healing assignments for raiding. I'll look at why you need to do this, some ideas about what makes sense as far as assignments and why you should start the moment you touch a raiding situation.

A story

Once upon a time a raid group went into Karazhan with 2 tanks, 5 DPS and 3 healers. Since this is a fairy tale about healing the healers are Crouton (a priest), Tigerlily (a druid) and Throm (a paladin). If the raid leader isn't aware of healing assignments here's what will happen. Everyone heals the people who need topped off. Inevitably, this means that Throm who can spam flashes of light with almost no impact to his mana will heal everyone as quickly as possible. Tigerlily who's faithfully staying in treeform and healing with her super-powered druid HOTs is also healing as needed. She's also keeping lifebloom stacks on the tank(s). Throm, having read priest blogs before, is using his POM like a pro and casting greater heals on needy targets. Our intrepid band of adventurers moves on to Attumen, and after several attempts ending in wipes, the raid leader calls a five minute break to let the trash finish respawning before their final attempt of the night. During the break, Crouton looks at his healing meters and sees his overhealing is running around60%. He's a little depressed because he knows he's not wasting that much mana and he's feeling like it's his fault they are wiping. Tigerlily also looks at her meters and sees she's also overhealing. She's not as overcome as Throm, because she expects to overheal some. But her overhealing number of 45% feels a little high to her. Throm, on the other hand, begins sharing in the healer channel what his numbers show and how he is singlehandedly outhealing the other two healers combined. He's quite proud of himself and his contribution to the team. The raid re-assembles and the raid leader asks for a debrief about what's going wrong. Hesitantly, Crouton asks if maybe the healing responsibility for the tanks shouldn't be split between he and Throm and have Tiger pick up the raid heals. The raid leader immediately agrees and assigns Crouton main tank healing, Throm off tank healing and Tiger to pick up the raid. They clear again, engage and kill Attumen. The healing meters now show that while there was still overhealing, it was in the 20-30% range and the distribution of healing overall was more equal. Additionally, only one of the healers needed to drink a potion, and the innervate is available for later.

So, what can we learn from Throm, Crouton and Tigerlily? Probably lots of things, but let's start with:

  • Paladins have a short casting time heal that can cause other healers to overheal. There's a reason they are considered the best single-target healer.
  • Druids should expect overhealing higher than other healers. In tree form, they live on HOTs and HOTs can tick once the recipient is at full life. If druids are casting the longer direct heals, they can land huge heals, again increasing the overheal.
  • Priests should expect some overhealing due to Renew and POM.
  • Not determining healing assignments exacerbates the problem of overhealing. Additionally, it's more costly to healers (at least some of them) in terms of raid consumables.
Did the raid leader assign the healers correctly? Probably. While it's probably an entire post on its own, healers have things they do best.
  • Paladins - Single target heals, cleansing, nearly limitless mana supply. Excellent main tank healers.
  • Shamans - Multi-target heals. Totem love. Some cleansing. Good raid healers.
  • Druids - Heals over time. Innervate. Battle Rez. Good raid healers.
  • Priests - Not best at any one thing, but most versatile healers. Good tank healers.
But, why does it matter who heals whom in a stupid ten-man instance? It might not. Having healing assignments is almost always more mana efficient. And if ten-mans are where you stop, you can quite possibly get away with never doing assignments.

However, mana conservation and proper healing becomes more prominent later. If you or your guild has any thought of moving past Karazhan, it makes good sense to get into the habit of assignments now. It's sort of like house training a puppy. If you correct bad habits early, you're not stepping in it when the dog is full grown.


Matticus said...

What an excellent post! It might not make sense to set up healers in Karazhan now, but it is almost a requirement when you move past it.

Anonymous said...

Great post, Bremm! Just one point, though:

"Priests should expect some overhealing due to Renew and POM."

While POM may result in overhealing, that won't show up in the meters, since the healing is credited to the target. I know you didn't specifically say POM would show in the meters (for the Priest), but there are still a lot of people who think POM heals go under the Priest's totals.

Again, great post, wonderful story to illustrate your point!

Rohan said...

Good post. Only point is that HoTs don't actually tick if the target is at full health. So meters usually report a very low overheal for druids. And that can be misleading.

tverratti said...

V. good, Bremm! I particularly liked the part where Throm was a vain paladin and Crouton was "hesitant." Vivid detail!