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.
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.
- 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.
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.