Updated Sun, Aug 14, 2011 by Yadiera
So you have never been to a raid before, but have been to lots and lots of instances. The two things are very different from each other. When it comes to raid healing you have other healers among you to work with. You all have your roles to play and must adjust accordingly. Sometimes healers make a big race to get that person healed before the other healers do, good thing to do sometimes.
Know your Role
In many raids, healers will call out healing assignments or be given healing assignments. You have Main Tank healing, Off Tank Healing, Raid Healing and Floaters. As a Holy Priest you have the luxury of being able to fit pretty much any assignment given to you or pick one you would rather do.
Main Tank Healing
When it comes to healing your Main Tank, you have to stick with casting Greater Heal above Flash Heal. Main Tanks will tend to charge in first to groups of trash or when tanking a boss. Before the Off Tank has a chance to be able to pull any extra mobs off of the Main Tank, he/she will be taking lots of damage at first. So get Prayer of Mending on the tank before they charge in, this will handle any spike damage they may take in case they really do charge and are out of healing range for a couple of steps. Keep Renew on the tank as much as possible, this will help with spike damage that occurs from crits or special abilities that the boss or trash mobs do. Don’t be afraid to use Flash Heal every now and again, if the tanks HP is not falling in large chunks, Flash Heal can be a good spell to use when outside of a Boss Fight. As a Main Tank Healer you also will be doing a lot of over healing, you can never know sometimes when the tank will lose a lot of health.
You also have to keep track of your range, and special abilities from bosses. Tanks will have to move every now and again to accommodate for things that are happening. That’s why Renew is a great spell to keep on the tank when they move slightly out of range. Keep an eye out for Emotes letting you know when an ability is coming and spike damage is going to occur, requiring you to start casting Greater Heal to hit after the tank takes the damage. Or have protective spells such as Power Word: Shield or Guardian Spirit up so they do not die.
Off Tank Healing
Off Tank healing is very similar to Main Tank healing and just as important of a role. Off Tanks, when dealing with most trash mobs, will not require much healing and so you must raid heal until the Off Tank’s role is required. In Ulduar there are many trash mobs that require an off tank, compared to Naxxramas. You heal your Off Tank just the same as you would a Main Tank, lots of Greater Healing, Renews up and possibly a Flash Heal every now and again. In some cases the Off Tank will run in before the Main Tank, to take care of extra trash mobs while the Main Tank pulls out the bigger and badder one. So get that Prayer of Mending on, and spam in some heals until the Main Tank pulls the hard hitter out of there.
In boss fights when tanks will have to switch, listen out to when the tanks are going to be switching, so you can start getting those heals ready to be cast on your Off Tank. Keep track of the Emotes and your environment as well, to know when spike damage is going to occur or if you end up having to move out of range of your tank to get some protective spells up on the tank while you cannot heal.
When you do not have the task of healing either of the tanks, you have to heal the raid. This is where your Circle of Healing, Prayer of Mending and Prayer of Healing shines as a Holy priest. Though you rarely ever get to use Prayer of Healing, it is still a good spell to keep ready to use, especially if something goes wrong and lots of raid damage is going to occur, because Prayer of Mending is not always dependable in bouncing from person to person and Circle of Healing does not heal for very much and has an annoying cooldown.
To be able to properly use Prayer of Healing in raid wide damage that takes a lot of HP away from your raid members, you will need to have a good Haste Rating set as the spell takes a long time to cast. If you know that the raid wide damage is going to be coming soon, it’s best to start casting it early, so it gives you time to cast it on the other group(s) before their HP gets too low.
With Prayer of Mending, it can all depend on the situation or boss fight on who you should best cast it on. If the tank is going to be far away from the other raid members, keep Prayer of Mending within a crowd rather than someone out by themselves.
Circle of Healing is much of a smart heal, will heal the closest members with the lowest HP, so who you cast it on can sometimes not matter, but casting it on the tank is usually not recommended, again keep it where there is a crowd of other raid members, so it will be used to its full effect.
Healers who are floaters are normally back up healers to take the spot of any healer who dies, but if one doesn’t die then your job is easy. Heal anyone who is taking damage, help other healers by keeping Renew up on the tank, or Prayer of Mending up in the raid crowd. Flash heal will be your number one spell, giving some health boost to the tanks you see with low HP. Do not do their job for them, it’s pretty annoying sometimes. You can use any spell at your disposal, Circle of Healing for tiny raid wide damage, or Prayer of Healing for larger damage. Flash Heal for the one person in the raid who took damage. Greater Heal will come into play if a Main Tank or Off Tank healer dies or runs out of mana and you step in to take their place.
Flasks, Elixirs and Potions – Many guilds require their raid members to bring consumables with them. Flasks will be more useful than elixirs, lasting even through death. Potions are always good to have with you, to give you a boost of mana when you are running low.
Water – Always good to have water with you, even in a raid, sometimes you never know if there is going to be a mage there or not, so you will have to depend on your own resources to regain mana between fights.
Food – Many times in raids there will be someone there who brings a Fish Feast or Great Feast with them. Just in case they run out, or you would rather have a different type of food buff, bring lots of food with you. Of course, it’s always helpful if you know someone who can cook or if you are a cook yourself.
Candles – Very important to have! It’s never good when you run out of candles in the middle of a raid and there’s no other priest that can share theirs with you.
That is pretty much all there is to healing in a raid. It can be harder than it sounds having to watch for so many things happening at once. As a healer, your job is to stay alive and keep others alive as well, so it is not an easy task having to watch your surroundings, watch everyone’s HP and keeping in range. You sometimes even have to chase down that someone who runs out in the middle of nowhere. Though that could not be considered your problem, their jobs are to DPS and stay alive and don’t run away from the healers. Compared to healing a Main Tank or Off Tank, healing the rest of the raid or being a Float Healer is a very easy job to do. Get good loot without having to put forth too much effort, but we all like to have the important roles. Main Tank healing and Off Tank healing can be stressful and hard to do, but also easy, you only have to watch one person’s health, rather than 10 or 25 health bars.