The Ultimate Healers Guide to World of Warcraft

Want to be the best healer you possibly can be? Get back to the basics with this ultimate guide to healing.

Welcome to Ten Ton Hammer’s Ultimate Healer’s Guide. The information you find here will help to begin to mold you, and your character, into the best healer you can be. You may be wondering how this guide can pertain to all healers when each healing class is so uniquely different. The fact of the matter is, no matter which healing class you, there are certain basic principles that pertain to all. Below you will find these principles laid out in detail.

Thinking you can just skip over the basics? Think again. Healing can be one of the most intense and demanding jobs in game. The entire course of an instance or raid can be ultimately determined by how well the healer can heal. If you make a mistake, everyone will know it. While we here at Ten Ton Hammer can’t guarantee that you will instantly become the perfect healer, by reading over the basics tenants found below you can at least give yourself a strong foundation on which to begin.

Love Your Target

As a healer you will undoubtedly be assigned to heal somebody, or a group of somebodys known as your target(s) or healing assignment. Knowing who this person (or persons) is, is one of the most basic yet most

vital duties. 5-man instances leave little room for error, as the healer is immediately assumed to be responsible for the lives of the entire party, including themselves, but once you venture into larger instances things can become slightly more complicated.

In this case as a healer you need to find out who your healing target should be. To do this you should either ask the other healers in the group, or if available seek out the person in charge of handing out healing assignments (usually another healer). If a healing “leader” has been established be sure to pay attention to what they have to say. Missing a sudden change in healing can be disastrous.

Once you have your assignment it is important to remember it, especially if there is a delay between when the assignment is given and when you will need to heal again. Do this by repeating it in your head, type it out on notepad, write it on a post it note, or scribble it on the back of your hand (just avoid using permanent ink). And once you have your assignment in your head be sure to stick to it!

Have Faith

You may feel you are the best healer in Azeroth, and you may think you can handle everything, healing an entire 25 man by yourself. While you may very well be the best healer in Azeroth it may be time for a hard cold dose of reality concerning healing a 25 man yourself. Even if it was possible, in all likelihood, unless you continuously run 5-mans you are going to be rubbing shoulders, and sharing heals with several other healers.

Thinking that these other healers are inferior, or cannot do their jobs even before they get a chance to try, and therefore you must do their job for them is a nasty notion that this writer has experienced throughout his healing career. This line of thinking is not only flawed, but can have deadly results. Learning to trust and rely on the other healers around you, even if you have never healed with them before, is a necessary part of the game. By doing this you will not only ensure that the raid runs smoothly, but you will also be able to focus on what is most important you own healing assignment.

Relinquishing control and allowing others to take the wheel when you would much rather be the one driving is never an easy task. This is especially true if you think another healer may be struggling or a raid member close to death. While it may be tempting to throw out a few extra heals in this situation, be warned that by doing this you are not doing anyone any favors, including yourself.

Taking other healer’s burdens as your own is not only insulting to healers who can actually do their job and do it well if you would just let them, it also leaves open the possibility for your own target to die, leaving no one to blame but yourself. Or you may be covering up an ongoing problem by assisting a so called “weak” link healer and if no one realizes the problem, thanks to your extra heals, it can never be addressed and fixed. So do yourself (and those around you) a favor, resist the urge to “help”, and stick to your own target instead.

It should be noted that in certain situation the above statement does not hold true. Helping out is acceptable when you are asked to do so by your healing leader or the raid as a whole.

Forget the Healing Meters

Healing meters are an essential tool used in almost every instance group and usually some competition stems from these reports amongst the healers all of which want to see

their name in the top spot. Some healthy competition between healers can not only hone healing skills but make general game play and taking down a boss even more of a thrill. However, being the “best” can become an all consuming obsession and actually hinder rather than help your instance group.

An example from my own personal experiences recalls a Priest who topped the healing meters every single raid. Everyone was impressed with the Priest’s supposed skill and he himself never missed a chance to point out his excellence. However, unknown to many around him this Priest gained his spot at the top of the healing meters by neglecting his real duties and instead healing whomever was taking the most damage so he could consistently come out on top. Eventually after many, many tank deaths thanks to his irresponsible behavior and the raid finding itself at a complete standstill in the raid instance this healers antics were finally noticed. Only after he was pushed to do his correct assignment did the raid make any further progress.

So as you can see, being the best is not always best. That’s why I take the standpoint that while the healing meters are a useful tool, they should always be taken with a grain of salt and should be the very last thing any healer is worried about. As long as your assigned target(s) are staying alive then who really cares where you are on the meters? You are doing your job and because of this the raid will eventually defeat any foes that stand in its way and that my friends is what really matters in the end, not your position on a meter.

Be Aware

As we all know, a dead healer is a useless healer. One of the cause of healer death’s is what I like to call red bar syndrome. Red bar syndrome happens when a

Standing in fire is very, very bad.
healer becomes so immersed in the red health bars of their healing assignments that they forget the world around them. In order to avoid this nasty syndrome healers must live by the words of one Mad Eye Moody and practice constant vigilance.

To do this the healer must constantly be aware of their surroundings. Know at all times where the boss is located and where he could be potentially be moved to, the locations of your healing assignment(s) in regards to yourself, and also be aware of any other potential threats such as falling boulders, waves of fire, lightning bolts and the like all while continuing to perform your healing duties.

This is a difficult task, and the ability to focus not only on your healing targets, but also on the world around you while doing so can mean the difference between being a good healer and being an amazing healer. While this is mostly a learned ability that simply takes practice to make things a bit easier be sure to keep your screen as clutter free as possible making it easier to spot potential disaster. Find raid and party frames (even if they are just the standard Blizzard U.I.) and place them in a location where you can easily see while at the same time being able to keep an eye on everything around you. And finally, be sure to be ready to move in an instant. This means don’t be tempted to cast one last heal before you move out of the way of a deadly attack, instead move right away and live to heal another day.

Use Preemptive Healing

Preemptive healing, or in simpler terms, healing before actual damage is done to your target is something that all healers should consider taking part in. This way your cast (or HoT) is already prepared and will finish or begin ticking just as damage lands on your target, or shortly after, greatly reducing the chance of a sudden death.

An example of a great time to use preemptive healing can be seen as Hodir (a boss located in Ulduar) will cast a spell called Frozen Blows. This spell not only increases his physical damage causing massive amounts of damage to the tank, but also does huge amounts of raid damage at the same time. However, despite its devastation Frozen Blows is damage that is completely predictable. This means that a healer who is paying attention can figure out when Frozen Blows is incoming and dish out HoTs or wind up a huge heal for the tank making healing through this rain of damage far more manageable. Remember, that while HoTs cannot be cancelled when cast, if you find that your target did not take the damage you expected, bigger, and usually more expensive heals, can easily be cancelled by jumping or any other movement saving you mana that can be used later in the encounter.

You Can't Save Them All

Healing before Cataclysm was, in many minds, a proverbial walk in the park compared to what healers are faced with now. But perhaps the biggest change to healing is that Blizzard has finally taken some of the load off the healer's shoulders and dropped it where it should be located; on the rest of the party or raid.

Healers today need the cooperation of the rest of their party or raid in order to be successful. In fact it is near impossible for any healer to heal through another player's utter stupidity. This means that any player who decides it’s a super awesome amazing idea to stand in fire, void zones, or take other unneeded damage and dies as a result completely and totally deserve to die.

In the past the blame for the death of a party or raid member was usually placed directly on the healer, regardless of what said person was doing to cause their death. However, in Cataclysm all that has changed. Healers in Cataclysm will find that they will need the rest of their group to be playing smart because they simply cannot keep up with damage that is taken thanks to sheer stupidity.So don’t sweat it if that dude who is inexplicably drawn to fire dies seventy times in one instance, because the blame lies totally with him.

Manage Your Mana

Mana is the life blood of every healer, and is one of the few things every healer has in common. Without mana a healer cannot cast, leaving them and their healing target high and dry with little to no hope of survival. You could in this case choose the rather unorthodox method of dashing madly around bandaging everyone in sight, or you could instead prevent yourself from becoming a useless lump instead.

Below are several methods you can employ to be sure that you rarely find yourself without mana:

  • Always keep at least one eye on your mana bar.
  • Try to reduce overhealing.
  • Anticipate incoming damage so you can create a plan on how to spend your mana.
  • Understand all the heals you have in your spell book, how much mana they cost, and decide when is the best time to use them.

Understand Your Class

While most of us are seasoned players, it never hurts to brush up on your class mechanics. Each class has various strengths and weaknesses as well as different heals and healing styles. Becoming intimate with the details of your class such as the best spec, best enhancements, and what spells are available can play a major factor in how well you play your class.

To learn more about the basics of the various healing classes visit one of our awesome guides here at Ten Ton Hammer:

Are you a healer? What are some of your most cherished tips? Share them with us in the comment section below!

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