Posted by: Makakai | August 14, 2009

Healing Leads – Say Whut?!

Where do healing leads come from and what do they do? Healing leads are those healers who understand the strengths, weaknesses, buff requirements, and non-healing utility brought by healers to most effectively approach encounters. They provide the glue that keeps the raid sticking it through. Typically this is handled by another healer, as the healers themselves have a better chance of already having at their fingertips  several of the key points to achieving this. I was recently in a Naxx25 raid put together by a group of casual guilds on my server that exemplified the need for a healer to organize the “cats”. So I began asking myself how do you manage the healer organization for a raid?

So lets imagine for a moment that you find yourself in a situation where you are in the healing lead spot. The process of assigning healers is often very encounter and healer specific, but since this is supposed to fall under my Healing 101 section, we’ll keep the discussion generalized.

The first thing you should know is the mechanics of the current encounter and who is tanking what. The strategies or mechanics of the current encounter should tell you:

  • how many tanks will be used
  • how much raid damage is expected
  • special abilities or spells
  • which of your tanks will be taking what kind of damage

The next piece of information you need is a general understanding of how the different healing classes work.

Druids: Provide both tank and raid healing utility with strong heal over time spells (HoTs). Their Nourish and Healing Touch based builds can keep a tank well protected and can let fly with stacks of Lifeblooms and Wild Growth for the raid damage. Lifeblooms/Swiftmends also provide  great protection against damage spikes, and Wild Growth is a great way to deal with raid damage that happens in a big spike periodically.

Paladins: They are the solid single target healers, making them great to have for main tank/offtank healing. They are also good in those encounters where two different raiders are taking about equivalent damage with their fancy beacon spell.

Priests: They’re incredibly versatile healers with two different spec’s that seem almost like different classes. Their general healing tools include powerful single target healing, especially if specced discipline, powerful group/raid healing (through Circle of Healing if they’ve specced for it, or Prayer of Healing if they’ve not), heal over time spells, and that wonderful frisbee of Prayer of Mending. Generally Holy Priests are going to be most adept at handling raid damage; Disc priests are great at preventative healing on a single target.

Shamans: They provide a good 3-4 person heal through Chain heal which  is incredibly powerful and quite mana efficient. They are also very important for dropping the Cleansing Totem, remember folks it’s still only party wide!

So now that you have a better idea of what the different healing classes can do, you have to figure out who should be assigned to what part of the encounter. At this point you’re matching up skills with boss abilities. A boss that just hits the tank(s) very hard should have more healers assigned to the tank(s). The more raid damage going around, the more raid healers you need.

Macros are a great system for assigning healers to different parts of a boss fight. They are a quick way of doing this without resorting to Addons. However if you don’t mind the extra cpu usage, some good addons include Getting Things Healed and Surgeon General. A good macro to have set up ahead of time that can be edited on the fly would look like this:
/ra HEALING GROUPS:
/ra G1: Shaman
/ra G2,G4: HPriest
/ra G3,G5: Tree
/ra MT: DiscPriest
/ra OT: Pally

So that’s the quick and simple lesson on healing lead. For more detailed information about organizing and leading your healers check out Too Many Annas or Rolling Hots.

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