Yet another day of surfing various blogs and websites and I stumble across this little gem: Priest 101. Looking over this fun list, it reminded me of a guildy who just finished leveling an alt priest, who we took into his first heroic UK run. I originally went with the group on my druid as I can boomkin much better than melt faces, but I had a rather weird experience with a load error on my druid, which translated into an addon error. Fortunately, I was melting faces and none of my add-ons change how I dps, so onward we went with me switching over to Iaaia. Two things I noticed, even without my addons, was the fact that the new priest was having trouble with what is known as the alpha-strike and he wouldn’t heal anyone other than the tank. Now, our tank being a rather gruff dude starts yanking his chain, going “why is my health getting so low?”. So I pipe up, good alpha-strike mitigator on a priest is Prayer of Mending, stick that on the tank right before the pull, then follow with a bubble and renew once aggro is established. Tada, insta “better”! It was all-in-all a rather interesting run giving tips throughout, as I piped up with “oh yeah, this is your first healer isn’t it?” about midway into the first boss fight. So I thought what are the top 10 tips every new healer should know, and here are my personal thoughts:
- Don’t forget to heal yourself. There are several ways to prevent yourself from “running out of health”, including, Self as Focus, Addons such as Grid/Healbot/Vuhdo that include you as one of the people to heal, or a macro that uses [target=player].
- Be prepared for alpha-strike damage. This basically means being prepared for those first hard hits right when the tank pulls until aggro on all of the mobs is established. For druids this means Rejuv+Swiftmend and priests this means PoM right before the pull.
- You too need to “get out of the fire”. A big problem with new healers is they will often be so focused on green bars that they will forget to get out of the fire/flames/lava. It’s almost amusing that I will see this happening with a player who does a wonderful job of getting out of the fire on their dps toon but completely misses it on their healer. Yes, it took me about a month once I hit 80 to even begin to get out of the fire.
- Know your classes’ panic heals. A big, nearly instant heal can often prevent a wipe. My druid uses Nature’s Swiftness+Healing Touch to great effect. This will often translate into the next one…
- Macros are meant to be used. I can’t tell you the number of healing sites I’ve been to that have discussed mouseover macros or stopcasting macros for healing. My UI & Macros page has a very good start.
- Communicate your actions. If you can resurrect, broadcast that you are and who you are as quickly as possible. Also, let folks know if you are the only decurser/depoisoner in the group that you are concentrating on that, your heal lead may need to adjust healing assignments to take that into account.
- Learn the details of any instance. Can you predict incoming damage before it lands? Can you react to the to the DBM Skull for the diseased player during Grobbulus? These are the little things that will help you make your decisions quicker and separate great healers from okay healers. The last minute saves will also make for a rewarding feeling at the end of a boss kill.
- Be prepared. This basically means bring consumables yourself. Have enough flasks, special buff food, and potions to last a 3 hour pug heroic at all times. This may seem a little excessive for a social-raiding guild, but it means that if I do decide to pug a heroic I can represent my guild at the top of my game at all times. I too will sometimes fail at this one, even now with two well geared healers under my belt. But I correct my lapse as soon as possible when it happens.
- Know your class. It’s often disconcerting to me when pseudo-mentoring a new healer that they don’t always know which heals are most effective for their class and which heals shouldn’t be on their actionbars. Yes, I mentioned at #4 to know your panic heals, but that can often be harder for new healers to grasp than just the basics.
- Learn to work with other healers/healing classes. This may seem odd, but its interesting how often one type of healer can help (or hurt) another healer. I will often have to remind the holy priests in our guild to think before bubbling, since my disc priest’s bubble will be stronger and provides me with a nice little haste buff (see Borrowed Time).
Well, I can see from writing this list that there are definitely places for further expounding and top 10 lists could be made for each healy class, but I wanted to give a bit of advice to new healers that are suddenly faced with similar problems as my guildy found.