“Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once.”
Healing by the Numbers
I was reading Lost by Cinder Says this morning. I value bloggers who talk about playing WoW. It made me think about Healing Numbers and numbers in general, which we all can obsess on.
Each raid encounter is designed to reflect the playstyle of the classes. I’ve seen it very specifically as a DPS when cooldowns, even short ones, line up perfectly with events.
My favorite example are the Imps on the Mannaroth fight, they line up perfectly with the Hunter’s Barrage spell. If you use Barrage when the Imps first arrive, then though-out the 14 minute fight you’ll have it ready for every arrival and your DPS numbers will look great.
Healers see the design as well though sometimes it is a bit more subtle. A Slam spell is very predictible and means for raid-wide damage. A Healer might start padding up the raid in anticipation and then, once Slam has slammed, use some smart heals for those who took damage.
We have all seen DPS execute to the exclusion of everything else around them. We call it “tunneling” as in having tunnel vision and ignoring the surroundings. Some classes, like the Druid Balance class are loathe to move, they have to get locked into their rotation to get Starfall to stack, for example.
Healers can be that way too. Healers can get locked into the mechanics of an encounter and run their rotation to execute at the highest healing numbers possible. Sometimes, they’ll let another player die on the spot and say, “You can’t heal stupid”.
But you can heal stupid. Let me add a comma. But you can heal, stupid. DPS can fall into the rhythm of an encounter and do the dance but Healers are listening to a different song, we are healing other players. That is our job, to heal other players.
I think that if you are playing to top the charts that you are not playing a very fun version of the World of Warcraft. To top the chart in Healing, you will start to cheese the meters, perhaps by using Tranquility three times in a fight even when there is no need. Trying to get that spell in early and as often as possible is only to top the meters.
Some healers only heal what is necessary. Some might blow their cooldowns to keep a single player up and running. Some see the game differently than jacking up big numbers. The game is designed to keep that player up and running, that is why our HoTs run for so freaking long. Those players may not top the charts but those are the healers that you want on your team.
Healing what is necessary is difficult. Seeing that player stuck in the fire or a tank who let too many stacks pile up; sure, it is their fault but do they deserve to die? It is more than rotating your cooldowns to max out your numbers but, I happily admit, it is part of it too. What if, Elune forbid, you topped the chart in mana management? That would be a whole different look at healing.
Sometimes, when we have a boss on farm, I’ll try to top the charts and talk smack to the other healers. They love it when I fail, believe me! We get geared enough and rehearsed enough that over-all damage drops to only the mechanics. Then, feel free to cheese the meters; you might be surprised that your comrades have been doing that all along; using a 20 pound hammer on a 2 penny nail.