Sunday, February 25, 2007

To HoT or not? That is the question…

I like to play the healer. It *may* be less exciting and less glamorous than say a mage or a warrior but consider where those classes would be without heals. A healer *is* an important part of a team, a team working together to carefully unravel the instance *just* enough to allow them to mow through it. Too little and nothing will get done, too much and…well…you probably have been part of a bad pull before and know what it feels like, insert your own bad experience here. :( A good instance run is all about a certain balance, a certain amount of teamwork, and about experienced, even talented, players pulling their own weight.

I like to think of playing a healer as an interesting sub-game of Wow, a game that is based more upon strategic use of resources than button mashing. It is a dance between the need to heal and the need to not draw attention to one-self; between the use of a more mana efficient ‘lesser’ heals or the necessity of the ‘big’ heal.

When playing a healer I like to rely almost exclusively on HoTs (Heal over Time spells). Every Druid has 2 such HoTs, Rejuvenation and Regrowth. I usually hit Rejuvenation when the first little bit of the health bar comes off. It is an instant cast, is pretty mana efficient, and causes only a little ‘threat,’ threat being that which causes a mob (any creature you can fight in Wow) to be drawn to you. The result is that I have more mana for the next fight, which lessens the downtime, and the agro (the mob’s attention) stays on the characters designed to take such ‘attention’.

Being mana efficient helps one to have enough mana left over if the fight goes badly and I need to start the big heals or is a prolonged engagement where there simply isn’t an opportunity to drink. The other reason I like Rejuvenation is that it keeps healing while I am casting another heal, plus it stacks with other heals. This helps a lot if the agro is split up and 2 or more members are taking hits. I can cast an instant heal on one player and start the longer cast time of a bigger heal for another player, effectually making me into two healers!

If the Rejuvenation spell isn’t overcoming the incoming damage I switch to the Regrowth spell which has a, minor, instant heal AND a HoT built into it. I like this spell a lot because while this spell does cause more threat to mobs than the Rejuvenation spells, it draws far less agro, and has a faster cast time, than the Druid’s big healing spell, Healing Touch. There is NOTHING worse then drawing agro off of the fighter. *That* is the dilemma of healers everywhere, balancing the desire to put the health back into characters without attracting too much attention in the process.

While most engagements can be handled using HoTs there are situations when a big heal is the only thing that will keep a player in the fight. I know that when I have to pull out a big heal than we are either at a boss or have bitten off more than we can chew. In the case of a boss I usually wait until the fighter’s health is down to about ½ to 2/3rds gone *before* starting the long cast. Any earlier and 1) you won’t get as much ‘mileage’ out of your heal and 2) you might just agro the boss on you! In doing so you take a lot of damage, piss off the fighter, and have just wasted mana in the process by needing to heal yourself rather than spending it to heal the fighter(s). If you *need* to cast the big heal then you most certainly don’t want to draw attention to yourself in the process. :(

My biggest problem as a healer is overlooking that the pet bar. It is so much smaller than the other characters bars that I sometimes overlook it. ‘Forgetting’ to heal the pet is a major faux pas of healers, much to the chagrin of hunters everywhere. Maybe that is why Blizzard gave hunters the ability to heal their pets. Who knows?

Whether your healer is a Priest or a Druid know that they are working as hard as, or harder than, the other characters in the party to make sure that everyone has a good run through an instance. If you think that your healer did a good job, say so, if their healing skills need a little work then point them at my post and maybe we can all have a little more fun in Wow!

Good day and good hunting! ~e


Keystone said...

Nice post!

Excaliber1 said...

Sup E- guess you are the additional author eh? =). so far my paladin has been healin in instances like RFC, and BFD. Though im only into tier3 into holy spec, ive actually loved being the healer. Though I dont use HOT (dont have any at level 26 lol) my heals do often heal alot (one time the tanks health was at 40% I crit heal to 90% it was amazing)

Keystone said...

I don't think the Paladin class gets *ANY* HoT's, unless it's something from 60-70 I haven't experienced.

The aspect of healing as a Paladin is completely different. I haven't healed on my Paladin in a long time, but what I used to do was make sure a heal was spamming at all times; however, I would not always let the heal go *off*.

I would do this to make up for the cast time, so even if the tank was full, I would have a heal *casting* on him, but if no additional damage was sustained, then I would move to cancel the heal and start it again.

By doing this, I never caught myself missing a heal due to a late cast. This method always worked for me, and there are add-ons that auto-cancel heals if the target is above a certain percentage, but I always did it manually, until raids.

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