|Instance grouping guide|
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Healers are expected to keep the tank alive, keep other group members alive, and above all else to keep the group from suffering a wipe. Healers are also responsible for removing any debuffs they are able to remove.
The main healer would usually be selected for soulstone, , or self- in order to resurrect the rest of the party.
Often in a five-man group there is also a secondary or off-healer. This character is usually a damage dealer who will switch to healing when the situation demands it.
- Main article: Healer Classes
All four classes can be main healers, but all four also have unique healing abilities that make them shine under different circumstances. While a healing-specced and geared character is ideal, any healer with some healing gear or caster gear should be sufficient until difficult, high-level content. Extra gear, an extra level or two, helpful mana regen talents or a strong tank can all help an off-spec healer perform adequately.
As a Healer
- Don't waste mana on anything but keeping group members alive, unless you are absolutely sure you won't run out of mana before combat is over.
- The most important party member to keep alive is you, the healer. Don't be a hero, you can't heal anyone if you're dead (unless you're a priest with , and then not for long).
- The second most important member to keep alive is the tank, they will always take damage, but hopefully at a (relatively) slow and predictable rate.
- Your job is to keep the group alive, but everyone else needs to help you through aggro management. Zealous damage dealers who pull aggro will have to die if healing them would cause you to get aggro.
- Be prepared to quickly heal and/or , clothies, as their health bar drops like a stone when they're attacked.
- Do not be annoyed with warlocks that use life tap. They will usually raise their own health again through drain life or bandages. Only heal warlocks if their health goes below 50% or if they have aggro from adds. If you're feeling generous cast on them, but you don't have to do this and the warlock should really have a method for healing themselves.
- It's true that mail and plate wearers are going to be lower on your priority list than leather and (especially) cloth wearers. However, armor doesn't protect against spell damage, so against the wrong mob they can die just as fast (or faster) than cloth wearers. Be aware of who's getting hit by what.
- As much as you can, keep an eye on what's going on around you, not just the party's health bars. Watching a mob suddenly run across the room can give you a hint on who will soon need healing. This will also help make sure you keep line of sight and range on party members – this is more their responsibility to maintain, but running into an alcove where you can't see anyone is not going to make you any friends. Various Unit Frame AddOns are also able to change the color of the frame based on which player(s) currently have aggro.
- If for any reason you have aggro, stand still – or better yet run to the tank – and let the party know. Keep your emergency skills (, , etc.) at hand and use them quickly. It is difficult for party members to get the aggro of the mob off you if you (and it) keep running away from them. If you don't know where to go, then stay put. Be aware of the difference between having aggro and a mob that randomly charges party members then goes back to the person with the most threat.
- It's a good idea to keep an eye behind your back for patrols coming up from behind the group, since you are usually hanging behind the others. It might take a while for the tank to realize you are under attack by another mob. Also you are often the person best suited to watch crowd-controlled mobs and make sure they don't escape it.
- Party members, particularly those you regularly group with, could help you by downloading a specific addons for various reasons, including: displaying incoming heals on their health bars, shouting /healme when low on health, etc.
- You need to be aware that, sometimes, people are going to die. If a damage dealer pulls aggro on the wrong mob, they're dead. If massive AOE damage is flying around and you can't save everybody, somebody is dead. In these situations, you need to prioritise. First comes either you or the tank, depending on the situation. If a damage dealer is dying, but the tanks needs a heal, heal the tank. If it's between a damage dealer and anybody else, the damage dealer should die. This doesn't mean you should let your DPS die willy-nilly, but you shouldn't get too hung up about it, because you can't always save everyone.
An off-healer should start healing if:
- The primary healer goes out of mana. The primary healer should notify the group as soon as (or preferably before) this happens, by typing
/oom, having a macro/addon that says something to that effect, or simply typing 'oom' in chat. (Depending on your party makeup, this may also be the time for a druid to the healer or for mana potions to be used.)
- The primary healer is being attacked. In this case, the group's first priority must be to pull the mob's aggro off of the primary healer. Not only is it difficult to heal when being attacked, but if the healer casts more heals, it will generate more threat and thus make it even more difficult for the group to pull the mob(s) off. (See Aggro lock.) So you as secondary healer will heal the main healer, thus saving their threat generation for until the tank has re-established aggro.
- It is a tough pull and the healer can't keep up on the healing. Some boss fights in particular are difficult for one healer, especially healers on the low end of the instance level range, to keep up with.
- The primary healer dies. Guess who's the new primary healer?
Working with a Healer
- On most fights, the healer should be sending most of their heals to the tank. If this is not the case, or worse if the healer is pulling aggro from the amount of healing done, there is something seriously wrong. Damage dealers need to ensure they are managing their threat and are not pulling aggro off the tank or otherwise being damaged needlessly. (Note that many boss fights, and in some instances even the trash pulls, will not follow this guideline.)
- Healing causes threat differently than damage, as all mobs in combat accumulate threat from healing. To assist the healer, keep aggro off of them – if there's even a small non-elite on the healer, his healing capability will be drastically reduced. No matter who you are, it's better that the mob is attacking you than the healer. This does not hold true for a holy paladin using (resulting in 100% uninterruptable casts, unless kicked, silenced or spell-locked). Paladins are designed to heal in the front lines of a battle, while casting seals and judging; Paladins are plate wearers and as such have high survivability against melee mobs.
- Stay in range and in line of sight of the healer. Your healer can't heal what (s)he can't reach or see (with a few exceptions).
- Also remember that the healer likes to gain experience, loot bodies, and activate quest items, just like you. Since the healer is in back of the group, he/she has to do all these things after the battle is over, so do not simply run off looking for the next group of monsters.
- The party will often wipe if you run into a fight when the healer is out of mana. Spend a half-second to look at the healers mana bar between battles if they aren't actively informing you.
- If a fight is going badly, try to work with the healer(s) to find a better way of organizing the fight. It can be simple things, like where the boss is fought or the direction it's facing, that turn a wipe into a victory.
- Do not call out for healing every time you get hit by a mob. There is almost nothing more annoying to a healer than the same person spamming "Heal" in party or raid chat just because something hit them a few times. Save the heal requests (do not demand that a healer restore your health) for when you are around 50-60% health or lower. Also, if you're taking all this damage because you keep pulling mobs off the tank(s), don't expect to get a heal before everybody else.