Guest Post: The Art of Doing 700 Things at Once

Today’s “voices from the community” guest post is written by Aunaka, a resto druid from the Aunaka Heals blog.

Medic!

As healers we are given, in my completely biased opinion, the hardest job in game. We’re in charge of anywhere from 4-24 other peoples health, if we’re lucky we have a couple of other great healers to help us with it, but it is still a rather daunting job on paper. One that, mind you, I would never give up.

I’ve noticed over the years that there are aspects that separate good healers from those that are great, and certainly from those that are bad. When it comes down to basic healing, all we have to do to be called a healer is press a button.

Anyone can push a button, hell I’m fairly certain they taught a goldfish how to push a button and they only have a 30 second memory.

Whenever anyone has ever asked me if they should play a healer, my fist question is, can you mulit-task? If you can’t multi-task you will never be a great healer. As a raid healer you are going to need to think of a minimum of 5 things:

  • Actually healing people
  • Boss Mechanics (Which should really count as 2 or more.)
  • Personal Cooldowns
  • Raid Cooldowns
  • Positioning (Look at your damn feet!)

Standing in Fire Gives You a Buff

I’m hoping that everyone knows what raid awareness is, but encase someone doesn’t I will give you a quick quote from a former Raid Leader.

Raid Awareness, is the act of being aware of your surroundings, your own buffs/debuffs, and any boss mechanics.

Raid awareness is a very big part of being a healer, it’s something that we should strive to naturally work into our healing rotation. It’s not another button to push or a Global Cooldown(GCD) to watch, but it is just as important. Going hand in hand is being knowledgeable about the fight, 15 minutes of research before a raid, can mean the difference between a wipe and a kill. When you use both of these resources I promise that you will find healing to be much easier.

As an example I will use Heroic Blackhorn, since that’s currently what my guild is working on, and it’s the inspiration for this post.

For healers this fight has many added “benefits”:

  • We are partnered up with another DPS and you have to be able to run at a moments notice to stand in a Twilight Barrage.
  • There is fire that spawns on the floor.
  • There are things Mobs charging random players, including you, that you have to move out of.
  • Ever 30 seconds there is a Twilight Onslaught that everyone needs to stack up on and you have to be able top everyone off right after.

That’s just Phase 1.

This fight is chalk full of raid awareness opportunities. It requires you to time not only your own personal cooldowns so that you are taking as little damage as possible, but you also need to time your raid cooldowns so that you can use them in Phase 1 and Phase 2. You can’t cast Tranquility, as an example, near the Deck Fires, they will spread and burn you alive. Which is, I’m told, the opposite of what we want.

Which is where a little research comes in, and there are so many resources online that you can use to “Learn Yo’self”.

Healing is not for everyone and it takes a special person to really excel at it, but if you can do it, it will be one of the most rewarding game play experiences of your life.

/Cheers

6 Comments

  1. Posted April 28, 2012 at 4:34 am | Permalink

    I must say warmaster is on of the easier fights to heal exept last phase when the boss hits 50% hp it gets a bit hard :)

    Currently working on madness HC myself, i see where you are going with this post. Now hop everbody starts to respect us. Since the basic rule is.
    ”You dont like healer, untill they are dead” those days

  2. Posted April 28, 2012 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    @ Terogaxu
    The only good healer is a dead healer.

  3. Maven
    Posted April 29, 2012 at 12:39 am | Permalink

    This was fun to read. One thing that I think is especially important to healing well is individual and raid resource management.

    What I mean from that is that on a given fight the raid has the mana (and regen) of 2+ individuals. Obviously, if one is OOM and the other at full, your collective ability to deal with incoming spike damage is minimized. Likewise since paladin and priest mana regen involves sacrificing healing uptime, and shaman requires at least a modicum of awareness RE movement phases, and obviously each healer has very different regen available to them, that working together to keep the raid healer mana available in roughly even proportions to each healer is one of the better more advanced challenges to healing. I am constantly surprised when I see healers (especially healing role leaders) that run a UI that doesn’t explicitly show healer mana – the first thing I do on each of my healer toons when they reach raiding level is setup separate mana bars to track healer mana for the entire raid (btw this is SUPER easily done in vuhdo, and should also be doable in many other UI addon packages).

    The other thing I would mention that I think is a significant healer skill, especially on 10m is healer coordination. Ultimately you don’t have the time and predictability to script out who heals whom on most fights, and integrating the triage efforts of multiple people together (and balancing which of you uses expensive heals etc at each global etc) is what I love about healing. Most of the time DPS function as 6-18 separate individuals each basically just doing their own thing, and tanks exist mostly in a binary state where their interaction with eachother is functionally limited to switching aggro along typically predictable lines. Healers typically need to be great at dynamic coordination on two separate levels to do their job perfectly.

    All of which makes healing… AWESOME!

  4. Treeboi
    Posted April 30, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    This post sounds like a rant more than anything else. There’s nothing here that actually *helps* a healer deal with multitasking issues.

    My standard, “How to raid heal better” spiel goes something like this:

    1. Make your raid healing UI small, using a grid-like, chess board pattern. No need to spell out everyone’s name when 3-4 letters is plenty to identify someone.

    2. Put that UI right next to your toon, under your toon’s feet. You cannot avoid danger if you aren’t constantly looking at your toon, and the only way to do that and heal at the same time is to move your healer UI right next to your toon.

    3. Ignore stuff you cannot do anything about. Lots of healers wrongly want to see cast bars, mana bars, diseases, other people’s hots, etc. You can’t do anything about any of that stuff, so don’t display it in the first place.

    Only 2% of all people can multitask well. Everyone is screwing up while trying multitasking. And if you actually believe you are in the 2%, I have a bridge to sell you in NYC. If you were actually part of that 2%, you’d be a gladiator in arenas, a professional league StarCraft 2 player, or something similar.
    http://my.psychologytoday.com/blog/brain-trust/201202/is-your-brain-multitasking

    Thus, the best advice to healers to is to minimize / eliminate useless distractions and to maximize / highlight stuff you need to worry about. All 3 points listed above address a way to either minimize a distraction or to highlight something important.

    For a guild, the best thing a guild can do to help out, is to have a “raid caller”. That is, a dps player who has the responsibility to call out raid wide events, to “wake up” people from their routine. This is especially useful for scripted / timed events, where you can call out the event about 2-3 seconds before the event occurs. Just by itself, a “raid caller” will dramatically improve the performance of your guild’s progression runs.

    • Posted April 30, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      I agree with most of this, except for druids and seeing other peoples heals, especially if it’s another druid. Double LB=Bad, plus you can swiftmend other druids hots. Other than that I like these tips. :D

      • Treeboi
        Posted May 1, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

        Both items you mentioned are actually unnecessary distractions.

        Lifebloom should be dealt with ahead of time, when raid begins, if there are multiple resto druids. Have each druid pick a different lifebloom target, so nobody gets confused. Don’t count on a UI to save the day for you.

        Needing to swiftmend another druid’s hots never happens in practice. It’s one of those things that sounds good on paper, but if you have to do it, it means something else is going wrong.

        In an easy healing fight, you’ll never need to swiftmend another druid’s hot. In a hard to heal fight, you need to set up healing assignments, because there will be too much going on for every healer to worry about everyone. Thus, in a hard to heal fight, you’ll be forced to save your swiftmend for your own healing assignments.

        If you are in a situation that’s hard to heal, and find that you really do need to swiftmend another druid’s hot, it means that your guild forgot to setup healing assignments for the fight. Because, just think about it, what if you only had one resto druid healer? How could s/he swiftmend something that’s not there? You would have had to setup healing assignments in that case, so don’t treat the case of multiple resto druids any differently.

        That’s really the way you need to think about things. You cannot say to someone, “get better” or “do more”. You need to rethink your strategy, if that’s your complaint, because it means your strategy is too complicated.

        80% of all problems are problems with the process, which really means that 80% of all problems are management problems. That’s both in game and in real life. That’s one of the things you learn when you study W. Edwards Deming. Of course, sometimes the process problem is that you’ve promoted people beyond their capability, which is especially problematic if those people are part of the management….