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 Post subject: Series of Topics on Healer Mentality
PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 1:20 pm 
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So I wrote a post http://looking4more.wordpress.com/2010/04/08/think-like-a-healer-triage/ about triage and I'd really like to make it a short series on how to start being a good healer. Our (I coblog with my husband) blog is focused on alts (and on playing WoW in pairs) and the idea is that it would be a resource for people who have rolled or respecced into healing, who know the game but need some tips or strategies for the new perspective.

Wondering what skills you would say are the most crucial and least intuitive for a new healer? Would it be an expanded post about raid frames and UI? Or explaining why it can be a bad idea to start healing before the tank has really got aggro? Or...

Thanks!

Analogue

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 Post subject: Re: Series of Topics on Healer Mentality
PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 5:27 pm 
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Situational awareness, specifically awareness of your own character can really make or break a healer, especially if they're new. I started healing back when Naxx was actually hard and I can't believe how many times I was "hazed" into healing because I forgot to heal myself or I was standing in some puddle of deadly goo. If the tank lives and their healer dies, it's not as good of a success as when both live. Might be something to chew on for you.

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 Post subject: Re: Series of Topics on Healer Mentality
PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 12:35 am 
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I love series on healing! I can't wait to see what else you come up with!

One skill that tends to get overlooked is the relationship between a healer and their mana bar. While mana management isn't THAT much of a big deal as used to be, it still helps quite a bit (especially on fights you don't know yet) to know how much you can wring out of your mana pool. Inexperienced healers tend to be either overly conservative with their mana, or wasteful with it. Both are bad.

Also, recognizing damage patterns. The advice that most influenced my own healing style was from The Holy Paladin: "Death has a pattern, learn to see it coming."

I didn't interpret in the way it was intended (the writer meant it as situational awareness), but it applies very well to reading health bars.

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 Post subject: Re: Series of Topics on Healer Mentality
PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 9:28 pm 
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Ophelie wrote:
Also, recognizing damage patterns. The advice that most influenced my own healing style was from The Holy Paladin: "Death has a pattern, learn to see it coming."

I didn't interpret in the way it was intended (the writer meant it as situational awareness), but it applies very well to reading health bars.

This is so true, actually. But half the time I can actually tell if you're standing in something you shouldn't by the way your health bar ticks down. But how fast or much the health bar flutters down helps me subconsciously decide which person needs help now or fast when I'm doing triage.

I think just like real-world healers, you have to be conscious that people will die when you're healing and you will fail at some point. And sometimes, due to the above patterns-watching or just dungeons of experience, you can tell this before they hit the floor. So you have to realize despite people yelling at you, sometimes things were out of your control and the toon died.

When I first started I was so terrified of letting someone down (literally or theoretically), it would throw me off more if someone died in the encounter, because I'd be focused on how I messed it up. Instead, focus on keeping the others up.

Also, I can't remember the post I read, but I remember reading healer blogs and somebody posted a Triage 101 or something, and that helped a lot.

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 Post subject: Re: Series of Topics on Healer Mentality
PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:47 pm 
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Wow, thanks a lot. There are a number of blog starters here and I'm working off one of them now.

Yay!

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 Post subject: Re: Series of Topics on Healer Mentality
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 11:05 am 
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One topic I have started to write about but haven't published yet is that healers need confidence. So many times I run across healers who are not confident in their abilities and they under perform, but those who are sure of themselves tend to heal better, that's something I have been exploring and researching as of late.

And it will be even more true in Cataclysm when cleansing will eat your mana if you do it at the wrong time, and heals are going to cost a lot more.

Healers are also that finicky bunch, where they seem to burn out the quickest (well right along with tanks).

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 Post subject: Re: Series of Topics on Healer Mentality
PostPosted: Fri Apr 16, 2010 8:12 pm 
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I think you have a valid point here. Healers are, next to tanks, pressured the most when it comes to raid performance. Blog posts on the topic of the "proper" mentality for healers can't hurt. I agree on the confidence part. I tend to either have a lot of confidence myself, or just be so nervous that I fail horribly. Hence, my blog name is The Failadin ;-)
But anyway, helping other healers out by giving tips, like tips about mentality, can really help the healer community. I'd love to see more posts on it and I'll be thinking up and writing one myself sometime soon.


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 Post subject: Re: Series of Topics on Healer Mentality
PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 7:36 am 
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Raid frames, definitely. I healed with the default UI until level 60 somehow, and I kept dying because I never looked at MY health... Once I got badgered into using Grid things got easier. (And a tip you might want to mention: learning to heal "again" will be hard, but it's worth it. I'd be dead without my Grid and Clique now, despite how hard it was at first.)

"Why not to heal too early" sounds useful too, though I'm not sure how much you could write about that. It took me a while to learn this, but it only seemed a problem in Outland and lower dungeons, tanks in their 70s seem to have better aggro from the start.

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 Post subject: Re: Series of Topics on Healer Mentality
PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 5:53 pm 
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variantavatar wrote:
So many times I run across healers who are not confident in their abilities and they under perform, but those who are sure of themselves tend to heal better, that's something I have been exploring and researching as of late.


You know, now that I think of it, I HAVE seen more wipes and deaths when we have a healer who's all "I'm not very good at this, sry" at the start of the instance.

I myself am learning to heal as a Holy Paladin, and at the moment, I am very confident in my abilities. I'm only level 28, granted, but I've levelled up from 15 almost entirely in randoms (and by turning in quests from them), and I think I have a pretty good grasp, so far, of how to keep a tank up, when to heal a DPS, when to let them eat it, to their death or (hopefully) the tank getting aggro on whatever's trying to gnaw on them. I am pleased to say that since I found my feet (and got good healing gear from a dear friend) at about level 20, I haven't more than five wipes that I could've prevented. (No, really, they're usually due to the tank pulling tons of aggro when he's out of my range and LoS and going down like a rock, or pulling when I have >10% mana.)

So... I think that yeah, confidence is an important part of healer mentality. Things may go pear-shaped, even when you know what you're doing. That doesn't mean you're a bad healer. And just because your RL or someone chews you out for a wipe that you could've prevented doesn't mean you're a bad healer. Learn from the experience and move on.

But, of course, then you get the people who are smug, confident, and have absolutely no skill or any idea what they're doing...


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 Post subject: Re: Series of Topics on Healer Mentality
PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 6:11 pm 
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apple wrote:
But, of course, then you get the people who are smug, confident, and have absolutely no skill or any idea what they're doing...


Yes, but I'm talking about healers and not Death Knights /rimshot

Confidence covers a multitude of flaws. If you say "sry I'm new at this might be bad lol" you set people up to expect, even WANT you to fail. They'll definitely watch you more closely and feel free to be more critical, or do something that is supposed to "help" you but actually hurts. This goes for new tanks too.

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 Post subject: Re: Series of Topics on Healer Mentality
PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 6:37 pm 
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Analogue,

I'm with Jen on the UI thing. I didn't download an interface (I went with VuhDo, which works a lot like Grid) until the late 50s even though I'd been Resto since level 12.

You might also post something on how to really be helpful to a healer from a DPS or tank standpoint. That way, if one of your non-healer readers runs into, "Sry, I'm new 2 healz," they have a better chance of saying something that's really helpful (or have a better chance of IDing the ones who don't really want help).

When to start healing (and healing aggro in general) - good idea. One thing that not all healers get (and I didn't fully grasp until my husband started tanking for me) is how the relationship between tank damage mitigation and healing/healing aggro works. Once it was laid out for me, it was simple, it was obvious and a serious /facepalm moment for me.

Then there's also proactive vs. reactive healing and how to know which one you need to do.


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 Post subject: Re: Series of Topics on Healer Mentality
PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 7:56 am 
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Analogue wrote:
If you say "sry I'm new at this might be bad lol" you set people up to expect, even WANT you to fail. They'll definitely watch you more closely and feel free to be more critical, or do something that is supposed to "help" you but actually hurts. This goes for new tanks too.


I hope not. I WANT new people to tell me they're new. I've played all 3 roles and I think I can offer adequate advice, without being a bitch or waiting to see them fail. I'm sure I'm in the minority, but I just wanted to point out that saying "I'm new" won't automatically mean you'll fail.

(When I started healing heroics I always let people know it was my first healer and I was open to advice. I didnt' get many pointers, but I didn't get bashed either.)

[However, I'm not sure I'd tell people I'm a new tank. At least not up front.]

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 Post subject: Re: Series of Topics on Healer Mentality
PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 2:28 pm 
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UI/Raid Frames post is UP! Thanks for the suggestion ladies, I had fun with this one.

I think the "how to help your healer" one will be up next week, I have to let that one percolate.

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 Post subject: Re: Series of Topics on Healer Mentality
PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:27 am 
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I think the biggest thing that's helped me on my healer alt(s) is knowing the encounters from running them as a dps. The best dpsers (well, the best of any role for that matter) are aware of -everything- that goes on around them... They don't make it just about sitting there pew pewing. If you learn the encounter inside and out as a dps (Where you have generally much less responsibility), then it makes it easier to know what's coming when you start healing.

Just a few simple examples I can think of.... Loken in Halls of Lightning. Bjolnir (i think that's his name? the first boss) in Forge of Souls. -any- of the bosses in Vault of Archavon. Black Knight in 5-man ToC.

Now, I know some of these sound like silly, obvious examples, but if you're blindly facerolling your way through these dungeons it's easy to forget that the black knight does a volley-type spell that channels on everyone until he's dead in phase 3... or that he marks one person for death every 10 (i think) seconds which causes them to take a lot of extra damage. It's easy to forget about those rock shards and choking cloud that Archavon drops, or the fire breath that Koravon unleashes while you're busy pwning his face. A healer, on the other hand, is fully aware of every last one of these little things, and lots more. They don't react to these things as they happen, they prepare for them ahead of time.

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 Post subject: Re: Series of Topics on Healer Mentality
PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 12:49 pm 
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talfrund wrote:
Then there's also proactive vs. reactive healing and how to know which one you need to do.
For learning what proactive vs. reactive healing is, I enjoyed Flow's commentary on it as well as Miss Medicina's (Flow has it linked).

Though, that's just what it IS, not how to use it. ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Series of Topics on Healer Mentality
PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2010 7:49 am 
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Jen wrote:
Analogue wrote:
If you say "sry I'm new at this might be bad lol" you set people up to expect, even WANT you to fail. They'll definitely watch you more closely and feel free to be more critical, or do something that is supposed to "help" you but actually hurts. This goes for new tanks too.


I hope not. I WANT new people to tell me they're new. I've played all 3 roles and I think I can offer adequate advice, without being a bitch or waiting to see them fail. I'm sure I'm in the minority, but I just wanted to point out that saying "I'm new" won't automatically mean you'll fail.

(When I started healing heroics I always let people know it was my first healer and I was open to advice. I didnt' get many pointers, but I didn't get bashed either.)

[However, I'm not sure I'd tell people I'm a new tank. At least not up front.]


Let's look at two different statements said at the beginning of an encounter or after a wipe:
"sry I'm new at this and might be bad lol"
"Hi, this is my first try at healing this instance. Please let me apologize in advance if I make a mistake. :)"

The first one gives me the impression of a 12 year old girl who is going to be too busy checking her texts, or alt tabing to facebook to pay attention enough to heal and simply doesn't care if everyone dies. The second is someone who sounds like they have experience on different toons but may be undergeared and/or still working out the mechanics of their class, but is trying hard.

Who do you want healing you? Sure, this is about confidence. But it's also about respect for other players. I want people to tell me they are new as well.

That second person is ready to take responsibility for their faults, and *wants* to improve. They will thank you for whispered advice and implement it. They will ask you questions if they are unsure of something. I don't think it's much of a stretch to say that there's probably at least one experienced person in a random five man who knows the game well enough to keep an eye on such a person and offer good advice to keep things moving forward. I often find myself giving a new healer pointers or a new dps some hints on a boss in a heroic. In fact, I generally ask when we start if anyone is unfamiliar with the instance and offer to answer questions or help out. I don't think I'm such a minority in this regard. I like to think most good players are willing to do this.

I think this is *particularly* true of tanking. I couldn't tell you how many new tanks didn't bother to respond to my offer to help and then wiped us on something simple because they had no idea of the mechanics. I'm happy to spend 10-30 seconds per boss fight saying "hey, here's how this goes...." I dislike wiping because someone was in over their head and couldn't bother to accept some friendly help. I've even spent an entire instance, painfully walking through "how to tank as a dk" with a nice guy in Gun'drak. (I swear though if I know more about your spec from watching your class in a raid and asking a question or two of a guildmate in vent, it's a bit sad. As in, try using Death Grip. Next, when there's a couple mobs you want the red goop...errrr...Death and Decay. Keep your runes on cooldown. etc. How *can* you get to 80 without knowing this stuff?) I think I may be off on a tangent here, but maybe you get my point?

I've had great experiences on my baby prot Paladin saying "Hey, I always seem to get lost here, shout out if I'm going the wrong way" and such. In fact what seems to happen is that whenever we get to a path that divides, an experienced dps or healer steps forward a bit - not pulling mobs - but making it clear that "this way is it" before I can even ask "errrr....which way?". I feel like less of an idiot, the instance goes more smoothly and quickly, and they did what? They took a few seconds to be considerate and share their expertise. Lots of people are willing to step up if you're respectful and ask in the right way.

P.S. I just starting a new blog on disc priest healing and this thread gave me not one, but two great starters for posts. Thank you!

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 Post subject: Re: Series of Topics on Healer Mentality
PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 12:16 pm 
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Icedragon wrote:
One skill that tends to get overlooked is the relationship between a healer and their mana bar.


so true, last night I joined an alt/main run with the guild. setup was not perfect but I haven't been raiding much lately so I wanted to help since I had the time to do so. My mana normally never goes under 40-30% in 10mans but this time it did. I found out we had not one class that could provide replenishment..

When we got to Valithria I was assigned to raidheal outside while the other healer was portaljockey. It amazing how fun healing turn out to be when you can rely on massive regen to keep you going.

Analogue wrote:
Wondering what skills you would say are the most crucial and least intuitive for a new healer? Would it be an expanded post about raid frames and UI? Or explaining why it can be a bad idea to start healing before the tank has really got aggro? Or...


the skill to stay calm :) when pushing progress in raids you never really know what's going to happen. yeah you can read and watch tactic vids but as a healer you need to "feel" the damage before you can say if the fight is easy or not.

I would like to believe that staying calm is probably the hardest thing to learn. the boss is almost dead and this are getting a bit hectic, if you've wiped for weeks and you finally feel like you have a chance of downing him its only normal that you would get a bit excited. but you have to keep focussed on what you're doing cause if you lose control because you get to excited that's when things go bad.

I've seen it over and over again, perfect fight until that last 10-15%, then people are getting nervous and start making mistakes.

If you can keep calm in a very chaotic situation than you're well on your way to becoming a great healer!

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 Post subject: Re: Series of Topics on Healer Mentality
PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 6:04 pm 
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My couple of copper on the most necessary things for a new healer:

- knowing the encounters AND knowing them as a healer. Last night I saw a healer who, when Bronjahm cast Corrupt Soul on him, moved *to* Bronjahm rather than moving away or just staying put. Later on he also got himself killed on the Devourer of Souls and made a comment about how this boss looks nasty. He clearly didn't know the dungeon and so had no idea of the encounters, but judging by his healing on the trash he also had no notion of the amount of AoE damage to expect, which he might not have gained even if he'd done the dungeon in another role beforehand. If he'd let us know at the start that he was new, I'd have been happy to help him with info on the bosses and things to beware of on trash.

So, if a new healer doesn't know what to expect, then cultivating a proactive mentality of reading about encounters in advance (from a healer's perspective) and communicating in a positive tone the fact that you're new and don't know what to expect, is a good idea.

- Ruthlessness. When I started to heal I hated it when people died. I took it as a personal failing. But healing in a raid team meant that I sometimes had to learn to make choices between one person dying and everyone dying. Being A) able to make that choice without feeling bad and B) able to identify who's the least important to keep alive in the situation, is a key skill.

- I'm not sure if this one's useful, but... personality. A lot of us have different approaches to being a healer. For some healers it's about the power, for some it's about helping, for some it's just what you feel most drawn to. I think for a new healer it's useful to know *why* you're doing it and how that will affect your healing.

For example, if someone annoys you in a PUG, are you the sort of person who is going to heal them no matter what, or the sort of person who's going to let them drop dead? Does your answer change depending on how/why they annoyed you, or is it the same regardless? Should you let the person know in advance that they're annoying you and your healing might change, or should you let them learn from their mistakes by introducing them to the floor?

This is just one example, but I think it's useful for a new healer to at least think about what motivates them to heal, and how it makes them feel - and recognise that whatever their answers, they're a) usually okay and valid, and b) subject to change as they get more experienced at healing.

--
Ok, so that turned into a bit longer than I expeected! Hope some of it's useful =)

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