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Healing Tips for DPS

I originally wanted to entitle this post as “How not to piss off your healers”, but that seemed to make my message come off as being a giant pissing session. I didn’t want to set the tone of this posting to be so negative. I really want this post to allow DPS a glimpse into what healers have to deal with on a nightly basis. Afterall, we hold every single member of the raid in our hands… and I’d be lying if I told you that I didn’t smile when I see a DPS die and they pissed me off already in that evening.

So, I guess we’ll consider this an open letter to all DPS out there.

Healing isn’t like DPS. Killing a boss when you are up against an enrage simply doesn’t mean ‘Heal more!’It means “Heal smarter!”. Healing to many DPS is completely foreign and may just seem like a simple game of whack-a-mole. (A DPS only has to look at a good healer’s UI to understand that the amount of information they need to understand and process (quickly) means that it’s more than just keep the boxes full.)  To help the DPS get into our good graces, I’ve created 3 protips that will help them get into the good graces of your resident healbot.

Protip #1- Combat logs have information!

If you die, take a look at your recount or your combat log and take a look at why you died. If you die and immediately place blame on the healers, you’re only going to set yourself up to be proven wrong — that is, if you haven’t looked at your combat logs. One of the easiest way to get on the bad side of your healers is to immediately blame them for a wipe. Now, I am by no means saying healers are infallible – every single one of us knows that isn’t the case at all. But, we do have to often answer the question, “Why did ____ die?”. If I see more than a couple ticks of Coldflame damage on a player who died during Marrowgar (assuming they aren’t Bonespiked, or disconnected) you sure as hell are going to hear about it. Coldflame is 100% avoidable, even if you take a tick or maybe even two of it, I’ll let it slide… but if you are standing in it because you wanted to finish off just one more spell, and then blame the healers for your death, welcome to the shitlist!

Remember, shit happens. Sometimes it simply isn’t possible to prevent a death. One example is when you have to deal with RNG abilities. If you are killed during Saurfang and you had Mark of the Fallen Champion, and then also were a random target for Boiling Blood, you may want to take a look at how much damage you received in how much time.  Did you take 70,000 damage over the course of 2.5 seconds? Not healable my friend, sorry. On the other hand if you took a Mark damage for 10,000, and then 5 seconds later took Blood Nova damage for 5,000 and that is what killed you – yes, perhaps that is the healer’s fault. Why did they let you go unhealed for that long? (unless of course you only have 15k HP, then you might want to get more gear before going into ICC, lol. Or if you were Mark number 7 on Heroic.).  In this example, the healers should not have let you die and need to address why that is so you can fix the issue and move on to killing that boss.

Questioning a death is something that every raid needs to be able to do, but asking “Why did the healers let me die?” is a lot different than, “Why did I die? I only took 15k damage over 5 seconds.” This, at the very least, lets your healers know you understand the issue. Utimately, yes, the healers are responsible for keeping you alive – just don’t assume we decided to take a nap instead of healing you.

Protip #2 – You can talk on vent!

If you die, and are combat rezzed – for the love of God… count down when you are going to rezz. It sometimes can take some conditioning, but getting a raider to not just pop their Soulstone, or their Anhk, or a Combat Rezz without saying anything can be tough. A simple “Derevka, rezzing in 3, 2, 1…” does wonders. What this does is alerts your healers with “Hey this guy is going to pop up and only have a small amount of life! Don’t let him die when he does!”. This sounds good, no?. Now, I know you want to get back into the fray as soon as possible and do your mad mad deepz… but saying “Derevkarezzingin321″ in 1.72532 seconds is almost as bad as not calling it out. It gives us little reaction or prep time… druids and shaman have Swiftmend they can use, your Disc priest can prepare to PW:Shield you, your holy priest might hold off on using their Surge of Light proc on you… breathe, call out your rezz, stay alive, THEN go in and blow shit up.  This is especially true in ICC. ICC has a lot of AOE damage on nearly every single fight, so having you die immediately as you pop wastes the cooldown and reduces your DPS to zero.

Additionally, prior to calling out your rez : consider the encounter and hold off on rezzing until after the encounter specific stuff happens. Lady Deathwhisper? Remember to wait until after the Ghosts have died, and after her AOE Frostbolt Volley.

Protip #3 – Healthstones are your friends!

One of the first things I do when trying to figure out if someone died is: Did this person use their healthstone? Kiting a Gas Cloud on Professor Putricide? Perhaps you ran too far from the group? Perhaps the healers were running from a Malleable Goo? I don’t know, but, you should be aware of your own health as well. No healer expects you to be 100% on top of your own health, it isn’t your job. Your job is to blow the boss up. No one expects you to be certain you survive a 30k hit. Our job is to make sure the raid stays alive long enough to do it— however that doesn’t give you licence to ignore your own well being. Healthstones are provided for a reason, use them. On fights that are exceptionally healing intensive (Phase 3 Sindragosa). You have 3 healers out of commission from casting any spells (and perhaps one healer entombed), and you have a rather nasty AOE frost damage aura that is slowly killing your raid…. all the while the tanks are taking increased Frost Breaths.  Using your healthstone should be on your list of things to do during those times. Actually, on Sindra… especially if a healer is tombed we’ll love you for it.

Now, as healers we know it is your job to kill the boss – and we need you to and love you for it — I mean why else would I spec into Power Infusion and buff you every cooldown? We understand that there is a lot going on for you as well, but at the end of the day we are a raiding team – and understanding eachother only makes the team stronger. So please take these 3 tips to heart and maybe make our job a little easier… if you do, maybe I’ll rezz you first after a wipe next time!

Written By: on April 23, 2010
  1. Think I’m going to link to this in our forums. I don’t know how many will actually read it, but our healing team will likely knee down and worship you. You’ve articulated exactly what they’ve been trying to say to our DPSers for a while now.

  2. Something I dislike, and that wasnt exactly mentionned in your post, is when a DPSer (or 2, or 3) die, due to no or very few heals, but fail to understand the overall situation (aka, 5+ people required immediate, heavy healing, and healers had to play God and choose who lives, and who dies).

    Sometimes, healers understand what is happening, and try to stabilize the raid, but it’s simply too hectic. DPSers need to realize we are not purposely ignoring them, and that if they find themselves in trouble, they may not be the only ones in that problematic situation.

    Aside from that, I believe giving the benefit of the doupt prior to searching the official explanation in the combat logs is an attitude that will help a raiding team stay connected and friendly. :)

  3. Oooh, the “rezing in 3, 2, 1″ is a great idea. How it usually happens:

    RL: “Zel, Rez Deadmeat.”

    Me: (starting to cast) “Rezing Deadmeat.”

    Deadmeat: (uh uh wait, was I supposed to accept that? La la la…)

    Yep, there’s that annoying delay when the rez-ee decides to accept the rez. There are totally legitimate reasons to wait on this, like if I start rezing, and suddenly there’s FIRE or A BIG SLIME POOL or something where he needs to wait. So it would be totally awesome if the rez-ee did a countdown!

  4. Poor battle rez can often result in a wipe, the countdown on vent is an absolutely excellent idea. Speaking of battle rez, you should not only know when you should accept the rez, but also whether or not you should even bother accepting the rez. There have been numerous times when a new druid rezzes someone that died to Mark of the Fallen on Saurfang, only to have the person accept the rez, and immediately die again.

    Also @Emoose (love the name btw) in situations where the raid suddenly takes tons of damage, it can be helpful to ask your raiders to simply use their cooldowns. For example, if you are having troubles with the puppies in the Plagueworks due to people dying on decimate, ask that mage that keeps dying to iceblock for a second, so that you can heal up the group easier…always remember dead DPS = zero DPS.

    1. My raiders happen to be Derevka’s raiders too, so with his post, I think they got the idea. lol But your comment makes complete sense. It’s all about DPSers doing what they can to help us out, just like we are doing all we can (usually) to help them out.

      If I dispel this movement impairing effect on you during Heroic Blood Princes so you can move away from these shock vortexes… I expect you to stop and stand still if your stack gets very high and you are low on health. It’s sharing the loooooove!

      As for my name… I am fairly sensitive and Canadian. 8)

  5. @Zelmaru
    I just hate it when you throw out the battle rez and the dipshit has gone afk. It makes me want to do a background search so I can find their address and go slap them.

  6. Should probably throw a note about Gift of the Naaru in the section about Healthstones, too. A 1800/tick HoT is nothing to sneer at.

    Although it’s not enough, combined with a healthstone, to keep me up with Mark of the Fallen Champion… *sigh

  7. Awesome idea on the rez 1..2..3. Great post! Thanks!

  8. Great post. And, an excellent start to my long list of DPS requests. Not the least of which contains at least one request for starting every raid with red wine and chocolate.

    Okay, i am kidding about that, but I do love how you not only encourage DPS to call out when they accept a Brez or ankh, but that you differentiate between the lightening fast ‘omgrezzing123!!!” and a proper announcement over Vent, starting with the healer’s name…

  9. As a face-melty kind of priest, I can always appreciate the choices my healing comrades must go through. I raise my glass in honor of your wound-mending ways

    I really appreciated the insight someone gave me that said, healing is sometimes not just keeping people alive, but choosing who must die. (evidently, this may play more a role in Cata then before).

    With that as my rule, I have always assumed that if I die, it was either MY fault (why are my feet burning… oh, yeah), or the wrong side of the triage (poor squid face, nice knowing you, but I only have so many GCDs here).

    Either way, I figure I am the last on their priority list and am always happy for whatever light is sent my way. In the meantime, I know I hid that flash heal button somewhere on my bar… where is it…

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