Posted by: regpriest | July 22, 2009

Let’s Heal This Party!!! Part 1: What you can control: YOU

We all know I love healing as Discipline. But some people are not so keen on having a Discipline priest heal them outside of a PvP situation. I know, I know, in this day and age, when Discipline has been shown to be much more flexible than people thought, how could anyone kick up a fuss?! Well, some folks stick hard and fast to the mores of the past. Things like, “Don’t shield the Warrior!” *cough* This means you have to show them the error of their ways. 😉

You learn the most, when you heal a bad group. It’s easy to heal good players, it’s easy to heal experienced players. But when you’re in a heroic with a bunch of noobs, and you all come out with a tiny repair bill, well that’s a major accomplishment! Just look at all the things a PUG can teach you:

  • Priority. Just who gets the heals, and who makes do with shields, and who to turn your attentions to next when the Tank drops.
  • What to do when all hell breaks loose. We’ve all been in that situation. The tank goes down despite your best efforts, and immediately afterward so does the Warlock. The boss is close to dead, and it’s just you, a Rogue, and an enhancement Shaman. A lot of folks in that situation might give up. But not you. No, you, are dedicated. You have moxie kid. So you stick it out, even when the Rogue drops. Even when the Shaman goes toes up. At the end, it’s you, the boss with a sliver of life, and your SW:D. And somehow, you kill him. Then promptly fall over dead yourself. But hey! The guy died right?!
  • Diplomacy, or as I call it “How to Soothe the Savage Ego”. Let’s face it. Sometimes, you’re going to be dealing with folks who have some “epeen” issues. You need to learn how to navigate those frothy waters without causing offense, or making your life any more difficult than it already is. Yes, you will be more understanding and kind than a lot of those people deserve, but think of it as karma. Would you want some one to tell you you’re stinking up the joint in the nastiest way possible or would you rather they very kindly took you aside and broke it to you gently?

Occasionally though, a PUG’s noobiness and epeen measuring can be too much. This is where the most important tool in a healers toolbox comes in handy. Confidence. Oh sure it’s easy to have confidence when you’ve been healing for years and have tons of wonderful, competent buddies to yank you through heroics, but what if you’re new to the server? Or new to the game? What if you’re very sensitive? Or pressure gets to you? Well, then it’s time for you to grow a callous. Would you have faith in a doctor who came in to the ER and smiled at you nervously before saying “I’m such a terrible doctor. But you know, hopefully I won’t kill you…” or “Stop screaming in pain!!!! I don’t work well under pressure!!!!” ? Granted, you’re hardly going to be in physical discomfort in the game, but you see what I’m getting at, right? It’s about trust. You’re a team, and you need to show those other 4, 9, or 24 people that they can trust you. How can they do that when you don’t even trust you?

“Well all right then, Reg.” you say, “How do I get this fabled Confidence?” There are some things you can do that might help. It helped me, and I can only hope it’ll help you too!

Heal PvP – “But I HATE PvP!!!” Yep. I said that too. And I really did hate PvP. Because I didn’t know what the heck I was supposed to be doing. But you would be surprised how shocking it is for people to get heals in a BG. They’re genuinely shocked, and excited when they get them. I think a lot of that is because anyone who heals is first on the Kill List for the other team, and as a result, most healers go immediately into defense mode. They start using their damage spells in an attempt to kill the guy smacking on them. Would you do that in a Heroic? No. You’d try and keep yourself alive, and hope someone gets to you in time. It’s pretty much the same thing. If you go in treating the BG as a large unpredictable instance, you’ll get that healing thing down. You never have to speak in /BG chat if you don’t want to, and if someone decides to harass you, it’s simple, don’t heal them, don’t buff them, and put them on ignore. It can be stressful to heal in a BG, but it can also be stressful to heal in a Raid. I think the thing for most people is it feels personal in PvP. But it’s not. They don’t know you from Adam, you may as well just be a random trash mob as far as they’re concerned. You can do it!

Make your priority list during buffs – If you know who your priority is before the fighting starts, you don’t have to scramble or try and decide when the time does come.

Talk to your tank – This is the most important of all. Talk to your tank, whoever they may be. Have open, constant dialogue. After a tough pull, ask them what they think you might be able to do better. Tell them if you need them to do something different. You and your Tank are the linchpins of the group, and it’s most important for you guys to know what the other is thinking the whole time.

Try to stick with friends – Yes, you can’t always get your friends to run instances with you, but if you’re just learning  or trying to cultivate some confidence, your friends are the best people for the job. They like you, so they’re going to be kinder, and more patient. If you’re new to the server or the game, it’ll be extra hard to do this, but the more open you are with your group about your abilities, and your willingness to learn, the easier and more pleasant it will be for everyone.

Part 2 of this series will be on what to do if *insert class here* sucks, and how you can keep them alive and keep your temper.


  1. Hi Reg!

    Great so far. Really interesting. I hate to say but I know nil about healy priests and only a smidge about the shadow variety. So this is all very interesting and helpful.

    As a rogue, I can’t wait to hear what it’s like for a disc priest when the rogue is an embarrassment. It would be also be interesting to learn what I could do to help keep the healz flowing to the tank. One thing I try to do but not always succeed is NEVER gain aggro on boss (can be hard now esp. if your tank is DK and can’t maintain aggro — thanks Blizz for tricks o the trade) and minimize any damage to myself by either pulling out and bandaging or popping a lifeheal, or vanishing.

    After my game hiatus, I think now I’m finally ready to try a group again. It would have to be an easy heroic, though… 🙂

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