Chat Time: Healing Dummies? I’ll Take 24

21 08 2012

So I came across an article on WoW Insider this morning before heading to work.

The article discusses something I’ve dreamed about for a long, long time.  Healing dummies.  And I’m not talking about those players you find in LFR.  I don’t care what anyone says, LFR is not good practice.  I’ll discuss that later.

But really, DPS have training dummies that they can smack around at their leisure.  They get to test talent builds, gems, enchants, rotations, everything.  But what about the healers?  We get to heal these ” ‘leets” in dungeons and raids.  That’s it, that’s our practice.

Now, admittedly, I like to think I’m a pretty good healer.  Naw, really, I have saved a raid or two…or three…or four…or-

A lot of that was luck, a perfect storm of damage, healers OOMing, a well-timed Tranq or Rebirth.  A lot it was the combined skill of two healers making calls in vent while the raid leaders and tank shut their traps for a moment and pray the healers can pull it off; we’ll worry about the broken bones later.  But where does this experience come from?  Dungeon runs, dungeon wipes, raids, and raid wipes.  Lots and lots of failed attempts go into the developing of “OH SHI-” buttons.   Did I Tranq too early when Wild Growth and several Rejuvinations could have done the job?

“Goose, healers learn to heal as they level.”

Yes, I DID level as a resto druid.  But guess what?  I have a guildy that leveled his Pally before trying to heal.  He healed dungeon heroics for a few days before healing DS10, in low-level gear….AND STRENGTH TRINKETS!  Ok, ok, it wasn’t his fault that trinkets wouldn’t dropped in his dungeons runs.  Also, our guild was so intrigued by his shift in perspective (he had never healed before….ever…since Vanilla) that the 10 man he was in place him between 2 very solid healers and let him have at it.  The result?  They downed Deathwing.  Not really unexpected at this point with the debuff values and such.

But not everyone gets that opportunity.  A lot of healers only get to run dungeons for practice; and let’s face it, dungeons aren’t hard at all if your tank is geared.  Dungeons aren’t hard if your group is decent.  Not much practice to be had.  And let’s say that you do find a group that doesn’t have the gear to carry your noob butt through the dungeon, what happens.  “Vote to kick.  Reason:  healz blowz”

“But they’ll eventually learn, no big deal.”

Nope, still problems.  I remember back to the release of 4.0, Cata pre-launch.  I was still trying to PUG into a group to down the King.  Now, I hadn’t paid attention to the Patch notes (learned my lesson) andwent into Blood Queen later that week, first time healing since the patch drop.  Result?  I was nearly kicked from the raid.  Why?  Let’s see…Lifebloom wouldn’t stay on my targets as I tried to blanket the raid, the bloom (when I guessed mid-fight that they weren’t going to stay on the target if I tried to put it on another target) wasn’t returning mana, rejuvinations were hella expensive to cast, and my Tree Form was now a CD.  WTF happened to my precious druid???

I was very fortunate that the raid group let me stay, despite the numorous whispers with choice words that I received.  I explained that I had no idea what was going on and that I really was a decent healer.

I spent days dungeon crawling relearning to heal.  Let’s face it, druid healing was wrecked.  Broken?  No.  Just wrecked.  The throttle cable was snapped, buttons didn’t push, knobs wouldn’t turn, this druid-mobile was going nowhere fast. 

But I did eventually learn the changes.  I studied the patch notes, I practice on myself, bored a couple of guildies as we stood in Shatt (my laptop was too weak for Dal) and I healed them to figure out the spells again.  None of that really gave me a feel for how well the spells healed, only that they were there.  Then I spent panicked nights in dungeons learning mana management and healing efficiency.

But DPS?  Let’s check the notes then roll over to the local dummy and smack him around for an hour or so before calling it an early night.  Huh, a little low on the meter….OH!  Forgot a buff.

Now I know it’s not that simple, but the fact remains that when major changes come, healers have no real way to test things out before jumping into the fray.  What if Blizzard could create training dummies for us?

I’ll assume that you’ve read the linked article, so I won’t repeat a lot of the discussion in the main article.

But imagine if we had our own dummies.  Imagine maybe even that the upcoming Scenarios could be used as a template for creating encounters for healers to join.  We already have escort quests, keep NPCs alive quests, and other related technology.  The AI (if you can call the NPCs that) is already built form these quests.  Que as a healer, zone in automatically joined to a group of tank and 3 DPS so your Add-on works.  Random tank and DPS, or not.  It doesn’t REALLY matter the classes, just that we have someone to heal. 

Take that a step further, create larger Scenarios for 10-man and 25-man environments.  Let two healers que together so they can learn to heal beside each other efficiently.  Learn to know what the other is thinking.  I have a co-healer, Cainon, who I heal with almost every week (when I’m not off-tanking).  We’ve been healing together for months and we know what each other needs without a lot off vent chatter.  Two words communicates the next 5 minutes of the fight.  Experience.

“Goose, you’re just looking for a dignified LFR.  Just do LFR and heal them.”

Let me show you something… 

I really wasn’t even trying hard.  No, this is not about glorifying myself; this is about showing that LFR is a terrible environment to learn how to heal.  People purposefully not following mechanics, massive amount of unnecessary damage going out.  I can make that bar as big and beautiful as I want.  It’s not the situation that you will find yourself in when in normal content.  Your guild’s DPS will actually move out of stuff.  Why?  Because if they don’t the Raid Leader will boot them.  People will switch to the “Blistering Tentacles.”  Why?  Because it takes everyone to burn them down in time.

Anyway, this post has dragged on a lot longer than I had intended, and I have some other things to do.  I’ll save the rest of your retinas for another post.

As always, drop your comments below.




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Rank 4 Healing Touch

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The BigBearButt

Warcraft through the eyes of a Restoration Druid.

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