Raid Rx is designed to encapsulate and cure the shock and horror that is 25-man raid healing. Ok, so it's mostly horror... Anyways, if you're a big fan of X-TREME Whack-A-Mole (or are being forced into it against your will) this is the column for you. If you're tuning in from last week, you'll see I doubled the amount I was going to cover about paladin healing. Pictures are worth 1k words, you know. Enjoy!
Being an avid WoW Insider reader and a Raid RX loyalist, you've been working hard to get ready for your first 25-man raid. You have your pre-raid check list done. Seven healers including yourself are ready to heal and be healed. This week I'm going to cover the final step in getting your behiny mixed up in some 25-man raid healing action: Healing Assignments. Or, as I like to call it: "This is where I control your raid life. Those cookies better be in the mail!"
Dyermaker, in the comments for last week's post, had already Mind Visioned me and knew what was coming. He tossed up some examples of his own types of healing assignments, complete with definitions. Great work, but I propose that you can simplify them even more into Tank, Raid, and Specialty healing assignments. And those fall under the broader categories of Trash and Boss Fights.
Now, before we continue down this slippery slope any further, I must give you my disclaimer that assignments are an art, not a science. The key to getting the most out of your healing team is knowing your healers. All I can do is give you some guidelines and a direction to start with. Getting your tank-hating priest to convert is up to you.
This is where your assignments can make or break a raid. There's a reason you have a bull's eye, err... cool title of Healing Lead. Being one of the most involved parts of raiding, you're going to encounter all three types of healing on every fight. Each one is broken down below.
Every fight in the game at this point requires at least one tank managing the boss. A number of fights require 2 or more main tanks taking turns keeping the boss's attention. Then add on any off-tanks that are handling the boss's friends and you have the makings of a par-tay. The premise for all of them is the same, though. You're looking at fairly steady damage with significant spike damage thrown in for good measure. In order to cover whatever the mobs are going to toss at you, you want a variety of healing classes to be assigned to tanks.
Thus I give you the Tank Healing Trifecta: HoT's, Quick Heals, and Big Heals. The HoT's will take the edge off spike damage, while the quick heals will keep the tank alive long enough for the big heals will get him or her back up to full health. Priest, Druid, and Paladin are pretty standard, but don't forget Shaman also have good quick heals in a pinch.
The only difference between main tank (MT) healing and off-tank (OT) healing is the tank to healer ratio. For main tanks, you'll want 3 healers to 1 main tank. For off-tanks, it's more like 1:1. The trick to OT's is you can usually group up the healers to cover them so you still win with the Tank Healing Trifecta. Have a couple of OT's handling the adds on Al'ar? Assign 2-3 healers of different classes to cover the lot of them. A million main tanks rotating for Void Reaver? Grab your Trifecta to cover the group. (The key here is only 1 main tank is actually tanking at a time, so that's who the healers focus on.)
U c wut I did ther? Yeah, I went out of order. muhahaha Ahem, anyways... If you can find me a non-bugged BC boss fight without a trick, I'll reroll nelf mohawk. Every encounter has that added dimension that makes it more than just tank 'n spank. For some, it's bubbles of death. For others, there's arcane missles of death. See a pattern? For any extra secondary damage, you're going to need healers capable of handling what's dished out. This is the custom part of healing assignments. It's also the hardest part of a Healing Lead's job, imo. You have to figure out what equals win for your group.
First you read the individual boss fight strats and look for any secondary attacks. No matter if they're on the back-up tank, you'll still have to assign people to cover the damage. If you don't see any secondary attacks, the next step is to search for any decursing, demagicing, or interrupting requirements. Every healing class has some ability to remove debuffs, which may take precedence over healing. You might also need to keep an eye on rogues and dps warriors for interrupts. Be sure these people are avilable to save the day.
Which healing classes and how many you use for specialty healing completely depends on what type of damage you're facing. Small-area AoE calls for a shaman or CoH priest. Short duration burst damage is a paladin or priest playground. Don't be afraid to pair a couple of classes together for the best synergy. Watery Grave healing on Morogrim is a good example. A priest and paladin can use their strengths to prevent going OOM while keeping everyone alive. The priest can use Greater Heal for anyone with 3k dmg or more, while the paladin is responsible for topping people off (3k dmg or less).
This is the bread and butter of 25-man healing. Anyone not assigned to tank or specialty healing will be covering whack-a-mole duty. For me, this is the most exciting assignment since damage is less predictable than on tanks. Not only are you responsible for the raid population at large, you're also get to be the heroic back-up if any other healer needs a bit of help (or dies). Your job here is to heal anyone in range that's missing some hp, normally with priorty on dps squishies. The raid is your buffet of healing.
ZOMG wut!?!?! Yes, you really should do assignments for trash. For one, it makes people accountable (i.e. you can blame them later). And for two, they show that you're serious about all aspects of raiding, not just the glamorous boss fights. The times I didn't do trash assignments were the times we'd wipe. Don't repeat my repair bill mistakes! Plus, they're very easy to do. Just assign one healer per every potential trash tank in your raid (all warriors, non-holy paladins, and feral druids). Any healer left over is on raid healing duty. Give out the assignment at the start of the raid and again after every boss kill as a reminder. If a healer's assignment isn't tanking on a particular pull, then they just raid heal instead. The only change I might make during the evening is to have raid healers give priority to AoE'ers for certain pulls. A example would be the murlocs before Morogrim.
Example Healing Assignments
Never thought I'd get here, huh? Me, either. Below are some real-world healing assignments taken directly from my super secret Book of All Things Healing. Remember my disclaimer! Many cats and many skinning methods!
For Trash: Priest1 on Warrior1, Priest2 on Warrior2, Paladin1 on FeralDruid1, Paladin2 on DPSWarrior1, Paladin3 on RetPaladin1, Rest on Raid
High King Maulgar - 1:1 OT healers, 3:1 MT healers
For Maulgar: Shaman1 on BlindEyETank, Priest1 on OlmTank1 and OlmTank2, Pally1 on KroshTank, Pally2 on KigglerTank1 and KigglerTank2, Priest2, Pally3, and Druid1 on HKMTank; When your tank is done, switch to raid/HKMTank healing
6 Healers - (If you have less than an ideal number of healers, always steal from what you can replace the fastest)
For Maulgar: Druid1 on BlindEyETank, Priest1 on OlmTank1 and OlmTank2, Pally1 on KroshTank, Shaman1 on KigglerTank1 and KigglerTank2, Priest2 and Pally2 on HKMTank; Shaman1 moves to HKMTank asap; Rest of healers move to raid/HKMTank healing as necessary
Al'ar - 1:1 OT healers, 3:1 MT healers, Specialty Healing after Quills
For Al'ar: Priest1 (East), Druid1 (East), and Paladin1 (West) on PlatformTanks; Paladin2 and Shaman1 on AddOT's; Rest on Raid Healing; (Direction) is which platform you're resonsible to heal right after Quills, Switch to Al'ar tank once it's determined.
Leotheras - 1/2:1 Tank Healers (relying on raid cross-healing), Specialty Raid Healer Locations
For Leo Human Phase: Pally1 on LeoTanks, Rest on Raid; Demon Phase: Pally2 and Druid1 on LeoTank, Rest on Raid; Raid Healer Positions in Side Room via Minimap: Pally1 NE, Pally2/Druid NW, Healer3 W, Healer4/5 SW, Healer6 SE
Whew! I'm done here for now. Be sure to join me next week when I make fun of priests! Also, if you have any "Dear Raid RX" love letters you'd like to send me, I can be found at email@example.com. I'm looking to do a full boss healing breakdown in a future article, so nominations are welcome!
Marcie Knox has been healing lead for over a year, including old school AQ40/BWL/Naxx. She has suffered through holy priest and now basks in the glory that is healadin. Her pally is currently /greeting waves of mobs in MH and she totally laughed her rear end off when learning the hokey-pokey on Gertie Bloodboil.