Playing together as a team
I've watched games where the defense don't even bother trying to help out their goalie. What happens? They get scored on. It's happened to me before. You could have the most talented individual players on the team but if they're unable to work together, everyone loses. It takes 25 (or 10) in order to get the job done.
Healers have to set aside petty differences and swallow their pride. I make an effort to try to work with healers in my guild and outside of it. In this age of meters where players will flash it as a sign of dominance, working as a team can reduce the competitive nature it brings out. While some internal competition is great for driving each healer to play better, it shouldn't be so high as to alienate players. Setting up a channel is the standard by which healers coordinate themselves. Try to keep an open mind. You're all in this together.
Your position matters
I'm not referring to position in the sense of where you are standing. Understanding your job in an encounter is extremely important. What your role is in the encounter is important. Whether you're healing the main tank, or healing an off tank, or healing select members of the raid, it won't exactly be the same across the board. Each role requires different skills.
Use the unique skills and abilities of your class to maximize your effectiveness.
If you keep doing something, you get better at it. It's called practice. I've worked on my backhand for badminton to the point where I can drop the shuttle anywhere I want it to (like into the net)! Heal normal dungeons, heroic dungeons, raids and PvP (if you like).
Keep your damage meter of choice open. Don't look at the overall numbers. Some things you want to keep in mind are:
- The nature of the encounter and your role
- Trends in your spell casting
- Where you are in relation to other healers who are performing a similar role
Flexibility helps when you're healing. Your value as a player increases if you can seamlessly transition from assignment to assignment without missing a beat. As a healing lead, what I want to hear more of is "Yeah, I can heal that" instead of "No, I can't". You never know when that main tank healer for Sartharion calls in sick.
As a guy in goal, I'm always asking for support and tips from my friends who are forwards or on defense. They help me refine my game from their perspectives. I have a general idea of what an opposing player would do to score.
It seems a few players have trouble asking for help. No one enters this game with the innate skills of being a good healer. If there's something that you're unfamiliar with in regards to gearing or augmenting, try to track down someone in your guild to help you out. If that's enough, look around for the players in the top tier raiding guilds. Keep an open mind and listen to those players. They can help pinpoint weaknesses in your playing. Raiding is not a soloing game.
How do you find a good mentor? There's a few things that I look for:
- Gear: When I first started raiding during the days of Molten Core and Blackwing Lair, I looked for the Priests that were in full Prophecy or Transcendence sets. I know the argument could be made that gear doesn't always equal skill. But with that being said, you can't deny that there is a certain minimum level of effort required in order to attain entire tier sets. Of course, I wouldn't go to the Priest with Agility enchants.
- Achievements: An upside to the new achievement system is that you can see what a player has accomplished in the game. Players with lots of difficult achievements under their belt can a great help. Most players I talk to are generally accessible. Not everyone is willing to share what they've learned. Thank them for their time and move on your way.
Try not to be too much of a pest. Ask if they're willing to talk to you for a bit or if they can answer a few questions. Be sure to pull off a /who to see if they're busy doing anything (like raiding). Players are courteous enough to tell you if this isn't a good time for them. I'm more inclined to speak to players when I'm riding around in circles in Dalaran as opposed to being in a raid.
Great healing teams will have most if not all of the attributes discussed above. They play together as a team instead of acting as loose cannons, they don't stray from their roll, they practice their craft often, they can adapt to different situations and are never afraid to ask for help.
Want some more advice for working with the healers in your guild? Raid Rx
has you covered with all there is to know! Looking for less healer-centric raiding advice? Take a look at our raiding column Ready Check