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Raid Rx: Don't be a hero

Matt Low

Every week, Raid Rx will help you quarterback your healers to victory! Your host is Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of No Stock UI, a WoW blog for all things UI, macro, and addon related.

Ah, the hero healer. It reminds me of me. Have you been in a situation where it always seems to be that one same healer which steals the spotlight raid after raid? Its as if raiding groups can't take down bosses without that one specific healer there. It gets progressively worse when that healer starts rubbing it in the faces of other healers whether directly or indirectly. Now don't get me wrong. A healer should be proud of what they are capable of doing.

But there are a few problems when it comes to being a hero.

Hold off on the meters

It gets really annoying if I have to endure a druid or paladin (or some other) healer consistently showing off how much healing they've done fight after fight. There's no reason to echo that stuff throughout the raid. Not unless there is a legitimate healing problem, at least.

(Note: Personally, I don't hate meters or logs as I use them as a diagnostic tool to tweak and make any necessary changes.)
Complacency: a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like; self-satisfaction or smug satisfaction with an existing situation, condition, etc.
This is what will happen in the long run if this type of behavior continues unresolved. You get one guy who reminds everyone else how awesome he is, and guess what happens?

What your healers are thinking

The hero: I have to keep this performance up. If we don't, we're going to die. Look at these slackers! They've got nothing compared to me. If I don't find a way to sustain my output, we're all going to die. Look at that player? They're trying to match my healing output but they're using inefficient healing to do so. They're going to run out of juice! I have to start sniping heals now because they can't sustain it.

The other healers: Sweet, I can sneak off and take a quick smoke break. Not like the raid's going to wipe or anything with the alpha healer in the room. He thinks hes all that, but I'm going to hammer out my strongest heals, efficiency be damned. Someone needs to keep his ego in check. Ah, why bother? We can obviously stop trying. He has us covered and we won't have to work as hard anyway.

Having a hero healer might work fine when your organization is progressing through farm content. What happens then when you hit progression content? Reality is going strike you like cold water on a cat and you'll be in for a rude awakening. Its nice for the rest of the healers to realize this early on. Its much better if that they don't devolve to that point in the first place.

Healing in a raid is a team effort. There's no other way around it. You cannot solo heal your way to victory in a 25 or a 10 player raid (unless you severely outgear the place and the other 9 players you work with are light on their feet at damage avoidance).

What this all boils down to ego. Yes, as a healer, you have a special job to do. Don't let it get to your head. Stay grounded. Share your success instead of taking all the credit.

Because one day, you're not going to be there. For whatever reason, maybe you're sick, or you're pregnant, or your house is on fire, you will have to miss a raid. Wouldn't you feel more at ease knowing that your raid can get through that raid night without you? It sure as heck makes me sleep easier at night knowing that I can take a night off and prep for finals without worrying about it.

Nothing sucks more than having a raid called because "X" isn't here.

How your leaders can resolve it

Reminders: Your healing lead or raid leader needs to send a strong reminder to the hero that they need to focus on their assignments. But make sure that their ability to heal the raid in a free for all fashion is an excellent skill to have and will come in handy in the event the raid attempt hits the crapper. There is nothing wrong with being clutch if the situation demands it. I've been in raids where I've died or other healers died, and the remaining healers were able to step it up and keep the rest of the raid alive long enough for a boss kill.

Shuffle assignments: In my guild, we run three simultaneous 10 mans. To promote team work, the decision was made at the beginning of the raid cycle to shuffle rosters around on a week to week basis. Healers were paired up with someone new every time. Tank pairings would be different. DPS players would get matched up with others. We did our best to balance the groups.

All groups were able to down all of the bosses (Usually within varying time frames). All the groups were able to eventually knock out Festergut and Rotface.

A nice side effect of shuffling healers like this is that it really magnifies what players are individually capable of. For example, if a different group struggled every week with noticeable difficult and one of the common factors was a specific healer, it can be readily identified and action can be taken.

How other other healers can handle it

Tolerance: Yes, it isn't fun at all dealing with that sort of stuff. Nothing more irritating than a big headed ego. Ignore it and do your job. Relish in the fact that you did your job as asked and that you contributed on the boss kills and the attempts. Don't let them get you down. Stick to what you know and play to the best of your ability. I can tell you that raid leaders would prefer to have dependable and reliable healers as opposed to cowboy ones who want to do their own thing.

Report it: If your leadership doesn't know about it, let them know right away whats going on through your head. You shouldn't have to deal with this crap and neither should the rest of your crew. It just might be that others feel the same but don't care enough about it to bring it up. Lack of communication has destroyed more guilds than pre-nerf Kael'thas.

One final note, the healers in the guild should be encouraged to play to the best of their ability. That doesn't mean that the toes of others have to be stepped on. If its plain as day that one healer is covering for others, find out why. If a healer is weak in one area, it needs to be identified and resolved with another player in their place. Sometimes it just boils down to using the sub-optimal healer for the job. I gave a movement heavy healing assignment to a paladin when in hindsight I should've done it myself.

You gotta do what is best for your guild.

Want some more advice for working with the healers in your guild? Raid Rx has you covered with all there is to know! Need raid or guild healing advice? E-mail me at and you could see a future post addressing your question. Looking for less healer-centric raiding advice? Take a look at our raiding column Ready Check.

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