When a new tier of content is produced, the norm is to bring in 3 healers. You're heading into unknown territory. You don't know what kind of threats you're facing. Better to go at a slower and safer pace lest you run into something surprising or unexpected that causes a wipe. Or maybe two healers just isn't enough to get through it at all.
Overtime, as players become more and more familiar with the instance and acquire more gear, the 3rd healer is eventually replaced with a DPS.
The jet engine analogy
Whenever I get asked to 2 heal heroic level stuff with an undergeared or underskilled raid, I get really nervous. Allow me to introduce the jet engine analogy. I feel safer traveling in a 747 then I do in a 777. Why? The 747 has four engines. The 777 has two engines. You can see where I'm getting at here. If a bird flies into an engine, at least the 747 still has three engines left. If the 777 sucks in a bird, that's 50% of the power gone.
I'm sure there are redundancies and stuff in the event those things actually happen (and planes are still safe to fly in).
In any case, I think my point is clear. If one healer drops in a 3-player healing raid, you still have 2 left instead of just 1.
Now don't get me wrong, 2 healing is okay if some of the conditions are met:
- Players are smart and don't take any extra damage then they need to (as in get out of whatever void zones and fires quick enough).
- Tanks don't die in 2 shots.
- If there happens to a player who can switch out to a healing role should the need arise.
- Older content.
- Content has a high DPS output needed where 2 healing becomes a necessity (such as heroic Anub'arak or Hodir hard mode).
However, that isn't always the case. I'll join various pugs on my various healing characters and I'll get asked if I think I can 2 heal something. I'm not as confident healing on my paladin as I am on my priest (and no joke, I've fallen asleep on my paladin before).
The reasons listed above are all common. Having an extra DPS instead of an extra healer means they can theoretically blow through the encounter at a faster rate. That is, assuming they don't wipe, or a player doesn't die. General flawlessness is to be expected.
There is also an additional factor that raid leaders think about when assembling their group. When you're running a pickup or an alt run, you may not have a 3rd healer handy to jump in. Sometimes, for the sake of getting the group going, they'll call in another DPS anyway just to have a full crew. So yes, in the interest of just getting started, I can see why that can be an attractive option. Understandable since there are often more DPS players available then there are healers.
The alt run
Don't get me started on healing the alt run. I don't like having 2 healers on the alt run. Usually
, alts are not as geared as mains. Not all of them. Players have different levels of alt maintenance. Some have to make sure their alts are in the best possible condition with high end gems, enchants, and gear. Others just don't really put that much time or care into their alts. Then they believe that just because they have successfully raided something on their mains, they can pull it off again on their alts.
What ends up happening is you have ranged DPS players who turn into tanks, tanks who turn into healers, healers who become melee DPS, and all sorts of crazy role switches. The roles and the classes get shuffled more than a Russian national hockey team desperate to generate goals.
It doesn't always work out! Sure you may know the mechanics and some of the details, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with having that extra safety net. Since most players are playing on a different character, there are certain things that are done differently compared to their mains.
Everyone starts all over again. Do the group a favor, start back from square 1. Bring in the option of a 3rd healer until everyone becomes familiar with the encounter on their alts.
No matter how hard I try, I simply cannot god mode players out of their own stupidity.
I don't know, maybe it is just me. Maybe it's just heroic Anub that did it. After wiping to him so many times, it has completely destroyed my own confidence and faith in my own healing abilities. I hate that oversized beetle with a passion.
Speaking of random hockey references, there is a big game Friday night! Go Canada go!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.