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Raid Rx: Raid healing horror stories that taught us a thing or two

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.

A new PTR build went online a few days ago. We're getting closer and closer to a release. Two weeks, perhaps? End of March? Ides of March even? Who knows?

The Spirit Link totem has officially been added on the PTR. I've never heard Joe Perez squawk with so much glee before after using it in Zul'Aman. If you want to read more details on the totem, go read up on Joe's post about it. Other than a shortened cooldown on Tranquility for resto druids, still nothing on the defensive front.

Chakra for priests now lasts a really long time! In fact, it lasts so long that the effect won't go away until it is canceled. I liked the whole Chakra volleying mechanic. It was an interesting way to add additional thought for holy priests. The last big change I want to note is the pushback protection that druids and priests are getting. Divine Hymn, Hymn of Hope, and Tranquility now have 100% pushback protection from damage. For those that didn't know, a pushback effect is caused when you take damage. When you cast a spell, it might take a little longer than normal because you've been hit by an enemy. This causes the casting bar to move back slightly.

This week, I want to share some healing stories. Some will make you laugh; some will make you cry; and some will simply make you plant your face in your palm.

Lessons in dual-spec keybinding

The first lesson I have is one that's related to your UI. Try to maintain as much consistency as you can between your dual specs, especially when it comes to keybinds. If you don't, you'll regret it later.

Back when dual spec had just come out, I didn't switch specs often (if at all). We decided to clear out Naxxramas. We needed some additional enchanting mats, and we had an hour left to kill in our raid night. Even though a number of us had gained the Undying, we always wanted to go back and try for a shot at the Immortal. Normally, when most guilds attempt these Immortal runs, they do the hardest stuff first. They go after the Instructor; in the event someone dies on that encounter, they can simply reset the instance or pass leadership to another player and try it again.

But nope, not us. We were playing it cool. We had set no expectations. As we slowly progressed through the the other wings (not the Military Wing), each one of us noted that no one had died yet. No one wanted to say it. No one wanted to jinx our record. Deep down inside, I was thinking it, and I know others were. You don't go 9 bosses with no one dying without that type of realization.

Figures someone would go out on a limb and say, "Hey, no one died yet. We might be able to get Immortal!"

Cue the groans and facepalms.

So we got to Instructor Razuvious, and I switched out to my second spec (and I can't remember the precise reason why). I had a feeling something was going wrong. Yet I had handled the Mind Control numerous times. I could not foresee why this time was going to be any different. What I failed to notice is that Mind Control wasn't technically on my bar. That same key for Mind Control in my first spec ended up being Devouring Plague. So without even looking, when I reached out to hit Mind Control, I ended up placing a DoT on the mob, which started the encounter. I scrambled but couldn't get the spell off from my spell book in time. The adds crushed two players before I could regain control, but by then it was far too late.

Always make sure your binds are as consistent as possible between both specs.

You mad, bro?

The next story I have is what inspired my efforts to really take a step back and analyze the whole sequence of events that lead to player deaths during raid encounters. During The Burning Crusade, I was the healing lead at the time, and we were working on that epic healing boss, Gurtogg Bloodboil. Our attempts at the time made my blood boil. We struggled that night because we kept losing the tank. I was at my wit's end.

When healing leads get to that point, that's when they start juggling healing assignments in the hope that something will click. Nope. We tried stacking healers; we tried cross assignments; we tried a whole variety of methods. But we still failed.

After the raid, the raid leader sat down with me, and I got chewed out because we weren't performing. I told him that it just wasn't possible. I ran out of tricks to try. I didn't know what we were doing wrong. I lost my mind because I didn't know what to do, and I became extremely upset.

The cause?

Turns out the tank didn't have his shield equipped. I didn't find out about this until days later.

I was mad, bro.

It could have happened to anyone

This raid healing horror story is by far my favorite. You may have heard this one before, but I still have to tell it anyway. That's largely because I wasn't at fault in any way, but it was one of those incredibly tense situations that just turned into a huge sigh of relief after we took the boss down.

We were working on the Lich King at the time. I believe it was one of earlier kills; therefore, I didn't really consider Lich King to be technically on farm just yet. We were still struggling a little with a few key phases. After breezing through phase 1 of the Lich King with no losses and surviving phase 2 with minimal casualties, we entered the final phase of the encounter. The ranged DPS was busy unloading spells on the Vile Spirits floating around in the air, as usual. Melee players were strafing and shuffling around the Lich King trying to gain position on him. Healers were doing everything in their power to assist in slowing down the damage from incoming spirits. Of course, the tanks were doing their job in dragging Lich King from one side to the other.

Things were going smoothly. Every player was stable. All of a sudden, I hear a frantic scream from one of my tanks, "Taunt! Taunt! I fell off the ledge!"

For a healer who runs through every worse case scenario in the book, a tank falling off the ledge had never been a situation that I had anticipated before. I actually had to take a moment and look up from of my frames to visually see for myself. Thank goodness, our second tank picked up the Lich King in time. We were able to get Lich King down that attempt, but the relief we felt when we hit that 10% washed right over us. We had a good laugh about it for a long time.

What about you? Do you have any hilarious stories to share, or a story with a lesson behind it?

Need advice on working with the healers in your guild? Raid Rx has you covered. Send your questions about raid healing to For less healer-centric raiding advice, visit Ready Check for advanced tactics and advice for the endgame raider.

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