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Raid Rx: 6 signs healing is not for you

Matt Low

Every week, Raid Rx will help you quarterback your healers to victory! Your host is Matt Low, the grand poohbah of World of Matticus and a founder of Plus Heal, a discussion community for healers of all experience levels and interests Catch his weekly podcast on healing, raiding and leading, the Matticast.

It is true that healing has come a long way since the game debuted. The mechanics and the systems have evolved to the point that the game is accessible now more than it was before. You got crazy people like me with five priests and other players who normally prefer DPS or tanking rolling healing alts just for the fun of it.

But if you find yourself in a tough position playing in a guild and you're just not feeling right at all about it, maybe there's a little more to it than that. Anyone can be a healer, but not everyone can be a great healer. I've always felt that really special healers were meant to be.

You may not be cut out to be a healer if ...

1. You spend more time DPSing than healing. You can't help it. You just end up playing a DPS role with your off spec. In fact, you play that role more often than your main spec! Your DPS numbers are off the charts, and you're carrying that raid team of yours on your back. In fact, you're so good, people are surprised that you even have a healing spec.

Maybe you even like playing your DPS spec more often than healing. If that's the case, then the life of a healer just isn't for you.

2. You aren't very quick. You tend to freeze up when it comes to fast decision making. You don't know how to choose between two groups or two different players. Choosing any kind of raid cooldown on your own without someone yelling at you about it is unworkable; it's already too late, and your comrades are dead.

In short, you're just not fast enough mentally or physically. While you can get by without being razor sharp, once you hit the harder progression encounters, you will be a factor holding back your raid.

3. You're unhappy. There's something to be said about personal satisfaction. If you're not happy where you are or doing what you're doing, you're better off leaving and moving until you find a place that you're OK with. You're paying around 15 bucks a month to play this game. Paladin healing not fun? Try priest or even druid healing. What ends up happening is that you have fun playing the rule, but you chose the wrong class.

Maybe you like dropping the big bomb heals, and you switch to a holy paladin. Alternatively, you discover that your preference is in relying on tons of little HoT spells and blanketing the raid with stability, so you opt for a resto druid. Perhaps you have an affinity for beams of healing, and you go for shaman. Or you just want to play the best healing class ever and rock a priest.

Whatever works for you, right?

4. Your skin isn't thick enough. Healers bear the brunt of most criticism. If things go south, you are the first players that get looked at first if the answer isn't immediately obvious. If you are the type of player who takes feedback too seriously, to the point of breaking down in tears, then healing isn't for you. Being able to separate the personal from the professional is a virtual requirement.

Understand that your teammates aren't hating on you. On the contrary, I'd say in most cases, they're cool with you as a person. But you absolutely need to be able to distinguish between personal attacks and criticism about your playing ability. If you misconstrue the two, then you're not going to have any fun at all.

5. You're too mentally fatigued. Healing is pretty darn stressing. There's some serious focus needed at the upper end of progression. Generally, it's not a role where you're locked into one player and rotating between one to two spells the whole time. It isn't like DPS, where your efforts are zeroed in on one boss. As a raid healer, there are multiple targets you need to look after.

What healer responsibilities consist of:

  • Dispelling the right player
  • Moving to avoid void zones and other nasty environmental effects
  • Keeping the main tanks alive
  • Threat management against loose mobs (or dodging them)
  • Handling unexpected situations (e.g., covering for dead healers)
All that stuff adds up! Don't underestimate the trouble it'll put you through.

6. You have zero patience. I get frustrated quickly when I see someone doing something (that I perceive to be) easy. As a healer, you're not directly making an impact against the bosses' health. The amount of time you spend involved in each encounter is directly affected by the DPS of your overall raid. No matter how hard or how little you heal, you cannot speed up the encounter.

Naturally, there are encounters like Valithria back in Icecrown Citadel, but that's more of an exception than the rule.

There are going to be times where you will feel helpless due to your inability to really change that. To be fair, healers do come equipped with some DPS spells. With the exception of select discipline priests and resto shaman, you're not going to be using your DPS capabilities that often.

In the end ...

Healing really isn't for everyone. You have to figure out what's going to be fun for you. No sense leveling all the way to the end just to discover that you wasted your whole time committing to a character that you're just not into.

If you're leveling a healer, I highly encourage you to duck into dungeons periodically as you're leveling. It's not enough to simulate raiding or PvP healing, but you'll get the basic ideas of what you'll be doing at the endgame level. If you hate healing while leveling, chances are you're going to hate healing at max level.

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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