Officers' Quarters: An overhealing intervention

Scott Andrews
S. Andrews|01.07.13

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Officers' Quarters: An overhealing intervention
A worgen casts a heal
Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook.

Healing can be a tricky thing to evaluate, but crazy overhealing combined with mana problems makes for an easy diagnosis. This week, an officer wonders how she can approach the problem in a guild where constructive criticism isn't always welcome.

Hi Scott:

I am an officer and raid healer in a casual raiding guild that has a 10-man team attempting current content. We aren't progressing fast ... but everyone feels good about where we are.

Except for me.

Don't get me wrong. I am never frustrated with the group as a whole for our attempts. Most of us are parents with full time jobs and there are only a few who have the time to even hit VP cap during the week. Some are (rightfully) terrified of LFR. But almost everyone gives 110 percent.

My issue is with my co-healer, who handles tank healing. This person is a good sport and a good player. They contribute to raid materials, are always willing to help gear folks, and they are always at raid on time and ready – three big wins in any officer's book. The issue is that they are a really bad healer. They are constantly overhealing encounters by 20 to 60 percent of total healing and are out of mana before the encounter is half over – after cooldowns. They are always on the top of the healing charts, but their effective healing (total healing minus overhealing) is way low.

They get kicked from LFR constantly but are incredulous as to why - since they are always topping the charts on healing done. I noticed yesterday that they were constantly using Penance on the tank right before a pull - I've heard of pre-shielding but pre-healing?

It has gotten to the point where they are raid healing to boost their numbers, even if I've got the raid under control. This lack of healing discipline is an issue for two reasons: one is that I'm starting to overheal (I'm a very efficient healer usually) when they snipe heals, and two is that I'm having to abandon my healing assignment to keep their targets alive when they run out of mana.

I'm all for helping a fellow healer out, but I'm concerned that this person is keeping us from progressing. Our raid leader feels that, since we're a casual raiding group, we shouldn't worry about numbers and just keep having fun. Our main tank is tired of dying and has asked me to step up as tank healer ... but I know that this person is very firm about their spot as tank healer and I don't ever want to pull rank in a casual raid. ...

I don't feel comfortable confronting this person, mostly because of my raid leader's disposition towards numbers and perceived elitism. Instead, I've posted guides on our forums about rotations, MP management, and raid discipline for healers. I know this person has read them, because they can hold conversations with me about the contents. But either they don't think they realize they are target of my passive-aggressive posting or they don't care.

It has actually gotten to the point where I am silently teaching another raider to raid heal... and gearing up a DPS. I get so stressed out healing, but not because of failed attempts. I enjoy raiding and I love our raiding team, but I just don't think I can deal with the lack of discipline anymore.

Is there another option – something I haven't thought of? Any assistance in this issue will be super appreciated.

Thank you so much in advance!


Casually Going Crazy

Hi, CGC. This is an interesting predicament and one that, unfortunately for you, has no easy solution.

A healer's role

The crux of the matter is about the role of a healer, and your healing partner doesn't seem to understand their role. Healing is about finesse rather than brute force. It's not about big numbers -- it's about resource management.

I don't put much stock in healing ranks or meters. Neither HPS nor total or even effective healing tells you the whole story. Anyone can use every throughput cooldown on cooldown just like a DPS, but is that really going to get the job done? A good healer knows when to conserve and when to go all out. Running out of mana is a big problem. A healer with no mana is like a dead DPS. The fact that your healer doesn't understand this is hard to swallow, but here we are.

If anyone should switch to DPS, it should be this other healer, not you. It sounds to me like they are better suited for that kind of job.

Changing roles may help you to avoid a confrontation, and perhaps you'll be happier. In the back of your mind, however, you'll know that the raid's progression is stalling because of this healer and that you didn't do anything about it. Can you live with that?

Your fun matters too

I've written before about a guild's criticism culture, and it sounds like yours is hands off when it comes to this kind of thing.

Your raid leader says not to worry about numbers and keep having fun. But what about your fun? If you're not having fun because of the way this healer is playing, isn't that a legitimate issue to bring to the RL? Cleaning up this person's style will benefit not just you but the whole raid. Better progression can also mean more fun for the guild.

Have an honest discussion with your RL about why you're not having fun and what this healer's style of play is doing to the raid as a whole. Maybe it will sink in and convince him that in this case, the numbers really do matter.

If the RL won't speak to this healer in a frank way, the task will fall to you. You say you don't want to for the good of the guild, and that is noble. However, I get the sense that this issue is affecting you on a personal level, and that is not good, either. At some point you have to stand up for yourself. Some drama may come of it, but at least you'll feel like you did what you could to resolve the problem, whatever happens.

If you don't, either you or the next person who comes along to heal in your place may say enough is enough and lash out in a very negative way. It's better to have the discussion when everyone is calm than to let it simmer until it boils over during a raid.

A different kind of chart

I'm sorry to say that I'm pessimistic about your or your raid leader's chances of convincing them to heal smarter. They seem to have a stubborn pride in this tank healing role. In my experience, players like this will seldom heed anyone's advice. They have it in their head that big numbers mean winning. They'd rather wipe the raid and be #1 on the meters than see the group succeed. They think that as long as they're topping the charts, the problem must lay elsewhere. They've done their job and that's that. I might be wrong about this person, but you should be prepared for the worst here.

The best way might be to show the raw data. Prove a correlation among the crazy overhealing, the times when they went OOM, and whether or not you wiped. Keep track of it on a fight-by-fight basis. If this healer cares about charts so much, make a chart of your own. Show them how frequently the high overhealing corresponds to OOM, tank deaths and a wipe.

Just remember to be respectful and constructive. If they start to get emotional, back off and give them some time to process.

It's good that you have a Plan B. In the end, however, you may wish to consider that you may not belong in this kind of guild. If your raid leader won't back you on this, you might be happier in a raid with more accountability and more open discussions of performance. It's something to think about for the future, anyway. In the meantime, I wish you luck keeping those tanks up ...


Officers' Quarters keeps your guild leadership on track to cope with sticky situations such as members turned poachers or the return of an ex-guild leader and looking forward to what guilds need in Mists of Pandaria. Send your own guild-related questions and suggestions to

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