Advice for a hopeful raid healer?

90 Blood Elf Paladin
8445
There are a few reasons I rolled this toon. One, I always wanted to play a Blood Elf Paladin. Two, I needed a Horde toon that I could level for the achievement (a 90 on each side). But mainly, I wanted to get into the Healing business. So far I've enjoyed it very much. Yeah, had bad luck with cooldowns, and a fair share of people that stood in the stupid and blamed me for it (preachin' to the choir, I know). But I've yet to face my personal Sha: my fear of Raid Healing.

The thought scares the hell out of me. This isn't some 5-man where one could wipe and the attitude would be "Meh, we can try again". As a person who started as DPS, I've seen the things that have been said in LFR after a loused up fight. I want to be a raid healer someday, and a good one.

But where do I start to learn this fine art? Macros, Addons, UI changes; what do I need to help me out should I take that big plunge? If you have good advice out there for me, I'm all ears (Don't even think of an Elf joke right here).

Thank you for reading my words, and I look forward to hearing from my fellow healers out there.
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90 Troll Druid
12455
Welcome to the fold.

Where to start: Learn your class and learn it well. Read up on it as much as you can, and learn it like the back of your hand. That's the best place to start.

After you do that, you really only have one option: jump in head first.

Really, that's all there is to starting it.

Once you do that, you can focus on the technicalities.

Macros, Addons, UI changes are all quite useful to healing. But you won't know what changes you need to make until you jump right in. Healing is all about preference.

As far as getting started:

  • Make absolutely sure you can see your raid frames clearly. Make sure that you can see any harmful debuffs on them, also.

    The most often used healing addons are VuhDo, Healbot, and Grid/Clique.
    Mouseover macros with the standard raid frames work just as well.

  • Work on your reaction time. No really. Not only do you have to focus on your own feet and staying alive, but you now have to keep others alive as well. You're the one covering their mistakes, so try not to make any of your own.

  • Make sure you track your raid cooldowns. It might also help if you're able to track other raid cooldowns so that you don't overlap with your co-healers.

  • Make sure you manage your mana properly. As a newer healer, you'll want to spam every little bit of missing hp back to full. That's not the way healing works. Mana management comes from your own spell choices and being able to rely on your co-healers. Healing is a team effort in raiding.

  • Keeping on the team effort subject, make sure you know your class strengths and weaknesses when it comes to healing. You'll also want to know other class strengths and weaknesses. You always want to know who you're healing with and where certain areas may be lacking in strength.

  • There are very quirky things you'll pick up as you grow accustomed to raid healing. Once you get used to it, though, you'll know what playstyle changes you have to make.

    Those are a few points. I could probably go on for a few more points, but it's been a long day. Hope you enjoy healing :) Good luck!
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    90 Blood Elf Paladin
    8445
    Ty for the kind advice. I've gone with HealBot as an addon (and wondering how the devil I lived without for so long). Still tooling with settings on this, but I feel far more confident with my healing because of it. I've also copy-pasted your advice to a word document for future reference ^_~
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    90 Pandaren Shaman
    15390
    10/05/2013 02:59 AMPosted by Siladan
    I've gone with HealBot as an addon


    If you are just starting out i'd highly recommend going with Vuhdo instead. You can do a lot more with it though it is a little more difficult to set up.

    Would also highly suggest weakauras 2. Great for CD management.
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    90 Blood Elf Priest
    16250
    remember its all about you, who cares if you wipe as long as you top the charts
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    90 Blood Elf Paladin
    11205
    remember its all about you, who cares if you wipe as long as you top the charts


    :P

    The thought scares the hell out of me. This isn't some 5-man where one could wipe and the attitude would be "Meh, we can try again". As a person who started as DPS, I've seen the things that have been said in LFR after a loused up fight. I want to be a raid healer someday, and a good one.


    First, practicing in the older LFRs can be good. It gives you a chance to get used to your set up, and chances are, there will be an overgeared healer or two that will cover for any mistakes you might make. Also, you will have 5 other healers there to cover for you. It's not quite as much pressure as being a tank, where if you goof, everyone knows it. If you make a mistake, brush it off - it's no big deal.

    If something is confusing, or you need some feedback, the forums (both healer and class forums) are a great resource. We are always happy to help people here =)

    If you're looking for helpful blogs, try:
    http://paladiner.wordpress.com/
    and http://healiocentric.wordpress.com/

    Dayani at Healiocentric does an amazing job at keeping her info up to date. She also provides a general healing perspective in addition to advice for specific specs, so you can really get a feel for how other healers might react to certain boss fights.

    Once you learn your spells and passives and set up your UI, it is just practice, practice, practice! If you can find someone to heal with to take you under their wing, then that is invaluable.

    Feel free to msg me in game if you ever need some pally advice. My btag is Ffraid#1470 . Good luck!
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    100 Troll Priest
    10150
    ***druid said it pretty well but I will just reword coming from myself

    Get a stable, clean, and efficient UI. Healbot is a great place to start. Vuhdo is nice if you like extreme levels of customization. EluVI is a pretty good package for your looks and appearance with your UI.

    1. Less distance your eye travels faster your reactions will be.

    2. Fast keybinds for CDs + personal heals,

    3. Being able to properly monitor buffs + debuffs on raid.

    4. Always know what your tanks + dps are doing mechanic wise.

    I love being in sync with my tanks. They call out massive dmg reducitons and we can chain them thus maximizing the tanks potential to live in dire situations.

    I heal with a resto druid and before every raid him and I go over what talents / glyphs we will be changing to handle specific encounters.

    I also go over CDs with my DPS. Tranq from Boomie, Tide from Ele, Bops + Devo from ret, Rally cry + Dbanner from warrior.
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    100 Draenei Shaman
    12565
    If you're looking for helpful blogs, try:
    http://paladiner.wordpress.com/
    and http://healiocentric.wordpress.com/

    Dayani at Healiocentric does an amazing job at keeping her info up to date. She also provides a general healing perspective in addition to advice for specific specs, so you can really get a feel for how other healers might react to certain boss fights.


    Well sheesh, you guys are making me blush over here! <3

    I do want to note, though, that I haven't actually lived up to your praise of keeping my info up to date. The paladin section of my blog is not currently 5.4-compatible, which is kind of really disgusting given the change in the level 45 talents and how academically interesting I find them! I have lots of words and numbers in my head, but I just haven't had the motivation to get them all down.

    Will be updated soon(TM)
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    90 Blood Elf Paladin
    11205

    Well sheesh, you guys are making me blush over here! <3

    I do want to note, though, that I haven't actually lived up to your praise of keeping my info up to date. The paladin section of my blog is not currently 5.4-compatible, which is kind of really disgusting given the change in the level 45 talents and how academically interesting I find them! I have lots of words and numbers in my head, but I just haven't had the motivation to get them all down.

    Will be updated soon(TM)


    I had forgotten to check that since 5.4 - I've been mostly reading your boss guides, which have been very helpful! Thanks for clarifying ^^

    You are still the best though <3
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    90 Blood Elf Priest
    12810
    I will add - while you're gearing especially, ignore (within reason) the urge to compare your HPS with the other LFR healers. Instead, keep track of your spell usage, EF uptime, holy shocking on CD, and making sure beacon is up. Until you have gear with more stats (and are gemmed and enchanted) there's no way you'll be keeping pace with a ToT geared healer just looking for extra valor, or testing out a new stat tweak.

    And even if you use green qual gems and cheaper enchants, put something on your armor. Trust me, that ONE piece of armor that sucks and you KNOW you'll replace this run is the ONE piece that a replacement will adamantly refuse to drop for. It just never fails.

    Trust me, I'm not using my ToES mace out of sentiment -_- and I've bonus rolled to death every boss that has a hope of a spirit replacement, 1 or 2h. Murphy's Law is just laughing at the socket I have stored, making fun of me until I beg. Which, I should note, I've already tried. Apparently Murphy doesn't want my firstborn child, my soul, or a pound of flesh.

    EDIT: And don't hesitate to coordinate with other healers in flex or anything but LFR raids - getting an experienced healer's input on an encounter can really make it much easier.
    Edited by Shankari on 10/5/2013 6:31 PM PDT
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    90 Blood Elf Paladin
    8445
    I think I might have to make a folder on my desktop to store all these tidbits of information. I've been running random dungeons over and over so I can tool around with HealBot and learn the ins and outs of it all (so far I haven't had a group wipe out, just a few close calls of standing in the stupid). Slowly gathering up JP from said runs and buying gear upgrades when I can. Hopefully by the time I can buy all I can from those vendors, I'll know enough to test out some of the older MoP raids (or if I'm lucky, a guild Flex run somewhere).

    Also looking at Dayani's blog to see what I can learn ^_~
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    100 Human Paladin
    15370
    Big thing to be good raid healer is experience. You need to kind of develop a instinct for what abilities to use in a situation. Ever time you start a new fight you won't do awesome, but as you attempt it more and more you will get better by figuring out what to do and when to use your CDs.

    I also recommend keeping you raid frames in a easy to reach area somewhere around center, so you can watch not only yourself but the raid frames to (fire bad).

    Try out different addons and find the ones your comfortable with.

    There will be times when people blame you for something, so just ignore the hate.

    P.S. raid healing in non-LFR raids is really fun. Much better then dps or tanking.
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    100 Night Elf Druid
    9440
    For practice, my number one recommendation is to HEAL BG'S. But only AV and IoC, which have turned into PvE races. The biggest reason for that is that there are 39 other people for the other side to focus on. Just follow the pack and heal! most people don't check meters in BG's and if you do venture into the other BG's most of the time ppl understand if you can't heal (because you're usually dead lol)
    Edited by Arkista on 10/7/2013 2:27 PM PDT
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    90 Pandaren Monk
    LA
    16675
    Don't die to the crap on the ground.
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    90 Dwarf Monk
    10100
    From my experience people usually don't get healers a hard time.
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    100 Tauren Druid
    10160
    But I've yet to face my personal Sha: my fear of Raid Healing.


    To make you feel better, it's easier to blend into the crowd as a healer than as either a tank or a DPS.

    In LFR or 25m raiding, there will be someone picking up the slack. So as long as you're actually casting spells, you'll be fine. (In 10m it'll depend on if you're 2-healing or 3-healing; in the former case, you can't really expect the other person to carry you.)

    But if you're tanking and you mess up, it's really, really visible.
    If you're a DPS, it's pretty easy for someone to call out "DUDE's DPS is like 25k!"
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    90 Pandaren Monk
    10575
    Remember that it isn't a requirement for everyone to be at 100% health all the time. It's OK if people are down a bit of health, so don't freak out and blow all your mana trying to get everyone topped off, only to have nothing left when the real raid damage goes out.

    Experience is everything. Start with you class. Know it, love it. Your heal selection will become second nature. Then encounters - knowing where most of the damage will come from will help you be more efficient and effective. Finally, your group. Who is prone to standing in bad? Which tanks need CDs more? How will your co-healers react?

    It's a process, but it goes by quicker than you think, and it's very rewarding in the end.
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    91 Night Elf Druid
    9335
    First of all, people telling you to not maximize your HPS are looking from a perspective that is PAST that.

    What you do need to do though is you need to learn how to maximize your HPS and top the charts as best you can. It will teach you proper mana management and proper spell usage to maximize output.

    Only AFTER a player learns to maximize their throughput to the strongest level may they start to branch out into being a more effective healer in other ways. If you never learn how to maximize in that way, you'll not be looked at as a good recruit and you'll not be seen as a great healer. It's the baseline requirement to understanding a class in the first place.

    After you've learned to max in that way, THEN you can switch in to doing more effective styles of play where you can tweak certain things here and there that will technically lower your output but will be better for the raid in the end.

    Good luck!
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    90 Pandaren Monk
    10575
    10/09/2013 08:04 AMPosted by Gamex
    What you do need to do though is you need to learn how to maximize your HPS and top the charts as best you can. It will teach you proper mana management and proper spell usage to maximize output.


    Topping the charts is a by-product of gear and skill, including proper heal selection and mana management. If you go out there with the goal of topping the charts you're going to blow all your mana really quickly and inefficiently in the quest for bigger numbers and ultimately not top the charts as the more efficient and consistent healers overtake you over the course of the fight.

    Proper management and proper spell selection will maximize your output and make you top the charts, not the other way around, as you suggest, especially for a new healer.

    And also, no one cares about the charts if you're doing your job, or at least they shouldn't if they understand the game.
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    100 Night Elf Druid
    9440
    I don't see anything necessarily wrong with what he's saying - I think his advice is coming from the point of view that someone will recognize and adjust their playstyle when it comes to output and mana management. It's a different way to learn, knowing your max output and how long you can sustain it let's you recognize when you're being too liberal with heals, or when you can afford to 'heal harder', or how much you need to adjust your spell selection to fit certain situations.
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