How do you manage debuffs?

85 Night Elf Priest
3000
My brother got me into WoW during wotlk and after a few classes, I found I enjoyed Priests the most. I've even been leveling a human Priest for pvp. Between the two, I've healed almost every dungeon, including Halls of Reflection, Pit of Saron and Forge of Souls, multiple times. I usually finish 80-90% of my runs without letting anyone die.

So I was just doing a Heroic run of PoS. We were at the fight right before the tunnel and the tank starts yelling at me for not curing some disease he has. I was taken aback. I couldn't remember any PoS run that required curing a disease. As I thought about it more, I realized I very rarely use cure disease or dispel magic.

Most of the time, I'm watching everyone's HP bar, who has threat and watching out for boss AoE's or other unique abilities. Have I been forgetting something important? Am I supposed to hover over every debuff to see if (1) I can even remove it and if (2) it's even worth the time and mana it would take to remove it? Or are healers expected to memorize what each tiny little icon means along with 1 and 2 as mentioned before?
Edited by Willøw on 11/24/2010 10:28 PM PST
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I have grid set up to show dots for certain types of debuffs in the corner. If they have a dot there, I can dispell it. No dot? Not a debuff I can get rid of, too bad for them. Considering I'm staring at grid anyway, I have no trouble keeping track of debuffs with it considering the symbol is plopped right where their health is.
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85 Troll Priest
7090
Dispelling those debuffs in PoS can really make healing easier there. Also the magic debuff in HoR stuns when it runs out, preventing that stun is really helpful. There's also a debuff in Old Kingdom that has a chance to silence you. So yes, there are many times in dungeons where dispelling is very beneficial, and in raids its often mandatory.

And while it's debatable whether it's always worth it to dispel, you really should be at least aware of the debuffs.
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85 Tauren Druid
3880
Third party addons like Decursive are pretty much required for effective dispelling, and I suggest you get one, especially if you feel this is a problem.
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85 Night Elf Priest
3000
I have grid set up to show dots for certain types of debuffs in the corner. If they have a dot there, I can dispell it. No dot? Not a debuff I can get rid of, too bad for them. Considering I'm staring at grid anyway, I have no trouble keeping track of debuffs with it considering the symbol is plopped right where their health is.
Is that grid an addon?


Dispelling those debuffs in PoS can really make healing easier there. Also the magic debuff in HoR stuns when it runs out, preventing that stun is really helpful. There's also a debuff in Old Kingdom that has a chance to silence you. So yes, there are many times in dungeons where dispelling is very beneficial, and in raids its often mandatory.

And while it's debatable whether it's always worth it to dispel, you really should be at least aware of the debuffs.
I get that the debuffs can hurt, but how do you even figure out what they do? PoS and HoR are hard enough as it is. How can I take time to read all the debuffs while I'm supposed to be keeping everyone alive?
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85 Undead Priest
6300
You can use decursive, but I'd recommend putting your debuffs on your unit frames as to minimize mouse travel distance.
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90 Night Elf Druid
18285
My raid frames (Vuhdo) automatically change colour based on the type of debuff they have.
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85 Troll Priest
7090
How can I take time to read all the debuffs while I'm supposed to be keeping everyone alive?


First, it seems like you were having trouble detecting debuffs at all, and mods can make it really easy to tell whenever a party member gets one. Seeing a person who has a debuff was just stunned can clue you in to what the debuff does without needing to read the tooltip.

If you find a dungeon particularly hard, you could always go to wowhead or something and get a detailed explanation of all the debuffs.

Honestly I'm in the habit of dispelling everything I possibly can as soon as I see it go out, particularly if I'm in a new dungeon and I'm not sure what the debuff does. I don't read the tooltip then, I dispel just in case it's necessary. As I have more experience with the dungeon, I might decide the debuff is to trivial for to bother moving a finger.
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I have grid set up to show dots for certain types of debuffs in the corner. If they have a dot there, I can dispell it. No dot? Not a debuff I can get rid of, too bad for them. Considering I'm staring at grid anyway, I have no trouble keeping track of debuffs with it considering the symbol is plopped right where their health is.
Is that grid an addon?

Yeah, grid is an addon. It shows raid members, health, and as simply as possible will display debuffs. I also have it showing me who I have Beacon on and a 10s and 5s warning for it running out.

I generally don't dispel during a fight unless I have to, or I just dispel a few people and let it time out on the rest. Casting cleanse has very nearly caused bad endings in the past because of the GCD. Of course, I'm just now getting into the more fun stuff, so I might sing a different tune when I start raiding.
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85 Night Elf Druid
3430
Also, there is a glyph for priests that grants 3% healing to the target of your dispel magic spell, so it's a two-fer!

I also use Grid, and you can set it up to show only the debuff types you can deal with. So disease/magic for Priests, poison/magic/curse for Druids, etc. Another nice feature is that you can enter in new debuffs to watch for during certain fights, such as Incinerate Flesh for Lord Jaraxxus or Infest for Lich King. These aren't dispellable, per se, but they do show you that action is required on your part.
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90 Gnome Priest
10195
Be careful, as you get into raiding there are some debuffs where it isn't a good idea to dispel it right away (or at all).

@Plavalaguna - I suggest GridStatusRaidDebuff. It automatically adds all the special debuffs. You might need to turn a few of them off you don't care about, but much easier than entering them manually. (It gets updated fairly quickly, so unless you are doing near world firsts it will be up to date.)
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20 Night Elf Druid
80
It's useful to monitor curable debuffs.

That being said, you'll rarely want to cure them unless they're CC effects (a group member gets polymorph'd, for example).

Most diseases just get chain-applied anyway, so you'll burn more mana trying to remove it than you would simply letting your heals deal with it. Also, as a Priest, you normally want to leave damage-dealing debuffs on your dps so you can use it to bounce your Prayer of Mending back and forth - a single Prayer of Mending that heals your dps twice and your tank three times is enormously more efficient than removing that DoT.
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I get that the debuffs can hurt, but how do you even figure out what they do? PoS and HoR are hard enough as it is. How can I take time to read all the debuffs while I'm supposed to be keeping everyone alive?


Most healing bar addons (grid, healbot, vuhdo) have built in options for displaying debuffs. Any of these addons will work for healing. The one you use really comes down to personal preference. If you have no such addon it would be highly recommended to get one. Most addons like this have options to display tooltips upon hovering over a debuffed player.

In terms of removal of debuffs decursive is pretty amazing. The main reason I use decursive is because I can have my left and right clicks as dispels/cure disease for dispelling purposes. I can have my left and right click bound to something entirely different in my heal bar addon. Basically, two buttons can perform four functions instead of two.

Worst comes to worst, ask. If members of your party are being debuffed feel free to ask them what the debuff does if you are unfamiliar with it. Ask them if they would prefer that you dispel it. Tell them that you are new to healing. You will find people respond to you a lot better if you inform them of these things ahead of time.

Sometimes you won't get an answer or you will fall victim to general asshatery. If you have a problem with this you should probably play as a different role as healing requires a tough skin and it's very unforgiving to mistakes.
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85 Blood Elf Priest
5935
Decursive has never been mandatory for good dispelling.

I regularly top dispel meters in pugs, in guild raids, and in pvp. It's not hard with the right addons. I use grid and mouseover macros to show dispellable debuffs using the center icon and border color together. Non-dispellable debuffs use just the border but not the center icon. So I'll always know at a glance what can and cannot be dispelled, and what type of debuff my target has (I set priority as magic highest, then disease, then curse, then poison lowest).

It's still useful as a priest healer to know if someone is poisoned or cursed because they may need extra healing even though I can't dispel the debuff in question. Like the mortal strike tank curse from the mobs at the end of one of the ICC 5 mans.
Edited by Rachey on 11/25/2010 3:52 AM PST
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Decursive works very well with healbot. It shows up as a macro and you can make it one of your healbot options. That way you don't have to deal with two grids, just one.
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85 Blood Elf Paladin
3210
Am I supposed to hover over every debuff to see if (1) I can even remove it and if (2) it's even worth the time and mana it would take to remove it? Or are healers expected to memorize what each tiny little icon means along with 1 and 2 as mentioned before?


Knowing about debuffs is part and parcel of being a healer, even if you can't remove them. For example, Mortal Strike debuffs have a fairly drastic effect on your ability to keep the tank alive. Many raid encounters have debuffs that are absolutely critical to know, regardless of whether you can or cannot remove them.

It's really that part and parcel of healing is understanding the fight mechanics rather than just making green bars go up whenever they go down.

In this specific case, the disease ticks for 4k damage. If not removed, it will keep jumping to another person when it runs out (and will do that indefinitely as long as people are close). It's also much more efficient to just cure the disease than to heal the 28k damage it does over time even if it weren't jumping.

Addons can help you quickly classify debuffs by type, but, as I said, it's often just as important to know the ones you can't remove. Sometimes you also don't want to remove them even though you could. For example, in Halls of Reflection, you generally want to dispel both magic debuffs generated by the first boss (one stuns the victim after a few seconds if not removed, the other reduces tank dodge chance by 20%), while the magic debuff produced by the second boss is a judgement call (it's a DoT that will do damage to the entire party if removed; whether that's beneficial depends on whether somebody stood in the damage-amplifying curse -- and that curse is another debuff that everyone needs to know about whether they can remove curses or not).
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85 Night Elf Druid
3430
@Plavalaguna - I suggest GridStatusRaidDebuff. It automatically adds all the special debuffs. You might need to turn a few of them off you don't care about, but much easier than entering them manually. (It gets updated fairly quickly, so unless you are doing near world firsts it will be up to date.)


I probably will get it with Cataclysm, but with Wrath I know the encounters so well that it's just a nice-to-have, not a necessity.
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85 Human Priest
4920
don't mix up a disease and a magic debuff with a curse.

Nearly every debuff in woltk dungeons are curses.

Dispell magic and mass dispell will not effect curses.

Examples of curses, Hex, Curse of (insert here), Haunting shadows(I think its called that in old kingdoms), Corruption. Dispel-ables include Shadow word pain or anything that shares its simple, Tc symbol, Most stuns and all fears, sleep effects (except deep-slumber which is non dispel-able) Any symbol representing stanbding in an aoe is non dispel-able.
Perma-frost stacks can be reduced with dispel (how you get does not go to 11 by sticking close while a dps priest spamms mass dispel.) All diseases share 2 different symbols. The HoR bosses debuffs can not be removed including the fear(however fear ward will guard against it).

That sums most of them up.
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85 Blood Elf Paladin
4725
I use no mods and configure the party UI to display as the raid UI, then tell it to show only debuffs I can remove. I glyph/talent to reduce the cost of removing debuffs and hot-button the cleanse to my mouse.
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