New healer...what am I doing wrong? Help!

25 Draenei Shaman
WoW
260
This is my first go at healing. The first few times I ran dungeons, I had no problem whatsoever. In fact I started to wonder if it could really be that easy. But the last cpl of runs I've had multiple wipes on the bosses, and I really need some advice because I'm about to give up! I always throw down my healing totem. I'm keeping earth shield on the tank and when I see anyone's health bar get to about 70 or 80% I throw healing wave on them, sometimes healing surge for a quicker smaller heal. But I just can't seem to keep everyone alive these last few times. What can I do? I feel like a complete failure with this healer. Please help!!
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80 Blood Elf Warrior
4015
Some people will die, that's just a fact of dungeoning. Based on what I read, you're doing everything that can reasonably be expected of you. Then again, Chain Heal does help shaman a lot, and on mine it makes me happy to cast it. But unless I'm mistaken, Healing Surge is a quicker heal for more than Healing Wave in terms of mana used and health restored.

Some questions for you, if I may. Did your tank pull a lot of mobs? If he did and wasn't using any defensive cooldowns he's a moron and deserved to die.

Did the DPS pull off the tank? While in earlier dungeons this isn't a HUGE deal, it can still lead to their death if they pull too many mobs. The best thing you can generally do is toss maybe a heal or two their way, and let them die if they keep pulling aggro. If they have to learn through a repair bill, better now when it's a few silver than later when it's a few dozen gold. Yes, sometimes it's the tank's fault, but more often than not it's the DPS not caring about anything other than big shiny numbers.

Was it on the first boss in Shadowfang Keep? Not sure if you noticed, but after he does the move that nearly kills the whole group the very next thing he does is take a couple seconds to give back most of what he took. People only die on that part of the fight if they have the DoT effect on them, think it can be dispelled but I don't know if a shaman your level has that ability.

Finally, are people dying because you're running out of mana? If so, that problem has many sources and solutions. Some details on the fights themselves would help me explain this bit better, if OOMing was the case.
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85 Blood Elf Paladin
7160
You and the tank are co-top priorities. If anybody else dies, it's unfortunate, but recoverable. If you find yourself getting behind, be sure to keep the tank alive at all costs. If you try to keep everybody up when you can't, you'll likely fail to keep the tank up, and that almost always leads to a wipe.
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85 Blood Elf Mage
3190
My guess is that it is the dungeons and boss fights in particular.

Is it Shadowfang Keep? The first boss has a strangle effect that takes everyone's health down to almost zero. But, don't freak out...just heal up the tank immediately after the effect. Then heal others up.

Either that, or you just got some bad groups. Don't assume it's you. Check the tank's helath and gear. They may be severely undergeared. Being an effective healer is more than just you. The tank and DPS matter too (low DPS means you'll run OOM before the fight is over).

Check WoWhead.com for boss fight strategies, in case there are mechanics that are killing your group.
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90 Human Priest
7710
To add onto Angel's sentiments:
  • If the tank dies, it's your fault.
  • If you die, it's the tank's fault.
  • If the DPS dies, it's their fault.

Of course any simplification has its assumptions. You're all geared appropriately for the content, spec'd appropriately for your roles, and making good faith efforts to get the job done.

I'm sorry I can't be more specific about the issue you mentioned, but I can't speak resto shaman.

A word of advice though, make sure you either pre-heal early enough that the tank is still out of combat and you don't enter combat until aggro is well under control, or don't pre-heal at all. If stuff is coming for you in the first several seconds of a fight, you're doing something wrong.
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80 Dwarf Priest
5210

When people die its not always the healer's fault. They might have been standing where they shouldn't, the tank might not have been keeping agro, you might have pulled adds; without more information its impossible to say if it was your fault or not.

That said, if your starting heals at 70-80% and continuing to heal as the damage comes in and can't keep people up, your either using too many slow heals or the group is taking damage to quickly (which isn't your fault). I'm not sure what low level shamans have access to, but all healers are supposed to eventally have a 3 second strong heal, 3 second weak mana efficent heal, and a 1.5 second expensive fast heal.

When selecting loot or quest rewards, prioritize int heavily as well. It makes your heals heal for more and gives you a larger mana pool. Spirit and stamina should be secondary.

Stick with it. The only way to get better at healing is practice, really.
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90 Tauren Shaman
8515
most likely dps pulling agro, so it's either a tank that's not very good or stupid dps. the fact that you care about wipes means you're doing your best to avoid them. it's been awhile since i ran low level dungeons, but i don't remember healing be much of an issue unless the group got stupid. hang in there...
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64 Draenei Shaman
800
I've been lvling this toon solely in dungeons. I use several addons to help my healin skillz.

-Recount for charts such as dps
-Quartz, it will replace your spell timers/cast bars which will give you an extra edge on casting time.
-Healbot to avoid the mousing time it takes to target someone then click/faceroll a spell. It also is a great way to see everyone's health, buffs, debuffs, and incoming healz as to avoid overhealing.

Totems
Usually i choose flametounge, mana, air, and the one that increases strength. I don't use the healing stream totem because if i keep my mana up i can easily heal any party member. I keep my mana tide totem in my action bar so i can plant it quickly to prevent myself from going oom. More recently I have been switching out the strength totem for tremor totem as it removes some cc effects on party members.

Here is my priority list
1. Shields
a. tank
b. me
2. Healz
a. tank
b. cleansing any debuffs on party which also heals the target (talented)
c. me
d. highest dps to lowest
(use chainheal whenever i can as it brings up the tidal waves (talented))
Edited by Micuh on 12/4/2010 11:05 AM PST
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86 Night Elf Priest
8445
Just checking you gear my number one advice would be some of your gear isn't suitable for resto. If it doesn't have int or spirit on it replace it as soon as u can.
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63 Night Elf Priest
955
You're level 22, so I'm assuming you're still in the SFK/BFD groups. Groups at that level are still sort of under the impression that anyone can tank an elite, and it sounds like that's a huge part of your problem.

You can't keep up the whole group if they're all taking damage, not at your level, with access to the gear you have access to. At a certain point you have to just let someone go. If you don't make the decision to let them die, then chances are the entire group will die.

And unfortunately, a lot of the choice of who is taking damage is outside of your control. If the tank is bad, they won't be able to keep aggro off of responsible dpsers or even you, if the dps is bad, the tank may not be able to keep things off them, and all you can do is watch helplessly.

If all you're doing is healing, and not pulling or acting dumb (I assume you're not), then you getting any aggro is typically a tank problem, if you don't get aggro, but the dps is taking damage left and right, that's a dps problem.

DPS problems are pretty easy. If you can't keep everyone up, then the problem DPS are the first people you cut off. It sucks, and you can feel guilty doing it, but thems the breaks -- you can't heal stupidity. Tank problems can be much harder, because letting the tank bite it is rarely a good solution -- watch for anyone that /can/ tank, it doesn't matter what roles were assigned. A fury warrior can tank just as well in low levels as a prot spec. Hunter and warlock pets are also capable of acting as a tank. Prioritize the people/things that are saving your butt.

Hunters get a lot of flack, but you will occasionally meet one who notices you getting aggro and takes care of it. Heal the hunter pet, in that case. The people watching your butt are the people most likely to be capable of pulling the instance off in the absence of a good tank. I've known several rogues and hunters I would trust to tank anything but raid content. Really good dpsers really are an amazing and rare breed, so don't just always assume that it's the dps that should get left out in the cold -- a fantastic hunter can and will get both of you through a boss fight, assuming subsistence healing.

So that was an overly drawn out, somewhat melodramatic treatise of doing triage, but honestly, from what you describe you're not running into a problem with your healing, but with the group. So figuring out who to let die, and getting yourself into the mindset of actually allowing them to without feeling like a bad healer is probably going to help more than anything I could say about your spells, resources, or addons.

Some groups just can't be salvaged, though. In which case, let them go. You do not have to be there, and it's highly unlikely any of them know your name, let alone server, so they can't track you down and try to disgrace you in front of your friends. You have the option to walk out.
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26 Draenei Paladin
160
My guess is you were in SFK.

SFK (Shadowfang Keep):
This dungeon was just redesigned to be more challenging and they added raid like mechanics to the bosses to give players a taste of what raiding will be like at max level. If I remember correctly there is a boss now that drops ice shards down from the air, players need to move away from the shards. I believe there was also a boss that did a Death and Decay type move (glowing circle on the ground) that the tank and melee dps need to move away from. Finally the last boss seems to randomly target a player and conjure a NASTY directional AoE spell. If players (including the tank) don't move out of the direction he is casting that, then they will die and there's most likely nothing you as healer will be able to do anything about it.

Keep an eye out for those boss mechanics I mentioned above. Most likely your group was getting killed by those specific moves because they weren't avoiding them.
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90 Gnome Priest
3915
12/04/2010 1:27 PMPosted by Cýn


you have to get a feel for what kind of damage the tank is going to take. its ok to precast a healing spell if you think hes going to need it. so long as you arent going oom. especially while you are learning what to look for, be premptive with yer heals.


The big thing here - anticipating and precasting lets you be easy on your mana. I can cast my slow cheap heal pretty much indefinitely without ooming. Fight mechanics won't let me (nor will a bad group) but the point is that precasting that Healing Wave (especially on the tank) makes your life a lot less hectic. If you can use that technique to keep the tank well in the green, you have time and mana to throw Healing Surge at a DPS that takes a hit.
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85 Night Elf Priest
4905
12/04/2010 7:13 AMPosted by Élise
To add onto Angel's sentiments:
  • If the tank dies, it's your fault.
  • If you die, it's the tank's fault.
  • If the DPS dies, it's their fault.

Of course any simplification has its assumptions. You're all geared appropriately for the content, spec'd appropriately for your roles, and making good faith efforts to get the job done.


Very nice
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85 Draenei Shaman
4845
12/04/2010 10:55 AMPosted by Micuh
I don't use the healing stream totem because if i keep my mana up i can easily heal any party member. I keep my mana tide totem in my action bar so i can plant it quickly to prevent myself from going oom.

You're not doing yourself a favor there. HS glyphed means both a constant cap, which will be enough to keep dps alive through a lot of splash and off-the-tank randoms that are common before northrend, and increased resistances that will greatly help mitigation.

Glyph HS and only drop MS between fights, or if you anticipate mana problems coming from having to recuperate big spikes with single target, expensive healing surges. It will most likely help your mana more than MS ticks will.

Also, when choosing totems, look at the buffs the rest of the party provides. Quite often you will find haste or stats already covered, and at that point you might want to drop something that helps the group that isn't present yet (IE: WF instead of WoA, or vicecersa).

Stoneskin, at low levels, is actually alright, especially with low mitigation tanks, so don't dismiss it to always drop SoE. SoE if you're melee heavy or need to favor thread/dps over mitigation, SS if you need to help mitigation.
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85 Draenei Shaman
4845
12/04/2010 3:35 PMPosted by Brussel
12/04/2010 1:27 PMPosted by Cýn


you have to get a feel for what kind of damage the tank is going to take. its ok to precast a healing spell if you think hes going to need it. so long as you arent going oom. especially while you are learning what to look for, be premptive with yer heals.


The big thing here - anticipating and precasting lets you be easy on your mana. I can cast my slow cheap heal pretty much indefinitely without ooming. Fight mechanics won't let me (nor will a bad group) but the point is that precasting that Healing Wave (especially on the tank) makes your life a lot less hectic. If you can use that technique to keep the tank well in the green, you have time and mana to throw Healing Surge at a DPS that takes a hit.

Worth noting that if you precast and then drop the cast (a good habit), do so with a /stopcasting macro that's easily accessible, or with movement if you really can't be arsed with the macro.

With a little bit of lag jumping to stop a cast and retarget can mean a pretty nasty delay.
Some people also favor replacing all spells with /stopcasting; /cast spell macros, so they can easily switch a cast at any time outside the GCD. I tried that, but found it a bit too aggressive when I have a little bit of lag, and also prevents me from mashing the rare times I feel I need to. Matter of tastes though.
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