How do you get really good at healing?

34 Human Priest
290
I've been playing WOW for about 1 1/2 years now, and I find that I really gravitate towards playing pallys and priests. I know all healers have had their share of brain farts while in an instance or raid, but it seems like there are plenty of healers out there who run perfect instance after instance( at least that's what I'm told by the tank whom I just let die for the third or fourth time). :) This seems to have gotten worse since dungeon finder came into being... at least your guildies will use somewhat temperate language when telling you how utterly useless you are... strangers from different servers usually don't observe this nicety.

So after scouring the forums, and not finding what I was looking for, I am just gonna ask... how does one get good at healing? I used to use healbot, but for some reason I can't get it to load anymore... I currently use healium... I am currently playing a lvl 34 human holy priest, and am trying to gear for max mana and mana regeneration. I concentrate on trying to keep the tank alive, but should i do this to the point of letting other party members croak? And in the interest of preserving mana, when should I start healing... 90%? 80%? Lower?

I also seem to draw a lot of aggro and wind up dying a lot as well... sometimes it seems that I can die going into the Auction House...

HELP!!!!!!!
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85 Blood Elf Priest
8420
Practice. Lots and lots of practice.
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Yea practice makes perfect, but what seems to work for me is the idea that if you're healing, your partners should never be below 50% PERIOD for more than a second. If I accomplish that in a dungeon/raid, then i've succeeded in being awesome.

Mana conserving is the biggest issue wit me, so gear wise I load on spirit and intel, spellpower comes with the intel, so really i put spirit on priority, helps me keep up with the damn tanks that want to speed run %@!#.

With spells heal is your best friend, yea the cast time and power is lame, but it's the cheapest spell and if your people are good, you don't have to reallly use the bigger spells much. I only use the big ones when %@!# gets hot and more than one person is losing hp.

Timing or time in general is another focus, utitlize all the spells that can buy you time for bigger or longer casting heals, if anyone even BEGINS to lose hp I'll pop a shield on them, renew, or prayer of mending (you'll get that in later levels) or any instant heal i have at the time. It just buys me some time to get a heal in before they kick the bucket.

At 34 it's a *!@!* because you dont' have prayer of healing yet, least i don't think so...forgot when i got it. So group healing becomes a pain, but like Amelia said lots of practice will get you better.

So far only about 6 times has someone died in a dungeon run because I failed....ever....bg's that's another story, but even then if someone was near me chances are they didn't die til i died. So I kinda pride myself with at least that, gonna try n keep that number below 10 from now and on to lvl 85 :).

Oh yea as far as aggro is concerned....use fade man, you have like a 97% chance they'll revert back to the tank when you use it.

Good luck buddy.
Edited by Ufu on 12/6/2010 10:08 PM PST
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60 Night Elf Druid
870
Practice and learning from your mistakes.

1: Gear should be obvious. Int/Spirit.
2: Priority = YOU > TANK > DPS. Do not violate this rule, if you lose a dps that's ok you have extras.
3: Think to yourself, why did that person die? What could I have done with the tools I have to have prevented it? Sometimes there is no answer, you could not have prevented it. Learn to be able to tell when something is your fault, and when it is not.
4: Triage Triage Triage. First Stabilize with hots, shields, and cooldowns. THEN heal up big damage. If you try to heal without stabilizing, you may not finish your cast in time!
5: Dispel bad debuffs from friends or damage buffs from the boss! This can seriously save you.

Lots of practice, just stick with it. Those healers who can magically heal everything have been healing for a long time, they know what to do in any situation. Practice and you can be just like them. :)
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80 Night Elf Warrior
2675
Do AV. Try not to let a single person die.. ever.

trust me, a few weeks of running this and you'll be pro. Nothing is better at improving your twitch reflexes and using all your tools to stay alive than this.
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84 Undead Priest
2350
In dungeons at that level renew and shield are your buddies when DPS takes damage. Priority is always you and tank. Really, the DPS shouldn't be taking THAT much damage. If they're taking too many mobs or the tank isn't taking them off the DPS, let them know. Tell them if you run out of mana from keeping clothies and leathers up, not much you can do.

Every class has some form of CC to keep the mobs off or to at least minimize the damage and they need to learn to use that as well (mages can freeze stuff in place and move, rogues have evasion, hunters have traps, etc etc). Once you get prayer of healing it makes it a little easier though you'll have to watch the tank as they usually get hit too hard for only prayer of healing.

Just keep stacking Int if you go dry in battle routinely!

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85 Night Elf Priest
8700
A lot of what has been said above is good advice.

My little bit of advice is to bring mana potions. It's a simple thing, but at lower levels, a potion can make a big difference. I used to bring different kinds with me so that I'd only use the nice ones when I really needed it, say during a boss fight or during an accidental pull, and use the smaller ones for other less extreme times. It's a useful way to keep your mana up if your gear is a bit behind, and helps you recover if you used one too many panic heals.

I see you don't have professions right now, alchemy might be a good one for you to pick up. It's easy to level, and should help you out.
Edited by Arauial on 12/6/2010 10:59 PM PST
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100 Blood Elf Priest
4645
I see you're dual specced holy and shadow. Holy is more of a raid healing spec, and disc is better for 5 mans and tank heals, which you will be doing until you reach 80/85(?). Disc will make your healing life a lot easier. Your shields will last much longer, giving you more time to pop renews on DPS without worrying if the tank is dying. Or, you can pop shields on DPS and worry about healing the tank while your shields take the damage. Priests have never been the most mana efficient, and Disc spec helps you conserve a lot of mana by preventing damage and not having to heal through it. Trust me, you won't find yourself running out of mana as often. Try it. Bubble, renew, heals...eventually prayer of mending is great, etc.
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85 Draenei Death Knight
4915
I found that if I randomly spec into healing, I do horrible. I find the easiest way to learn to heal with a class is level it by doing mostly dungeons, learning what heals to use when and so on.
If your doing this then just practice, and try to relax :)
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I have a healer, the best way to learn is to relax first. Seriously. if you're stressed your reflexes will be slower. (I've healed through Ulduar, and ICC) Watch your healing priorities. Tank, Healer, then DPS last. ALWAYS. Never let the tank fall below 50% if at all possible. WATCH your own health bar. Something I learned is that you will be intensely watching your groups health bars. Don't. you will forget you're own health bar. Try to every 3-5 seconds, flip from health bars to somewhere else in the screen (Yogg'Saron is the fight that taught me not to "tunnel"). Also another really awesome tool is to reset your camera parameters. /console cameraDistanceMax 50 is the command to reset the camera. this way you can see things around you better. Next are you compensating for Lag? This was my worst nightmare. Do all you can to fix this as best as you can. If you are lagging, you are not healing properly. Are you spec'd right? this is a personal preference, as is rotation, or lack if it as you wish. (Mine is LifeBloom the Tank (3 stacks), Wild Growth, Regrowth on the other healers (although it ticks slowly it heals more), and rejuv's all around on the DPS. Nourish and Swiftmend as needed). Check your gear. Druids need int/spirit. (I'm not too sure of the others). gem for Haste/crit. Haste for the faster Cooldowns, and Crit for well, bigger heals

Make sure you have fun. It's important, if you aren't having fun, you aren't going to heal as well. You WILL get flak for your heals, expect it, but you don't have to take it. Everyone in the game deserves respect, (even though they act like a**hats). Enjoy.
Edited by Ryila on 12/7/2010 2:08 AM PST
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Lots of practice.

Also, make sure you're using the right spells. Heal might not hit for much, but it's extremely mana efficient. If you're using Greater Heal or Flash Heal, your mana will plummet. Renew is great to keep on the tank, and it's quite useful for keeping the rest of the party up; PW:S is similar, even as Holy.

Healing gets easier as you level, since your toolkit increases.

But just keep doing it till you get better. I remember when I started healing heroics in early BC. I would mess up a lot, and I'd get really nervous. But after a while, I just got the hang of it and soon I became a pretty good healer in raids, earning my spot in Black Temple.
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- World of Warcraft
95 Night Elf Druid
13260
1) Read guides that are designed to help you play your spec better.
2) Practice doing the good behaviors outlined in the help guides (practicing bad behaviors won't make you better).
3) Get the best gear you can and make sure your gear has all it's gems, enchants, etc.
4) More practice to make the basics of your healing more automatic.
5) Sometimes computer hardware upgrades help a lot (if people are dieing to your lag issues).
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66 Undead Priest
920
Practice is key, but you have to practice the right things.

1. Look at your heals. Figure out situations where you should be using them and then practice using them. Look at HPM, HPS, cooldowns, etc.

2. Set up your hotbars to heal. Your heals you use the most + your "oh crap" buttons should have prime spots, your other heals next in line and then everything else. Learn to use the F1-F5 keys to target your group and your keybinds to heal so you can move and look around with the mouse. If you must be a "dirty clicker", then get some of the addons that will at least reduce the distance you have to move your mouse, but I highly recommend F1-F5 and keybinds. It will be slower at first, but once you practice, you will be so much faster and will be able to move and look around well too.

3. Go through the default UI and the keybinding options and go to town. Turn on target of target, etc. Check out macros to make your life easier: http://www.wowwiki.com/Making_a_macro

4. Get some addons if the default UI is lacking somewhere. Then take the time to set them up and learn to use them and then practice with them.

5. PvP as a healer. It isn't the same as PvE of course, but will speed your reaction time and get you on board with keybinds :) You might enjoy it too!

6. If you can, level as a healer spec from the start. Helps with learning your spells and talents in a more eased in way.

7. Focus solely on healing/protecting and watching what is going on in groups until you get more comfortable, don't worry about DPS. As others said, after each person dies or each wipe, figure out for yourself what happened and what you can do better next time (if anything). This doesn't mean all deaths/wipes are your fault, but it is always good to know what happened. It really helps to group with people you know for this so you can all help to deconstruct what happened and help each other get better, but even in pugs you can at least figure it out yourself as best you can.
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85 Blood Elf Paladin
3425
12/06/2010 10:15 PMPosted by Jynusenvy
Do AV. Try not to let a single person die.. ever.

trust me, a few weeks of running this and you'll be pro. Nothing is better at improving your twitch reflexes and using all your tools to stay alive than this.


I prefer this option, but then again, I prefer PvP over PvE. Learning to keep everyone alive in PvP increases your skill much faster than in PvE, especially if you are the only healer on your side.

I'd also go with watching healer videos on YouTube and WarcraftMovies.
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80 Blood Elf Paladin
2200

I do not turn with my keyboard;
He who turns with his keyboard has forgotten the face of his father.
I turn with my mouse.
I do not cast from my action bar;
He who casts from his action bar has forgotten the face of his father.
I cast with my hotkeys.
I do not heal with my spells;
He who heals with his spells has forgotten the face of his father.
I heal with my heart.
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85 Human Paladin
5835
12/06/2010 10:12 PMPosted by Heza
Practice and learning from your mistakes.

1: Gear should be obvious. Int/Spirit.
2: Priority = YOU > TANK > DPS. Do not violate this rule, if you lose a dps that's ok you have extras.
3: Think to yourself, why did that person die? What could I have done with the tools I have to have prevented it? Sometimes there is no answer, you could not have prevented it. Learn to be able to tell when something is your fault, and when it is not.
4: Triage Triage Triage. First Stabilize with hots, shields, and cooldowns. THEN heal up big damage. If you try to heal without stabilizing, you may not finish your cast in time!
5: Dispel bad debuffs from friends or damage buffs from the boss! This can seriously save you.

Lots of practice, just stick with it. Those healers who can magically heal everything have been healing for a long time, they know what to do in any situation. Practice and you can be just like them. :)


This. The overhanging theme of healing is judgement and your ability to discern beyond the obvious. Not to toot our horns, but the amount of impact a really good healer can have on an encounter can mean the difference between a wipe and victory.

Healing is one of those things that you can't learn through reading. There is no rotations, no spells that you lean towards more than others. No two healing encounters are the same, so it comes down to your ability to stretch your spells to their limit.

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85 Human Paladin
5835
12/06/2010 10:15 PMPosted by Jynusenvy
Do AV. Try not to let a single person die.. ever.

trust me, a few weeks of running this and you'll be pro. Nothing is better at improving your twitch reflexes and using all your tools to stay alive than this.


This is a good tactic as well and goes for tanking as well. Nothing is more effective at showing what you are capable of and conditioning you than facing living, breathing opponents. It also gives you a heightened situational awareness, which is arguably something that PvPers have up on those who strictly PvE (I might've just opened a can of worms).

But yeah, learning how to function in an every changing environment such as pvp is an excellent way to learn what you can do.

A mantra of mine is "PvP makes me a better PvEer. I PvE so I can rock opponents in PvP"
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12/07/2010 2:05 PMPosted by Sekas
I do not turn with my keyboard;
He who turns with his keyboard has forgotten the face of his father.
I turn with my mouse.
I do not cast from my action bar;
He who casts from his action bar has forgotten the face of his father.
I cast with my hotkeys.
I do not heal with my spells;
He who heals with his spells has forgotten the face of his father.
I heal with my heart.


You know, people can say "Don't click your spells, use hotkeys!" all they want, but I still have no idea how you can keep a hand on WASD and spacebar, on your number keys (or other relevant keys) and on your mouse. I don't have three hands. Luckily, I don't have to worry about that because I have a Razer Naga now, but still, I don't even know how people can heal and still remain fully mobile while using hotkeys.
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85 Human Paladin
5835
12/07/2010 4:53 PMPosted by Flintte
12/07/2010 2:05 PMPosted by Sekas
I do not turn with my keyboard;
He who turns with his keyboard has forgotten the face of his father.
I turn with my mouse.
I do not cast from my action bar;
He who casts from his action bar has forgotten the face of his father.
I cast with my hotkeys.
I do not heal with my spells;
He who heals with his spells has forgotten the face of his father.
I heal with my heart.


You know, people can say "Don't click your spells, use hotkeys!" all they want, but I still have no idea how you can keep a hand on WASD and spacebar, on your number keys (or other relevant keys) and on your mouse. I don't have three hands. Luckily, I don't have to worry about that because I have a Razer Naga now, but still, I don't even know how people can heal and still remain fully mobile while using hotkeys.


I switch my method of movement based on what buttons I'm using. Sometimes I'll move with WASD and sometimes with my mouse. It's all about reflexes and knowing where your abilities are. My hand leaves my mouse or WASD keys for a split second before returning to their original position. Then, I play piano and type a whole lot, so those skills may come with the territory.
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12/07/2010 5:05 PMPosted by Aurico
12/07/2010 4:53 PMPosted by Flintte
[quote="13055143012"]I do not turn with my keyboard;
He who turns with his keyboard has forgotten the face of his father.
I turn with my mouse.
I do not cast from my action bar;
He who casts from his action bar has forgotten the face of his father.
I cast with my hotkeys.
I do not heal with my spells;
He who heals with his spells has forgotten the face of his father.
I heal with my heart.


You know, people can say "Don't click your spells, use hotkeys!" all they want, but I still have no idea how you can keep a hand on WASD and spacebar, on your number keys (or other relevant keys) and on your mouse. I don't have three hands. Luckily, I don't have to worry about that because I have a Razer Naga now, but still, I don't even know how people can heal and still remain fully mobile while using hotkeys.


I switch my method of movement based on what buttons I'm using. Sometimes I'll move with WASD and sometimes with my mouse. It's all about reflexes and knowing where your abilities are. My hand leaves my mouse or WASD keys for a split second before returning to their original position. Then, I play piano and type a whole lot, so those skills may come with the territory.[/quote]

Funnily enough, I'm a piano player as well, but I like to keep my hands in reach of my spells, mouse, and WASD at all times. Maybe it's just me and I'm being weird.
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