First-Time Healer: Pre-Dungeon Jitters

90 Blood Elf Priest
3960
Hello Everyone! I'm a lvl 20 Disc. priest and I will be starting my very first instance in the Deadmines. I will be PUGing my first time and I'm worried about wiping since I know that I'm bound to do that being a newb healer and I've heard that PUGs can be vicious.

Do you have any advice or tips to help me prepare or about healing in general? I've already: installed Vuhdo, read guides about disc. priests/healing, watched a Deadmines walkthrough, stacked int/spirit gear, and stocked up on many drinks.

Also, to any fellow Disc. priests, how often should I use PW:S? How much threat does it generate? And should I rely on Penance most of the time for my direct heal instead of Flash Heal seeing as it heals more, the first tick is faster, and costs less?

Lastly, to anyone who's completed this dungeon, what should I do about the Defias Squallshapers near the end. I read that they can cause wipes if not interrupted. What healing strategy do you recommend I use if the dps don't kill them in time?

Thanks :)
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90 Tauren Priest
13415
Dive in head first, hun. ;) It's not as bad as you think it is. There will, of course, be moments where !@#$ will hit the fan, but just remain calm, own up to when it's your fault, and charge on.

As Disc, PW:S should be on the tank at all times. I tended to cast PW:S on any group member that was actively taking damage while I was leveling as Disc. Any healing spell cast will generate threat on you IF the tank doesn't have aggro on a mob. Don't worry too much about it, just PW:S yourself and move over to the tank so they can pick up aggro. At lower levels PW:S is crazy overpowered.

If someone dips low on health, Penance will be more than enough to get them back up. While leveling, don't be afraid to use Renew, too. It's still pretty powerful at low levels, even for Disc.

As for the Squall Shapers...Bubble ALL the things!

Finally, have fun. If the group you're in is just overwhelming you with the damage that's being taken, chances are it's their fault and not yours. Don't take anything too personally, and if it gets to be too much idiocy from them, just leave. Healer Queues are awesomely short. ;)
Edited by Asanpi on 5/27/2013 10:13 AM PDT
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90 Night Elf Priest
13490
First, welcome to healing and welcome to the priest class.

Based on what you've said, you're going to be more than okay. Low level dungeons are designed to be very easy, so what you've done has really overqualified you for healing them. However, I applaud you for your dedication and desire for Doing Things Right.

Healing in general is part science, part art. All the preparation in the world can fail you if you panic, or if you've got a tank who heedlessly barrels forward and doesn't let you do the most important thing: learn*. Don't be too hard on yourself as you're starting out; be critical, but don't be mean.

*Note: This can actually be debated. If you're in the stages where you're still remembering what you've bound to which key, and are hesitating, this can put you into either a panic or into a state where you just start mashing buttons hoping to keep people alive. Neither is particularly great. If, however, you've become comfortable with where your [currently few] spells are bound, you may choose (and I would encourage, so long as it's not making anyone else in the group highly uncomfortable/panicky) to take what's happening as a challenge.

Some will say that there are no real challenges in low level dungeons. I disagree. For new players who may not have the best gear, "catastrophes" can still happen. That goes back to the overzealous tank I mentioned, and also includes DPS who decide they want to pull for a slower/newer tank (or who decide they want to pull more even if the tank is already chugging along). My advice is accept the challenge unless it's really causing a problem. Trial by fire can be a very effective teacher.

You'll also want to learn the art of keeping up with a reckless tank. When it's safe to do so, try to keep ahead of, parallel to, or next to the tank. Between pulls, even if you may not need the mana, plop down for a few seconds to regen a bit. It can make a big difference.

If someone offers advice in a run, trust but verify. Search old (not too old) topics here or on the priest forums. Make a new thread if you can't find any. Mostly be open to advice, but skeptical enough to avoid getting caught with bad advice.

Finally, be ready for some jerks. There will always be someone who is angry and wants the rest of the group to feel bad. They'll insult you, they'll insult someone else, they'll make every pull hell. I'm at the jaded stage where I just want to kick them and be done; sometimes I'll try to talk them down (and sometimes that even works).

To answer your questions about Disc:

PW:Shield freely. Use it when you know that pesky rogue is going to take damage. Use it on the tank always. Use it on yourself with one of the tanks inevitably fails to pick up some add or another.

Healer threat is usually negligible. What you'll have to "worry" (don't sweat it too much; you have Fade) about later is using Holy Fire/Smite/Penance for Atonement healing. If you want to be responsible, just target what the tank is targeting and attack that.

Penance and, later, Greater Heal will be your go to single-target heals; Atonement healing will also be used for this, as well as for splash healing on the group (and raid at level cap). Flash Heal is okay to use fairly regularly at low levels, mostly because Penance has a cooldown, but make sure to wean yourself off it when you start getting more abilities. I'd start as early as when you receive Atonement.

You'll also want to use Renew right now. Later on, it's going to remain mostly unused because it's one of our weakest abilities as Disc (right alongside Heal which, again, can absolutely be used at low levels—and at high, but you have to know when you can safely/effectively use it; mostly, you'll find that players use it to clear Weakened Soul).

Squallshapers can wipe a group in the low level dungeon, but their threat mostly comes in the heroic version (which isn't available until level 85, and which you may never see because almost no one does non-level cap heroics). If you notice people taking extra damage, just keep shields on the entire group.

Finally, here's my rID and battletag:

ellyinazeroth@yahoo.com
elly#1345

Feel free to add whichever you'd prefer and shoot me any questions you have. I can also run dungeons with you as you're going through the leveling process. :)
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90 Night Elf Priest
13490
Post 2, because I'm verbose:

Read this only if you're not already glutted and want some pre-knowledge.

I'm going to address Spirit Shell really quickly as well, though you won't get it for a while yet and probably have enough to digest already. Spirit Shell is a cooldown that will replace your single target heals (Heal, Flash Heal and Greater Heal) and Prayer of Healing with a slightly to moderately buffed absorb version of the spells. In other words, when you cast them, you'll see that all of the heal goes into an absorb similar to PW:Shield.

You can use this both preemptively and reactively. If you know you have a reckless tank who takes lots of damage, or you know that the whole group is going to take damage from a pull, pop Spirit Shell and drop the applicable heal on your tank/group before going. Alternatively, you can pop it if they start taking unexpected damage. For a new player, it can be a bit scary to use it reactively because, unless someone has Renew or PoM is out and bouncing somehow, you won't see the health bars going up while you're using the spells. Don't worry. The shield you're creating is effectively doing the same thing by providing the health buffer; in fact, it's doing better because you're getting more out of the absorbs than you would out of the heal.

If it does really worry you, you can preempt the Spirit Shell with Inner Focus + Greater Heal/Prayer of Healing. Inner Focus will guarantee a healing crit which, unlike other healers' crits, provides healing of roughly a normal version of the heal and Divine Aegis, an absorb that provides another 100% healing. (ie: you're still getting 200% healing like other healers, but it comes in a slightly different form).
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90 Tauren Druid
3975
Like the post above me said, just jump right in. I started healing this
Xpac with my monk and fell in love with it.
It can be very intimidating but at low levels you can clear a dungeon with PW:S
as your only spell, especially with the glyph.
Penance and renew are your friends, nothing beats an instant cast when things go bad.You want to use all your spells, and get a feel for the class/spec, but it's good to not get in the habit of flash heal spamming.
There will be both good and bad pugs, and there will be wipes, all you can do is own up to the mistakes (if they were your mistakes that is, everyone fudges it up at some point) and understand what you could have done to be able to prevent it from happening next time.
It won't get too challenging as far as mana and spell priorities until generally Cataclysm content, but just remember you and the tank are top priority for heals. If both you and the tank are in trouble, I'd say go for yourself first, a lot of times you can heal dps long enough to finish the fight even if the tank bites it. You can't heal when you are dead..er, unless you go holy lol.
Most importantly have fun, and don't be afraid to tell the tank to slow down or speed up to fit your comfort level, a little communication goes a long way!
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90 Night Elf Priest
13490
all you can do is own up to the mistakes (if they were your mistakes that is, everyone fudges it up at some point) and understand what you could have done to be able to prevent it from happening next time.


This is definitely huge. Even if you know there's someone who will try and make a big deal about it, own up to any mistakes you make and do what you can to avoid making them again.
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90 Night Elf Druid
5475
One thing I don't think anyone else has mentioned yet: Set focus on the tank. This makes it easier to find them if they run ahead without you, but it also keeps their HP and buffs/debuffs on your screen at all times, even if you need to target something else.

If you have to choose between keeping the tank alive and keeping a DPS alive, keep the tank alive. You can finish an encounter with one less DPS a LOT easier than you can finish it with one less tank. Good DPS will understand why you had to do it that way. Great DPS usually won't be in that much trouble in the first place.
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90 Night Elf Priest
13490
Honestly, I don't think it's crucial to focus the tank(s). Nor am I sure how it would make it easier to find them. If you know where they fall in the group, you should never lose them.
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90 Blood Elf Priest
2820
Don't worry about a thing, we have all had (or at least I did) those pre-dungeon jitters. One thing to calm the nerves is to know that at level 20 a disc. priest is nearly indestructible. your PW:S will absorb almost anything and your penance will be able to bring a tank from almost no health to full health. As for low levels, you could probably get through an entire dungeon solely with your bubbles and penance with the occasional PoH

Welcome to healing, please enjoy yourself and remember that if there is a wipe, it's not always the healers fault. We're just an easy scapegoat.
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90 Undead Priest
6950
Also, you can leave the dungeon whenever the frick you want. Your healing queue is um...zero? So if you're in a group that you don't want to be in, then leave.

It would also do you a world of good to get a guildee/friend tank to go on with you. That would ease you into it.
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90 Dwarf Priest
12850
welcome.

Bring drinks appropriate to your level and have fade keybound.
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7 Gnome Mage
0
i honestly doubt youll be doing alot of healing at such low levels with all the boa gear people have these days but its a good time to teach yourself good habits & experiment a little as well, GL champ
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90 Human Priest
16220
05/27/2013 10:41 AMPosted by Elethia
Finally, be ready for some jerks.

This is so important. I've seen too many people stop healing because of awful people they've met along the way. Don't get discouraged.
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90 Draenei Shaman
5475
05/27/2013 11:48 AMPosted by Elethia
Nor am I sure how it would make it easier to find them.


Focus target has a unique minimap icon. It's often helped me in instances where I wasn't familiar with the layout. Which for the OP is probably going to be all of them.
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90 Blood Elf Priest
3960
Thank you guys for all the wonderful advice! You have been more than helpful and I feel reassured that I'll do fine in the low-level dungeons. And thank you Elethia. I may fire you a few questions about some future instances if I have any.

It's not so much wiping I'm worried about because I'm just learning. It's the unsympathetic people in PUGs because I'm quite sensitive and thin-skinned and I'm aware, like Illucia mentioned, that many people have been scared away from healing because of them. I really want to be a good healer so I don't want this to happen to me.

I checked my Guild roster and most of the members are either much higher or lower level than the recommend level bracket for this particular instance. If I ran the dungeon on normal with people who are 40- 50+ would that make the dungeon too easy? Would they even need me to heal them? I'd personally like there to be some level of challenge in order to improve my skills.

I think may just wing it this evening and see how it goes and if the people are being jerks I'll just leave or wait for a votekick.
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90 Tauren Priest
9140
89191092108:
It's the unsympathetic people in PUGs because I'm quite sensitive and thin-skinned and I'm aware, like Illucia mentioned, that many people have been scared away from healing because of them. I really want to be a good healer so I don't want this to happen to me.


We've all gone through the trials of PUGS who name-call and demean. It's alright, you will get thicker skin eventually. When I first heard from a pug that I suck and need to learn to play, I felt really ashamed, but I kept trying. Once you figure out the rhythm of healing, you'll learn that you have a lot of power/control over the situation and it feels really good that first time you hear "Wow, great heals" after a pull that was expected to be a wipe is saved by your heals.

Good luck and have fun, healing is the most enjoyable role in the game if you really get your mind wrapped around it.
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90 Draenei Priest
3690
I suggest trying first with characters that are suited for deadmines, it could possibly be to easy if you brought level 40s with you.

when you zone in, tell people that your new to healing and for the most part they'll be nice and be understanding of your situation

(if you do end up bringing the higher levels with you, if healing is too easy, get them to take off their gear, low level dungeons are doable in whites and that will lower their health and damage to more appropriate levels)
Edited by Foriel on 5/28/2013 10:50 AM PDT
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90 Night Elf Priest
13490
89191092108:
I checked my Guild roster and most of the members are either much higher or lower level than the recommend level bracket for this particular instance. If I ran the dungeon on normal with people who are 40- 50+ would that make the dungeon too easy? Would they even need me to heal them? I'd personally like there to be some level of challenge in order to improve my skills.


Honestly, a single level 40 player is probably capable of soloing Deadmines.

Just jump right into the fire, and be as aware as you can. That way, you can either own up to your mistakes before anyone tries to make a big deal (it does a lot to diffuse the situation if you admit you goofed and say you'll avoid doing so again) or you know what went wrong and why exactly it's not your fault.
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90 Blood Elf Priest
3960
Just finished the Deadmines instance without a single death. My first experience with healing was actually quite fun and exciting although occasionally I had trouble keeping the others in line of sight and I somehow managed to draw aggro a few times from the bosses. Not sure if it was my fault or the tank's. Hopefully the next instance will be just as good or better.

Thanks again for all your kind words of support! I really appreciate it.
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