“Good day, doctor. You will be tested on your ability to triage patients accordingly this afternoon. Should you pass your examination, you will join the prestigious ranks of Horde Trauma.”
Towards the end of Wrath of the Lich King, if I was healing heroic PUGs I would often wish for a group that was at least kind of bad.
Tank being crit? Score.
DPS pulling aggro? Right-on.
Un-tanked caster mobs pelting me with Shadow Bolts? Win.
While this made healing heroics more fun, the main reason why I liked runs like this was because it was better practice for raid healing.
With a solid tank it was possible to heal most heroics without targeting anyone other than the tank. Actually, with the macros I use I didn’t even have to target them.
It was not ideal practice for raid encounters where every GCD can be important.
Cataclysm has succeeded in bringing the two healing experiences closer together.
One of my earliest posts was about how the old first aid quest taught me a lot about healing. I think the basic ideas in that post are still valid but some revisions are warranted.
- Don’t panic
- You always want to have a good sense of what your next spell will be
- You can and should change your mind about what your next spell will be
- Just because someone has been damaged it doesn’t mean they need healing
- Don’t panic
- If you need to panic it’s probably time for a cooldown
The big changes for me are:
- the consequences of casting the wrong spell are higher
- you don’t always want to top everyone up
- panic is harder to avoid
It is now even more important to go over your spellbook and have a good sense of what spells to use in every situation. I’m finding more and more that while choosing the right spell only means that the hole is not getting deeper as quickly, choosing the wrong spell can pretty quickly lead to no mana or dead players (or no mana then dead players).
Maybe I’ll add my thoughts on the current state of the druid spellbook later on.
One thing I am interested in doing is working on my goblin shaman to see what the experience of healing is like at lower levels.
Having leveled to 80 under the old system it feels like a big change to how healing works, but Blizzard clearly had an opportunity to create a leveling process that gradually prepares healers for Cataclysm instance healing.
For now, I’m generally happy that instance healing feels more like raid healing.
Special bonus macro
At this stage I use some close variant of this macro for virtually all my beneficial spells on all my healers. Combined with Grid it makes healing a lot smoother.
/cast [target=mouseover,help][help][target=focus,exists,help][target=player] SPELLNAME
This will cast the desired spell on (in order):
- Whoever is under the mouse if they are friendly. This can be a unit frame or an avatar.
- Whoever is targeted if they are friendly.
- The focus, if they are friendly. I have this set to a tank almost all the time.
- The caster if no other criteria are met.
I’ve thought of adding a target’s target bit between 3 and 4. It might be useful if a fight has tank swapping and you need to keep the boss as your target. For now I just mouseover the tank.