Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Healing; Is It Me?

I did another heroic on my shaman healer yesterday and we wiped 4 times.  Two of those times where not my fault but two I will directly connect to my healing.  One wipe was because no one interrupted the fear from the second boss in BRC and someone got feared right back into the beam and changed and the other was to someone being new and making a mistake.  No problem there, we all have to do heroics the first time right?

I had a few more deaths to deal with here and there but those where more the fault of people not moving when they were supposed to then my healing.  There is only so much I can do and as much as I hate to say it but if I see someone taking avoidable damage I do not heal them if they do not move, it is that simple. 

If the tank has incoming damage and a DPS starts taking a beating from a mob I have to make a decision.  Try and save the DPS or make sure I keep the tank up.  The logic here is simple.  If I let the DPS get eaten the tank is still alive to taunt the mob after it is done with its DPS lunch.  If I try to keep the both up and I can not and the tank dies then it might be a wipe if you do not have another DPS capable of taking a beating.  So I let the DPS die.  It is just the way it is.

Or let me say it is just the way it should be.  One of the wipes that was my fault was that I was trying to keep the DPS up and I could not invest that much mana and time in healing the DPS and still get enough heals in on the tank.  I should have chosen a DPS that I was going to let die and maybe did patch work on the other two but kept my concentration on the tank.  I misjudged, we wiped, it was my fault.

Another one of the wipes that was my fault was on trash.  The tank was marking mobs and somehow the mobs pulled before any CC was added and before everyone was ready.  One of the DPS was afk at the time even.  I was slow to react and by the time I started to play catch up healing the tank was already at 50% and had 6 mobs beating in him.  We got a few of the mobs down but the healing requirements on the tank were too much on me and the tank went down meaning a wipe. 

While you could say it was not my fault because it was an accidental pull I say it was my fault because I was slow to react.  If I had started healing instantly then I would have not fallen behind as much on the damage the tank was taking.  We might have been just fine.   Better reaction time from me could have very well saved us.

That is not completely what this is about however.  I am still learning to heal on my shaman and being I do not do it often it is not like I have a lot of training yet. What this is about is if I am doing something wrong.

Shaman healers do not have a lot to deal with.  There are very few heals to choose from and each one is specific on its uses which makes it a perfect healer for new healers should anyone ever want to get into healing.  Unlike a priest or druid where they are three spells that basically do the exact same thing with tiny differences and mistakes can be made shaman healers have so few spells that mistakes do not happen all that often.

I've learned the little tricks like casting my bigger heals directly after a riptide to make them faster or stronger (depending on spell choice).  I use unleash elements when I need a little boost to my next heal.  I do, or try to do, everything that is textbook perfect.  I read a lot of forums and blogs so I get a lot of information to feed on.

My problem is that I just can not keep up.  I can spam everything I have on the tank and it is always a losing effort when steady damage is coming in.  Even if I go total oh shit mode and spam my expensive fast spell with boosts from riptide and unleashed elements I still can not keep up.

My gear is not horrible any more.  I am at about 336.  Not great but more then ample for a heroic.  Why can I throw everything but the kitchen sink at the tank and the tanks still keep going down?  My heals do not keep up with the damage coming in.  God forbid a DPS starts to take some damage and I make the mistake of throwing a heal on them.  It will mean a wipe.

I am always behind on the tank.  30K damage in, 20K heal, 30K damage in, 20K heal, 30K damage in, 20K heal... their life just keeps going down and down and I can pour everything I have into it and I can not keep up.

I could put this on the line of being skill related.  I am not very skilled at being a resto shammy yet so that is more then acceptable.  However, I do not think this is skill related.  What skill is there required to throw the biggest heals with the best available buffs (from RT or UE) over and over.  This is not a skill issue.

I did have a good tank last night that saw this happening. He was a paladin and what he would do is watch his life going up and down.  When he started to get really low he noticed that my heals where always losing a step here and there and he would use lay on hands, which gave me a quick second to throw something on the rest of the group, and then I would go back to power healing him.  Being we had good DPS, 2 over 10K and 1 8K, things did not stay up long enough for me to oom but oom is not what worries me.  What worries me is that my heals can not keep up on just one target.

Is it just me?  I do not always have this problem, just some mobs, they seem to inflict more damage then I am capable of healing.  The huge dragonkin in BRC are one of them.  I even landed the big heal directly after the big hit each time.  I have that timed.  I just could not keep up.  Glad they die fast enough.

The second boss in GB was like that as well.  Swords phase I was fine but at a certain point it starts to pass my heals and then it is a matter of playing catch up the rest of the fight.  If a mace phase comes right after a sword phase you might as well just call it a wipe.  I do not have the skills to handle that.  Not to mention, the heals just do not seem to be covering enough.

Over all shaman healing is easy.  90% of the fights I have no problem.  We can even do some pulls with all 5 of the mobs attacking the tank and no CC going on and I have no issues.  Just some times it seems I can not keep up.

Is it me?  Are there some fights that you just feel you can not keep up with no matter what you do?

Maybe some of the fights are just designed that way.  Maybe they do not want the healer to be able to keep the tank at 80% of better all the time.  Maybe they want the healer to fall behind so some mobs fall into the hands of the DPS to dictate the fight.  Can the DPS down it fast enough before the healers falls to far behind on the tank.  Something like that.

I don't even bother with my priest yet until the patch.  I've been heroic geared on my priest forever it seems now and have yet to run one heroic with her.  I am disc, the shields suck, a disc healer without a shield is like a warrior tank without a shield, someone doing half their job.


  1. I recommend you check out a fellow blogger "Life in Group 5" dedicated Shaman Healer. It's an excellent resource for anyone learning to heal shaman style.

    Also tanks need to be using their Defensive CD's almost all the time so if you find your unable to heal a tank regardless of what you throw at them, it could well be they aren't making proper use of the Cool Downs.

  2. Thank you very much. On my way to check it out now.