While I have no actual facts to back up this statement I do believe that most casual guilds like mine like to run with a three healer set up. There are actually many advantages of having such a set up but I find that this raid tier was the first one I recall that pushed us to two heal.
It made me wonder if my healers have been over healing stuff or if we really needed three healers to begin with. It made me wonder if the damage dealers started to develop bad habits of moving slow sometimes because they knew that there was an extra healer to keep them up. It made me wonder if the tanks have fallen a little lax on using cooldowns because they did not always have to for every little thing. It made me wonder if three healing things has made the players in my group worse players, not better ones.
I usually like to use three healers to learn the fights. But once you learn it, when is the right moment to downsize. It is even right to downsize? If you can down stuff with three healers no problem and don't really need to move down to two, why have someone sits that helped you during the learning process?
When we first got to garrosh back in november was when I first started to think seriously about this. Should we start 2 healing all the bosses so the healers can get some practice two healing things? We went in with our standard 2 tank, 3 healers and 5 damage dealer set up and we wiped over and over that first night. Now, because I had read a lot about the fight by that point being it has been out for a while I knew this fight was better as a two healer fight but my guild has always had a strength in the damage department so I figured I would give it a try. Not to mention, I was not about to switch out the group for an optimal set up in the middle of a raid basically. I figured we would keep what we had and work on learning the mechanics.
See, that is why I like the three healer approach. It gives more time to work on mechanics, it allows your group to stay up longer so they see more mechanics and even if it extends the fight it is that extension that gives everyone the chance to work on those mechanics a little more. It never felt like we needed to change that because we never even came close to an enrage timer. Heck, I would be hard pressed to tell you what the enrage timer on most fights was because we never came close to most of them. So it always made me feel as if it was okay to three heal things because it was not like we needed another damage dealer for anything. That is until garrosh.
I question blizzards design here quite honestly. Like I said, I believe many casual groups three heal things and if we can make it all the way there three healing it, it felt a little off that we were basically forced to two heal it or to wipe 100 times while we figured out a way to make it work with three healers, and I am sure we would have made it work if we attempt it. But why should we be forced into that position?
We suffered a fail deal of wipes when we moved down to two healing it because our healers were not used to that. It was added pressure on them and these are not top tier healers, they are not heroic healers, they are casual healers with casual ability. Good at what they do but not exceptional and more importantly not used to two healing things, nevertheless two healing the hardest boss in there.
It makes me wonder what we could have done differently to speed up that process, save us 30 or so wipes while the healers were learning how to two heal something because they were not used to doing so. Should I have started two healing things sooner being I knew what was coming?
And that is the question really, how do you decide to two heal or three heal?
It makes the problem even larger when none of the bosses really had any serious DPS requirements so we were never put into a position where we needed to question the use of three healers.
Two healing and three healing each have their strengths and their weaknesses. I guess it comes down to weighing which are more important to your group.
For me, and my experience, I think I am going to try and lean toward two healing things more often next expansion. Not because I want to, not because we need to because we need another damage dealer, but because blizzard apparently can not make up its mind how it wants to deign things and make a balanced raid. If the raid was balanced than the last boss should have been able to be done with the same group that got up to him with no problems and that means a group with three healers.
Could we have managed it with three healers? Sure, in time we would have finally managed it, I am sure of that. We could do that now if we really wanted to. But we should not have needed to change things up at that last moment for just one fight. That is something heroic guilds should have to worry about, that is not something a casual guild should ever need to worry about.
From a healers stand point I both like and dislike two healing things. Thok scares the crap out of me as a healer and I have never two healed that one, just can't do it. Maybe I can but I am afraid to try it. I am just not that good of a healer. I like two healing because it feels more active, it feels as if my decisions matter more but in the same I dislike two healing because any time someone dies, even if I did everything in my power to save them and their death was their own fault and completely avoidable, I always feel as if I did something wrong.
It is easy to talk about two healing vs three healing as a raid leader because they are just cogs in the machine that get it done. They are roles to be filled, not people. You are looking at statistics of what will work and only after you make your decisions for what works do you have to deal with the human factor of telling someone that has raided with you for years they either need to get their off spec up to par with the rest of the damage dealers or they are going to be sat and rotated in and out on occasion because their cog is just not needed to build this win.
But what about everyone else? Deciding to two heal over three heal effects everyone in your group. Can your damage dealers be faster on the move, do they know how to use their personal cooldowns, if they are a hybrid are they comfortable helping out with a healing cooldown here or there, do they even have it key bound, or on their bars at the worst. Are the tanks really actually good being they never seem to die or take serious damage or was it the fact they always had three healers that was making them look good.
There is an old joke in the healing community that is so true, healers are the only role that the better they get at doing it means someone ends up unemployed.
Moving down from three healers to two healers feels like that. When you are able to make that move it does not feel, at least to me, that you are improving your group going down to two healers, it feels like you are kicking someone to the curb that helped you get to where you are. Great job healing, now go sit on the bench until we reach a boss we need a third healer for. Sucks to be that third healer.
Lets say a guild is just starting SoO right now and recruiting people that have never been in it and do not over gear it. What would you suggest for them, 2 healing or 3 healing? I would suggest 2 healing and get a hybrid with a solid healing off spec.
Why? Because it is better to do it that way and let that person be in on all your kills than to tell them, sorry, we need to two heal this fight so we need to sit you.
Perhaps that is the key, people with two quality specs. And that is the problem with a casual guild like mine. Most of these people barely keep their main spec up to par, nevertheless an off spec. Hey, at least one of my healers as a damage dealer of another class he does not mind switching to. So problem solved, for me. But for everyone else out there the two vs three healer question still lingers. How do you decide?