Thursday, June 19, 2014

Back to Work and Back to thinking about Healing, plus some BB news

So first some Bandage Brigade (BB) Raider news:

Our raid team was formed late in the SoO game with initial runs beginning around November of last year (2013). Over the past seven months we have been plagued with roster changes and major shakeups, including the two cursed slots we can't seem to keep filled. We saw a brand new tank and healer begin their new careers in these new roles (both have extensive raiding histories but not in their new given roles). One of those being myself after switching from mage to priest. Since then I have attained healer gold and learned much but still have a long, long way to go before I can say that I have mastered the role.

Despite all of that we downed Spoils tonight and put in two decent pulls on Thok. A few weeks ago we finally said no to any further resets and have since been pushing content in an effort to get Garrosh down before 6.0 takes the wolves away. It hasn't been easy especially with up to 4 new and sometimes old faces changing hands each week. On top of all that we have been plagued with the same lack of certain loot problems that so many others have had this tier. In fact last night I managed to get two very nice Flex Garrosh kills and was awarded three bags of gold for my effort. =P. I'm still running LFR trinkets and off-hand despite dozens of bonus rolls.
I understand RNG can be painful for some but it sucks when you are one the people on the left side of the bell curve who almost always get screwed in order to allow right siders to enjoy all the wonderful joys that loot can bring.
Ah well, life goes on ;)

After the page break I want to jot down my thoughts about healing in an attempt to not only clear my head but perhaps help others in BB become more conscientious healers as well.

Ok so Healing. At first look it appears to be almost the polar opposite of DPSing. Damage Dealers use an energy source and convert it into a force which depletes their targets health pool. Healers on the other hand convert energy into health in order to replenish our targets pools.

On first pass that sounds good but the thing is it is not a complete picture of what we healers do. A damage dealer merely needs to cast the spell which has the highest damage per execute and never stop casting. They can fall easily into a rotation or priority system and just do that until the target falls over dead.

Healers on the other hand need to consider not only what is happening currently but also what will be happening in the near future. If a small heal will keep a target alive while we deal with a more urgent target then it is fine for them to sit below 100% until we can get to them. In fact if the fight ends with all raid members at 1% health and boss dead then the healers have succeeded.

On top of having to have a deep understanding of the current fights damage patterns we also need to understand how our heals use our energy and replenish our targets health. You will often hear healers talk about efficiency verse throughput.
Simply put this differentiates a spell with good heal per mana and one with high heal per second. The golden child of healing is a spell with high throughput and great efficiency, and in fact we do have spells like this but they are usually locked away behind cool downs.

Other things we need to be conscious of are useless heals. Often called overhealing this translates into wasted mana and is a very bad thing. As with everything in the healer realm though this isn't as easy a concept as it at first appears. Do we include HoTs  in overhealing? HoTs are often used as a padding system to smooth out fluctuations in health pools and its ok that a few ticks might hit a full health pool.
Then we have things like crit and mastery which can add healing that was not exactly planned for. Crit is often seen as a bad stat for healers because of its unpredictability.
Imagine you have two spells you can use to heal a target, the efficient one might heal for only 60% of the larger throughput spell. You see the target's health dip down to a point where it will eat up about 90% of the larger spell. If you risk the smaller spell and have enough crit there is a chance you can heal all of the damage with the more efficient spell. But this uncertainty can be risky especially if the smaller cost spell gets its efficiency as a trade off in speed to cast. On the other hand if you go with the large spell that you know is going to overheal you run the risk of it criting and blowing up with overheal.

Speaking of crit, we need to take some time to discuss stats and how they effect our spells. For one thing a deeper understanding here can lead to less dogmatic and more informed decisions on things like ask mr robit. Beyond that though it is important to know why your class works the way it does and not simply follow blindly a guide.

So for next time we will discuss how a spell gets the healing numbers it does, what your stats are doing for you, and a better way to think about mana and at the same time a different approach to how you think about your tool kit when you go to heal.

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