Monday, June 8, 2009

Who's Healing Me?

This topic was suggested by Nigiri in the Blog Azeroth forums.

I spend a good deal of time talking about healers on my blog. After all, what's a tank without a healer?

A lot of this I may have said before, so I apologize for repeating myself, but I do believe it's least from a tank's perspective.

Frankly, I don't care what class the healer is. Like the various tanking classes, each healing class brings something different to the table. As far as I'm concerned, there's a bigger issue than the types of heals and buffs they provide.
  • Priests: Many of the tank healers I've worked with in the past are priests. Briele and Willy, who I've mentioned, are fantastic healers and they take good care of me.
  • Paladins: I've also had the pleasure of working with some amazing Pally healers, like my buddy Vycodin (great name for a healer, right?).
  • Shamans: Seriously, who doesn't like the totems? Chain heals are awesome, too.
  • Druids: There's something very comforting about seeing a HoT tick away as I'm fighting. A stream of incoming damage getting offset by a ticking HoT is great.
So what's the point? I like them all. I'd take any class into a 5-man or a raid with me, as long as the person at the keyboard is competent. Sure, there are some fights where one type of healer may be better at healing the raid rather than the tank or vice-versa, but, ultimately, if they get the job done, I'm a happy tank.

For me, the chemistry with the healer is far more important than whatever class that healer happens to be. Again, I've touched on this before, but when the healer-tank relationship clicks it transcends class differences.

The healer and the tank are the battery of the group...the pitcher and the catcher. If you watch baseball on a regular basis you'll notice that, once in a while, a pitching change will trigger a change in the catcher position. Also, while the starting catcher may catch for most of the rotation, he may get a day off when a specific pitcher(s) is starting that day.

Why? Because pitchers and catchers get used to one another. They, for the most part, communicate without words. The catcher knows what the pitcher is capable of, and will call the game based on that. The pitcher knows if he can get away with throwing a forkball into the dirt based on whether or not the catcher is capable of getting his body in front of it. It's all about chemistry.

That's why I continue to contend that chemistry is the most important thing when it comes to tanks and healers. It's more important than classes and even more important than gear. It can be spur of the moment, too. I've had healers who I've never met before do a brilliant job because we click almost instantly.

Bottom line, if you're willing to throw some green combat text my way and can anticipate when my tail needs saving I'd be more than happy to tank for you...regardless of class.


Anonymous said...

Very true. Some people are so hard up about which class is better for healing raids and which class is better for healing tanks, but I dont think it really matters that much. Its all about knowing how to play your class and knowing which skills to use, and when to use em.

I've had the pleasure of experiencing one of the best tanking and healing skills in this game when I was DPSing Heroic HoL. It was late and we found a pally tank, PopMyBubble, who was interested in a quick run. So I asked a druid healer that I knew, Dominot, and he agreed to heal for us. Needless to say we cleared that instance in 25 min. The tank was chain pulling non-stop and I have absolutely no idea how Dominot was able to keep up with him. It was insane. But in the end we downed Loken within 2 minutes and without running out during the lightning nova. Now that is some serious tanking and healing skills. :)

Misneach said...

No doubt.

I've chain-pulled instances in the past...ones that I know and am comfortable with. It takes a good healer to keep up. Not a certain class of healer, just a good one.

There's trust involved, too. I trust that the healer will keep me alive, and they need to be able to trust that I'm looking out for them as well.

Aeltyr said...

I kind of miss that chemistry since I rerolled rogue. I miss being part of that battery.

That being said, as DPS it's nice to know when your tank and healer have everything under control and you can DPS without a care in the world.

Of course, sometimes even the best tank needs a hand (think Heroic Shadow Labs / Shattered Halls pulls back in the day when we didn't overgear them) and that's where we come in :) Well, holy trinity of instancing I guess .. tank, heal, DPS/CC :)

I don't know if you DPS a lot, but if you do DPS every once in a while, do you notice any difference compared to tanking ?

Anonymous said...

DPS has been dumbed down imo. I dunno, maybe its just me. I remember back in BC we would need at least one DPS crowd control in the group, but now its, "Everybody just let the tank pull the group and AOE like crazy." Makes it a lot easier of course, but I kinda miss the days where you actually have to strategize on which mob to pull so as not to wipe the group.

Misneach said...

@Aeltyr: I still can't hear the words "Shattered Halls" without shuddering.

I don't dps much at all. Mis is pretty much all tank all the time. I suppose when I get some more dps gear I can flex my Fury muscles a bit.

I tried dpsing using Cheesi's character way back when in a Kara run and failed miserably. Kept pulling aggro. Vanish just doesn't have a short enough cooldown for me :)

It takes practice, just like anything else. I admire dps who can top the meters without pulling aggro. Being able to properly maintain that balance is truly a gift. Throw in CC and it's even more impressive. I spend so much time talking tanks and healers on this site, I should probably throw the dpsers some love, too.

I think you may have just inspired another post :)

Aeltyr said...

@Colin (second post): Oh yes, I also hate how most stuff is AoE'd now.

@Misneach (second post): Haha well happy to provide inspiration :p

And i find that with Tricks of the Trade I don't really have to watch my aggro that often. As long as I'm attacking the same target as the tank. Loose adds can get a bit hairy sometimes, though.

Anonymous said...

M'pocket tank and I have secret tank and healer hubris because we spent a lot of time whispering to each other about how we can rule the galaxy together as healer and tank.

I really like this post, actually, because often you don't think about the underlying chemistry beneath something that feels as abstract as a WoW-relationship.

The weird thing about that chemistry is that, I suppose, like real life chemistry it hits utterly unexpectedly. I remember running a random PUG through ST, and I didn't *like* the pally-tank at all. He wasn't evil or anything, just a little bit cocky and a little bit brash. But for some reason I found him remarkably easy to heal for, and we completely scythed through the instance. And afterwards, when were all standing triumphantly on the corpse of the final boss, we were both a little awkward, sharing grudging praise and good wishes for the future, as if we'd just had an unexpectedly amazing one-night stand but no intention of ever seeing each other again =P

Misneach said...

@imsr: thanks for your comment and the linkage :)

Also, your one-nighter analogy was great!