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Healing as a Tank

May 19, 2009

TreeSo, I’ve started actually using my Paw-Paw Bear other spec. It seems that no matter what the status of the “tank shortage” is on other servers, Earthen Ring isn’t part of it. No, what I see most is “LF2M [instance], heals and DPS.” This is a pretty nice thing for Estu and I because it means we can get in on just about anything that’s going down, but it also means that I only get to be a bear while doing dailies… It puts me in a unique position. I hadn’t healed much before this, I think I did one Zul’Farrak run healing at level 50 with healing gear thrown onto my feral build… and In Kara whenever we did Nightbane, invariably the healers would drop one by one and I’d get out of Cat form and give the tank all the mana I had. This is different though, this main healing thing. And today’s post will be some of my observations on learning to heal from the perspective of someone whose first instinct is to be the biggest target of the bunch.

  • The first thing I did was use my wonderful leatherworking skill to make up some remarkably decent gear. In addition to the two healer-aimed leather epics, I’m mostly decked out in the Overcast set, which is sub-prime I’m sure having it’s item budget spent on resilience, but what ya gonna do? For the non-leather slots it was a bit more dicey… I was using level 70 epics from the headless horseman and a green stick I got from a quest reward somewhere until Etsu in her Jewelcrafting splendor took pity on my new, bark-covered butt. Later, Etsu and I 2-manned Azjol Nerub and I upgraded my healy stick to the one that drops from Hadronox. Yeah, a blue from a level 70 instance was an upgrade, I know- It’s sad.
  • Next, I went to go looking for add-ons. These are things I’d heard a lot about but aside from Decursive (which I’ve been using for a long time now*) but had never used before. So far I’ve tried Rewatch and Lifebloomer, neither of which I liked. I’ve heard a lot about Healbot, but it seems…big. I try to keep my UI simple, and Healbot seems like it would take up a LOT of real estate. What I’ve done now is unchecked the “Auto self-cast” box and set Grid up next to my healing keys along the side, so I can click a heal and then click the person who needs it without shooting my mouse to the other side of the screen.

GridNo, this isn’t optimal. No, this isn’t the best way to do it. But damn, all my heals have been up on the side there for what? Five years or so now, and it’s better that I start this way than kill every group I run across looking for heals that mysteriously appear on my action bar instead of Swipe down there and heals on the side. Only in this way can everything be right in the world.

Oh, I also have Clique loaded, but I haven’t done anything with it. We’ll see, maybe later.

  • ???????
  • Profit.
  • No, not really. A change of clothes and a UI addition do not a healer make. I have to actually learn to heal. I’ve done alright for now. Actually managed heroic Utgarde Pinnacle and Violet Hold in my wonderful gear, but I know I’m not doing things right. I keep Rejuvenation up on people that need healing, but beyond that, I’m lost. If I try to do the sexy rolling lifeblooms on the tank while you attend to other things that many of my sources talk about, I usually end up with a full bloom on the tank while I’m saving the mage, and then the tank goes down without my wall of warm, green, fuzzy love on him. Oh, and never actually seem to use mana until I try keeping Lifebloom up. That mana cost nerf apparently hurts. Hard.

At this point I say to myself, “Self? I guess Blizzard did the Lifebloom nerf because there’s a better way to heal. A different way to heal that people don’t realize because they’re caught up in this culture of Lifeblooming!” Then I look around again remark to myself, “Gee self, they gave us a new spell in Northrend. Perhaps this is what we’re supposed to be using now!” And this is how we fall into pits. I tried it, the whole keeping rejuv up and throwing Nourish whenever there was a noticable dent in the tank. The problem with this though, is that there’s not a whole lot else you can do. And while you’re rabidly watching for your next nourish point, the reast of the group is wondering why you don’t love them. Then you have to take them all out for ice cream to show that, really, you don’t have any favorites. /sigh

What I’m left with at this point is a distinct lack of any sort of rotation. Everyone has rotations these days, and I’m just not there. Me as a tree in an instance looks a lot like:

“Rejuvination! Rejuv- Damn, that’s not the right spell, I just threw that one… Oh crap! Gottahealgottahealgottaheal-Natures Swiftness and Healing Touch! Ah! Everyone else hurts! Wild Growth! Tranquility! Wild Growth! Revuv fell off! Damn.”

At which point everything is dead, or everyone in my party is dead. Yeah. I need to work on this thing. I’ll let ya know how it goes.

*OT cannot be without it. Any fight that doesn’t require you to be in bear form to eat some special ability for second-in-threat allows you to help your healers while the tank has good health.
Edit: I’ve set up grid better, and the “mana bars” part shows lifebloom duration. I’ve also used Clique to give me mouse macros for Rejuv, Lifebloom, Nourish, and Regrowth with the “Oh Shit!” buttons still on the right in that bar. So far as I can tell, I’ve improved dramatically. Be Imba tells me that Emelon in VoA ranks up there with 25 man raids and with me in my crafted and crappy heal set I healed that thing with just one other healer. Lets see if I can keep it up, eh?
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