How to be a Great Healer
Over the past week or so, both Aunaka Heals and World of Matticus have been posing that great age-old question: can a great healer be taught? What makes a great healer? (And alternatively, what’s the great healer 101 I can put my new healers/alts through?)
A good healer is a healer who is, well, perfectly fine. Their output is great. They don’t let their assignments die and they stay on top of mechanics. They know the stat priorities of their class, they’ve read the forums, or barring all of that, they at least know which spells to cast to keep their heals good and their mana up. They’re awesome assets to a raid group and good team players.
A great healer has all the qualities of a good healer, but beyond that, they have that added “je ne sais quoi.” Like good healers, they know their spells, their stats and they stay on top of their assignments – but when push comes to shove, they’re able to throw all of those “rules” out of the window, make their own decisions, and, to quote Tim Gunn, make it work.
Matticus calls this a great healer’s “killer instinct.”
I don’t think any amount of instruction or mentoring can turn a good healer into a great healer. Training is fabulous for transforming an okay healer or weak healer into a good healer, but not so good at informing drive or “make-it-work-ness” (so not a word). Good healers become great healers (sometimes, but not always): they aren’t taught, they evolve.
It’s those pugs at 1 AM where the tank pulls the boss plus two trash packs and the thought of a wipe (and therefore a longer time in this group) makes you ill, so you pull out every trick in the book to keep the group alive. It’s being thrown into a raid WAY over your head just after you hit max level and wanting so badly not to fail completely that you do whatever you can to keep your assignments alive. It’s seeing your other tanks drop dead one by one, only one tank up who’s eating the Melt Armor debuff and tanking an angry fire bird, and gosh darnit, you’re not going to wipe for the tenth time in a row!
Or more recently – you’re down to the last tendon on Spine, everyone’s scraping the bottom of their mana pools thanks to several bad tendon phases, and the tendon doesn’t die so you have to do the hideous amalgamation phase all over again. And you look at the other healers, they look back, and everyone’s thinking, “OMIGOSH, do we have anything left?! How are we going to get through this??”
Make it work.