Monday, June 9, 2008
A Fresh Look at Healing Meters
Once upon a time I wrote a very near-sighted post on healing meters. While some parts of it are fundamentally true, I've come to find that, like most things, situation is key. The instances and fights which a resto druid comes out on top widely varies due to group make-up, healing assignment, and encounter. Resto druids, though always maintaining least overheal (hopefully), will move up and down the healing charts based on those items. If you're wondering if you're at the proper place on the healing charts for an encounter, ask yourself a few questions:
1) Which part of the WWS am I looking at?
Are you looking at overall? A certain boss? Trash mobs? Did you have the same assignment for overall? If you look at the entire WWS report, it may not reflect your actual healing prowess, especially if your healing assignment changes throughout the raid. A change in healing assignment almost always changes effective healing.
2) Which instance were you in?
Some raids just work better at letting resto druids shine than others. Mount Hyjal, for example, will always have at least three tanks taking damage during trash pulls, and the pulls are much longer fights than the bosses. With multiple Lifebloom stacks rolling, it's easier to get seen on the healing meters, especially as other healers won't be able to focus-fire the main tank an overwrite your HoT ticks as much. Unlike in fights that have only one tank and minimal/predictable raid damage; your HoTs will more often be overwritten than not.
3) How big was the raid group?
In a ten-man, it is easier to shine than in a 25. Besides the amount of people you have to compare to, the tasks in a ten-man are much more focused and reliant on people doing their specific jobs. That priest may not have time to raid heal; that shaman may be too busy with chains to snag the tank except through bounces. Also, in a ten-man, the damage is such that it is easier for a full stack of HoTs on the MT to make the other healers' jobs much easier.
4) What was your assignment?
Druids are good at raid-healing in tens, but not very efficient in 25's. With five/six/seven other healers besides yourself AoE healing and assigned to certain groups, your HoTs get overwritten. And sometimes, there's only one tank to stack HoTs on. Other times, you'll have duties such as decursing, removing poisons, or you'll have to stop your HoT rotation to hunt down a dead body and breathe new life into them. Take into account what you were assigned to do and how well that assignment meshes with what your class was designed to do.
5) What were the other healers' assignments?
Just like how AoE dps shoots off the charts, AoE healing is going to have you beat. CoH and Chain Heal are, in some encounters where everyone is tightly clustered and taking continuous damage, going to kick everyone else off of the charts. With only one MT and little raid damage, Paladins should "beat" everyone else.
6) What other healers did you bring with you?
Do you have a deluge of druids? A plethora of paladins? A surfeit of shamans? A profusion of priests? This may not seem to matter at the moment, but as each healing type has different strengths and weaknesses, bringing different healers to different settings will change the outcome of any healing meter. Combine this with the different styles needed for different fights, and your place on the WWS will fluctuate.
7) How does your gear match up?
Most of this has been assumed with equal or close-to gear. However, gear will make a difference if the gulf is wide enough, so keep that in mind if you feel like you are "not where you should be" on the meters but are doing everything right.
Please, however, do not take this as a guide to how to get to the top of the meters all the time. Trying to "win" at healing meters is almost as bad as doing everything you can to top the DPS meters. A healthy sense of competition is fine, but make sure you examine your reasons for trying to get to the top. There's nothing wrong with being proud when you get there, but stay humble; next week you may not be so lucky. Just work with, and trust, your other healers. And remember: all these charts mean little to nothing if you don't have fun, your raid members and friends don't have fun, and the boss doesn't go down.