1. General healing guide

    General theory of healing

    Healing is a crux of any raid in any expansion of the game. Each role carries significant responsibility, but aside
    the raid leader, you as a healer hold the biggest one. People often blame healers for the wipe, and often it is true.
    No top tier raid team will avoid all the fire, all the mechanics, check out all the dps requirements. We healers are there to cushion the error margins
    and carry the raid to victory. In reality, it isn't the top dps who carries the raid, or the tank. It's the healers, and we are designed to act as a team!
    While DPSers compete to climb the recount mountain, healers & tanks are the plain over which the mountain peaks.

    Table of contents

    1. Introduction
    2. What do all the fancy words mean?
    3. Raid frames
    4. What do our stats do?
    5. Preparing for the boss(es)
    6. Boss fight!
    7. Retrospect
    8. Conclusion

    1. Introduction

    Hello, my name is Martin, and I played WotLK retail since December 2018 until early Cataclysm in spring 2011.
    During my time time on Azuremyst-EU we achieved number of realm firsts: Death's Demise, ToGC25 Anub kill, LK25 normal kill, R1 Bane, R1 LoD.
    In later 3.3.5, I played holy paladin as a main, progressing through ICC25 & Ruby Sanctum, as well as maining it in Cataclysm.
    I quit the game primarily because of highschool and responsibilities thereof. But maturing and managing time better, eventually I started sporadically
    playing Molten/Warmane to relive my early teenage days. I honed my healer skills primarily as a paladin until I started playing the game more actively since 2018. It has come to my attention that there are many high quality healer guides on the forum, but there isn't a guide which underlines it. The guide to healing itself. At the time of writing this guide, I've net just over one hundred full Icecrown heroic clears. My main characters are Klayze (holy paladin) and Morani (discipline priest)

    2. What do all the fancy terms mean?

    Before we delve into the process of healing, some clarification regarding our jargon is necessary.
    Tanks and healers have 3 types of cooldowns:

    Simultaneous effects of different type of cooldowns are calculated additively, while
    the same types interact multiplicatively.
    Spoiler: Show
    Abstract example: Suppose a druid tank has 101 hitpoints and will take an incoming attack of 100.
    A holy priest is ready with a heal that will heal the tank by 50
    Cooldowns at disposal:
    I) Barkskin
    II) Hand of Sacrifice
    III) Guardian Spirit
    IV) Priest trinket: 20% increased healing done by priest
    V) Druid trinket: 20 max health
    VI) Survival instincts
    I and II combine multiplicatively, meaning it will yield 0.2 + (1-0.2)*0.3 = 44% damage mitigation. Tank takes 56 damage.
    III and IV combine multiplicatively, meaning it will yield 0.4 + (1+0.4)*0.2 = 68% healing done increase. He takes 100 damage but is healed by 84.
    V & VI combine multiplicatively, meaning it will yield (101+20)*1.3 = 157.3 hitpoints on the tank.
    So in essence, overlapping mitigation cooldowns diminishes effective value of them independantly, while stacking
    healing increase & health increase cooldowns compounds their effective value.
    Other combination of cooldowns is additively calculated.

    • Effective health & effective healing - first is defined as absolute health + absolute shields PW:S, Val'anyr, Divine Aegis...
      while the latter is defined as raw amount of healing done (doesn't include shields).
    • Overhealing - self explanatory.
    • Prehealing - preparing a heal while anticipating a well defined in time spike of damage on a target.
      Spoiler: Show
      Example: Starting to cast a 1.6s Chain Heal on a 100% health target, while the Infest ability is anticipated in 1.5s.
    • Chaining Cooldowns - popping a defensive cooldown just as another one is about to expire.
      Spoiler: Show
      As seen above, mitigations diminish each other when stacked, so to optimally minimize the cumulative damage on the tank/raid - the cooldowns are used back-to-back. Same thing with personal healing cooldowns. Because they combine multiplicatively, it's very often an overkill to overlap them, since the entire effect of the latter cooldown goes into overhealing.
    • Sniping heals - prehealing a non-timed attack, or a vaguely timed attack.
      Spoiler: Show
      Boss' melee swings are often on a fixed timer, and resetting only due to tanks' parries.
      Let's say a boss has 1.8s swing timer, and your Holy Light is on 1.2s cast timer. Hard spamming it would coincide (within, say 0.2s window) with roughly every 3rd melee swing. However, sniping every single heal is practically impossible, therefore often the snipes are done accidentally.
    • HPS - Healing per Second.
    • AHPS - Absorbs & Healing per Second.
    • Globalling the healer - when tank dies between two casts of your most powerful HPS abilities, usually 1 second: HL + LoH;
      HW + NS;
      GHeal + Instant FH...

    3. Raid Frames - the tools of the trade

    The table upon which we operate is called a Raid Frame.
    In the later expansions the game offers default Blizz RFs for healing. However in 3.3.5 we require an addon to set them up.
    Over the course of years I've worked with the Vuhdo addon. It is highly recommended for both beginner and advanced healers, as well as DPSers and tanks.

    Healing is a fast paced game, and requires fast reactions. I'm a huge advocate of mouseover healing. Healing with targetting is too slow for
    a lot of situations. There are two ways to utilize this: to bind the heals to the keyboard buttons (say '3' is Holy Light), or to the mouse buttons.
    But because we're moving our pointer over the raidframes with our mouse, there are psychological reasons to bind the heals to the same hand, ensuring faster reaction.
    Spoiler: Show
    General template of a mouseover macro:
    /cast [@mousover] Spell name;

    I highly advise the new and old healers to play this way. Another reason is that our keyboard binds are overloaded and we often resort to 'clicking' certain spells or awkwardly binding them to '7', '8', 'U', etc. DPSers do their magic with keyboard, we play with both hands!
    Spoiler: Show
    Bind Strafe Left & Strafe Right to A and D respectively.
    Move primarily with W, A, D, keep your pinky hovered over Shift, keep thumb close to Alt.

    Setting up Vuhdo
    This section is a brief introduction to the Vuhdo addon. If you're comfortable with whichever raid frames you use, feel free to skip this section.
    Spoiler: Show

    Type /vuhdo opt or click on the minimap icon to open Vuhdo configuration. Your default Vuhdo should look like this:
    Spoiler: Show

    If at any point you wish to see how the frames would look like in an N-raid format, go to Move!, select desired raid format, then head back to General. Configure your Vuhdo exactly like in the following sequence of steps to tidy up and initialise your frames.
    1. Spoiler: Show
    2. Spoiler: Show
    3. Spoiler: Show
    4. Spoiler: Show
    5. Spoiler: Show
    6. Spoiler: Show
    7. Spoiler: Show
    8. Spoiler: Show
    9. Spoiler: Show

    Next step is to personalise your frames. Head to Panels --> Bars. Configure the size and the desired texture. Personalise the raiders' names in Text.
    Next comes the spell binding part. Head to Spells --> Mouse and bind your heals in whichever fashion suits you. The following is an example I use on my main Holy Paladin.
    Spoiler: Show
    Left Right Middle Button 4
    ----- Holy Light Flash of Light Holy Shock Cleanse
    Shift Lay on Hands Sacred Shield Beacon of Light Runic Healing Injector
    Alt Hand of Protection Hand of Sacrifice Hand of Freedom Hand of Salvation

    Good thing to also personalise is your debuff tracker. Head to Debuffs --> Custom.
    A myriad of debuffs occur throughout the WotLK raids. Most of them are already incorporated into the default custom debuff list.
    Lucky for us, the same list can track buffs as well. Use this list to incorporate additional debuffs, tank cooldowns and healer cooldowns.
    List of (de)buffs I added for myself:
    Spoiler: Show
    Divine Intervention
    Divine Protection
    Divine Shield
    Dragon's Breath
    Entangling Roots
    Eyes of Twilight
    Freezing Trap
    Guardian Spirit
    Hammer of Justice
    Hand of Freedom
    Hand of Protection
    Hand of Salvation
    Hand of Sacrifice
    Howl of Terror
    Ice Block
    Icebound Fortitude
    Lay on Hands
    Necrotic Plague
    Pain Suppression
    Psychic Horror
    Shield Wall
    Soul Reaper
    Survival Instincts
    Vampiric Blood
    Power Word: Shield (only on The Lich King)

    How I personally configure my UI:
    Spoiler: Show

    4. What do our stats do?

    As a fresh healer, or trying out a different class - before entering the raid, gear and talents management is vital.
    It is important to know what each stat roughly contibutes to your healing game.

    • Critical strike rating
      Spoiler: Show
      crit chance % = (intellect / 166.16) + class constant + (crit rating / 45.9)

      If a heal crits, it heals for 150% of the base amount.
    • Haste rating - decreases your GCD and cast time of your spells.
      haste % = Haste Rating / 32.8
      Spoiler: Show
      Cast = Base Cast / [ (1 + H1%/100) * (1 + H2%/100) * (1 + H3%/100) *... ]
      Where H1%, H2%, H3%,... are various haste buffs

      Example of cast time calculation:
      Spoiler: Show
      Base cast time of Holy Light is 2.0s (assuming Light's Grace talent). Let's calculate the cast time under three different haste buffs, assuming the paladin has 1200 haste using the said formula.
      1. Judgements of the Pure
      2. Wrath of Air Totem
      3. Bloodlust

      Only haste: HL = 2.0 / (1 + 1200/(32.8*100)) = 1.46s
      Haste+JotP: HL1= HL / (1 + 15/100) = 1.27s
      Haste+JotP+totem: HL2 = HL1 / (1 + 5/100) = 1.21s
      Haste+JotP+totem+Bloodlust = HL3 = HL2 / (1 + 30/100) = 0.93s

      Base GCD is 1.3s and it can be reduced up to 1.0s. Using the formula above one can calculate the GCD cap
      in conjuction with various raid/talent haste buffs.
    • Mana per 5 seconds - a linear, straight-forward stat.
    • Intellect - increases spell critical strike chance and mana pool. 1 intellect yields 15 mana. All healer classes have flat intellect buff from talents and shamans & paladins get spellpower as a percentage of it.
      As all the stat buffs are multiplicative, talents such as Divine Intellect talent coupled with Blessing of Kings will yield 0.1*(1+0.1) ~ 21% intellect buff.
    • Spirit - used only by druids & priests who have Intensity/Meditation talent. It is their main source of mana regen.
      Formula to calculate mana-per-five yielded from spirit:
      Spoiler: Show
      Mp5 = 0.016725 * sqrt(Int) * Spirit

      Intellect buffs the value of spirit, such that there's a threshold where the same item level mp5 item become worse than a spirit one.
      Example: Marrowgar's Frigid Eye vs. Memory of Malygos; at roughly 264 average ilvl gear, the Sindy ring outperforms the Marrowgar ring.

      5 second rule: if you're not casting (or using any mana abilities) for 5 seconds, then you gain the full 100% mana regen from spirit.

    Which gear and stats should I strive for?
    While DPSers optimise their gear to net them the most DPS, people assume healers strive for gear that makes us put forth most AHPS.
    That would be mostly true if we had infinite mana, however often we strike a balance between longevity and raw AHPS throughoutput.
    While there are certainly best-in-slot lists for healers, some items (especially trinkets) are swapped out depending on various factors.
    While gearing up your healer, item level is certainly important. At lower gear (6.0k and less) main
    paradigm should always be: higher ilvl = better. Only exceptions are trinkets and relics. Main dispute stems from gemming.

    You gem what you need the most to heal effectively in raids.

    While every healer has a prefered stat(s), the rough rule of thumb for is this: if you feel you can last for at least 3 minutes in a healing intensive fight
    without running out of mana - gem spellpower and/or haste. Holy paladins go for Intellect/haste/SP combinations, whereas disc priests opt for SP/crit/spirit. Each spec has its own gemming nuances, while also entailing different viable playstyles with different gemming paradigm.
    There are many wrong styles to gem, but there's no perfect fit-for-all style of gemming.

    5. Preparing for the boss(es)

    Before engaging the boss with your fellow raiders, it's important to have an idea of how the fights flows.
    You ought to have a feeling about which targets take roughly which amount of damage, which cooldowns ought to be used when. Do I need to dispel?
    Do I need to preheal something? Do I need to move a lot? How to manage my mana? Read up on boss' abilities and make sure to track the important ones.

    Before the boss is engaged, there is always a pull timer indicating the time until the combat starts.
    During this time it's a good practise to use long/medium term spells which mitigate damage or buff your healing for the initial period of the fight
    Things include: Disc priest PWS pre-shielding & Prayer of Mending, shaman relic stacking & putting down totems, paladin's Beacon + Sacred Shield, Resto druid's Lifebloom stacks and Rejuv prehotting, et cetera. It's usually a slight nuance, but other healers on your team will be very appreciative.

    6. Boss fight!

    Surpisingly(!) the paramount duty for a healer is not to get killed! Not respecting mechanics leads to a loss of healing, or just redundant healing done to yourself. Healers aspire to be on the bottom of 'Damage Taken' meter! Take care of yourself, before taking care of the raid.
    The prime tenet of healing is:

    Heal targets that REQUIRE healing.

    A tautological statement, but often neglected. If you're a shaman in twilight realm of Halion HC, Chain Heal is a no-bueno. Yes, the raid might be slowly dying, but tank can die in 2 seconds if you're not careful. During a single hard-casted Chain on the raid, you're playing dice with tank's life. Let your druid/hpala/hpriest slowly take care of the raid, tanks are a far bigger priority. Only if you see a big tank cooldown, then sure - chain the raid. The objective is to survive and keep the raid alive, not to top the whatever fictional AHPS meter. Anticipate the damage as much as you can. Preheal as many mechanics as you can. Listen to the calls of your tank/leader for external cooldowns. Failing such a call can leave your tank globalled, as is often the case on LoD/Bane. Personal cooldowns are best rotated (not stacked!). Identify the downtimes in damage, so you can regenerate mana. Utilize the 5 second rule (druids, priests), utilize SoW & Divine Plea, utilize Mana Tide & Hymn conjuction. Ending the fight at 100% mana brings no merit; mana is made to be spent. If you have a lot of mana left, cast more. Try and snipe more heals!
    As you'll notice, certain aspects of a boss entail certain strengths and weaknesses of various healers. As a Holy Paladin you'll never be able to burst heal the raid as a Holy priest/Resto shaman would. Whereas as a shaman, you'll stuggle keeping two tanks alive, praying your Holy Paladin plays his A card and utilizes the beacon. Play the strongest cards your class brings to the table. Be supportive and objective of your gameplay. While DPSing is an almost mechanical thing to do, healing is a true skill. We hone the skill raid by raid, boss by boss.

    7. Retrospect

    Every boss fight we make smaller or bigger mistakes, it's only natural. No healer ever plays it perfectly. It's a good practise to look at Skada logs and compare various spells' healing contribution. A holy paladin netting 12k HPS, but having 50% of it coming from JoL isn't really a striking performance.
    As healing is objectively more complicated to teach & master, don't feel down. Read up on your respective class' guides, ask the OPs questions. Get comfortable with the complete arsenal of your healing & utility spells. No good healer is a three button bot (not even the notorious Holy Paladin!). Watch the kill videos from your respective class' PoV. Trust me, even if you have years of experience, there is always a small nuance that slipped your mind.

    8. Conclusion

    If we compare DPSing to history in high school, then healing is definitely maths. You hone your healing by practise. Heal, heal & heal more! The tips and tricks in this guide are intended to be all-around and not class specific. Check out the various class specific guides to learn more about your favourite healer. Warmane commonwealth public suffers from high proportion of low quality healers. I hope this guide helps you to carry your raid to success! Remember - always be humble, and if you wipe, it actually is 95% your fault, because you could've prevented it with more focus. Even if they stand in fire, if tank turns his back. Even if melee group soaks the LDW spirits like a big spunge, you still try and cushion their mistakes. It's sometimes an ungrateful role, but often the most valued one.
    I'll leave you with a video from one of our LoD kill. Enjoy! :)

  2. ...and I played WotLK retail since December 2018 until early Cataclysm in spring 2011.
    Meant to say since Dec. 2008*

    Also correct link to my priest: Morani

  3. Good guide, easy to understand and implement! Keep it up!

  4. 10/10 Guide. VuhDo > Healbot+Grid2

  5. 10/10 Guide. VuhDo > Healbot+Grid2
    It all depends on preference.

    I like to use healbot to heal. This leaves my other hand on keyboard for easy moving, popping a CD, tea-bagging, eating etc.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts