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Some advice for new healers…

January 12, 2012

…or “Typical healer mistakes”.

Let’s face it, whether you’ve healed in other games and wanna start doing it in SWTOR now, or whether you have never healed before, it can be an intimidating task to even get started. You wanna get your gear and talents right, have to think about the layout of your action bar, have to practice different strategies, and even when that is done, it’s still kinda scary to run your first flashpoint or heroic as a healer.

Now, I have talked about the Sage-spells and talents before, but I would like to add a bit more “overall advice” for healers. Some of this you sure are aware of if you have healed before, but maybe this will help you succeed…

1. Stay calm!

One of the worst things that can happen is if you panic. Yes, there can be scary situations, but if you flip out and panic, your chances to make it will not increase… they will probably decrease if you’re stressed out.
Face it, what is the worst that can happen? If you run with friends and guildies, dieing will not be the end of the world. If you are in a PUG, someone may complain, but you know what? People always do in MMOs. It’s normal, unfortunately, and something we have to deal with (same goes for tanks, and, as soon as a DPS-meter is involved, DPS-classes too). Whether it is your fault or not, people sometimes flip out when a wipe happens or they die, as if it is the worst thing ever. Get used to it, or quit the group… it really isn’t worth it putting up with those who act as if a death in an instance is like a personal catastrophy. YOu will have to grow some thick skin. No, it is NOT fun to have the extra pressure, having to worry people will call you stuff if you fail twice, but it’s the state the MMO-scene is in these days.
I am not suggesting that you should be careless, I am just saying that, even when you do everything right, people will complain. There are some awesome people you meet in PUGs who are totally cool even when things go wrong, but there are also the nerdragers/ragequitters who take stuff too seriously.
Back to my point: No matter what, don’t panic, it won’t help. Stay focussed, and don’t throw up your hands in the air and go “I can’t do this”
It’s important to stay concentrated, because once you panic, mistakes are more prone to happen.

2. Don’t give up

This is related to the point above. “If you fall down, get back up and try again”. Failing or making mistakes is an important part of learning. Believe me, I know what I am talking about. When I first got into healing, or returned to it, in another MMO, those first few instances that I healed in were BRUTAL. I was about to give up after the 2nd or 3rd wipe. It didn’t matter that most of that wasn’t even my fault, with people standing in void-zones, “in the fire”, taking damage impossible to outheal, didn’t matter that the DPS didn’t watch their threat and got aggro… I didn’t pay attention, I just thought I sucked.

Good healing requires experience and good reaction-times, and in many cases knowledge of how certain encounters go (eg. knowing at what time a certain boss starts to unload huge damage). All this is a question of practicing, and if you give up right away, you won’t get anywhere. Ask any good healer and they will tell you that they failed many times, but that they learned from that, had to come up with new tactics, and that it was an incredibly rewarding feeling to finally heal through a whole instance or a very demanding boss-fight.

Don’t. Give. Up.

3. Don’t be afraid to talk

If it is the first time you heal, it might be a good idea to say so. Some people expect the healer to be experienced, and might start bigger pulls than you have seen before, so let them know it is your first attempt. If you are honest about it, people might be a bit more careful, and if things go wrong, be more patient. If some jerk uses some of the typical WOW-vocabulary on you “LOLWUT, n00b!”, consider leaving. Not giving up, but maybe considering doing this with guildies, friends, people who accept that everyone has to learn at some point, and deserves to be given the time and chance to do so.

This also refers to letting people know if you need them to watch out for something. If someone keeps standing “in the fire”, taking unnecessary damage, if someone constantly attacks the wrong mobs and gets aggro, if people constantly go out of LOS, let them know! Don’t take the blame for other people’s mistake, but ask them to do it differently, as some really don’t know sometimes.

4. But keep it civil

You know the deal… “treat others the way you…” Don’t start cussing at people, try to be polite in your requests or directions. “COuld you please make sure you don’t rush ahead to much/go out of LOS?” works better than “Hey, you frigging n00b, if you die its your fault lolz”

5. Tunnel Vision I

Your job is to “care” for other people, to keep them alive. But that also means you have to keep YOURSELF alive. That has nothing to do with being selfish. It’s simple: if you die, the others will too, as there won’t be any healing anymore once you are dead. I have seen so many healers try so hard, while ignoring their own health bars. In the most ideal case, you shouldn’t take damage at all, but remember that there are encounters where everyone takes damage, so even with an awesome tank, it’s possible you take damage. Keep everyone alive, including yourself.

6. Tunnel Vision II

You have been given more than just healing spells. You can CC, debuff a mob, do damage. Of course, healing is your first priority, and if there is a lot of damage, you should focus on that only. However, you can also make fights easier. If there are big groups, you can force-lift one of them to remove them from battle for one minute. You can stun and interrupt mobs, which is insanely important for some encounters.
That does not mean that you have to compete with the DPS-players, but if you have some time to breathe in between healing, and you see the boss cast a high damage-spell, use your interrupt, stun adds, or force-lift one mob before the pull.

7. Come prepared

Even if you are a healer, having a health potion at hand can be a life-saver. If the whole group takes damage, and you are getting dangerously close to dieing, using a potion might help you stay alive, while giving you time to keep healing the others. Stims should be a no-brainer. Having your gear up to date and correctly modded is essential as well… even if you are doing a great job, do everything right, if you are level 50 and wear level 30 gear with same level-mods and enhancements will weaken your heals tremendously.

8. Experiment

Your companions are a unique way to practice healing “mini rotations” and practicing what to do in certain situations. How to heal a lot of damage quickly. What to do when you get aggro. Getting used to dispelling debuffs.

9. Read your talents

I am serious. There are so many people who never read the descriptions of their talents, and miss out on a lot of important information. Those talents are not always actual spells or increase your willpower or whatever… they might add procs to some of your spells, or suggest a certain order of spells that will increase your healing output a lot. Read them, and keep in mind what they do!

10. Challenge yourself

This will most likely require the help of guildies or friends. Test your limits! Try out how you do in extreme situations. Grab a tank and a DPS-char, head into some 2+ place, and ask them to go nuts. How can you handle the output of big pulls (they might accidentially happen in “real circumstances”? What to do when you get aggro? What to do when the group is attacked while you are still building up your Force again…can you survive even if you have only half your Force at the beginning of the fight?
I sometimes do this with friends and offer to cover their repair bills if stuff goes wrong, but many of them have declined that offer, and went in there to help me, or maybe there was some good rewards to get, or maybe just for the fun of it.

Being a healer can be very rewarding, but also very demanding. If you really wanna do a good job, you’ve got a great foundation to build on. Try to get the most out of your class and spec, give yourself time to practice and develop “skillz”. Don’t panic and don’t give up when things go wrong!

  1. Luke permalink

    Out of curiosity: What are your stats now? Also, how much are you healing with Deliverance, Salvation, Trance?… I am trying to get a pretty good gear but still feel really weak.

    • Hi there!
      My stats right now are:
      Presence 238, Endurance 958, Willpower 1078, Health 12080, Damage Reduction 18.15%, Def Chance 10%, Bonus Dmg 495.7, Bonus Healing 377, Crit Chance 27%, Crit Multiplier 56.4%, Force Reg Rate: 8, Activation speed 8.39%
      Gear is a mix of quest rewards and AH-stuff, mostly orange level, with some crafted enhancements.
      I do feel squishy, but ever since I upgraded the gear, soloing stuff has gotten easier, and heals are starting to be more effective.

      Regarding heals, if you ask about those three spells only, my priority is Deliverance – Trance – Salvation. Deliverance is my most-used heal, especially with the lowered cast time from the talent. I mostly use Rejuvenate, Deliverance and Healing Trance because of their speed, effect and proccs triggered by them (for example Conveyance). And of course I use force armor whenever I can. So my healing priority:
      Rejuvenate (Usually cast that before the other heals, if not active)
      Salvation is depending on the situation. Of course, if I heal 2+ targets and they are close to each other, its awesome. I also used it in some tight spots to heal myself and my companion when soloing, but I mostly use it during boss fights or when the amount of smaller mobs becomes overwhelming for my group.
      I hardly ever use Benevolence. Its nice to have such a quick cast, but regarding force cost vs. healing effect, I find it a bit of a waste, so I hardly ever had situations where I had to use it. Combining Conveyance and Deliverance is pretty quick too, and puts out a bit more healing.

      • Luke permalink

        My stats (unbuffed / Valor + HB Resolve Stim:

        STR: 100 105
        PRE: 270 270
        AIM: 54 57
        CUN: 50 52
        END: 1130 1130
        WIL: 1248 1422
        EXP: 0 0
        Red: 20%
        Health: 13800

        DAM: 550.6 595
        HEA: 421.0 454.6
        ACC: 103 103
        CRI: 26.52 27.40
        MUL: 69.09 69.09
        FRR: 8.0 8.0 (any permanent increase?… :))
        ACT: 8.35 8.35

        Deliverance: 2700 / 2800
        Trance: 815 / 850 per tick

        Personally I prefer to use Trance (you can also interrupt Trance by casting Deliverance after 3rd tick – Conveyance applies to Deliverance as well, though it can be removed later – a bug?) – in 5 seconds I have nearly twice as much healing as in rejuv/deliv combo in 3 – and good chance of a free Sacrifice, which can be important in longer fights…

        Also, HT kicks with first tick on instant – that is good to have in drect danger situation, so in my opinion HT > DEL

        Salvation is also quite useful and more Force effective in parties – even on 2 targets it is more efficient than Deliverance; also with Conveyance it is only 61 Force – so when 2-3 persons in party are damaged but not in grave danger, I prefer to cast Rejuv on more damaged target, followed by Salvation.)

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