Radom guy> LF 2 Raid Healers for 25 VOA
Me> Invite Mongrr and myself
RG> You’re a Paladin
RG> We need raid heals. Is Mongrr Holy?
Me> He can be – but he’s Disc usually.
RG> Sorry – need raid heals
I seriously had to sell Mongrr and myself to this guy for 25 VoA healing – and Mongrr and I are currently 2/3 of the healers on our server sporting the Kingslayer title (not that it has anything to do with ability to heal, but still). I’ll take the healer Pepsi challenge with anyone on our server, and even if I’m not the best, you’ll still find me as refreshing as an RC Cola and a Moon Pie.
Unfortunately, there seems to be a stigma left over from BC about what roles a healer can and can’t fill. This probably isn’t helped when you have players listing themselves as raid/tank heals, and you see blogs talking about Paladins being the “best” tank heals (and Mongrr will take the Pepsi challenge on that one I guarantee).
GC came out this week with some clarification on Disc priests being great single target healers/shielders, but made the point of specifically NOT stating that they are tank healers exclusively.
A strength is not a role
Despite this misconception, there is no reason that any skilled healer shouldn’t be able to fulfill any given need in a raid. Yes, it may take some thought changes – maybe even something as drastic as a gear/spec/glyph change – but it can be done. No class is exempt from this. Any player who claims they “Won’t raid heal” because they’re discipline, or “Can’t tank heal” because they’re a shaman are probably just bad players.
Raid vs. Tank Healing
First – let’s try and clear this up. There is no such thing as tank healers any more – there are simply single target healers and AoE healers. Some classes certainly do better at putting more HPS into multiple targets, but there is no difference between healing one person up constantly, or targeting 24 players individually to top them off. The only limiting factor that has to be considered is environmental damage or some other incidental damage.
A fight like Anub’Arak is ideally suited to someone who can keep small streams of healing on multiple players at once (Druid) vs. say someone who drops giant bombs of healing (Paladins). If you have time to top everyone off though (VoA environmental damage), any type of heal is acceptable.
With the changes to Beacon of Light (allowing overhealing to count, as well as the 60yd range), Paladins excel at keeping two players maxed out. Huge mana pools and excellent mana recovery keep the Holy Light bombs rolling, and effective CD use can further extend this heal time. What seems to be forgotten however is that most fights don’t require two tanks all the time, but rather some form of tank swap. By placing BoL on the current tank, a Paladin can spam FoL across the raid. Easily hitting for 4-6k in 245 gear, and with close to one second cast times, you can quickly bring any number of players back up to full. This is especially effective against Arthas’s Infest, where you’re fighting a DoT to bring players up. One or two small HoTs (which are amazing on Anub’Arak) may not be enough to counter the damage.
AoE healing is still a weak point for the Paladin, and I really don’t feel like the glyph of Holy Light does enough to counter this in 10 mans. In a 25 man raid it might work really well, but on fights where everyone is spread out, you miss the splash healing. In a situation like this you’re better off hitting several players with quick FoLs and instant Holy Shocks.
Building a FOL specific Paladin (gemming SP over INT) can create an absolute monster for raid healing. Using the glyph of HS, plus a high crit rating, and you’re easily dropping 6-8k crits as fast as the GCD will come back up. When you consider that all this healing is going right back to your beacon target, that’s an absolute monster set of heals. A HL paladin who can quickly switch between the two healing styles is almost as deadly.
What we can’t do
Smart heal dropping and big AoE heals. Unfortunately, these tools just aren’t in our box. Priests and Shamans have smart heals, and Druids have one non-channeled AoE heal – we have Glyphed Holy Light (which just doesn’t get it done IMO). We can’t top off a whole party with a single cast, and we can’t pull off the same kind of proactive healing that Druids can.
What we CAN do
I’m going to let you in on a little secret – Paladins DO have a smart heal. It’s called our heads. Remember that scene in Blackhawk Down where that Delta force guy wiggles his finger and says “This is my safety sir”? That’s my response to a smart heal. Watching incoming damage and being aware of raid situations lets us make smart choices in key situations. A great example of this is again on Arthas. You KNOW that the tank is going to take an inordinate amount of damage from the Soul Reaper five seconds after its cast. Waiting four seconds and then winding up a Holy Light will have it land moments after the damage is taken. Two Holy Lights back to back should have your tank close to full, and will also knock off any Infest they may have.
We can also work to keep the community aware of our ability to raid heal via single target healing and smart triage. Unless it’s a crucial raid situation, I won’t heal someone who stands in environmental damage. I’ll let them die, or wait until they step out of it (especially in five mans). Mage pulls agro in the CoS alley way and dies? Well, if I can HoP them in time, great – but that’s a 3 minute cooldown. I prefer to let them die and think of it as tough love.
Healers have larger toolboxes than they did in BC, and the days of needing exclusive ‘raid healers’ is pretty much over. Yes, some classes excel at one type of healing over another, but shutting out someone because they don’t fit your preconceived notion of a healer is ridiculous.
Mongrr has a similar post, but about Disc priests over at savethelightwell. Go check it out. I also encourage you to read about Old Painless (check my blogroll).