Friday, June 19, 2009

To heal or not to heal..

If you have read my blog at all (I know pretty dumb assumption) you will know that when it comes to progression raiding I mainly play on my Elemental shaman. No this isn't a post about whether I want to switch to resto full time or not.

This post is mostly about dps... more specifically hybrid dps. When you are a dps in a raid or what have you, your goal is to do as much damage as humanly possible without pulling aggro or dying. That's it. You aren't there to tank or look pretty or heal.... well that last part can be tricky. As a hunter/warrior/mage/warlock etc. all you can do is dish out damage.

What about hybrids though? Are you an Elemental shaman, Shadow priest, or Balance druid? How bout a ret pally, feral druid or enhancement shaman? Yes, you are there to kill stuff. The thing is... there are these other buttons that like... heal stuff. Am I supposed to be using those to you know... heal?

I find myself in raids a lot pondering these questions. I've been in fights where a well placed heal can save a tank, and in return, save the raid. But then I've also been in fights where there was a 1% wipe against an enrage timer, and a little extra dps would have killed the boss.

So where do you draw the line? When things go sour do you step up and try and heal? Or do you pray your healers can take care of things and focus on blowing stuff up. Personally I don't know the answer to this because it changes. Making the right choice between saving a tank or tossing out that extra lightning bolt is what separates a good hybrid dps from a great one.

I'm plagued with choices like this when I raid on my shaman. On some fights the line is gray for instance on Auriya on the pull the tanks take a TON of damage. They take a ton of damage from the 4 cat adds the faster they die the sooner they start taking less damage. So what do you do? You could heal the tank hoping the other dps can kill the adds fast enough or you yourself dps like crazy and try and burn the adds down and hope a healer doesn't slip.

In that situation there really is no 100% right answer and you have to play on the edge of your seat because often times the best choice is both. Tossing out a chain heal followed by a lava burst then getting that lesser healing wave off... it is intense but that is what raiding is about. Playing to the maximum of you and your classes ability.

Other hard choices occur when the boss is low on health, and half the heals and dps are dead. Do you heal hoping you don't run out of mana before the dps can pull off the kill? Or do you throw as much dps at the boss watching as one by one people fall off?

I'm a very competitive person by nature. I love being at or near the top of the damage meter. Often time sacrificing dps to throw out some heals goes off completely notice and likely you will not see any thanks. Yet knowing that you made the right choice and that choice secured victory is one of the greatest feelings you can have.

What choice do you make?


We Fly Spitfires said...

I've never played a hybrid class to a high level in WoW so it's hard for me to say. I've certainly been in situations in raids in EQ2 though were I've been DPSing with a tank and I've to step in and tank. Problem is that without buffs or heals you won't last long doing that :)

I suppose throwing the odd heal is useful but if you're DPSing, I'd probably just focus on that.

What's My Main Again? said...

I know when I played Artorin as feral I was in situations like that a lot. Having to switch from cat to bear to tank a boss.

Same situation though, without the gear swap to tank gear, I wouldn't be very effective. Yet sometimes it was just enough to kill the boss.