As most of you know, I recently “revived” my very neglected 80 Troll Priest and turned her into an Aely dual-class priest Alliance side. This put me with a fresh level 80 discipline priest, a class I’ve not actively healed with since Karazhan. Needless to say I was both rusty and horrendously geared in a smattering of level 70 epics, quest blues/greens, a few BoE pieces from the auction house, and even some *wince* BoE greens of the sorceror.
Even with that, I was pretty sure I could heal a level 78-80 dungeon without too much hassle. So I decided to start running some normal dungeons, got myself a proper spec… and after a really frustrating first evening of healing, realized I was probably doing it wrong when it came to setting up a learning run.
Of course, some folks really LIKE a trial by fire, seat of the pants, OH GOD DON’T DIE, wiping-on-trash run.
I don’t mind those once I know what I’m getting myself into, but right off the bat? It was stressful and not very fun, most of which I could’ve prevented by doing a couple of simple things in advance. These will work whether you’re just hitting level 80 or are trying out a new healing spec but are old hat at the game.
Setting up your first instance run as a healer
- Make sure you have your UI set up properly and your keybindings are done.
If you’re not a healer normally, this will be a little more work, but with two other level 80 healers, I’ve got a pretty good idea where I want things. I just… didn’t realize I’d not done any of that until AFTER the first pull. Also, make sure your keybound spells are your highest trained ranks. If you leveled with dual specs, your “invisible” second spec bars will NOT update with you automatically. (We wiped.)
- Talk to someone who plays your class and get a quick rundown of how things work.
Knowing not to rely too much on Renew and that Flash Heal would be my bread and butter helped a lot… but I didn’t learn that until after a fated evening of runs, and I was OOM a lot. If you don’t know anyone else that plays your class, check out any of a number of excellent blogs or forums around the internet. (I watched the tank die during at least one Greater Heal cast… oops)
- Even if you’re pugging some of the group, try to pick your tank beforehand.
You don’t need someone decked out in 264-Icecrown Epix. But someone that’s never tanked before isn’t really a good idea either. (Finding out afterwards that my tank, though level 80 and a skilled player, hadn’t tanked with that class before and still hadn’t trained his level 80 skills? /facepalm). Basically, you want someone that will at least not make your job harder than it needs to be. (We wiped… more than once.)
- Pick an instance or two that you are familiar with.
Never been to Halls of Lightning, but you’ve run Gun’drak and Utgarde Pinnacle a lot? Run those first, to get the “feel” of how your new healing spec is going to work. That way you can concentrate on being the healer, and not on what’s going on around you. You’ll also be less likely to get blindsided by unexpected boss mechanics. (I got lost.)
- If you’re building the group from people you know, try to get a mixture of DPS
Having all melee or all ranged can make some fights harder than others. Ideally, your first few healing jobs should be for balanced groups, rather than you, a tank, and 4 rogues (for example). A balanced group will let you get used to things like melee damage or running out of fires or keeping ranged alive – without having to stress too much if you screw up and the mage bites it in the AOE. (I don’t want to know what the melee DPS repair bill was.)
Of course, you can always just go by the seat of your pants, but I like to have at least a little bit of a break-in period before I get thrown into the fire!
None of these fixes are particularly difficult. Even if you can’t do all of them, just one or two will go a long way towards helping you get used to your new healing role, whether it’s with a new class, or you’ve never been in charge of the green bars before.
Particularly the part where you make sure your highest ranks of healing spells are the ones you’re using…
(who is totally not immune to noobcake mistakes)
- Godmodding and Griefing (116)
- On Privacy, Real ID’s and Roleplay (49)
- XX and XY in RP (47)
- Population Disparity (34)
- Tanking Perceptions (33)