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It didn’t take long to get from Thunder Bluff to the Echo Isles – Ankona took advantage of a wyvern so she could think and plan before getting to her destination. She had information to confirm with the spirits – was Gromnor dead? Was he really in the northern part of the Eastern Kingdoms, somewhere […]

filed under Feature, Healing
Letting Group 2 Die*
comment 9 Written by on July 14, 2010 – 7:29 am

It’s been awhile since I tackled the Blog Azeroth “weekly post idea,” but I thought weighing in on this one would be a good idea, since it’s come up before and I’m not sure I’ve ever specifically made a post about it.

When should a healer let someone die?

I can think of two situations when I’ve knowingly let someone die.

1. I have a finite mana pool, and you are not my #1 priority.

My priority list is as follows: Me, Tank, Everyone else (in a 5 man) or Me, Assignment – usually Tanks, Everyone else (in a raid) – I can only heal one, or maybe two, people at a time. If the tank is taking heavy damage, and you stand in the fire, you’re going to die in that fire. If you do so repeatedly, you’ll probably annoy the piss out of me, but if I have mana and time, I will almost certainly try to heal you.


Because healing you takes less time and is less stressful than wiping, and I don’t get any vindication out of repair bills and an angry group. (Though I will definitely remind you not to stand in the fire, and possibly squawk loudly in chat/on vent.)

2. You are out of range/out of LOS.

If I can’t get to you, I can’t heal you. Sometimes that’s my fault. Sometimes it’s your fault. Sometimes it’s the nature of the stupid encounter and the fact that my 6 foot tall human paladin “can’t see” up 3 stairs. Sometimes it means the group ran off while I was drinking and pulled something. Either way, if someone is grey on my bars, and a few quick steps don’t get me into Holy Shock range… they’re probably going to die, and I don’t worry about it too much, especially in a raid situation where I have other healers to split up the raid with. (If someone is greyed out on my bars then, I don’t even pay attention to their health – they’re usually someone else’s job.)

Other than that, I can’t think of any other reasons to *intentionally* let someone die.

Why is that, you ask? And haven’t you joked about letting Tarquin die, or letting Izzy die, or letting the “hey ma, watch this”, aggro-pulling noob in the PUG die?


I joke about it because it’s a pressure release valve. And because, as a healer, my job is one that can be pretty stressful. Someone who seems to be intentionally making that job harder is going to get my hackles up – but I don’t let them die unless I absolutely can’t avoid it. My job in a group is to heal people. The tanks job is to tank things. The DPS’s job is to DPS things.

If someone in my group got mad at the tank and decided to sit in the corner and not DPS because he thought the tank was bad, I’d be peeved. Yes, sometimes people do dumb things – and yes, in PUGs that can be highly exaggerated. But in a 5 man group, all 5 people are responsible for the group’s success, and quite honestly, someone annoying me is very rarely worth my own repair bill and the time it takes to wipe. And then find 2 new DPS and wait 15 minutes for a new tank because people drop out of the group because we wiped on something dumb.

In a raiding situation, if someone – especially the same person – repeatedly does the same dumb thing and dies (usually bringing at least 5 of their neighbors with them), I can address it, or I’ll have their role leader address it. And yeah, sometimes the healing team will announce that anyone who stands in (X) thing isn’t going to get heals, as a way to get people to pay attention. But that seems to me very different – as well as announced beforehand – than letting someone die out of spite, particularly since usually standing in (X) will get people killed pretty quickly, and cause a raid wipe.

Besides, when it comes right down to it, in the heat of a major boss attempt, I’ve got my two/three tank targets, and I STILL can’t keep from dropping Flash of Light on a not-tank that takes some damage from something. I don’t have the time – or the mental presence, usually – to separate out that THIS yellow square should get heals but THAT yellow square shouldn’t.

Health drops, I heal it.

It’s the green bars, people!



So yes. Healing is stressful and sometimes makes me want to pull my hair out. And yes, sometimes I’ve thought “man, it’d be so much easier to just let that person die”. But barring some pretty extreme circumstances, I’m not going to actually do so. I might release some pressure by joking about it, usually in the healer channel or one of my other chatter channels, but my job in a group is to heal people.

Even annoying people, or people who pull aggro or stand in fire.

Even, dare I say it, rogues, fury warriors, warlocks, and Cassamir. (Sorry Cass, it’s my job, you know.)

I feel guilty enough when someone I’m supposedly “responsible for” (in a healery sort of way) keels over. I don’t need to add to the guilt by having it be intentional.


As an aside to this, I think people often overestimate how often they’re “intentionally” allowed to die. I’ve been yelled at with “WHY DIDN’T YOU <expletives> HEAL ME?!!?!” before, and saying “you were out of LoS and I had no mana” doesn’t seem to make any difference, which is frustrating and kind of demoralizing.

In my experience in PUGs as DPS, when I’ve died, it’s almost always because I was doing something stupid, or because the shit hit the fan for the whole group. So, before we all go off railing on the healer or the tank for being vindictive and spiteful and terrible, let’s make sure that it’s actually not something WE can affect. As a DPS in a group, if I pull aggro, that is my fault, no matter how “bad” the tank is. If I stand in the fire (or pull aggro, or adds, or don’t drink a pot/eat a demoncookie) and die, that is my fault, no matter how “bad” the healer is.

Responsibility is a group thing, and we’re all in charge of ourselves, yeah?

*Group 2 is the melee DPS group in TRI most nights. When I began my career as a healer, I was the healer assigned to Group 2 because we only had one shaman, and totems were only group-wide (not raid-wide). As such, the Resto Shaman was stuck in a group with the rogues and fury warriors and ret pallies. I was their healer, and they were my /job/. Which didn’t mean that Group 2 NEVER died, but I still feel kinda protective over that group of aggro-gives-me-rage/aggro-means-I’m-winning crazies.

**It’s a sickness, I know. I do it when I’m DPSing on a class with heal buttons too.

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9 Responses to “Letting Group 2 Die*”

  1. So very opposite of this myself. We all walk into a raid supposedly knowing basic mechanics like “don’t stand in fire” or “taking stupid risks to peen about your numbers, even silently to yourself, and just assuming I’ll carry your ass to victory is dumb”. If I watch someone stand in fire for rage, or just assume that it’ll be fine over and over again? Not only do I let their dumb ass know, I tell the officer that they’re doing it.

    I go to raid knowing I have a job. That job is to not stand in fire myself and keep a raid up. It’s not to babysit, handhold, or to facilitate someone being a dick simply because they feel like those extra five seconds will get them to a number three position in lieu of four on Recount. When I was a healing officer for Chaos? Yeah, I would -put- moratoriums on people for doing that shit. I’m the school of hard knocks. If you don’t wanna listen when an officer tells you to stop doing something, I’m not wasting my mana pool on you when it can go towards someone more deserving.

    Cause really, you can’t epeen about your numbers if you’re too dead to kill things, amirite?

    <— Mean Healer. Okay with being a mean healer.

  2. I consider myself a good enough healer that if there’s a green bar that’s not full, it’s my job to fill it—even if it’s someone else’s job, too. (This is why I don’t give a damn about “meters” as a healer, especially “overhealing.” There’s no such thing, in my book.)

    And no, I don’t have mana issues, even though I snipe heals all the time. And even as a Disc Priest, I have no qualms about using any tool in the bag: Bubble, Renew, Flash Heal, Greater Heal—I’m an equal-opportunity healer. I pride myself on being able to throw out something all the time. I figure if I’m not casting, I’m not doing my job.

    Sure, people die. We wiped all the time on Putricide-25 (when we were still doing 25-mans; now we can’t even get a 10-man organized). But not because we didn’t have the heals. And even when we had one healer who refused to heal one particular person, that person (who deserved to die, believe me) still lived…because, as you say, it’s ALL ABOUT THE GREEN BARS.

  3. P: Oh man, Cass! I remember him dying 32349078329473242 times in Zul Gurub! Glad to see the suicidal mage is still up to his old tricks! Don’t quite miss healing him though! *giggle*

    By Parsi on Jul 14, 2010 | Reply
  4. @Parsi – You’ll be pleased to know that it’s just not a raid if Cass doesn’t die repeatedly. In fact, we roll on his body parts after he dies. I’ve never won any, but I’m told people are getting close to their 4 pc bonuses. Sadly, that’s a fury warrior, and I’m not sure he needs any help dying…

  5. I suffer from fill the green bars myself. But then when I am healing I am usually filling the “heal everything” role, so I am used to healing the crappola out of aggro pulling DPS.

    My personal pet peeve as a healer.

    “Ress please”

    Usually said after something went wrong and I spent my entire mana bar desperately keeping the group from a wipe and (mostly) succeeding. And then some DPS who pulled aggro and died, or stood in it and died peeps up with that within 3 seconds of the fight being over. Drives me batty. I have even /ragequit pug groups for it before. 😀

    By Melryn on Jul 14, 2010 | Reply
  6. When I heal I just heal. I move, I try, I want to fill those bars. But when some dumb little mage starts pulling aggro, dies and then makes comments about the healers it’s a “I don’t want to be healed today, I want to try out survival!” in my book. Of course not healing is kinda hard when you’re shaman and chain healing just jumps to that mage, who’s constantly low on health because he can’t play his class.

    And in the end? I’m proud when I manage to keep everybody alive, even though they make mistakes, stand in stuff and pull aggro. I’m a healer, dammit!

    By Sorrel on Jul 15, 2010 | Reply
  7. Even though I’m primarily a tank healer, I feel bad if someone non-tanky bites it. I generally try to toss heals to Those Who Stand In Fire if we’re just cruising through trash, or if it’s a fight we outgear. When it’s new content, though, chances are I’m watching my tank and off-tank, and that’s it. If I toss Mr. Pantsonfire a holy shock, my tank will, inevitably, get crit for like 6 million and twelve points of damage that very second and die.

  8. This is an interesting topic! One I’ve done a lot of thinking about while I’ve played my healer up from her first dungeon at level 28 clear to all the raiding she’s done in BC and Wrath, and one I share with the new healers in my small circle of vent friends.

    Quite a while back I wrote an article about WoW Healing Tips: When To Let Them Die. In it, I quoted the old adage of “If the Tank dies, it’s the healer’s fault, if the Healer dies it’s the Tank’s fault, and if the DPS dies, it’s their own damned fault” and explained what that meant to me.

    I have found that even regular dungeons and heroics have been extremely educational to me as a responsive healer. With practice I’ve relaxed my playing stresses an awful lot because I recognize it’s NOT all my job to keep everyone alive. We’re all here to get through the dungeon, but also to practice our playing skills and get better bit by bit, and death is an education of its own in this world of unlimited lives.

    Is there ever a time that you DO use death as an educational tool for some of the people you’re healing? I mean, other than you’re almost out of mana and have decided to only heal the tank out of emergency?

    My WoW Player blog

    PS: Great to hear from you again! Funny that I ask about Occ on the day you write about it 🙂

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