Does WoW Healing Take A Toll?

by on December 6, 2012

Healing. Tanking. Both well-known as high-stress jobs in WoW.

And really, that’s the clue – the fact that they’re almost universally called “jobs”. But are they too much responsibility? Too much effort? And did Mists make it worse?

That’s the interesting discussion that’s blown up in the WoW blogosphere over the last day, all started from Windsoar’s review of how healing’s doing as a play style in Mists -

“A lot of things that appealed to me as a tank appealed to me as a healer. Healing is a dynamic role that requires a good understanding not only of the flow of the fight, but of your fellow players, and their foibles. While you might be tempted to fall into a rotation, there are plenty of times when you chuck the rotation and do something on the fly. I feel a personal responsibility for my playmates.

What I hate, and when I know something is horribly, horribly wrong is when I have to be the savior. Sometimes it happens. Sometimes it saves an attempt. But it shouldn’t happen. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a tank, dps, or healer: all can play a vital role in saving a bad attempt, but it should not be the norm. I just want to perform my function to ensure that my raid team meets success. Nothing is more satisfying than a clean, well-executed fight.”

This is an interesting overview, but one aspect in particular stood out to blogger Stubborn – the mention of the healer as the saviour of last resort. And in a really interesting follow-up, he discussed the effect of that responsibility on his enjoyment of WoW -

“The doom comes very simply; the mechanics mean that while some damage is unavoidable, more and more mechanics put the dps in charge of their own survival. As a result, the mechanics themselves put healers and their team on opposite sides of the success curve. If every dps avoids every potential damage, healing a fight would be much, much easier.

It plays out like this; every time I see a health bar fall because someone fails to execute the correct maneuver – whether it’s boss specific like kiting oozes out of expanding gas clouds or running away to avoid blowing everyone up or general like missing a defensive cool down – I build a teeny tiny “resentment counter.” Now sure, those go away, like every time I know that player did something awesome or simply as time passes and they are forgotten. I don’t really believe they even consciously register, as it’s not something I could have really written about before right now, but now I can see the small increase and steady decrease.”

I can certainly see the issue – I’ve seen people burn out playing healers, more often than any other class. Is it unavoidable? Is it a necessary trade-off?

I look forward to the ongoing discussion.

What do you think?

If you enjoyed this article, check out our other posts from these categories: World of Warcraft

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Tinraen December 8, 2012 at 8:20 pm

On this topic would say raid healing in lotro and the stress meant I swore never to heal again. I dk tank but healing nope burnt out on to much healer u failed . I try as dps to only ever criticise tanks or healers if it is plain they have no idea . Example brewery run last nite with a guy tanking in dps gear and then changing dps spec and then carrying on ranking was just like no lol


Nyxrinne December 12, 2012 at 10:16 pm

I raided as a healy priest through most of Wrath, and burnt out on it because my raiding team became too good at the content we were running. I noticed something similar but ultimately opposite to what Stubborn explains: my role altered depending on how my allies were doing, and I bored of that role because my allies were dodging pretty much everything avoidable.

Perhaps this is why I’m least successful longterm in the healer role. I like playing saviour and covering for people. I don’t enjoy falling into a regular flow of high-healing phases and mana-regen phases and anything else predictable; I want things to go wrong, verging on disastrous. That relies on teammates making mistakes, but I don’t -really- want to be running raids with people who make constant mistakes. Thus the burnout. Every time.


Cameron Aero December 20, 2012 at 2:20 am

Me…to a T. Um, honestly…well nothing to add. Just nailed every bit of it. Something I been thinking of writing to the WoW forums but didn’t after aol searching for articles. :)

Thanks for the article. Favorited*


Roosterchook December 21, 2012 at 12:16 am

Stubborn’s ‘resentment counter’ raises a serious concern as to whether there are more healers out there that are making the choice to save only those that they define as worthy. The concept of a raid group that is working only due to the personal choices of a singular person doesn’t sound too much like a group.

It does seem that healers do get the short end of the stick in regards to mechanics and direction, yet a well coordinated and led group surely wouldn’t focus only on tank and dps without having some regard and support for the walking/talking band-aids that are there too?

And whilst it seems that Windsoar is looking forward to a day when we can have a world without wipes, it sounds like Nyxrinne found that ‘happy place’, and then got bored and decided to move.

Careful what you wish for Windsoar :)


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