How to pick a healer for your team

Competitive teams don’t need my scrub advice and fun runs with your friends are pre-selected. This information is for folks starting new progression teams and looking for some pointers.

  • Purpose: “Progression team” is a broad category, so take into consideration the skill levels of your core players. Do you have a lot of new learners and want a strong support team? Do you have a new support team and seasoned dps? Do you want everyone to learn together? Do you not want to teach someone who’s completely green? Think about how the new member’s skill level will fit into the overall group.
  • Team Culture: “culture” is the combined attitudes, opinions, and perspectives of a group of people. Your team has its own culture and you want new people to fit in well, or it’ll mean increased stress when under pressure. For example, do you expect everyone to watch videos and learn mechanics individually or just learn as the team sees the boss? Do you joke and talk during the entire raid or do you keep strict raid coms? Is sarcasm the norm or is it absolutely not ok to make fun of others? Does your team head through the door on the hour or is your start time more of a suggestion? Differing expectations on these points can break a team.
  • Numbers: In general, main tank & off tank are expected to do roughly 20% and each healer roughly 40%. This varies based on situation, specific assignments, and number of tanks—so think of this measure as a guideline, not a hard and fast rule. A healer doing >40% is generally considered to be carrying the other healer, in a situation where both are mirroring each other (bad examples would be the maw twins’ add RNG, a tank healer vs a group healer, too far away as in a “kiting” healer  on Manti or Rakkhat, too large a playground such as with Pineapple Fat Toe in vHoF, or crap that goes haywire fast like Rakotu.
    • Averages come from boss parses, and preferably you use the same boss and team to judge everyone by, as best you can. Consider inviting a variety of healers of different levels until you get a feel for the difference between “awesome” and “needs to practice more.” For this you’ll need an add-on that tracks group damage and healing, such as the beauteous Combat Metrics.
    • Testing requires a control and a variable: you’ll need another healer consistently to audition new ones against. They’ll be able to tell you how hard they did or didn’t have to work. Remember to get hps parses from your tanks and healer for comparison with the new healer, along with any dps (such as magblades who run Funnel Health). No, these numbers will not add up to 100%, but it will give you an idea of their relative healing compared to the group.
    • Recommended bosses to parse on: Zhajassa in vMoL or the Storm Atronach in vAA
  • Buff uptimesIf you’re looking for a more seasoned healer, start by looking at your uptimes for
    • Horn: look at both horn uptime AND Major Force uptime; these two numbers together will tell you uptime and timeliness. Horn is slotted for both tanks and both healers, so uptime is ideally 100% and major force will be approximately 32%. If your horn uptime is low but the buff uptime is high, that tells you horns are getting blown in clusters rather than regularly (that’s what she said).
    • Combat Prayer: look at minor ward & minor resolve (NOT “Combat Prayer” which refers to the initial heal only)
    • Did you ask them to run a certain skill or set? What was the uptime on the buff/debuff?
  • Relations & communication: All teammates should be able to both take and give criticism with maturity; no one has to be BFFs but they do have to be able to get along without biting each other’s heads off. Your team will face rough nights of banging your head against a wall, and no one wants to deal with a dick under pressure. In addition, they should have basic raid etiquette.
  • Deaths: You’ll need an add-on for this; a healer standing in their own heals should be low on the Noobfilter in a predictable battle they’re already familiar with if the DPS aren’t fumbling big time. Be careful judging based on group deaths; DPS die 99% of the time because they (or someone near them) did something stupid. Tank deaths are too variable to use as a metric; I could write a whole page just on that.
  • Warning: if you are auditioning acquaintances and strangers, heads up… you will run into some categories of pain in the butt, such as “I bugged you incessantly about making the team and then no-show,” “why aren’t I on the team even though I never said anything,” and my personal favorite, “how dare you question my obvious perfection.” Look, I don’t have an answer for how to manage the drama but I will say this: uptimes and numbers can be taught, but attitude cannot. Keep in mind it may be better to recruit someone less than stellar if your other choice is a complete asshat.