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.

Teaminess

“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 comms? 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.

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.

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 >50% is carrying the other healer, in a situation where both are mirroring each other. Keep in mind this generalization does not apply to Asylum and vCR, where one healer carries more of the load by design.

    • 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 try new ones against. Get hps parses from your tanks and healer for comparison with the new healer, along with some dps samples (I like sorcs because you can easily see how much DPS are having to self-heal). 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
    • A note about numbers: they aren’t everything. Your healer could do 100K hps and people will still die if they don’t get the healing they need when and where they need it.

Uptimes

If you’re looking for a more seasoned healer, start by looking at your uptimes for

    • Horn: look at both Aggressive Warhorn 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?

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.

Classes

These days multiple classes are used to heal, as there is no long one viable choice. When choosing a healer for your team, you will want to ask yourself how committed you are to min/maxing. If you are ball out about it, you will want a healer who offers sufficient performance on all three major classes (Templar, Warden, and Sorc). Obviously if it is fun runs with your friends, it doesn’t matter if they heal on NB or DK as those are both viable choices too.
However, if you are looking to maximize your group comp, when do you use one class over another? With any class, it is dependent on your DPS and tanks. If you want your group to have minor toughness, for example, you need a warden healer or tank (unless you have a proactive DPS who can do 100% uptime along with tolerable damage I suppose). Templars are pretty staple since there are few stamplars and Templar healers can provide the group with the ever-useful PotL (provides both minor fracture and breach for both stam and mag DPS). Sorc healers are used in groups that do not have a sorc DPS to provide LL synergies for your Alkosh uptime. Since magsorc DPS is pretty gud right now, usually this means groups that are all stam DPS. However, sorcs do not provide any buffs that are overly useful to stam.

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 tried out,” 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.