Why overhealing is bad
November 18, 2009 § 2 Comments
Last week my shaman’s guild finally downed Hodir. I wasn’t in the raid, but I was listening on vent. I was just as excited for them to take him down as the people that were actually in the raid were. Mostly because he’d given us such a hard time for such a long time. So this time around when we went back into Ulduar I was very much looking forward to taking down…or rather freeing, Hodir. It was a hard fight. We kept wiping and couldn’t figure it out. It was difficult not to feel like I was primarily responsibly as they had all been there the previous week. As it turns out…I did share a brunt of the blame.
I’ve mentioned previously that I one of my biggest issues as a healer is overhealing–specifically when grouped with druids. It’s because I can’t see there HoTs. The druid in our group was assigned to the main tank. Well because I couldn’t see his HoTs it looked like the main tank was going down and I needed to help heal him. As it turns out all the HoTs were doing just fine, i just couldn’t see them.
I did two things wrong here. First, I didn’t have enough faith in my raid party member to get the job done. Second, I was overhealing the crap out of the main tank, taking away heals from the rest of the raid.
Now I could spend an entire post on trusting the abilities of your raid members, but that’s not what I want to talk about.
So, overhealing. You’ve heard it was bad, and know you shouldn’t do it, but do you know why? Well, I’ll tell you why.
The most obvious reason is that overhealing wastes mana. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize if you are casting healing spells on people that don’t need them, then your just wasting mana. That’s one of the reasons I miss downranking so much. Back in the day, our lower level spells did less healing, but also cost less mana. Now they do less healing but cost the same mana as the highest rank. (Although the word on the street is they are returning to down ranking.)
Not only does it waste your mana, but it wastes the mana of other healers. If a druid puts a healing over time spell on a target and then a shaman casts a healing wave on the same target, sure the target is at full health, but the druids’ HoT that is still ticking after the shaman’s spell hits is effectively wasted, so is the mana the druid used to cast those HoTs.
The other thing overhealing wastes is time. Here’s a complicated example.
Tank has 20,000 health. Boss hits for x health every 2 seconds. Healer has a spell with a 2.2 second cast time that heals for y health.
Time elapesd: 0 seconds. Tank has full health. Healer begins spell cast.
Time elapsed: 2 seconds. Boss hits Tank for 5,000 health. Tanks health is now 15,000 health.
Time elapsed: 2.2 seconds. Healers spell heals Tank for 5,000 health. Tanks health is now 20,000. Healer begins next spell.
Time elapsed: 4 seconds. Boss hits Tank for 6,000 health. Tank parries full amount of the attack. Tank still at full health.
Time elapsed: 4.4 seconds. Healers spell overheals Tank for 5,000. Healer begins next spell.
Time elapsed: 5 seconds. Boss parries Tanks attack, speeding up their attack speed. Hits Tank for 7,000 health. Tank now at 13,00 health.
Time elapsed: 6.5 seconds. Boss uses special ability to hit Tank for 10,000 health. Tank now at 3,000 health.
Time elapsed: 6.6 seconds. Healers spell hits tank for for 2,000. Tank now at 5,000 health.
Time elapsed: 7 seconds. Boss hits tank for 6,000 health. Tank is now dead.
Complicated enough? Well, lets break it down. The healer in this example can only get off a spell every 2.2 seconds, so when the tank is hit at 4 seconds in, but doesn’t take any damage, the healer should have canceled the spell and started over. This would have allowed the healer to land a spell at 6.2 seconds in, just in time to bring the tanks health up enough to last through the bosses next attack at 7 seconds in.
Now I know some of you are probably screaming inside about how that’s not really how the game mechanics work. Well I know that. This is just an example to illustrate a point. Because the healer let their spell play all the way out and over heal at one point, they were unable to time their subsequent spells correctly. This resulted in a dead tank.
So if you are healing someone, expecting them to take lots of damage, if they don’t take that damage DON’T heal them. Instead, cancel that heal, and start a new one. This same idea goes if you are casting a heal on a target with less than full health, and another healer gets them before you do then for heavens sake stop healing them. Move on to the mage that is about to die.
And finally, over healing takes heals away from others who need it. In my Hodir example, we kept wiping because I was busy overhealing the main tank rather than focusing on the raid. Once I realized the problem was because I spent to much time trying to heal the tank (trust the HoTs…trust the HoTs…trust the HoTs…) I was able to save my time and mana for the raid. Because I wasn’t in the middle of casting on the tank, I was able to do a Chain Heal in anticipation of his Frozen Blows ability (which is what was killing most of us).
So, what did we learn in today’s lesson boys and girls?
Overhealing is bad.
Add this to this list of Thistlefizz’s life lessons for better playing.
“[Insert clever sign off phrase here]”