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[Leadership] The Influence of Celebrities

Posted by Malevica on December - 10 - 2010

I was reading Kurn’s latest post, and a comment in it caught my eye:

The problem with being a GM who has a blog that’s mostly healing-related is that I have a LOT of healers and they’re all awesomesauce and all chomping at the bit to get in there and HEAL.

Now this is something I’ve observed in other guilds as well; not with bloggers (not that I know of, anyway) but with the GM and Officers in those guilds. There seems to me to be a rough correlation between the high-profile figures residing in a given guild and the number and performance of the members of that same class or role. So if your GM is a healer, you’ll find you tend to have strong, enthusiastic healers around.

I think there are two main reasons for a plausible link:
 

  1. Fame and respect – A well-respected class blogger and commentator like Kurn or someone known around the realm as a good player will obviously attract people to them. And the people drawn to them are more likely to be of the same class or role because we tend to pay more attention to people with similar interests as ourselves.
    They don’t need to be Officers to attract this sort of attention.
  2.  

  3. Representation within the guild – If your Officers are all ranged DPS, you might expect they they’ll have a different, possibly less sympathetic, perspective on the challenges faced by healers or tanks compared to a more balanced Officer team. Your potential recruits might not even be aware of this, but it can still affect them subconsciously.
    I know I consciously looked at the Officers when I chose my current guild, because the last guild I was in with a DPS-dominated Officer corps was not a place that was sympathetic to healers or tanks at all.

 

I’d strongly advise guild leaders to keep an eye on their Officer compositions, and if you have to have a corps dominated by one role or another, make sure you have good strong links with the high profile people from the other roles to reassure people that they are listened to and understood.

Early in my raid-leading days I realise I was guilty of being a bit overly demanding on the DPS, until I spent a few months forced to play Shadow. That changed my perspective a lot. You need to be open to the other person’s point of view, so make some critical friends who will tell you when there’s a real problem.

And don’t forget to pamper and spoil your blogging colleagues, because basically we’re awesome!



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Categories: Anecdotes, Leadership

Constructive Criticism

Posted by Malevica on December - 9 - 2010

I thought I’d break from the Cataclysm stuff with an old post I’ve finally got round to finishing.

A concept that crops up from time to time, particularly in raiding circles, is the idea of “constructive criticism”. A vast majority of guild charters and guild applications will mention a willingness to accept criticism somewhere within them, but what do we mean by “constructive criticism”? What does it look like? And how do we make sure we’re giving it?

A definition

First, let’s look at “criticism”.

Criticism is the judgement of the merits and faults of the work or actions of an individual or group by another (the critic). To criticize does not necessarily imply to find fault.

(Emphasis mine, Source)
Criticism is simply an analysis and judgement, it is not automatically negative or fault-finding only. That’s a key point to remember.

Now for the “constructive” part.

Constructive criticism is criticism kindly meant that has a goal of improving some area of another person’s life or work.

(Emphasis mine, Source)
What makes it constructive is that the criticism is meant to help the recipient improve. It does not say anything about the content of the criticism.

What does it look like?

I’ll illustrate this with a hypothetical example.

Your guild has recently taken on a new recruit of your class, who says in their application that they always welcome constructive criticism. It’s been noticed that they seem to be struggling with mana and going OOM a lot, calling for Innervates a lot more than the other healers.

Let’s say that you’re asked by an Officer for an appraisal of that player; they want to know about the new recruit to evaluate their trial. At this point you’re still probably in the realm of simple criticism. Your feedback to the Officer might be quite brief and factual, for example:

This player seems to be fitting in well, asking questions in the healing channel.
They stick to their assignment well.
They put out good healing on the meters but they do seem to have mana problems, calling for a lot more innervates than I usually do.

Recall the definitions above. From the definition of criticism, note that there’s both positives and negatives in there, and some judgement, but the feedback is pretty objective and factual. There’s no real attempt to help the person improve, which would be required to meet the definition of constructive.

Now, imagine that the Officer asks you to have a chat with the recruit to see if you can help them with any mana problems they might be having. Now the purpose for your feedback has changed: you’re interested in helping them improve, which is where the constructive part comes in. So your feedback to the recruit might look something like:

It’s really nice that you’re fitting in here so well during your trial.
I’ve noticed that you seem to be using a lot of Innervates though and I wondered if we can help you out. Do you find mana a problem in raids? Why you think why this might be? What do you think of this alternative spec?
It’s also really good to be able to rely on you to cover your assignment in raids.

I know that sounds a bit stilted, it would be much better as a conversation than a single message to the recruit, but it does illustrate a few points that I’ll look at later. The difference between the two examples is that in the constructive example the intention is clearly to help the person improve.

Giving constructive feedback

I can’t hope to offer a pro forma for giving feedback, and you need to use your judgement about the situation and the people involved, but there are a few general guidelines that might help.

  1. Choose your moment – Criticism should be given close to the event so that it’s fresh in everyone’s mind, but doing it in the heat of the moment when emotions might be running high is unlikely to get the desired results. You also need to allow enough time for a decent conversation, including thinking time.
    Use your judgement: if someone’s standing in fire, mention it between pulls; if someone’s underhealing, that might be better saved for between raids.
  2.  

  3. Include praise – Some people talk about the “sandwich technique”, where you surround your criticism with praise before and after. I’ve done this in my hypothetical example above, and it looks a little bit odd written down like that, but in a real report or conversation it’s easy enough to end on a high note. The recipient’s attitude to the whole of the feedback is shaped by the tone of the first few exchanges or sentences, so you should start positive; the mood they’re left with is influenced by the last things that were said.
  4.  

  5. Address the area that needs improvement, but don’t criticise the person. – This can be a very tricky line to walk at times. It’s fine to observe that someone runs out of mana a lot, but you must not judge the person as a “bad player” or “fail” because of it. Think of those “How to raise your little horror” TV shows: you can, and should, tell your child that setting fire to the cat is unacceptable because animals have feelings too, but just labelling the child as “a naughty child” is not useful.
  6.  

  7. Ask questions – The best way to remain objective and avoid the recipient feeling like you’re picking on them is to let them do most of the talking. Sometimes the best way to help is to ask a really insightful question that gets right to the heart of the issue. For example, rather than saying “you should use this spec”, ask them for their thoughts on the spec or a blog post talking about it. By doing this, you get to make a suggestion, but you also give the recipient a route to refute that suggestion.
    The other advantage of asking questions is that you reduce the risk of simply telling people what they already know, which can come across as patronising.
  8.  

  9. Focus on solutions, not causes – While it’s important to understand what’s going on, your goal in giving the criticism is to help the person improve, so move on quickly from the problem to solutions. This also helps to keep the discussion positive and focused on the future.
    Where possible, the soltions should also be phrased positively: instead of “stop using spell X”, have the solution as “use more spell Y”. It sounds corny, but it does make a difference.
  10.  

  11. Be objective – Your only agenda should be to help the person improve, so you need to keep your own prejudices quiet. Don’t just push your solution on the person, but work with them to find the right solution for them.
    And make sure that the solution can be objectively assessed later, so that when you come to do follow-up (you do intend to follow up, right?) you can keep your future judgements objective as well.

Dealing with defensiveness

Sometimes, despite your best intentions, you might not get the response you’re looking for, and the most common response to feedback is defensiveness, where the recipient of the feedback refuses to listen or might even become angry.

In my experience, the first thing you should do is stop and step back; pressing on is likely only going to antagonise the person further. Wait a while, and you might find that point you were making might be taken anyway, once everyone’s emotions have faded and the recipient can consider your words more calmly. They may approach you again, or work out a solution on their own.

If you get no results from this though, you have two main options. The first is trying again, using a different medium. Changing the medium will also almost certainly alter the tone of the conversation: a whisper is less personal than Ventrilo, while a PM allows the recipient to take their time in dealing with it and can relieve a lot of pressure they might feel.

The second option is to have a different person try. Sometimes it can be a personality clash, or it could be your position in the guild, your gender, nationality, or one of many factors that causes the recipient to respond differently to you than to someone else.
Some people get very defensive if someone not of their class/role tries to offer criticism, while others might get defensive around someone who is the same class/role because of some percieved competition.

Your input

I’ll freely admit I’m not the best at people management, so I would really welcome comments from other people about how they deal with giving feedback, be it in the form of advice or anecdotes.

Have you had to give feedback? Did it go well? Did it go badly? How do you take feedback yourself?



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Knock, knock!

Posted by Malevica on November - 9 - 2010

Yes, still here, although I’m aware that there’s been quite a long gap between posts in the last few weeks, which was a product of a few circumstances and projects that have squeezed my time quite a bit.

Such as?

One of those things is that I’ve recently become an Officer and co-Raid Leader in my current guild, which is an honour but also a lot of work!

As anyone who’s been part of guild leadership will testify, the run up to patches of any kind and expansions in particular are some of the busiest times behind the scenes: you tend to have a lot of roster changes and main swaps needing discussion and attention, your guild’s policies need reviewing and maybe rewriting in preparation for the new content, and that’s on top of the general flood of new information that you’ll be expected to get to grips with. Plus, you know, raiding as well!

It’s not my first rodeo, as they say, but the last time I was involved in guild leadership was around a year ago so there’s a lot to relearn.
Fortunately, a new site launched a couple of weeks ago called MMOLeader, run by some of the big names in MMO leadership. I’ve been keeping an eye on it, although I’m mostly absorbing rather than contributing so far.

Anyway, the upshot is that you might spot a few more leadership-related posts turning up here from time to time. They’ll have their own category as always, so you can avoid them if you like.

So what else is new?

Well, now that Beta raiding seems to be hitting its stride I’m beginning to tap into the flow of information to put together strategy guides for the upcoming Tier 11 raids. I’ve got the menu sorted out but I’ve not got any of the strategies ready to post yet; they’ll start appearing over the next few weeks though, as and when I get time.

There probably won’t be many actual posts until Cataclysm itself, since I’ll be spending my time on strategies and guild stuff. I’ll be back with a vengeance in December though.

I also wanted to say that I’m not raiding on the Beta, and this is a conscious decision.
I’m quite happy to help beta test the solo content and some dungeons, but I want to march into the new raids for the first time with my guildmates lined up by my side, so I’m not doing any Beta raiding.

Will there be a Cataclysm Disc guide?

Yes. I’m working on that in the background as well. I don’t know if it’ll get posted much before Cataclysm gets released, but it will arrive at some point!



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Categories: Blog Stuff

Working Together

Posted by Malevica on July - 16 - 2010

In my recent post about letting people die I talked about working with other healers as a part of the mental prioritisation process we go through.
In the comments, Everblue pointed out that having a healing team with mutual trust, knowledge of each other’s role, and enough awareness to cover for each other without overhealing is the “holy grail of raid leading”, and wondered how to create that understanding.

Well, I can’t claim to have all the answers by a long stretch, and I don’t even think I’m part of such a team at the moment, but I’ve felt something closer to it in the past. So, here’s some thoughts from me for raid leaders or guild leaders looking to build a more cohesive healing team.

I should say that, while I don’t think you can necessarily create situational awareness, you can engender an interest and cooperation between team-mates which will get you a long way towards the ideal as described by Everblue.

It would also be great to read what other people think on this subject.

Communicate

Back to basics, but if you want a strong team you need to create an atmosphere of communication and information flow. So if you don’t have one already create a healers-only channel and invite your healers into it, and if your guild is one which uses forums try and get some role-specific forums created as well.

The healing channel

The purpose of the channel is two-fold: firstly you can use it to set up and discuss assignments, so everyone knows what’s going on. If it’s in a separate channel people can pull it out into a separate chat frame to keep it prominent, or give it a different colour to help prevent it getting lost in the rest of raid chat.
The second purpose of the channel is to allow discussion of how that last attempt went, if someone is feeling overstretched on the one hand or even underworked on the other, then the assignments can be tweaked, for example.

Here’s the first big tip I’ll give: keep the channel for healers only and don’t allow intrusions. There’s nothing will get people’s backs up like being told what to do by a non-healer.
I know how tempting it is as a raid leader to try and eavesdrop on every role channel, and that’s not incompatible with this idea, but if you want a properly free and frank discussion you will have to take a back seat. Every time you make a comment, you remind people you’re there, and this might not be the best way to promote discussion.
Healers in particular can be quite sensitive types, and actually it can be quite a big step to admit you need help with something, so don’t be an overbearing raid leader.

If you’re the raid leader and a healer as well, you’ll definitely need to be in the channel, but try and keep your involvement to a minimum. Ideas from authority figures, even in a game context, are harder to argue with. On the whole though I think a healer raid leader actually has a head start, because you’ll understand what motivates the healers, which can help with trust.

However, the healing team will need to communicate with the rest of the raid from time to time, which is where suggestion number two comes in: consider nominating a “healing lead”. Now I know some guilds don’t like the idea of the extra layer of hierarchy that class or role leads provides, and I’m not talking about another guild rank, just a sort of spokesperson who can liaise with the raid leader or other role leaders to pass information around. This lets everyone’s voice be heard, without needing to stick their neck out personally if they don’t feel confident.

It might be a regular, well-liked healer, it might be the theorycrafting nut, it might be the chatty one, but someone will most likely fall into this role. Let the healers choose their “champion” rather than it automatically be the officer who happens to be a healer.
Perhaps the healing lead could set up the assignments too. It’s always better to be assigned by someone who knows you better as an individual.

Healing forums

Just as the in-game chat channels are great for discussing the immediate events during a raid, forums can be a place for more distilled reflections on assignments, roles and strategies.

As an officer or raid leader, you could perhaps try seeding discussions by posting template healing assignments for the fights you’re currently working on, and asking for suggestions. Or perhaps asking questions relevant to a healing alt, which can spark discussions. Some of the best class discussions I’ve seen have come from this sort of start, and the key here is to get people posting and building up their confidence.

You could go both ways on making the role forums private to the roles in question or open to the guild, but I’d probably suggest keeping them open, to allow the discussion to be a bit more open and to keep the discussions useful as a resource for everyone’s reference. Questions from non-healers on the forums are less likely to provoke negative or defensive reactions on forums compared to in the heat of a progression night.

Clearly, the success of this one will depend strongly on how active your members are on the forums, so exercise some judgement on this one.

Final point here: if you’re the raid leader or an officer, be sure to publicly notice and appreciate the discussions that take place. To take criticism is to expose a little vulnerability, so some positive feedback will be invaluable; just don’t go so far as to be patronising, people can spot insincerity a mile away.

Don’t blame

I touched on this one earlier when I advised keeping non-healers out of the healing channel, but I want to return to it because it’s so important: don’t refer to healing meters and don’t point fingers at individuals.

First and foremost, healing is a team effort. Someone has to be bottom of the meters, and who that is is likely to depend strongly on the fight and the team composition. Not to mention the fact that healers make many more valid contributions than just their healing output: dispels, buffs, defensive cooldowns, and more.

Linking meters fails to capture the full contribution of individual healers, and can risk characterising your healing team as a set of individuals instead of a single team. Friendly competition is one thing (I used to compete with a fellow priest to get the lowest overheal, back in SSC when it mattered) but generally healer competition is counter-productive, so any signs of it should be strongly discouraged.

But what if something actually went wrong? The tank died, for example. Surely it’s the tank healers’ fault? Maybe.

Maybe the fault is with the assignments and not enough people were assigned to tank healing. In which case the tank healers may have done their jobs perfectly well but not been able to keep up anyway.

Maybe someone just made a mistake. Nine times out of ten they know about it already. It happens from time to time, you pick the wrong person or the wrong spell, you’re on GCD just as the Impale is landing, whatever. For healers the feedback tends to be immediate and very visible, so pointing it out publicly serves no real purpose, and is quite likely to just knock the confidence of the healer in question.

Or maybe the tank should have used a cooldown, or called for one, and actually it’s their “fault”.

In any case, the point is that generally healers know when something didn’t go right, and pointing it out doesn’t really help. It’s far better to ask them collectively what went wrong and get a discussion going. If people feel safe in their environment, preferably that private channel, then they should (eventually) be able to admit they messed something up, or ask for extra help on a target, or even request a different assignment to make them feel more comfortable.
This will become a recurring theme, but early on people may be reluctant to answer these questions immediately, so take one for the team. Point out where you can see a way for you to improve (yes, there will be something, unless you’re in Paragon, and probably even then) and volunteer that. Model the behaviour and show that you’re comfortable trusting them, and in time that trust will be returned.

The other aspect of this “post mortem” is to focus less on what went wrong, and more on what will be done about it in order to win next time. Keep the discussion focused less on who failed and more on what’s needed. For example, if we’re analysing our tank death, move the discussion quickly on from “not enough healing” to thinking about assigning an extra healer or asking tanks for cooldowns.

Take an interest

You can set up the environment all you like, but if you want to get your healers working together, you need to generate some rapport as well. This might be something you do as a raid leader/officer, or you might leave it to the healing lead. I’d suggest a bit of both: if your raiders feel you care about them as individuals, they’re more likely to believe you’ll listen to them and actually value their contributions.

At this point I’ll link out to a post by Tamarind about the culture of “my door’s always open!” and why you need to go a bit further than that in reality. There’s some good nuggets in that post for anyone trying to foster a more open atmosphere.

The short version is that if you want to know something, just ask the question, don’t automatically expect people will volunteer it. And as I’ve mentioned above, if you’re asking people to lower their guard, be prepared to lower yours first.

In raids, ask how people found that assignment. Ask them what they prefer to do. Outside raids, ask them how they’re doing, and take an interest in them as a person. And again, share your own personality, preferences and your shortcomings. This is sound advice for a leader in any capacity, but if you’re actively trying to get people out of their shells and feeling comfortable, you need to make a special effort.

All in all, your healing team needs a level of mutual respect, which can only arise when the person behind the character feels valued and feels that they know something about their colleagues as well. It needs to be truly a two-way street.

Encourage criticism

This is probably best left for a later stage, because opening with this might put people on the defensive and could well be a backwards step. But once you’ve got your healers to a point where they’ve got a safe space and they’re talking to each other and communicating to the raid as a whole, and there’s no undue blame coming their way, you might be at the point where they can begin to criticise each other, constructively and gently, but always by consent.

I know everyone says on their guild apps that they appreciate constructive criticism, but not everyone is quite as ready for it as others. So perhaps put yourself on the line first. People will probably be hesitant to criticise you, and might become defensive if you criticise them, but nothing’s stopping you criticising yourself, laying yourself (metaphorically) bare and modelling how feedback can be constructive and positively-phrased.

Or you could try another approach and post links to blog posts, forum threads and or other information sources, noting how they’ve helped you to improve some aspect of your play. This also allows you to demonstrate that you’re not setting yourself up as knowing everything, that there’s always room for everyone to improve, and it also lets you provide convenient links that people might follow, rather than needing to start their own research from scratch (there’s a lot of WoW information out there, it can be daunting!).

The other thing you might consider, which may or may not be a step too far, is routinely posting links to WoL parses for raids, and allowing discussions on that basis. You’ll usually have a few analytical types in your guild who will find it interesting to go through logs and pull out interesting statistics or find some pattern that you might not have noticed.
You’ll need to be very clear that any references to “beating” others on meters, general epeening or anything else non-constructive will be moderated (and actually follow up on this). You’ll probably get a bit of that, but when it’s routine people will get bored quickly.

The thing is, by publicising things like blogs or WoL parses, you’re making it easier for people to access real examples of others in their role or class, which can make them think and question for themselves. You don’t need to point everything out to people, they’re are always more likely to value and believe what they’ve discovered for themselves.

Once you’ve got to this point, you should (hopefully) have healers who are able to refine their own healing assignments, understand each other to some degree, and with discussions of playstyles beginning to emerge you can see how healers can then begin to predict each other’s actions in a raid situation.

Maintenance

So, you’ve herded all your healers into their own channel (and evicted the mischievous warlock that tried to sneak in, there’s always one), you might have got yourself a healing spokesperson; you’ve made it quite clear that you don’t care about the meters and you’re being very careful to ask the healers if they think they could improve the raid’s situation or how the raid could help them, or what they feel about the assignments and their role; you might have them constructively criticising themselves and others; and you’re taking an interest in them as people, respecting their contributions and personalities and with general respect all round.

What else is there?

Well, it all takes work. Keep plugging away at it, keep encouraging, prompting, supporting the positive behaviours, and moderating discussions if they drift in undesirable directions. And help new joiners to understand how things work and make them feel welcome and comfortable and as unthreatened as possible.

TL;DR

The key points I wanted to raise are the following:

  • Get your healers some safe space – a custom channel at least – and keep it for healers only
  • Allow people to speak their minds. Value their opinions, but keep your own out!
  • Avoid pointing fingers; instead, try asking what went wrong, what would help things go better
  • Find out about your healers’ personalities and preferences and actually value them
  • Always be honest and sincere. The best leaders can always find something genuinely positive to say, so don’t be tempted to fake it, people will tell and there goes your mutual respect
  • If the atmosphere is conducive to it, begin to encourage constructive criticism
  • Always model the behaviours you want to encourage. If you want people to analyse their own performance, hold your own up to examination first. If you want people to ask for help with assignments, let people know when you’re having difficulties as well.
  • Your work is never done, so keep up the encouragement and support

Hopefully some of these tips will be useful. Remember that this is only one perspective, and guilds and raiders are all unique and have their own quirks and preferences, so as with any advice you should adapt it to suit your situation and constantly evaluate it to see if it’s still relevant.



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"You Are Not a Tank Healing Spec"

Posted by Malevica on May - 27 - 2010

I came across the line in the title while dipping into the EJ WotLK Priest Healing Compendium recently, and it made me think about how we tend to try and pigeon-hole healers.

Why do we label healers?

Humans are fundamentally pattern-seeking creatures: it is our natural tendency to try and classify the world, to relate it to things we have experience of, and to reduce it to a set of simpler rules.
In WoW, when a raid leader is faced with 5-7 healers to assign, of up to five different specs, all with unique personalities and skills, their natural reaction is to fall back on these heuristics in an attempt to reach as nearly-optimal a solution as possible.

Because the assignment is based on these heuristics, the quality of the classification scheme will directly influence the quality of the resulting assignment.

Common classification schemes

I’m going to focus on two today. The first is the common “tank” and “raid” healer dichotomy, and the second is a modification which divides healers by their abilities rather than by role. I’ll also describe the ideal, which is what guilds should be aiming at.

“Tank healers” and “raid healers”

This is, for the most part, the prevailing paradigm in WoW today. Not in decent raiding guilds, I’m sure, but in my experience this is how the majority of players and raid leaders still think.

The trouble with this model is that it breaks down fairly quickly in the current game. Where does a Discipline Priest fit? What about a Resto Druid? Come to think of it, on many encounters a Shaman might be a weak ranged healer (Rotface heroic leaps to mind) but excel at bouncing Chain Heals through the melee, are they still a “raid healer”?

Typically Disc priests and Holy Paladins get dropped into the “tank healer” box, and everyone else into the “raid healer” box. And the boxes are fairly fixed across a raid, even though, as the Shaman example shows, this can change a lot depending on the fight.

In my experience the biggest weakness of this scheme is that it also tends to lead to over-simplified assignments. “X and Y on tanks, rest on raid” is very often inadequate, especially on challenging content, where healers don’t know each other well, or where healer capabilities are unknown.

Single-target vs multi-target healers

This is a slightly different way of categorising the healing population, but sticking with two groups again. I think this works a little better than the first scheme, because it allows the raid leader to match healers to the damage profile, rather than arbitrary roles.

For example, as a Discipline Priest I’m generally a single-target healer. I know that 25-mans tend to have Disc Priests on bubble-blanketing, but I’m still only handling one person at any one time. I can tank heal, if a single tank is taking sustained damage, but I can also very effectively heal up random secondary target damage (like Lana’thel’s Bloodbolts or Deathwhisper’s Shadowbolts) or rescue individuals who find themselves standing in fire.

It also allows Shaman to be used on tanks on fights where it’s appropriate, Marrowgar being a great example, and Blood Queen Lana’thel another decent example. When you have multiple tanks taking simultaneous damage, rotating Chain Heal across each tank in turn is a very effective tool; far more effective than trying to get a Disc Priest to heal three targets.
As another example, consider using a Shaman or two as part of your tank healing assignment on heroic Saurfang. They can keep a melee Mark up fairly well, while contributing significantly to the healing on the tanks. If you can even free up a Holy Paladin, that allows you to cover an additional Mark at range.

There are some weaknesses of this scheme still. In particular there’s a lot of variation in the “multi-target” group, ranging from Holy Paladins (Beacon of Light) through to Resto Druids, which is not accounted for. In practice, treating Holy Paladins as single-target healers tends to work best conceptually.

This scheme also requires a bit more thought on the part of the person doing the assignments, but can lead fairly naturally to more individualised healing assignments.

The ideal

Clearly, the ideal situation is for the raid leader, or the healing lead, to know the individual strengths, weaknesses, preferences, specialities and foibles of every healer in the raid team, and assign on that basis. There’s not much reliance on heuristics here, and the maximum information is being used to inform the decisions being taken.

As an example, I’ve talked before about healing Ulduar-10 as Disc with a Holy Paladin with few problems. We succeeded because we knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses and could adapt our tactics to each fight, despite the conventional wisdom that we had 2 “tank healers” in the raid.

But a PuG raid leader, or someone with new recruits in a guild, or simply someone who is less comfortable handling so much information, will need to simplify things to some extent.

Conclusions

You’ve probably figured out that I prefer to think about healers in the second way (when I’m not working with a guild group, where I’m a lot closer to the ideal). I prefer assigning healers based on their class’s abilities and strengths, in relation to the damage that will be taken.

This helps me understand how to relate to Holy Paladins. As a Disc Priest I’m often lumped in with Holy Paladins as “tank healer”, but the big difference is that Holy Paladins are dual-target healers, so on fights with more than one tank they will have a much easier time than me, and it’s noticeable in the raid (in the same way that Bone Storm is a very different proposition with and without a Disc Priest). Our single-target HPS is comparable, but they can double their overall HPS in a GCD, and they can sustain it over long periods of time, while mine is quite bursty.

Every healers is suited to different situations, and it’s much better all round if the person doing the assigning takes account of that.

And stop putting me on tanks, I really don’t like it.



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