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September 11, 2011 / nae1776

Meters & Logs: The non-DPS dillema


In my early days of raiding things were simple. If I was having a good night and keeping up on my rotation, managing CDs and threat, I’d see my little purple bar moving higher on recount. My job was DPS, and the amount I could do to a boss was limited by only his health pool, my gear, and user input. But why is healing any different?

Damage taken is not linear & static in most situations. Sure, bosses have abilities that do a set amount of damage or reduce your health to a flat percentage. But bosses also have abilities that can be avoided. Swings that can be dodged, parried, blocked, mitigated & absorbed. And what about nasty debuffs that we need to stop healing to dispel? Fight mechanics that greatly inflate or deflate healing, maybe even keep you from healing at all for a time. As you can see it’s not so simple as DPS measurement.

Sure, it is important to reach a certain threshold in your healing output relative to the mechanics of the encounter you will face. You will need to be able to keep up with high damage phases and abilities. And some fights require you to do so for extended periods of time. Pushing your HPS is not a useless endeavor. But applying a minimum across the board or playing games of “I rank higher than you” is. Why? Because the better your raid is at staying out of bad, the less damage they will take. The more gear and avoidance your tank has, the less damage they will take. And the better your Disc priest is, the less damage will be taken as result of mitigation & absorption. So a good raid takes less damage and therefore takes less healing, pushing excess into overheal.

You might assume this means I’m against meters. Quite the contrary. I keep them running every raid night and analyze our logs as soon as they are available. I’m not necessarily aiming to be on top of my healing team, although it’s not an undesirable position. What I’m aiming for is being at the top of my game. Healing, unlike DPS, doesn’t occur in a vacuum with everyone at perpetual HP defecit like simcraft assumes. We need to maximize our actions in anticipation and reaction to things in the fight that cause damage – whether planned or not. Because mistakes happen, and pushing our output makes recovery possible.

In conclusion, meters are very important. They can help you figure out how to prioritize your stats, figure out why the tank died so it can be prevented next attempt, and to see if a healer is falling behind the pack a little too far. But trying to reach a certain HPS minimum on each & every fight regardless of mechanics is not only wasting your mana but also that of your other healers as a result of heal sniping or just plain redundancy. Aim to be in the neighborhood of the other healers, plan ahead for your mana longevity. And above all else, stick to your assignment first unless the kodo dung hits the fan or your target is safe. Healing, and raiding itself, is a team effort. And while teams do have stars, they still accomplish their goals as a group.

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