Dealing with 5-mans as a Healer.

Dealing with 5-mans as a Healer.

The standard composition of a 5-man group is 1 tank, 1 healer, and 3 dps. Most 5-man groups are found through the Looking for Group (LFG) system. The random people you’re matched with in a 5-man through the LFG system can challenge you in a few different ways.

tanking difficulties

The tank is in a DPS spec and insists it is his tanking spec.

You are better served by taking the dungeon deserter debuff and waiting 30 minutes to queue again.

The tank doesn’t use his mitigation cooldowns and takes an excessive amount of damage.

You can suggest the use of specific cooldowns on certain pulls or bosses to the tank, if you understand his tanking class enough to give those suggestions.

Or you can choose a talent to help you help him with his mitigation. On a Paladin, for example, you can take the Clemency talent and use Hand of Sacrifice when he is taking a lot of damage. You can also use Lay on Hands if he drops too low.

If he refuses to take suggestions and your mitigation spells aren’t enough to keep him alive, then you should drop the group and requeue.

The tank pulls entire rooms regardless of repeated suggestions to slow down.

Most tanks who pull aggressively are insanely geared and only doing Heroic 5-mans to Valor Cap. Your skills as a healer are unnecessary and you should enjoy the carry. They don’t happen often, so take advantage of them when you can.

The other tanks who pull aggressively are incompetent. They are the ones who yell at healers for letting them die. Leave the group. You are not obligated to suffer through harassment and doing so will only damage your confidence, which is a healer’s most valuable asset.

The tank doesn’t pay any attention to the amount of mana you have.

A tank’s failure to pay attention to your mana may be a sign of a new player. One of the things new tanks struggle with is the idea their pulling pace is dependent on the amount of mana their healer has available. Always tell your party when you need to drink.

If a tank continues to pull despite your “Oom” messages in party chat, try whispering him and asking him to pay more attention. Chances are, he hasn’t been reading the chat — a lot of people don’t — and a whisper may work wonders.

But if the tank continually ignores your request to get mana before he pulls, leave the group and requeue. Tanks and healers need to work in harmony and when a tank refuses to communicate with you– his healer– he has failed. You are not obligated to try and make a one-sided tank-healer relationship work. Go find a better friend!

DPS difficulties

The DPS are pulling for the tank.

While it’s bad form for DPS to pull instead of a tank, in a 5-man, you can generally overlook the rudeness. If a tank pulls too slowly, a DPS (especially a ranged) might pull more mobs to the group to make the run go faster. Ignore and keep healing..

If a DPS takes off in a different direction and starts pulling things himself, ignore the renegade DPS and stay with the tank. Your #1 priority is keeping the tank alive, so if a DPS wants to wander off and get himself killed, let him.

When he complains about not getting heals, tell him you’ll heal him if he stays with the group. The problem is solved 90% of the time. The other 10%? The DPS will continue pulling random mobs. Just let him die. Eventually he’ll get the hint or leave the group, solving the problem for you.

The DPS are standing in AoE ground effects.

“I don’t heal stupid,” has come to be a pretty standard healer response to DPS who think poison circles and other nasty ground effects are okay to stand in. As a healer, you should never refrain from healing someone just because they are standing in poison– with a couple exceptions.

The first exception is the tank. If he is taking a lot of damage and a DPS chooses to stand in a ground effect, prioritize the tank. The second exception is your mana. If healing the derpy DPS will oom you, ignore him and focus on the rest of the group.

When DPS complain about lacking heals after standing in ground AoE effects, you should calmly explain to them the ground AoE effects killed them and how they can avoid those effects. Some DPS don’t understand reducing the damage they take is their responsibility. Explain they help you out when they do so, but be nice about! (Also, don’t yell at a DPS for healing themselves).

healing difficulties

Bad healing causes more wipes than anything else. The first thing you should do is ask yourself: “Did I cause the wipe? If yes, what can I do fix my mistake? If not, how can I help the group avoid the same mistake?”

tools for healers

Working Knowledge of Your Class Mechanics

If you don’t know how every spell in your spellbook works, then you are lacking knowledge of your class mechanics. And when I say every spell, I mean every spell–including the ones you consider useless. There may come a time when one of those useless spells isn’t quite so useless after all.

(For a Paladin Specific Guide, see Lifespark’s 5.4 Holy Paladin Guide.)

Mouseover Clicks and/or Keybinding for All Spells.

Mouseover clicks and/or keybindings are vital.They increase your reaction time by a significant margin and can mean the difference between a wipe and a kill. Yes, adjusting takes time and using them may be awkward. But once you get used to mouseover clicks and/or keybindings, you’ll wonder how the hell you ever healed without them. If you’re a person resisting this change– honestly? Get over it.

In-depth Understanding of Boss Fight mechanics

The knowledge of boss fight mechanics is invaluable. Get into the habit of reading the dungeon journal and watching videos for every 5-man Heroic you haven’t done. Preparing allows you to plan out healing cooldowns accordingly.

Exceptional Raid Awareness

Raid awareness — or environmental awareness — is vital.. As a healer, your eyes are primarily focused on your raid/party frames, which makes it incredibly easy to forget about mechanics you should avoid, such as poison puddles on the ground or stunning charges from certain ads.

As a healer, your raid awareness has to be better than a DPS’s raid awareness. Healers have to focus on their raid/party frames and avoid mechanics simultaneously, while DPS have to focus only on their own feet and the boss/ad they are attacking.

A Good User Interface (UI)

A good UI is a healer’s most valuable tool. A standard UI package is Elvui and it comes with nearly everything a healer needs. The only things you’d need to add to Elvui as a healer is a Boss Mod add-on like Deadly Boss Mods (DBM) or BigWigs and a spell tracker like WeakAuras (or NeedtoKnow or TellMeWhen).

For more information on building a healer-friendly UI, see Lucydin’s posts on Vuhdo and Weakauras.

One thought on “Dealing with 5-mans as a Healer.

  1. As one of those “DPS-That-Queue-As-Tanks” I approve, It’s my fault if I can’t tank it. Not the healers.

    As we get into a new xpac, there will be a lot of ex-580 iLevel tanks that are used to running H dungeons with a #420blazeitnoscope360 attitude. So learning when someone’s death is your responsibility or not will help when dealing w/ these types of players.


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