Given the recent influx of posts discussing hybrids and their benefits being in raids due to their ability to to swap roles, I would like to expand more on that. It’s a pain having to drop healers for additional dps, having to bench them in lieu of bringing in pure dps classes. The ever changing healing requirements through content is a problem because there’s a steeper learning curve for the raid to re-learn fights using less healers and additional dps.
It’s quite stressful. You don’t have the crutch of a third healer in a 10 man to learn a fight. When I thought about stress, I asked myself if this affected a role more or less than the other. Which role in the raid suffers the most? What happens when the raid drops healers in lieu for additional dps? This has also had an impact on my performance. While it has pushed me more to really test my limits, I’m of the opinion it is definitely more challenging when raids use two healers instead of three.
Let’s list out what each roles have to do in raids generally:
- deal damage and defeat bosses before enrage or the healers go OOM.
- assist with add management with stuns, interrupts, etc.
- environmental damage avoidance
- tank the boss and stay alive no matter what.
- manage threat with both said boss and adds that might spawn.
- environmental damage avoidance
- heal the raid and tanks to keep everyone alive.
- assist with interrupts and stuns when needed.
- environmental damage avoidance
Avoiding environmental damage is the common denominator amongst all the roles in raids. Avoid getting hit by things, and not standing in fire is as basic as you get. The list looks like each role has responsibilities that are balanced throughout comparing to each other. Let’s look at what happens when you drop healers for additional dps:
- Same as above
- Same as above
- Same as above
- have one additional body to heal coupled with the loss of a third healer’s healing cds for massive raid-wide damage phases
This new list makes it obvious who suffers the most when raids opt to two heal raids. More stress, and an extra body to heal without a third healer. Nothing really changes for the dps and tanking role in this scenario.
For people who enjoy healing on a casual level may not like having to do this, simply because they are not geared, or experienced enough to manage that. This can potentially be a problem for raids at that level to progress because they don’t have strong healers to support the two healing option in 10 mans. I am sure raids have gotten cancelled altogether because they couldn’t find a third healer.
It’s a bummer when that happens. Healers get benched because there’s too many healers and/or lack of dps that additional dps need to be brought in. It’s inconsistent and unfair, but also versatile. Indeed, Blizzard could have designed an encounter to require a strict number of healers, dps or tanks, but raids would simply get cancelled because they can’t find additional bodies to fill those necessary roles.
Blizzard provided us with a set amount of each roles in raids people could flexibly work with. Don’t have enough healers? You can two heal it and take additional dps provided you do it correctly and have sufficent gear. Have people swap to their offspec to dps, or bringing in a pure dps and benching healers if you have too many people. You can decide if you need three healers, or two, based on how good your raiders are and if they can make it happen. It’s that clear cut.
It’s certainly better than having to cancel a raid altogether. I’m not even going to get into hybrids and their problems in having to use their offspec as I want to stay on topic
A lot of things factor into being able to successfully two healing 10 mans. Below, I’ll explain what the major factors are, and why it’s a problem, and the solution.
If you remember my list, all three roles must also take damage avoidance to a higher level. Your margins for error gets dropped to slim to none when you drop healers, as you can not use them to compensate for people not avoiding damage, themselves included.
The less damage the raid takes, the better. The easier it will be for your healers to heal your raid through mechanics as intended. If you have people constantly getting hit by mobs, fires or any kind of avoidable damage, it is impossible for your healers to successfully heal the fight from the start to the end.
By avoiding damage, you are helping them conserve mana for what matters the most, healing the raid though damage you can’t avoid, like raid wide aoes, or keeping the tanks alive. This is what will make or break your attempt on the boss on heroic.
Conclusion: if you have been wiping too because of your healers going OOM or can’t keep the raid up, check logs or meters for damage taken by everyone. If enviromental damage or any avoidable damage is on the top of their list, there’s your problem. Stay out of the bad more, and see how it goes.
This is important. The positioning of the raid may have to change, as you have less healers to cover the raid. As a result, positioning becomes much more stricter. A raid healer assisting in healing the tanks can’t go out of range of the tanks. The raid must always stay in range of the healers in order for the healers to keep an eye on the tanks and raid heal.
Normally, with a third healer, you get to be flexible. You can have the third healer assist with both healing the tank and raid, and run around with the raid. It’s harder to do this with just two. This makes it stressful on the healers when people constantly go out of range, and we are forced to run out to heal you. When that happens, you just have one healer on the tank, even none.
It’s important to keep in mind you need to try to be in range for the healers as they cannot afford to run out to you. Just like damage avoidance, the healers can’t also afford to waste precious gcds keeping you alive while the tank drops like a rock. If you get hit, run back in range or step in an aoe heal. Use their tools to help heal yourselves when they can’t provide you immediate attention. The same will go for the tanks, don’t run away from your healer if you know he is trying to raid heal. The raid has to work together, doing this together on the move, or stacked somewhere.
This also applies to having to stack up for AOE heals during extensive raid wide damage. Make damn sure you’re standing inside the AOE heals, your healers are working hard to keep you alive, stay in the pretty circles!
Conclusion? If you have ranged or melee dps constantly running out of the healers’ range or not stacking properly during raid heavy damage, this is a problem. Solution to remedy this is to be more conscious of where your raid is going and work on your stacking as this is essential to making the most efficient use out of your healers’ healing aoes. Always know where your healer is! If you get hit, run back to your healer if you are out of range, or step in an aoe heal if you can’t get immediate attention. More on this below.
Lastly, team work. There is no “I” when you’re raiding with two healers. As dps, if you see them having trouble keeping up, it matters more that you stay alive than the dps numbers on recount. Use your aoe heals, like Holy Radiance, Healing rain and feral/boomkin Tranquility. Your healers will thank you for it, especially during heavy raid damage.
Use your defensive cool downs too! Use Feign or Divine Protection, for example, every time it’s off cooldown or for a particularly taxing phase for the healers. This helps the healers keep up with the raid, and you should not under-estimate how valuable your defensive cool-downs can be in assisting your healers.
Conclusion? If your healer is having mana problems, or simply aren’t able to keep up with raid wide damage, people need to help off heal, or use defensive cool downs. Check your WoL for people who have defensive cool downs and remind them to use them when they can in a heavy damage phase, or when they get hit. Druids should use Barkskin more (I know I need to!), Rogues should use Feign, while paladins should pop Divine Protection or Holy Radiance. It can make a difference, and anything goes in Heroic.
To sum this up, in order to successfully raid 10 man raids using two healers, stay out of the bad and in range of your healers, assist them using defensive and healing cooldowns and communciate efficently with each other, you’re golden.
During the writing of this post, I made a post on my raid group’s facebook page asking this question, “Do you think a particular role feels more pressure when we opt to two heal a raid?” People agreed that the dps and tanks have to take damage avoidance to a higher level, so those two roles do somewhat experience additional pressure.
I wrote that I felt the healers experience the most pressure as they too have to do the same thing, and heal an additional dps on top of that without a third healer. The general consensus is that to some extent, dps and tanks have to take damage avoidance to a higher level but they still do not share the same level of pressure healers deal with in two healing raid encounters.
It was a good discussion we had after a particularly tough week trying to work on heroic bosses. Those are the key points that will make or break a raid’s attempt on a boss with two healers. Of course, good dps is also always required.
I hope I have provided food for thought for people who are trying to run 10 man raids with two healers. Happy raiding!