Here's some insight for you from an experienced PvP healer: healing random battlegrounds is really not that much fun. There are various reasons why, and I'll get to them, but what we're really here to talk about is how you can make your healers' experience a better one. Why should you care? They'll keep you alive if you do. And being alive is considerably more fun than being dead!
In order to help out your healers and keep them happy in battlegrounds, you'll need to know who they are. Now, when I'm healing, the first thing I'll do on zoning into a battleground is right-click my character portrait, go through the drop-down to set my role, and choose healer. My hope is that, by taking these simple steps, I can point out to those around me that I'm healing. I'm going to be keeping them alive, or trying to.
But not everyone's going to do that. You can't rely on everyone who's healing even knowing that they can do that, or indeed, being confident enough to. I know that when I first started healing, way back when, I didn't want people to know that that was what I was doing, in case I did a truly terrible job, and got called out on it. So what else can you do?
Well, head into your interface menu, then go into the Floating Combat Text section, and check the box that says "Friendly Healer Names". Whenever you see green healing numbers on your screen, this will add the name of the player who's sending heals your way. That way, you can see who it is! Another easy way to isolate friendly, and indeed unfriendly, healers is to get an addon by the name of Healers Have to Die, often shortened to HHTD.
As can be seen above, HHTD puts big ol' red crosses on enemy healers, but also big green crosses on friendly ones. It'll also notify you in a raid warning style if a friendly healer is under attack, with their name, and the player that's killing them. If you find this information too much, you can switch it off. Identifying your healers is really key to all the next steps.
2. Acknowledge your healers
This is a simple step that makes such a huge difference to quality of life and general feelings of happiness among healers. I can count on one hand the amount of times that someone has whispered, said or even emoted a word of thanks in my direction when I've blown every cooldown and worked every trick to keep them alive and the enemy dead. And on those few occasions, it's made such a difference to my day. If you wish you had a pocket healer in a battleground, wait for one to heal you, and thank them.
If you are a healer, a great way to get a DPS's attention is to whisper them. I have a couple of macros set up for this, saying things like "hey [target], I got your back". This just alerts them to the fact that you're there, keeping them alive, and suddenly you've gone from two solo players with a shared objective to being a dynamic duo, a healer-DPS team, taking on the enemy shoulder to shoulder. What should you do once you've got yourself a healer buddy?
3. Peel for your healers
Peel? Peel what for your healers? Grapes? No, ladies and gentlemen, in PvP the term "peel" means use CC to get an enemy away from them. Healers usually have their own CC, and will use it to get themselves free from most players, but if your healer friend is under constant attack and losing health, chances are they might be out of options. If they die, you can be relatively confident that the next target on their killer's list will be you.
So what do you do? Peel. Use your CC abilities, and every class has something that can work here, some more than others. Just use it, whatever it is, to try to keep the attacker from killing your healer. Healers, you can help here, too, by announcing when you need a peel and what exactly you need peeled off you. I find the easiest way to do this is with macros, a simple "/s Help! Healer needs you to CC %t so none of us die!" does the trick admirably. You'll need to target the offending enemy for it to work, though. You have to remember that your DPS will often get tunnel vision so a little help can go a long way.
4. Defend your healers
As well as getting enemy players the heck off your healers with CC, as per item three, you can actually defend them by killing their attackers, too. This is looked upon with great kindness by any healer, especially if it's obvious that that is what the DPS is up to. Healers love it when DPS come to their aid, and if you think about it, that's what healers are doing to DPS the entire battleground. Healers can occasionally kill unskilled or undergeared players, but it's a slow, painful process, and diverts valuable resources from keeping themselves alive. That's one of the big issues with healing in random battlegrounds, a lack of control over your own destiny, as there is a finite amount of time you can keep yourself alive for.
And that's where you come in, DPS. If you step in and help out a healer, you can bet your bottom dollar that they'll do their darnedest to keep you alive when the situation's reversed. Healers, again, you might want to make a similar macro to point out when you're in danger, as well as highlighting the target that is causing you the most grief. Again, mine says "/s Help! Healer needs you to kill %t, if you can!" It doesn't always work, sure, but no harm in trying.
5. Don't leave healers to defend bases
If you've carried on reading this far, you're obviously aware of how important healers are in random battlegrounds. They can be the difference between victory and defeat, being wiped and winning the flag, or node, or base. But in order to do all that, they need to be where the action is. If there's nothing to heal, a healer is wasted.
So don't leave them to defend bases. I get it, nobody likes defending. It's dull, it's often not the best way to do the top damage or healing in a battleground, but if your healers are all by themselves at lumber mill, stables and farm and you're wiping at blacksmith, you've nobody to blame but yourselves. And what's more, a healer may be able to stay alive for longer than a solo DPS, but they won't be able to kill anything. Again, it's just a matter of time before they end up dead, and your base is lost. So don't do it! And healers, be assertive. Point out that you're alone defending a base, and that that might not be the very best approach. Do it politely, though. No need to be unkind.
And as a special bonus tip, consider your range on healers. Yes, they can chase after you, and indeed should in many instances, but if I had a dollar for every time a DPS has been kited away from me and from the base in Arathi, I'd have already bought my plane tickets to Blizzcon. Consider where you're running off to!
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Filed under: PvP