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Thread: Assessing healers

  1. #1

    Assessing healers

    So I think it's pretty widely understood that healing meters aren't a good way to assess healers. Quite often it comes down to who you were assigned to on the fight.

    What tools and tricks do people use to see whether a healer is up to scratch?
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  2. #2
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    Firstly a healer that can focus on more than healbot is a must, awareness is vital and seems we are headed more in that direction which is great. So their survivability is obviously one huge factor. My wife used to play with one hand under her chin, which i kept knocking out and telling her she cant possibly react quick enough like that. She is now one of our gun healers.

    Of course we cant see that type of thing unless married to them :P. With other healers i tend to look at how their class generally perform on certain fights (WWS logs), take into account the role i asked them to do, their gear, and look at how many casts they performed through a fight. I also have 2x healing class leaders whos job it is to keep an eye on healing performance and provide feedback.

  3. #3
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    I find a WWS is absolutely key to finding out if healers are up to snuff.

    I'll give you a good example, disc priests are currently the kings/queens of single target healing, however this comes at a very hefty price. They always do poorly overall on meters since they have to sacrifice their most effective AoE Heal (CoH) to be able to go down in the disc tree. This gets to be pretty prevalent with shamans spamming CH, druids with their AoE HoTs, paladins with beacon & holy light glyph, and holy priests with the ever so awesome CoH spam. They usually come dead last, with significantly less effective healing output than all the other classes with some type of secondary or in somecases enmasse AoE heal.

    However, with the amount of depth there is to reading a WWS report, you can analyze how effective a players healing is, see how many of each type of heals they cast, types of consumables utilized, who they healed for how much on average, their crit rating and pretty much any other stat you could possibly ever want to see for a healer. You can even see if they're actually doing their job, or if other people are working harder to pick up their slack (by looking at the amount of overall healing done on the tank, categorized by player)

    I've found that, generally speaking, if a healer (especially a disc priest) has a ridiculously large overheal rating, like 80+% their heals are not being effectively utilized. (DUH)

    But be all to end all, if a WWS report is entirely out of the picture, the next best way to analyze a healers capability, in my opinion, is to put them in challenging roles and see how they perform (Assign them as a sole healer on a tank (where phesible), put them in a role that they would find difficult (Disc priest: raid healing)). If they keep succeeding in their task, and do decently overall you can pretty much bet you booty that they're trying their utmost to be effective. It's also good to try and develop a more intimate relationship with your healers, try and understand how they heal, or why they spec the way they do, for the lack of a better ending, Knowing is half the battle, to truly understand how to heal, you gotta know how everyone else heals as well.

    Dunno if that's much help, but happy hunting.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kayella View Post
    So I think it's pretty widely understood that healing meters aren't a good way to assess healers. Quite often it comes down to who you were assigned to on the fight.

    What tools and tricks do people use to see whether a healer is up to scratch?
    I select the healer, type /focus and my unitframe show me what he's casting.

  5. #5
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    Also, as a former raiding healer, you can tell how good your healer or set of healers by how smooth everything else goes. If you never seem to have to worry as the tank or DPS about your health then you know your healers are doing a great job. Or if you make a bad pull and it looks like a wipe yet somehow you all lived through it, yep that's your healers doing great work.

  6. #6
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    I don't totally knock down the healing meters, though, because even though they're flawed they're a start to seeing how a healer is doing. On boss fights I look to see who is low on the healing meters and I ask the healer why they were so low.

    Sometimes the reason is a valid reason, and sometimes.... well, one time I saw a healer was low on the healing meters because they had to go afk and so let their 12 year old son play the character without telling anyone. "But everyone survived and the boss was downed!" they said when I asked why they did that. I don't view an "everyone survived" mentality as a good way to view a healer's effectiveness per se, because that could just mean that the other healers had to carry one healer and do more work than they needed to do. Everyone should be doing their job regardless.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by qygibo View Post
    I don't totally knock down the healing meters, though, because even though they're flawed they're a start to seeing how a healer is doing. On boss fights I look to see who is low on the healing meters and I ask the healer why they were so low.

    Sometimes the reason is a valid reason...
    ....Everyone should be doing their job regardless.
    True, but say a given healer was assigned to do raidhealing, in many situations you don't just spam away because mana matters - that means that you in that particullar fight, perhaps didn't get to heal as much because the other healers just happened to be near the ones that needed healing (and as it is now, CoH usually tops everyone off before you have landed your 2nd CH, and as such Priests might seem better than Shamans)

    To OP, the way I generally feel any player should be evaluated is by play. Take them in for a few fights and see how they are doing. Put them in a role that is actually challenging, but assigning a Disc Priest to do raid healing is not the way (that just means you're masocist ).

    Lets say you usually run with 8 healers, 3 tank and 5 raid healers. To evaluate a raidhealer try with 4 of them instead, makes it more challenging.

  8. #8
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    That's why I don't say to be 100% reliant on the healing charts. I run into that issue with my holy pally, sometimes I just end up low on the charts because before I can get a heal off there's CoH or there's a bunch of HoTs or there's something that gets my target up to full health before my heal goes off.

    But other times.... when someone is assigned to a specific healing assignment where you know they should be higher up on the healing charts, and they aren't; sometimes that's a bit of concern.

    Another example I have is a time when I had 3 healers brought into Kara because they were all middling geared or had never been to Kara before (this was after the patch)... one healing shaman wasn't even on the healing meters, because they were dpsing.... our shadow priest in the group was overcompensating for that shaman's lack of duty with vampiric embrace, which they shouldn't have had to do. Sometimes the healer meters are good to show raw healing power in situations like that.

  9. #9
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    Healing are interresting to compare healers with the same assignment.
    It doesn't make any sense to compare a COH priest on raid duty with a pally on MT duty.
    But it makes sense to compare 2 raid healers or 2 MT healers.
    WWS is also interresting to see what kind of spells they use, how many were cast, etc ...

    Another few things to consider:
    Does he come prepared, does he flask, use oil, mana food ?
    Does he know the fights?
    Does he die to avoidable damage (fire, etc ...) ?
    Does he follow his assignment?
    etc ...

    But if you really want to know, ask your other healers, we know who is good and who is not.

  10. #10
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    In my experience, assessing the abilities of a healer depends on many factors. silai started down the right path and I would like to expand on what was started.

    Does the healer come prepared (food, posts, oils, reagents and so on)?
    Does the healer know the encounter (boss and trash)?
    Is the healer aware of their environment (not standing in avoidable damage effects)?
    Is the healer aware of their health and mana (healing themselves, mana management)?
    Is the healer aware of their role within the raid and encounters (keeping buffs up, using class/spec skills, helping with mana management)?

    When analyzing data (Recount or WWS reports), keep in mind the following.
    The healer's role(s) in the encounter.
    The healer's class and spec (especially when it comes to discipline priests versus holy priests).
    The healer's experience with the encounter.
    The spells used (do they use the spells and abilities available to them?).

    Any reliable analysis of a healer requires considering many factors. In the future I hope to explain the list in greater depth in order to promote a better understanding.

  11. #11
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    Salai and Furi's posts provide good insight into evaluation. I just wanted to add that those exact same steps can be used to evaluate any class/position/player, not just healers. Those are open ended tools that we all use for overall assessment.

    So maybe a key is to think of a healer as just another raider to assess and not its own particular bag of worms?

  12. #12
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    I agree, Healing meters are of very limited use now. One thing I like to do as a healing class leader is to assign the person being evaluated the same job as either myself or another experienced healer as often there are people with the same job (2 main tank healers, multiple people on raid). The other person with the same job will have a good sense of how much slack they had to pick up or if they could have a beer and watch those bars go from left to right on their own. Also, don't be afraid to force people out of their healing niche. This is not a good idea on progression bosses obviously but for trash or farmed bosses you can get a great sense of someone's skill by forcing them out of their comfort zone (ie make pallies raid heal, make shammies MT heal). Frankly, healing can get a little repetitive from time to time and switching jobs can help keep your healers interested, awake, and involved.

  13. #13
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    Good healing signs:

    Given that each healing class has it's own strengths there are a few things you can look at. But before I get to that I'd just like to say that meters and WWS reports are indeed a useful tool but should be used as the tool that they are. Not an end all judgment on healing prowess. Which is of course the case for them in general.

    1. Take a healer on a 5 man run with an over geared tank who chain pulls. See how they react. It's best not to bring really high end DPS because otherwise stuff will die too fast for any real healing to be done.

    This should test the healers mobility and understanding of high regen gearing. Currently it might be a bit tough to simulate this as everyone is leveling up but still eventually is a good test.

    2. Take a healer on a 5 man run with a under geared tank. Again DPS should not be too high but enough to get the job done of course.

    This should test the healers healing output and understanding of total healing power gearing.

    3. In a raid setting ask them to a very straightforward task. Such as keeping tank X up. Or keeping the melee DPS up.

    The idea here is will the person make sure they do the job as best they can. It is good if while they are doing said job that they add a bit of healing to other places but bad if they are doing it at the expense of not for filling their main responsibility.

    Past those kinds of actual tests which show how a person can react there is the actual healing mechanics that they use. I'm personally loath to try to correct someone's healing style if they are doing their job right unless there is a major flaw in what they are doing.

    For example I worked with a Shaman at one point who, about in the middle of TBC, did not use CH at all. Since it was way past the time that he should have known better I pointed out that he needed to move to CH as one of his primary healing spells when we were raiding. Just a very casual suggestion that I thought he'd, being a pretty smart guy, pick up on.

    Time went by and I kept looking at the WWS reports after raids and seeing his numbers and CH would often times represent less than 5% of his total healing. This was in SSC and with the stupid amount of trash and splash damage going around there was plenty of Chain Healing to be done. But for whatever reason he just did not like the idea of using CH.

    Eventually he came around but to me it took something as blatant as that for me to say something. Had his CH numbers been even lower than normal, oh and he did not have the Imp CH talent which was another give away that his understanding of how he should be healing was pretty bad, and he had the talent I most likely would not have said anything. But his mechanics were so flawed for no real reason other than just some attachment to an incorrect dogma that it needed to be addressed.

  14. #14
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    I forgot to mention that when assessing a healer you should look at the range of spells used. Before patch 3.XX dropped I was running with a healer that was consistantly underperforming. A huge part of that was her limited use of spells. Out of the heals available to a holy priest (B.Heal, F.Heal, G.Heal, Renew, CoH, ProH, ProM, and so on) she was using only four.

    In addition to looking at the range of spells, an examination of their use in relation to other spells (think % of healing spells cast - for example, G.Heal making up 30% of heals cast) and in relation to their healing assignment can yield more answers.
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  15. #15
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    When assessing healers you must also remember what fight you are coming into... if you have a fight where EVERYONE needs to be moving all of the time basically you are going to have much higher heals from a Restoration druid then from other classes who's primary heals are based off cast times, and then again on other fights where you have someone assigned to heals on people who you know wont be taking that much damage to a person who is assigned to MT healing you are going to have considerable differences which is why WWS is a great tool for looking at what happened but when looking at what happened you need to remember what fight you were doing and how the class mechanic works... same goes for DPS. if you have a fight where a lot of the time melee has to run out then you are going to have considerable differences between that and the ranged.

    Deci

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