Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Success In Healing

"How do you define success in healing?"

I asked this question not too long ago of a healing applicant.  What triggered it was his list of addons.  It didn't include an addon raid frame or Clique but did include Recount.  I asked him about his healing style, and then I asked him the above question.  (Had to beat off the peanut gallery, which of course wanted to pipe in with clever remarks.)

To be fair, he was young and probably hadn't had to deal with a serious job interview up to that point, where they asked him open-ended philosophical questions.  (You know, the kind where you have to have enough insight to figure out what the interviewer is really getting at before you open your mouth and let him know your perspective is completely different.)  But his response--bragging about some of the encounters he had healed in non-traditional gear--didn't impress me.

I told him he could tell me he'd healed encounters in a pink dress, and it wouldn't impress me.  (Inside guild joke.)  I could heal a raid encounter naked, and it would not tell anybody anything about my skill, because I was probably carried.  (But it might say a lot about my attitude.)

It's pretty simple to define success as a tank.  If the mobs stay on the tank, and the tank uses his/her abilities properly to help preserve their own life, we'll keep the tank.  It's pretty simple to define success as a dps player.  If the player accomplishes any special assignments they were given (cc, interrupts, focusing on adds, etc.) and manages to toss out large numbers, the dps is pretty successful.

Defining success as a healer is a little more subtle.

You can't rely on the meters.  For instance, there may only be "so much" healing to be done.  Perhaps there is a fight where the tank takes 85% of the damage.  There is only so much of his life bar to refill, and so the potential for healing is limited.  This means that, unlike the dps, the healers may be competing for the opportunity to heal, rather than just competing on how well they can tweak their own stats, rotations, and targeting skill.  Their numbers are dependant on what everyone else does, not just their own skill.  Many times, to increase a player's numbers on the meters, the only way available is to stomp on someone else.  And that is a bad atmosphere to foster in a healing corps.

So how do you define success as a healer?

When I evaluate a healer, I look at a few things.

1.  How are their basic raiding skills?  (Ok, we look at this for everyone.  Do they stand in fires, etc.  Kind of obvious.)

2.  Did they accomplish their assignment?  Did they use their cooldowns when designated?  If the person was assigned to tank healing, did the vast majority of their healing go to the tank or were they so busy trying to snipe heals from the rest of the healing corps that someone else stepped in to keep the tank alive?

3.  Was their healing at a reasonable level for their assignment?  For instance, in a high raid damage fight, someone assigned to tank healing will usually show up lower on the meters.  But if their showing is within a reasonable amount of the other tank healers, especially other tank healers of their class, it is acceptable.  If, however, it is considerably lower than the others, and it cannot be explained by a disconnect, death, or other such reason, I have to wonder if they were giving their best effort.

4.  Are they a functioning team member?  Is their focus on competing against the rest of the healing corps, or do they work together in a give and take situation?  Do they have thoughtful suggestions when we have trouble or will we hear nothing but complaints when there are setbacks?

The healing applicant obviously had not understood my question in the spirit it was asked.  He apparently thought I was looking for proof of great deeds, but I was after basic understanding of teamwork.  I finally had to spell it out for him:

What I'm really getting at is this: are you going to accomplish your assignment or fail to do so because you're too busy tossing around random heals to pad the meters? Are you going to view the raid as a team venture, where everyone wins if the boss goes down, regardless who came out on top of Recount and who had the most overheal, or are you going to spend your time telling everyone in healer chat how good you are and causing discontent in the ranks? Are you going to accept assignments and follow through or are you going to pout if you are assigned something which will naturally make your showing on Recount lower?

Do you view healing success as accomplishing your assignment so the raid can down the boss, or do you view success as stomping everyone else on the meter for the bragging rights?
At that point, his answer didn't matter, because I had told him the "right" answer.  What mattered then was that he knew what my expectations were.

We recruited him on a trial basis.  So far, he seems to be measuring up all right.

No comments:

Post a Comment