The healer’s job is to keep everyone alive. In PvE this primarily means focusing on the tank, while in PvP healers need to switch rapidly between targets. Healers support the group through the use of healing spells and abilities, and also tend to be responsible for removing harmful debuffs. Healers are the least common class role after tanks. The classes that can become healers are druids, monks, paladins, priests and shamans.
Healers keep the group alive through anticipating incoming damage, and need to be aware of the health of multiple targets at all times, and respond quickly whenever their abilities are needed. Healers typically spend their time watching the health bars of the other group members, while keeping aware of the boss in order to anticipate their special abilities.
Healers use a range of healing and damage mitigation spells, including direct heals such as , heal over time (HoT) effects such as , area of effect and multiple-target heals such as , damage reduction abilities such as , and protective abilities such as . Healers also tend to have several direct healing options, ranging from very fast but extremely inefficient, to very efficient but extremely slow. Knowing when to use the right type of healing spell is critical to being a healer.
Unlike other roles, the prime challenge of a healer is usually not that of simple capability, but one of efficiency and longevity. Most well-geared healers are capable of healing targets through the heaviest of onslaughts, but doing so without rapidly depleting their limited mana reserves requires forethought, anticipation and a thorough knowledge of their skills and cooldowns. Healers who simply use their fastest and most powerful heals will quickly find themselves out of mana, powerless to aid themselves or their allies. Healers must therefore strike a fine balance between speed and efficiency, often risking the lives of their charges in order to ensure their mana will last the fight.
In the heat of battle, healers also have the unenviable responsibility of triage, making split-second decisions as to who will live, and who must die. It is often not possible to save every target, and there are times when even the best healer must allow one of their charges to perish, in order to save the others. Tanks in poor gear may blame the healer for not keeping them alive, and DPS may refuse to stay out of the fire, and blame the healer for their deaths. Healers are rarely thanked for their efforts, and when everything goes wrong, the healer may be held responsible for not miraculously saving the group. However, experienced players know the difference between their own mistakes and those of the healer, and anyone who has served in the role knows the challenges of healing a tough encounter. A healer must know their limits, and that they cannot single-handedly keep their allies alive if they do not watch out for their own survival.
Healing requires quick reflexes and constant vigilance for that spike of damage that can suddenly wipe out the party. In exchange, the healing role offers great satisfaction for those who enjoy helping and supporting others, managing and watching over the group, and knowing that their skill, focus and anticipation have single-handedly kept the group alive through all that has been thrown at it. Those who enjoy healing tend to enjoy keeping multiple plates spinning at the same time, multi-tasking and managing a number of shifting priorities while responding to unpredictable events with calm determination and a cool head. Healing is the one role which doesn’t address the character’s enemies, but rather their allies. For this reason the satisfaction of playing a healer can be a bit more internal than the obvious glory of personally killing the big monster – the healer gets to sit back and know that they were indispensable in making the group’s success possible.
Being a healer is quite possibly the most stressful and most under-appreciated role of all. Nonetheless, it offers a unique challenge. A good healer is capable of turning around any encounter, creating an indomitable team of adventurers who can take on anything. As the person most directly responsible for their team’s survival, a skilled healer can single-handedly save their party, their quick-thinking and mastery of their abilities sweeping their group from humiliating defeat to jubilant triumph. A good healer may stand in the shadows, but they alone are capable of raising their team into the glorious light of victory.
Thanks to: Gamepedia