Healing Priorities

A weekend of Shaman Healing (and occasional Bear tanking) has led me to believe that a lot of people I meet in random groups don’t understand there is a clear priority list to healing.

As a healer, I do not frantically click all the little green bars willy-nilly hoping that somehow, we will all pull through.

I prioritize.

I make sure each and every heal is cast with precision, in order of importance, with an eye to my overall goal of  successfully completing each run.

Many people just don’t seem to understand how the priorities work. It’s very clear to me.

So, I’m going to help explain. This is my Sunday Service to you.

In a random group in LFD or in raids, healing priority goes in the following order;

1) Me.

2) The tank, so long as he is keeping things off of me. If he’s letting me take aggro from spawned mobs, I’m going to reduce heals accordingly until he gets his head out of his ass, or eats some repair bills, whichever come first.

3) My spouse, because if I let her die, I’m never going to hear the end of it.

4) Any other guildies in the run, because I already know I like them.

5) Anyone that’s been nice and friendly in the group. Examples include, but are not limited to; Saying hello at the start, being helpful or polite, typing with proper grammar and/or spelling, sharing any amusing and light-hearted anecdotes, or perhaps even, wonder of wonders, buffing properly or dropping a Mage table. Dropping a Mage table can even bump you to above “4”, if the guildy is being a lazy bastard.

6) Anyone that is a stranger and hasn’t said a word the entire run. I’ll heal you, but I won’t really give a shit if you live or die.

7) Any stranger that has been a jerk or mouthy, or can’t spell, or acts like an idiot… oh, who am I kidding, these people don’t get heals. They never get an intentional heal. They may get the unintended benefit of my Chain Heal, and then only if I really have to cast it to help numbers 1 through 6 above. If I can get away with it, I’ll cast Lesser Healing Wave and Riptide all around you, isolating you from the glorious warmth and love of my heals, leaving you cast out in the cold to suffer. Leave the group, you asshat, and take your spammed Recount with you.

8) Any Warlock that repeatedly Lifetaps below 25% health after each pull. These people seem to think my Mana pool is actually for their sole use, leaving me to blow my Mana on the run to the next group just to heal him back up. Unless he falls into category 4 or 5, he gets between jack and shit, because if he thinks he’s all that evil in using me… then he must admire real evil, like my letting him die from the consequences of his own Lifetap on the next AoE damage pull, right? If he doesn’t appreciate the joke… well, guess he either needs to get a sense of humor, or buy some damn Mana juice with his own gold and leave mine alone. I understand Kungaloosh has a nice kick.

Life will move a whole lot smoother in LFD once you people understand the priorities!

81 thoughts on “Healing Priorities

  1. Hi, BBB,

    Don’t hate Warlocks, please :). I have all the healers (although my Priest is very little still), and a ‘lock too (not specced for healing 😉 ). If I heal the run the general rule is: Warlock taps to speed things up, if I my mana regeneration keeps me at comfortable levels. If I have to drink, they have time to tap/eat or drink as well. Lifetapping to 10% at AoE? They are welcome to it. If I have time and mana for them, they may even survive that. Miracles happen. Sometimes.

    And on irony / sarcasm / jokes. BBB, you are a pretty renown blogger. You risk that somebody will just refuse to heal a LTing ‘lock, point him to the post on the blog and say: “BBB says you shouldn’t do that!”. Other comments? Previous posts? TLDR kkthxbye ;).


  2. I can’t believe I missed this post back in March.

    As a pally healer, the tank isn’t on my priority list in general as with Beacon I can keep him/her healed *and* heal others (including myself) at the same time. (I guess you could say he’s the top of the priority list, as he’s always getting healed, as well.)

    Always choose me first, since if I’m dead I can’t keep healing. Beyond that, I just try to keep the group alive. Things slow down when someone dies, and whether they’re my best friend or an asshat, I’d rather keep things going. So far, I’ve never run into anybody who was bad enough that I didn’t want to keep them alive. And, given every heal I cast heals the tank as well, I prefer to keep casting during fights.


  3. I have an level 80 lock and hunter. I have NEVER lifetapped below 70%. I do need to lifetap right before I go into a fight because it gives me 20% spellpower boost for about 30secs. I always let my healer know up front why I am doing it. When the healer drinks I always sit down to drink. If I have an uber healer that never drinks, I pop lifeblood and lifetap.

    I just leveled my shammy healer to level 60 and I am always having to explain to baby locks why it is rude for them to lifetap all the way down and they should drink when I do. I find that once I explain this to them, they finally “get” it.

    I want to know why when I am on my shammy the tank never hears me when I hit my macro that emotes I need mana, yells I need mana, and then yells NO MANA=NO HEALS. They actually pull after all that and then have the nerve to get pissy when they die.


  4. I must admit this is my first venture to your blog (many thanks to wow.com) and I found it very enlightening.

    Your priorities I do without even really thinking about it, with exception of 1 and 2 in 5 mans. Of course if tank dies where does the aggro normally go – ME!

    I look forward to reading more from your good self in the future. 🙂


  5. Hi there Mr.Bear 🙂

    And actually, I’d like to thank you on behalf of my fairly new (77) lock.

    I think it is very good for me to see the other side of things. I never lifetapped myself below 70%, so I don’t really feel guilty, but I still have learned of the facet that escaped my attention so far. You see, my main is a tank, my second is another tank, and my third is a Tree… and when I go plant flowers on my dudu, I never run out of mana unless we’re in raid and fight is long. Even then, there’s innervate… My dudu’s gear is iLvl 197 average (sorry, don’t know what’s his GoatScore) but even when I get a nasty group that requires me to – gasp! – keep up rejuvs on everyone, I just don’t run out of mana… Well, unless all the deepers take a dive, and I have to watch tank fight Skadi solo for 5 minutes or so.

    And going back to your list, I see more wisdom. If I get a bad LFD, I can sometimes try to keep em all up nevertheless. I wildgrowth every cd, I cycle rejuvs, I put regrowth on the tank along with lifebloom so I can go keep the offenders up… TSk, TSK! Mistake! If I do that, they only get MORE cocky and do even sillier things; just as if they felt I had to be totally IMBA to heal them through what they did in such a “fail” gear. The result is a near certain wipe… I guess you’re right, if I just let someone die, then this could keep em in line… or cause to drop group, which I am aaaay-okay with.

    Mmmm. Food for thought. Nom nom nom nom!


  6. To new visitors from WoW.com that just saw this post brought back from the dead, greetings!

    If you’re totally unfamiliar with the Big Bear Butt blog, and you took this post seriously when you read it, especially the bit about warlocks, may I first let you know that I’m that rare animal, a blogger that ain’t all full of himself and thinking that the sun shines out my butt. I laugh and joke a LOT on this blog. It’s all for fun, except when it ain’t. This isn’t exactly war and peace I’m writing here.

    So, that being said, before you get outraged at my poor group behavior, or my elitist attitude, I invite you to take a deep breath, check out some of the earlier comments here, and then take a second read over the list with an eye towards fun, and a parodying of some well known stereotypes. The attitude you discover may just be your own.


  7. Fun list! I like the bit about the tap-happy lock. When on my lock, I ALWAYS tell healers that it’s their choice whether or not to heal my taps. If they can afford the mana, I appreciate it, but if their int/regen is low, I have deathcoil, drain life, healthstones, pots, lifeblood, fel armor, cannibalism, etc that I can use for health. I tap every 40 seconds at a minimum, so I know my tricks.

    On the topic of #2, I tend to switch that in a five man group, depending on the other members. In five mans, the fights are usually short enough that the tank will survive if I die and they use cds. A reasonably geared tank is going to survive for a while without heals in a five-man; much longer than a squishy dps will with multiple mobs beating on them. It’s often much easier for a tank to survive the rest of the pull if I die than for me to heal the dps if a tank dies, except for a well-geared plate dps.


  8. Amazing! As a shaman healer, this is totally how I heal people…Sometimes I put the tank above myself, but only if I don’t have aggro and I know that I can live through whatever damage I’m taking long enough to cast Healing Wave on the tank, as I usually save Riptide for emergencies (read: for myself).


  9. Wow. I’m kind of stunned and also not surprised by your warlock comment. I play all four healing classes and also a warlock and I note that the one spell of little mana cost to me that gives the warlock their entire health if they LT it all away is minimal compared to my entire mana pool or the gcd it took me to cast it. Yeah, it’s obnoxious if they do it in the middle of a fight and there are clearly better times than others to be doing it, but seriously, LT is an ability that they shouldn’t be discouraged from using and I find it pretty short-sighted one spell causes “omg, my mana is not your mana!”. I would happily heal a LT’ing warlock over anyone who had been rude or obnoxious in a raid.


  10. I don’t understand the problem with Warlocks.
    Surely having the ‘lock life tap away while running to the next group is good as it means less downtime?

    Do you enjoy waiting between pulls or not killing mobs as fast as you could because DPS has run out of mana?

    If ‘locks in my groups don’t life tap I tell them to do so or GTFO.

    I also lump 3-6 together. I don’t really care if they’re guildies, SO or random strangers, I just want the run over with as quickly as possible so if they’re doing their job they’re getting heals. My jb is to keep them alive, if I’m not doing that, I rightly deserve to be called an asshat.
    I’m not there to chat and neither are they. Talk is silver but silence is golden 😉
    If we can get out of an instance I’ve run sooooo many goddamn times in 10 minutes rather than 20 thanks to blissful silence I’m all for it. In fact, I’ll cheerfully hand pay for the duct tape myself if it makes the run faster.


  11. I like the list 🙂 I would probably add a point 9 though – anyone who cries out “Heal Me” automatically drops to the bottom of any of my priorities


  12. I have a ‘lock… and no healer, it’s true… but while I’m not one of those ‘never says anything/is an asshat’ in groups, I feel like I do need to point out that as a ‘lock in pugs… I have to Life Tap. Every pug I’ve been in within recent memory seems to feel there’s a race on to get to the end, and I can’t remember the last time I’ve been ALLOWED to drink. If I sit down, I get yelled at because they’re already on the next group and AMAGAD WUT U DUIN LOL *kick*

    Well, okay, I haven’t been kicked. BUT, I have gotten bitched at, and as DPS with a 30m-1hr queue you have a tendency to suck up all the abuse leveled at you by snotty pug members just because you want to get your random done rather than drop and try to find a happier environment. Lifetap to 10% whether you need it or not? No, that’s stupid. But getting snarky at ‘locks because they use a tool given to them (this is aimed less at BBB and more to people who write you off because they saw the green fog happen) is also stupid. If you don’t want me to tap, then for all that’s holy, slow DOWN….


  13. This is almost exactly my triage list. Good work with the writeup!

    I would throw in

    8) The ret paly who keeps ripping threat off the tank (lol i’m OP, lol what is righteous fury?)


  14. I know I’m late jumping on this bandwagon, but I don’t care.

    As a long time resto druid I would frequently visit blogs and sites of that nature, particularly Resto4Life while it was still active. I had come across BBB a couple times in my wanderings, but didn’t take a very close look, mainly because I had never ever been feral.

    Oh, if I had only known what I was missing.

    I had the good fortune of linking to this post from another site. I read it and I loved it. I started to read more posts on this site and well, now I’m hooked and hooked hard with 5 tabs open at the moment of various BBB posts.

    So thank you John, I appreciate what you do and the time and effort you put into it. I’m looking forward to catching up on all the gems I’ve missed.


  15. Interesting thoughts on warlock. I play both lock and druid (resto) and I actually encourage life tap in dungeons. I find it speeds things up and isn’t that big of a dent in my mana pool. I once had a priest sort of threaten not to throw a HoT on my lock when I life tapped. I was ok with it too, I can drink if needed. In the end he ended up throwing me the off HoT to replenish just because it was faster.


  16. BBB,

    First off, love the blog. I laugh to much every day when you have stories like this.
    I’d like to say that having been a tree and a lock, one life tap is all the lock gets and one rejuvenation or life bloom is all you get in return.

    And thanks for telling me the being nice part. Some nights if I don’t feel like it, I would just join a group and do the job. But now I’m giving a hello to everyone when I join. Good manners can go a little way I guess.


  17. I don’t heal. I hate it, I’m not good at it, so I don’t. But from all my brief stints as a healer, I can honestly say, I’ve more or less gone by the list for, well, ever.

    As a matter of fact, the first two point should always be paramount: Healer, heal thyself. A dead healer is no heals and usually a party wipe.

    I’ve always held a special hatred for Warlocks who Lifetap and then don’t bother drinking, though. Mother@#%$er, use your own goddamn resources to mana up, don’t indirectly use mine or you’re gonna get no heals from me.
    .-= Keristrazja´s last blog ..What, What Are We Doing Again? =-.


  18. Long time reader breaking silence at last…

    I’ve enjoyed your blog immensely at times, and appreciate it. Even though this is all in good fun (and I’m late posting!) I just wanted to say I’m a very very quiet person. I don’t generally say much in heroics unless I need to. I do my job though, so don’t really unprioritize quiet people! Some of us are just shy and/or tired of typing instead of misdirecting and pewpewing!

    Thanks for the blog and keep up the good work, BBB. 🙂


  19. BBB as always great post! I laughed and laughed. I just wish that real game play allowed me to follow the list. I’m usually healing folks ’cause I want to get my frosties. I want to get it done as fast as possible so it doesn’t interfere with my getting ready for the evening raid. (That being said I am always willing to do all the bosses and the ocasional achevement) I’m a tree and my number one heal is wild growth. WG is no respecter of the good the bad or the asshat, lovely healing warmth flows to the deserving and the undeserving just the same. Also since I want to get the dungeion over with, I don’t have time for some idiot to wander around for ten minutes looking for the entrance to Gundrik (you know who you are) so I will rez you. But I will add that the lock who soulstoned me is going to get the first rez, then the tank, only fair. I do think that DPS are necessary, and some of them are actually good players, I just wish that the others would shut up and stop telling the tank and the healer how to do their job.

    To a serious point: Folks in DF have become ruthless, anonymity is a very bad thing. I have heard comments leveled to other players that are inconscionable. Yes there are tanks that are not very good, and there are healers that are not very good. just like there are one or two good DPS players out there, there is no reason to be rude, it doesn’t help in the least. I have never seen anyone get better at tanking because a hunter said “you are a fail tank.” There is always the option to leave the group, I know that I have used it many times. You will be a happier person if you focus on the positive, but if you insist on negativity, your next comment will be met with “you are being ignored by Nightwhisp-Whisperwind”


  20. That is so weird, it ruined my whole post…

    1) tank/myself
    2) the gf
    3) anyone else that isn’t ripping aggro

    and just like BBB said in #7 (it’s hard to control my PoM though -.-


  21. gah, been leveling toons…. 2 days late on this one >..>). I also heal with my priest so this healing assignment is pretty much 1 button. GOGO BIND HEAL!!!
    2) the gf. Just like BBB said, if you let her die, instant dog house. (that and my gf usually heals me, so in the rare chance I heal her and she dies the response is as follows: “I always heal you, why can’t you keep me up for just 1 run” with a big ol’ >..>

    Anyways, those type of people will never get heals from me, they can be out top dps, but I would much rather then drop out and never have to see them again than have to put up with them.

    What’s funny is I’ll even say it “GL getting heals” and then never heal them. Then I get tells from the whole party midway through the instance when the troubled person dies, “Whisper from X: You were serious, lol”


  22. I have a healer of every class but a pally..(have not tryed that one yet) …
    I love the healing list..
    I usually put the tank on top because if they die than more than likely everyone is gone. :/
    Locks lifetaping themselves to almost nothing can get annoying depending on which class I am playing.. on my priest and druid I try and keep a hot on them but on my Shammy (she is only 71 right now) I am not going to use my one hot especially for them and it ercks me a bit when they do it constantly.


  23. As a hunter/dpser, I understand that I’m at the bottom of the heal priority list. I am very appreciative when I happen to get hit by a chain heal, or some other heal AoE. When a Druid puts a HoT on me, it makes me feel warm and fuzzy all over. I understand that I have healing potions, bandages, and other things I can use…and use them I do.

    Of course, my priority list is a little different…
    1) kill mob.
    2) watch out for healer… I try to use a variety of means, especially my traps. I have my MD hotkeyed to immediately go to the tank if need be. I’ve also had my pet taunt mobs off, if the tank seems to be having a hard time.

    So, in my world: The Tank looks after the party, the Healer looks after the Tank, and I look after the healer if, and only if, it is apparent that the Tank needs a little help.
    .-= Tim´s last blog ..Gear, gear and gear… =-.


  24. So – I sit down before work (bleary eyed from staying up too late in ICC 25…again) and realized I had not checked BBB blog in a couple opf days. So, I read this post. Maybe I’m slap happy from sleep deprivation but I laughed out loud and think I laughed on and off for another 10 minutes. I drank my coffee, laughed a little more and was ready to start the day !!

    Easily my favorite was number 7. Here’s a little refresher:

    7) Any stranger that has been a jerk or mouthy, or can’t spell, or acts like an idiot… oh, who am I kidding, these people don’t get heals. They never get an intentional heal. They may get the unintended benefit of my Chain Heal, and then only if I really have to cast it to help numbers 1 through 6 above. If I can get away with it, I’ll cast Lesser Healing Wave and Riptide all around you, isolating you from the glorious warmth and love of my heals, leaving you cast out in the cold to suffer. Leave the group, you asshat, and take your spammed Recount with you. (Love that last line)

    Seriously – does this not describe a hunk of people on wow?? I usually just ignore those types Big Bear is referring to here – but always love it when someone steps up and tells them (in many different ways) to pull up their diapers, cram a paci in their trap and get on with it.

    Bear – thank you for brightening up my morning !!

    Stratus of Darkspear


  25. About #6 BBB, *cough* do macros count?

    Like Bernie, I don’t really chat either … I just use my 2 macros to communicate few things =P


  26. …as to #6. I rarely chat while running pugs unless necessary, but ALWAYS thank heals and tank for a job well done when deserved.


  27. I actually e-mailed this healing list to almost all my WoWfriends because I thought it was so awesome.

    All bear posts are awesome.


  28. And it wasn’t complete sarcasm, either. I’ll say it quite bluntly; people who are rude, offensive, or take apparent pleasure in being asshats in pugs do, in fact, find themselves dead last on my healing priorities. On that, I am quite unabashed. People have the power in their own hands to decide their fate. Everyone at this point is at the very least aware of what standards of behavior are considered appropriate in groups.

    If anonymity brings out the worst in a person in a cross-server pug, and they feel that there are no consequences for their behavior and they can actually be offensive, then I am the reality check that says, “You can act like that and nobody can stop you, or even inconvenience you… but you’d better watch your aggro.”


  29. Aww, I still thought it was a fun start to the week. 🙂 My priest is the first character I’ve played as a healer, and the ranged DPS who whine at me are definitely an annoyance. Had a particularly obnoxious warlock the other day who insisted that he should get to use his time and mana to cast more fun spells like shadow bolt… *facepalm*


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