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  1. #1
    Moderator Rivelle's Avatar
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    Proactive vs. Reactive Healing

    I'm curious to learn what type of healing most healers prefer.

    I realize I'm putting this on the priest forum (because I play a priest) and as such the responses might be slightly skewed, but I'd ask everyone to base their responses on any type of healer they've played including their priest and answer accordingly.

    To give a quick explanation as to why I'm asking about this, last night during my guild raid we went to attempt (unsuccessfully, again) Elegon and even though discipline has been my main for awhile and I've been told it's better for that fight, after a few frustrating attempts I decided I'd give holy a try just so I could personally see what the difference was. A few tries in holy spec and I decided to ask the healer I was healing with (a resto druid) which spec he preferred me to be in and what made it easier for him to heal. Instead of giving me a straight answer he launched into some random monologue about the amount of overhealing I was doing (he even went so far as to unknowingly insult me by stating "Overhealing happens when you heal someone at full health" like I haven't been healing for the past six years and couldn't possibly have already known that interesting fact). Turns out his concern was about me going out of mana from overhealing. I could have understood his concern when I was in holy, however in disc spec I manage my mana very carefully and never run out. My response was to ask him "You do realize the disc mechanics, don't you?"...I never received a response to that question from him however.

    This got me thinking. I realized that on any healing class I've played I've always been a proactive healer, but particularly more on my disc priest for obvious reasons. I don't really even understand how most reactive healing can be effective, particularly on a HoT character like a resto druid. I never stop casting or healing, and I can't imagine sitting there just waiting for damage to occur, and then attempt to cast something (with a cast time!) to heal it up. It seems terribly ineffective to me, however I'm sure that might have something to do with this just being my "healing style".

    My question to you is basically which type of healing you prefer, and what your experiences are with both. Thanks.

  2. #2
    I imagine once you get used to an encounter enough the incoming damage becomes so predictable that you go into automatic proactive healing mode. I know I sure as hell do.

    Although overall you need a bit of both. You can predict when damage is going to come out and be ready to counter it, but there is also a lot of times that people take unexpected and unpredictable damage due to failing mechanics. Due to that its impossible to not do at least some reactionary healing.

    But as far as proactive healing being a waste of mana, just cancel your spell before it goes off if its going to be wasted on overhealing. I mean if mana is a huge issue for said healer.


    So yeah for me as a shaman, I get so used to mechanics that I can predict when and where to heal, which allows for very easy proactive healing. I assume this is the edge that puts me ahead of the majority of healers I heal with, if they are reactive that is. I will simply get to the damage before they do.
    Also as another point to my own healing style, being on a US server while playing from Australia, I have in a way 'countered' my own latency by proactive healing even further than otherwise would be necessary.

  3. #3
    As a resto druid you have to be proactive. Hot everyone up or else you dont have enough spells or global cool downs to get everyone back up. Obviously sometimes you just have to react to unanticipated damage

  4. #4
    I've mostly been playing proactive healers (resto druid and disc priest being my most played specs) so I obviously prefer that. I simply feel like it adds more depth to healing if you have a heavier emphasis on proactivity, however since every healer has to be (somewhat) proactive now this isn't really related to specific classes/specs anymore. If you aren't being at least somewhat proactive (every single spec has spells that can and should be used before the damage goes out) you are doing it wrong.

  5. #5
    No offense but you should be disc if you have the option. Even with the Spirit Shell nerf in 5.2 Disc will be one of the best healing specs because of Divine Aegis+Spirit Shell stacking.

  6. #6
    Know the fight, as disc priest you have so many strong possibilities to prevent incoming damage or to reduce this to a noncritical amount.
    Elegon... PoH/SS for the add explosion, PWS/PoM/Renew on tank and Atonement heal. If the groups are low, disc is not perfect and has a hard life, but you are there to prevent something like this :P

  7. #7
    I miss reactive healing

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Rivellana View Post
    I'm curious to learn what type of healing most healers prefer.


    My question to you is basically which type of healing you prefer, and what your experiences are with both. Thanks.
    I'm a resto druid. First and foremost, whoever I'm healing with, as long as they understand their own mechanics...i don't mind sharing how mine work, and vise-versa. Knowing that you're healing with a resto druid, you have to understand that the majority of our heals are HoTs and not instants or absorbs. We have our buttons for spike damage. You, a class with instant heals, will someone and spot heal/absorb them in that instant, regardless if we have 2-3 HoTs on that target alrdy, making our healing ineffective and our mana wasted.

    Proactive healing was the problem in Wrath, cause healers were able to just spam heals on everything period and never go OOM. It wasn't fun.

    Proactive healing in MoP, it's a judgement call depending the fight. I see it as how you are comfortable healing, continue to do so as long as it doesn't cause you any problems(mana). I understand that as a disc priest, the majority of your 'healing' comes from DA that's put on the target as the after effect.
    As a druid, I can't really spam my HoTs on everyone throughout the entire fight and expect to be useful 4minutes later. And since I know whom I have HoTs on, I know that that missing 5-10% hp will be regained over time, where as you with the instant heal will spot it when you see it.

    I see it as a trust thing at least. If you understand how your partner in healing works, and if you're comfortable with your healing style and it causes you no problems throughout 10minute fights, then there shouldn't be anything wrong with the heals.

    I've two healed elegon with priests, pallies, and shams.

    I know how all of them work, so all I do is communicate certain dispells that we have to work together on, when to blow certain CDs, and if I see they're having a mana issue, or they complain about my healing, then I communicate how to work together with our heals.



    I guess when it comes down to it, it's just understanding how the other types of healers work, the ability to work together in sync and communicate.

    As far as proactive vs reactive...it's up to your comfort style and how well it works out with your other healer(s). You'll notice that some fights aren't even healing problems anymore...it's the raids execution, or someone doing something they shouldn't have that makes it harder on the healer.

  9. #9
    Moderator Rivelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucifrie View Post
    Proactive healing in MoP, it's a judgement call depending the fight. I see it as how you are comfortable healing, continue to do so as long as it doesn't cause you any problems(mana). I understand that as a disc priest, the majority of your 'healing' comes from DA that's put on the target as the after effect.
    ---
    I see it as a trust thing at least. If you understand how your partner in healing works, and if you're comfortable with your healing style and it causes you no problems throughout 10minute fights, then there shouldn't be anything wrong with the heals.
    ---
    I guess when it comes down to it, it's just understanding how the other types of healers work, the ability to work together in sync and communicate.
    ---
    As far as proactive vs reactive...it's up to your comfort style and how well it works out with your other healer(s). You'll notice that some fights aren't even healing problems anymore...it's the raids execution, or someone doing something they shouldn't have that makes it harder on the healer.
    Thanks for the response.

    Resto druid was my WotLK and early Cata main so I'm quite familiar with their mechanics (and have raided end game at some point with every single healing class - I have too many healing characters :P). As far as my personal incident went, it left me wondering why/how the resto druid I'm healing with seems to be acting as a reactive healer instead of proactive considering his class, as well as if he even understands discipline priest mechanics at all.

    Though the last expansion I 2-healed everything with a resto shaman so healing with a resto druid instead is quite a bit different. I'm also unsure why our raid leader is holding onto 3-healing many fights that I'm sure we could probably 2-heal now, which would give me more of a chance to get used to healing with the druid.

    I would normally think that a disc priest and a resto druid would synergize pretty well as far as proactive healing goes, but it doesn't appear to be working out that way, for me at least.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Rivellana View Post
    Thanks for the response.

    Resto druid was my WotLK and early Cata main so I'm quite familiar with their mechanics (and have raided end game at some point with every single healing class - I have too many healing characters :P). As far as my personal incident went, it left me wondering why/how the resto druid I'm healing with seems to be acting as a reactive healer instead of proactive considering his class, as well as if he even understands discipline priest mechanics at all.

    Though the last expansion I 2-healed everything with a resto shaman so healing with a resto druid instead is quite a bit different. I'm also unsure why our raid leader is holding onto 3-healing many fights that I'm sure we could probably 2-heal now, which would give me more of a chance to get used to healing with the druid.

    I would normally think that a disc priest and a resto druid would synergize pretty well as far as proactive healing goes, but it doesn't appear to be working out that way, for me at least.
    Well, is it your druid partner that's the problem? Is he the one having problems? As far as Elegon goes, this is what I do as a resto druid.

    I know it may seem like crap, but I use shrooms. They're very useful for 'reactive type' mechanics. So, range all stack on the magic spot where all it takes is a jump to clear the titan stacks, that's where I plant my three shrooms. Keep LB on the Elegon tank. As far as what heals I use...NS+Healing Touch combo, Regrowth, Rejuv, Swiftmend(Soul of the Forest talent for 50%more haste) AND I always use wildgrowth OR Tranq after the swiftmend talent proc(it gives you the extra tick for both heals)...but I like Soul of the Forest, it seems most druids prefer Incarnation. But again, it's that players play style. I took nourish off my bars cause it doesn't seem useful at all.

    The 3 shrooms are planted at all times, and I bloom them during certain spikes, in the case of Elegon, Annihilation from the exploding add. Add explodes, I time swiftmend on a ranged, Wildgrowth, and Bloom all at the same time and then replant my shrooms. These 3 skills together are enough to alleviate the catch up process after annihilates without always having to cast that big CD. For the debuff, set something up with your 2nd healer. What me and my healer agreed upon is that when the debuff comes, he dispells FIRST as soon as he can, and I use Grid for healing, so I can see who the 2nd person that still has it is, and that's who I get. Little things like seeing a healer get it, well that's obvious...that healer dispells himself, so who the other healer dispells is a no brainer.


    As for orb phase, priest takes one side, I take the other. Take advantage of the 50% titan buff while inside the field... I throw LB(3stack) on my farthest away player, and rejuv the other 4(including myself). Orbs blow, I swiftmend myself and wildgrowth. This allows the rejuvs+wild growth to heal 4 of us back up completely, and LB blooms on my 5th guy, healing him. Rinse off my titan stacks after i throw my heals out. New orbs come out, I run back in and I repeat this process. This is my regen phase, since it's the least healing needed. And you need to be ready for the little adds who hit like trucks.

    As far as all of the little adds that come once the floor goes away. Heal away. I use nature's vigil once we're all gathered and I can heal everyone while doing some kind of damage to help with adds. Shrooms are once again planted, and we go back to the beginning. As far as my innervate goes, I pop it on myself, all the time...once I hit ~240k mana, it's popped. And popped everytime its needed after that or when I'm ~240k. It is a healing intensive fight, and every chance to have mana, you should take it.

    When you hit the 50% burn phase, shrooms come in handy here also. everyone is stacked in the middle. Constant rejuvs, swiftmend+wild growth combos, shrooms blooming every CD, and Tranq used when it's the druids turn for his big CD.

    As far as groups go, if you guys are learning this fight, that's good. It just takes time and learning your role and how to better it. As far as proactive vs reactive goes, it's just learning when the damage is coming and prepping for it. I prep with shrooms, and timing my Swiftmend+wild growth combo, if I have to wait that extra second so my combo syncs properly(swiftmend and wild growth cooldowns), then I do so to maximize my healing. Wild growth works better AFTER damage happens, because it heals stronger in the beginning and ticks lower towards falling off, so using it just because, doesn't work well. 2 healing vs 3 healing, extra dps always helps if you know you can rely on your tanks and healers and dps to do things properly. As far as my group is concerned, we 3 heal the first boss, and 3 heal the last boss in MSV, everything else in between is 2 healable on Normal(we don't do heroics yet).

  11. #11
    Bloodsail Admiral Frmercury's Avatar
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    Holy tends to be more reactive by far with Disc's strength being predictive 'healing'.

    I'm down with either in general. Sniping heals as Holy is fun as well as mitigating burst damage down to almost nothing as Disc.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Chief Brouhaha View Post
    As a resto druid you have to be proactive. Hot everyone up or else you dont have enough spells or global cool downs to get everyone back up. Obviously sometimes you just have to react to unanticipated damage
    Er... no. You cant hot the entire raid all the time or you'll OOM in no time. Plus you'll waste a ton of mana. What you want to do is to hot the people who you know will take damage all the time... tanks usually. HoTting the ranged dps who's not taking any damage and won't for a while is silly and wasteful.

    OP: the fact is that most damage doesn't kill people... it reduces their HP and you have some time to get it back up. Thus reactive healing is fine if done rationally and quickly. Combined with the fact that most large damage spikes to the raid are predictable and you know when to blow CDs, etc.

  13. #13
    The Patient Nymie's Avatar
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    I think is it very much a question of heal style and class. I haven't played a main healer since TBC (resto druid, have been shadowpriests ever since) but I play disc OS, and still have my resto druid as well as a holy pally. I raid heal alt raids so I am not as competitive but I try to stay informed and I find proactive to be way better for the high dmg peroids; that may just be bc of my classes though. If you study a fight (or in my case know it already from my main dpsing) and know when the big dmg comes out and can prepare, that seems way more advantageous than healing up after; already start casting POH, have Swiftmend/WG on CD, LoD ready and already casting HR. I precast a lot on my pally as well as stop-casting. Once you are out of the heavy dmg phases I think reactive healing is better bc you aren't draining mana and aren't coating people in, essentially, potentially useless heals while sapping mana. I may be totally wrong about all of this b/c I am still relearning my healers post-MOP release and definitely am open to critique, but that is just my few cents worth.
    Last edited by Nymie; 2013-01-02 at 07:49 PM.

    WoW since '06, Army wife since '09, U of MD Law

  14. #14
    Bloodsail Admiral Frmercury's Avatar
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    Nymie! Where have you been hiding?

    Oh, also on-topic Priest healing stuff...

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Rivellana View Post
    I would normally think that a disc priest and a resto druid would synergize pretty well as far as proactive healing goes, but it doesn't appear to be working out that way, for me at least.

    This is currently happening with me. I played a resto druid for the beginning of the expansion and ultimately got super bored with it (I have been playing one since BC and honestly I don't really feel like resto druid has really changed all that much). I decided to switch to disc priest, prior to the hotfix, and when I was first 2 healing everything with another druid, about 20 ilvls above me when I first started raiding this druid was beating me about 2-5% on every boss. After I got gear and comparable ilvl, I have ended up outhealing this druid by 5-20% on every encounter. Said druid is very frustrated with this outcome and openly talks about how absorbs are OP and it's crap.

    I was thinking about this earlier when going through these forums and I thought to myself that maybe we don't mesh very well because they might be HoTing the raid during my SS or something, but I really don't know. I personally constantly change what I do as a disc priest as I learn encounters to try and maximize my healing, and I can only assume that the druid I heal with does the same, but I still feel a lot of animosity from them.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Bangable View Post
    This is currently happening with me. I played a resto druid for the beginning of the expansion and ultimately got super bored with it (I have been playing one since BC and honestly I don't really feel like resto druid has really changed all that much). I decided to switch to disc priest, prior to the hotfix, and when I was first 2 healing everything with another druid, about 20 ilvls above me when I first started raiding this druid was beating me about 2-5% on every boss. After I got gear and comparable ilvl, I have ended up outhealing this druid by 5-20% on every encounter. Said druid is very frustrated with this outcome and openly talks about how absorbs are OP and it's crap.

    I was thinking about this earlier when going through these forums and I thought to myself that maybe we don't mesh very well because they might be HoTing the raid during my SS or something, but I really don't know. I personally constantly change what I do as a disc priest as I learn encounters to try and maximize my healing, and I can only assume that the druid I heal with does the same, but I still feel a lot of animosity from them.
    Absorbs are all effective heals, no overheals of course so things being equal you'll have higher HPS. This is frustrating if the raid or raid leader thinks that HPS is THE way to measure how good a healer is.

    Communication is KEY. Decide on assignments and stick mostly to those unless it looks like things are going south. Don't snipe heal someone who has a hot on them and will be fine over the time the hot ticks. Yes, it helps your healing, but you just wasted my mana and pissed me off by playing meter god.

    It's also important to use a healing UI that shows each of you what the other has on everyone. You want to be able to see an indication of which toons have a hot on them and ideally which hot (lifebloom, rejuv, etc). The druid should be able to see weakened soul debuffs (those are still around, yes? Haven't played the priest in a LONG time...) who's covered by SS, etc.

    I'm not saying to never cross heal/absorb, but do it when the other healer asks or when things are going downhill. Don't do it to stroke yourself and make the meters better. Ultimately, as long as both healers are doing their job, mobs are dying and people aren't you're fine. If you have a RL who obsesses about HPS, tell them not to.
    Last edited by clevin; 2013-01-02 at 10:08 PM.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by clevin View Post
    Absorbs are all effective heals, no overheals of course so things being equal you'll have higher HPS. This is frustrating if the raid or raid leader thinks that HPS is THE way to measure how good a healer is.

    Communication is KEY. Decide on assignments and stick mostly to those unless it looks like things are going south. Don't snipe heal someone who has a hot on them and will be fine over the time the hot ticks. Yes, it helps your healing, but you just wasted my mana and pissed me off by playing meter god.

    It's also important to use a healing UI that shows each of you what the other has on everyone. You want to be able to see an indication of which toons have a hot on them and ideally which hot (lifebloom, rejuv, etc). The druid should be able to see weakened soul debuffs (those are still around, yes? Haven't played the priest in a LONG time...) who's covered by SS, etc.

    I'm not saying to never cross heal/absorb, but do it when the other healer asks or when things are going downhill. Don't do it to stroke yourself and make the meters better. Ultimately, as long as both healers are doing their job, mobs are dying and people aren't you're fine. If you have a RL who obsesses about HPS, tell them not to.
    I totally communicate with the other healer, and I don't really think my RL obsesses about it, its more the druid I'm healing with. We get the job done just fine, we really have no problems whatsoever in terms of who blows what healing CD when and who is healing who at what times. Granted, now that atonement is 40 yards I often find myself building archangel stacks and healing people who the druid has probably HoTed. I haven't really thought about enabling my UI to see said druids HoTs and maybe I should if Elvui will allow that (to be truthful I haven't really configured it that much in that respect). But I think you are right, I am healing with someone who thinks HPS is the way to measure a good healer, and if that's the case I am not really sure what I can do to alleviate that.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Bangable View Post
    I totally communicate with the other healer, and I don't really think my RL obsesses about it, its more the druid I'm healing with. We get the job done just fine, we really have no problems whatsoever in terms of who blows what healing CD when and who is healing who at what times. Granted, now that atonement is 40 yards I often find myself building archangel stacks and healing people who the druid has probably HoTed. I haven't really thought about enabling my UI to see said druids HoTs and maybe I should if Elvui will allow that (to be truthful I haven't really configured it that much in that respect). But I think you are right, I am healing with someone who thinks HPS is the way to measure a good healer, and if that's the case I am not really sure what I can do to alleviate that.
    To the last point... there's nothing you can do aside from not purposely sniping heals. Some overlap is inevitable, but communication and assignments will help.

    I use Grid as my raidframes for healing and you can configure it to show your buffs/debuffs on people and others'. For example, you can have it put a dot in the upper left corner for people who have rejuv, lower left for people who have lifebloom. Upper right for SS, etc. Shadowed Unitframes can do similar I think. Never used ElvUI, so I can't help you there. It's not a big deal, but if the druid really feels like you're actively sniping heals it might be that you are, but don't intend do, you just cant see who's already taken care of.

  19. #19
    Scarab Lord nightfalls's Avatar
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    All healers have to be proactive to some degree, even if it's as simple as precasting and knowing when to use throughput CD's. For instance on Elegon, damage usually comes when the add is out (arcing energy?), when it's at 20%, when the little 6 power adds are about to die, when cosmic sparks pile up, and the steady raid damage at the end. As any heal spec, if you aren't prepared for those moments, you're doing the fight wrong.

    You have to also be reactive, for instance on that same fight (Elegon), you won't know who will be hit with the arcing energy, so you have to be prepared to heal him up, especially if it hits as the add's health is low or if there's a pile of sparks still up (people need to be topped).

    So personally, I'd say you should be experienced with both types of healing, and while I do prefer proactively reducing damage instead of having to emergency heal, having to sometimes do the latter makes the game fun for me.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by voidspark View Post
    All healers have to be proactive to some degree, even if it's as simple as precasting and knowing when to use throughput CD's. For instance on Elegon, damage usually comes when the add is out (arcing energy?), when it's at 20%, when the little 6 power adds are about to die, when cosmic sparks pile up, and the steady raid damage at the end. As any heal spec, if you aren't prepared for those moments, you're doing the fight wrong.

    You have to also be reactive, for instance on that same fight (Elegon), you won't know who will be hit with the arcing energy, so you have to be prepared to heal him up, especially if it hits as the add's health is low or if there's a pile of sparks still up (people need to be topped).

    So personally, I'd say you should be experienced with both types of healing, and while I do prefer proactively reducing damage instead of having to emergency heal, having to sometimes do the latter makes the game fun for me.
    Agreed, but casting an absorb on someone is a bit easier and more proactive. If a disc priest shields someone in anticipation of incoming damage then as long as the shield is up when the damage hits and absorbs the full amount before it expires, it's all effective heals. The priest can pop that on people several seconds before the damage comes in.

    A resto druid can't do that. I can rejuv someone, but then the first ticks are wasted overheal. Same for Lifebloom, etc. So what I usually do is try to know when damage will hit the raid and have CDs up for that and to judge where Efflorescnce might be best deployed (say, under a dome during Verve on Zorlok since people should be stacked there.) But it's not purely reactive... I'll heal someone back up if I know AOE is about to hit so that they have more of a cushion.

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