Healers are probably the most integral role, but honestly, it's more about strategy and leadership. Having an exceptional strategy with contingency and back up plans is the most important aspect to heroic raiding - following fatboss isn't enough if you really want to be pushing it.
As a healer the healing in SoO is a joke, its not hard. Its the DPS that is the focus on this raid. High DPS, Many Enrage fights, much add burn,u need to use your cooldowns interupt properly, yes ofc healers have an important role in raiding but so does everyone.
Meters dont make a player good being able to use cooldowns at the right time, cc stun interupt propely, knows when to use defensive and WSAD skills is whats a player good, yes the numbers are important but playstyle is more.
You can do 260-300k HPS as any healer with 2 buttons on phase 1 H thok, 450k if you're a shaman(10m).
If your group consistently dies to unavoidable and some avoidable damage (that doesn't one shot) then your healers are to blame; and therefore they are the most important.
If your group is getting one shot but various avoidable abilities, and is struggling to meet the fights dps checks then dps are the most important.
The 2nd scenario is the most common.
I can't imagine many guilds are unable to meet the actual DPS checks for a fight at this point in the tier, as opposed to just having players who can't stay alive. Due to gear, fights that were tight enrages at first are falling over even with inefficient DPS. The nice thing about SOO is that the latter half of the instance has become primarily a mechanics/execution check, with the numbers check sort of sitting in the background. It's there, but it's not really an issue once you're warforged/item upgraded out.
As a tank that was always lucky enough to have a competent co-tank in organized group content, my experience is that it's the dps players that are key to progression.
Tanking and healing problems are relatively easy to spot and correct if nescessary. Dps players unable to wrap their head around the whole encounter was probably the most common cause for bumps in progrssion, at least in any raid i've been in so far.
A group that utilizes everything they have to survive will usually come out on top. (In progress/attempts)
The 'more dps, more healing' is just a fruit of that dance done right.
My group focuses on surviving first and foremost. And whomever's survival and ability can aid the group the most will usually take precedence for certain gear if we discuss it.
For instance I always use Divine protection if I know large a blast of magic damage is coming (since on fights where I have no need to use hand spells, I can cut the spell down to a mere 20ish seconds) Voila, I just saved the healers a ton of stress so they can focus more on someone who didn't have that up, instead of mindlessly whacking my rotation keys with the mindset of 'hey it's not my job'. I always utilize healthstones on panic damage or spread outs, I prioritize even using my own healing spells on times where I have to disconnect from the raid group. Etc.
Once you all gain confidence in survival. THEN you can start taking risks. Like when can you ignore certain hits and mechanics and just go all out on dps, talk with your healers, are they now comfortable? How are tanks coping, is there something you can do to free up one of their cooldowns for a more crucial part? (Tanks should usually know this and vocalize it)
The first pulls of a boss for us, are survival. Always, since once you know when to use all your survival cooldowns and such, you can slip back into the comfort of your dps rotations and damage cooldowns to really push and maximize what you can do. We always go into the first pull of 'okay lets see as much of it as we can with as much defense as we can muster until the beserk'. Then comes the math and discussion.
But the most important factor is that each fight will require something different from you. That's why some fights are referred to as 'dps checks' or 'healer checks'.
Once you know that, you should adjust the mindset of your group accordingly. On dps checks, you want the damage dealers to be distracted as little as possible. On healer checks, you want the dps to chip in all the mitigation and aid that they have. Tank checks will always depend mostly on tank gear and their ability to move/cooldown/mitigate correctly, and will vary in whom they need aid from.
And then there's the fights where they all get mixed, and you have to gauge the ratio of focus between all factors. That's what the attempts are for, since sadly all groups are different. (at the moment, in mythic we'll assume nearly every group has a representative from all classes it seems)
So no. No one role 'is the key'. (Unless this is dragonsoul in which case tanks were absolutely the key)
Your setup and ability to effectively measure each others capabilities and the requirements based on those abilities for a boss are what will see you success.
Every role needs to be top notch. Prioritizing one role...egh I'd say if you're stuck on...Is it siegecrafter? You want average healing since most of the damage is high, but the true 'killer' mechanics are simply moved out of or handled correctly. Dps needs to be high with one or two healing/mitigation cooldowns at the ready for the nasty bits, and tanks need to know how to boogie while cooldowning correctly.
I have eaten all the popcorn, I left none for anyone else.
All roles are important, though better dps players/higher geared dps players will make EVERY fight.. MUCH easier.
The main reason paragon 1 healed HC Garrosh was not because hes an amazing healer and is ABLE to heal it, they 1 healed HC Garrosh to meet dps checks in the fight that were not consistent with 2 healers (only getting 1 empowered whirling in phase 3 is HUGE).
I guarantee that if they could realistically meet all of the mini dps checks in heroic garrosh consistently, they would 2 heal it for the sake of being safe and eliminating other deaths (if applicable).
This game comes down to killing the boss before it kills you. If you can not deal with mechanics (lets say empowered whirlings or malk soak the circles or less uptime on spoils big add's aoe etc) it just makes the fight easier (you have more cds to throw at the lessened amount of mechanics you are forced to deal with) and this is ONLY possible by having good dps/gearing your dps first.
Yes you could choose to gear your healers first and try to argue healers are the most important, but not dealing with mechanics will always trump being better equipped to deal with more mechanics.
All of my opinions are assumed that the dps isn't just standing there and dpsing, thats not the role. The role is to have high dps whilst doing mechanics and using personals. This differentiation just comes to down to player skill though.
It's all very situational. However, I do think that there is something to say about the fact that many (maybe even most?) 25 mans use some kind of DKP system to award gear. Meaning that you aren't really gearing up anyone in particular. This speaks to the idea that all the roles are pretty close to each other in terms of importance, at least at the 25 man size.
However in 10 man, an issue that will soon be moot given the changes in WoD, I think it is a bit of a different story. It's not about who is more important, but who brings the most to the raid. In a 10 man, the DPS bring the most to a raid (and in 25 man but it is a bit harder to realize because there are so many of them still just doing DPS). Very rarely do you see a healer do much more then heal, or some kind of utility trick (life grip etc.). Even a Disc priest shouldn't really be doing that much damage because you are often two healing, leaving very few opportunities to do extra damage.
Are healers important? Well yes, but so are tanks and so are DPS. But calling healers the key to progression is not correct. Healers during progression usually have one of the easier jobs, only a few encounters this tier had anything major for the healers on their own to take care of. And I can only think of one fight where the healers themselves had a mechanic that could wipe the raid (And even that is just more healing.) It isn't the healers that make the difference, it is the hybrids.
Druids, Shaman, and I'm guessing Pally's (don't know anything about Monk's utility) are what will make the difference in raiding. If your Boomy isn't using Tranq, it hurts your raid, if the shaman, especially enhance, isn't throwing out healing rains, it hurts the raid. In our 25 man, our DPS Pally has more responsibility for planned CD's to use on the tank than any of the healers. Yeah the pure DPS classes have small amounts of utility, but no where near the craziness that hybrids have. And it's these things that usually go unnoticed if you don't play one of the classes. Yes every raid needs their Warlocks, Mages and Rogues, but I would say it's the Hybrids, and how they play they are the bigger key to progression.
Not really. At least for resto druid.Thok heroic says hi =) The difference between a good and a bad healer on this fight is GIGANTIC.
Thok is more about planning than anything else lol. The only variable in that entire encounter is who he picks to chase, and your kiting path is still determined prior to the pull.
Healing isn't harder on Thok than any other role. You know exactly how much damage is going out and your group as a whole plans when/where to use your defensive CDs at very visible points. Caster DPS as a whole need to know how to squeeze in extra GCDs in the mid point of a P1 and just swap to instant casts later in the phase.
Yes you can wipe to Thok because your healers are shit, but most people are going to wipe to Thok because people are awful at kiting or they don't have a sound plan on when to use personal defensive CDs, external and raid CDs. That's all in raid planning, and honeslty Thok is the perfect example of your raid leader and general strategy being the key to progression and not any individual role.
If your DPS are avoiding incoming dmg properly healing shouldn't be an issue.
I see some argument about survivability on the DPS and such, at least on first page. People seem to forget a DPS should do good damage no matter what he is doing. If you do lower damage just to be able to survive that means something went wrong to begin with. You should be able to survive and still do good damage. Surviving is key for everyone so mentioning it won't change anything.