DPS and the Temptation to Heal

I’m beginning to think I could have made a whole blog about Adventures in SFK. The low level SFK, at that. I was back in there last night. My troll druid, Nanzi, needed her level 20 staff. Nanzi isn’t on the “My Healers” page because she’s a Balance druid. I might take Restoration as her second spec at 30, but for now her job is to Moonfire mobs… not Nourish and Rejuvenate the tank.

My husband was the warrior tank. Our healer was a goblin priest who seems to love using the /silly emote. Besides myself, we had a hunter and a… um… hmm… There must have been a third dps. It wasn’t a paladin… I would have noticed. It wasn’t another hunter… I would have noticed. I don’t remember seeing any totems. I would have noticed a warlock’s minion. I’m going to guess either rogue, mage, or dps priest. Whatever they were, they were quiet.

(Side Note: The hunter was another one of those players who showed the signs of being new. Not just “new to the hunter class” but “new to the game”. I’ve considered writing a short guide to spotting new players who don’t just come right out and say so in groups, but I don’t know if that’s something people could really benefit from. If you want me to write one, please say so in the comments.)

The healer was great! It was a smooth run, and I don’t think anybody even came close to dying. I was… not so great. I found myself struggling to be dps, not the healer.

Some of this could be due to most of my other SKF runs being done as the healer. I don’t think it’s a case of getting used to playing one thing and then switching over to an alt. I’ve been spending a lot more time as a fire mage, BM hunter, and balance druid than I have been as a holy paladin. But I kept waiting longer than dps should before casting anything… because, you know, I was waiting until the tank took some damage. I was watching his health bar and he was fine. After a couple of seconds of this, I’d kind of snap back and hit Moonfire. I didn’t really miss much… I was just slow coming in on things.

I was also really tempted to “help” the healer during boss fights. I said the healer was great, and they were! The healer didn’t need any “help”. But I was very aware of the fact that I was watching my health and the tank’s, and ready to hit a healing spell any second. I’m pretty sure my dps was less than spectacular, even for my level, because I wasn’t approaching things with a dps mindset.

I didn’t have that problem with my mage or my hunter. Neither of them can heal. Is this more of a temptation for healers with hybrid class dps alts? Any advice on how to get past the temptation to heal and get myself firmly in the dps mindset?

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9 Responses to DPS and the Temptation to Heal

  1. Apple says:

    I’ve no idea, honestly. I manage it most of the time, but especially if I’ve been healing a lot, sometimes I just can’t shift it. It’s not the end of the world, though – at least you noticed and are trying to find a way to overcome it, right? :)

  2. ironyca says:

    I’ve played a shadowpriest and elemental shaman for years now, and I’ve usually got (half) an eye on the health bars too. If it gets too bad or I get to anxious, I will try and be super hybrid’y and help with the healing. That’s what I like about being hybrid dps, that I can step in when needed, but someone else has primary responsibility of the healing duty.
    As for advice, I usually focus on my rotation, get into the flow of the fights and rely on my unitframes that change the color of the healthbars from green to red when they drop. So I’m tuned to the changing hp colors on the left side and don’t have to pay special attention to them.

  3. I think paying attention to your raid frames is something you can never quite fully get away from if you started out as a Healer — but that’s not necessarily a bad thing!

    I always have at least a corner of my attention on Grid, even when I’m playing as a pure DPS class. I have my group buff spells and my cleanse (if the class I’m playing has one) Clique-bound, so I can use them quickly and easily. (I had fun cleansing all those pesky curses in SFK pre-Cataclysm as a Mage.) If I’m playing a hybrid, I generally only shift into off-healing mode when I see everyone‘s health getting really low. Ironyca’s advice to focus on rotation and boss mechanics is probably what I did to get away from a more healing-oriented mindset, too.

  4. TheGrumpyElf says:

    I can’t DPS on a character that has heals. I am always tempted to throw a heal here and there and I don’t think it is a compulsion I can get over.

    The only character I DPS on that can heal is my Shaman. Being I am enhancement I can throw out a free heal here and there so I do.

    I think it is healer mentality. You are always looking at health bars so if everyone is always high you let it pass but as soon as things get close and someone goes under 30% you go into save the person mode just like you might while healing when someone gets low.

    Even if the healer is 100% capable of it, you can’t help but do it.

    Same goes for tanking and DPS. If I am on my warrior and the Tank goes down or the tank is having a problem and you can see they can’t get control of things I instantly throw on my shield, switch to defensive and end up offtanking without thinking.

    That is the problem of being an altaholic sometimes. You tend to think that you need to do everything you are capable of even if you know you are presently not in that role.

    • That whole “taking on responsibilities you CAN take care of even if it’s not your JOB to” thing is a problem for me in real life, as well. It’s a habit I’m working on breaking. So with that in mind, it may not really be a good idea for me to dps with a hybrid class. I can still keep the balance spec for questing/battlegrounds/etc, but I may only do dungeons as a healer or with a pure dps character.

  5. Echo says:

    I started as DPS and I have no problem, probably because of this.

    Just because you can heal doesn’t mean you should because that means you won’t be performing your own role of DPS. Especially given how undertuned lowbie instances are – When I levelled as resto I’d get annoyed if other people healed for me because it was the only thing I could do! I’d rather have been dps but bugger 30min queues.

    Funnily enough I get very tempted to dps while I heal. I know this is why I like resto shaman. I levelled a druid as resto as well and I lost count of the times I got chewed out for hurricaning.

    • “Just because you can heal doesn’t mean you should because that means you won’t be performing your own role of DPS.”

      I definitely agree. And I’m glad you said it so plainly because I’m sure I meant to somewhere in my post… it’s the whole reason I was bothered by how things went in there with my druid… but I never got around to saying it in those words.

  6. koalabear21 says:

    A tip I use (because I do the same thing on my alts that can heal) is to hide your party frames when you are dpsing. That way you won’t see their health going down and you can train yourself to dps the target.

    I hope that helps!

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