How to Move and Heal

Do you know what one of the leading causes of tank death are?

Healers not being in range.

The other cause is not enough healing (ba-dum-tsch).

Whenever I jump into pickup raids or heroics as a DPS player, I am stunned at the inability of players to move and heal. This is an absolutely essential skill to have no matter what kind of healing class you play. We’ll go over a few tips to help get your confidence up to the point where you can effortlessly heal on the go. There aren’t any big secrets or special techniques. Much of it comes with foresight and experience.

Use your instant spells

HoTs, Renews, Shields, Ripties, Holy Shocks, and even Circle of Healing (Inefficient as it may be)! The moment they’re on the run, you need to be able to keep up with them. In most cases, you do not have to keep them at full health when they’re on the move. You just need to keep them alive with a nice margin of health. Instant spells are enough. Once they stop moving, start bomb healing them back to a comfortable level.


Body and Soul yourself. Switch to cat form. Ghost Wolf it. If you need to haul ass and you have a way of speeding up your movement, do it! Stop what you’re doing and move it!

Plan accordingly

Movement phases during raids can usually be planned in advanced. In the Lord Rhyolith encounter, tanks have to haul the ads from the middle of the room to the exterior. In Beth’tilac, large drones are manhandled to a preset location at the back of the room. If you know the rough location where the tank will be at, you can position yourself closer to that point to minimize your movement.

Leapfrog it

You move. Then they move. Then you move. Then they move. During Shannox, I’ll drop a Barrier on the tank and start moving in a pre-arranged direction. Once the Barrier falls off, they start coming towards me. We keep repeating this pattern where both the tank and the healer alternately move until we get to where we want to go.

Stand closer to them

Many of us have been trained to stay as far as possible away from a boss as DPS players to avoid different attacks or things on the ground. As a healer, being at max range can be a liability. The moment your tank moves the other way, you’re stuck playing catchup. Don’t be afraid of closing within 20-30 yards. This gives you additional flexibility and freedom for the tank.

Use your cooldowns

Even if they’re not taking large amounts of damage, a Pain Suppression of sorts can do wonders. If the tank needs to move, consider using a raid wide one like Divine Hymn or Tranquility. It’s like using a shotgun on a cockroach. It’s overkill, but it works. Wouldn’t recommend this unless you absolutely had no outs.

Have healers at different areas

If the tank is going in a predictable circle from point A to point B, have a healer at each point. The moment the tank comes into range of one of the healers, they’ll be under their responsibility. Don’t be afraid to call for help. If you can’t reach your main tank, say so. Hopefully there’s a healer nearby who will see the tank light up on their raid frames and switch to them until you’re back in range again.

Being vocal

Don’t be afraid to say things like “Stop moving” directly to your tank. If they can’t stop, at least they recognize that they’re on their own for a few seconds before you’re back in range of them. Work with them beforehand and arrange what will happen if the two of you aren’t in range of each other. Your tank can use that as a cue to use a potion or a Last Stand.

If you want some additional practice, step into some battlegrounds and participate in some PvP healing. Now it’s your turn. What other techniques would you suggest for healers on the go? Have any lessons or stories relating to healing and movement?

6 thoughts on “How to Move and Heal”

  1. I remember dancing in Wrath heroics, especially in Heroic Violet Hold. Put on some good music to bounce to, and jump/cast to the beat, alternate between walking, running, jumping forwards and backwards while casting your instant casts, like PoM and Renew.

  2. You could always participate in the Troxxed healing boot camp.
    That was real leapfrogging
    Whenever I come back to healing I always do some pvp before raiding to get my groove back.
    In AV especially, when there are chokepoint confrontations, there is always aoe dmg going out, and there is always someone getting beat down
    I think that is a great simulation for 25 man raids

  3. You didn’t mention effective keybindings. I can kinda move and cast just with my left hand, but then throw in the ranged AOEs on my extra mouse buttons and it’s so much easier. It’s just that transition that takes a second to make.

    >>If you want some additional practice, step into some
    >>battlegrounds and participate in some PvP healing.

    Best advice ever for new healers.

  4. I would echo the “plan ahead” and “leapfrog” sections. Most things that will require you to move can be planned ahead for. If you see a lull in tank damage or break in required for yourself ~20-30 seconds before you know you need to move, then move early. There are lots of raid specific examples but the best and most universal example I can think of is simply 5mans. When the group is finishing off that last mob, run forward to the next group and then grab a few seconds of mage food as soon as it dies while the rest of the group catches up to you (if you need) I hate tanking 5mans and seeing my healer barely staying in healing range of me from behind, especially if I’m not actually taking any damage.

    The other thing that was left out of this is run speed enchants. If your class doesn’t come with some sort of talent that increases your characters run speed, then you need to have one of the run speed enchants on your boots.

  5. Bah. The ‘Vocal’ thing should’ve been way up ahead on the list. Yes, as a healer you need to be able to heal on the move sometimes, but often times tanks move way more than necessary not realizing it’s not a good thing to do.

    Communicate with the people you need to heal. Tell the dps that it is NOT necessary to run out of the fire to all the way on the other side of the room, just next to the fire is fine. Tell your tank that in certain phases of the fight you need to be able to stand still to get that throughput you need to not run oom later.

    So yeah, carry your own responsibility, but definitely don’t try to carry everybody else’s too.


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