Why I Stopped Caring About Healing Meters

When it comes to healing, in my eyes there is only one true goal: Keep your targets alive. Use whatever means necessary within reason. Sometimes a Dispel or a Cleanse is the better way to go instead of trying to out heal the damage sustained over a period of time. As the healing captain, I take the information received about healing in meters during raids with a grain of salt. They don’t mean much to me at all, and here’s why:

Inaccurate measure

While it’s true that these tools are great for measuring the overall output that a player contributes, is it being spent wisely? It also doesn’t accurately account for players that are on full time dispel duty. AoE healers will have an edge over single target healers like Paladins on fights where the raid sustains major damage. It’s hard to compete against players with the ability to heal 5 players simultaneously as a Paladin. Therefore, even though a player’s heal output seems lower, it doesn’t mean they’re any less valuable.

Does it really matter?

You’ll find out early on in your WoW raiding career that it takes 25 players to down a boss. The ones that slack off in DPS, tanking, or healing weed themselves out fairly quickly. You’ll reach an equilibrium at some point where your healers will be able to keep the raid alive long enough to down a boss. That’s your results right there: A dead raid boss.

Different jobs, different heals

Healing is an art. It can come in many different forms. Assigning heals is a delicate balancing act to ensure that you don’t overload too many players on one person. The consequences of doing so means that another player in a different part of the raid isn’t getting enough. It’s common to have multiple healers stack up on the main tanks. No encounters in the game are built the same (hey that rhymes). You end up having your healers working on targets that they’re better suited to heal, anyway.

So in conclusion, healing meters are useful. But in the end, they don’t really matter to me. All I care about most is my people surviving. I don’t care how much mana is expended doing so or what resources were needed to pull it off. I trust my healers to use their smarts and judgments to keep their guys alive at all costs. If they can do that, then meters are just another resource hog.

9 thoughts on “Why I Stopped Caring About Healing Meters”

  1. I could not have said it better myself. The only thing that matters is when the encounter is over the boss is dead and we are not. Period, end of story.
    I don’t even have a meter installed in my system. It all boils down to who is still standing when the encounter is over. You win or wipe as a group.

  2. I definitely agree with both of you. Even though I DO NOT have healing meters installed on my computer. Occasionally I do watch them when I get a new healer in. It helps me to get an overall to see how they are doing. As Matt said the meters do not do Pally’s any kind of justice so I really only use them to keep track of my new raid healers from time to time.

  3. Absolutely – while meters are a tool that can be useful, they’re not the end-all, be-all of a good healer. I run a meter, and I enjoy looking at the webstats after a run. But my use of those tools is to determine my efficiency at doing what I was supposed to be doing – not at comparing myself to the other healers. Especially since I”m the only Resto shaman in the raid.

    Well said Matt, as usual 🙂

  4. Recount = off during boss fight. Afterwards, If I dont top the meters I do the following:

    1 check overheal (usually the case that my timing was marginally off and I just topped overhealing instead)

    2 Did I OOM, was I even close? If yes, reevaluate restorative cooldown usage and improve. If no, I Definitely could have done more /facepalm

    Aside from that, I use them to tell DPS they are slacking, especially when my HPS > their DPS.

  5. Combat-log parsers (dmg/heal meters) can be very useful for evaluating what went wrong or right during a fight, how well the raid is working together, how well the group-stacking is benefiting the raid, whether individuals are maximizing their spell rotations and/or using their cool-downs effectively and timely (I’ve helped countless dps this way), how the damage taken is getting spread and whether the healers are assigned/positioned to be able to handle it, etc…

    Notice no where in there do I say anything about dps/hps rankings or total damage/heal rankings. :)The rankings have their place, but only when taken into context.

    And we don’t allow them to be posted either. Everyone in our raids know they can whisper me for any meter and I will send it to them. Although I will admit that for dps classes, we usually use the rankings as a motivational tool amongst ourselves (nothing like a little friendly competition to increase raid dps). 🙂

  6. While the overall ‘Amount Healed’ tells you very, very little, there is a huge amount of value in digging through a full WWS parse. With a little digging you can see who’s healing who, (are people following assignments properly), what spells players are using (Chain-casting flash-heal!), consumables, etc.

    It is also an objective measurement, WWS doesn’t care that one of the Resto Droods is trying to hit on the GL’s wife. It reports what happened during the raid.

    Lastly, the raw amount-healed does tell you if someone’s completely slacking, either during trash, or during the boss-fights.

    That said, it is just as bad to have players try to top the healing meters as it is to try and top the damage meters.

  7. Great post! Have a similar one about damage meters.

    I used to watch my heal meters a lot, I admit it. I used to run Kara with a priest with +1800 heals at the time and I as a pally at +1400 heals back then would always outheal every run; in most cases I doubled the total heals.

    I’ve never figured out why. Some in my group attributed it to a horrible priest player or that she was caught DPS’ing more than healing. It could have been because of her shackle assignments had her dividing her concentration. It could have been I generally top people off between pulls to keep the raid moving. As a clothie she sometimes died early in boss fights leaving me the only healer.

    Initially I was worried that I was being inefficient. Didn’t appear to be, I was always overhealing less than her. Finally, I gave up trying to understand it and attribute it to some of all of the above and the difference between priest and pally healing.

    Bottom line, we kept getting better and we survived and that’s all that counts.


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