Healing as a hobby and LFR as a practice dummy

Last night, for the first time in a couple of months, I ran Highmaul LFR. I did it partly because I was getting garrison fever and partly for practice on my mistweaver. I only had time for the first two wings, but I have to say, it was not a terrible experience.

Apologies to anyone who runs LFR as their main gearing/raiding mechanism, but I use it to practice up on my alts these days. I didn’t have to do that so much in Mists, but in WoD there is not much else to do on alts that will let you really get into your rotations and cooldowns — killing mobs in the wild is not the same. So, yeah, I use LFR as a giant set of target dummies these days.

However, I take the time beforehand to make sure I am at least passably competent before I step foot in LFR. That means I have set up my keybinds, know my basic single target and AoE rotations, understand my interrupts and cooldowns, and have looked up the fights to see if there are any specific things I need to know about them for the alt I am taking in. Then I usually spend a few minutes with a real target dummy just to solidify things. I also do my best to have some appropriate gems, enchants, flasks, and food — with a semi-geared alt, it may be the cheap stuff, but I still do it. I know it is just LFR, but I feel that it is just basic courtesy to be as prepared as I can be.

So last night I took my MW in to the first two wings of Highmaul. I didn’t do too badly, was consistently one of the top two healers. Of course, I am pretty well geared for HM, so I should have done much better, but still I was happy with my performance.

I have kind of a love-hate relationship with healing. While I am actually doing it, I am very tense and stressed, and I take it personally if someone dies even if they were being stupid. But after the fight is over, I feel an incredible sense of satisfaction, which is what keeps drawing me back to it.

When I DPS, I feel like all I have to do is kill whatever the tank tells me to. And try to stay out of bad stuff, but if I make a mistake, there is the healer to bail me out. Of course, there is more to it than that, especially for a hunter who gets all the special jobs in the raid, but I find the DPS role to be straightforward. Maybe that is because it is, and then again maybe it is because I have done it for years as my main thing in the game.

But healing I find to be more subtle and complex. There is the basic job of keeping people alive while staying out of crap yourself. But there is also a sort of decision dance you have to do constantly. You have to prioritize your healing targets, know the fight well enough to anticipate big healing moments and prepare for them, and be always aware of exactly where everyone else is so you can maximize your raid heals. Oh, and manage your mana, somewhat less of a problem for a MW than for some other classes, but still. Not to mention the extra responsibility. If I screw up as a DPS it usually just means the fight takes a bit longer because there is less damage being dealt, but if I screw up as a healer more often than not it means the raid wipes. At the very least, if I screw up and die as a healer it means the raid will spend a combat rez on me, which is not as good a feeling as you might think it would be.

I guess since I am not really a “professional” (main) healer, but more of a hobbyist, LFR holds more interest for me as a healer than it does as a DPS. For one thing, of course, the queues are MUCH shorter, so it is easier to jump in when you have a few spare minutes. But LFR really is intense practice, kind of like I envisioned the Proving Grounds would be but of course are not. Thanks to the WoD changes in raid difficulty levels, LFRs are fairly quick now, which I think of as a plus. And if the group is a non-toxic one — not always a safe bet in LFR — it can even be fun.

So all in all, I think I have found a good use for LFR in this expansion: practice dummy/proving grounds on steroids for my alts!


About Fiannor
I have a day job but escape by playing WoW. I love playing a hunter, and my Lake Wobegonian goal is to become "above average" at it.

One Response to Healing as a hobby and LFR as a practice dummy

  1. It’s really true and I wonder if many others use the LFR the same way. The testing dummies are fine and they improved them some; still, hopping into the LFR and cherry picking the wings with the encounter that you want to practice is pure player gold.
    I might choose Kromog for my single target dps or Beastlord for my aoe.
    I heal also. I’ve found the LFR much fun because you will see things in there that you’d never see in a raid! Zounds, what IS that guy doing?

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