Boy in a Bubble – Part 2

June 26, 2009 at 1:14 pm (5 mans, Borrowed Time, Grouping, Healing Mechanics, Power Word: Shield, Raiding, Spells, Talents)

## Absorbs Increase Health

## Heals replace lost health

If a player is going to get killed in a single hit then a shield may save them, a heal will not. This is because a shield is (sort of) increasing the health of the player pre-emptively, whilst a heal is purely reactive. If the thing you are reacting to is a one giant hit, or a very fast series of hits, then you would have no opportunity to cast a heal. A shield on the other hand is perfect for this sort of situation so long as you can predict the hit coming.

This is how the very best healers I’ve met are able to make a life or death difference within a raid, and a Discipline priest in particular. A priest who can keep track of the fight and know who is about to take damage can pre-empt that damage and save players from nasty boss abilities or (in the case of stepping on land mines, or in fire) save players from themselves.

However, the ability of a shield to save a target will depend on two things:

  1. The health of the target

  2. The size of the incoming damage.

The higher the health of a target the less likely it is that a shield will make a big difference. If you have an epic geared tank with 50k health he’s not going to get killed quickly. You can take a break and make a sandwich come back and still cast Greater Heal in plenty of time. A shield just isn’t necessary. In the few cases where there is enough damage flying around to get him killed fast, chances are a small Power Word: Shield wouldn’t make a difference. What I mean is, if a tank has 50k health a shield will only save them from a hit which is between 50 and 56k. On the other hand, Pain Suppression would have saved the tank from anything up to 87k, and for a single hit Guardian Spirit would have saved him from anything. So the higher the health of the target the less likely a shield can make a significant difference.

On the other hand, with lower health targets there are much more opportunities to save them with shields. For example I did Eye of Eternity today and it occurred to me that Malygos’ Vortex is a great example of where a player may take a substantial amount of damage, without you having the opportunity to heal them. It would be impossible to cast Pain Suppression on every raid member, and often a player is out of range for the entire vortex meaning you have no opportunity to heal them. Casting a Power Word: Shield before the vortex is a good solution.

So again, Absorb effects are very powerful as a way of blunting the impact of large attacks. But they are at their most useful compared to regular heals when you are using them on lower health targets, or target who would otherwise die straight away. Obviously it goes without saying that they are good instant cast “heals” so they should definitely be used on the tank at every opportunity. However if things start to go wrong Shields are much less effective at saving a tank than Pain Suppression or Guardian Spirit, whilst they are still very good for casting on Raid Members.

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