I like two-healing ten-mans

How many healers do you need for a ten-man raid? Some will say two, some will say three, some will say it depends on the fight. There are certainly a lot of different factors to consider, such as raid composition, everyone's gear, skill, your healers' confidence and familiarity with the fight... so there's no single answer to that question that is right for everyone.

From what I've seen on a lot of healing blogs, most ten-man raids seem to prefer having three healers a lot of the time. That's their choice and as I said there's nothing wrong with it, but one thing that bugs me is that this choice often seems to accompanied by a strong disdain for people wanting to two-heal raids and I don't quite understand why.

My own ten-man group just runs with two healers most of the time as per my own request, and for two reasons:

1. I like to have something to do. I touched on this before in my post about heroic Northrend Beasts, saying that to make healing fun, it needs to be balanced somewhere between the unpleasant extremes of being bored because you have nothing to do, and having to spam like crazy with little room for anything else. And for me personally, I've found that in ten-man raids having three healers quickly leads to boredom, or at least to pathetic attempts at heal sniping as I try to keep myself busy even if technically there isn't anything to do. There are exceptions to this of course, but as a rule of thumb I found it to be true.

2. In most fights it's simply the nature of the beast that you only want to bring as few tanks and healers as possible, because the main focus of most fights is to maximise your dps and kill things as quickly as possible. So once I know that we can do it with two healers... why bring more? Having fewer healers makes the raid faster and more efficient. I don't see that as any different from trying to optimise it in other ways, such as asking everyone to use flasks and to not go for a bio break every five minutes.

And yet I keep seeing these remarks that call people elitist jerks if they suggest that a fight could be done with just two healers instead of three. I just don't get it! I mean, I'm not saying you have to agree with the suggestion because as I explained above, there are good reasons to want to use three healers, but I resent the implication that simply wanting to have a fun and swift raid is somehow a sign of elitism.

So why is this? Are healers afraid of being pushed to their limits since they already have enough pressure on them simply by being responsible for life and death? Or is advocating fewer healers against some kind of secret code that I'm not aware of, perceived as putting "third healers" out of business?


  1. I also like 2-healing 10 mans and I don't see it as a form of elitism. It does make the raid more engaging and challenging. However, at the same time, I'm not a big fan of benching healers or making them respec just to make the raid go a bit faster. I hate being asked to DPS on new content, and I'm sure other healers feel the same way.

    I think it all depends on your raid makeup. If we have 3 healers (who prefer to heal), then I'm fine going with 3. But if we're short on healers, it's a nice change to 2-heal. I tend to value letting people play their main spec over re-jigging the raid group just to make my raiding experience more interesting.

  2. I wouldn't take people who resort to using words like elitism too serious. In this context it doesn't make much sense also. If it can be healed by two people without causing a great risk, it's just a smart choise to take an extra dps for a faster kill.

    There a clear line between being an elitist and being a good player. You only start to become an elitist when you are condescending towards those that can't.

    I can also understand that those that can't don't like to admit that, but avoiding it by attacking people that can is just as bad as being a real elitist. Some healers just can't heal that well (probably just don't enjoy it that much), or some groups just have a few too many void-zone loving dps. Those need the extra healer, and if they're mature about it they'd just admit that. It doesn't mean it can't easily be done by two decent healers and a group that knows when to run and when to fight.

  3. There's nothing "wrong" with 2-healing, but the circumstances have to be right for it.

    - there's no room for error for people to stand in the fire.

    - the dps better break healers out of impaley things extra quick, because one-healing isn't going to cut it.

    - the healers have to have appropriate gear (duh). And they both have to be good. Really good.

    - you have to have 2 healers that work well for the type of incoming damage. I'm not sure how 2 pallies would be able to heal the twinsies in TOC-10.

    I've had terrible horrible experiences with 2-healing things, mostly because... we were healing as fast as we could, the DPS were hitting the enrage timer, and instead of asking the DPS to step it up, the raid leader is asking 2 healers to step up THEIR game by healing an extra 50%. It was trying to squeeze blood from a stone.

  4. We have a raid makeup that allows for both 2 healers and 3 healers.

    When we are learning a new fight, we use 3 healers, as people will inevitably make more mistakes, and take more damage.

    As people learn the fight, learn how to avoid damage, and learn how to help their raid members out of tight spots, we switch back down to 2 healers.

    A perfect example is Marrowgar - when we were first learning it, we had 3 healers, as people were slow to break folks out of bone spike graveyard. Once everyone got the hang of it, we switched to 2 healers, and it went a lot faster.

  5. I guess it depends on the strength of your team - I mean your raid team and your healing team. I can 2-heal pretty comfortably if I trust the other healer, but occasionally I've tried to 2-heal with people I didn't like/trust as much and it's been a disaster. I suppose in an ideal world you have a flexible "third healer" who swaps between a DPS spec and a healing spec as needed. *daydreams* ah ... ideal world...

    I like 2-healing when I can though - it makes me feel like I'm earning my keep for once, as I'd rather do nothing than healsnipe.

  6. It's funny, I've seen very strong and opinionated advocates on both sides. My guild recently had a long and heated discussion about this because we're starting to come up against content that suggests three healers when we've been running with two for quite awhile. It doesn't make sense to try to two heal Valithria Dreamwalker, for example, when having a third healer is effectively a "DPS" to end the fight faster. Likewise with Sindragosa, the magic debuff happening puts one healer out of commission for quite awhile. With better gear we could move back to two for that fight possibly - but why punish ourselves needlessly in the meantime?

    In any case, I guess I am such stuff as daydreams are made of, because I recently switched from mage -> moonkin/resto druid so that I can DPS much of the time and heal when we do need a third healer. Flexible hybrids can help. I'm not sure what's going to happen with heroic modes - perhaps a third healer will become more imperative.

  7. 2-healing Naxx10 back then when it was new was the single best time I ever had in this game. My partner was amazing, we worked well together and our group simply smashed through any obstacle. It wasn't until such things as Obsidian Sanctum with three adds came up that we accepted a third healer in our midst and I still prefer 2-healing whenever possible. Nobody has the right to call you "Elitist" for that preference, this is a decision between you and your healing partner (and maybe, just maybe the raid leader).

  8. 2 healing ICC when we can get away with it. I am the only staple healer on our team so we always pug 1. if that pug is not as skilled we pug 2. We usually find out on marrowgar if we need 2 or 3 for the night. If we end up with 3 anyway and we only need 2 I go shadow and still handle assignments.

  9. 2 healing 10 mans can be exciting and rewarding when you love the group you're with. That is of utmost importance and is the condition from which most healers speak when advocating 2healing.

    I simply disagree that 2 healing should be the norm for all raids, and this primarily includes PuGs, alt runs, and the newest content that you aren't familiar with yet. The capability of the rest of the raid is too unpredictable and it is unfair when two healers are having to overcompensate for the raid's weaknesses. If an entire server puts pressure on the community healers to always 2heal raids, even when it isn't feasible to do so, it can burn out an entire generation of valuable floating healers.

  10. We 2 1/2 heal some bosses (ie Saurfang, Deathwhisper) because our resto druid needs to go balance to help control adds etc. But honestly, I think the reason you get accusations of elitism is that I don't think I've ever seen a post for "2 healing ten mans is so great! Why can't you do it omgwtfbbq" they're in 25 man gear. There are actually people who (gasp!) only do ten man raids and thus can't get any decent gear or cool drops. And doing ICC 10 in 25 man gear is much easier.

  11. Love this post! And I'm with Tam. Know your healer/co-healer, and your raid, and 2 healing is totally within reach at times. But what matters to me is stuff dies before we do, so I'm not averse to 3 heals (I dps if I'm bored)

  12. I (as a ten-strict raider) far prefer two-healing whenever we can get away with it. Most pugs, I've noticed, go for three healers in instances that make me raise an eyebrow, but I figure they're doing it as a saftey net against getting a bad healer or a set of undergeared or inexperienced healers.

    Some progression fights require 3, however. Some are just from gear: that extra hp or dps gear gives can eventually allow a raid to swap back to 2 healers (Jaraxxus, Marrowgar, Putricide), or experience getting out of that fight's "fire." The cases that REQUIRE three healers, however, really do bug me: namely, Sindragosa. The fact that one healer will always get Unchained Magic while the other may get iceblocked means that 2-healing it is out of the question until you overgear the content to the point that your raid can survive with minimal heals for periods of time on a very healing-heavy fight. That tells me that the developers intend for there to be 3 healers, and it irks me. I don't mind having a dps with a healing offspec that can help out on a particular fight that we still need help healing (because it won't be very long before we can two-heal it anyway), but I *do* mind being told by simple fight mechanics that we *must* use 3.

    Nevermind that that third healer on Sindragosa spends the entirety of P1 and P2 dpsing as a holy spec just to fight enrage timers. /sigh

  13. In our raid setup we usually use 3 healer when "testing" the boss. On new content when we are just getting the feel of boss having three healers is safer option, but when the fight has been learned we can start killing. And usually in this point our 3rd wheel (tree/cat) respecs and transforms into a cat and starts punching fucking great dps.

    Our healer set up is Holy pala, Resto Shaman and Resto Druid. We all have also dps specs so we can 2-heal in any setup we want.

    Nowadays we 2-heal most of the bosses in ICC though Rotface we still 3 heal, cause eventhough we can easily heal the low dmg, the fight geats very unpredictable in the end and having the 3rd healer usually saves lives when the slime debuff hits both the healer right after another.

    This is actually the crux of this guestion. When you heal in group that you don't know anything about I would prefer doing 3-heal because I can't be entirely sure who prefers healing what. When I heal with my 2 partners in our steady 10-man group, I trust them and know their ways of doing things and it just works like magic.

    If we 3-heal all, then we usually are gearing up / training a new healer.

    But if you know your partner, you know you trust him/her and you are both good and geared - 2-healing is the most enjoyable way of healing. It is challenging, active and fast paced -just the way I like it.

    When doing easier raids with op gear, then 2-healing should be obvious choise to anyone. For intance: VOA, Onyxia, TOC etc.

  14. Seems like most people agree, that progression fights are great for three healers. People make mistakes a ton more when learning a new fight. I am usually comfortable healing with only two healers, but you absolutely have to trust your co-healer. This is the biggest must. I don't even think the classes matter as much as being comfortable with who you are with. In my ten man ICC we generally have a shammy/pally healing combo which some may think is a poor combo. We have even healed some bosses with shammy/shammy combo which is even worse, but we are a tight group, and we know each other's strengths and weaknesses and we work with that.

    I know when my co-shammy is trying to combine his slime he isn't going to get many heals off on himself, so I keep a close eye on him. It just takes an extra awareness of each other. It isn't elitist to run with two healers. It is actually pretty common nowadays. As long as you aren't someone who looks down on a guild who is struggling and does use three healers. Nothing elitist when you do something, but don't down others for doing it a different way.