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Healing Agro - Help Needed
I have been noticing lately I am having some serious agro problems when healing in dungeons. I usually find that I draw agro in multi-mob pulls, where one or two of the extra mobs jump off the main tank to come pay me some extra attention after I drop a significant heal.

What I would like to know is how can I avoid this? I try and use heal over time spells as they seem to draw less agro, but that isn't always possible and some times you just have to drop the big heal bomb (Healing Touch)

Once I have agro, how do I get rid of it? I have tried shifting into cat form and using Cower, but that doesn't seem to drop enough agro fast enough. And some times I can shift into bear and tank the mob, but usually I am in my healing suit and it isn't so good for playing tank in.

Any and all suggestions would be appreciated as I am very close to Outlands and would like to be as useful as possible in whatever role I am asked to play out there.
Etsuko - Monk
Razzlixx Blingwell - Warlock
Cloudjumper Wildmane - Druid (Inactive)
Cower isn't worth it. Bear can be good to let you survive long enough for the tank to pull aggro back.

The best solution, IMO? There are several trinkets that let you 'fade': grace of earth (cenarion circle quests in silithus), hypnotists watch (early outlands quest). You shouldn't be pulling aggro very often, so even with the cooldowns those should be enough to save you whenever you need it. If it's happening a LOT, you're probably looking at a tanking problem and not a healing problem.
Just like waiting to DPS, try and wait to heal, maybe put up your HoTs before the pull. If you do those things, and with the new changes to warriors, (thunderclap in def stance) you shouldn't be pulling aggro with healing on multiple mobs.

I have actually taken the view while tanking, that the only person I am trying to keep aggro off, for more than the current focus fired mob, is the healers, and that doesn't take a whole lot of threat. Sometimes the Bladeflurrying rogue, or multishotting hunter will get aggro, but thats their fault.

I would also imagine that healing aggro is a non issue while a mage is AOEing.
Especially in the Outlands dungeons, where the damage your party is taking is so very high, I've found healing aggro to be a problem myself. The raw numbers of applied healing boggle my mind. At earlier levels, it might be something as simple as the gear quality of your tank. The more damage taken, obviously, the more you will heal, and the more aggro you will build up. A well-geared tank is going to lessen the strain on you all-around. Assuming your tank is decently geared and decently skilled, healing aggro should not happen often. but multi-tanking always complicates things, especially when it's 3+ mobs. Tanking becomes much more difficult with each additional mob, because the tank has to create more threat on -each- target than you are creating with the amount of hit points you are healing. If you have no CC, and your tank is on 3 or more mobs, it's almost guaranteed you're going to pull aggro at some point. Solution? The DPS burns them down as fast as possible. *shrug* And as for HoTs, I believe you gain aggro on their ticks, not when the spell itself is cast. The beautiful thing about them is that it is spread out enough that your tank has more time to generate threat. Big heals are still going to be unavoidable... the best thing to do is try to delay them as long as you can into the fight. If I can help it, I never drop a greater heal sooner than 10 or so seconds into the fight. If it's unavoidable, and you pull aggro, try to survive it as best you can. There are going to be times where you're going to die, or the group is going to wipe, and there's nothing you can do about it. Don't let anyone blame you for that. You have two choices... heal the tank and pull the aggro and die, or let the tank die and the whole group dies. Neither are good, but there you go. Such is the game. Wink

I don't have enough experience healing on my druid to offer you any solid tips on dropping the aggro once you have it... warstomp if they aren't immune, HoT yourself, shift to bear if the group can afford it, and try to outlast it in some way. Every time I get so frustrated about priests and almost decide to level the druid to be my main healer, I remember druids don't have Fade, and change my mind. Though the items Fleet mentioned will be helpful... if you're that close to Outlands, you might be able to get the Silithus quest. I'd look into that also.
Naruth's strategy to drop aggro from healing is to die. It has server her quite well.
Anathamon Wrote:Naruth's strategy to drop aggro from healing is to die. It has server her quite well.

Hey that works for me too! Don't knock it! The trinkets, quest rewards, and enchants that Fleetie mentioned do help to an extent (Though I want a refund on my sublety enchant on my cloak, it's broken :interesting: ).

If we are pulling a group of 4 mobs, I drop a regrowth on the tank and 3 come running at me that IS a tanking problem and not a healing problem. Skilled tanks are a huge help, and I find myself spoiled by them :biggrin:

You're a druid. You WILL get heal agro. You will die. It will hurt. Am I being helpful? :banana:
Don't mess with the trees!

"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody."

~Bill Cosby
Great info here guys, thanks. Smile

I don't mind dying, I expect it when doing dungeons and whatnot. I guess what I have been noticing is that I seem to be dying a lot more than the rest of the group, but only when playing healer. If I am the tank or DPS I die about as often as normal, but when healing I seem to be dying 2-3 times more often than anyone else in the group.

I guess I just wanted to know if that is normal or if it is more with how I do my healing. I will try the suggestions and see if it helps, I am ather inexperiences at healing still so am getting used to it.
Etsuko - Monk
Razzlixx Blingwell - Warlock
Cloudjumper Wildmane - Druid (Inactive)
Cloudjumper Wrote:If I am the tank or DPS I die about as often as normal, but when healing I seem to be dying 2-3 times more often than anyone else in the group.
Heh. This is normal. Hopefully you enjoy the job enough to make it worthwhile to ya! I generally consider my job to be done well if we go through a full run and no one dies but me. It's a rare occurrence that I don't die at least once, generally two to three times in an instance run. Mahiah is with me here, and I know Sound is infamous for this as well. It's hell on the repair bills, but it's the lot of a healer.

By the blood of your healers shall you conquer! Honor the sacrifice!


/end drama

Anathamon is mean. /muss hair
Ways I've found for a Druid to help keep aggro on the tank and not on you are varied. For one, always, always have thorns cast on your tank. It may be small, but it helps contribute to their aggro and will be there to bump it up with the +3 mobs just a tinsy bit more. Also, try and rely on using your HOTS at first if you could for your first initial heals. Regrowth's burst heal doesn't seem to be as huge and aggro pull-y as Healing Touch and it's HOT along with a possible Rejuv's HOT could surprisingly have a tank back up and sustainably so before you know it (I know HOT ticks also add to aggro, but it seems to be a bit less and spread out than a huge burst heal in my experience). And Mahiah is right, we unfortunately do die a lot as Druid healers. Above all else, like the others said, wait a bit to heal at first if you could. The trinket's Fleetie suggested would help quite a bit.. although the Grace of Earth takes -quite- a bit of work, the Hypnotist's Watch from the quest in Hellfire will be easier for you to get a hold of IMO. Also, feel free to experience with various, differing levels of healing touch on your hotbar. You might find lower levels of it will still do the job (and as a nice side benefit, not always over heal the tank!). Above all else, knowing when to heal is key to letting a tank sustain aggro. I'm not sure if any of that helped so much, but I tried. : )

And yeah, if you -do- have to use healing touch and most likely if it crits, try and laugh about it as you die horribly.. because it happens far too often than not.
This subject is of great relevance to tanks imo. As a tank, I feel ashamed whenever a healer dies when I should and could have prevented it. Hence the reason learning to multi-tank correctly is absolutely esential. The reason for multitanking is simple, redirecting all of the damage through the player that has the most damage reduction obviously reduces all the damage done to the party. CC is even better of course. How many a tank can multitank depends on where you are really. Shadow Lab for instance has a room where you have several pulls with 5 elites and 1 non elite. I dont feel comfortable tanking more than 4 mobs at any time, it gets really hard to manage them above 4. But the dps can usually take the non-elite and last elite w/o me.
Even if a tank knows how to correctly multitank, the party MUST also know how it works. An early attack or heal can ruin multitanking especially an AoE attack, because instead of getting a sunder+heroic strike +demoralizing shout + thunderclap on all of the extras, you usually are trying to chase down/focus on the mob that got away. This prevents the agro gain that is needed in the beginning on ALL of the other mobs that a tank needs and so by losing one, you lose all. This leads to tab-target-taunting which is...not good.
I usually tell my healers to delay as long as possible before they heal me in regular dungeons so I can gain that initial agro on big pulls.
If you feel up to the task, you can do some more agro control on CC'd mobs, or more precisely, before they are CC'd. It can be useful when they can two shot clothies to have them run to you instead of to them. If things hit too hard for you to multitank successfully ((Moroes *cough, cough*)), a hunter with redirect can be really, really helpful. Moroes gouges and goes to the next person on his agro table. We solved this by having our Offtank Greyfith throw some swipes and a few things on Moroes when he can. But we were having a problem with Naruth getting one-shotted by her shackled target (and this still happens as this fight is very long and she tends to build agro fast and the fight can get chaotic). Mizar and I found that we could sometimes prevent this if we redirected agro from her target to me or Grey (how the hunter does this, I don't know, ask him, but it's cool).
Once a tank has things under control, he needs to help the healers as much as he can preventing damage to himself, (i.e. shield block, trinkets, whatever) because if the tank dies, the party has a good chance of dying too. *ahem* Valet *cough* Usher *sniff*
Thanks to all of the dead healers that helped me learn agro, and poor, poor dead Grommash who didn't know how it worked and hellfired everywhere he went.

So there's my book on agro. If you read this far, you get a cookie.
"Passion and shame torment him, and rage is mingled with his grief."

[Image: playerfeed_1902018_bigsig.gif]
*eyes his cookie suspiciously* I don't trust food from you...
I just wanted to enthusiastically second what Sound said about thorns. And about crits.

If you don't already, try to avoid spell-crit gear in your healing suit. I've actually been known to pass on upgrades because they also have crit buffs.

If you're specced into nature's swiftness (best. healing. talent. ever.), you can delay that first healing touch bomb even longer on multi-mob pulls, since you can drop it instantly when it's really needed and not have to anticipate whether or not you'll need it three seconds from now.

It's also useful to repeatedly start casting your big heal, and cancel it at the last second if it's not needed. That way you're not overhealing, but you're frequently already half-way through the casting time when a damage spike hits and the tank needs help ASAP.

Healing through the beginning of a fight (when aggro isn't well establish yet) I do something like this:
1.Rejuv (reapply so always ticking)
2. Once health is down by about the upfront heal of a regrowth, Regrowth (repeat when regrowth stops if mana isn't going to be an issue- RG is a mana hog)
3. Stack lifebloom if you have it
4. If all HoT's are running, chain cast healing touch, canceling when it's not needed. Select a rank appropriate to the amount of damage the tank is tanking.

If a mob heads for you anyway, try to get a regrowth on yourself, maybe barkskin, and drop into bear. Make sure your tank knows s/he still needs to pull the mob off you if they want heals. HealSuitBear adds seconds to your survivability, but does not magically turn you into an offtank. Not all non-druids are fully aware of that.
A quick healing hybrid note - most of what was said above applies to resto shamans, with the additional wonderful feature that Earth Shield's procs count as tank aggro, not healer aggro. I've also been spoiled by some great tanks; the six-pulls in Shadow Lab are the only times I've had healing aggro trouble lately.

But if you're in a group with a shaman or a paladin -- even a DPS-specced one -- and you find that you are having to put out some huge heals during the initial pull, you may want to ask a hybrid to pick up just a little bit of the healing during those hectic first 20 seconds. They can switch back to DPS after the multitank is established nicely. If they have a decent head on their shoulders, they shouldn't mind helping you keep your threat down.
Oryx - Jadox - Koryx - Atorax - Cabochon - Hargrim - Morwen - Stillweaver - Talindrys
Fleethoof Wrote:I just wanted to enthusiastically second what Sound said about thorns. And about crits.

If you don't already, try to avoid spell-crit gear in your healing suit. I've actually been known to pass on upgrades because they also have crit buffs.

BLASPHEMY! I only count an item as an upgrade if it has +spell crit :p

A critical heal refunds your mana, making your healing supply endless if you have a high enough spell crit! And if you pull aggro you just hide behind your shield. And if that fails - you bubble. And if things look bleak - you hearth.

Wait ... only if you are a pallie. *snickers*
Sound Wrote:And yeah, if you -do- have to use healing touch and most likely if it crits, try and laugh about it as you die horribly.. because it happens far too often than not.

<nodnodnod> What she said.

*squints at her cookie, glances at Anathamon and then back to Efluvious* Is this more stuff?

By the way...Efluvious=Another of Ironsong's great tanks that make me go "Holy crap, he's awesome!"

*throws stuff ...runs*
Don't mess with the trees!

"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody."

~Bill Cosby

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