Jan 17, 2012

Posted by in Halls Of Healing | 5 Comments

Halls Of Healing: Building A Healing Team – Part 2

Each week or thereabouts here at Ask A Jedi, we’ll meditate on the finer points of the healer’s role in Star Wars: The Old Republic. No matter where your allegiance lies, you’re sure to find guidance here in the Halls Of Healing!

Last week we took a look at how to find new players for your healing team. This week we will have a look at what you can do when your healing team is assembled to build on the relationships between players in your team, and to improve cooperation and performance in Operations.

I’m sure a lot of you have been in a situation with a poorly communicating raid member, sometimes even a hostile group entirely. The leader is screaming at people in a desperate attempt to get people in line, the Damage Dealers have no eye for anything but their own performance on the meters, the Tanks keep pulling and can’t be bothered waiting for the group to be ready, and the people who truly cared about the group have long since gave up hope.

Even if a group as bad as this one are uncommon, it is not uncommon to see at least some of these things in most groups. Things may not be as elevated but there are always going to be some people that do less, and some who do more. Sometimes it’s the same person consecutively, other times it might be a different person. Regardless there is one thing that is true: we need to cover for each other’s mistakes all the time when playing with other people.

Now, what does this have to do with building a healing team? While all the roles have the need to continuously work together with each other, the healers are entirely dependent on coordination to achieve success.

C'mon... c'mon... Yahtzee!

C'mon... c'mon... Yahtzee!

Backbone Of The Group

As mentioned previously the healers have a need to work together in order to perform well. While the job description for the healers reads something to the effect of, “restore the life of your fellow players,” in practice it is essentially covering for mistakes. I’m not saying that all damage done to the group is due to mistakes, but when mistakes do happen, the healers that need to take care of the situation 99% of the time.

Additionally, healers usually have a good overview of what’s going on, and since they are the ones covering for most of the mistakes and events that happen in the raid, they can often identify problems that need fixing faster than tanks and damage dealers.

I probably don’t need to say that’s it’s incredibly important that you communicate and cooperate well in your Operation group, and, more importantly, with the healing team.

Foundation Of Your Healing Team

It’s no secret that you need good communication in a group to be able to work together and cooperate well. But to be able to communicate well you first need to have the tools, and also an environment that promotes good communication.

Separate Channels

The first thing you should do is to set up a separate chat channel for your healers to communicate in. It’s quite important that you don’t let people outside of the healing group into this channel, with some possible exceptions.

The reason for this channel is because of something with the human psyche, people are naturally going to do what presents them in the best possible light, and often this involves not communicating. For people to admit things mistakes you need to have an environment where they can feel comfortable talking about these things. This is the reason why you might not want your Operation leader or tanks in this channel.

Sub-community

While there are many benefits with the sub-channel, there are many downsides as well. One of them is the fact that you are creating a sub-community with this channel. Sub-communities are generally something that you can’t avoid in a Guild, especially larger ones; people are going to like to hang out with some more than others. Having a deliberate sub-community like this, especially in a small group, can easily cause rifts.

If you watch out for the warning signs and use this sub-community well, you can reap bountiful benefits that can improve the performance not just of your healing team, but the entire Operation group. The most important warning sign you should watch out for is when people are talking behind other people’s backs; this is not something you want happening as it’s what’s starting this rift I mentioned earlier. If you see people are making jokes, talking about their performance, and more importantly talking about improvements and changes that can be made that can affect the group’s performance positively, you know you are on the right track.

Chain Of Command

I mentioned previously that I don’t think that you should have your Operation leader in the group. There are a couple reasons for this, the biggest is that a lot of people feel intimidated by the leader and often are afraid of saying anything at all for fear of getting misunderstood or blamed.

Another reason is from the leader’s perspective, there is potentially a big amount of chatter, communication and debate going on in the healing channel and for an Operation leader with a lot of other things to pay attention to it’s very easy to get overwhelmed by information. Instead you should assign one of your healers, preferably an officer, to have the reins for the healing team. Have the healing team leader redirect any useful information your way, or straight to the healing team or member in question.

In the next part of this series we’ll talk about some common and some controversial methods you can use to enhance your healing team’s cooperation and performance. Do you have method or idea that you have used successfully? Let me know and perhaps we’ll feature it in the next week’s article!

Reedyn is the chief nerf-herder over at Force Heal, the healing community for Star Wars: The Old Republic. Artwork is done by strawbeki.

  1. In continuation of last weeks topic about training healers, a thing you could do with that subchannel is grant access to someone who might not play a healer on this run, but who is gearing an alt to take on healing duties. We had the healing channel, mostly to cut back on spam in general raid, and it was very enlightning the first time I saw what actually went on behind the scenes.

    • Speaking of ways to improve, I had an idea that alas I haven’t had a chance to use in a game, but that we employ in our weekly pen-and-paper RP sessions, which could be adapted to work. Because our PnP sessions tend to go off-topic, what with being mates around a table, we added a sort of vote system for good RP.

      After each session, the ST gives the group XP, and each person can grant one of the other players a single XP, if they want. The condition is that they must qualify why. Usually this is if someone came up with a particularly clever idea, or put in a good show of RP (especially if they went against what would be mechanically the best thing to do in favour of the RP response).

      A blind vote for MVP has drawbacks, particularly in relation to clique building or the same high-profile players getting the vote each time. How it might work for Operations could be that each participant can specify a single situation where they noticed someone perform above-and-beyond the call of duty, f.inst. by private message to an officer after the operation is over. The reason would be key, and “I think they did great” shouldn’t be enough, but “I was down to 1 HP after stupidly standing in the fire, and only that big heal from X saved my bacon” could be.

      The reward should be tangible, but not linked to the operation loot directly. Maybe a stack of crafting materials or similar. Not only could it serve as a nice pat on the back or something to aspire to, it might also promote people to be more attentive beyond their own bars and give the guild some interesting sidestories to share with those not along for a run.

  2. Based on the suggestion that the Operation leader not be in the healing channel, it seems that you assume the Operation leader won’t be a healer. Is there a reason that the Operation leader shouldn’t be a healer? I ask because it’s very likely that this will happen in our group.

  3. for an Operation leader with a lot of other things to pay attention to it’s very easy to get overwhelmed by information.

    That is one of the reasons, the other is what I spoke about the chain of command, as a raiding member it’s often difficult to be open with mistakes and suggestions to the person that decides whether they have a spot in the group or not.

    Depending on your atmosphere in your current group it could work and it could also fail. Generally in groups aimed with progression in mind where you replace players regularly it’s preferred with a separate healing leader. In the more socially minded Operation groups it can work either way.

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