Multi-Healer Organization
You know, just a thought regarding my post yesterday on Divine Hymn, I also think that if you are Holy or Disc, your shadowfiend should be renamed Muse.


So I have decided to try something dangerous and scary.... Jessabelle has respecced to Discipline. /cower

Despite the fact that I've written about healing as Disc, and that I understand it in "theory", I actually have had very few opportunities to raid as Disc. We've just always had far too many Pallies to justify it. Now I have an opportunity to take advantage of it, and I'm pumped... and nervous! Granted, my gear is directed more towards a Holy priest than a Disc priest (way more spirit and regen than a Disc priest should ever need), but I think it will be okay for the content I'm currently raiding. Besides, until I get into the swing of fanatic bubbling, I'll need some of that extra regen as a crutch, particularly in 10 mans.

Scariest thing of all... I skipped Divine Fury. My goal is to try and MT heal without using Greater Heal. We'll see how that goes... surely there are other Disc Priests who don't need to use Greater Heal? I'm now debating on whether or not this was a good move. I guess I’ll find out tonight when I get to see my Disc spec in action. Or rather, myself, in Disc spec, in action. I’m not raiding tonight, but I do have plans to hit up heroic 5 man ToC with some guildies – which is a pretty decent challenge for something easy to throw together to try out the spec.

Regardless, expect more posts in the coming days/weeks regarding an adjustment from Holy to Disc, and possibly back again.

The Habit-Healer’s Crutch

As someone who heals by habit and reflex more than anything else, the scariest part of changing specs for me is readjusting my habits. The biggest issue? My keybinds (I use Clique, for reference). When I (try to) heal on my Pally, I organize my keybinds so that they are as similar to my Priest binds as possible. Obviously, the spells are different – but some of the concepts are the same.

The above are how I currently have my keybinds set for each healer/spec/whatever. There are a couple of things you might notice.

  • Left Click – My short heal.
  • Right Click – My big heal.
  • Middle Click – An instant cast heal. As holy priest, it has a little bit of burst healing with Empowered Renew, as holy pally, it is an instant burst heal. Thematically, it’s a bit different for Disc Priests, but my fingers know this is renew, so I don’t want to change it.
  • Alt Right Click – My panic button combo. It’s a combo I never “accidentally” hit, so low risk of my blowing the cooldown on accident. However, no matter what healer I’m on, my fingers know that this is the combo to use when someone important is about to die.
  • Shift Right Click – Shield of some sort. Damage Mitigation combo. Not as fitting for my Pally, but strangely enough, I think once I get myself into the habit of using this key combo more while running Disc, I’ll start remembering to use it more on my Pally as well, and work it into my rotation.
  • Control Middle Click – Just ignore the Hands thrown in for the Pally right now, as I’m still sorting those out. But this is a problem for my Priest. I use this button all the time, obsessively, on my Holy Priest. Thus, I am a bit worried about putting Power Infusion here for my Disc Priest, because there is a very high risk I will accidentally cast it when I don’t want to. It’s likely I will move this into the combo used for Levitate or Fear Ward.

My point in showcasing my key combos like this is to give you an idea of how someone who is a habit-based healer tries to minimize potential mistakes when switching between healers. If I don’t know where a spell is in my key-combos, it can have disastrous effects as I scan my spell bars for the spell or try to open my spellbook to find it, etc. If my key-combos have vast differences in the kind of spells to which they are bound among my different healers, I will constantly be screwing up and getting confused. The key to my ability to heal well in a raid is my trigger finger response, which comes from training my fingers via pure habit.

My next step will be to organize my toolbars with my other abilities so that they are similar across healers, particularly with mana regen abilities.

So, for those of you who have multiple healers... how do you differentiate your spells in the heat of the action? Do you ever mix up spells from one healer to another?
21 Responses
  1. Kayllnn Says:

    I never really mix spells up when I am on my different toons. Sometimes I want to put down totems on my mage, but once I start a group or raid I get the hang of the different healing styles very quickly.

    I use a totally different approach than you tho. I don't use clique (if you saw the way I held my mouse you would know why, it is weird, maybe the left hander in me). I just have my heals set up in the normal UI, and I don't try to make them similar at all to one another. I organize my heals by which heal I will use the most, on both my healers. My fingers can easily hit numbers 1-4 so I try to put most heals here.

    On my shaman this is all I really need but on my druid I have to put some heals up top to click on, b/c I have so many heals. But, yeah, they are both set up in a completely different way not coordinated b/w each other at all.

    The heals are only based on what I will likely be spamming the most and it doesn't seem to confuse me at all. OMG if I used clique, which I have tried, I would be confused all together. I am not that smart lol.

  2. Fulguralis Says:

    Interesting. I wrote about how I do this on my DPS alts a while ago (months), though I don't use clique. I suppose I'm more of a hybrid btw you and Kayllnn.

    I, too, put my most used spells 1-4, but try to also organize them by similar usages (like my spam button is always 2). I also try to group my AoE's in a similar part of the number bar. Finally, my self buffs always go on "0" as I reflexively hit that before every fight and my "oh shit" buttons are in familiar locations on my number pad.

    When I recently switched to the steelhead gaming keyboard (with the bonus gaming section) it completely threw me for a loop for a few weeks as I rearranged everything to take advantage of the new real estate. The big benefit of the keyboard is that it puts all my number buttons and then some easily in reach of my left hand, leaving my right hand free to mouse.

    I even took it further and set up the pad to be similar between WoW and Aion so I'm not a complete fool when switch games. 2 is still my spam key there.

    I think it's a good coping mechanism that all gamers employ on some level that makes sense to them.

  3. Ophelie Says:

    I keep my spell bindings as close as possible between characters too. Considering that I do about 95% of my healing on my paladin, when I'm goofing around on my priest, I want the bindings to be as easy as possible to remember. I do the same with my dps characters, tying similar spells to the same buttons.

    I also have my mouse bindings set up in a way that I minimize differences in switching between my holy bindings and my prot bindings.

    I struggle a lot when learning bindings. When I finally got my hands on a gaming mouse, I was so excited about having all these new buttons! After a few raids, I ended up going back to bindings that were very similar to my original ones because I just couldn't learn them.

    Lately I've been trying to mix in keyboard bindings too since I'm told it's the only way to go. I'm screwing up CONSTANTLY. It's so embarrassing. I really can't see how this can be efficient.

  4. Nymarie Says:

    I try to keep my keybinds close to the same on all my different toons. I discovered once that not doing this was bad. My Mass Dispel is bound to my V key. I was on my hunter one day, aoe grinding and decided that I wanted to volley. My "quick-thinking" mind and fingers went for the button that would produce the large circle on the ground. V creates a circle for Mass Dispel; it should create a circle for Volley on my hunter right? Wrong. I had accidentally bound that same key to Disengage and was standing with my back to a drop off. I watched in horror as my toon vaulted off the cliff. Needless to say, V is bound to my Volley on my hunter now.

  5. Nymarie Says:

    I forgot to add, across my healers I try to do the same as you. Large heals are the same keybind, small heals are the same, hots together, aoe together, and so on and so forth. It isn't perfect but it helps.

    On the subject of Greater Heal, there are tons of Disc priests who use it and tons who don't. I'm among the ones that do. Greater Heal is more mana efficient and more hps than an Improved Flash heal and with Disc's buckets of haste and Borrowed Time, Greater heals can be rather fast.

  6. @Kayllnn

    Yeah, you've mentioned before how you do your heals, and it's completely different than mine... would be kinda interesting to see. I know you use macros or something, right? You should take a picture! I can see the bonus in doing it how you do it though, because if what I'm picturing in my head is correct, then at least you see the spell on the toolbar, right? I mean, I'm guessing it's like, the position for key 1 is Rejuv, or something.... it's hard for me to picture, so SS OR IT DIDN'T HAPPEN


    I hadn't even thought about this in context with DPS. On my DPS toons I pretty much just have it set up for my rotation... like 1 is the first thing i cast, 2 is the second, etc etc. And then all my other buttons are a mishmash of random spells and macros like "ZOMG SPREADSHEETS LOL" and "DONT MAKE ME PULL OUT MY SNARKOMETER", and fish feast. Maybe this is why I struggle so much with deeps. hm. I just struggle to keep my bars organized properly - part of that is also because i play on two different computers, and the UI is different depending on the computer.


    I struggle with learning new key combos too... I mean, you basically have to memorize it, and memorize it well enough so that you are able to recall it very quickly when healing. So in a way, I guess it can actually be helpful to have multiple healers.... for instance, even if I can't remember exactly what spell Left Click casts on my Pally... I know that it's something similar to what I have bound to Left Click on my Priest.

    I'm trying to mix in some non-mouse bindings as well, but I'm going to try to limit it to non-target specific spells. I.E. self-only buffs like Inner Fire, Divine Hymn, Fade, Psychic Scream, Holy Nova, Divine Plea, Avenging Wrath... basically anything that I can cast regardless of my current target.


    I have done the same thing with similar disastrous effects. Regarding Greater Heal, I was thinking about how Borrowed Time would effect it as well. The weirdest thing is that one of the main reasons I don't want to use it (this is so sad, I hate admitting it) is that I don't have a good place to put it in a key-bind where I will use it properly without forgetting about Penance!!! ::hangs head in shame:: Everytime I've tried to run Disc before I've run into a similar problem... I'm just not used to have three single-target casted heals like that. Well, and with Binding Heal, it's 4. Actually, I just looked at my spreadsheet and realized that I have it wrong, because Binding Heal isn't on there, and I know I have BH bound. Hrmmmm

  7. Bell Says:

    I often try to judge light while on my Druid...

  8. Shintar Says:

    I pretty much do the same. For example Alt+left click is circle of healing on my priest in holy spec, wild growth on my druid and chain heal on my shaman.

  9. debussy Says:

    I find keybinds to become imprinted in my brain as well. I play a priest mainly, but I also play a mage and switching between the two is a pain for at least a few days because my reflexes are adjusted to one particular set of keybinds at a time.

    I use Grid(obviously) and I have all the needed spells keybound. I also have clique for dispells (Right click is dispel magick/ Shift+ RightClick = Abolish Disease)

  10. Good Luck with the disc experiment! I'm really enjoying the spec on my little priest!

    As for your question: Like you I tend to replicate where I can. My fat heals are the same binds, my cleanses are the same binds, my "oh shit!" buttons are all the same, my speedy flash type heals are all the same.

    Of course there are differences, and if I haven't played one of my toons for a bit, I sometimes have to go into clique to refresh my memory if I have a senior moment as to where I bound something :)

    I think that more than anything else though, I just want my muscle reflexes to be similar so even in a moment of uncertainty I have an 80% chance of casting what I meant to! Sometimes I do cast the wrong thing though (uh...ask Brade how many times I've BoP'd him while he's's the same binding as Rejuv *whistles*).

  11. Juzaba Says:

    I tend not to focus too much on similar spells between my healers. Their styles are different enough that, while there is overlap, there are also significant differences. I worry that those differences will get in the way.

    Instead, I put commonly used spells in the same places. Chain Heal for my shaman = Penance for my Disc = PoH for my Holy priest.

    As for Disc without Gheal, I find that I like having the option to cast Gheal when I need it. It happens rarely, but a PW:S>Penance>Gheal>PoM is such a powerful burst of healing that can be a really good answer to stupid boss abilities. On the other hand, Pain Suppression, so it's not like Gheal is your only option.

  12. Len Says:

    Disc priests are really really fun, good luck!! :) We don't necessarily need to clash with paladins - I think we make excellent raid support healers if not on MT duty. We provide 3% damage reduction for everyone, excellent tank healers if required, pain supression, power infusion for casters, fab spot healing with penance and we make the lives of other healers much easier with pre-shielding on big damage spikes and hasted PoH.

    Renew isn't even on my radar as disc though, there are so many better spells that I can cast and so many more effective hots that other classes can cast it's just not worth it...

    I use a mix of mouse and key binds - right click for shield as I use it a *lot*, and 2-5 for my main other spells. GH can be some use if you take some of the cast time reducing talents in an oh crap moment: shield, penance, hasted GH. I have to say I'm so used to spamming FH now though that I have to try really hard to remember to use it :s

  13. Fuubaar Says:
    This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. Cazenovia Says:

    I hadn't realized quite how attuned I was to my keybindings 'til I leveled my second priest.. and occasionally went to my binding heal hotkey before I had binding heal. (I couldn't figure out what normally went there until I found myself hitting it expecting that spell.)

    I went off and tried to keep my healing spells *roughly* the same, but going druid to disc priest there's not always too much similarities. I think I'd originally planned to keybind poison/curse dispels to the same key as magic/poison, but I'd already bound the poison/curse key to shields on my priest and absolutely could not unlearn it.

    I've definitely messed up a few times going from priest to druid.. usually trying to shield people. (Almost everything is keybound for me, though.. especially on my boomkin I only have 8 spells showing, little-used spells such as Tranquility/Hymn are the main exceptions.) The way I play the two is usually different enough to avoid too many problems, though.

    As for Greater Heal.. I really started using that for the first time this past week when I was assigned to a tank that was taking a lot more damage than I was used to. Shield -> Greater heal -> Penance was the way I was able to keep him up effectively - but it was the first time I'd been put in a situation where I really needed that kind of heavy-healing.

  15. Fuubaar Says:

    ok, I actually wrote up a comment about what I keybind where on my mouse since I use healbot not Clique.

    Then it dawned on me... WHO GIVES A POO about what I do. I never mix up my spells because I am either tanking or healing. If I tried to tank on my Priest, I'm pretty sure it would be noticed when I got one shotted & didn't have a shield. Once I realize that, I'm GtG.

    All of you must tell me:

    Why roll multiple toons that do essentially the same task? I would never think to roll another tank because... I have one.

    yeah, you could say, "I love healing and one is so vastly different than the other"

    Ok? but once you have these said healers, don't you find yourself sticking to one over the other because you enjoy it more? Then the other toon essentially goes to waste.

    I guess I can understand DPSing because you can Melee & you can be at range but healing? Playing Wack-a-mole as a healer is still playing wack - a - mole on another.

    I don't mean for this comment to be snarky or offensive. I'm seriously curious.

    What drives you to roll a similar toon that does a similar task as the one you already have?

  16. Bluesixty Says:

    Nice post. I as well as most others tend to keep the same keystrokes for similar abilities or actions.

    The big change I made with my disc priest was to use my spammy key for shield.

    Raid healing as disc, i shield everyone as much as possible and let the druids make the green bars go up :)

    Bubble Party FTW!

  17. Zan Says:

    I try to cast totemic recall on my Paladin. I look for bubble on my druid.

    I'm interested in learning how your discing goes. I want to know if, as a good priest healing disc, you find yourself ignoring parts of your toolbox or if you still use them situationally.

    I've met several disc priests lately who refuse to heal groups at all because they're a tank healer, despite having the buttons to press to do so.

  18. Kayllnn Says:

    @ Fuubaar- As you know I have four 80s. Three of which can dps well(2 ranged 1 melee), Two tanks and two healers. So why you wonder? Because I love all of my toons and I have fun on them, and sometimes I find myself wanting to do it on a different toon.

    Remember our ten man raid on Monday night? We didn't need another druid healer, so I offered up my shaman, to be a MT healer and bring different buffs to the group. My shaman is fun to tank heal, my druid is fun to raid heal, sometimes I feel like spamming spells and sometimes I feel like running around throwing HoTs around.

    I see a huge benefit of having two different healers, and two different tanks. I am not veteran tank like you, and I don't know if you remember but when the raid had enough healers I tanked by your side in a few BC raids. My druid tank is nice because I can take a beating like no other and have good single target threat, I love my dk because this is my add tank, and I can pick up a huge group and hold my own.

    I wouldn't mind rolling a paladin and priest as both tanks and healers, I really enjoy hybrid classes and experiencing the game as different roles.

    The main reason I like having a ton of alts, is to understand why people say, "well it is easier for this class because..." I want to prove to myself that people are wrong, and that classes are pretty well balanced. Yeah some classes are easier for certain jobs, but no class is great at everything. I love seeing WoW in the eyes of everyone and understanding the strength and weaknesses of many classes and specs.

  19. Cazenovia Says:

    @fuubaar - I initially leveled my priest up to 'replace' my druid healer so I could go boomkin. (People know me as a healer, I wanted to blow stuff up on her, leveling another healer was the obvious choice to both raid on my chicken and fill in heal spots for friends.) I now have myself a disc/shadow priest and a boomkin/resto druid. I like the flexibility, and I like being able to switch from one to the other and go "FINALLY I can cleanse this or that" or whatever. It's a utility thing, I guess.

    @Zan - on my priest I'll usually go into groups very wary of any groups that ask me to raidheal as disc without some good reason for it. I can do it - but it's not my strength either as a player or as the class, and they're generally better off having someone else take that role. If there's a holy priest, resto druid, or resto shaman tank healing while they want me raid-healing.. yeah, I'll usually object. (Again, though, that's me and I've had some really terrible pugging-as-disc experiences, so take that with a grain of salt.)

  20. @Bell

    I don't even remember to judge light when I'm on my Pally...


    Aye, those are all spells I would bind to the same keys for certain. One day perhaps my shammy and druid will be high enough level to even try this out!


    That's interesting - is your priest a DPSer? I have not run into this problem, but I think that is because all my heals are bound to keyboard+mouse click combos, whereas my damage spells have no mouse bind at all.

    @falling leaves and twigs

    You're right on! That's sorta my theory as well... if I try to keep the binds similar based on functionality, then even if I can't remember exactly what I'm trying to cast, at least I can be reasonably sure that it has a similar function!


    This is good advice. I'm thinking I might respec to pick up a faster Gheal. I did change my keybinds around a little bit so that I at least have it bound, so I don't have to scramble to find it when I decide to use it.


    I should have been a bit more specific, as I emphasized the wrong way - the problem wasn't so much "too many pallies" as it was "not enough AoE healers" - so it wasn't that being Disc would get in the way of the Pallies, but more that we needed some more AoE healing. Plus we had another priest who was dual specced holy/disc, and he was willing to go disc often enough where I was allowed to live vicariously through him... and kept bugging him about the details and mechanics in pure geekjoy XD As for Renew, I think that depends on whether or not you've got a Druid with you. I rather like having a Renew on the tank if I'm tank healing and there are no Druids around.


    Your mouse sure has a lot of buttons! Darf's mouse is like that, and I found I kept accidentally clicking stuff all over the place! I'm very clumsy.


    It's funny you mention that. When I was throwing together this little keybinding spreadsheet, in order to remember which spells were bound where, I had to actually do the click combos on my mouse.

    @Fuu Again

    This is a very good question, and Kelly has pretty much answered for me, but just as a little quick response, here is a thought for you. Lots of people play multiple DPS toons. They like to DPS, and they want to try it different ways. I feel that way about healing. Each kind of DPSer has different strengths, just as each tank has different strengths... and the same definitely goes for healers as well. Playing multiple healers or multiple tanks is no different than playing multiple DPSers... it's a role we like, and therefore want to try in various ways. <3 Good question.

    @Bluesixty and Zan

    Regarding raid healing as Disc, this is more common than you might think. I personally think Disc priests can raid heal quite well in a 25 man at least, they just do it differently than the traditional AoE heal way. They are awesome for fight mechanic healing, such as Slag Pot, Kologarn Fist, that sort of thing. I think they could use a bit more tweaking in this regard, but I rather liked having a Disc Priest handle all those healing duties in Ulduar 25.

  21. Greater heal almost never comes out of my discing toolbox, tank or "raid" healing.

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