Reflex versus Rotation, Part 2
In true Miss Medicina form, I started writing my piece on reflex and rotation yesterday, and it just got way too TLDR, so I tried to split it up a bit. This chunk seemed the easiest to divide from yesterday's post.

The Theorycrafting Behind it All

I've posted before about the problems with theorycrafting, and I wanted to bring it up in regards to my continuing topic of reflex and rotation, because all my pondering on the difference between these two has affected how I see theorycrafting for healers.

Of course theorycrafting is useful, but how you use it, or perhaps when you utilize it differs slightly between the rotational and the reflex healer.

Much of the theorycrafting used to prepare your character takes place outside of a raid setting - how you choose your talents, the enchants, gems, and gear you choose, the consumables you will bring to a raid. It comes down to min-maxing your gear, and choosing your talents based on what you expect you will use most during a raid. Or, perhaps you choose the talents you think are best, and intend to train yourself to use the proper spell combinations that will benefit. Either way, once you're actually in the raid, that is where your efforts come to fruition.

If you are working on a rotation, you are working the theory in as you cast... because your rotation is based on maximizing your potential. Perhaps you know the exact moment when it is best to pop your cooldowns, knowing when they will be available again. You will make the choices needed to keep the target alive while simultaneously maintaining Grace, or building stacks of Serendipity.

But when you are a reflex healer, you need to put more preparation into the theorycrafting before the raid, and the best thing you can do to improve your healing skills are to develop the proper habits. Trigger fingers need training! When you are responding to unpredictable damage, or popping a reflexive reaction to something, you may not have the time to calculate in your head what is the best spell for you to use to maximize output while minimizing mana usage. My use of Circle of Healing on one target who takes damage? Perfect example. I don't think about how wasteful it is - I respond. I have developed a bad habit, and trained my trigger finger that way.

This is not to say that Rotational healers do not have to train their fingers, or make snap decisions. Nor do I mean to suggest that Reflex healers do not come into a raid with an expectation of what spells and cooldowns will work best in combination. All healing classes have a combination of both Rotation and Reflex based methods in order to allow all of them to be effective as the sole healer in a 5 man scenario. At end game, however, each class begins to display more strength in one realm or the other.

For instance, I've used Pallies as an example of rotational healing... but all those "Hand of..." tools are indicators of different methods of "emergency response", if you will. If all you ever consider is the best rotation for healing single or dual targets, you won't know what your "extra appendages" are for (you know, like me).

If the Holy Priestess does not work some rotation into her raid healing, and intends to respond purely by reflex, then she will not be adequately prepared when massive raid damage hits everyone. If she has not built up her stacks of Serendipity, if she's already blown her Divine Hymn cooldown, then she's left scrambling to top people off before they find themselves dangling limply and lifeless from Kologarn's fists, because a Circle of Healing may not be enough, and the cast time on a non-hasted Prayer of Healing is painful.


Thanks for humoring me in one of my biggest rambling "philosophy of healing" segments ;) If you ever needed proof that I love theorycrafting (perhaps sans numbers), this was for you!
7 Responses
  1. Fulguralis Says:

    Ha ha, i linked you. Oh oh and did you see you totally got the "big J" today? Yeah, that was for you. :-)

  2. Ha! You know what's even funnier? I commented on your post before you commented on mine!


  3. Fulguralis Says:

    LOL I know.

    On a more srs note tho, this is a great dissertation. After you initially posted and we discussed a small amount on vent... I really think it makes a lot of sense not only for healing, but really to help understand the underlying game design of MMO's in general. I mean, isn't tanking inherently more reflexive by necessity? Or DPS leaning more towards rotational?

    I tried to point it out a bit in my post today too, but I think it's something that, regardless of your class, you can understand as part of the "bigger picture".

  4. @ful

    Wow, look at that, we've graduated from "treatise" to "dissertation". See, who needs grad school?

    I'm really getting into this concept of class/role development theory. I mean, GC will give us little details here and there, but I'm more interested in the overarching generalized concepts they are going for, like the way haste is changing with over time effects, and that sort of thing, you know? The details aren't nearly as fascination to me as the schools of thought on which those changes are based.

    It's theorycrafting, but not in the same sense as people are accustomed to seeing, with numbers and charts, etc.

  5. bobturkey Says:

    Na, thats a good post Miss Medicina. Its pretty much right on the money.

    I like how you can just ready the bold bits and it still makes sense :-)

    Gobble gobble.

  6. Tamarind Says:

    I love your philosophy of healing posts - I find them fascinating. I think I tend towards reflexive healing over rotational, although as you say, you have to use both in order to be effective, but I like the fact there's an emotional/instinctive element to healing as well. Although sometimes the emotional dimension is me mumbling obscenities into my keyboard ;) One of the things I really like about healing is that it tends to be more flexible than, say, DPS, which has an optimal rotation.

  7. @bobturkey

    Haha thanks... yeah, when I write posts that are sort of abstract, and long, I do try to bold the important stuff for those who have a tough time wading through the walls of text ;) I'm glad to know it's helpful, lol


    I'm really glad you enjoy them! I'm the same way, much more reflexive. I'm impressed you only mumble obscenities at your keyboard... I'm usually caught shrieking or banging things when I lose a raid member!

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