Should You Be Pre-Potting As A Healer?

8 Jun

Last night, my guild called the Nefarian wipes the raid about twenty minutes early and our raid leader/GM gave us a brief pep talk which included the news that more guild audits were on the way and stressing the need to get Nefarian down before 4.2 hits.  One of our officers chimed in about a Heroic Conclave run that she was forming on an off night, if anyone was interested and while that was happening, an interesting conversation began in healer chat about pre-potting or more specifically, why none of the healers appeared to be doing it. 

For those who don’t know, “pre-potting” is the term used for working around the usual cooldown on potions by drinking a potion shortly before a fight starts, so that you can use a second potion later on during the fight.  Typically, this is something that tanks and DPS are asked to do, but this will be the second guild that I have been in so far that has asked me to consider doing it as a healer. 

The only advantages that I can see to pre-potting as a healer are as follows:

–  If you know that you’re going to be dropping a Lightwell before the pull, drink a potion to increase your spellpower and then drop it.  Make sure you have Inner Fire up before you do, if you don’t already. 

–  If you anticipate heavy damage coming out from the onset of the pull, drink a potion beforehand to start the fight off with a slightly larger mana pool and more spellpower, so you can throw out bigger heals to those who need it with less strain on your resources.

Being that this is Heroic Nefarian we’re talking about, neither of these situations really applies to me.  It may apply to those healing the tanks, because they can take heavy amounts of damage on this fight.  But I’m typically assigned to pure raid healing and I can honestly say that P1 doesn’t start to pick up for me until Electrocute happens.  I make sure to keep Prayer of Mending going and a Renew on each tank in range.  I heal people after Tail Swipe happens. 

I can’t say that using a Volcanic Potion before the fight starts would do anything other than save me mana when I activate my Chakra and cast Levitate on myself before I jump off the platform.  Don’t laugh, it works like a charm.

Don’t get me wrong, there are fights where pre-potting can come in handy.

Once the fight starts, Magmaw doesn’t hesitate to start unleashing Magma Spew on most of the raid and remember that it hits twice as hard on Heroic mode.  Surviving those initial rounds of burst damage is important and helps you get comfortable with how the damage will be distributed, because it remains pretty consistent throughout.     

Halfus Wyrmbreaker
On Heroic mode, the first minute or two of the encounter are the most healing intensive and stressful.  Once you make it through the initial salvo and blow most of your cooldowns, you can resort to your usual means of keeping the raid or your tank up.

Healers in charge of watching the tank (or other plate wearer) responsible for waking up Chimaeron are in for a lot of incoming damage to have to heal through.  Most of the other healers will help you out with this, but it’s not uncommon for that person to die accidentally, due to unpredictable damage that people weren’t prepared for.

I took to Twitter, to see if anyone else felt the way I did about pre-potting and I was surprised to find that nobody that I Follow or who Follows me makes a habit of doing this and I tend to keep in touch with a wide variety of people, ranging from those in the top tiers of progression to those just getting their feet wet. 

Some admitted that it may be a good idea for future content, such as Firelands, but that nothing in the current tier of content would really be worth the trouble of pre-potting.  Others had flat out never heard of such a thing and were quick to dismiss it as being wasteful or gold better spent elsewhere. 

What do you think about pre-potting as a healer?  Do you do it?  Would you do it, if asked?  Are you a tank or a DPS who pre-pots?  Let’s talk about it!


29 Responses to “Should You Be Pre-Potting As A Healer?”

  1. Lizzie June 8, 2011 at 8:36 am #

    I’ve actually never heard of pre-potting. But then again, I’ve never raided before this year (and I don’t really see that it’d be terribly useful in 5-mans, right?)

    I could see, however, that it could be useful on the Magmaw and Chimaeron fights. We had a hard time last night on Magmaw — his Lava Spew was dropping people left and right. Anything to help with that damage would be useful.

  2. Borsk June 8, 2011 at 8:37 am #

    A volcanic potion lasts for 25 seconds. All fights start slow and begin with mechanics that are repeated through the fight. If you can’t handle the first round sans pot, you’re undergeared or need to adjust your strategy.

    Sounds like a way to make healers feel guilty for not spending enough money =P

    • Oestrus June 8, 2011 at 8:53 am #

      Well, my GM is Jewish and so am I. We’re all about the guilt!

  3. Cynwise June 8, 2011 at 8:55 am #

    I prepot as a DPS. There’s a strong argument to be made for prepotting to maximize DPS – if I prepot before casting Bane of Doom, for example, a substantial portion of my DPS will be affected. The changes to DoT refreshing has made prepotting less of a necessity, but still not a bad practice.

    I’m still scratching my head on how this helps healers who aren’t running out of mana in a fight.

  4. Delkur June 8, 2011 at 9:37 am #

    DPS has something to do those first few seconds of the fight, hit the boss for as much damage as they can, shortening the fight and putting us that much further ahead of the enrage timer.

    What can I or the other healers in our raid do the first 25 seconds of a fight with an extra 1200 Intellect? Cast one, maybe two, less heals? Gain back a few hundred mana through replenishment?

    Just did some napkin math and drank some Volcanic pots in Stormwind.

    The pot actually increases my Intellect by 1260 due to the 5% armor specialization for healers, so 19278 (1260 extra intel*15 mana/intel+2% mana from the Ember Shadowspirit Meta) added to our max mana pool. 25 seconds of replenishment would be 482 mana.

    As for the more potent healing spells? Flash Heal would land for another 1260 health or maybe 1890 if that extra 2% crit catches. Greater Heal benefits to an extra 1680 or 2520 if it crits for my toon.

    • Oestrus June 8, 2011 at 10:08 am #

      Hi Delkur,

      We were also told that we could be helping DPS if we have little or nothing to do, because sometimes we cut it close with getting Ony down or not DPSing Nefarian fast enough. I never really got the hang of Chakra stance dancing, so I can’t say I’m eager to go back to “You’re Sanctuary! You’re Chastise! You’re Sanctuary!”

      • Adgamorix June 8, 2011 at 6:15 pm #

        The ‘only’ fights that we do this (have a healer help DPS) is when we’ve brought a 3rd healer to help cover a specific phase. Granted we’re only 6/13 Heroic (and that’s as far as we’re getting – on break till 4.2), but in my experience there just isn’t enough time to DPS instead of healing. Plus, unless you’ve talented in such a way to make it viable, you’re just burning extra mana. For example if I’m in my Shockadin build, which I use for H-Chimaeron, then sure, I suppose I can DPS some if I’m not healing. If I’m in my normal heal build though, my DPS spells cost more than my massive heals.

        We have our shaman DPS (he has whatever talent it is that gives mana on lightning bolts) DPS on H-Maloriak except at the end and during the red phase, then we need him healing.

  5. Jen June 8, 2011 at 9:50 am #

    I don’t really get the point of pre-potting in a fight… I haven’t had mana issues in current content (unless I fucked up), so I can afford to just “normal pot” for phases on intense damage like heroic Halfus. (Then again, I never potted even for that and we managed to kill him just fine… wipes were due to missed taunts or interrupts, not lack of heals). So I’m in the “wasted gold” camp. I would pre-pot if my RL asked me too, but I’d ask for a clear explanation of the advantages before I agreed to it.

    • Oestrus June 8, 2011 at 10:06 am #

      It was explained to me that me saving 5% or so mana in the beginning would later benefit me in phases where I was using more mana (i.e. the pillars in P2 and potentially going into P3). I didn’t really see the overall benefit or the connection, but that was the basic gist of it.

      I know. I’m not sold, either.

      • Jen June 9, 2011 at 2:05 am #

        We’re 4/12 heroics so I have no clue about Nefarian hc… there might be something there. But judging by Nef normal, timed Innervates work like a charm (to the extent that I could even offer one to the paladin). Unless P1 gets radically harder compared to normal… I don’t really think that pot would make a big difference.

  6. Jasyla June 8, 2011 at 10:05 am #

    I have never pre-potted for a fight as a healer. It’s seems a bit ridiculous and unneccessary. Halfus is the only fight where I think it could possibly make a smidge of difference, but even still…

    If people are dying in the first 20-25 seconds of the fight, it’s usually about bad timing (or screwing up) and it’s not something a little extra spell power will fix.

  7. Dysmorphia June 8, 2011 at 10:08 am #

    I’ve known one healer who pre-potted with Volcanics. The closest I ever came to it on current content was chugging mana potions during ZA Bear runs right before a boss pull if the timer was too short to drink. I do it as a matter of course when I DPS in raids.

    I agree with the general opinions that most fights start off easy and then get intense, so that extra bit of mana at the start doesn’t make a difference. The only fight where I would see the advantage of pre-potting as a healer is H Halfus, if it is still difficult for one’s raid group. But I think if you are in the kind of raid group where pre-potting is the norm, you likely have H Halfus on easy farm.

  8. Windsoar June 8, 2011 at 11:25 am #

    I don’t understand it. The only fight I “pre-pot”* on is H. Halfus is because I’m vain and love popping out the big heals. I mean, everyone’s LB blooms on that one. Otherwise, I leave the pre-pots to the tanks and DPS who actually gain some tangible, and consistent benefit from the practice.

    *I don’t technically even pre-pot for this one. I don’t actually pot/tree form until Halfus reaches the tank.

  9. Valen June 8, 2011 at 11:33 am #

    I typically pre-pot on any fight where there might be a hint of a mana issue later, especially if a healer dies. I generally am disc, so what this means is I pot on the countdown and put a shield on the tank. Power Torrent probably hasn’t yet proc’d, but when the tank gets hit, I get rapture for around, oh, 12k. This puts my mana well above my normal max mana. A PT proc and/or another rapture and I’m way above where I would have otherwise been. It isn’t really necessary anymore, but in harder content, as disc anyway, think of it has basically 20-30 seconds of mana-free healing (since that first rapture proc would be wasted otherwise, and you generally get a second one that lets you burst above your max mana). One rapture proc, assuming Volcanic Power doesn’t expire before I can use the mana to get below where it would leave me, is more mana than a normal potion would be.

  10. Tomaj June 8, 2011 at 2:09 pm #

    Whoa, there’s a new comment form. O.o Looks NICE, too. 😀

    Anyway, Re: Pre-potting, there are possibly a couple other places it might be handy. Note again a 10-man perspective. That doesn’t necessarily mean I’d stock up on Volcanic potions, but it’s something to consider.

    Conclave, Nezir’s platform. Though the damage isn’t exactly harsh at the start, it can ramp up pretty quickly. Little to no use on Anshal’s platform, though I might see it come in handy on Rohash’s platform for some leet smite dps at the start. Besides, oom on Rohash, what is this? Likely, Atonement priests will get the most use out of it, but even though we do it on normal, sometimes I go into Chakra: Chastise for shits and giggles until the first ultimate comes around, then pop into Serenity to heal up our mage coming from Nezir (plus HW:Serenity is good for Hurricane if it eats through your bubble). Oh yeah, and I glyph Smite and Divine Accuracy for the lulz. XD

    Al’akir, tank healing. I actually tank heal for phase one here, so I might actually consider this, due to all the running around. I take care of the tank, myself, and our warlock, generally, so the Renews and PoMs bouncing with that extra spellpower benefit can’t necessarily be a bad thing, especially if I can keep them rolling due to being in Chakra: Serenity, and due to Wind Blasts and Lightning Storms (I think that’s what they’re called?). I usually won’t pot again until late into phase two (assuming we get that far; I tend to blow fiend and Hymn of Hope pretty early in the phase).

    Halfus normal, whelps. Even though I’ve only had the luxury of doing this on normal, anytime there’s whelps up (especially with both slate and nether up) I die a little inside. Getting through the flame breaths is a big deal, and having a Lightwell benefit from it, even better, so long as people are clicking on it.

    V&T, tank healing. This is a huge maybe, because sometimes your tank can take heavy damage right off (RNG and avoidance and such), and there’s a Blackout almost immediately after a pull. More, it helps for Blackout than anything else.

    Omnotron if Arcanotron or Electron is up first. A missed interrupt (which does happen a lot more frequently in 10-man) for Arcane Annihilator is still a lot of damage to heal through. An early Chain Lightning also hurts, if it hits more than one person. Again, a huge maybe, and definitely not something I’d plan for.

    And that’s pretty much it. I wouldn’t necessarily advocate or even recommend that healers pre-pot for almost anything because, largely, it’s unnecessary. As you can see, you can definitely find places where it will be useful, but if they can be done without, then it’s overall pointless, if your mana constraints aren’t limiting you so much that you can’t complete the encounter otherwise.

    • Oestrus June 8, 2011 at 3:07 pm #

      You’re all about the walls of texts lately, aren’t you?

      You and I basically share the same argument. Are there fights I could have done better on, when I was learning them by pre-potting? Sure. Are there fights in Firelands that I may need to consider pre-potting for? Possibly.

      If I really felt like pre-potting would get me anywhere or would give me a leg up, based on what I’ve already assumed my role to be in the first 25 seconds of the Heroic Nefarian encounter, I would have no problem bringing a stack of pots and pre-potting my heart out.

      I don’t feel like I do anything that warrants it, in that small amount of time. Other healers may benefit from it, possibly tank healers. But not me. I really did consider the request before I said “no,” and it just didn’t make sense to me. If it did, I would be all for it.

      • Tomaj June 8, 2011 at 8:05 pm #

        I can talk a lot more in text form. 😀 Besides, most of my blog posts tend to be novellas anyway. 😛 And you know you like the walls of text!

        To be honest, I’ve pre-potted as shadow (not this expansion, because I rarely go Shadow – I don’t even have a shadow spec at the moment, opting for a “let’s go solo random old content as holy” spec). Still, I might just consider some Volcanic Potions JUST for Conclave healing, since I’m always on Rohash platform. XD

  11. Dahrla June 8, 2011 at 4:32 pm #

    I always pre-pot as dps, but I’d say that most harder-core raiding dps do so, except maybe the very threat-heavy melee like warriors. As a priest, I just Fade AND pre-pot right before a pull and start dpsing away – I have pulled threat a few times in the beginning, but not very many (and not as much as a LOT of others).

    If I was a healer, though? You make great points – it really should vary based on what the healer is doing, and whether or not they actually need it. If you are a tank healer and the tank is taking loads of damage in the beginning of the fight, it’d probably be worth it. But in your situation? Nah. Hopefully, your healer lead/raid leader/GM sees this.

  12. Bella June 9, 2011 at 6:36 am #

    I don’t prepot often but I have on occasion. Works fairy well as disc tank healing since I will always have incoming damage at fight onset. I actually just started doing this recently it has never been out of necessity, I’ve done mostly because I like big numbers and to have a bit of free mana for the nights we just run with fewer healers. We have very good healers for the most part and of late seem to be playing a game of how few healers can we get away with, which is actually pretty fun. The fights I have prepotted are heroic Halfus, Magmaw, V & T and Omni depending on who’s up first.
    I don’t however see any point in forcing healers to prepot especially ones on raid, it’s a waste for most. For the ones who can benefit fine but for a raid healer with no raid damage it’s a waste of materials in my opinion.

  13. Ovy June 9, 2011 at 1:35 pm #

    Infamous raid leader incoming…

    So, here’s the pre-pot logic:

    1) Free mana is free mana. Sure, it works better for other classes (I’m Disc for example, and rapture is great). That said, no matter what class you are, as soon as you pop that pot, your mana starts going up. No, not in heaps and bounds, but some. Likely, when that pot falls off at 25 seconds, you’re still at 100% mana, whereas you’d normally be at 90-95% mana. Why not take the extra mana? There is ZERO cost to pre-potting, aside from the cost of the pot, which in this case, was free, given that it was provided by yours truly.

    2) Even if you don’t need the mana, your other healers just might. Sure, as a holy priest, you might not have much to do for the first minute of H Nef. Other healers, like tank healers, do. At a minimum, if you’re doing nothing else, you should be spamming Heal on the tank, waiting for raid damage to come out. Why not make those heals slightly more potent? Why not make them cost, essentially, nothing?

    3) If you truly have nothing else to do, DPS with the extra mana. Nothing wrong with that, especially with the strict DPS requirement for H Nef. Being too lazy to switch Chakras is not a good reason to miss out on something that would help the raid, no matter how miniscule it is.

    4) Solidarity. Other raiders have to do it – suck it up and be part of the team.

    In essence, the argument boils down to this: the benefit to pre-potting as a healer is marginal, but there is some benefit, likely on the order of 10k mana and slightly more potent heals for the first 20 seconds. Where there is some benefit, and no cost, DO IT. When you raid at the level we do, every percent matters. We min/max our gear, specs, reforging, gemming, etc – how can you min/max in one place and not the next?

    Now, one more thing to chat about. Obscene (Oestrus) levitates down into Nef’s pit to avoid fall damage. Awesome. Is avoiding the fall damage by levitating and pre-potting for extra mana not the same exact thing? In the end, as a healer, damage avoided = mana saved. It is mind boggling to me that the same person levitates down to avoid damage but refuses to pre-pot and save the 10k mana.

    Anyway, that’s all. I hope this gives you all a little to think about, and maybe, just maybe, the idea of a healer pre-potting doesn’t seem quite so crazy. As a guild leader and a raid leader, I urge you one thing: the next time one of your leaders asks you to do something that seems odd – try it. 99.9% of the time, they have good reasons behind it, whether they choose to fully explain them or not.

    • Dysmorphia June 9, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

      “4) Solidarity. Other raiders have to do it – suck it up and be part of the team. ”

      Sounds like communism to me, sir!

    • Borsk June 9, 2011 at 2:36 pm #

      At “the level you raid at”, if your dps can’t meet the timer for nef, you need to look at their numbers and not the pitful 50% resisted “dps” your healers might do.

      I would look at them and how they can improve. More slows, better dominion stacks, multidotting. If they are maxing out their job and you’re still short then look for an edge. But that’s world-first consideration. Not months behind and overgeared consideration.

      I RL an 8/13 guild also working on Nef.

    • Tomaj June 9, 2011 at 6:00 pm #

      At a minimum, if you’re doing nothing else, you should be spamming Heal on the tank, waiting for raid damage to come out. Why not make those heals slightly more potent? Why not make them cost, essentially, nothing?

      Heal already is free. It’s mana neutral even at entry-level raiding, which means that there was no reason behind using a pre-pot to begin with. If I’m spamming Heal, I’m gaining mana back because it costs less than what I regen passively anyway. And I’m only 9/12 normal. Pre-potting is pointless if all you’re going to do is spam Heal, due to this alone.

      4) Solidarity. Other raiders have to do it – suck it up and be part of the team.

      Cop-out. Other raiders have to do it simply because they’re DPS, and you’re trying to gain that extra advantage on DPS. As you noted in your point #3, healers can “dps” while waiting for something to do, but given how shitty phase 2 is, you don’t want healers using their mana from phase one (which you should be conservative with) on DPS that they’re likely not going to be hitting much. All in all, there’s no real reason for a healer to pre-pot if healing isn’t the issue. So far as I’m can tell from O’s previous posts, healing isn’t the issue as much as it is a DPS issue. In which case, the DPS need to step it up, not have healers DPSing to make up for their fail.

  14. Derevka June 9, 2011 at 4:13 pm #

    Disclaimer: I am going to be a bit more snippy in this reply than I usual am, but there seems to be a disconnect going on here. Both sides of the ‘argument’ seem to be lost in the minutia of the ‘concept’ not the actual fight at hand. So, apologies from me upfront, for being a bit snippy.

    First, I do have to commend your RL for trying to think of ways to get /any/ additional “oomph” from your raid… and being sure that people are pre-potting is a great method. The argument that healers could be DPSing, is frankly, foolish… if your DPS is struggling that much to meet the Phase 1 DPS marks (and not Sinestra’s Wrack DPS check) something greater is going on. (Remember priests would have to Glyph for the hit, and other healers don’t have that even as a luxury… so theres a lot of wasted dps there).

    Yes its free mana, yes it is free heals you can ‘waste’ over healing the tank and getting Echo of Light up. But this simple seems a case of “I’m the boss so do it” from the outside. Of course, there is some merit in that… hierarchy and ‘superior officer’ points aside. If a RL/Officer mandates it, it shoudl be done…. even though, i do disagree with the decision… With that said, O, if your RL and Officers are stating to do it… I would just concede and do it. Perhaps openly and *respectfully* have a forum conversation about alternatives to meeting the requirements that the pre-potting healers strategy is meant to solve could work?

    Since they are provided by the Guild, use them… they are ‘free’. However arguable that the guild could save them for DPS (where they are frankly, better used).

    Putting my elitist @$$hole hat on for a second….
    However, as a progression raiding healer (13/13 25-Man HMs– which i only site to stat nothing more than “I am familiar with pushing content”) I can only think of ONE fight where I was consistently pre-potting and that was (low zone buff) HM LK to have higher SP for pre-demo pact procs for PreProc Bubbles to meet the Infest/HP % limits.

    HM Halfus early in progression and w/ minimal gear… arguable but sure. I’ll bite.

    You cited a few other examples where pre-potting could be a viable boost to healing, and I do agree with those cited as a potential “arguable” time to pre-pot healers.

    Its not really necessary in this case… there clearly is something else going wrong. P1 is not a major DPS check, or a healing check to be quite honest. HM Nef is won in Phase 2, and the Kiter (and kiter healers/Cooldowns) in Phase 3. Outside of that… if people are getting their Mind Control stacks properly. The fight is as good as yours.

    Good luck in downing him… I am certain you guys will. You guys clearly have motivated leadership who are trying to find ways to better the raid, and you have obviously very passionate healers — both committed to succcess. THAT is what you need to keep in mind, and keep that diologue open. 🙂

    I expect to see a new kill soon! 😀

    TLDR: If its mandated- do it but facilitate respectful discussion on the forums. IMO the arguments presented by the officer seem a bit short-sighted and a bit ‘because i said so’. I think both sides should consider the big picture.

    • Oestrus June 12, 2011 at 9:35 pm #

      Sorry for the delayed reaction, Derevka. I only now really sat down and read through your comment all the way through.

      One potion was provided to me, at no cost. The rest, including enchanting mats and things of that nature were charged as an expense, at half the going rate on the Auction House. So no, these potions were *not* free and the cost to use them would have come out of my pocket.

      A minor technicality, but still one worth thinking about.

      Overall, I liked your comment and I’m glad you stopped by and shared some things with the rest of the us. It certainly was something that I needed to hear.


      • Derevka June 13, 2011 at 7:41 am #

        Oh yeah… I’m totally in the ‘waste of time/money/resources for the healer’ camp then. #TeamOestrus

  15. Starsz June 10, 2011 at 11:33 am #

    I read this blog every now and then, but I don’t know if I’ve commented before, so hi. 🙂

    So, I’ve heard about this before and I think that if there is any little thing you can do to help your team, you should do it. Why not? It’s kind of like reforging. Why reforge within the 1% of whatever stat? I think you do that because it’s what raiders do to get extra performance. Why not try potting, especially if it’s free.

    It would be interesting to see the logs of this fight. Everyone seems to be thinking that the team has bad dps. Maybe that’s not the case. Just because a RL asks a healer with extra mana to dps rather than stand their twiddling their thumbs doesn’t mean the dps is bad.

    Typically, when my raid leader asks me to do something, I do it. I wouldn’t be raiding under a leader I didn’t trust or respect. Just one priest’s thoughts fwiw.

  16. Ohket June 11, 2011 at 9:52 am #

    When Cata came out, I made a habit of dpsing during quiet times, because dps for healers is vastly better than before.

    Since then I’ve stopped.

    There are two reasons. First, the dps is better but still pitiful. A resto druid going full out can do on the order of 20% of the damage of a real dps. Cool, except, we aren’t talking about going full-out dps. Instead, it’s more about casting nukes during an occasional quiet period. More realistic numbers are 1-2%. Looking at recount, healer dps bars are either 0 pixels or 1 pixel wide.

    Second, my concentration got split among multiple things. Yes, with practice I could get better at it. However, no matter how good I get at it, I still have to pay attention to more things than keeping the raid alive. Additionally, no amount of mental preparation is going to deal with the fact that when casting a nuke, I can neither move to a better location nor use the GCD for anything else.

    Except for fights that are total ez-mode, I now think it’s generally better *not* to dps as a healer, even during lulls. For Nefarion in particular, I don’t know herioc mode, but normal mode has really easy dps targets. The hard parts are controlling adds, getting interrupts off in phase 2, and getting your add kiting down in phase 3, none of which requires great dps. Meanwhile, there is plenty of actual healing to do….

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