The Anyone Can Heal post index:

  1. Smile
  2. Practice, Man, Practice

Anyone Can Heal

If you are like me – and let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to be like me?* – you have seen Ratatouille, and remember the critic Anton Ego’s final review of Gusteau’s restaurant:

In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau’s famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.

I am here today to tell you that, in fact, the former is true, at least as far as playing WOW is concerned. Perhaps not everyone can become a great chef, but anyone can become a great healer.

You will say to me, “but Chris, I cannot heal to save my life.” (I am, incidentally, reminded of a MAD magazine cartoon from many, many years ago: “If you never hear ‘Fix this crankshaft or we’ll shoot you in the head’, why do people say ‘I couldn’t fix a crankshaft to save my life’?”) But the truth is, I believe you can heal. You just don’t know how to heal well or effectively. Maybe your DPS ways are too ingrained in you; maybe you don’t have the attention span to focus on such a small chunk of screen (if you happen to be using Grid or unit frames); maybe you don’t really understand how your healing class works. The bottom line is that it’s not a matter of inability. It’s a matter of lack of skill.

Betty Edwards, the author of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, gives an example regarding being “talented” at art: suppose reading were treated the same way as art. Teachers would just give young students a book and step back, not instructing so as not to interfere with the students’ “creative reading”, and at the end, maybe three or four out of a class of 20 would have learned how to associate the words they spoke with the letters on the page and to read successfully. (Remember: no actual teaching at all, just leaving the kids alone with the books.) Parents of the kids who’d learned could say “oh yes, Mary has a family history of reading, her aunt Lisa was quite a reader”, and those who hadn’t could say “well, she just doesn’t have the talent for reading; she’ll find something else she is good at”.

The idea, of course, is that art is a skill that can be learned rather than a talent that must be innately possessed. The same is true of healing. Those players who are excellent healers from the outset have no special talent, no innate gift that allows them to heal better than anyone else. It’s just that their brains happen to have been tuned to the way healing works when they first started, so they were able to pick up the skill much more quickly than those whose brains were tuned to other activities (such as DPS, tanking, or shuffleboard).

Over the next week or so (it’s indefinite because of the imminent holidays), I’ll be erecting a series of posts on the skills needed to heal, how to acquire them, and how to retune your brain so that the skills come more easily and more naturally. Hopefully, at the end of it, we’ll have a whole bunch of people who have renewed faith in their ability to get a group safely to the end of an instance.

I’ll borrow a bit from Havi here, since even if she doesn’t know what she’s doing all the time, she does a damn good job of making everyone think she does.

What I’d like in the comments:

  • Your opinions on what skills make a good healer.
  • Your experience with learning how to be a skilled healer.
  • Funny stories about having not been a skilled healer.

What I don’t want:

Happy Christmas Eve, and I’ll see you all soon with the first post in the series!

* </facetious>

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