Annoying things healers do #12: Whining about line of sight

Your feet are not nailed to the ground. If I run round a corner out of line of sight, YOU CAN MOVE TWO FEET FORWARDS TO STAY IN LINE OF SIGHT.

It is sometimes useful to whine about line of sight. In some fights, there are reasons why the healers can’t move -  maybe they need to stay in range of someone else as well.

Or maybe the tank didn’t realise they could take a small step back and be back in line of sight. This happens a lot at the top of ramps.

For some reason characters in WoW are not able to target something that is just over the crest of a ramp when they are below it, even though they can see it perfectly well (this, in technical terms, means that they do have line of sight even if the game swears that they don’t. So annoying.)

But it drives me nuts when I’m doing a line of sight pull and the healer is standing there like a lemon while I’m luring some ranged mob around a corner. Of course I’m out of line of sight, that’s why it’s a line of sight pull. Do I really have to spend two minutes typing that before I do it, or … can I just assume that the healer is watching the tank. In a 5 man instance. Just before a pull. I mean, what the heck else were you watching?

Also, do not get pissed off at me if the conversation during the pull goes something like:

You: Argh … line of sight

Me: So move then.

Do not claim that this was not polite. Believe me, it was VERY polite.

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27 thoughts on “Annoying things healers do #12: Whining about line of sight

  1. As my tank character I can understand the general aim of this article. But my healer is silently screaming in frustration at this attitude. Yes, of course healers can move around during fights, and there really are few excuses for messing up los pull positioning, but, in general I can’t begin to describe how utterly frustrating it is in the middle of a fight (I’m referring predominantly to 5 mans here) for the tank to suddenly move out of your los.

    Example: don’t think I’m going to be spam healing you as a priest. It’s just not how we roll. Ergo, we let you get to a nice low level of hp then *slam*, you’re back up to full again (caution: this approach is situational and not always recommended). So yeah, you’re topping up the rest of the group that like to pull aggro and letting the main tank lose health in the meantime. Tank goes down to 40%. You begin to cast gheal. Tank moves out of los just before the spell lands. Spell fails, having wasted 2ish seconds of time. Priest runs to position which is back in los. Tank is now at 10%. Healing becomes ‘challenging’. Priest gets blame for subsequent wipe when all it would have taken was for the tank to move someplace that wasn’t out of los!

    • Oh, that’s what you have emergency cooldowns for ;) (When I say you, I mean me also.)

      Just kidding, I love priests, and yeah I agree, very bad idea to move out of LOS for no reason.

  2. Gah, wtb edit button. :)

    In response to “Can I assume the healer is watching the tank”, I would like to flip the (rhetorical) question, which is to say, the tank should be keeping half an eye on where the healer is and reposition accordingly. (Also this applies to pulling when your healer is drinking!)

  3. I just wish people were more aware of their surroundings, full stop. People in games, but also people in cars (ye gods! the idiots they give licences to!) and people in shopping centres and supermarkets (watch that bloody cart!).

    Awareness, I have come to realise as I get older, is a precious commodity. It also often goes hand in hand with common sense, which is also sadly lacking in most.

  4. Given that example, and if it were me healing, the first time I see you doing a LoS pull is a sign I need to be better positioned for future pulls. Simple as. Nothing needs to be said.

    The healer being rooted to the spot thing is possibly something that’s been battered into them by whoever they’ve been playing with. In the past month or two I’ve found myself in a PUG with a tank who has one of those “what are you doing out the kitchen” attitudes to healers being anywhere other than at the back of the group.

    Personally I move around a heck of a lot when I’m healing to make sure I have LOS, and I want the situational awareness that having a good view of the fight gives me. Moving around also means it’s easier to see adds that I didn’t see before because of scenery or other players. Doesn’t sit well with everyone, but if there’s a problem or the tank doesn’t like it then I adapt and get on with my job no matter how that is expressed that to me.

  5. As Cassini said, you can be half-way through your biggest Heal spell when suddenly the tank goes out of LOS.
    Even when you have no obstacles seemingly between you, if you get some kind of aoe damage puddle suddenly appear on you, and you have to run out of it, you might suddenly be out of LOS. It happens, and it is the healer who will be blamed 99% of the time.

    “WoW characters are unable to target something..even though they can see it perfectly well”

    Don’t forget, you are viewing the game through a virtual camera, and not through your player’s eyes. As your camera is likely to be sitting some way above your head, this is the reason you might appear to be in los but your character isn’t.

  6. I tend to follow my tank where ever he or she goes. If they move forward I’m right there with them. However what annoys me is steps. Tanks need to learn to pull mobs down the bottom of staircases, not stand at the top of them. Prime example is VH. Even though I can physically see whoever is standing at the top of the staircase the games says I’m LOS. So the whole group has to move up top, subsequently getting hit by any aoe mob attacks because we have no where to spread out.

  7. Got here through the link at Larissa blog and boy is this comment high on my radar right now. I believe strongly in the old adage that “Tank dies, healer fault; healer dies, tank fault.” I play a healkin and this has become a huge issue for me as I have moved into end level content. As someone who typically does DPS but plays “pick-up healing” (healer when no else can be found) I have found that this role is much harder to fill in the higher end content. There simply is no room for error. If I have a good tank, we win; if I have even an average tank, we lose.

    The thing I like about the old adage is that it stresses the *mutual responsibility* between tank and healer for the party’s survival. It’s not a question of the tank moving out of the LOS for no reason; sometimes the reason is a very good one from the tank’s perspective but in fact doesn’t take into account the reality of the situation facing the healer. My Healing Touch spell is 2,5 second cast. I cannot move in the middle of that cast no matter how good you reasons are for leaving my LOS. And if in that time you take a big crit and then die before I can get to you, tough. There is nothing worse than trying to get off a critical heal with a long cast time only to get “Target not in the LOS” because the tank ran off after some mob when his health was at 25%. sure I could span Rejuv on the run but that destroys mana efficiency and then the tank will turn around and complain about my lack of gearing because I went OOM.

    The real key is good communication. I know I’m in a good party when the tank and the party acts deliberately. It is not the tanks job to kill things; that’s DPS. It’s the tank’s job to hold arrgo, take damage, and give the healer the chance to keep him alive. And giving the healer that chance means that both the tank and the healer have to work at staying in the LOS.

  8. >Your feet are not nailed to the ground. If I run round a >corner out of line of sight, YOU CAN MOVE TWO FEET >FORWARDS TO STAY IN LINE OF SIGHT.

    Not exactly the most helpful attitude, is it? A healer is substantially less mobile than a tank. If you’re dying to LoS pulls, it means you’re fleeing out of sight with mobs bashing on you and quite possibly low health. I can’t help drawing a parallel to an aggro-stealing DPS running from the tank, to be honest.

    Perhaps you didn’t express yourself in the way you intended, but you seem to have completely failed to recognise the fact that you need to work _with_ your healer, not bitch when they turn out not to anticipate your every action.

    Healer: Arrgh … line of sight

    Tank: so move then

    Healer: Which would you prefer, dying because you ran out of sight, or dying because you forced me to run and left me without time to cast a heal?

    • I have to admit, my communication skills are a bit limited while fighting (although I fondly remember the very dedicated RPers I used to run with in DaoC who would break off fighting while being hit to come up with a few sentences of perfectly crafted prose).

      Sometimes you do have to light a fire under people to get them to move is all.

  9. If a tank is setting up an LoS pull (in a 5-man instance), it often behooves the healer to stay out of the mobs’ LoS, too. I learned this the hard way in a Heroic MgT PuG, with an absolutely horrible bear tank who relied on Feral Faerie Fire –> Swipe for initial threat on every pull. All it took was one Riptide, and BAM!: I’d have healing aggro. (We weren’t using CC and he wasn’t very well-geared, so I had to start healing early to have a snowball’s chance in Hellfire Peninsula of keeping him up.) If I wasn’t stacked right on top of him and out of the mob’s LoS, they’d beeline for me and he couldn’t pick them up again.

    I realize that it was a unique situation, because the tank (1) didn’t know how to pull as a druid and (2) was shunning CC, but since then, I’ve made a point to LoS mobs on LoS pulls … usually by hiding behind the tank. ;)

    In some situations, though, the onus really is on the tank to stay in range and in LoS. As a resto shaman, I have exactly two instant cast heals available to me, both on cooldowns. If I’m constantly having to reposition to keep up with an ADD tank, then I’m not able to heal.

    Also, in response to “Can I assume the healer is watching the tank?” … no, not really. Healers tend to spend a lot of time watching health bars. Good healers will also watch what’s going on around them — but if you’re PuGing a Heroic, then you have no way of knowing how your healer plays. I suspect that training her in Matt’s “heads up” technique on the fly will be an exercise in patience. ;)

    • You are very wise, and this was pretty much the source of the frustration in the instance that inspired this minirant. I’m not used to playing with healers who don’t pay much attention to their surroundings.

  10. I move my healer, I’m not one of those who just stares at health bars, but this has caused problems – the VH one as mentioned above, but more annoyingly in UP. The tank took the gauntlet boss (after he’d landed) into the little room, out of LOS, so I had to run in to heal him. Which happened just as the boss started to whirlwind and I died instantly.

    So there’s an example where the tank was wrong and the healer right :)

    • Oh yes, I know that gauntlet well. And those casters who always seem to spawn right at the back of that little room ….

      But yes that was a daft place to tank the boss, hopefully s/he learned better the next time and didn’t give you any flak for it!

      I think sometimes even with the best wish in the world, the positioning just doesn’t work. If people are learning, then you figure something out between you. I didn’t mean to imply that I never screw up.

      I just like to think I can tell if it’s not my fault.

  11. Well, one thing you aren’t considering is that sometimes a small movement for the tank translates into a large movement for the healer. The healer is usually at range, and thus if an angle change is required the healer has to run a further distance than the tank did. (Simple geometry, arcs of circles with different radii.)

    For example, in UK on the last boss, I’m usually healing from the center of the circle. If the tank steps behind a pillar, my arc to find the new line-of-sight is much longer than the amount moved by the tank.

    So the healer should try to anticipate LOS, but the tank shouldn’t do anything obviously stupid either.

    • Oh, tanks never do stupid things ….. NOT! :)

      Yeah, you’re right of course. It’s very hard to know quite how hard someone else’s role is (or even exactly what it entails) if you haven’t tried to do it on that fight. I think the problem is not in making an honest attempt and failing, it’s where people don’t even try or are working on autopilot where a small amount of thought might have helped.

      I can usually tell this if after a wipe, I ask what happened and someone is able to tell me. If they made a mistake and can point to it (or point to my mistake if I went out of LOS unintentionally) then I have a lot more confidence in them as a player.

      • It most amusing because I was actually in a PUG this evening that had this exact problem. The tank rushed right onto the landing at the top of the stairs to engage the boss and the only way I could maintain LOS on was to run up after him. Needless to say this put me in the middle of the fight and within a minute we had wiped as I was taken down by aoe. And as soon as we wiped the finger pointing started and people wanted to quit.

        It took me five minutes to calm everyone down and say that all we had to do was have the tank draw the boss down and tank him at the bottom of the stairs and we would win because I could stay out of the aoe. So that’s what we did and we won.

        As for me, I have a lot more confidence in players who take the time to communicate and think ahead to avoid problems than I do with people who wait until after the wipe to admit the mistakes. It never ceases to amaze me how people…even after level 70…run round advertising that they are a tank or a healer and have no clue how to play those roles. And how unwilling to they are to learn them. If they can’t dash right in and mow everything down, then it’s someone else’s fault. It’s sad; learning should not be a dirty word.

  12. Speaking as someone who started as a prot warrior and ended up as a resto shaman…

    One of the hardest habits for me to break was the tendency to remain stationary while casting. As a healer, it’s really tempting to let your big heal land before moving out of the poison/fire/void zone. It wasn’t until I was getting into heroics and raiding that I realized how important it was to avoid AoE damage. I’m a much more mobile healer now, even though I don’t have a lot of instaheals as a shammy.

    But I think that helps explains the LoS issue. When you start healing, you’re always watching the bars, you’re trying to react as quickly as possible, desparate to keep everyone alive…you might not even see the warning that your tank is out of sight, leaving you pounding your heal keys in frustration. It takes time to develop the necessary situational awareness.

    Still, it’s one thing to explain that LoS at a tricky time caused you to lose the tank…there ain’t no need to complain about it!

  13. It’s always amused me how nonsensical the line-of-sight rules are in this game. I can only draw the conclusion that my character’s eyes are in her feet, but can see through anything natural. I refer of course to the fact that a slight angle on the edge of a ramp breaking line of sight, but I can cast perfectly fine through the crest of a hill. A knee-high fence will break line of sight, but I can happily toss a fireball directly through a tree.

    Line of sight only bothers me as a healer when the DPS are running away from the mobs into someplace stupid where I can’t heal them, especially during raids where I’ve got 25 people on my radar, and I can’t heal THAT guy because it keeps telling me he’s out of line of sight, but I don’t have the time to go searching for him. I’ve got other people to heal. Either you get back to where I can see you or you die. I always know where the tanks are though, and reposition myself accordingly.

  14. I think a LoS pull is a no brainer to watch out for and adjust your positioning. I have no problem moving during fights and have pretty good awareness of where is a good place to stand (there are a number of fights where I like to run through to the “wrong side” of the tank).

    However I hatehatehate people moving without regard for LOS issues during the fight. As a shammy I have one instacast heal on a reasonably long cooldown and in 5 mans I am generally longcasting. If one of those fails to land it causes real difficulties.

    BTW I second the annoyance for VH in this regard – I can’t count the number of times when someone moves too far over the lip and goes out of LOS, or when the tank is fine but I have to reposition to be able to heal the melee dps who are behind the mob. Bring em down the stairs already!! You won’t melt!

    • Yeah, it can be tricky…especially when the whole group is taking damage and your primary chain heal target goes over the edge and out of sight. I just try to remember that it’s the tank’s job to pick up mobs, position mobs, etc. It gets easier as you learn the instances and get a sense of where you’ll need to be for the next pull, how you’ll be moving on the next boss, etc. I actually love the ethereal boss in VH, where you have to stay ahead of the tank as you kite him back and forth across the platform.

  15. It’s tricky because it’s really six of one and half a dozen of the other.

    LOS pulls are relatively straightforward. If I’m healing I don’t need to move forward at all. The tank will aggro, run back to where I’m expecting him to move to and I will be there ready to start healing once the mobs have arrived. I’ll probably never be closer than 60 yards from the mobs’ starting location.

    LOS during fights like Ingvar in UK is trickier. I will try to anticipate that the tank might move but I won’t generally chase him. If you’re tanking at the top middle of the square formed by the four pillars and you los behind a pillar I’ll expect you to move back to the original tanking position after the shout. This is what I do when tanking and it generally works fine. If however you want to spend the rest of the fight hiding behind random pillars from both me and the boss we are going to wipe. I’m not telepathic.

    In other words yes healers should move but tanks should try to tank in places that are visible and move in patterns that are obvious. If it’s going to be tricky, communicate first.

    • You’re right, LoS pulls are way different from boss fights that require movement. And the longer the fight drags on, the more random it becomes, and the harder it is to anticipate where to move.

      Interesting that a post from a tank’s perspective turned into a discussion of the intricacies of healing!

    • That’s a good thought.

      I know that back when I was playing a healer, I found it helped a lot with things like moving around and being more situationally aware (and sorting out my raid healing addons) to run a few battlegrounds. It’s also good for the ego because it’s really easy to top bg healing meters if you’re actually there to heal.

      I wouldn’t force anyone to PvP if they didn’t want to, but it is really good practice for that sort of thing.

  16. It is annoying when the tank runs out of LoS when one is casting a nice juicy heal on him. That is usually what elicits said commentary from the healers. :)

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