So you've picked up a class that has, in some form, a healing skill. Whether it heals a single target or your whole group you are capable of doing what keeps everyone else alive.
There is no doubt that it is one of the toughest and most under appreciated jobs in any MMO and this is no exception. But, look on the bright side. The Priest is not the only healer, you have support healers to help you keep the party alive. Here are a few basic things you and the rest of the party should know about healers.
This "guide" is not limited to the eyes of a healer but for anyone who plans on partying. The tanks and damage dealers will also need to be aware of a healer's strengths and limits to ensure everything goes according to plan.
S K I L L S
From left: Elven Bard, Elven Priest, Kindred Vampire
One cannot stress this enough. Be prepared to heal your party. It does not matter that you have chosen a talent path that focuses on damage. You are the only one in this party that is able to heal and you are going to heal
Your first healing skill... is there when you start the game. You will, in most cases, heal a lot more than any of the other two classes therefore be prepared to be the main healer.
Your first healing skill is available to you at level 30. Buy this skill ASAP. Do NOT register for an instance until you have this skill, Sonata of Life (AoE heal), on your hotkey bar. As soon as you hit 30 you are flagged as a healer so, I repeat, get the skill before you do anything else!
Your healing skill, Dark Contract, is available at level 16. It may not heal a lot at first but it will help to support the party's main healer. Note that the Vampire should be considered as a purely support healer unless they have specifically went down the Blood talent tree (even then they will not be able to replace the Priest entirely).
Keep in mind that while it is a healer's job to keep the party alive they are not capable of healing without having to wait for cooldown and their MP pool is not a bottomless pit. Allow them to regenerate their MP with food whenever possible (ie. before a boss fight) and remember to bring your own HP potions.
Make their job a little easier by staying out of AoEs and minions when possible. Not everyone has to play hero.
P O T I O N S
It is a given that the healer will use up a lot of MP potions whether you are in a good party or a horrible one (we hope never the latter). So... stock up! Do your daily Alchemy and Cooking Tutorials to stock up on potions and for a chance to get special recipes. I cannot stress this enough. Be prepared at all times. There is nothing more irritating than a healer, or any class for that matter, who comes into an instance and says "I don't have MP/HP potions"...
Use the drink that heals MP over time during bosses. It helps a great deal and you will see that your MP will rarely fall under 50% if in a good party.
Also, whenever you are out questing make sure to pick up any and all plants to make your own potions. If not you could buy potions from NPCs but it heals less and is a waste of coins.
P A R T Y . U P
So, you've got all the MP potions you'll ever need with maybe a couple HP for those emergencies. You've registered for an instance or are ready to take on a world boss with your party...
Minions aka "Trash Mobs"
The so-called trash mobs in an instance are... well, they're not meant to kill you before you reach the boss, usually. Staying out of harms way and healing whomever happens to take the hit is pretty straight forward stuff. Know how much you are able to heal and learn to conserve your MP here as well. There's no need to over heal.
If you see a party member running towards you with a HUGE trail of mobs... the best thing you can do for anyone is allow them to fall and the mobs to disperse. If you throw in a heal the mobs will first devour the not-so-smart team member first before coming after you.
For the rest of the party, don't run into a huge group of mobs head first. Mages and Marksmen should be wary of using their knockback skills. Do NOT use it if there are more mobs behind the ones you are killing.
Boss Fight and the "Adds"
Give yourself and the boss the maximum distance possible and still be able to reach everyone. If you know using your other skills bring you closer to the damage area then either stay put, be ready to use HP potions if you need to, or remember to move back.
For the other classes, if you know the boss has a frontal AoE then don't stand in front of it unless you are the one tanking. And if you are the tanker, be sure to keep the boss from facing others. If it's an all around one, there's not much you can do probably but rule of thumb is keep the boss facing you and not the others.
Some bosses will summon "adds" or for some reason someone attracted another mob close by. They tend to go for the healers when left unchecked so protect the healers. It is good practice to give your surrounding a sweep before you engage in a boss fight but things get missed... but as long as you keep the healer alive you will keep the tank alive and the rest of the party.
Z E R O . T O . H E R O
Sometimes when you register for an instance with a random party match up a Bard will be flagged as the main healer with a Vampire support or vice versa when there are no Priests available.
If you see that there are no Priests... don't just quit the instance. These two support classes are capable of healing. But at the same time keep in mind that not everyone will have went down the Light or Blood talent path (healing paths for Bard and Vampire) so proceed with caution. Determine whether your party is able to handle the task, if not, try again.
Their healing cooldowns are not as fast so if you do not have to take damage, don't. Allow the tank to take the aggro first. The last thing you want is a Vampire or Bard desperately trying to heal the whole party killing several different things and end up dying. Remember... they are both pretty squishy and you do not want them attracting aggro through healing. Bards especially have a high-aggro healing skill due to its AoE nature.
C L O S I N G
Supporting the party is not just for the healers. The rest of the party will also need to pitch in and help make the run a success. Not everyone is a veteran healer and of course not everyone is an experienced tank or damage dealing class. Keeping in mind the capabilities and limits of other classes will ensure that you and your party keeps their face off the ground.