One of the biggest issues healers have is the issue of healing pets. Be it hunter, warlock, mage or death knight pets in World of Warcraft, or mage, rogue, warrior or cleric pets in Rift, healers don’t want to – and usually, can’t – actively heal pets. I wish it were more possible to do so. I really, really, do. I say this as a healing priest, a healing cleric, a healing paladin, a healing mage, and a one-time healing shaman. I want to be able to heal pets.

Mend Pet

One of the biggest gripes I’ve heard is how smart heals do, in fact, heal pets. I’m still honestly lost on this point. I mean, trust me, I get that not everyone will be able to spare the global cooldown or the mana to heal a pet. But there’s a reason that pets are going to be valid targets for smart heals. Because they are integral to the DPS of the class utilizing those pets.

Now, as I’ve said, I get that people can’t usually spare the global cooldown to heal a pet. I really do understand. But there’s some things that a lot of healers I’m sure don’t really understand about pets and why it can be difficult, or even detrimental, for some pet classes to heal their pets (if they’re even capable of doing so). So, I’m going to give a brief rundown of some of the pet classes and what they can do to heal their pets, both actively and passively, and why this can lead to bad things if they do in some cases.

World of Warcraft

Mages, Frost

Frost Mages passively heal their pets through Permafrost. However, Permafrost may not always be enough to be able to get through an encounter. A Water Elemental is actually part of the playstyle of a Frost Mage in PvE, by way of using Freeze to gain charges of Fingers of Frost. Should Cold Snap be on cooldown when the mage’s pet dies, and they’ve already summoned it with the three-minute cooldown, they won’t have it available to summon. This hinders their DPS, and there’s nothing they can do about it.

Mages, general

Mirror Images. Yeah, they suck in terms of smart ground AoE heals, but for other heals (like Circle of Healing or Wild Growth), they should remain valid targets. While right now Mirror Image isn’t a huge part of mage DPS, they are still a good enough chunk of it to warrant the healing. Not only this, but mages are not capable of healing Mirror Images on their own. Additionally, Mirror Image functions as a threat suppressor; should the Mirror Images die, the mage pulls aggro, s/he dies and this uses up a battle resurrection. Domino effect.

Hunters

Mend Pet is really good. Good hunters will use this without significant loss to DPS. However, even despite this, hunter pets can die. In the event they do, hunters MUST deal with a 10-second cast to resurrect their pet. The glyph doesn’t even reduce the cast time; just negates pushback. In the case of a Beast Mastery hunter (I know, I know, lolBM), the pet is such a significant portion of their DPS, that losing the pet is a ridiculous loss in DPS.

Yes, a BM hunter can spec for Spirit Bond to grant him and his pet passive health regen, but it’s pretty insignificant. Additionally, should you not have someone like an Arcane Mage, you might be relying on a Beast Mastery hunter for Ferocious Inspiration – a 3% damage boost to everyone in the raid – which necessitates the pet being alive. That includes you, Atonement priests, since that also translates to another 3% healing done.

Warlocks

Warlocks have only one way to heal their pet, and is arguably the highest DPS loss out of all pet classes, due to their pet heal being a channeled spell. Moreover, if it’s a Demonology warlock and you’re missing out on an Elemental shaman, you won’t have Demonic Pact if the pet dies. The warlock may or may not be able to spec into Fel Synergy for passive pet healing, or Demonic Rebirth for an instant cast summon. Soul Shards are fairly limited, so the odds of being able to Soulburn and summon a pet are pretty slim in most circumstances.

Death Knights, Unholy

Unholy Death Knights have only one way to heal their pet – via Death Coil. Due to the way Dark Transformation works, it is (last I knew) less of a DPS loss to let the pet die and resummon it, versus healing it with Death Coil. However, this has a 2-minute cooldown, so this obviously presents that problem, too. The Gargoyle is also an important part of Unholy DPS, and should also be able to receive heals.

Death Knights, Blood

Blood Parasites heal people. I don’t get the issue of letting these stay alive since they make your job easier as a healer. No, seriously, this BOGGLES MY MIND as to why people have issues with Blood Parasites getting any healing whatsoever, since they, in turn, heal people.

Death Knights, general

The only conceivable reason I can see a normal, non-Unholy ghoul being summoned is for quick burst DPS, or a tank cooldown (via Death Pact). So, for these reasons, a normal ghoul is worthy of heals.

Druids, Balance

Treants are a standard part of Balance druid rotations, helping along their DPS as well. In Mists of Pandaria, each druid specialization can have the option of different treants to do different things. I would argue that in that case, treants are worthy of heals. I think they are now, too (it’s just problematic when you DO try to heal them because there’s only one pet frame for all three of them, and the healing is not duplicated between them).

Shaman, Enhancement

Feral Spirit isn’t as good as it once was, but it’s worth the global cooldown, as far as I’m aware, to cast this. There’s two of them, so the same problem as treants, however.

Shaman, general

Fire and Earth elementals are regularly used for DPS boosts. Since there’s no way to target them via raid frames or party frames, splash AoE healing is good.

Priests, general

C’mon, you know you need your Shadowfiend. All three specializations of priests use Shadowfiend. The healing specs for mana regen, the shadow spec for DPS. Pathing issues aside, your mana regen relies on this little bugger.

This post will be continued with the Rift section of pets in a later post. Stay tuned!