Using Healers Have To Die to Protect Friendly Healers

(This post is a continuation of Healers Have To Die and the PvP Addon Arms Race, my defense of the controversial PvP addon Healers Have To Die (HHTD). You may want to revisit my arguments in that post before reading.)

Despite my best efforts to get healers to take the initiative, I don’t see many yells for assistance in the battlegrounds. And leveling two healers through PvP right now, I understand why – when I’m getting focus fired, I have about 1 second to switch over and start spamming heals onto myself before I’m dead. The last thing I want to do is to bang the Help Me! macro, which is kinda out of the way, when I really want to cast Nature’s Swiftness or Power Word: Shield to buy myself time.

It’s okay. I should probably macro yells for help into my panic button; I’m still amazed at how effective SaySapped is at telling other players what’s going on. But I keep forgetting to do this because I have a much better personal solution: Healers Have to Die.

Healers Have to Die is the single best addon I have used to protect friendly healers in a battleground, bar none. I am not kidding here. It may be a valuable tool for DPS in PvP to help identify enemy healers, but where I’m discovering it really shines is by identifying friendly healers, marking them, and – most important of all – notifying you when they are under attack.

I wished for another addon called Healers Have To Live. I got it in Healers Have To Die.


Take a look at the screen at the top of this post. This is my level 70 warrior twink, Ashwalker, fighting at Iceblood Graveyard in Alterac Valley. The camera is zoomed way out so I can see everything around me, but I can’t see details like what kind of clothes people are wearing or even really casting without UI assistance.

You’ll hopefully notice the large blue cross in the screen. This is a friendly healer that HHTD has detected. HHTD looks for specific spells that are usually only cast by healing specs, so it doesn’t get fooled by a Feral Druid casting Rejuvenation – it picks up the real healers.

When a healer shows up in a scrum, I know it now. Enemy healers, friendly healers – they’re all visually represented in a way which makes me know who to protect at all costs – no guesswork.

But that’s just the first part of HHTD’s defense.

When HHTD detects that a friendly healer is getting attacked, it lets you know in BIG HUGE LETTERS across your screen. It tells you which healer is getting attacked, and by whom.

Oh yeah, it spits out warnings in your chat window, too, in case you aren’t looking at the top of your screen.

And it does all this by default.

If there is one addon I absolutely want my BG team to be running, it’s HHTD. Not only for finding opposing healers – I want it for that – but also because it increases everyone’s situational awareness to come to the defense of friendly healers.

How would you not want that?


Let’s try a little test. Click on the picture above to view it at a bigger size, look at it for 2 seconds – be honest here – and then close it and come back to reading. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

All done? Good. Pop quiz time, then. Without looking, which healer was being attacked, the top one or the bottom one?

I’ll wager that a good number of you actually will get this right, and pick the healer near the bottom of the screen. But it’s not easy; Beamz’s nameplate is obscured, while Ranting’s is not.

Now, let’s be really honest here – how many of you would have known that Beamz was getting attacked at all, had it not been for the HHTD warning?

I know I wouldn’t have. Unless I saw a mob right on his face, I’d assume that he was fine and dandy, surrounded by people who could take care of him.

To be honest, if I didn’t have HHTD, I wouldn’t have known he was even there, let alone that he needed help. There are 12 friendly players and 3 friendly pets on the screen. HHTD makes my own healers stand out.


One of the biggest challenges in getting people to use HHTD to its full potential is that DPS generally don’t run with friendly nameplates on, therefore they’ll never see that a healer is in trouble.

I use Tidy Plates, combined with Threat Plates for PvE, to help manage my friendly nameplates.

Tidy Plates allows you to automate the display of your nameplates based on your combat state, so you don’t have to walk around Stormwind or Orgrimmar with huge crowds of glowing nameplates blocking your view. By selecting the “Show during Combat, Hide when Combat ends” option, friendly plates smoothy come up in combat, and disappear when I leave. It’s really slick.

The second part of my setup is HHTD itself:

Here is the HHTD basic configuration tab. The configuration is relatively straightforward, but you’ll want to make sure that:

  • Protect friendly healers is On. Seriously, why would you have this off?
  • Set friendly healer’s role is On. If you’re the BG leader and you spot a healer who didn’t mark themselves as such, this sets it for you.
  • Announcer and Name Plate Hooker are both On.

These are the default settings. I can’t emphasize that enough, you don’t have to do anything but install HHTD to get it to start working to protect healers.

Healers are your friends. It doesn’t matter if they have a funny name, or are from a different server – all healers are your friends. Don’t abandon them to the rogues.

Get HHTD so your friends can live.


I see a lot of assumptions made in the forums when HHTD comes up, usually made by people who haven’t really looked into the addon, let alone tried it to see how it works. But even when you try it out, you might have some misconceptions about how it works.

  • HHTD only modifies name plates; it doesn’t set raid markers or share information with other players. HHTD’s crosses are only visible to those people running the addon. It’s not like AVR, which shared information with other clients to modify the game world. It’s not setting BG-wide markings on your healers. It is hooking into nameplates and modifying them if someone casts a specific type of spell, NOT communicating that info across clients.
  • HHTD doesn’t target other players or cast any spells. Whenever I see an argument saying that HHTD does this, I wonder what addon they tried out, because that addon sounds much better than the one I’m using.
  • HHTD is pretty tough to fool. This is one I’m guilty of believing wasn’t true – thinking that I could get a cross over my head as a Feral Druid casting some healing spells. It’s wrong. The lua code looks for spells that only healing-spec healers use, or a certain amount of healing from the base spells. It’s actually easier to fool people than it is the addon, just because if you have a big mana pool and are standing in the back casting sparkly healing spells, folks probably aren’t going to check to make sure that it’s Resto, not Elemental.
  • HHTD detects friendly healers. Now you know just how good of a job it does.

I wrote my original defense of HHTD still struggling with the Healers Have to Live concept. At the time, I thought its absence was a weakness in the addon, but it really was a deficiency in my understanding of it. In the subsequent months, I’ve come to explore and appreciate how much better I can be as a PvPer by understanding where my own healers are, no matter how crazy things are getting.

Healers Have to Die is an excellent PvP addon, and I fully recommend it. Not only will it help you find enemy healers, it will help you defend your own teammates better.


Filed under Cynwise's Battlefield Manual

26 responses to “Using Healers Have To Die to Protect Friendly Healers

  1. Pingback: Healers Have To Die and the PvP Addons Arms Race | Cynwise's Battlefield Manual

  2. As a Healer myself, I love the addon. I use it to see who I should be ccing in mass combat (currently battleground healing on a Druid). I’ve been recommending it like mad to all my friends as well. Any help it gets thrown my way when I get focused is a bonus.

    With the battleground scoreboards themselves showing spec before the game starts, I really don’t see why people get so bothered about it. Smart people already know who the healers are before the game starts, with or without the addon.

    • I find new uses for it on every character.

      On my tank, it both helps me spot healers in packs of mobs, as well as alerts me when something gets by and starts gnawing on my healer. On my healers, I use it like you do – and also to tell me I need to start spamming heals on my fellow healers.

      I’d not thought of how useful it could be for a tank before I tanked with it on in H-MgT, and some of those pulls went a little … wonky. It tells me every time someone screws up a courtyard pull and the healer pulls aggro as a result. I love it when tanking 5 mans now.

  3. Gameldar

    Yeah I love this part of HHTD – also has its uses in PvE – it at least makes me check to ensure that the healer is not being mobbed rather than it just being raid damage hitting them.

    As you’ve suggested – locating the one being attacked is the problem. When you’re healing as well, it is easy to spot the one losing health – but trying to be a conscientious dps it’s not always easy.

    I always pvp with friendly nameplates on (unless there is a specific situation when I have another object where I need to focus only on enemies – i.e. protecting the flag in Battle for Gilneas – but I toggle regularly ctrl-V ftw) – the one problem I have is that enemy pets/totems (and sometimes shaman) are a very similar colour to friendly targets. But I didn’t know about the ‘turn off when out of combat’ option I’ll have to find that, and perhaps check for colour options too!

    • I have that same problem with the friendly/totem colors, until I found color options for friendly targets! But then I got totally confused when I run with them on, because I’m conditioned to think that color=enemy, so I’m all AAAAAAHHH THEY’RE AFTER ME oh wait my team. So I went back to confusing friends with totems.

      I think having some kind of visual distinction is important. I wish there was a way to have very different visual styles between the two. Maybe make enemies a different size?

      I’m still experimenting to find the right balance on friendly nameplates. I’ll need to try more of the manual toggling with automatic fadein/out to see if that’s better.

      Thanks for the comment!

  4. When a BG friend of mine was telling me about all the notifications HHTD has for protecting friendly healers, I was somewhat mollified about the fact that it also ensures Horde zero in on and focus me. In the same way that a healer helps a team immeasurably, even just one DPS working to peel someone for me can help me live. I went PvPing with my mage buddy, Fsob, and we got jumped midfield. I think there were about six or seven of them and only the two of us. I thought for sure we were going to die.
    We did NOT die. I healed my face off, he protected me, and we picked them off one by one. It got to the point where we were RE-KILLING people we had already killed who had rezzed and kept coming back. (Eventually they gave up). I try to find someone and stick to them, if I’m BGing solo. I’ll even sometimes ask in BG chat at the beginning who WANTS a pocket healer, but I’ve never had any takers. (I don’t know why! Why don’t they want to be godly?)

    • I think people are nervous to say yes, to be honest. They don’t want to appear greedy or selfish.

      I dunno. I don’t get it either.

      I’ve been healing a lot more in BGs again, which has shown me the value of DPS who figure out that I’ve made them immortal. When DPS stick by me, I stick by them, even if it means abandoning a node I’d normally defend. It’s better to have a roving band of invulnerable attackers than a healer guarding a node by their lonesome.

      I love stories like yours and Fsob’s. Like, *that* is what BGs are about. 🙂

  5. I never even checked into this, despite having HHTD installed forever.

    Guess whose fixing her settings, like, NOW?

  6. Thanks for pointing this out Cyn. The more people running this addon will definitely help me as a Disc priest in those BGs.

    • You’re very welcome! I’m leveling a Disc priest right now through PvP, and it’s both exciting and frustrating. I can still die really easily to Rogues and Feral Druids.

  7. zwinglisblog


    As always, great job!


  8. By selecting the “Show during Combat, Hide when Combat ends” option, friendly plates smoothy come up in combat, and disappear when I leave. It’s really slick.

    Just a note that I’ve been DCed when using this configuration and I run into the boss fight in AV or IoC. (Or in portions of AQ40, for that matter.) Doesn’t happen all the time, but frequently enough that I turned that off.

    • Interesting. I haven’t had that problem, but I’ve been stripping out a lot of my addons of late. Is it with a certain amount of people already in the room? I can imagine that causing problems loading all those name plates at once.

      • Typically I’m late to the party as I’m holding down Stonehearth or Tower Point (depending on the faction I’m playing), so the crowd is already inside. It was a lot like when 3.5 dropped in Wrath and everybody was in Dal; my framerate dropped to 3 fps and I was lucky to escape to someplace safe, like Stranglethorn.

        I suspect my motherboard (and RAM) being simply overwhelmed is a factor, because the graphics card was recently updated, and a graphics card can only do so much if the data isn’t fed to it quickly enough.

        One item of note is that the addon works nicely with Decursive in highlighting the healers in range.

  9. Soondead

    Just tried another addon for battle grounds. It was just plain excellent for bg’s, just as Galdius is a must for arena. Will use it in rated tonight.

    Ohh nearly forgot the link:

  10. Syl

    An awesome mod – what would I have given for this back in the days, lol. -.-
    I guess it’s fair to say that while many BG players are tunnel-visioned dorks, there’s a big group who don’t ignore the healer on purpose but actually just don’t notice him being attacked. now if only you could convince everyone to install this, eh…

    • I have a confession – I tend to get tunnel vision, too. But on my HEALERS. I’m all focused on the bars that I sometimes completely lose track of where we’re fighting or what the rest of the BG is doing. I’ve gone in to a fight up 3/2 and ended 1/4 because we got dragged out away from a node, and I just kept healing the whole way through it.

      So bad. 😦

      To be honest, most of the time I didn’t notice healers around me in BGs before this mod. Sometimes, yes, but now that I see them with HHTD, I know how many I was missing.

      No more! Healers, I choose YOU!

  11. I’ve the following macro together with my buff spell; so I’m always marked as a healer as I enter any BG or raid:
    /run UnitSetRole(“player”,”HEALER”)

    For PvP raids (such as RBGs, Tol Barad, city raids, etc; excluding BGs), I would request lead or assist, perform a role check and run the following marco:
    /run local x = 1; for i = 1, 40 do if UnitGroupRolesAssigned(“raid”..i) == “HEALER” then SetRaidTarget(“raid”..i,x); x = x + 1 end end

    As raid makers cannot be used on enemy targets, we make use of it by marking our healers and communicating it to our raid.
    > raidmarkers = healers >>> stay close to raidmarkers for heals >>> protect and peel them

    At a glance, we can tell how many healers are in an area (it’s especially nice in Tol Barad bases) and how far you are from them. Only 8 raidmakers are available and it serves well for around 30 players, else some healers may be unmarked; but it’s usually okay as unmarked healers tend to stay close with marked healers, covering each other. And if there are over 40 attackers and 40 defenders fighting over a base, raidmakers mean squat as healers simply blow up in 2secs or less when the enemy raid focuses on them; HHTD shines in these cases as everyone tends to switch to the healer with the lowest HP, or at the worse case we simply call out the enemy healers using say and those within “say” range tend to switch to that healer.

    Role checks cannot be performed in BGs, and I’ve found most times the person with lead does want to pass it or bother giving assist to others even when requested.

    I also use the following in raid/BG/general chat from time to time:
    – play TB or BGs? increase your pvp situational awareness and be a better pvper >> get the mods >> “Healers Have To Die” and “SaySapped”
    – HHTD >> makes you aware of healers (high priority kill targets) around you when you pvp // SaySapped >> makes others aware you’ve been sapped and a flagged rogue is close by

    My “Welcome to Tol Barad” thread:

    • edit >> Role checks cannot be performed in BGs, and I’ve found most times the person with lead does **not** want to pass it or bother giving assist to others even when requested.

    • Bitbyte,

      I’m (obviously) a big fan of SaySapped, so thank you very much for stopping by for a comment. It’s one of those simple and elegant addons which quickly becomes a necessity in PvP. So, thanks. 🙂

      Adding /run UnitSetRole(“player”,”HEALER”) to the buff macro is a great idea. It’s not quite working for me right now in BGs, but I expect that I’ve done something wonky with the setup. I’ll keep tinkering with it until it works, it’s a great shortcut for something I do every time I zone in!

      Thanks again for stopping by!

  12. I don’t run HHTD with my friendly name plates on but I still get the gigantic warning in the middle of my screen when a friendly healer is being attacked. I don’t know what my settings are for HHTD but I stopped using the friendly nameplates shortly after I got it about 4 months ago. Maybe it’s because I have the name plate hooker and announcer on but the friendly nameplates display in the WoW settings is off. Anyway if anyone wants to talk to me I can be found on Magtheridon (US) under the name of Badnewz Level 85 Warlock.

    BTW Cyn thanks for this blog. So much better than going to EJ’s or the Den. 🙂