Damage Over Healing
A Fundamental Look At "Healing in Combat"
I strongly recommend digesting the concept of Avoiding Unnecessary Damage before or after reading this information. As it will help you in dealing with something I'm going to call "Low Health Paralysis". What I would like to share here, is a way for you to become more “Self Aware” as an Apex Legends player. The information presented here will be heavily focused on “What happens when we choose to heal?”. Hopefully by the end of it, you’ll be able to make more conscious decisions before and during your healing attempts.
The point I’m trying to make in this article arises out of a paradox that is that the desire to heal ourselves can and will betray its purpose and will ultimately get us killed. As a remedy I stress the necessity to exact patience (inwardly) and pressure (outwardly) before fulfilling said desire. The purpose of healing (gaining more health) is actually thwarted by premature attempts of healing. Instead of these attempts, I propose to earn “the right to heal” first, i.e. to create the right circumstances necessary first, in order to actually get-away with a successful heal. From here I introduce a number of common mistakes arising when failing to set up a heal properly, foregrounding different aspects as I go.
Understanding Moments of Rest
Let’s start by questioning why we heal? Well obviously to gain more health, we simply believe keeping our health full increases our chances of survival. If we receive damage, typically we have to commit to consuming a healing item, to gain back HP or Armor. The fear of being closer to death can create a feeling of urgency to attempt healing without considering the other elements of survival outside of our own health pool. The issue with healing isn't simply just the physical restrictions it demands, but the timing of it based on the current situation. For example healing in or out of battle are two very different scenarios. However, our understanding of whether we are in or out of battle is often evaluated using only the perspective of our own, and not the team as a single entity. Reading your own situation as “Out of battle” without consideration of our team members, then choosing to heal while your team members become the focus can often be the nail in the coffin you’re desperately trying to prevent.
In this article I’d like to share some information to help you replace considering your own vulnerability to heal, with considering your team’s vulnerability with “If you heal”. Before diving any further I’d like to bring your attention to the design mechanics of healing that are on the surface. However keep in mind, considering these mechanics alone won’t be the only reasoning you’ll need to perform logical healing attempts in combat.
Leaving out “Healing Over Time” abilities and passives. Let’s understand the mechanic of healing. Or better yet the cons… For the purpose of clarity I’ll list them:
Time Out / Inability: Time is the cost, during which you’re unable to perform another action.
Speed Decrease: Unless you’ve gained some momentum, typically healing will cripple your ability to move.
SoundFX: Healing is arguably as loud as enemy footsteps. Maybe not as loud but it’s certainly hard to do secretly.
VisualFX: The Animations for healing are very clear to distinguish in Apex Legend.
There may be more, but for just a second let's think about these factors, and how we may already use these to our advantage when engaged in combat. To help you recall, specifically think about the times you knocked someone knowing they’re trying to heal. It is most likely the restrictions listed above which enabled us to understand our advantages in relation to our opponent.
Now the fun begins. If your recall is good, let’s question our experience of being knocked while healing. If you could rewind time, would you still attempt to heal? This brings us to the concept of “Damage Over Healing (DOH)”.
What I mean by DOH, is simple. Choosing to deal damage, before choosing to heal, in other words prioritising shooting back over healing. Why? Because in instances where healing leaves your team at a significant disadvantage, you’ll have to earn your right to heal. Specifically speaking, operating accordingly until you’re able to correctly identify opportunities where not only The mechanics of healing are no longer an issue, but also your team's survival is not clearly in jeopardy.
Casually Healing in Combat
Healing simply because you lost some health, or are low on health can often be the reason why you’re unable to equalise the situation. Understand that the moment the enemy successfully gets you to heal, they successfully turn a 3v3 into a 2v3 for the duration of your heal action. Which can be more than enough time to gain a significant advantage, regardless of your extra health.
Be able to still act as a threat even when low on health. For an understanding on how to do this please read our article on AUD. Understand that healing in combat is a privilege. Regardless of your health if the attention is not on you, capitalise on this fact and shoot back. One helpful shot can make all the difference in many situations.
Tip: Players often push after dealing significant damage, making their movements easy to read. There is often a moment you can capitalise on knowing this by returning the favour once they recklessly leave their cover in attempts to secure the kill.
Inability to Cancel Healing
Almost as if being hypnotised by the healing time bar, some refuse to cancel it even if the enemy is in front of them occupied in battle with their teammate. You may be one shot and 70% through that Phoenix Kit. However if your team goes down in a 2v3, your full HP won’t always pull you through the 1v3 you’re about to be facing. I call the inability to act as the opportunity is right in front of you is what I call “low health paralysis”. The power of inflicting damage as a team has more than one effect, and the most common effect it has on the opponent is the “feeling of being overwhelmed”.
Whenever you do attempt to heal, be hypersensitive and extra observant. You will see opportunities that you may have been previously missing in the past. Be ready to cancel that healing for your team or even to defend yourself. You may be low on health, however your gun has never been sick a day in it’s life.
Tip: Your opponents will often not expect you to cancel a heal and return fire. It’s similar to you baiting an enemy to push once they hear you’re attempting a revive. Figuring out the best times to cancel a heal and fight will become more clear after experimenting with it. Do not forget to AUD! At higher ranks, you’ll be expected to help at all possible opportunities. This may be one habit that is hard to break if your current success is based on it.
Team Healing Awareness
In Apex your team will often display the problematic behaviours written above themselves. Being aware of this will only assist you in your decision making. If we do not pay attention to these elements we’ll often end up feeling the negative effects of the above and not the positive. Sometimes in a heated battle both sides will play super cautious, I like to call this a “Moment of Rest”. If you recognise these moments, you can take advantage by healing safely too.
Pay attention to your team’s health, position and actions. When they heal, understand that they will be out of the fight for a moment and play accordingly. This may involve you taking cover with them, healing with them or actively playing defensive for them. What won’t help is you pushing without them, trying to secure kills or advantages that would require teamwork.
Tip: Watch how you and your enemy reacts when your team takes damage. It will often be the guy that dealt the blow that pushes first. Punish his aggression by being aware of it.
Whether you should heal or not in combat shouldn’t solely be based on your own health. The decision should always be met with constant evaluation of the “current” situation. Understand and pay attention to the elements stated above whenever healing is attempted. Especially battles that are happening while you’re healing.