Last updated: 7/15/23
(aka A Highly Abbreviated Guide To "I'm A Healer and My Party Is Dying Holy Shit What Do I Do")
Let's say that things have gone absolutely pear-shaped in your unspecified 8-player duty. Over half the party is dead, including your cohealer, the red mage, and one of the tanks, and everyone else is barely clinging on to life.
What do you do? Heal the tank? Heal yourself? Raise the red mage, or raise your co-healer?
Here's a simplified guide to how I personally triage and prioritize, based off of my (comparatively small!) experience healing extremes and savage:
In bold: YOU CANNOT HEAL AND OR RAISE PEOPLE IF YOU'RE DEAD.
If you're the last person alive with a raise, it can be tempting to start panic raising everyone, and then get blindsided by a mechanic. Don't. While you're alive, there's a chance for recovery; if you go, that's it. Heal yourself up if you're about to get whacked. Cancel your raise hardcast to run out of the AoE. Put a shield on yourself, as a treat! Survive.
One example is the healer stacks in the martialist phase of P9S - if one healer is dead, a random person gets chosen to be honorary healer, and there's no way of telling who until it goes off. So stacking everyone together is a death sentence, and stacking some people together with the healer runs the risk of getting them killed anyway. My static compensates for this by spreading out (minimizing the deaths to the surviving healer and the honorary healer) and having the surviving healer quickly raise the other healer before they die. The other healer can then top everyone off before the raidwide and pick folks up.
It's spicy, to be sure, but we've recovered pretty consistently with this strat!
If a bunch of people are dead but there's a raidwide going out soon, get everyone topped off and THEN start raising. If you raise someone but then more people die because they weren't topped off, that basically cancels out your efforts, and you're actually in a worse place because there's more weakness debuffs/people out of mana/etc than before.
Likewise, if the tank's low and about to take a tankbuster (and they don't have their invuln available), heal them up first, or the boss will smash them flat and then come for everyone else's asses next.
This will be different based upon the situation!
Are you a sage or scholar with limited raw healing power and know there's going to be raidwides soon? Raise the white mage/astro - they can get everyone topped off much more efficiently than you can.
Is there a body check soon and you need to get as many people up as possible? Raise the red mage, and pray they're carrying ethers or have Lucid Dreaming ready.
Is there going to be a tankbuster that targets top two aggro, or requires a tankswap and your surviving tank doesn't have an invuln ready? Raise the other tank so the boss doesn't eat you or your remaining party members.
For example, say that there's a lot of bodies on the ground and normally you'd pick up the red mage first, but the red mage in this specific group keeps eating vuln stacks like they're cheez-its and then verflipping off the arena. I'd actually hold off on rezzing them and pick up my cohealer first, since I wouldn't be confident that red mage would survive long enough to help us recover. Likewise, if making choices about which DPS to pick up, I might focus on picking up the people who I know can nail the mechanics, and then pick up the folks who don't.
Do not feel bad about making choices like this! As long as you're not like, maliciously leaving people on the ground for no other reason than they're new and struggling (because how else are they going to learn??) you are doing your job. By helping stabilize the party, you are also helping them!
And of course, if someone bitches at you for not raising them while you're running around trying to put out fires, either ignore them or tell them to play healer if they know so much about it. (Or hell, leave their ass on the ground a little longer. Serves them right.)
Especially when progging difficult content, if the pull's pretty much done for but you manage to keep it going juuuust long enough to see a new mechanic go off, that's still progress!
Also, recovery is a group effort. If your whole party is constantly eating avoidable damage and dying no matter how much you raise them and you lose the war of attrition, that's not on you! You are a healer, not a miracle worker.
And even in a situation that was recoverable but a wipe happened anyway, don't beat yourself up. This kind of stuff takes PRACTICE first and foremost, and the nature of this particular beast is that "practice" for this involves groups wiping. Shake yourself off and try again. Nothing was lost except some time. It'll be okay.
If possible (it isn't always) tell people in chat to help also. Clemency is exceptionally powerful and it irks me that every time my group is triaging I have to tell the paladin to use it to keep themselves from dying to autos. This is harder in text than on voice but still worth doing I think
yourself > a tank if none are up > other healer or second tank if there's a buster > raisers > everyone else
the thing is "most in danger of dying" is extremely fluid and context dependent
like i will always prioritize tanks if i know a buster is coming up, even if healers are dead
Swiftcast is your very best friend and summoners can also help rez, albeit a little slower than a red mage can, which maybe all you need to focus on keeping the rest of the party alive
There is also the "Don't forget to put your lb on your bar. You may only use it once in a blue-polka dotted moon, but you'll still want to have it there."
[Context for new healers: healer LB3 raises ALL dead people and heals everyone to full! Extremely handy if it's available.]
it's important to understand how res mechanics work too, in particular leveraging res immunity and prepositioning to make things less likely to snowball
well timed reses with proper positioning can absolutely prevent further deaths and you need to be able to react when the opportunity presents itself
[Context: when someone revives, they are raised at the location of the person who rezzed them when the raise cast was completed and have a few seconds of immunity to most damage as long as they don't do anything. They CAN move, they just can't attack or use items or such.]
other more niche things: know when not to res
[Context: some attacks go through revive immunity and will kill people who've just revived even if they didn't do anything. Also, if you cast the raise in the wrong place, they'll revive right into a death zone or other disadvantageous position.]
Re: lb3, it might be helpful to add that if they aren't on the platform (e.g: p12 platform chomp), they won't get hit by the lb3. Wait to pop the lb3 after everyone is respawned.
(I've learned this the hard way XD )
I think another good thing to keep in mind is to avoid double ressing the same person. One thing I personally didn't figure out until late in the game (so I guess tip for newer healers x'D) is that you can know who's already received a res by looking at the party list, you can see the res icon beside their name.
Alternatively, if you're in a static, you can try and agree on a priority system with your co-healer. For example, if a lot of people are dead but both healers are up, one of you can start ressing bottom up and the other one top to bottom from the party list. You can also agree on who can get the first res off if there's just one person dead (this can also help when it comes to jobs that might have a bit of a harder time recovering mana-wise, and the other healer can better take care of that res. I.e sch vs ast/thin air whm).
To piggy-back off that comment, if someone else in your party is doing a long raise cast, you can see who the raise is being cast upon by looking at their number in the party list. The target of the raise's party list number is listed in the spell cast bar. If your cohealer or SMN is doing a long raise, don't try to raise that target but instead work on getting someone else up.