Monday, December 20, 2010

Kick the Healer!

It's time for my first real post about WoW and it's going to be a bit of a rant. Many of us know the pains of healing. Since WoW's inception healing has been a rather boring, thankless job. I can't really speak for vanilla, because I played a hunter then, but throughout BC and Wrath we pretty much stood around watching  and refilling health bars. We took pride in being able to keep an entire raid at near max health throughout encounters. Well these days are no more and, despite it seeming like we have lost some of our punch, I am glad to see them go.

There's only one problem. The vast majority of tanks and dps have not caught on to the fact that we aren't what we used to be. Even while building gear in heroics during Wrath I could Chain-Heal spam a group to full health in no time flat and still have mana left for another pull. Now I have to use Healing Wave most of the time, which for the non-shamtastic is a small single target heal, and drink between most pulls. When dps stands in the fire chances are I won't have the time or mana to toss many or any heals their way. People seem to think that the healing changes should only effect they way healers play. If a healer can't keep the tank, who's standing in stupid, topped off while keeping the dps, who are also standing in stupid, alive then he just hasn't learned how to heal and needs to be kicked... right? I mean am I right? Wait no that's dead wrong.

Having run some random heroics the past week with my trusty tank buddy Toshizo, who by the way was the officiant at my wedding(yes real life wedding not the stand in Stormwind kind), and having trouble with mana and throughput I decided to wait until I had some better gear before trying again. After some rep grinding, crafting and regular dungeon running I was decked out in blues, except for my waist(DAMN YOU FIRST BOSS OF HoO!). Deeming myself ready for action but finding no guildies on as it was already late in the evening I popped the random heroic queue and got ready to kick some butt... well got ready to heal the people kicking butt and by extension kick some butt.

When the queue popped up with SFK I was giddy to say the least. SFK and Deadmines heroics are the heroics that I have been most looking forward to since I heard they were going to be revamped for lvl 85. The dungeon was already in progress when I came on the scene and we were a few trash pulls away from Lord Walden. Seeing as I was finishing up some quests in Uldum, and rep-grinding for a schmexxy new belt from the Rhamakken, I was in elemental spec. Annoyed that I'd had the audacity to come to the dungeon out of spec the group threatened to kick me. "1 sec" was my response. I switched spec and gear and sat to drink with another /sigh from the tank.

The first pull was a bunch of worgen... obviously. The pally ran in and consecrated and was fine for about 10 seconds. Then he started getting hit... hard. I was able to keep him up but had to sit and drink before moving on again... another /sigh. We worked through the few trash packs leading up to Walden when I again showed my noobness. "Never been here before, any advice?" I asked quite noobishly. After some swearing and taking various deities names in vain I was given this as advice: "Don't stop moving. If you die because you stop moving I'll kick you." Helpful huh? I guess it was my mistake not reading up on every heroic I might possibly got tossed in to.

I'm pretty good at thinking on my feet and reacting to new bosses. Once in the fight the mechanics were pretty simple. With the green stuff you keep moving, the red stuff you just kind of have to eat, and the white stuff on the ground... don't stand in it. The first to die was the moonchicken... this made me smile a little inside. If you don't move out of stupid I can't help you. Next went the lock, ready my previous statement for clarification. The warrior teetered on the edge of oblivion but I was able to pull him back and the tank stayed at about 3/4 health. Walden finally stopped breathing and my healing skill was called into question by my dead companions.

My reply to their vitriol was simply "Don't stand in stupid and you won't die." Enraged they demanded I leave the group. I told them if they wished me gone they could simply kick me. This was when I discovered that they couldn't kick me because they had reached the limit on healer-kicking. Upon further questioning they informed me that they had been through 6 healers that night. Some they had kicked, some had left out of disgust and others actually left when the group demanded it. Being both shocked and amazed I asked them how could all six healers have been terrible? Could the problem possibly lie with the way the group was playing and not with the healer trying to patch up their mistakes?

I don't think these people were ready to think. The mere suggestion that they might need to evaluate their playstyle sent them to heights of rage normally reserved for action movie characters who's loved ones have been killed. I found out that I was probably the worst shaman healer ever, had homosexual leanings, was a basement dwelling troglodyte and that my mother did rather nasty things with horses. I never knew this about myself. Well needless to say I was staying put just out of spite now. I calmly followed the tank ready for the next pull. I don't know how this seemed like a good idea to them, but despite the fact we were near the end of the instance the group called me a few more choice names and quit. I was flabbergasted.

I left, queued, and ran heroics for another couple of hours. Most experiences, while not as bad as the above example, were strikingly similar. The tank and dps expected Wrath healing in a Cataclysm world. Many groups I got in to were on their 3rd healer at least. Some listened when asked why they thought the healer was the problem when they'd been through several, most did not. Since the implementation of the random dungeon finder I have never been removed from a group... until now. I am not always healing at optimal capacity but I do enough to get the job done if the rest of the group does their job. Several friends of mine who heal have also had similar experiences. Anyone out there care to share their experiences?

If you are a healer my best advice is to run with guildies or friends if at all possible. If you can't then try to tough it out, things will get better soon. I think the problem we're facing will be self correcting. If groups keep forming, running through healers, and not finishing dungeons then eventually the dps and tanks will be forced to evaluate how they play the game. Until this time be prepared to shoulder most of the blame when a group wipes.

1 comment:

  1. The King is dead, Long live the King! Wrath playstyle has been thrown out with the expansion. No more rushed dungeons and AOE of 2-3 packs of trash. Careful CC and LoS pulls. Tactics over pure dps.

    Heals simply have changed. No healer has the extra mana to correct mistakes by tanks or dps. Stand in stupid--you gonna die. Don't interupt spells--you gonna die. My health pool is over 136K unbuffed, my healer cannot keep me topped off and heal the other party members and have enough mana to finish a boss fight.
    My playstyle had to change(warrior tank), I picked up some self heals in my talent tree to help the healer a little. DPS has to change also. Don't take unnecessary damage...steal threat, dps at he start of a pull, break CC.
    CC the new way to clear instances...easy with good CC, very hard without. Help a healer conserve his mana and a run is much smoother.


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