Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Heal like a tank?

I believe that I’ve previously mentioned on this blog that I would categorize myself as a healer with a tank’s mentality. What do I mean when I say I heal like a tank? No, this has nothing to do with healing mechanics or strategy or anything like that. When I say heal like a tank, I’m talking more about having a more aggressive attitude or state of mind, and then consequently acting on it.

Now I recognize that some of this attitude or state of mind will come only with experience and confidence. Also yes, of course I can probably speak my mind a bit more because I run in a close knit guild with folks I’ve run with for a long long time.

On a quick side note, I’m curious as to how many of you have come across asshole healers. Think of the last horrible pug you were in. Who drove you crazy? I’m almost willing to bet it was a dps or tank, but not a healer. If you have come across asshole healers, tell me your stories! (p.s. Left Claw folks not allowed to tell stories)

Anyways, I’m not sure if it stems from this whole stereotype that a lot of the females playing this game tend to be females or that perhaps somehow the role you play in game affects how you act in game, but do you think healers don’t speak up enough? Are we too nice? Do healers quietly just sit in a quiet corner wearing some variation of a sissy robe and just heal?

A couple of suggestions:

1. Speak up:

If you find that a run’s success is often followed by a linking of the damage meters with no mention of healing, take note of how K may act:

Random person:Links damage meters or talks about dps
K: “What because the healers did nothing? Because we were what, just twiddling our thumbs?”

Yeah, yeah, I’m sure it gets annoying sometimes (just ask my guildies), but I don’t know, I just find it important to speak up for all us healers. I think its often easy to place successes on the dps’ doorsteps and failures on the healers'. I’m sure this is even more so in pugs. Don’t let folks forget the awesomeness that is us healers.

2. Participate more:

But on the other side of speaking up, I think its important that us healers take an active part in discussing raid strategy. Make sure you speak up as to what you need as a healer, or how you are seeing the fight from your point of view. It is well known in our guild that all good ideas that Jess suggests in our raids really come from yours truly. Hee hee, just kidding. Jess has some good ideas from time to time. :)

3. Apologize less:

This is something that even I still fail to do at times. Even if a naughty dps grabs aggro and gets one shot, I still sometimes find myself trying to save them, then apologizing if I can’t. Realize that we are healers, not miracle workers, so don’t apologize for someone else’s mistake... we can’t be expected to keep everyone up no matter what.

I think next time something like this happens, I will resist the impulse to apologize and instead /point and /laugh. Ok, ok, maybe I won’t go quite that far. :)


  1. I think I used to be like that when I was raiding - I started as a tank, switched servers and characters and role... but not attitude =)

    Healers being blamed or ignored is something which I took steps to make sure didn't happen. In fact - I'm all about equality. I am, like yourself, vocal about people who might normally be ignored in the face of 'zomg he did 8k dps!'

    When I was raid leading I tried to point out all of the little things people did which might mean they're not top of the 'tables', too.

    "Great interrupting, rogues!"
    "Wow, you really kited that boss well, tank, and nice CD use!"
    "Oh, wow, whoever did that GS there, Nicely done!"


    Everyone who's in a raid or even just an instance should get kudos if they work well.

    I've noticed this differs by server, too - on Bloodhoof (PvE) I rarely get thanked for anything. On Sporeggar (RPPVP) I get thanked often for good pickups, good healing or whatever. I don't know if it's to do with the realm types but it is interesting to see that different groups of people look differently at each role people are playing in a group.


  2. @Aurik:

    #1: OMG Aurik! Yay /hug!
    #2: Yeah, I do think that tanks are similar in that they often don't get called out when they do something well. Like us healers, its just so much more noticeable for tanks when things go wrong.

  3. My response to people constantly posting damage meters: "Man, my DPS is crap, I should leave so you can find someone who can keep up!"

  4. On Aurik's topic of congratulating people... No tanking experience here, but I've noticed I'm much more active about speaking up and congratulating people now that I'm a healer. Melee who interrupt the mind control in HToC 5-man? Pat on the back! Hunters who misdirect adds from me to their pet? Pat on the back! Pally tanks who drink between fights instead of assuming 10% mana is sufficient and my heals will miraculously fix it during the pull? Pat on the back! (Yes, I do actually whisper people to thank them for eating/drinking in 5-mans...) I guess I feel like an inherent "leader" in the group now, so I like to reach out to people and let them know they are appreciated.

    However, the fact that I started my raiding career as clothie DPS DOES keep me from overapologizing I think. I was extremely active in using my self-preservation tools as a shadow priest, so I expect my DPSers to take similar interest in helping me keep them alive. If I really messed up I will apologize to the group, but generally a wipe is not the sole fault of the healer. If one individual gets sacrificed during a particularly dicey situation, I will say "I'm sorry I couldn't keep you alive"...but only if I really mean it. Aggro-happy fools get silence, rez, rebuff, and we move on. Keeps me sane. :)

  5. I think the problem is that one just gets tired (unless you're you - you're the Duracell bunny of healing attitude, it's great :) ). I used to make sure I always had a snippy response to damage meters linkage on hand ("wow, with DPS like that I guess you don't need a healer ... oh wait") but then I started worry I was just being a cock.

    But, yes, I shall take your rules to heart.

    Less apologising. More snark.

  6. Hi there. I've read your blog for a bit, and think you are friggin hilarious. Thanks for putting some great entertainment up on the web. I'm a healer, and can relate to a lot of what you discuss.

    Anyway, I just wanted to add on to some of what you said in this post. Healers are generally the people with the most knowledge of every encounter, so I hope that all healers do speak up when talking strategy. No one else watches the raid as closely as the healer. Tanks and DPS are busy focusing on mobs, while healers focus on the raid. When people screw up, we see it before anyone else (assuming they see it at all). I know when I'm on my tank or DPSing, and we wipe, I'll usually be like "What happened"? When I'm healing, I know exactly what happened to every single person and exactly why we wiped. It's kind of wierd, but that's just how things seem from my perspective.

    Keep up the great work.

  7. @anon: :)

    @ambient: Great point about passing out pats on the back!

    @Tam: Aww... no, but I can totally understand that you can get tired of always having to stand up for us healz. Even I sometimes just let things go. Yes, shocking I know.

    @YJMark: Aw shucks, thanks! Great point about how no one else is looking at the entire raid like us healers!

  8. Ah, the fucktards in pugs... something I posted about not long ago. And I did the same question. Usually is the dps who messes everything, followed by the tank. But yes, I've found stupid healers too. They're rare, but they exist! I came across one while doing ToC, a druid who seemed couldn't stay still and heal, he was bouncing all over the place and few times did cast nourish when the tank was very low on health, rather relying in renew and lifebloom. Of course we wiped several times (Confessor Paletress is very healing intensive) and until the moron wasn't kicked out and got a new healer (this time a proper one) we couldn't finish it.
    On the other hand today I came across another tree who apologized for letting me die while doing UP heroic. I told her it was my fault because I stole the aggro (in fact the tank didn't have that mob well grabbed) and she answered she was still feeling bad because I was flatlined. So I thanked her warmly.
    I think most of the players who only play dps classes should try healing (and tank too). Healing is not sitting in the back while pressing random buttons. Sometimes healing is very complicated because you have to take hard decissions in a split second. And here there's no room for mistakes. You heal the wrong person or use the wrong spell and the whole group/raid could wipe. Maybe it won't be your entire fault, but we can't help feeling like that druid: responsible. So I recommend to focus healing, tank is top priority with other healers in second place (I recommend yourself as secondary target), if a dps stands in fire/poison cloud, let him die and he'll learn a valuable lesson. We're not their heal-whores. We must switch from "must heal everybody and keep them alive" mentality to "must ensure the right people lives enough to kill the boss".

  9. I think part of the reason healers have been so "quiet" and "polite" in groups stems from 2 things:

    1. In the past they couldn't solo a goddamn thing and needed help doing dailies

    2. They tend to float above the action, so to speak, and not be required to follow instructions or DPS order like the rest

    I think this is changing. I know it must be. Enter dual spec. I'm only a healer in my offspec.

    I'm 100% confident in my ability to heal heroics - but I don't take it very seriously either - it's like filling in doing someone else's work for 1 day.

    So yeah I'll be talkative in chat. Argue over the strategy. Point out when someone did something awesome, and when someone did something wrong.

    But make me heal for my guild in a raid... and I'll be humble and quiet. Mostly because I've got no idea what I'm doing and pretty sure not enough mana to last the fight :(

  10. When the tank I was healing in VoA starting bitching out dying, I quipped, "Why don't you finish gemming and enchanting your gear before we talk about my healing?"

    It was a glorious day!

    Tanking and healing are both pretty thankless jobs, though. That is why, I think there are a lot of Cranky Tanks and Angry healers out there just FULL of snark.


  11. @Kurnak: Sigh... it breaks my heart when I hear about fail resto druids.

    @Cassandri: I think you're right that with dual specs perhaps more dps folks can see the healing side.

    @forthebubbles: Yay snark! You can never have enough snark.

  12. Best quote i've ever seen to explain what i think about dps that stand in fire and then complain about not getting heal is:

    "It was basic mana conservation. It took less mana to rez you than it would have keeping your dumb ass alive."

    Tanks and healers are must heal target, dps is optional. I have a 48 minutes Heigan kill to prove it too :)

  13. I think Blizzard is to blame for a lot of the lax in party skills in the game. I learned to tank and heal in FFXI where every mob is an elite and if you can't do a good job in a party you won't be leveling period!
    There is no lead up or training for party mechanics in WoW as it stands. Blizzard should add more outdoor Elite encounters and party quests in the 1-20 range to get players skills up to par for the first instances and eventually raiding.

    For example, tonight I healed while two level 13's took on Murkdeep. At the first sign of an add, the Paladin ran screaming like a little girl, which as we know is the worst thing to do. Luckily he didn't die and they both got a great feeling of teamwork from the encounter. See a few more encounters like that early on and I can mold him into a tank that stays put during any crisis before he wipes out several times in an instance and pisses the group off.

    @Kurnak: Interesting point about who to heal you brought up. As a noob healer I'd have never thought to prioritize the other healers after the tanks (assuming hey they're healers they can heal themselves right?) Is that a raiding consensus on heal priority among the Trees? I know I'm a ways off raiding, but I plan to be the best healer my guild has ever seen by the time I can.