Archive for the “Bear Tankatude” Category
Warning: Prot Paladin talk straight ahead.
There is a Star Wars: The Old Republic beta. I was in it this last weekend.
I’ve read the agreement carefully, and it turns out that’s about all I can say about that subject.
Except maybe for this; I could have spent a LOT of time in the SW:TOR beta this weekend, but I ended up spending most of my game time in WoW.
What was I doing, if I wasn’t lost in a galaxy of laser swords and 2 trillion candlepower pistolgrip flashlights?
I was playing my Protection Paladin in PvP, and doing a LOT of PvE tanking.
My Paladin, affectionately named BigCrankButt, started the weekend Friday night at level 57.
Cassie suggested that I leave XP on and level through BGs until I got the Honor Points I needed to get all that tasty level 60 PvP epic gear. She would level by questing solo through Blasted Lands.
By the time I dinged 60, she was actually a little ahead, and I had won every random BG, so you can see that from our super-small sampling, pure questing is equal to PvP in leveling speed, or much better if you’re losing in BGs a lot. Anecdotal and subjective evidence of no real value in a study, but still interesting.
From the moment we dinged 60 and trained flying, we’ve quested a bit and run instances a whole lot more.
I have just one thing to say about the playing experience on our Prot Paladin and Disc Priest combo.
The biggest reason for my pleasure has been the Paladin class being godlike in AoE tanking from 15 to, now, 62. There has been some added spice to the yummy feast brought by the sheer power of level 60 PvP epics, but that has just been the last two levels.
The real prize is being a Protection Paladin.
Playing Prot and tanking through the levels has left me, as a Druid tank at max level, kinda feeling like Charlie Brown during Halloween; “I got a rock.”
As a Prot Paladin, I have had all the tools and all of the talents I could ever wish to get and hold aggro during everything that PUGs could throw at me.
We’ve leveled in PUGs almost the whole way, and we’ve seen every kind of pull for the tank, gogogo, shoot the wrong mob, charge the target and stun it type of thing you could imagine, and the Paladin has taken it all with a smile.
A word on that. Of everything I’ve seen, far and away the most annoying has been to throw Avenger’s Shield to pull a group of mobs, only to have a prick of a Warrior charge one as they JUST started running to me, and stun it in place at it’s starting point, WAY THE FUCK OVER THERE, when it’s a casting mob, and now my Avenger’s Shield is on cooldown and I can’t easily pull it back to where I’m taking care of business with all these other casting mobs over HERE.
Congratulations, you prick. Grrr. It’s not a big deal, I either keep taunting it while burning down the caster in my face, then run over there, or just let the idiot that charged it deal with it, but still. I like my pretty little clumps of groups in range of my melee AoE, damnit.
Oh, and if you’re going to roll Need on tanking gear for level 50s, hows about you actually QUEUE as a TANK, you worthless little douchebag. Thank you very much, signed, the actual tank.
Anyway, Protection Paladins are not overpowered. Not from 15 – 62, at least. I don’t want you to get the impression that is what I’m saying.
What they are is tuned JUST RIGHT. They are not ‘snooze and cruise’, you have to use your abilities and there are a LOT of them. But you have all the abilities you need. You are never left feeling just screwed. And you can get and hold AoE aggro. If you play one, you can succeed and have a ton of fun.
If the other tanking classes can’t feel the same level of control on the battlefield in PUGs, and can’t experience the same fun, then it’s not Paladins that are OP, it’s the other tanks that need a buff.
The object of the game is to have fun. If your reaction to hearing I am having lots of fun tanking is to assume the class needs to be nerfed, you need to re-evaluate your baseline assumptions. Tanking shouldn’t have to feel like a pain in the ass sucky job.
I’ll say it again. What has been most awesome about them is that they actually have all the tools they need to get aggro, keep the group moving fast, and HOLD aggro in the face of all that the DPS can do to try to screw you. You’re kept hopping, looking around for distant mobs to nail with Avenger’s Shield, grabbing swarming patrols incoming with Hammer of the Righteous, and so much more.
That is my definition of fun tanking. Being able to respond immediately when shit happens, instead of sitting on your hands helpless.
If Blizzard wants me to have fun as a tank, give the DPS wild shit to do to cause massive threat, and give ME all the tools I need to regain and hold threat. Pop this, pop that, fire that off, and wahoo! Fast paced, pulse pounding action.
I don’t know what they’re like at max level, but so far from 15 to 62 it’s been a perfect game.
Maybe a lot of that has been having a skilled healer along for every run that, y’know, actually heals instead of doing DPS because “they’re bored”. Amazing concept, but if you want to DPS, queue as DPS. If you queue as heals, keep our ass alive. Cassie has done that, and because of that every run is funtime fancypants mode.
Believe it or not, there is a point to my talking about all this, and it’s not to say “Oh look at me, I’m having fun.”
One response I get from people a lot when discussing tanking, is how daunting, even intimidating PUGs are to try and learn how to tank.
Not “how to tank as X class”, but simply trying to get used to what a tank has to look at and prioritize. How to play AS a tank.
If you haven’t played a tank before, it takes a little bit to get used to the differences from the other playstyles, especially if you’ve mostly been playing a healer looking at health bars and moving your own butt out of fire.
If you want to learn to play as a tank these days, I think the max level PUGs are really the wrong place to try and do it (based purely on the patience level of your fellow players), and once 4.3 rolls around and the Trolls are added into the standard PvE Heroic random mix, it’ll just get worse.
But if you do want to learn to play a tank, I’m thinking a possible idea is to do it in two stages.
First, create a new tank alt and start running random PUGs at level 15. Obviously from my gushing, I’m telling you that I know for a fact a Prot Paladin would be a good choice.
Level up through the PUGs, preferrably with a friend that might want to try a healer for a change, and take on all comers. With the changes to tank threat generation, you’ve got an advantage in getting and holding aggro.
The skills you would want to develop in this way, skills that apply to all tank classes, are;
- Getting the pull clumped up on casters. (Silencing/pulling casters to you, Line of Sight pulls, charging groups, etc).
- Watching a 360° radius for patrols and runners and bringing them in to you before they hit anyone else.
- Watching your own health to time survival/mitigation cooldowns.
- Watching your party health as a clue to pulled aggro.
- Controlling enemy groups and maneuvering them out of fire/acid/green/bad.
- Positioning yourself consistently to make it easier on melee.
All of these skills need to be developed with the following ‘test to destruction’ real world criteria; how well does your chosen method work in a group of strangers?
An example of what I mean; If you want to do a line of sight pull of a caster, and the rest of the group ignores you to run around the corner shooting, then you need to take that into account and come up with a new plan. Maybe telling them what you’re gonna do before pulling, or macroing a “LOS pull, don’t attack yet!” yell, or just trying something else like charging in.
The point being, whatever you do, see how it works in random groups. Tweak it until you can handle what the players will do.
The second step would be to take the generic skills you developed in tanking through the levels, and then apply that to your max level character of choice now that you’ve built up confidence.
I think it might work pretty good.
I am interested in how the other classes feel to tank through the levels. I know from experience that the Paladin feels far more in control of PUG aggro than my Warrior did while leveling. Is it just the Paladin? I could easily have been Warrior tanking wrong. Do all of them really handle the same way until you get to the 80-85 range?
I don’t know. I’m interested enough to try a Death Knight and tank through the levels, though. Just to see.
It’s been a new sensation for me, playing a Prot Paladin.
I feel… epic.
It’s been a long, long time since I felt that.
I’ve gotten used to setting my goal as “I feel competent in my class.”
If I go into a raid, in Firelands or anywhere else, that has been my goal for a year now. “Do I feel competent at my class? Did I do enough DPS to feel that I didn’t suck? Did I tank well enough to meet expectations?”
I never expect to feel badass anymore.
About the best I feel is when someone like Matheo tells me “I don’t know how you get those numbers on a Beastmaster Hunter”.
That feels good. I know I don’t have actual great DPS, just a surprising amount for a BM Hunter with my gear level, that’s all. It’s an “exceeds expectations” evaluation, and oh boy doesn’t that just thrill you.
But playing the Prot Paladin as a tank through the levels… taht brings back the old “epic” feel.
The “I am in command of this battlefield, weep you poor NPC bastards, weep!”
It’s a good feeling.
I’ll admit, since dinging 60 and equipping that incredibly powerful PvP epic gear, it’s gotten even nicer.
Or, as one player said to another in the Hellfire Ramparts run we did Monday;
Player 1 – “How the hell is the tank doing more than twice our DPS?”
Player 2 – “Have you SEEN his gear?”
Player 1 – “Where the hell did you get all those epics?”
It’s true. Thanks to the AoE heavy fights in Ramps and Blood Furnace, my damage output at level 60 was about twice that of most DPS players in heirlooms. DKs included.
In other words, I already felt epic before, but now while wearingthe epics, I actually feel EPIC.
It’s a good feeling. Turns out I missed it. I wish I could figure out a way we could get it back at high level.
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Hello, my tanking compadres.
You know how we’re always talking about getting aggro, holding aggro, managing pulls and working with DPS and healers to get groups running smoothly?
We’re always talking about that kind of stuff around here.
As tanks, we worry about how to get aggro on big groups of mobs, how to hold them all successfully, and generally do our part to reduce the stress levels of the team.
Now, I don’t have any figures to support this, but I think most of you that I know through the website tank because we enjoy that intense feeling of being a valuable member of a team when you tank and do it well. You get some warm fuzzies from your friends.
Plus, we like pain. We eat it like candy.
I’m sure a lot of the tanks you see out there in the wild chose that role for faster queue times, but I bet they’re outnumbered by the people that started to tank because somebody had to do it, and they were willing to assume the responsibility and try.
If you’re visiting this blog, chances are decent you actually give a shit about being a good tank, regardless of why you started doing it.
We tank because we care.
It harshes our mellow when somebody is lying dead on the floor during the pull. It especially torques us off when, for whatever reason, the healer has something chewing their face.
See, that is what I see in the comments on this and other blogs, but when I’m in actual pugs with other tanks and DPS, that’s not quite the case.
People who play as tanks are people too, and are just as liable to do the same screwed up stuff.
I decided to get a different point of view. I went sniffing for a conversation that was really representative of the attitudes I see in the real world.
I found what I was looking for at the MMO Champion forums.
There was a thread that started out innocently enough. The question posed was, how do you as the tank handle DPS players that pull for you, without being a dick or causing problems for the rest of the group?
That’s a pretty nice topic for a blog post, I was interested in seeing what came out of it. After all, there were NINETEEN pages of replies, there must be some good stuff in there, right?
The range of replies covered such insightful thoughts as;
Do your job right.
Lol 5 mans is srs bsns.
I never have problems as a tank, so you must suck.
Teach them a lesson and let them die.
DPS have to wait for groups longer than tanks, so stfu and pull faster. (Basically, different versions of “it’s your fault if I pull for you”)
Your job is to protect the party, regardless of what the party does. So deal with it.
If you play a tank, I’d seriously recommend reading the thread. At the very least, it provides lots of examples of the kind of people that are really out there, and how they think.
Before you think that the purpose of this post is to scare new tanks off, let me get to the point.
If you tank in random groups a lot, regardless of how fast you move or how much chain pulling you do, there will come a time when a player pulls for you.
Why? Because they’re bored. Or they’re a dick.
Or maybe because no matter what you do, some people are never satisfied, because it’s not what they’re doing now that is important, it is how long this will take so they can do another one.
Each thing I do I rush through so I can do something else. Pursuit, by Stephen Dobyns.
It doesn’t matter. How do you handle it?
My opinion on this and any other behavior issues in groups these days, is to ask if it’s causing a problem.
If someone in your group is doing something or saying something that pisses you or someone else off, it doesn’t matter if you are the only one feeling the anger or frustration. When you’re playing a video game, the only frustration you should feel is what comes when you fail to beat a mob (or other player in PvP). You get enough crap in the real world, you don’t need to deal with it in the game too.
Your group is supposed to be a team working together, even if only for 10 minutes. If someone can’t rein in their assholish tendencies for 10 minutes so that the group runs smoothly, that’s not a sign that you suck, the healer sucks, or of suckitude in general. It just means you’ve got an immature ass in the group.
The question you need to ask yourself is; is it bothering you enough to drop group?
How you react is what makes the game.
Me, I don’t take the shit. I tell them to play it straight or find someone else. I’ve got plenty of characters, if people can’t act like a mature adult for 10 minutes, I don’t waste my time with them, I just move on to a different character until the debuff timer goes away. Life is too short to screw around.
I don’t even worry about the rest of the team, because I know when I drop group they’re at the head of queue for a replacement. The next solo tank to come along is going to fill their group, and more power to ‘em.
Maybe you’re not quite at that level yet. Maybe you prefer to follow the “you pull it, you tank it” rule. In that case, just make sure you take a second to talk with the healer in a whisper, find out how they feel about it. You’re not making things any easier on the group if you let the pulling DPS tank something, and the healer refuses to give up and let them die. If the pulling DPS can wipe aggro or misdirect it, then all you’re doing is giving everyone else a headache.
Maybe you don’t really care how people act in groups. After all, one boff they’re off, and you never have to see them again, so why waste your time by dropping group now? Just check with the healer, see if they care healing one real tank and one fail tank in the same run, and if you’re both overgeared anyway, go for it.
And there is one other things to keep in mind. Maybe you are being more cautious than you have to be.
There is a lot to be said for pulling at a rate you are comfortable with, but who says you play WoW to be comfortable?
It’s good to push yourself, to see what you’re capable of. The wild card in your group is always going to be the healer, so why not whisper and ask them if they feel good with the idea of you pushing your pulls and seeing how fast you can go? If the healer says they’re just learning, then take it easy. If they say “Lol I raid Rag Hard Modes, go for it”, then wtf… go for it! Have fun, pull to your hearts content, go nuts. If you die from having too much on you and the healer couldn’t keep up, then I guess next time people won’t complain as much if you mark for CC.
Just remember, you don’t have to take shit from anyone, but you don’t have to draw a line in the sand everytime someone acts the tool. No need to get confrontational, if someone pulls for you, it’s up to you to decide how to respond.
A simplistic “pull faster” or “I never have a problem” just shows the person doesn’t know what they’re talking about, because every random group is going to have different gear and skill levels. All it takes is to get a brand new healer with minimal mana who keeps stopping to drink, and it’s not going to take long before you’re pulling a group when the healer is sitting out of range and out of mana.
What are you going to do, yell at the healer for being new? That might work once looking for raid comes out, but that is what five mans and gear levels are for. Part of being a good team player is actually trying to work within the capabilities of the team.
I will advise you as the tank to always check with your healer as soon as the group forms. Just a quick “Hey, I’m well geared and know the fights (or aren’t and don’t as appropriate), you mind if I push the pace” will tell you where you’re at and how to proceed from there.
If you like to go with “You pull it, you tank it”, then make sure the healer is on board with that plan. Some healers will just heal them too, and if you’re winning anyway, well, why not? I’ve been playing a Paladin alt as a tank up through the levels, and sometimes the DPS pulls other groups while I’m still on one, and hey… if they live because of their heirlooms, well, so what? Go for it.
Whatever, it all comes down to remembering you don’t have to take shit from anyone… but if you honestly don’t care what they do and it doesn’t bother you, and you and your healer can handle it, then why not just roll with it?
The one point I saw that is true is that it’s not your job to teach someone else the right way to play. They know not to pull for you, if they pulled that shit on a boss fight in a raid they’d be booted and they know it. But they have no respect for you or the content they’re doing, because ZA/ZG is ‘srs bsns’.
No, don’t take action with the intent of educating them.
I prefer to think of them dying while you watch as being more along the lines of letting nature take her course.
I just wish there was an effective /popcorn emote in the game, where a little red and white striped bag appeared and you tossed a few kernals while watching and giggling.
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You think YOUR butt is big?
I have a picture guaranteed to make you feel better about your body today.
Now that, my friends, is THE big bear butt.
My deepest thanks go to Ironshield for sending me an email pointing out this fantastic picture by Jill Greenberg.
The picture appeared in an article at the Telegraph, and has the byline “Kodiak Bear ‘Whopper’ photographed in Innisfail, Alberta, Canada by Jill Greenberg, Barcroft Media”.
So much for the myth that an all fish diet is slimming… unless brother bear butt here is spending all his time at the “All you can eat Walleye Fish Fry.”
7 Comments »
From out of the blue yesterday came a new Dev Watercooler blog post from Ghostcrawler, where he revealed that Blizzard has decided tanks shouldn’t have to worry about generating enough threat to hold mob aggro against crazy DPS.
Specifically, tanks on the starter end of the gearing grind shouldn’t be crushed under the weight of trying to hold aggro against raid-geared DPS going balls-to-the-wall in a pick up group.
Ready? This isn’t some “we think it would be nice to someday…” announcement. The hotfix apparently went live today, August 16th, and right now all tanks in their tank mode will have their threat generated from damage boosted, going from 300% threat from damage to 500%. They’ve also ramped up the rapidity by which Vengeance builds in the first few seconds of a pull.
When the announcement went out yesterday, folks I talked to had a wide range of responses.
Among them were that this was the end of the game as we know it, tanks will no longer have to know how to do anything, skill is dead, everybody dance now or quit in disgust, blah blah blah.
Say what now?
I’ll admit, I thought that the days of there being anything tank-related for me to talk about here were gone, what with the high levels of knowledge and awareness I see among the players I run into every day, but I guess I was wrong.
Let’s talk about what this really means for you and me, mmm’kay?
Tank threat generation has been increased. Not just by a little, but by a metric shit-ton. Threat from tank damage has almost doubled. It’s close to TWO metric shit-tons now, and that’s a lot.
So, it’s all crimson blood spraying and rolling in the clover for tanks now, right? We run in, lay down a few quick swipes, then we can go stagger away from the keyboard looking for a Guinness while the DPS finishes the pull.
Well, maybe a teeny bit, but not really.
The big reason that it’s not going to work that way is that encounter design, even on trash pulls, has changed a lot over the years.
It used to be that the bread and butter, meat and potatoes pull (it’s lunch time, I’m hungry) was the tank runs in and hits the mob, the DPS burns it down. There would be minor variations on that theme, a few extra adds maybe, a healer or ranged spellcaster that wouldn’t come along for the ride, but that was pretty much it.
These days, just as GC points out, the design has changed.
Now, most fights in high level instances and raids have some kind of mobile component, a multi-mob component, and also what my wife Cassie refers to as a gimmick.
The mobile component is simply something to encourage people to move around. Tornados swooping in and out, rocks falling from the sky, mobs that start cleaving/flaying wildly, stomps that you have to jump to avoid being hit by, green or red shit to move out of, electrical fields to pull mobs out of, the list goes on and on.
A mobile component; Blizzard designing fights where the player needs to think about moving your ass instead of just standing and mindlessly pushing buttons in a fixed rotation.
The multi-mob component. This doesn’t just mean that there was more than one mob standing there.
This is where during the fight you need to be aware of the area around you, including behind you, because there may be roaming packs of adds wandering around, there may be adds that spawn periodically out of nowhere and come running in that the tank has to grab on the fly, there may be adds just like the old days that heal others or do evil debuffs and poisons that need to be killed first or locked down with interrupts, and there may even be adds like in Stonecore or Zul’Aman that, if not stopped, will run off and bring a LOT of friends to your fight.
And finally, the gimmicks. Ah, the gimmicks.
It seems like every encounter has some kind of thing that’s different. Bosses that will fixate on a target and charge them. Mobs that are frozen that need to be drug through fire, mobs that are on fire that will destroy you unless you hit a frozen mob first to get chilled out, mobs that will bubble and you have to go jump around flipping levers, all sorts of stuff.
Gimmick. It’s an unkind term for unique encounter mechanics, but it’s accurate.
Tank threat is buffed now. A lot.
So, how does this change the game?
It doesn’t. It simply smooths out the flow.
If adds come running in, the tank still has to tag them and do damage to them to generate threat. End of story. You will not suddenly, miraculously grab adds and hold them automagically without doing anything to make it happen.
You will not be able to charge in, blast up and tune out. You as the tank will still have to be mobile when necessary, be aware of your surroundings and actively grab adds and distribute damage/threat amongst them, and you will still have to handle the gimmicks of each encounter.
What you can expect to change is that, if you are already doing everything you are supposed to, you will have a much stronger chance of holding aggro on all members of an AoE group, even if you are focusing on Skull, and the DPS are ignoring your marks to blow up whoever they want.
This change would normally encourage you to prioritize AoE threat generating abilities more. Since most AoE is on some kind of cooldown cycle now, you’re probably already using your AoE abilities whenever they’re up anyway, so, well, no big change there. Right?
It’s not like you can do Swipe spam, no matter how much you would have wanted to. But you can pop it every time it’s off cooldown, and expect it to have tastier results.
Likewise, for DPS players, this does not signal the death of Vanish/ Feign Death and Misdirection/Fan of Knives. Adds will still come in from wierd directions, and being able to send them off to the tank is always a good thing. Likewise, having an emergency “Get them the f&*(^ off of me” button never loses it’s value.
In conclusion…. I don’t know where the hell all the panic I saw came from, or the rage about dumbing down the game, but I for one welcome our new threat overlords, and invite them to come tank at the pug table.
My Warrior and Hunter alts will be sure to make you feel RIGHT at home.
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A Rogue, a Druid and a Priest walk into a bar.
The bartender asks them what they want.
The Rogue says, “Gimme some fresh leather gear, heavy on the agility and crit. I’m DPS.”
The Druid says, “I’ll have what he’s having. I’m a tank.”
The Priest says, “Gimme some rings, necklaces and trinkets heavy on intellect and spirit, I’m the healer.”
The Druid says, “I’ll have what he’s having. Sometimes I’m a healer.”
The bartender says, “Hey, who do you think you are, pal, a hunter?”
The Druid says, “No, that’s my alt. Hey, you got any BoE epics that I can need roll for him?”
I read somewhere that you’re supposed to open your speech with a joke. There you go.
I checked. It didn’t say it had to be a funny joke.
About this Priest thing.
I re-rolled a Priest, dear lord help me a gnome Priest, and went Discipline spec.
I dinged 15 yesterday, and immediately stopped questing. I went LFD as the healer, and leveled to 20 by the end of the night.
This may surprise you, but Priests don’t heal anything like Druids.
Man, I’m a Druid tank, we were taught to hate and fear that bubble.
The bubble meant we no get hit in face. If we no get hit in face, we no get rage. If we no get rage we no hit bad guys. We no hit bad guys, we no get aggro.
We no hold aggro, and that dumb son of a bitch that bubbled us on the run in just died screaming “Tank? WTF?!?!”
Years of training have taught me to sneer at bubbles.
To be a Bear Tank, you gotta be fast and you gotta like pain. You eat it like candy. The more I get hurt, the more dangerous I become. But you got to be durable, too. Real durable. Most ain’t.
You want to bubble me? What do I look like, a Paladin? “Ack! My bubble popped, they can touch me with their gooey zombie hands, I just had a bath last week, run away, run away!”
Bear tanks do it in the buff.
While I’m kidding my fellow tanks, I’ll acknowledge the Warriors and Death Knights for keeping it real and getting down and dirty with us.
Warriors: “Look, last time they took a swing at me, I felt something get through. I’m telling you, bolt on another couple steel plates, and this time, weld some more damn razor fins on top. If they’re gonna hit me, I want ‘em to suffer, damnit.”
Armorer: “But you’re already layered in 6 inches of steel with blades and spikes over everything but your asshole. If I add any more you’ll need a crane to get into combat.”
Warriors: “What? That’s unacceptable! I expect blades and spikes everywhere! Especially protecting me arse! Get weldin’!”
Death Knights: “… What do I care if they hit me? I’m already dead. If they cut off my fist, I’ll just choke them to death with it. Dirt? Slime? Have you SEEN what I clawed my way out of to get here? A little slime just adds color.”
I kid because I care. (bonus points if you know where that line came from, it’s one of my favorites.)
Back to the topic!
My Priest is specced Discipline, because Hedwig told me to. I wish I could say that I researched it, but I’d be lying.
I asked, “Which spec is the one that you think would be most fun to level as for pug healing?”
I was told Disc.
From what I understand as a Druid and Hunter aficionado, Priests what spec Disc can do this thing called Atonement Healing, which means that when you DPS the bad guys with Smite and Holy Fire, part of the damage you do heals the people around you in a completely uncontrolled fashion.
That sounds fascinating.
The more DPS I do, the more healing output I have? Really? God bless you, Blizz, you’ve given Healers a reason to obsess about damage meters too. That took skill.
Of course, from levels 15 through 20, I ain’t got Atonement yet. In fact, I only just got Holy Fire.
What I’ve got, are a damn expensive bubble, a Flash Heal fast big spendy heal, a piss poor long cast meager Heal, and a Renew instant cost HoT.
That’s enough for going on with.
First thing I noticed… son of a, really? REALLY? None of my caster cloth Heirlooms have Spirit on them? Really?
Way to encourage overpowered tanks and heals in the leveling pugs. /sarcasm.
No, by all means, let’s maximize DPS burst damage, we don’t need mana to keep idiots alive while they stand in the fire.
That’s okay. It’s better than being poked in the eye by a banana… or even a pointy stick.
I did, in sequence, Ragefire Chasm, Deadmines, Wailing Caverns and Shadowfang Keep.
In two of those, I zoned in at the first boss, to find the tank and DPS all looking at me, like I better not suck.
In each one, three of the other four people shared guilds. The tank was always one of the folks with two guildies.
I’ll give the tanks I saw credit. They tried. There were marks, there was an orderly progression, there was movement.
The rest of the DPS, on the other hand…
I’m gonna keep healing pugs. It’s certainly entertaining.
What I have to decide is how I’m going to handle the DPS players.
When DPS players attack whatever they feel like without paying any attention to aggro or the tank, what should I do?
When DPS players stand in bad stuff and their health plummets, what should I do?
It looks at first glance like there are two ways I could go with this.
I could try to teach the DPS the consequences of their actions, in the hopes that they will learn what not to do in a very darwinian way. It would also be an investment in the mental health of their future healers.
The mind I save could be my own.
All that I would have to do, is closely monitor the reasons the DPS take damage, and make a conscious decision to withhold my heals if I don’t approve of their behavior.
The other way I could go would be to ignore what any of the rest do, keep my head down, and do everything in my power to keep everyone alive, starting with me, then the tank, and then everyone else in that order.
Now, if I just do my best to keep everyone alive and do my own job, I’ll be benefitting myself a ton.
I’ll be forced to learn how to heal as efficiently as possible, using the right heal with the right cost and cast time for the purpose at hand. I’d HAVE to, because I’d never know when the group would all decide to take a swim in lava for shits and grins.
I’d get smooth, short runs. If I keep everyone alive, then there would be less deaths, less downtime for run backs and rezzes, less QQ, less drama.
Overall, it would be a decent experience, and I would be as happy in the short term as possible.
In the long term, especially if most healers act like I do and try to heal everyone just to benefit themselves with smooth, drama free runs, then the players will never be forced to learn anything beyond “Blow all cooldowns, stand still going all out, move to next group. Rinse and repeat.”
That will lead to healers that might be trying to learn themselves getting treated like scum for not being overpowered and capable of handling idiots with the self-preservation instincts of a lemming and the life expentancy of a mayfly.
There is a fallacy at the heart of my dilemma. I’m sure you caught it, my friends.
I said there were two ways I could go… and that’s not true.
There is a third way… I could do my own job the best I can, but also watch the actions of other players, and offer unsolicited advice in a friendly, non-aggressive way if I have suggestions on how players could improve their teamwork.
The question really comes down to, is it any of my business how anyone else chooses to play their character?
And even if it is, where is it my responsibility to make other people play the way I think they should, and punish them if they don’t?
Are the lower level dungeons there for pure fun, anything goes, you pays your money the same as everyone else, you takes your chances on what you get?
Are the dungeons there as a proving ground, a place to learn how to play your class and role in a group environment?
Are they a little of column A, a little of column B?
If they’re just there for fun, even only partly for fun, then it’s none of my business how other people play.
I queued up as a healer, and nothing in the PUG checklist said, “You are signing up to heal this group, unless people in it do stuff you don’t like.”
There are no conditions placed on the other members. They signed up to pew pew or stab stab, or tankity tank, and I signed up to heal. I’d be flat out wrong to not heal.
Low level dungeons can be a great place for people to start learning how to play their class and role, but you don’t get all the abilities at the beginning that you do at max level. I think the current system was designed to introduce players slowly to the concept of the abilities and how they are used, giving us time to get the hang of what we’ve got before adding more.
If we can’t practise at low levels the way we’ll be playing at max, then it’s meant for fun as well.
So, the way I see it, I can see people act like idiots, and I can blog about people acting like idiots, and I can put idiots on ignore if they do not play their characters in a group setting the way I would like them to.
But where the line is drawn, is where I can control my own actions. If I don’t like how people act, then I change my own behavior. I either don’t queue up, I choose only to queue with friends or players whose style I know, I queue but place people I don’t like on ignore so I don’t see them again, or I mention during the run, in a non-aggressive way, things I would ask players to do to help the run go smoothly, and offer guidance and suggestions to be helpful.
Regardless of what else I do, if I queue up, then I made a commitment to either play my role the best I can, or leave the group as an acknowledgement that I cannot handle the conditions and give the group a chance at a healer that can.
It’s funny, isn’t it? It’s exactly the same as approaching runs as a tank, except the tank is expected and encouraged to lead, and part of leadership is establishing clear expectations for the team.
The healer is a more passive. You follow along, keep up, mana up, and try to keep everyone alive.
You are used to persevering through the tough places, to enduring in frustration but keeping your mouth shut and following the tanks lead.
I wonder how long I can go leveling as a quiet, dutiful healer before I crack?
Update: Thanks to Some Random Guy, who reminded me I didn’t finish this the way I intended. I need to clarify a little bit about the bubble mechanic. As Some Random Guy said, the bubbles were changed a while back so your rage generation will still continue even while bubbled. Also, rage generation mechanics in general were modified so more of your rage comes from damage you deal in comparison to damage received than it used to in the time I was talking about. So, the days of having to strip naked to get rage back while running through content you vastly outlevel are pretty much gone. I fully intended to mention this in the post, but got distracted by shinies. I failed at closing the circle. /sigh.
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