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.