Sometimes it’s just for the best

I’ve been using Vuh’do for a very long time now. Been happy with it, love it.

I have two default profiles that I had spent a lot of time customizing, a “Standard DPS”, and a “Druid HealZzz”.

The standard DPS was one I set up for, you guessed it, a default DPS player. I could load the profile on a new character, save it as a copy unique to that character, and then modify it a little if I wanted to have mouseover heals, cleanses, misdirects or trinket procs when using an ability without macros. That sort of thing.

The Druid HealZzz one was set up with all the bells and whistles for my Druid to heal. All the buttons on my mouse set to just the right spells, the colors and textures of the health bars just the way I liked ’em, all the icons and countdown timers and everything.

Been using those profiles for years.

Well, I took my baby Priest, loaded the Druid HealZzz profile, saved it and started customizing. I figured, best to start with the bars all done, and just adjust spells to buttons.

It worked nice for my first few runs yesterday. No problems.

One issue I noticed that I wanted to fix, though, was I wanted a visual indication of Weakened Soul on the bar of whoever had it.

When you cast Power Word: Shield, the target gets your bubble, and also gets the Weakened Soul effect preventing another bubble right away.

Normally, they’re both on the same timer. Bubble fades, time to recast (if you want).

I noticed more than once during the runs that when the tanks PW: Shield absorbed enough damage to fade early, I had no visual on the bars of the Weakened Soul countdown. In a few tight spots, that left me spamming PW: Shield for the few seconds I waited.

I wanted that Weakened Soul on my bars. I didn’t want to have to hunt for it on the default party UI, mixed in with all the other buffs. And I wanted a countdown timer on it.

Well, I rooted around and found that the HoT window showed my normal Power Word: Shield, and that there was something new I’d never had cause to notice before called “Bouquets”.

One of the Bouquets was named “PW: Shield and Weakened Soul”. That sounded promising, so I opened the editing configuration for it.

I wasn’t sure what I was looking at, clicked the “remove” tab, and the options in the bouquet vanished. Poof.

I was pretty sure that was a booboo, so I tried to recreate them. Then I tried reinstalling the addon. Then I tried loading a different profile.

Nope, what I did seemed to be a global change. And I was getting error messages from the addon trying to call to that bouquet.

Pretty, huh?. Pretty stupid of me, anyway.

So, I went into the options and reset the addon configuration to stock.

Which…. ALSO deleted all of my profiles. Every single last one.


‘Kay, fine. Whatever. If I’m going to make a mistake, why the hell not sink the Titanic, give me something to be proud of. At a certain point, if you screw up BIG enough, you can turn it into something positive.

You know, something so incredibly stupid that at least when you tell the story in a bar someday, people will laugh and buy you a beer. You don’t get that if you, say, ran over a nail and flattened your tire driving through a construction site as a shortcut.

You might get the free beer if you try to cut the tree roots out from under your natural gas regulator coming into the house with a Sawzall, and cut right through the gas main coming TO the regulator, causing a major gas leak that floods the area, resulting in the city fire department and police department all rushing to the area, along with the public works and gas company first responders, and an entire crew to repair the leak… all on a Sunday. On 4th of July weekend.

At least the house didn’t explode.

So, as long as I’d just wiped every custom setting I’d ever created in Vuh’do, let’s start with the easy one; configuring the Priest.

What I found out, in having to look at all these options again for the first time in years, is that all of these updates to the addon I keep downloading CHANGED shit.

I know, right?

Not only do things look better than before, but there are two new features that seem simple, but that I never had enabled before, or even knew had been added.

The first one, is that yes, the bouquets that are added allow you to have one visual icon that changes condition states.

There are many of them pre-programmed, you just put one in one of the HoT icon slots.

The one I wanted to use, PW:Shield & Weakened Soul, when modified to add ‘show Shield condition’ and ‘Countdown Timer’, does the following; it lets you have PW: Shield icon displayed as the 1st priority. If the Shield is still up, the blue square icon shows you the shield is active, the timer on how long it has left if it doesn’t absorb all the damage and fade first, AND a white circle around it that starts to vanish as the Shield absorbs damage.

Then, if the Shield vanishes early, the blue square icon disappears, to be replaced by an orange diamond with a timer, telling you EXACTLY how long Weakened Soul still has to tick down before you can recast your Shield.

These bouquets, which all of you regular Vuh’do users probably already know all about, let you tie multiple effects and stuff together, chain the alerts in a priority. If this is active, then it’s showing. If it goes away, the next one on the list that is active shows instead. And so on.

Hey, that’s some awesomeness.

Now, the second thing that I found out is that there is now an option to turn on Target, and Target of Target, for your health bars. All fully customizable.

That’s pretty sweet, but there is more.

You also have the option of configuring your mouse buttons for HOSTILE casting mode. You’ce got two buttons settings you can configure; what to cast when mousing over a friendly party or raid member, and what to cast when mousing over the target bar of an enemy.

You can set offensive spells on mouse buttons, and cast them while mousing over the bad guys displayed right on the target frames.

Now, I know this is all old hat to people who spend lots of time customizing bars and stuff, but I’ve always gone for a minimalist approach. I keep my viewing area clear as much as possible.

But what this is giving me is so much fun as a caster, that I’m squeeing in the instances.

I mean, check this out.

I can see at a glance where everyones health is at, I’ve got my blue square with a white circle on the tank for my Shield, I can see who EVERYONE in the party is targeting, AND I can see who the mobs they are on are targeting! All sper clear, easy to read at a glance, nothing extra cluttering it up. Bold, solid colors.

In this example, everyone is on the boss, and the boss is on the tank. No hankypanky.

In this example, you can see what it looks like as the Bubble begins to absorb damage. You can also see the corner of the blue square poking out. And of course, you can see the time remaining on the Renew.

We take a step back now, and you can see that while I’m healing, I’m also able to use mouseover on the bar to cast Penance on the boss without my mouse having to move OVER the boss, or away from the health bars. I like that. Fast response time if I need to drop a heal, yo. For those that don’t use it, the bar showing my Penance spell ticks is an addon called Quartz. I couldn’t play without it.

In this example, you can see that the DPS are not on the same target as the tank… and it looks like the Warlock pulled aggro with AoE on at least three different mobs, and has aggro on all of them. You can tell because all three are at different health levels. I have instant notification BEFORE his health starts dropping that he’s pulled aggro. How interesting that it looks like he’s the only one without a Renew on at the moment, hmmm?

Yes, being able to see immediately who the players are targeting, and whether or not they are pulling aggro off the tank intentionally, is a lot of fun.

You can do that with the normal party frames, but I don’t look at them all that much, I’m looking at the area around me in game, at the bad guys, at the bad on the floor I need to get out of. With this, and being able to cast damage spells directly on mouseover of the target bar, I can Heal using Atonement so freaking easy, and still be poised to keep Shield up or drop a Renew or Flash Heal in a tight spot. This has made 5 person instances so clear cut that it’s amazing the difference I feel.

The other thing I think is funny, is that it’s made it so easy for me to see when other people are screwing off or being dicks.

The last run I had of the night, I had a tank and rogue that I did Gnomeregan with that wanted to queue with me again. We got Scarlet Monastery Graveyard, and two new players, a Paladin and a Warrior, both guilded together and queued as DPS.

Within seconds of attacking, I saw something amazing.

The other Warrior and Paladin may have queued as DPS, but the Warrior was charging off into groups nowhere near the rest of us… and the Paladin was following along and doing nothing but healing him. I could easily tell from the grayed out bars that they were out of my cast range most of the time. I didn’t even have to look for them.

The tank and Rogue and I who had all queued together were three manning the instance towards the boss while they farmed the outer edges on their own.

The Paladin never stopped targeting the Warrior and casting heals. The Warrior didn’t rejoin us until we were down the stairs into the crypt… and kept pulling aggro in tank mode, and charging extra groups.

I stopped healing those two, of course, and told them that if they wanted to tank and heal, then reach down, find some guts, and queue as tank and healer. I stopped healing them and focused on the two folks who were doing what we came there to do.

It’s just an example of how nice it was to be able to see, instantly, that those two weren’t on the same plan as the rest of us, but off in their own little world. No wondering, no doubts or confusion. I could see exactly what they were doing, while still staying right on top of my game. I could have been dancing out of the bad while DPSing and healing, AND spy on those idiots, all at the same time.

Oh, and as a funny side note… I stopped healing the two at all, since hey, the Paladin was so eager to be a healer, and the Warrior bit off more than he could handle, the Paladin ran out of mana, and they both died. I did not rez. We finished the instance and wanted to requeue… but the others refused to drop group. They also refused to say a word, I believe under the mistaken assumption that if they didn’t say anything, I couldn’t put them on ignore.

Wrong answer, turkeybreath. We weren’t able to kick them once the instance was complete, so we did have to drop our group without being able to requeue, but I have the satisfaction of knowing that’s two more idiots I won’t be seeing again, ever.

It’s hilarious to me that, after all this time, my own profile settings and laziness prevented me from seeing the cool new features that are in Vuh’do. I had to screw up in a major way to get the awesome.

I can’t wait to dig into them even deeper!

Raise ’em right or rock and roll?

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.

Bubble? BUBBLE?!?

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.

Just sayin’.

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.