This past weekend I made the decision that I was going to finally follow through with leveling an Alliance character through the WotLK quests. I usually do try to see the “other” side of each expansion to see how things are different. Having transferred almost all of my alliance characters over to the horde (FOR THE HORDE!), rather than transferring one of them back I opted to resurrect a character that hasn’t been played since Vanilla. My level 60 Dwarf Paladin. Now, we gave him a face lift and a sex change because I kind of really wanted a space goat. And we painfully re-leveling mining to go with my engineering, after having dropped it back in Vanilla to DE some old gear.
I decided that I would level Ret/Prot this go, already having a Holy Paladin, although I am sure by the time she hits 80 she will probably be Holy/Prot, but you never know! Only I had one serious problem: I was lacking some heirloom gear for her! I was able to transfer over the shoulders and breastplate that I had on my DK, but I was missing a weapon and some trinkets. No problem, right?! WRONG! This character is on my “other” account, with the only 80 on that account being my priest. A priest who is my least played healer, and isn’t really swimming in badges!
That’s ok though, I was determined and it’s just some instances, right? No biggie! And so I decided to spend some time healing in LFD.
When Did Healers Get So Prissy?
As I queued up for my first instance, I was shocked that I had a three minutes wait time! WTF! I am a healer, I don’t have wait times! (apparently, yes, yes I do). When my instance popped up, I groaned as I saw the loading screen. Halls of Reflection. Of course – go figure. But, I bucked up, hit the “enter dungeon” key, and loaded into the zone.
To a party that was completely dead.
Great, just great. I could already tell that this was an omen…and those precious badges needed for my precious heirlooms were going to be painful to acquire. Only…it wasn’t bad. Like, at all. Sure there were a few spots where I mildly panicked and flailed to keep the group standing, and the tank in an upright position – he was a little squishy but not impossible to heal. And in the end, it really wasn’t bad at all and the instance went on without a hitch.
Which left me scratching my head wondering what, exactly, had prompted the first healer to leave.
Oh, well, whatever. Let’s queue up for the next! And I did, and more after that. However, with all of the instances that I ran I would say that I zoned into more than one-third of them very much the same way that I zoned into my first one. With the entire party dead and the healer absent. And, also very much like the first one, once I joined the group the instance went off largely without a hitch. Tanks weren’t terrible, DPS was adequate, and generally the instance was fairly pleasant.
So I got to thinking – are healers starting to feel entitled to special treatment? With all of the dungeons I zoned into the group was generally just fine. What prompted that healer to leave? Did they not like the aftershave that the tank was wearing? Did the DPS forget their deodorant? Or was the healer throwing a prissy-fit? Sadly, my healing brethren, I tend to think it’s the last.
Being a healer myself, I can certainly understand that there are certain things that just set you off, pet peeves that really push your buttons. But I get the feeling that many of the healers that I replace left after just one wipe. They didn’t say “ok, something wasn’t working let’s run back and try it again”, the just bailed on the group. And what makes it even worse, is that it would seem to me that frequently it was the healer that was likely the problem. I mean I was certainly able to step in without too much problem and finish the group out…so clearly the blame wasn’t entirely the fault of the other members of the group.
Which then leads my mind to the next point that I started to ponder as I ground out instances:
Are Healers Lacking Patience, Skill and a Desire to Learn?
If I was able to step up into these dungeons on my moderately geared priest and complete them largely without event, it seems that the prior healer was lacking…something. It seems to me that something that is lacking with a lot of newer (and sometimes older) healers is a good knowledge of the tools available to them. What they have to help them out of a tight spot. I mean, how many times have you been in a group with a disc priest that has never passed out a power infusion. Or worse…doesn’t use Pain Suppression in a pinch! Based on the happy, squee comments that I get when I pass mine out on cooldown, my guess is a lot.
To use another example, let me point to a 25 man ICC PuG that I ran a few weeks ago on my paladin. There were two druids in the raid, both could have used a good visit over to Keeva’s resto druid guide, but the one that floored me the most is the one that didn’t spec into Nature’s Swiftness. HOW CAN YOU NOT SPEC INTO ONE OF YOUR TWO OH SHIT BUTTONS?!?!?! I politely provided both druids some tips throughout the raid night, and provided them with some resources to go and check out. Both were receptive and seemed happy to receive said advice. But…we were in the final raid instance of this expansion – and these were two players that had leveled to 80! And they were missing some very key aspects of healing.
I couldn’t help but wonder to myself “why”? As I ran through instances over the weekend, I couldn’t help but wonder if the healers that had a snit fit and left their instance, leaving me to fill in, had take the time to really learn how to heal. Not only that, but I also wondered if they even recognized that perhaps they were the problem. My guess is that their impatience trumped their desire to truly learn to heal, and the first time they got a tank that wasn’t geared to the teeth and DPS that perhaps pulled threat one too many times they didn’t know how to effectively handle the situation. Not only that, but they likely blamed anyone but themselves for the groups failing.
This in itself only complicates the problem exponentially, because if they fail to realize that they have room for improvement they are likely to continue the self-delusion that they are fine and that everyone else is the problem. Which means that we then continue to start running in circles and the problem never resolves itself. Really, the only way to learn to be a successful healer is to, well, heal! You cannot bail out the first time you wipe, or if you tank doesn’t have 60k health.
Part of what I enjoy so much about healing is the challenges that it provides. Undergeared tank (that likely isn’t even truly undergeared)? Bring it on – challenge me. Force me to pull out everything but the kitchen sink to keep you and the raid alive. Why? Because that is how I will learn to become an exceptional healer. That is how I will learn what I am, and am not, capable of doing. That is how I will learn to make the impossible possible. However, it also takes some patience on my part. I must understand that wipes happen. I must understand that sometimes those wipes are, in fact, my fault.
So, Do Healers Have a Bad Attitude?
My experience from this weekend would indicate that a lot of those up and coming healers do seem to have a bit of the wrong attitude. And hell – maybe it isn’t just up and coming healers, perhaps it’s old veteran healers that feel entitled just as well. Those that feel that they are more important that the other members of their group solely because they make the green bars go right.
Well, to those people, I have a bit of a wakeup call for you: You are no more important that the other 4 people in that group. If you think you are try getting your randoms done solo. You are not immune from making mistakes, and in fact, some of the time it really is “the healer’s fault”. The next time you are healing an instance and are growing frustrated ask yourself if there isn’t something that you could be doing better. No matter what other failings the group may have, if the answer isn’t “yes” then perhaps you are a bigger part of the problem than you think.
So What Do You Think? Are healers getting a bit big for their britches? Have you run across healers who seem to just up and leave your instances for no reason?