Monday, 16 May 2011

More wiping

Spent an hour in a new (to me) dungeon in WoW this evening, and very frustrating it was too. The party wiped twice, and nearly wiped twice more. The mobs in Maraudon are cleverer than in lower levels: they know to try to take out the healer, and react sooner and more viciously to my presence. I died in every run. In the end, the team just withered away, dropping out one by one after the last wipe. I have the strong feeling that at least some blamed me for the wipes. "WTF healer!" from somebody who ran ahead of the group, got out of sight and was hammered.

I see that differently. If I (the healer) tell you I'm out of energy (unable to do any healing in the immediate future) and sit down to replenish energy, and if you (the tank or DPSer) then walk away from me and get into trouble: that's your own damned fault and it serves you right.

It's amazing to me how little some players know about the mechanics of WoW: it comes as a great surprise to them to discover that I cannot heal them at great distances, or with walls between us. Many tanks don't appreciate that their role is to prevent others from receiving damage (the healer, for example) and will ignore cries for help from the "squishies."

Healing is a fulfilling role in itself, but carries much frustration with it. On the positive side, tanks and healers can always get a place in a random group almost instantly: I've rarely had to wait more than two minutes after joining the queue, compared to up to a quarter-hour for my mage.

However, on the other hand, many players seem to view the healer as a silent reproach, a reminder of their imperfection and fallibility: like standing in view of a juggler while holding a broom and dustpan. When things go well, the healer is superfluous: just extra competition for the trinkets and money that should have been theirs — because they're doing all the work, amiright? But the second things start to go wrong, the cry goes up "Healer! where the fuck are you?" And if somebody dies, it's the healer's fault for not saving them.

I've been in maybe two dozen dungeon parties so far as healer, in addition to other roles, and have saved maybe a hundred people's bacon many times over. I have been thanked for that: once. Now, I'm not doing dungeons for compliments but because I enjoy the role and want to do it well; but a little recognition once in a while would be appreciated.

It's not always like that. I've had good runs through difficult dungeons, where the team moved as one and nobody died, and the difference is largely due to the tank. A good tank makes a good run, and a bad tank makes a bad run, whoever else is on the team. It's that simple. I have met three good tanks and an excellent one, and the difference between them and the bad'uns can be summed up in two words: awareness and generosity. More on tanking in another post.

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