The Grouchy Gamer

Yeah, I'm cranky. That's kinda the point...

Healing the Anitsocial and My Role in it

I’ve been making some observations lately in WoW regarding healing and the Dungeon Finder.  I’ve been thinking about writing about it for a few days, but Spinks and Syp have both beat me to it.

Spinks article is about “You can’t heal stupid,” which is absolutely correct.  Syp writes about the unwritten rules that healers have in “The Secret Life of Healers.”

Both of them allude to or outright point out that most healers in the game (I play a Resto Shaman as one of my dual mains) have a set of rules for healing people, particularly people in Random Heroic Groups.  We probably all had rules that we had in our minds from doing PUGs, but not many people did as many dungeons doing PUGs as we do now with the Dungeon Finder.  This has amplified our issues as healers and brought them to the forefront of our thinking.  Before this I never really thought that much about them but over the course of the last few weeks I have had time to consider this quite a lot.

For the benefit of all the ADHD tanks, fire-and-forget ranged DPS, and don’t-quite-know-they-aren’t-the-tank melee DPS folks out there, here are some things to consider should you be lucky enough to be in a Heroic I am healing.  I am willing to bet that there are even some other healers who will agree with these, so think of them as rules to live by.

1. Tanks – I am a mana-using class, please keep this in mind. – I know you have to hurry up and finish the dungeon before your parking meter expires, but going fast has the law of diminishing returns.  Seriously, WTF is the rush?  You are a tank, and can get a dungeon instantly and if you really are such hot shit you probably don’t need the emblems any more.  Slow down just a little and let me drink 2 or 3 times during the run.   Stressing me out means I’m more likely to make mistakes, and me making a big mistake could mean a wipe, which is the ultimate slow down.  I spend my entire time in there looking at your health bar, glance at mine once in a while.  Einstein.

2. It’s more mana-efficient to rez Hunters and Rogues than it is to heal them. – Seriously, why are you taking damage?  If there isn’t some sort of AE that the MOB is doing and you are taking damage, you are risking me having to decide between keeping me and the tank up, or finishing the fight with 4 players.  Given that all but 2 or 3 of the Heroics can be 4-manned anyway, I’m not going to lose any sleep if you drop.  So knock it the hell off.

3. You are responsible for controlling your threat.  Don’t automatically blame the tank. – We are ALL responsible for controlling our own threat.  If you don’t have a threat meter, you may want to get one.  The one I have beeps if I get close to #1 on the charts.   This lets me know that I have to do more than memorize a button sequence and let ‘er rip.  I know DPS is a high-workload role, but that doesn’t mean it should be a low-brainshare one.  Pay attention to what you are doing, so I don’t end up blowing my entire mana pool healing everyone who gets smote on the mob’s way back and forth between you and the tank.  If you do draw aggro, die gracefully without blaming anyone else because, well, it’s your own damn fault.

4. Don’t be a douchebag. – If you are going to tell everyone in the group how to play their class, berate the tank and the healer for doing things the way they are doing them, and generally act like an antisocial ass, please know that I am not going to heal you.  At all.  Now before you all hate on me, know that I have a high threshold for asshattery, but once you reach it there is pretty much no way back.  Example:  Last night I am running a Heroic with Br3ntbr0 from ITG!  The Ret Pally (big surprise here) starts yapping about Hurry up!  And GO FASTER!  We tell him to chill, but he starts peppering in obscenities and jumping around like a fool while still telling us to hurry.  I’m in Vent with Brent and as we approach the last boss I tell him I’ve had enough and the Pally is gonna die.  Note:  I do tend to go kinda passive-aggressive in situations like this, so of course that is what I did.  Brent made sure he allowed the Pally to pull aggro, and I let him die.  We finished the boss in record time anyway, looted, insulted him, watched his profanity-laced tirade, and left him dead in the instance.  Lesson:  If you can’t be civil, expect that to have consequences.

5. A tank is not a tank. – To everyone who isn’t a tank, just something for you to know: A Prot Pally is not the same as a Prot Warrior, is not the same as a LOLBear, is not the same as a DK tank.  So you should know how each of them are different in the realm of aggro management, and make adjustments accordingly.  I’m always going to try to keep everyone vertical (with some exceptions noted above) but if you insist on pulling aggro from the tank during the initial pull over and over again, then I have to agree with Spinks and just realize that “you can’t heal stupid.”  Hopefully your deaths are a lesson to you.  If not, then you apparently can’t teach stupid either.

6. Don’t stand in the fire/poo gas/poison/void zone.

So to boil it down;

  1. Let me have some mana, saving 1 or 2 minutes isn’t buying you that much.
  2. Know your role.
  3. Don’t be a douche.
  4. Use your head for something besides a hat rack.
  5. Don’t stand in the effing fire.

One other thing you should know. Here is my healing priority list:

  1. ME. I can’t heal anyone else if I am dead.  Simple concept.
  2. The tank.  Should really be 1b. A fight without a tank is a wipe 9 out of 10 times.
  3. Anyone else who isn’t a Rogue or Hunter, particularly if they can backup heal.
  4. Rogues and Hunters.

I guess I’ll never understand why people can’t make an effort to at least be civil, try, and to try to have some fun in these groups.  I’m not quite sure why my initial reaction to people behaving in what I perceive to be an unacceptable manner produces a passive aggressive response in me but, well, it does.  I suspect that I’m not alone in this.

If you are a tank, please just pause every once in a while and see if your healer is OK.  We’re keeping you (pretty close to) front of mind, showing a little mind-share to your healer should be one of your priorities.

And no matter who you are.  If you have something to share that you think would help someone in the group, try doing it without name calling or berating anyone.  That doesn’t help.  And it will probably get you killed.


  1. The sad fact is that the people who need to understand this are retarded and don’t read, if they can read at all…

  2. As a person that plays a Tank I’ve had very similar situations. I usually wait for the healer, but I often get “hurry up” and “lets make this fast”, from other members of the group, which irritate me to no end. And if they pull agro, I get all this “Learn to tank better” or “Hold Agro”. Do people think I don’t know my class with all the 25 Man ToC and 10 Man ICC gear I’ve got covering my dwarven body? 90% of the time runs go very smoothly because people rarely say anything other than, Hi or hello and Can I need that? But on the rare occasions people open their mouths its to prove how stupid they are about they way an instance is run.

    Trust me, the new LFG is very very nice, but now you get all the bad players who can group with anyone now and get decent loot. The game has succeeded in making the lowest common denominator the typical WoW player.

  3. This is a very excellent write up. Nothing bothers me more with pugs than having a player or players in a group that are just in a hurry to burn through a dungeon, more often than not getting us wiped.

  4. I’ll just add that as a 68 shaman, I ALWAYS say when I join an LFG dungeon that “I am a new resto shaman and am in greens and need to drink about every 3rd fight” (if the rest of the group are following the rules you have laid out above, I might stretch it to 4). I also finally made a macro that says “HEALER IS DRINKING…PULL AT YOUR OWN RISK”. I mean seriously…Genda is right. I spend my entire gameplay staring at your health bars…glance at my mana bar once in a while. lol

    I will usually earthshield and hot the tank when I am good to go. And the “speed runs” almost always end in a wipe.

    All that said…I still enjoy my priest more than anything I have played in a while…maybe even as much as my EQ1 Enchanter…ahh…the joys of crowd controlling, hasting, mezzing, and lining up mobs in order for the group to kill. 😀

  5. As a resto Druid, I’m constantly getting told by tank and DPS alike to hurry it up and in some cases to just pop innervate and stop whining!

    It’s amazing how the random group tool has completely obliterated the whole PUG experience into just one big assembly line AOE rush through everything. Gah!

    Give me the old days when we had to plan out each fight with raid markings and crowd control!

  6. @Rackham – it’s more of a product of having people in T9 gear running through dungeons that were supposed to be challenging but possible for newish level 80s in blues, maybe some greens.

    Welcome back to Rexxar. 🙂

  7. It was an AoE rush long before the LFG tool, depending on how badly you over geared the instance.

    As an overgeared Paladin tank, if I have to stop between pulls then I have to drink between pulls. If I chain pull, and pull big, I get enough mana from Divine Plea and being healed.

    I guess if the instances are still new and interesting you’d want to sit and smell the roses. I’ve done them dozens of times, I just want my two frost badges and onto something else.

  8. @UFTimmy- I get that, but I guess my question is will that 90 seconds I spend drinking in an instance as a healer make that much of a difference in your day?

  9. I don’t get the rush? Why oh Why do people need to be in a great big hurry? I mean, I do it if the healer is the one rushing me when I tank, but I never listen to dps because they are a dime a dozen on most servers. I just wish you could kick people before the 15 min rule because it don’t take but a few pulls to know if people are going to behave and if they need to be in someone else’s run.

  10. My room-mate always plays a healer, and has many of the same complaints you do. My biggest complaint in MMO’s is really the lack of cooperativeness. I have absolutely ZERO problems playing with newer players, however I can’t stand when people either:

    A. Yell at newer players for not knowing the instance/being new.


    B. The newer player refuses to listen.

    I usually play a Tank or DPS, but I get an ear-full from my room-mate quite often 🙂

  11. I LOVE this post…well said..I have a druid healer and priest healer and I can always tell when I am playing with others who have never rolled a healer, then love when they bark at me on how to heal.

    Another rule I have is if you yell “HEAL” at me… then you won’t get a I didnt realize that’s what I was here for thanks for letting me’s like if I yelled every so often ..”SHOT SOMETHING” lol

    Dps gets very antsy and are always so worried how their damage meter is looking that they dont wait for the healer to have adequate mana for the next fight or for the tank to have adequate aggro. Once one of them starts the pew pew all the rest have to start too so they can have a pissing contest on how tough they are when they wouldn’t be squat without the tank or healer.

    Matt has two different types of tanks that I run my two different healers with. I always tell him so is not going to get healed I am letting them die..and he laughs and says it’s okay we got this 🙂

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