The Game of Blame

Oopsy Daisy

Oopsy Daisy

So the other night, Tartshapdbox and I were chit chatting in between Yogg-Sarron wipes (crazy awesome fight, btw), when she mentioned to me that Mr Tart had just finished a PuG that had gone a little less than spectacular.  First off, it was an Ulduar 25 PuG, which sounds frightening enough on it’s own, hosted by a guild with a few randies along for the ride.  Mr Tart was apparently one of the healers who had gotten picked up, though I’m not sure what class or spec he is as we only had a few minutes between wipes to chat and we were mainly weeping at the sheer INSANITY AND MADNESS of the Yoggie fight.

To cut to the chase, apparently the run had not gone according to plan with a lot of wiping on the earlier bosses which eventually devolved into finger pointing.  One of the fingers found itself firmly planted with Mr Tart when someone claimed that because he was a healer and usually one of the last people alive, he was a bad one.  Go ahead and read that again.  Yes, it’s as stupid as it sounds.  Sounds more like some guild tried to PuG a raid instance that you really can’t PuG and then got butt hurt when it wasn’t being accomplished, so they started blaming the PuGs.  A common occurrence.

However, it does cause one to wonder on exactly when can you tell where the blame is?  Though not every wipe deserves a round of finger pointing, the fact is still there that sometimes it will be someone’s fault.  There are going to be subtle and sometimes not so subtle signs pointing to the culprit and most people are quite adept at reading them.  However, there is one supposed proof of it being the healer’s fault that comes back to haunt us over and over again.  A lot of people consider simple death to be a healer’s fault.

Now look, I’m not going to rant and rave about people blaming the healers for every little death that happens.  Most guilds have a healing officer who is in charge of admonishing healers, and no one understands healing better than other healers.  But there are times when death is the fault of the healers or just one in particular, and as healers ourselves, it is our responsibility to know when it’s our fault and step up and take responsibility for your mistakes.  So let’s see what happens when healers go bad.

Healing is an art form in WoW, composed of hundreds of small, split-second decisions made within minutes of each other.  You can get away with small mistakes, but the bigger ones will cause wipes with the first and most obvious one being missing your cooldowns.  In Ulduar there are quite a few instances where something will simply flat out kill your tank unless cooldowns are blown to avoid it.  When a healer is assigned to use a cooldown such as Guardian Spirit or Pain Suppression in order to avoid the brunt of those abilities, they have to be on the ball and ready to cast it.  Too slow and your tank dies and your raid wipes.  Your fault.

There are also occasions where we do fail on healing.  When assigned to be healing a main tank in Ulduar, we need to be coming fast and furious with the heals.  There should never be a gap longer than 2 seconds where a main tank is not receiving a direct heal.  This means that dedicated healers must stay dedicated and not wander from their targets.  If you want to help with raid healing, cast your AoE spells with the MT as their focal points, but try not to switch targets.  Nothing makes me feel worse than a tank saying they didn’t get a direct heal for 3+ seconds.

It’s more difficult to tell when raid healing is failing however, because of the randomness of raid damage.  There’s spike raid damage, which is hard to come back from and will occasionally kill a dps if they’re not topped off.  There’s also steady damage, such as a raid wide aura or the likes of which.  This type of damage should not be a raid killer and healers should be able to keep people dying slowly.  Raid healers should be skilled enough at target prioritizing and able to move efficiently from one to another.

To address Mr Tart’s situation directly, I’ll say that in my guild, the healers are often the last few people alive and that’s actually a good thing.  A healer is actually less likely to be the cause of a wipe the longer that they’re alive.  This is why we consider ourselves priority targets and a healer becomes quite skilled at keeping themselves alive along with their targets.  If you die from not moving at the right time or from just not paying attention early on in the fight then yes, the wipe was probably your fault.  You can’t heal from the floor.

Look, it’s natural to have a knee jerk reaction of “nuh uh!” when someone says that something is your fault.  But playing the blame game can be a good thing if people learn from it either to improve themselves or to find who is consistently causing wipes for your raid.  Don’t be afraid to stand up and apologize for your digressions as long as they are not plentiful, everyone’s human, even blood elves, and we all make mistakes.  Except for Dueg, who is perfect.



7 Responses to “The Game of Blame”

  1. 06/03/2009 at 1:48 PM

    Nice post, I’ll have to say I’ve learned a lot from my mistakes as a healer. I’m still not the best, but making the mistakes helped me to not make them again. (Like you said in your last paragraph). I did actually laugh a bit when I read:

    “One of the fingers found itself firmly planted with Mr Tart when someone claimed that because he was a healer and usually one of the last people alive, he was a bad one”

    Either way, nice post, and I like your thoughts on this subject.

  2. 06/03/2009 at 4:59 PM

    I love it, “…because he was a healer and usually one of the last people alive, he was a bad one.” My initial response was, you’re right, good healers should die first.

    I try to own up when I make a mistake, because I switch targets, or because I didn’t use the right spell, or have a shield up, or whatever it may be. Usually people will be okay if you own up and apologize. I’ll admit this though, sometimes when I pull of a “healing feat” in someone’s eyes because I healed them when they had 5-10% health left they often say, wow, awesome heals. But in the back of my mind, I’m criticizing myself for even letting them get that low in the first place. Usually, I’ll say thanks, but I’m typically trying to figure out how it happened and making note to try not to let it happen again. I know that you can’t save them all, all the time, but still, success for a healer is measured differently than a boss dropping over, for me anyways.

  3. 3 mugician13
    06/03/2009 at 5:45 PM

    Not having ever played a healer [successfully], I’ve never felt it was my place to assign blame to the healer, unless it was blatantly obvious. Now that I know a little more about how to tell when it IS, in fact, the healer’s fault, I’ll have to be a little quicker with the finger-pointing. 😉

    Once again, something to learn here for healers and non-healers alike. Thanks for doing what you do, Dueg.

  4. 4 Isiene
    06/03/2009 at 6:36 PM

    I love the timing of Dueg’s posts!

    Last night in our raid group, we had this very problem of the “Blame Game,” and how we can walk the very fine line between constructive criticism without crossing into the, “It’s all your fault and none of mine” accusations.

    Our group was extraordinarily sloppy towards the end of the night; Hodir — a boss that we’ve one-shot for weeks — gave us tremendous amounts of trouble. We just couldn’t kill him, as we kept hitting the enrage timer. And I had a pretty good idea why. The squishy DPS kept standing in snow storms, or kept accumulating multiple stacks of biting cold. And obviously, once those squishies cross into the 4k to 5k per tick threshold, AND stand in a snow storm and get hit by a 7k icicle, what do we get? Squashed DPS.

    As our raid night ended, one of the raid leaders and I were so frustrated that we immediately starting picking through our Recount “Deaths” data, examined WWS logs, and compared notes. For you see, one of the ways that I hope to ensure never to enter into a simple “Blame Game” with baseless accusations flying everywhere is by having hard numbers and data to back up any constructive criticism I offer. If I were the one who messed up, I’ll apologize to the group. If another member did something obviously wrong, then I’d privately send them a gentle reminder.

    However, if that very, very gentle and private reminder not to stand in the AOEs gets met with a high amount of defensiveness, and a, “It wasn’t my fault — you should’ve healed me,” attitude, then I can growl, square my shoulders, wave the WWS report, and “bring out the big guns,” so to speak.

    Ahh, how I love combat logs.

  5. 06/04/2009 at 8:40 AM

    It’s always the DPS’s fault. Haven’t I established that yet?!

    Though some of our IC wipes Monday were the tank’s fault. They stood too far apart and thus supporting heals (and cleanses!) were impossible.

    But it’s NEVER the healer’s fault. Nope. I totally didn’t almost cause a wipe while threatening to beat our rogue with a pillowcase full of soap over vent.

  6. 06/04/2009 at 9:50 AM

    Acheron can help squarely place blame where it belongs by telling you exactly how a raid member bit the dust.


    It’s great for calling out people who swear that they didn’t get hit by Mimiron’s Rocket Blast or Proximity Mines, or as another commented mentioned, Biting Cold and Icicles on Hodir.

  7. 7 Esuna
    06/04/2009 at 11:31 AM

    “But there are times when death is the fault of the healers or just one in particular, and as healers ourselves, it is our responsibility to know when it’s our fault and step up and take responsibility for your mistakes.”

    …a hard thing to remember sometimes as a priest. My main is a mage and it’s easy as DPS to (usually) never have to worry about killing someone. As a healing alt, I constantly find myself thinking things like, “The tank moved out of LOS! The DPS stood in a void zone!” When I really should be thinking more about how I can either anticipate those things or just plain dealing with them. I guess it’s human nature to play the “not it!” game.

    On the flip side to that, we have one healer in our group who is constantly apologizing, sometimes even while the fight is still going on! I’m not sure when the word “sorry!” became her instant forgiveness tool.

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