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.