Mages, ten-man raiding, and other things that are awesome.

A snapshot from Vid's pug life - every single mob in Stonecore descending on us simultaneously.

I ran a pug last night. This is nothing new. Actually, Vidyala – the erstwhile Pugging Pally – dinged 85 some weeks ago and has been quietly running many pugs since then. Of course, I try to run with guildies when available. Guild XP is valuable! But when they aren’t, I pug.

The first pug had me zoning in to Grim Batol, right in front of the first boss, General I-Charge-People-In-The-Face-Guy. This isn’t usually a good sign, because it means that the group probably just wiped on that boss and then their healer left. I assume their healer left, since it turns out that all four other people were from the same guild. I said hello, as I do, and after a few minutes one person said, “No Englis.” Okay. It’s going to be sort of tough to talk about boss strats if nobody speaks the same language, but I figure there’s no harm in trying. Most people know these bosses, yes? Let’s give this a try anyhow.

It does not go well. These people don’t seem to understand the Blitz mechanic, because each time he does it one of them dies except one lone DPS. When I try to tell them of course, they don’t understand me. The tank is not tanking the trogg adds and they are all over me, no matter that I ran them to him. The DPS do not kill them. We all die. I’m starting to understand why they may have lost their first healer.

We pull him again. We lose a DPS to the first Blitz, and then another to the second. At this point it’s just three of us left and almost every Blitz is on me. I hold it together as long as I can but my mana can’t take the length of time one DPS, a tank and a healer will require to kill a heroic boss on their own. I drop group.

Enough time has passed that I’m not on random cooldown anymore so I am able to queue up again immediately and wait ten minutes for a group that I can hopefully communicate with. Soon I see the Vortex Pinnacle load screen.

“Hey guys,” I say. This group all says hi, and then the DK tank declares in party chat, “We have 50 minutes until reset, so lock and load.”

I think, “Oh boy,” but Vortex Pinnacle isn’t a long instance. We’ve got time to do this. What that seems to mean in DK parlance is “Chain-pull forever and never pause.”

I will grant you, Vid is my alt. I do work on and love her as much as I can, but she’s no Kurn or Walks (and nor am I). We have two melee DPS and one mage. There is tons of incidental melee damage in VP. I can keep folks alive, but even using Divine Plea on cooldown is not going to cut it, I need to drink to do that. The resulting series of pulls is something like a snowball rolling downhill and gaining momentum. I am able to regain less mana after each pull, and by the time he pulls the last trash pack just before the first boss, I am completely, 100% OOM. Frustrated, I can’t even start drinking because I’m already in combat. I manage to eke out the pull by judging my face off, Crusader Striking and using Word of Glory as much as I possibly can. It’s not fun.

I say in party chat, “Please don’t pull when I’m completely OOM.” The DK is quick to retort, “I had cooldowns, it was fine.”

Continuing, I say, “I know you guys want to do this fast but we’ll get it done faster if nobody dies.”

“If I had died it would be on my own head,” the DK says.

His DPS DK guildie chimes in, “It will make you a better healer.”

I bite my tongue on any further possible reply and just resolve to do the best I can. I’m pretty mild-mannered when it comes to most pugs – if something is intolerable (people who don’t know a boss that I can’t even explain it to) I might leave, but most times I’ll roll with what’s going on. This riled me.

First of all, it’s the dismissive attitude. Some groups make me feel like a walking first aid station. This casual disregard for what I was saying, “Hey – let me get the resource I need so I can do my job,” made me feel like even less than that. I felt invisible. This was not a tank I could trust. Of course, you can’t have the same affinity with a pug tank you just met that you will have with someone you know and trust. I wouldn’t ever expect that. And perhaps I am spoiled, because the tanks I tend to run with respect their healers.

But for that statement, I probably would have just shrugged it off. It’s as if this guy and his buddies said to me first, “We’ll decide when you need to stop and drink, AND shut up because it will be good for you.”

I heal pugs because I want to be a better healer. There is nothing that forces me to react quickly, think on my feet and become familiar with my tools and tricks more than a pug. It’s why I’m there. I didn’t even need a daily when I ran this VP – I’d done one earlier with guildies. I just felt like healing an instance. So I don’t need some random pug DK telling me what I do or don’t need to do to ‘be a better healer.’ I thought about this the entire run.

Was the breakneck pace and lack of CC making me work hard? Definitely.

Would it ultimately make me a better healer? Probably.

Was I free to leave at any time? Sure, but I stayed out of pure cussed stubbornness. (You’d be surprised the kinds of things stubbornness gets me to do).

Was it fun? Not at all.

Did any of them say thanks at the end for a job well-done? Of course not. I could have been any person with a plus sign next to my name; they don’t care that the intense AoE healing I had to do to keep all those melee up without CC was tough. They’ve already forgotten me, or if they remember me at all it’s to congratulate themselves on “giving that paladin healer a challenge.”

I am ranting about this because it’s not the first time I’ve encountered this attitude. The other day I ran Throne of the Tides with a hunter and mage friend. The paladin tank thought he was pretty hot stuff. Fsob said, “Feel free to mark Moon and I will sheep things,” and the tank said, “It is more fun without CC, I won’t be doing that.”

“No thanks,” I replied, and asked Fsob and Fuzz to CC anyway. Of course they did, and I could actually breathe. This tank did not have the kind of gear or skill to sustain an “all or nothing” approach to current heroics, yet he clearly felt he was entitled to dictate how the run would go. I’m not sure how it would have been without my friends there (both awesome DPS, and both ignoring the tank in favour of CCing). He then proceeded to freak out because “MYYY PAAANTSS!1!!1″ dropped at the end of the run, and then he needed on the +Spirit trinket for good measure, so obviously this guy had deeper problems.

What this all boils down to, as far as I’m concerned, is a simple bottom line: Be courteous to the people in your run, no matter what their role. If your healer says, “Please CC,” and you have CC available – do it. Because not doing it presumes that the healer should work twice as hard because you just want to be lazy.

If your healer says, “Hey, I’d like to drink sometime,” don’t get belligerent and insist that you’re just fine without the healer. I have a newsflash for you! Other people take damage besides the tank. They don’t have cooldowns. They don’t wear tank gear. If I can’t heal them, THEY might die, and you’re just wasting all of our time. I would never, ever pull a mob or group for the tank and then say “It’ll make you a better tank if you have to taunt the mobs off me instead of pulling them yourself.” As a tank, I wouldn’t refuse to taunt something back from a DPS who pulled and say, “It will make you a better DPS.” So don’t flat out refuse a reasonable request I make as a healer, or at least – don’t be surprised when your LFD queue times increase because healers are tired of dealing with this kind of thing and they just wait to run with their guilds instead.

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Comments on: "Further Adventures in LFD (Paladin adventures, of course)." (28)

  1. I swear, ALL healers should have Life Grip. When I say “mana, drinking” and the tank moves towards the next group I yank him back and say “DRINKING. WAIT.” That’s his one warning and if he pushes it, I revel in his painful demise.

    I really don’t get the no-cc attitude. I mean, at best it saves you 5-10 seconds. And chances are, the increased damage means the healer will need to drink at least that long anyway. AND there’s always the risk of, well, a wipe, which means a MUCH bigger delay and inconvenience.

    It’s just stupid.

    • I love this, and am jealous because I don’t have Life Grip. I’d never even thought about that before. Do any of them get lippy with you afterwards?

  2. Always stay a reasonable distance behind any reckless tank, drink when you have to drink, pause when you have to pause and just. let. him. die.

    Honestly. I consider myself a good and capable healer. Hell, I’m bored with most of the current heroics most of the time, even if total chaos abounds, I still got around 30% mana left and use CDs to gain enough to survive the next. Got enough of them anyway, as a priest.

    But that’s because I can afford it. Your alt is probably not decked out in epics.

    Most of these tanks need a good amount of education from their healer. Meaning – if he doesn’t wait for you – let him die. He’ll learn. Or drop group, but that’d be no loss anyway.

    When I see what kind of people THINK they can tank (like the full pvp gear warrior I had in deadmines recently) I simply shake my head -_-

    Healing is the most unrecognized job in pugs, just as much unrewarding and at the added bonus of being the squishiest person in a 100-mile-radius …

    but it’s fun :D

    • You know, I probably would have let him die at that point if I’d been able to sit and drink anyhow. It’s true, Vid is far from epiced out although she does have a few epics I was able to scrounge up for her! She’s plenty geared for the content, but not overgearing it. I guess some people just assume that anyone in a heroic now is way beyond actually needing gear from there?

  3. The worst part of this game is the people playing it.

    there, I said it.

    it’s not the “oh no RNG” it’s not “this is tuned too tightly” it’s that unless you are playing with friends, if you are pugging, 90% of the people playing are total, unrelenting cockwaffles.

    the only way to fix that is hopefully, be a decent person. Don’t fall to that level. Be excellent to each other.

    that’s a bit harder than any Yogg-0 run, I know. But it’s all we’ve got.

    • It really is what it all comes down to. p.s. I think that’s the first time I’ve ever had a comment with the word cockwaffles in it, haha.

  4. Here, here! One of the very first things I learned when I started tanking was to watch my healer’s mana. It comes with the situational awareness. But I have to say, this sort of thing annoys me even when I’m dpsing. It’s just flat out disrespectful! I don’t think I’ll ever understand why people deliberately blow off the person keeping them alive. Serious props for putting up with these fools.

    • I guess it’s sad, it’s not that I never meet nice people while pugging – I do! I’ve met some very nice people, people who were new and needed boss strats and then thanked us at the end for telling them about the bosses, people who were ordinarily PvPers but needed a Chaos Orb and were so thankful for a smooth run. Great people! They just don’t inspire me to write rants about them, I guess!

  5. I’m not sure why, but there is a certain subspecies of tank that seems to believe using crowd-control is a sign of a weak character. Perhaps unsurprisingly, these tend also to be the tanks with some combination of poor situational awareness, weak threat, and low health.

    Even in the post-Cataclysm world, the fever for “go faster” is alive and well. And that’s okay! To do it, though, requires “more haste, less speed.” It requires cooperation and attention from the whole group, not just the tank or the healer.

    You want the healer not to have to sit and drink after every pull? Use your cooldowns. Stay out of fire. Call for CC. Use line-of-sight. Funny story: If the group takes less damage, the healer won’t need as much mana.

    I know, I know. This new learning is astonishing.

    Trouble is, the people who want to get better are generally already aware of these things, and the ones who don’t care…well, they don’t care.

  6. Roaana@Eonar-US said:

    Leaving in the language barrier group was the best thing you could have done – there is no way to overcome player inability and a language barrier while also dealing with the high stress situation of a heroic boss AND being a healer. Kudos for making the right decision and sparing yourself some prolonged agony and a hefty repair bill.

    Staying with the DK group, on the other hand, probably wasn’t the best idea. As a prot pally, I think all other tanking classes are junk, but even if you’re of the opinion that DKs are viable tank, that guy sounds like a total a-hole. In your situation, I would have run a few ramps back, and just waited to fall out of combat to drink. Hell, if they think they can run without you, why not let them? Props to you for melee hitting and CSing for mana and holy power, those are legit raid techniques, and practicing them in a pug probably did make you a better healer. But that’s not up to your group to decide for you – it’s better when you pull those out in a guild run and save the day, since then you would at least be appreciated for your awesomeness. The worst the DK group could have done was kick you – which, while certainly disheartening (enough that you would still have written this post), would have spent less of your time with people you are in a mutual dislike relationship with.

    When I tank, I often feel really bad if I trigger-happily pull before the healer has had a chance to “Hold up, drinking” in party chat, and I’m certain that is the same sensation to you as a DPS taunting while I’m still looting the previous mob corpses is to me. This game makes it hard for everyone to have fun at the same time – because some people’s “fun” is someone else’s stress and horror, and this is almost always true in a pug (guild runs more often involve people who are like minded, or at least mindful).

    Hopefully the next installment of Adventures in LFD will be of a happier note, of how awesome your paladin tank was (or passable, if the tank wasn’t paladin), how the DPSes didn’t do stupid things that caused them to waste your mana, how they CC’d professionally, without needing to discuss their targets, and were mindful enough to refresh theirs (or even others’!) CCs, and how, due to some unfortunate circumstance or perhaps unforseen mistake, your group was faced with three concurrent trash packs and STILL managed to pull through by a thread. At which point the entire group broke out in congratulatory remarks, saying how they wish everyone was on the same server and could raid together, and how it was nice that the tank wasn’t top dps, how recount only shows an average 3k hps even though no one recalls dipping below 80% health, and how nice everyone wishes everyone’s day to be as a result.

    We can dream, right?

  7. I’ve noticed that most of my pugs are falling back into the WotLK trend: The tank zones in, sees my hard-won epics, and declares he’ll chain pull and to hell with CC. And this usually comes from a poorly geared tank who becomes belligerent with me if I dare Hex something that’s eating my face. It usually ends with a comment like, “lolol u baddie needin cc. stfu n heal me.”

  8. His DPS DK guildie chimes in, “It will make you a better healer.”

    Oh HELL no.

    I’ve seen that attitude waaay too often in pugs –my posts are full of them– and it still pisses me off. It’s the cousin of the “you-don’t-know-how-to-@#$%ing-play-a-BG!” that someone routinely screams, as if we’re going to follow his banner after that.

    • Well, it will make you a better healer, that much is true. :)

      But someone who says that doesn’t really mean it, they’re just making excuses for themselves. And the fact that it’s true doesn’t make it a reasonable comment.

      Our lovely Vidyala is more patient than I am, though. I would have said, “pulling without crowd-control hasn’t made you a better tank, I don’t see why you think it would make me a better healer,” and left. :)

      • Oh, you’ll be a better healer in the Kenny Rodgers’ “The Gambler” sense:

        You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em
        Know when to fold ‘em
        Know when to walk away
        Know when to run

        But I love that line of yours, Lara. I might want to make that a macro to use right before leaving a pug. :-D

  9. I feel ya! Not being heard is hard, but being straight up ignored and then expected to do the near impossible makes a healer feel USED.

    There’s been an increase in kamikaze style tanking lately I’ve noticed. It makes me that much more grateful for decent tanks but, I shouldn’t have to pray for one even if I am a priest.

    The language barrier, I mentioned that on twitter, we have mini games built in but don’t have a translator program? :-/ I like running with toons from other servers and find it facinating that I can play with people from all over the world, but Bliz, help us with the comm issue!

  10. […] Ego Dissected Over at Further Adventures In LFD, there is discussion amongst healers of a particular breed of tank, to wit this comment from Lara: […]

  11. Clearly this group falls into the latter of the two basic types of WoW players (uh-oh, SUPER generalization coming): the Angels and the Fools (as in “Fools rush in where angels dare to tread). Angels see to it that everyone is respected in their role, informed, and encouraged. Fools see the game as a chance to show off at the cost of others’ feelings and do a lot of corpse running (at least nowadays).

  12. I have a newsflash for you! Other people take damage besides the tank. They don’t have cooldowns. They don’t wear tank gear.

    Amen to that! That excuse always ticks me off, and I’ve even heard it from people who really should know better but can’t see further than their own tego.

    And why do healers have to beg for co-operation so often? You’d think that working together would be in everyone’s best interest anyway.

    • I think it comes along with the fact that dps can almost do everything alone while leveling, tanks can do EVERYTHING while leveling. (especially pally tanks) and as a healer you struggle, get squished and need help.

      Sometimes I have the feeling that certain types of dps tend to look down on us, because we can’t do shit alone but well… a few good placed repair bills here and there make them shut up :)

  13. […] Anxiety and Group Effort Posted on 04/06/2011 by Glorwynn Lightbraid Vidyala has an all-too-common tale about Fail PuGs. This got me to thinking about why I’m not doing a few things in the game at this point. Why […]

  14. Bah, bad tank is bad.

    I’m sorry you run into bad PUGs but exclusively the most terrible players I come across are somehow always DKs. There are some really good DKs (one is raiding with me, in fact, and she is quite good!) and I enjoy playing them myself, but whenever I see a DK in a PuG I stay on edge until they prove they aren’t total douchenozzles.

    My latest DK WTF moment was this guy in H:GB who’d consistently rip threat off of me by casting Death and Decay and Howling Blast on every group before I even got two casts in and would then boast about his DPS over and over again.

    I should mention I was in there as Ret to give my Ret set a try and he had originally listed as tank but kept complaining about how much he hated to tank and we went through 3 healers just getting to the first boss before I said fuck it and told him to go DPS and tanked the instance.

  15. As twisted as it is, stuff like this is actually why I enjoy pugging (with no guildies) on my healer more than any other character.

    I have a few “alternative hardmode achievements” that I often set for myself based on the group’s attitude when that attitude needs a readjustment (in my own not-so-humble opinion of course)

    1) Selective healing. Depending on how much of a jackass I think a particular dps in the group is being, I will either set myself the challenge of only healing them of non-avoidable damage taken or simply not healing them at all. If I believe that their dps is required to complete the encounter/group/pull then I try and see how close I can come to letting them die at the same time as the bad guys do.

    2) How low can you go? If the tank is being an overly controlling asshole or clearly exhibiting some of the stereotypical “god mode” delusions that people seem to finding more and more, I will try and focus on seeing how low I can let the tanks health drop without letting them die. Nothing slows a tank down more I have found then when they finally notice that they are finishing each pull at 10% health

    3) How many times can I kill the tank without anyone else dying? For tanks that really irritate me for some reason, I will do my best to make sure that they die as often as possible right before the end of each trash/boss pull. Being a shaman gives me a pretty clear advantage in this particular challenge because i have two pretty reliable forms of CC that I can use in most of the current instances so if I manage to kill off the tank a little early I can CC two of the remaining mobs and just heal the higher threat DPS through them one at a time. I find that aggressively marking priority targets with strong physical attacks for the dps to kill early also helps with this, especially since my ability to interrupt can negate the majority of a caster’s ability to damage people once they have finished off the tank.

    I can be kind of a jerk sometimes though I suppose…

  16. Sorry you had such a crummy run =(. When I pug, I often find myself on the opposite side of things, tanking with a healer who insists on pushing me to do things faster (apparently the pug healers I get stuck with have better things to do? I don’t know…).

    Honestly, I don’t mind running with no CC, if that’s what everyone else in the group wants, but I prefer at least one CC, since most packs have that “special” mob who does that could easily lead to bad news, if the group isn’t up to the challenge.

    I usually run with as many guild members as possible to minimize potential “uh oh” moments, as we function better as a team (usually ^_^) and often use vent to facilitate our plans for a pull.

    Here’s hoping I get paired with you, someday! After I get done freaking out that you’re actually in my party, we’ll have a blasty blast! =D

  17. If I had had that tank and DPS (who said “It’ll make you a better healer”), I’d have pulled an extra two groups next time, faded the aggro off myself, said “This will make you a better tank” and dropped party.

    Well, I probably wouldn’t have, due to the other two DPS in the group…but I would have been tempted.

    Like you, I’m largely mild-mannered in PUGs. I only tend to say anything vaguely critical when someone starts pointing fingers when either they’re the one at fault or else there was no clear fault.

    I don’t think I’m as stubborn as you, though…the moment a PUG doesn’t feel fun, I drop party. I figure I’m playing in order to have fun and once that’s not true, I’m done. The only time it stops being fun, if I queued (so was in the mood to play), is if other group members make the social aspect painful/annoying. So I have no remorse for dropping in those cases.

    Nice story, though. Enjoyable read.

  18. I think I’m legally obligated to scream “MYYYY PAAAAAAAANTS!!!1″ whenever something drops for me now.

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