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Well I took my first crack at all of the healing trees.  I don’t mean to say I’ve played them all but from my experience I know what I like to choose and what I don’t like to choose.  To be honest I really don’t do a lot of experimentation with my talents.  I would love to hear what differences you may have made although with even fewer points to spread around and some new limitations on spreading your points out, they may be minimal.

To begin, I’d like to go over a few of the general guidelines I like to use.

I don’t PvP so this is definitely not one of my considerations.  Although I do solo in order to level my characters, I don’t have a special spec for leveling.  I’ve actually found it quite safe and cozy to level in my healing spec since it is fairly hard for a non-elite mob to take down a healer. Besides, with the invention of dual specs I can just use a DPS class if I’m in a hurry. So the target here is dungeons (I haven’t been raiding in awhile).

Passive Abilities
So yeah, I’m lazy.  Anything that helps me without me having to take action, take advantage of a proc or think about it in anyway is awesome.  I wouldn’t say that I have tunnel vision but I don’t have Dominos or any other mods that let me move everything around. On top of that, I like watching the Healbot bars go up and dowm (the former more so than the latter).

Extra Spells or Enhancements
I do like having more tools in my toolkit. You may think this contradicts my laziness but a whole new spell is nice and I like it when the spells do more without any extra effort from me.  I will also put free haste and crit into this category.

Taking Aggro and Being Attacked
Um, no. That’s protflashes job and I don’t PvP.  If for some strange and unimaginable reason I do die then I stay quiet and let protflashes take the blame.  She so readily likes to say she’s sorry, even if it was my fault. :)

Despite Blizzard’s attempt to push healers to DPS, I still don’t want to. I mean I tried doing some of that with my Shaman but I much prefer to be ready for the unexpected. That means not being mid-cast on a lightning spell. I don’t mind doing the occasional shock (interrupts are cool because they save me healing time) and a hex here or there (once again, one less dude doing damage that I don’t have to heal). But DPS for the sake of DPS doesn’t really suit me and that’s why I play a healer.

That’s the short and sweet of my guidelines.  As much as I love to be meticulous and detailed, I really don’t fret over every last point. Now for some screenshot from Wowhead.


Druid - Resto

There seemed to be a lot of places to put points in the resto tree. Anyway, I’m still a little sour at losing my tree form and didn’t see a lot of benefit yet in increasing the effects from my shapeshifting (especially since I’ll probably forget to go into tree form at all). The shapeshifting isn’t so passive anymore. I also left out points for a few damage items (dealing and taking).


Paladin - Holy

Again, I left out the Exorcism points right off the bat. Although I had Divine Protection and Hand of Sacrifice configured in Healbot, I never really used them so I also left out “Paragon of Virtue”. And I’m not getting hit so I left out Blessed Life. I do like the idea of a free heal with the new Word of Glory spell and I tried it a few times (not in a dungeon but just roaming around) and I think it will suit me fine.

Just a side note before I continue. Do me a favour and read the text for Conviction and imagine a crazy healadin running into to combat with the other paladins. I can’t help but laugh as I see my little dwarf up there in melee swinging his mace like a madman.


Shaman - Resto

The paladin and shaman are beginning to look more and more alike. One of the things that leads me to this conclusion is the push to use shocks. I left the points out of Focused Insight just because I liked the looks of Elemental Weapons and Improved Shields. I might change this around sometime in the future though. The remaining items were all damage related. I also really like the idea of an Ancestral Awakening. Sounds pretty cool and means I can heal people without even knowing it. :) Bonus!

Okay, I saved the priest for last because I did both trees.

Priest – Discipline

Priest - Disco

There were a few tough decisions here. Moving around a little faster with Inner Sanctum good be advantageous but I was never that bad at positioning. I did, however, have a hard time with Loken at first and may respec for that dungeon but I’m pretty sure I got it now! Rapture also seemed quite useful but then I remembered my obsessiveness in never letting the shield just die out; I usually have the thing renewed with a couple seconds left. After those decisions, the rest was easy.

Priest – Holy

Priest - Holy

I felt a little weird not taking any points from the Holy tree when I did up the Discipline tree so I tried not to borrow here too. I would say that Mental Agility may have been useful but I did end up taking a few points in Twin Disciplines for a base healing bonus. I also left points out of Test of Faith but that is because of my ego…..when do I ever let people get under 50% health. Come on!

Anyway, the trees have changed since I picked my original specs (at least I noticed changes to the druid and paladin trees) so these may not be final. Nothing is after all. I would like to hear your opinions because I don’t play nearly enough attention to notice the differences.


Well, well, well.

I’ve been reviewing my trees and have pretty much settled on the specs for all my healer toons. I’m not really sure what to think yet.

The only char I’ve healed with in any capacity since the update was my shaman. It went smoothly. I avoided the shock and lightning bolt talents. After discovering that I couldn’t oom even if I tried, I was happy with those choices. I’m sure things will be different in the 80+ dungeons though.

I was really disappointed with the fact that I won’t be seeing my tree form as much on my druid. Can I even call her my tree anymore? I haven’t loaded up this char yet but I can say that it will take some getting used to. I won’t recognize the sprite for the first little while because I rarely had the char in Tauren form. Oh well. I understand the forms are buzzing so maybe Blizzard will change their minds yet; I hope they do.

I still need to try out my other chars but here’s hoping they feel just as good as my shammy.


So. Healing.


At first I was excited, you know? My pally’s had a Holy off-spec for ages and ages and ages (totally copied SaveTheFails’, right down to his glyphs…I’m cheap like that, and healing is a frightening prospect for me. I wanted the comforting security blanket of mimicking someone who knows better). I was like, hey! layteknight has a shiny new tank, I’ve got this never used “healer”. Let’s, you know, do stuff.

So I shelved the shaman for the night and pulled up my raiding tank and turned him into a heroics healer. Not bad, I told myself. 3300 gearscore, better than I expected. But I had been rolling off-spec in Naxx/ULD way back when, and the rep gear is actually decent to start from. Nothing’s really gemmed or enchanted, but whatever. Good enough for heroics.

Sign us up whenever you’re ready, says I, swaggering around Dalaran in my cute little healing set, flashing my spell power around like I understand what it means. I am ready to heal.

Can’t be that much different than tanking, right? It’s like the flip-side of the protection coin, that’s all. We’re both doing the same thing in the end – keeping everyone alive. Easy peasey, shampoo squeezy.

Boom. Loading Screen. Gundrak.

Sudden influx of fear. Wait, Gundrak? Isn’t that like…high level or something? Couldn’t we have started with UK? Wait, maybe we should have done a normal first. Wait, am I supposed to use Sacred Shield? I Beacon the Tank right? Spam Flash of Light? That’s it, right? Just click on the little green bars on Healbot?

No. I got this. I totally got this. I’m good.

I’m awesome.

I can totally do this.

Step 1 – Beacon of Light on me, because I figure – with all my healing prowess – that I’m never not going to be healing the tank, right? It’s heroics. People don’t take damage in heroics. So this way if I take damage I don’t need to worry about it.
Step 2 – There are some snakes.
Step 3 – There is a snake boss.
Step 4 – Everyone is taking damage all day all the time.
Step 5 – Waste precious time trying to heal a Phase-shfited Imp because I thought it was a person.
Step 6 – Hunter in nova, but healing him would mean letting the tank die because for some reason I thought it was a good idea to put Beacon on ME.
Step 7 – Hunter dies.
Step 8 – 60000000000 snakes on me, but I can’t remember whether I’m supposed to consecrate them or not. My brain wants to tank them. It wants to tank them so bad. They’re on the warlock! They’re on the warlock!
Step 9 – Warlock dies while I try to remember how to heal in the sudden inrush of tanking instincts and panic at being unable to find Righteous Defence which I’m totally not supposed to be touching anyway.
Step 10 – Overgeared Shaman kills the boss without anymore party member deaths.
Step 11 – Find the hunter’s body to rez just as he reenters the instance.
Step 12 – Find the warlock’s body to rez just as she reenters the instance.
Step 13 – Overgeared hunter pulls next group with misdirect before I’m anywhere nearby. Patrolling snakes join in the fun.
Step 14 – Realize that Beacon of Light apparently has a really short duration. Completely unable to locate it on Healbot. Don’t know what the icon looks like by sight (and all pally icons look the same anyway).
Step 15 – Hunter dies. Warlock dies. Overgeared shaman kills the pat.
Step 16 – Get asked, in a nice way, whether I’m new to 80. Friendly advice to put Beacon on the tank.
Step 17 – Text SaveTheFails to cry about how I suck at healing.

So…that’s what? Four pulls in, including the first boss, and I had four deaths. Now, to be clear, I have no intentions of taking full responsibility for them. The DPS were largely overgeared and not watching their threat. The hunter pulled FOR the tank (a curse upon him!) before she or I were ready. Yadda, yadda, yadda, typical bullshit.

But the fact of the matter is, I should have been able to keep them alive anyway, and I failed. Epically.

I think I sulked for a good hour afterward, even though people stopped dying and I eventually located Beacon of Light on Healbot (why the fuck did I put it there?).

Oh, did I mention I had fucking Fire Resistance Aura on and neglected to buff anyone until halfway through? That’s not even healer fail, that’s pally fail.

SaveTheFails very patiently texted me back, reminded me I’m not going to get it on the first try, let alone the first pull, told me to keep Beacon and Sacred Shield up on the tank at all times. Spam Flash of Light constantly, and throw out a Holy Shock if you’re having trouble keeping up with damage.

Part of my problem was that we were PuGging. Had it been a guild group I wouldn’t have cared so much. I’d’ve epic failed just as hard, but we could have laughed it off and moved on. I feel a strange sense of responsibility to not fail with strangers though. They didn’t sign up to have to bear with me as I try to find my spells or learn, on the spot, how to prioritize my healing targets. Which is a topic for another post, I think, because why is it okay for me to get my guildies killed over and over again, but not complete strangers who are generally behaving like idiots anyway? These people deserve whatever death my unskilled hands can give them.

Moorabi drops my Shaman’s fist weapon just to spite me.


So we finish Gundrak, I teleport out to Dalaran, and spend a few moments huddling in a corner of the bank coddling my wounded pride.

I let people die. I who has incorporated a short-form for Protection in my alias. I who has built a Warcraft career on not letting people die. I who judges a fight by how clean and efficient the kills, and how healthy and hale the murderers.

I let people die.

I am a bad player. I am a bad healer. I am once again Fail made manifest and given flesh to roam the world and wipe the innocent.

Healing is not like tanking. Healing is not like tanking at all. Healing isn’t the opposite side of the protection coin, it’s a different fucking coin, in a different fucking currency, from the opposite side of the world.

You want to know why most good tanks tend to be anal and uppity? Why they throw hissy fits if you pull for them and don’t follow the kill order? Because tanking is about control. In order to be a good tank, you have to control the fight. You control the timing, you control the mobs, you control positioning. You have to control the environment, and to some extent your party. You have to control what mobs they’re on, or you can’t tank. You have to control where everyone is standing or things get difficult. You have to maintain control of the situation, or it becomes incredibly hard to get things back on track.

I’m used to pulling. I’m used to charging. I’m used to setting the pace, going at my speed, and indicating what mobs are to be killed when. I’m used to enforcing the positioning rules with an iron fucking fist. People can ignore me, but they do so at their own peril. The rules are there for a reason, the kill order is established for a reason. Chaos means people die. Order means they live. It’s at least partly the tank’s job (almost entirely the tank’s job in Heroics) to impose Order on the run, otherwise it becomes impossible to do their job.

I’m used to having control.

Last night I didn’t control anything. Not a single piece of that fight was mine to affect. The tank handled most of it, the DPS took some of it away from her, and I could do nothing to affect the outcome except shriek and sob and thrash in panic as I tried my best to spam Flash of Light and keep Beacon and Shield up on the tank. I didn’t even have time to type anything in the chat. I couldn’t have yelled at them if I wanted to (and I did).

I could preempt nothing. I could change nothing. I could do nothing but react to the little squares on Healbot lighting up at inopportune times.

I spent the next instance mourning my loss of control, ability to impose order, and sanity (and fucking Lavanthor dropped my fucking Shaman’s boots just to spite me).

I was miserable. I was having fantasies about sending every healer I know a thank you card and begging them on bended knee to never, ever, ever, ever stop healing or force me to do it. I was, and remain, in awe of the required reaction times and instinct required for healing. I didn’t know, I swear to God. I knew it was harder than it looked, but I had no fucking idea. And those of you who can actually decurse, and buff, and all the rest of it between heals? What are you people, robots? Every time I tried to slap Hand of Salvation on an overgeared, undersmart rogue (oh rogues, how I love you) the warlock would dip dangerously close to dying.

It wasn’t until the last instance of the night that I actually stumbled on some kind of groove. One guy was sitting on a 5K gearscore, but everyone else was in the 3-4K range. Ironically, these “undergeared” people were a million times easier to heal – I assume because the threat of death is much more real to them. As SaveTheFails pointed out later, fear helps.

I had time on this run to engrave my keybindings into my head. Left Click Flash of Light. Shift+Right Click Beacon. Middle click Shield. Shift+Left click Holy Shock.

I had time to figure out how to cleanse between heals. I had time to find Hand of Protection on healbot (naturally, no one in THIS group needed it). It was still hard, but it wasn’t so frantic. Not so hectic. I had time to THINK, which, for me, is integral to actually LEARNING anything.

If not for that last group I would have probably been incredibly reluctant to ever heal again. Partly due to my own unrealistic expectations of myself, but partly due to the fact that it just wasn’t fun. It was worse than tanking.

But in a good group it changed, as most things usually do. Once I had time to understand what was happening and could actually think and decide how best to react to it, I started enjoying myself more. I began to understand the synergies between spells, what spells cause what buffs which means I now need to cast which spell. I had time to start building a flow chart in my head for the role.

I would be willing to heal again, I think.

As a parting note, in that last group, after we dropped Keristraza (who, in turn, dropped my fucking Shaman’s fucking trinket just to fucking spite me) one of the party members said: “thanks for the group, guys – great tanking and healing.”

You have no idea how much that one simple compliment meant to me. Maybe he was just being polite, but it made the whole escapade worth it. Up until that run I had been doing and feeling like shit, plain and simple. That little bit of positive reinforcement is one of the big reasons I have not given up on healing entirely after the stress-bath that was the first few runs.

It’s never going to replace tanking as my preferred role, but it’s something I could probably do from time to time for a bit of a change of perspective. The backline is a strange, foreign place to me. A lot more happens back there than I realized.

And to every fucker who ever told me healing was easy and healing heroics a cake walk – die in a fucking fire (couldn’t save you if I wanted to).

I am livid right now. We had what was, to all extents and purposes, an excellent raid last night (well…a couple nights ago by the time this post is live). We got a fuck tonne of achievements. I got my Champion of the Frozen Wastes title finally (I’d “had” it, just scattered across three characters, so even though I’ve done all the content, I never had the title). We had a grand total of four wipes, each of them instantly corrected. Things dropped quickly, cleanly, and efficiently. Then it all went to fucking Hell in the last 30 minutes. Fucking. Hell. And not because of performance – because of personality. Because of drama. Because of afudkalfjweiahfjvzxnm,huewfajkxcz!.

But I’m not going to talk about it. And I’m not going to think about it. I’m going to go to my Happy Place.

My Happy Place is a spot, hopefully not too far in the future, when the entire world of Azeroth is torn to shreds by a great, burning dragon – and along with it, the hordes of drooling, over-geared, under-skilled, ignorant, arrogant, elitist pricks who think they’re better at this game than the rest of us because they’ve been handed their Tier on the backs of other people’s work and wouldn’t know a CC from a decurse if it bit them in the ass.

In this Happy Place of mine, Kill Orders are not just pretty icons designed to make the game more visually entertaining as the mobs dance in your AoFuckingE. They’re actual Orders, like a military commander might give you. They’re placed strategically to ensure priority targets are taken down quickly and efficiently, with minimum casualties. And if you don’t follow it you die and you wipe the group. Do that often enough and you won’t have a group.

In my Happy Place, AoE is a strategic decision, made after careful consideration of a given encounter. It is not a part of anyone’s rotation. Indiscriminate use will carry heavy consequences. Tanks will no longer be blamed for a poor AoE decision – rather, the AoEer will be expected to bear the weight of his own mistakes. I will never see the following, in relation to AoE, again: “wtf y i die/”. Instead, it will be: “wtf y u aoe rtard/”

In my Happy Place, there are consequences for idiocy, because tanks and healers can no longer indulge in, or compensate for it. DPS will be just as important as the other two roles because their job will encompass more than damage. They will not be selected based solely on two numbers – gearscore and Recount – they will be selected based on their ability to maximize their DPS to the extent possible while also CCing, decursing, and kiting. Their role will require skill, which no gearscore can passively compensate for.

In my Happy Place, all the cockweasels (to use my new favourite word, courtesy of Tamarind) who have been facerolling this content without any skill or attempt at improving themselves as players and members of the community will quit the game, because raiding and maybe even instancing will actually require you to wipe once or twice in order to learn the mechanics, and they just can’t deal with that. These people will wander, guildless, through a desolate wasteland of failpugs, trying to find a group willing to carry their unskilled, impatient, ungrateful ass through content that will forever make them its bitch.

In my Happy Place, regular raiding will require a fairly stable group – either through a guild, or perhaps a friendlist. This means it will require positive attitudes, a sense of community, and good behavior. You will have to be skilled at what you do, able to carry your own weight, and a nice enough person that people like you. Because you can’t just faceroll this shit anymore. You can’t just PuG it out to the drooling masses. You have to pick and choose who you take with you. And as I’ve already said, raiding in my Happy Place requires wiping, and nobody wants to make the run back from the graveyard with an asshole howling the whole way.

My Happy Place will also have weather. Because I agree with everything in this post.

In my Happy Place, the game has finally found that elusive balance between the hardcore and the casuals. Between accessibility and facerolling. Between PvP and PvE. Between major plots and an individual’s story. Between soul-sucking frustration, and free-soaring triumph.

I’m there right now, in my head. I can already see it. Every douchebag who’s ever made the in-game lives of me and my friends Hell is dying in the fires of the Cataclysm as we speak, writhing and screaming and too stupid to even know they’re standing in bad. The rest of us are gathered together on a hill somewhere in the Barrens, basking in the warmth, reveling in our sudden freedom from asshats. The General chat is curiously free of Chuck Norris jokes; someone requests the location of Mankrik’s wife. Someone else answers. A bird chirps, a zevhra is born, and the Circle of WoW moves on, unfettered from the chains of sloth and idiocy that repressed it for so long.

“Hey,” says someone in the group on the hill, “let’s go run heroic Deadmines.”

“Yes,” I respond, nodding slowly. Smoke rises from the ashes at the centre of the crater below us, and in that slender, ephemeral trail I find peace between myself and this game at last. “Let’s.”

So, the drama around trying to actually play Warcraft in French continues. Now I’ve paid to upgrade my account to a full version, both expansions too, and I’m trying to download and install the French client and bugger if I haven’t fouled the whole thing up to a spectacular degree. I have e-mailed Blizzard in the EU to attempt to get some kind of professional help for the issue, as I think Google may have led me astray and made it worse. C’est la vie!

So for some reason, while I was futilely waiting for a response from Blizzard on a Sunday, my brain went: “Know what would make you feel better? A PuG.”

As you can see, I have clearly lost my mind.

Not so much than I went on any of my tanks – no, no. I’m not quite there yet – but I loaded up my Shaman and off we went. Turned out to be AK:OK. The obligatory two healers join the group and leave again, and we’re finally on our way.

As PuGs go, in terms of behaviour, except for our massively over-geared hunter, it was fine. The hunter was on the wrong targets almost constantly (when she’s not AoEing indiscriminately) and bitching about the tank not being able to hold aggro (she’s doing 4K DPS in a heroic. If she’s not on the right target, NO tank will be able to hold her aggro), but our tank is skilled, if silent, and our healer is lovely, and the warlock is just sort of doing his thing and minding his own business. So, not too bad.

Then, instead of darting straight for Volaj, the tank veers off to go after Jedoga – which makes me happy as a clam. I want badges, and I think skipping bosses kind of defeats the purpose of doing instancing at all. If we don’t go get the plant guy, fine, but come on! She’s right there and you pretty much have to kill the trash blocking the way to get to Volaj anyway. And they nerfed her!

The hunter, though, oh she doesn’t like that.

Those last two lines, btw, were typed simultaneously.

Also, strangely enough, here’s my Recount (from just after Volaj):

How is it her numbers show her HIGHER than mine, and everyone else LOWER than mine?

Also, as a point in fact, I haven’t been on the shaman in a while and I’m still learning the class, so I was watching my DPS like a hawk. I’m pretty sure I never once dropped under 1.6K until Volaj (fucking insanity), and was averaging about 1.7K. I don’t remember ever seeing 1.2K.

All of this is besides the point. As I acknowledge in the party chat, I had the lowest DPS by far, which is accurate. I had the lowest gear score, being appropriately geared for the content, with a healthy number of blues mixed in with my epics. I also, probably, had the least amount of experience as a DPS.

But, and excuse me for my bias in using my numbers instead of hers, 1.5-1.7K DPS is completely adequate for heroic content. And with a warlock doing 2K and huntard doing 4K…I’m not really seeing an issue.

So, while I’m not actually offended or hurt at the fact that my DPS was where it was supposed to be, I’m shocked and offended that someone would be willing to put that so rudely or so bluntly.

And I’m flabbergasted (though I know I shouldn’t be after so many PuGs) that someone would actually try to claim that DPS that is sufficient for the content at hand “sucks.”

No, actually, it doesn’t.

I wish I could type the following sentence to conclude this post on:

“This story does have a happy ending, though. The hunter stood in that lightning puddle on Jedoga and totally died before the end – pretty sure my 1.5K beats her nothing while she was lying on the floor.”

But I can’t. Because while it is entirely true that she stood in the lightning puddle and very nearly bought it, as I mentioned earlier, our healer was lovely, to say nothing of skilled. He kept her sorry, rude ass up and going no matter what she was standing in, or which of the wrong targets she was on.

So instead, I shall simply offer a salute to my anonymous healer and hope to see him again some day!

The hunter, I shall ignore, and let that be the end of that.

So, since my brain-switch is most of the way to off, and my internal monologue sounds a lot like this right now – IwanttosleepIwanttosleepIwanttosleepIwanttosleep – I have resorted to looking back at a list I wrote a month or so ago when we first started the blog of possible topics. I apologize in advance if this lacks coherency in any way – in case you missed it the first time, all I really want right now is sleep, so my brain is not necessarily being cooperative.

The topic, as written on that list, is “what do tanks expect from their party?” An interesting question, with a bit of a layered answer.

On the surface:

I want the DPS to…

  1. Understand your class and your abilities, and recognize that just because a button doesn’t do massive damage doesn’t mean it’s never to be pushed. CC, dispelling, shielding, silencing, interrupting, and even high-threat abilities all have a place – if not in your rotation, at least in your larger scale gameplay.
  2. Follow the kill order. If there is no kill order, follow my target.
  3. Let me pull unless I specifically ask you otherwise. Misdirect doesn’t make up for me not being able to position the mobs appropriately.
  4. The kill order. Follow it.
  5. Stand behind the mobs/boss unless specifically told to do otherwise. I don’t love you enough to eat parries because you can’t tell the front-end of Anub’arak from his ass.
  6. Kill orders are for following.
  7. Understand that you’re responsible for your own AoE unless I’ve specifically told you to do it. If I’ve taken the time to establish a kill order and haven’t said “AoE them down”, and you want to Blizzard…go nuts. But understand that if you pull, it’s your own damn fault. The next words out of your mouth had better be “sorry! Didn’t mean to pull!” and not “wtf lrn 2 tnk”.
  8. And last, but certainly not least, follow the fucking kill order.

I want the Healer to…

  1. Keep me alive, please and thank you – though one likes to assume this goes without saying.
  2. This is not necessarily fair to expect of the heals, but on some level our shared responsibility for group survival leads me to look to healers for support and back-up in the case of a party/raid member not behaving appropriately (say…not following a kill order, pulling aggro, and taking a shit-tonne of damage before the situation can be corrected). I like to think this causes as many problems for the healer as for me, so I tend to look to the healer for back-up here.
  3. If, for some reason, you’re having a hard time – content’s too hard, your gear’s too low, you’re new to the spec/class, you’re too used to healing for over-geared, under-smart tanks, you’re stoned out of your mind and completely unable to differentiate between the warlock and the warrior (I know, we’ve both got “war” in our class names, but come on) – please don’t blame your ilevel 232-245, DEF capped, 40K HP tank for your fail, by intimating they don’t have enough HP/DEF/gearscore. If you’re going to assign blame away from yourself, at least have a realistic excuse. No point insulting my intelligence along with my gear.

All of this, of course, begs the obvious question – what do the DPS/Healers expect from a tank? I’m neither DPS nor heals (on any kind of committed basis, anyway), but I can hazard a guess (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong):

The (intelligent, good) DPS want me to…

  1. Be able to maintain enough threat that they can DPS to the utmost of their abilities, without having to destroy their Recount numbers to keep from pulling off of me.
  2. Try to stand as still as possible, without sacrificing threat, so the melee DPS don’t have to keep chasing the mobs down, and the ranged don’t have to keep repositioning any AoE.
  3. Establish a kill order, or at least a bare bones one. They understand the relation between my threat and their DPS, and they understand a kill order helps me as much as them.
  4. No, seriously, make sure I enough threat.
  5. Pull only what I’m (and the healer’s) capable of surviving – if I die, so do they, and no one appreciates a repair bill.
  6. Wait between pulls if required so mana-based DPS can get back that which is required for DPS to happen.
  7. Threat, threat, threat, threat, threat, threat, THREAT!

The (retarded, drooling) DPS want me to…

  1. Hahahahahaha! You’re funny! The retarded DPS don’t know what a tank is or what it’s for. They just think I’m the fourth, super-shitty DPS.

The healer wants me to…

  1. Be appropriately geared for the content I’m tanking. This doesn’t mean I need to have T9 to tank heroics, but I need to make sure I’m wearing what’s necessary to keep a given instance from tearing me to tiny little pieces while the healer sobs over the tragic waste of a life – because that’s all they’re going to have time for.
  2. Be able to generate sufficient threat for my character/gear level. It’s not that I’m going to lose aggro to the healer (you’d almost have to be doing negative threat), it’s that I’m going to lose it to the DPS. And then the DPS are going to start dying. And then the Healer’s job is going to be exponentially harder than it has to be.
  3. Understand that healers are like whales – I need to save them. There should be a t-shirt. If the healer’s picked up aggro from somewhere and a monster is happily munching away on them, get thee to the back line and taunt that shit. I fail as a tank if I let monsters munch on my healer. Fail. May as well hang up my shield and my +DEF sword and ride on into the sunset. My welcome in Tank Town has finally worn out.
  4. If I’m dying like a bitch, perhaps it would be wise to turn the Lens of Shame on myself before immediately assuming it’s my healer’s fault. Is my gear good enough? Was I standing in fire? Did I let monsters stab me repeatedly in the backside? These things are my fault, not my healer’s. Until I correct my own problems, I have no business blaming someone else for them or even their own.

What everyone wants from everyone else…

So, there’s a common thread here, running through the wants and needs of every group itemized above – kill orders.

No! Wait!

Well, yes. Kill orders help everyone. But that’s not the thread I’m referring to.

Tanks play the game to tank. They want to generate threat, have the monsters focus exclusively on them, and have the defences to survive the attention. If they’re not doing it (if the DPS are pulling aggro, if the healers aren’t paying enough attention, if anyone is pushing them faster and harder than they’re comfortable going) then they’re not having fun.

DPS play the game to do damage. They want to light into a monster’s backside and watch Recount tick upward. They don’t want to have to focus on Omen. They don’t want to have to spam vanish or soul shatter. They don’t want to die and not be able to do anything for the remainder of the fight because either the tank or the healer wasn’t doing their job. If they’re not doing damage, they’re not having fun.

Healers play the game to heal people. They like playing Healbot whack-a-mole. They like strategizing and planning out which heals for which people in order to ensure the most efficient, effective last-minute-save. If the rest of the party is sucking – tanks that aren’t geared right, DPS that don’t care where they’re standing, or what they’re standing in, a chaotic melee where even the mobs can’t seem to figure out who’s the tank – there can be nothing effective or efficient about their heals, and they’re fighting a battle against time. Sooner or later the heals will be too late, through no fault of the healer, and the group will wipe. This isn’t fun for them. Not in the least.

When you act “badly” in a group, you’re not just showing disrespect to your companions, or making things difficult – you’re detracting from their happiness. You’re killing their joy. You are being no fun.

Players of all three stripes are required for the game to function. The game is specifically built around this mechanic – not only is it, in fact, possible for all three types of people to play together and still have fun in their own ways; assuming everyone’s playing the game well and respecting each others’ role, it’s almost impossible for everyone to not have fun. But that’s a pretty big assumption.

It’s relatively easy to tread on people’s toes without even meaning to. We have a couple guildies who legitimately enjoy big pulls and opening fire with their biggest AoE spells before I’m even in range – they think it’s funny, as a matter of fact. They’re not necessarily being malicious. But they’re not being particularly considerate either. They’re not recognizing that in doing so, they’re actually, physically denying me the right to play – and I’m unlikely to be impressed at how “epic” they are; nor am I going to laugh and agree when they point out how they don’t even need a tank. Maybe that’s tonnes of fun for them, but it’s really fucking boring for me to sit there and watch my DPS do a bunch of shit I know there’s no way I can compensate for – specifically removing my ability to play the game. I get sidelined. It’s as frustrating and enraging as being a DPS who dies on the pull and gets to watch everyone else have fun for the next two minutes of fighting while you try to mentally calculate your repair bill.

Of course, these DPS might argue that who am I to get in the way of them playing the way they want? I have many, many answers to that, but all of them are biased, so I’ll just keep my mouth shut.

In the end, no matter what class, spec, or role you play, what you want from your party/raid/guild is simple:

Let me play the game I want to play.

Positioning is very important in wow – and not just to tanks. It’s not necessarily something you think about a lot, mostly it’s just something you learn to do automatically.

I think tanks are more conscious of their own positioning than any other role, because it’s so unspeakably crucial to what you do.

DPS are perhaps the most oblivious (speaking generally) because their role is much more forgiving in this respect, and in those cases where it’s not, they’re dead pretty quick and either learn to correct it, or blame the healer/tank. In one case, they’re lovely and wonderful and welcome to party with me any time. In the other they’re horrible, hideous cankers on the face of my favourite game, and I invite them to continue to die in fires, as their pain amuses me and their deaths are a mercy to the rest of us trying to, you know, win.

Healers, interestingly, I assume are the most aware of everyone else’s positions – as so many of their heals rely on proximity, chaining, or other positioning based effects. This is why healers yell at you to tighten up and stand closer. This is why you being way the fuck over there is not helpful. This is why you don’t get healed. Whenever I see my healers running back and forth like unlucky chickens, I don’t blame them. I tend to blame the rest of us. They’re trying to catch everyone in one radius or another and odds are good we’re not making it easy for them. Shame on us. Shame.

The reason I continue to beat this dead horse (often known as being-where-ever-the-fuck-you-are-supposed-to-be) is because I recently realized just how mechanical positioning tends to be, and that I’m not the only person for whom this is the case. And nowhere is this more evident, than when I, or anyone, swaps roles.

Wanna know one of my dirty secrets (another one…this blog is becoming a confessional booth, I swear)? When I DPS, I stand in front of the mob.

I know! I’m the biggest hypocrite in the world!

But wait! Hear me out!

I don’t do it maliciously, or even consciously. I do it because I spend 90% of my in-game time tanking. So I mechanically, methodically, consistently, move to stand in front of the mob, facing toward the group – without even thinking about it! It usually takes me a good two seconds to realize what I’m doing, blanch with horror at the incredible faux pas, recall every single time I bitched out a DPS for doing exactly that, and hustle my ass back over to stand beside the rest of the melee DPS.

It’s one of the reasons I fail at ranged DPS (you know…moreso than melee DPS…which is also pretty fail for me). I can’t get it into my head that I’m supposed to stand at the back. I run up. I stand mid-range instead of max range. I don’t run away from mobs. Protflashes no likey the back. Protflashes want be at front.

Protflashes die a lot.

I’ve always known I do this, but I figured it was just me. I’m a habitual creature to begin with. I like me some routine, and nothing makes me crankier faster than messing with it. But a while back one of our raid DPS indicated they wanted to try healing. Glee abounded – someone actually wanted to try a pole position (there are approximately two of us in our raid that play a pole because we want to. The others have been coerced, cajoled, or took up the mantle from a sense of duty (the unfortunate fact of the matter is we need two tanks and two healers or we don’t raid, so someone has to suck it up…though it’s often like pulling teeth)).

The guy even had a pre-made healing set! He’d been plotting for this for a while, apparently, quietly rolling on off-spec in the background and PuGging when he could to pull it together. One day our MH (as in, the guy healing the MT; not to be confused with the guy calling the healing shots) called in sick (literally) and while we were debating what we wanted to do, I got a whisper from our new healer asking if he could try.

We run a casual raid group, and the hardest fucking part of the whole thing is making everyone happy. I could not imagine trying to do so in a twenty-five man. I think I would actually commit suicide. So when I get a whisper from someone, asking to take on a thankless role because they think they’d enjoy it more…I say yes (after checking with our defacto healing-lead (*coughSaveTheFailscough*) to make sure the fit will be okay and he’s willing to help coach the new guy).

Anyway, it was his first time raid-healing and we were in ULD, so it wasn’t, precisely speaking, a cake-walk, but he did really well under the circumstances. I whispered him every now and then during the raid to ask how it was going, and was he enjoying it, and was it okay. At one point we wiped and the blame pretty squarely belonged to him. He’d been standing far too close to a boss, got caught in an AoE that never should have hit him, and died. Shortly thereafter our OT followed. Then our MT (me). And that was pretty much that. I whispered him to ask what happened (as, in the moment, I couldn’t quite tell) and he explained that he was still thinking like a melee DPS and had been standing right beside the OT.

We laughed it off and continued on our way, but it got me thinking about positioning and how automatic it is. I was actually kind of relieved to know I’m not the only person who mechanically moves to the same spots, all the time – let alone who can’t figure out where I’m supposed to stand when I’m not in my usual role.

It makes me wonder how many other aspects of this game are automatic and mechanical. I think about Naxx and how often we ran it between getting good at it and Ulduar being released. I’d say it was pretty mechanical by the end of it. Simple things, like me calling instructions over Vent. I do it automatically. I knew those fights off by heart, and it never occurred to me that I didn’t have to call overloads, and novas, and stacks, and adds, and anything else DBM warns us about, but nobody pays attention to. I just did it unthinkingly.

And when, inevitably, someone pointed out I didn’t have to run down that stuff anymore, and I consciously chose to stop doing it…we wiped. Not because me calling things out was required, or my amazing wisdom and leadership skills are the key to our victory – Hell, we’d run the fights so many times we all knew it off by heart and probably could have run it with our eyes closed – but because everyone was at the point where they weren’t actively thinking about what they were doing, they were just mechanically reacting to various cues – in this case, my voice over Vent, saying “Three stacks, swap.” When that cue was taken away, active thought didn’t backfill the void, and so nobody reacted as required. They were still waiting for the cue that would trigger whatever subconscious part of your brain that handles actions performed automatically, as opposed to as the result of a conscious decision.

I don’t think this is a bad thing, and I’ve noticed it in other areas. Playing an instrument I haven’t touched in ages, for example. If I stop thinking about what I’m doing, my fingers actually remember where they’re supposed to go and the music sounds okay. The same applies in Warcraft. Were I to go back into Naxx now, after so long away, as long as I didn’t think about it or actively try to remember the strats, I would probably have no problems – assuming all my usual cues are in place.

Hell, it’s probably saved us from a wipe or two from time to time. Sometimes thinking gets in the way of reacting. But sometimes not-thinking does the same thing. So the automated nature of these things is alternately a boon, and a curse. It might help, it might fuck you up.

It might get you yelled at because you’re standing in front of the mob again.

Who knows?

I haven’t been as active on the blog as I would have liked but I have been struggling to find topics. Since I’ve been raiding with my Paladin lately I’ve decided to start talking about the class.

For my first topic I will go to the bottom of the Holy tree and the Beacon of Light spell.

In case you haven’t seen it before here are some details.

Mana: 35% base mana

Cast Time: Instant

Range: 60 yards

The target becomes a Beacon of Light to all targets within a 60 yard radius. Any heals you cast on those targets will also heal the Beacon for 100% of the amount healed. Only one target can be the Beacon of Light at a time. Lasts 60 seconds.

So essentially if you heal anyone besides the Beacon then the Beacon will get a heal for the same amount. The mana cost isn’t as bad as it sounds; currently this spell costs my Paladin 1383 mana. Now let’s talk about some applications. I believe the most obvious place for this spell is on a tank but there are a few different configurations.

In a party:

You will be the only healer in a 5-man group so there isn’t very much choice here. You are responsible for everyone. Put the Beacon on the tank and, out of habit, keep the spell active all the time. It will help you to get into the habit of watching for the buff and when things get hairy you will have a better chance of remembering to check. The Beacon gives you the freedom to heal everyone else in the group without paying particular attention to the tank.

In a 10 man raid:

There are two ways you can handle this. If the MT and OT stay within 60 yards of each other and you manage to keep range and line of sight then a single Paladin can successfully watch the tanks all alone. So you can put the Beacon on the tank taking more damage, usually the MT, and this will keep them both up. This will also come into play if other healer(s) die. Then you will also be set up to try and keep the entire raid up provided one tank is taking a little less damage so you have time to throw a heal on the raid occasionally.

The other way I use this spell is to take responsibility for a single tank and the raid. It becomes quite easy to heal the raid with Flash of Light over and over and still keep a tank up.

Other uses:

I have often struggled with who to put the Beacon on when the tanks die. I will often try and jump to the plate wearer who will be next on the threat meter. They would be your best chance to successfully keep up if something were to aggro on them. The other option I have tried was to put the Beacon on me. It might seem selfish but since there is no dedicated tank left the healers will eventually pull aggro and there isn’t much chance if both tanks and healers go down. So the answer lies in how many mobs are still up. If there are one of two then put it on the plate wearer and if there are a more put it on you. The reasoning being you have a much better chance of aggroing a straggler when there is a big group.

Another big bonus of this spell is the fact that there is a 60 yard range and no line of sight required from the person receiving the healing and the Beacon. These points are most useful when you are in a party but can be applied to any of the situations. Essentially if you have been healing the tank and for some reason they have strayed outside the 30 or 40 yard range then you can simply heal yourself and they will still get heals at up to 60 yards. This is also true if they’ve gone up some stairs or around a corner and you have lost line of sight. Just put a few heals on yourself and the Beacon will still get them. It gives you a little buffer to get back into position. This will also work if there is some nasty AOE stuff you don’t want to be involved in. Of course this will not help the melee DPS since you have no chance of reaching them and the Beacon does need to be renewed every 30 seconds (60 seconds if you have the glyph).

That is pretty much all I had to say about the Beacon of Light spell and I will try and write up another entry shortly.

N.B.: I am not nearly clever enough to come up with that title on my own – I saw it on a shirt and it seemed appropriate.

So, I’m being told that the blogosphere is afire with discussions about tanks/healers vs. DPS, the importance of these roles, and whether or not the former deserve extra rewards. Apparently I’m still not reading enough of the blogosphere because this was news to me, though it does explain the few posts I’ve seen along these lines. I looked around a bit and managed to find what I think is the original post that sparked the discussion, as well as a few other interesting takes on it.

The conversation seems to break down (at least to/for me, from my limited reading of it) to three questions:

  1. Should Blizzard implement additional rewards for tanks/healers? Either as incentive to get more people to play them, or a reward because the answer to Question 2 is yes?
  2. Are tanks/healers more valuable than DPS? Is their job harder/more frustrating? (I’m not sure if this was actually stated, but it is implied by the suggestion that tanks/healers should get more gear).
  3. Why are there so few tanks/healers compared to DPS?

Let’s explore (with advance apologies for the length of the post. I should confess that I have never, in my personal history, been accused of being short-winded…).

Should Blizzard implement additional rewards for tanks/healers (as incentive or reward)?

My take on the first question (rewards and whether tanks/healers should get extra) is actually pretty succinct: no.

Why? Because as far as incentive goes, a couple extra badges or a shot at gear isn’t going to convince someone to roll a tank or a healer who had no inclination to do so in the first place. Giving me extra gear to use in a role I hate playing is worth exactly nothing to me. I agree with Larísa, over at the Pink Pigtail Inn – Blizzard has already done everything they can to encourage this by implementing dual-specs.

And as far as tanks/healers deserving a reward for their job being hard, the fact of the matter is that if everyone plays like they should – i.e., not like complete, drooling idiots (tanks and healers included) – then, in fact, nobody’s job is actually harder than anybody else’s. Easiest thing I’ve ever done in this game is tank for a well behaved group that stays on target and pays attention. I’ve heard the same from healers.

This is also a partial answer to Question 2, but we’ll come back to the inevitable caveat in a moment.

Are tanks/healers more valuable than DPS? Is their job harder/more frustrating?

Short answer to Question 2.a: Yes and no.

Short answer to Question 2.b: Yes and no.


With regards to value, on a purely economic level (ha ha! Like I understand economics), yes they are. Why? Because they’re in short supply, and you absolutely need to have one of each in order to do group content. All the DPS in the world couldn’t burn through the boss fast enough to keep anyone from dying, and there won’t be much gogogoing unless it’s from the graveyard back to your corpse. But that’s where any additional value ends. If the LFG was suddenly flooded with tanks and healers this whole point would fall off the board and it wouldn’t matter any more.

Tanks tank, healers heal, and DPS do damage in varied and colourful forms. None of these roles is actually worth more than the others, it just appears to be so because tanks and healers are rare, and their roles are more obviously required. You could lose a DPS (Hell, you could lose two DPS) and provided the remaining is/are sufficiently competent, you can still actually clear content. But that’s not a result of DPS being worth less, it’s a function of the damage role and the fact that you can always add or lose DPS without significantly affecting your gameplay. You could add a healer or a tank, and they might be a little bored, but you could play like that. You couldn’t afford to lose a healer or a tank, though. You need to keep the minimum one.

So, it’s not that tanks and healers are worth more, it’s just that they appear to be so because you can usually afford to lose a DPS or two because you have extras.

The fact of the matter is, you absolutely need DPS. Sure, in theory, you could two-man the world as a tank/healer combo. I know, I’ve done it once or twice. But I hope you’ve got patience, time, and a Godly mana bar of unending blue.

The mechanics of this game work around the assumption that all three roles are filled. You have somebody distracting the monster so somebody else can kill it. You have somebody healing the first somebody to keep them alive and buy time. And you have somebody else who is killing the monster before the healer runs out of mana, and the tank runs out of life.

If you don’t have DPS, the healer runs out of mana and the tank runs out of life. If you don’t have a tank, the DPS run out of life before the healer can cast so much as a HoT and then so does the healer. If you don’t have a healer, the tank runs out of life and the DPS die screaming. Each role is required. Each role is equal. If you don’t have them all, everybody dies.

It’s the synergy between the roles that makes the game work and means the difference between win and fail (and, incidentally, it’s this synergy that is the most rewarding thing in the game for me). Why would you reward one of the roles over the other? You need them all. We’ll be in no better a position if all the DPS in the world rolled tanks and healers and there was no one left to actually kill things. We can’t ALL be protectors of the weak and squishy.


In my answer to Question 1, I intimated that the tank/healer role was no more frustrating than the DPS role when everyone played intelligently, but (told you there was a caveat) in the event that someone(s) isn’t playing intelligently…

The source of the added frustration in the two pole positions is people who play like idiots. If you’ve never tanked or healed, you have no idea how hard you have to work, or how stressful it can be, to try to save people from their own stupidity – to say nothing of saving everyone else from their stupidity.

It’s not that the roles are inherently more frustrating, it’s that they come with more responsibility for the lives of others – and therefore more stress if you feel the situation slipping out of your control. There is almost always something you could have done. You will always wonder “what if I’d popped my CD sooner”, “what if I’d saved my taunt”, “did I miss a step in the rotation?”.

As DPS as long as you’re playing well you’re doing everything you can to preserve the HP of your group and you can’t actually compensate for other, less helpful players. As tank or heals…you are designed to preserve the HP of your group, and a drooling idiot is no excuse for failing, no matter how hard they make your job. And you have to watch everything.

Example scenario:

Kill target is skull. I’m tanking skull and throwing down enough AoE threat to keep Cross, Square, and Star off the healer and the DPS that can’t help but AoE as part of their rotation (ret pallies, warriors, etc… I’m not talking Blizzard or Volley here, but Divine Storm and whirlwind). But Retarded DPS #1 is wailing on the square. Why is anyone’s guess.

So I notice I’m losing square. I throw a shield slam on it and return to skull, tersely reminding RD#1 that the kill target is skull and nobody will be impressed with his DPS if they’re all running back from the graveyard. RD#1, you may have guessed by now, is retarded. So he stays on Square.

I start doing more AoE threat, trying to single-target-tank Skull, since the rest of the DPS are sill single-target-DPSing it, and AoE tank Square, even though I know it won’t work since RD#1 is single-target-DPSing it. Inevitably, he pulls aggro.

Depending on the situation and how long we’ve been fighting, this may not be the end of the world. Let’s assume worst case scenario, though.

RD#1 starts taking more damage than his squishy little frame can bear. Healer panics and starts pouring heals into him. I’m snarling and swearing and have to switch targets to get Square back. I slap Vigilance onto RD#1 to kill his threat (since he’s not smart enough to do it himself) and taunt Square off of him. Naturally, RD#1 thinks this means he can keep wailing on Square. Because he’s still wailing on Square, there’s going to be a period where, even with Vigilance, he’s riding my threat, because taunt does not give me anything more than 100% of whatever threat you had, which means I don’t have any wriggle room on Omen. So I fight with RD#1 for a bit to establish adequate threat on what is basically the third target in the kill order.

Meanwhile, the rest of the DPS are still wailing on Skull because that’s what they’re supposed to do. Only problem? I’m no longer tanking Skull, and I’ve swapped Vigilance from the highest threat DPS in the group, to RD#1 in an attempt to compensate for his idiocy. The healer has topped off RD#1, during which time I am still taking damage from three targets and not getting healed, and as he turns to start sinking mana into me – where it’s supposed to go – inevitably the good DPS still following the kill order pull the Skull I haven’t been tanking. Healer has another heart attack. I’m a tank, I’ve got defences, I’m not down that much, so his priority becomes keeping the DPS alive as the monster wails on them.

One of the DPS maybe stops attacking the Skull when they see it’s not on me. The other one closes their eyes and maintains the faith that I will taunt it back and save their ass. Depending on how quickly this has happened (and believe me, it can be fucking quick), my taunt may actually be on cooldown. Let’s pretend it is (worst case scenario, remember?).

So I mocking blow, which forces the monster to attack me for a bit, but doesn’t change my threat level. Now I have to manually hike my threat back up to where it would be if I’d been tanking the target the whole time before Mocking Blow wears off. I’m not sure I want to move Vigi again because RD#1 is still on the square and now I’m not. The DPS, seeing that Skull is on me again and unaware it was Mocking blow, not taunt, open fire. Maybe they pop a CD to try to get their DPS up again to make up for having to slow down when I switched targets.

Just as I manage to get control of skull, I lose Square again. I blow my newly refreshed taunt pulling it back and drop a thunder clap out desperation as I attempt to reposition the scattered group for a shockwave. But then the Star peels off from the group and bears down on the healer because I’ve been so busy trying to single-target-tank two different targets, I haven’t been paying enough attention to dropping AoE (and as a warrior, AoE is not, exactly, my strong suit – it’s not something that happens passively, it’s something I have to do).

Healer’s still busy trying to bring the DPS back up to full so he can get back to healing me when he sees the mob and shifts focus to keeping himself alive. Lo and behold, my taunt is on CD and Vigi’s on RD#1. So I Intervene back to the healer and start wailing on Star until it’s looking at me again. By the time I’m charging back into melee, Skull has died and the good DPS have moved onto Cross even though I’m not there and haven’t had much of a change to put threat on it, since I was forced to split my attention between the first kill order target and the third. RD#1 has already re-pulled aggro on Square. Healer’s dropping into a coma from all the stupid and starts ignoring the DPS because I’m getting pretty low on health and he can’t keep us all alive.

So what do I do? Do I pick up cross before the DPS do, or do I try to get square back? Technically, I’m expected to do both, even though I’m fighting with CDs, the GCD, my rage level (repeat after me: if it’s not wailing on me, I’m not getting any rage back), and the ever narrowing gap between my threat and the DPS’.

There are a couple of ways this scenario ends. Ironically, it’ll depend on how good our not-retarded DPS are. If they’re good enough at their class and they’re packing the requisite heat, they’ll be able to kill the adds before the tank-bouncing and heal-bouncing that is a direct result of RD#1’s inability to follow a kill order falls apart at the seams and either me or healer just aren’t fast enough to compensate.

If the DPS aren’t good enough, we all die.

So, suffice it to say, in an ideal world, tanks, healers and DPS have equal degrees of difficulty and frustration in their roles; however the world is not ideal, and when shit goes wrong it’s harder on the tanks and healers than the DPS specifically because they’re the ones who need to compensate for it. Good DPS are already doing what they can to mitigate the damage and there’s not much they can do to make a situation right again if someone else is fucking up.

As a throw back to the value question, in the scenario above you’ll note that assuming your tank and healer are good ones, success or failure ultimately comes down to the DPS.

Funny how that works, eh? It’s unlikely to be acknowledged, because unfortunately the tank and healer are frothing at the mouth with rage because that fight was exponentially harder than it had to be, and our relaxing heroic run just turned into the nightmare from Hell (to say nothing of the fact that odds are good RD#1 is already gleefully running into the next group without waiting for us).

What this translates into is anger at the DPS – not because they all suck, but because it’s human nature to use a broad brush. Statistically speaking (okay…anecdotally speaking) there’s a LOT of retarded DPS out there, and they give tanks and healers Once Bitten Twice Shy Syndrome, and give DPS as a role a bad name.

Not because DPS as a role is easy or has no value, but because they’re doing it wrong. If DPS as a role didn’t matter or had no value, a DPS being an idiot would not be able to wreak such havoc just by not being on the wrong target. But they do.

Because they matter.

Why are there so few tanks/healers compared to DPS?

So many answers to this. It can’t be answered in a general sense, because people choose to play or not play a tank/healer for very personal reasons. In some cases, they choose not to because they simply don’t want the responsibility. In some cases they’re just not attracted to the roll. In some cases they tried it, but ran into one too many RD#1s and quit because it’s just not worth the frustration. In some cases they tried it, and douche bag PuGs swore at them and vote-kicked them and never gave them a chance to learn how to do it so they quit.

Tanking or healing is very often at best a thankless job, at worst an abusive one. You take a lot of shit and very little of it is deserved. On top of it, it’s hard to defend yourself. At the end of an encounter, DPS can link Recount and say – see? There’s my number. It’s HUGE. Where’s your incontrovertible proof that you performed well?

The fact that everyone’s alive is not always a good indicator. If you’re all still standing at the end, but the DPS had to spam threat-reduction abilities constantly, and your healer is OOM, and the mobs were all over the place…well, you didn’t do a very good job, did you?

There’s nothing you can link to say “I’m a good tank.” If you’re a healer, Recount does track things, but it’s not accurate or necessarily worth linking. If you’re a Disc priest you’re barely going to register since 90% of your shit is absorption, not healing. If you’re RH you’re going to be much higher on Recount than the MH. If your tank is overgeared for the content, your numbers will be low. There are too many variables.

Being a good tank or a good healer means having softer skills. Do you notice incoming pats and pick them up before your DPS do? Do you know when you can afford to heal a DPS without exposing your tank to risk? Can you compensate for RD#1 and the rest of his Guild? Are you good enough to make up for other people’s epic foolishness?

These aren’t things that Recount tracks. And if they’re done right, they’re not things that anyone but you notices. And they’re hard to do, and they’re frustrating to do, and the require a degree of skill and experience that most other players simply aren’t aware of. A while ago I went into an instance on my bear and warned them in advance it had been a while since I’d played a bear. The response I got was “just swipe” as though that was really all tanking came down to. But tanks who “just swipe” are not good tanks.

I’m not saying the DPS get all kinds of glory and appreciation (because they don’t usually even get a thank you, and that’s as bad as not thanking your tank or healer), but at least as a DPS you have a number you can spam if it’s high enough. You have a mechanical means of evaluating your own performance and defending yourself from or preventing criticism.

As a tank and a healer, all you’ve got is your own private evaluation of whether you did everything you could to prevent a wipe. And there’s nothing much you can do to prove beyond the shadow of a doubt it wasn’t your fault if it happened.

This is why it’s easy to blame the healer and/or the tank for a wipe – not just because their job is actually to prevent it, but because they can’t reliably defend themselves. You get he said, she said.

[RDno1]: wtf y i die/
[Angrytank]: Because you were on the wrong target. Follow the kill order and you won’t pull.
[RDno1]: I asist u
[Angrytank]: No, you didn’t. I have three different mods that show me what target you’re on. You weren’t assisting anybody.
[RDno1]: lrn 2 tnk! u shuld devestete mor usck
[Angrytank]: You. Weren’t. On. The. Skull. Even if I DID devastate more, I’d be devastating SKULL. You would still have pulled.
[Angrytank] has been vote-kicked.

It’s almost futile to try to defend yourself. And I’m not even going to get into DPS that pull for you and start fights before you’re ready (because they think you can “just swipe” and that will fix everything).

So, in the end, you really have to love healing/tanking to play those roles outside a friendly, supportive guild/raid group – because the amount of abuse, grief, and frustration you’ll take isn’t worth it otherwise.

And for the record, neither is an extra badge.


It’s not Blizzard’s fault there aren’t more tanks and healers. It’s the shape of the community. Too many asshats, not enough patience or respect for other human beings. Tanking and healing requires you to perform a service for a group of people, and your success is measured not just by how much life they had left at the end of the fight, but by their quality of life during the fight.

But there’s only so much you can compensate for, and sooner or later it’s hard to care whether they live or die, especially when they did it to themselves, but give the blame to you.

Every time a DPS says “wty y i die/” a tank quits the game.

Every time a non-heals says: “just heel thru it1” a healer quits the game.

But everyone time anyone tells someone else (DPS, tank, or heals): “Hey man, good job. Tough fight, but we made it.” then someone jumps into the queue again for just one more run.

The solution to this problem is a simple one.*

*And if it fails, there’s always Plan B – which involves a bat, a road trip, and some skulls. Who’s with me?

Tank to PuG:

What the tank says What the tank means What the PuG hears
Let me pull, please. :)* Pull before I’m ready again and I’m going to start getting really cheap with my taunts. gogogogogogogogogogogogo
Kill order is Skull – Cross – Square I would like you to kill the skull first, then the cross, then the square. If you can AoE – DOITDOITDOITNOW!!!1!!1!11

If you can’t AoE, kill the unmarked one, then the square, then the cross, then the skull.

Make sure to attack the web/frost tomb/snake wrap to free other party members. Why am I even talking? I know none of you are even going to notice the web/frost tomb/snake wrap. God I hope the healer doesn’t get it. Scream like a little girl if you get webbed/frozen/wrapped, but do not respond to the screams if it’s not you.

Especially don’t help the healer. They can heal through it.

If the tank gets webbed/frozen/wrapped, DPS harder because she’s not doing any threat right now so you have to make up for it.




If you can’t AoE, attack anything except the one I’m on. This will help me a lot because stuff will die faster and your DPS will be so awesome because you have a mob all to yourself and I would love you so much.

Oh no, my screen! It has frozen! Fuck this and fuck you.


lolololololol im not imba enuf 2 play w/u guys
Thanks for the group. DIAF. OMG U R SO 1337 I LUV U SO MUCH I WISH I WUZ AS UBR AS U R!

* Don’t be fooled by the smiley face. It’s a lie. If they have to tell you this, they’re not smiling. Tanks don’t smile.
**This is an archaic reference to a mechanic that has become unfortunately irrelevant to this game. Most PuGs these days won’t even know the acronym and I am not being the least bit sarcastic.

PuG to Tank

What the PuG says What the PuG means What the Tank hears
gogogogogogogo I am ready when you are. Actually I’m ready before you are. Actually, I’m ready now. Pull or I will. You do not want to party with me. I pull. I can’t understand a kill order or what it’s for. I like to AoE irresponsibly and misdirect on the healer and run into the boss before anyone’s ready then blame the tank when we die.

Bail. Bail now while you still can.

Link GS and achievements My gear score is 32, and I have achieved nothing in game or out. Mostly I am looking for a boost from higher geared, more experienced people.

In exchange, I will make the next thirty minutes of your life a living Hell.

I’m going to bend you over and do unpleasant things to you for the next thirty minutes, while I ride you to free badges and epics.
lololololololololololol oops I pulled the pat and the group behind it and the one on the side, and I am intelligent enough to realize that maybe I shouldn’t have, it’s just we all look so funny, lying here on the floor lifeless. What’s your repair bill at now, tank? 30g? 40?

LoL, hilarious.

I want you to kill me. I really do. Why else would I be this annoying? Please, put me out of everyone’s misery.

You could do it.

Just snap my neck. No one needs to know.

WTF? Only 40K HP? Noob, lrn to play! My big brother’s totally a raider. He did that yogurt-siren guy. I know all about raiding and tanking too. I totally do. You should listen to me. I’m smart and OP and awesome. I don’t know how to count and have no idea what I’m talking about.
Just heal through it. I don’t want to press any buttons that aren’t listed as part of my rotation on this website I read that tells me how to make the numbers on recount go up. That includes paltry things like cleanse, and sheep, and W, A, S, or D.

Those are the duties of a healing bitch. Do I look like a healing bitch? No. I am DPS, and I don’t give a damn about your “dispelling” and “cc” and “not standing in fire”.

I am a douche. Vote kick me.
Can I need for off-spec? I have already clicked need. Hope you’re a high roller, mother fucker.
Dibs on [EPIC X] off the second boss. I am in here for one thing and one thing only. I am ditching after the second boss whether he drops my shit or not.