Testing out a program to see what this is going to look like on the site. YES! We are back in bidness my friends! FO SHO!
Testing out a program to see what this is going to look like on the site. YES! We are back in bidness my friends! FO SHO!
Hello world, it’s been a while since I’ve done any kind of blogging. Certainly a long time since my gaming friends and family have heard from me. So what happened?
I don’t tend to express my feelings well, and they are certainly not something that I like to throw out onto my blogging. They are mine and I like them stuck in my head where they can wreak havock…apparently that is an “unheathly” way of looking at things. You see I’d spent the better part of 2 years planning a wedding, which is A LOT of work, and also a HUGE distraction from what’s really going on in your life. So…after the wedding was over and I no longer had the burden joy of planning and making sure things went right, I was smacked in the face with the realization that I was in a very crappy job, being paid next to nothing, with no benefits and it was costing me almost as much in gas to get there as I was making. I was depressed, which as a newly wed is even more depressing. I quit my horrible job, with the plans of using my savings to hold us over until I could find a job.
What felt like forever later, really it was only a little over a month, my wonderful father in law told me that his job was hiring. I would be working in a retail pharmacy call center…BUT I would be making pretty good money. MUCH better than I was previously making at least, with…wait for…BENEFITS. In my adult life I’ve never had a job that gave me benefits. /cry
So the funny horrible thing about depression is, you don’t want to do anything, you also don’t want to tell your friends whats going on cause then you’d have to talk about it, and that certainly not what friends are for…(read: SARCASM)
So I had this whole I don’t want to do anything, plus my raiding team was falling apart, and in general things weren’t going well. Which compounded the issue.
So there I sat in my gaming room, with ALL the time in the world, cause I was unemployed, and I just watched TV. I feel like that should have been a really big warning light for me, but it wasn’t. My husband would ask if everything was ok, and I would say YEAH! I play normal REALLY REALLY well.
World of Warcraft didn’t appeal to me, League of Legends brought me no happiness, I was even getting irritated with the tabletop game that I played with my IRL friend.
Now I work 40 hours a week min, doing a job I thought I would hate, but I love. I get to help people that are in pain, and the associates that I work with are wonderful. Plus I have an amazing Supervisor! I get paid a living, something I can survive off of, and slowly…very slowly I’m getting back to me. I imagine that sometime soon I will be able to get back to gaming, and get back to writing, but until then I must say thank you to everyone that has stuck by me through this whole mess.
Professor Beej wrote a great article on World of Matticus on the subject of what brought him to healing and it got me thinkin’ about the subject of how I overcame my fear of healing, and finally took the plunge and dove right in.
I got started in the realm of MMO’s with little game called Everquest, back in the ol’ 2001. The good ol’ days where you get plopped in a starter city with not so much as a crash course popup on how to play or where to go. I’ve always tended to gravitate towards pew pew classes. I’m hopeless with Melee classes as my wife will attest, and nothing feels more satisfying than blowing things up from afar. I dunno, maybe it’s the pyro in me.
Anyways, that carried over to World of Warcraft back when I started. I leveled up a Mage as my first “main” character just as I started out with a Wizard and a Magician in EQ. I entered BC Raiding with her, proud to contribute to the community of Explody. At the time, our guild was hurting for healers and the raid leader would oftentimes spend more either looking for a healer, or cajoling one of the dps to fill the spot (like pulling TEETH). If we were lucky, the dps would run off to switch specs and come back, grumbling. Me being the magey mage that I was, was happy to not have a healing spec to switch out of. Seriously. “Who wants to heal?!” *the group takes a step back, save for the poor afk bastige*. At one point, I turned to my wife (who even back then enjoyed stabbing all the things) and pondered: “Wife!” I would exclaim, “why don’t you heal for us?”.
So after I picked myself back up off the floor, I asked myself why I never gave it a try. Deep down I think I already knew. It’s a responsibility. It’s not blowing things up. It’s not easy. It’s not fun.
Boy was I wrong. At least about the fun part.
I decided I’d finish leveling my druid, who wasn’t really that far behind. I’d already started collecting dps gear, since I was trying out Boomkin at the time (anybody remember Panzerkins?! I miss the heck out of that!)
I finished it up and went back to playing mage for a while (Shiny keys syndrome or maybe I was just putting off healing. I like to blame it on Shiny .. shiny keys.) A friend of mine asked me to tag along with him on my druid for some loot since I hadn’t really done any heroics yet. I grabbed my druid and hopped into Shadow Labs with him. We were doing ok for a while, and he asked if I might be able to switch to heals so we could get past Murmur, which was coming up. Nervous, I went and re-specced and came back. At the time, I didn’t know anything about grid or cooldowns, I just plunked the spells I found in my book into the toolbar and hoped for the best.
I’d had experience with Murmur and already knew to expect he would be difficult at best. At the time, heroics took forever to clear and the mechanics could be harsh, even one-shot deadly. Back in the day. Get offa mah lawn!
Did I mention I was nervous? Shaking. What if I sucked? I have an innate desire to be competitive and good at things. I hate failing. I take it hard if I don’t do something right. In a raid, you’re responsible for 9 or 24 other people living through an encounter. Their ability to tank or dps is directly dependent on you being able to heal them through all the things! If you fail at that task, it gets noticed pretty quickly. Talk about pressure!
There are times in life you are genuinely surprised at what happens when you’re forced in a situation you’re uncomfortable with and find that you do well. We two-manned a heroic 5 man boss together. He forced me out of my comfort zone. I was forced to watch everything around me for a change, watch health meters. Watch what the boss was doing. Watch for patches on the floor.. now run to him, now run out. Mechanics took on a new meaning to me. Yanking his health bar from just a sliver all the way back up to full.. the thrill of getting a frookin’ pookin’ HEROIC boss down with only a tank and myself was just.. WOW. I was hooked.
And that’s my story. I’ve been healing ever since.
Why did I tell you that? Because sometimes finding something you really like requires stepping outside your comfort zone. Healing CAN and often IS a blast. It’s challenging, from raids to 5 mans. I’ve been in a 5 man where it was a snoozefest.. tank took little damage, I atonement dps’d most of the fight. I’ve been in 5 mans where every pull was a hair-raising event – dps pulling off tank who’s got part tank gear, part heal gear. I actually found that I improve my reflexes by being in those types of groups. Keeps me on my guard and helps me to watch for warning signs for incoming damage.
Raids now require you to manage your mana effectively and balance your raid’s health. Garalon is a good example of a taxing healing fight. Constant aoe damage requires good cooldown management and communicating with your fellow healers to time your raid heals. Will of the Emperor, the final encounter in Mogu’shan Vaults, is the opposite. Constant tank damage while balancing raid heals and cooldowns for the Titan Gas. You feel like a boss when you can juggle all that!
Sure, healing IS a responsibility. But it can be a huge rush too! A friend of mine suggested that healing is like DPSing. Only instead of the boss, you’re dpsing your raid with heals! Objective: Make the health bar go all the way to full. He then went on to talk about how waffles should be the mandatory breakfast food of choice instead of cereal, but he actually brought up a good point and it’s worth looking at. DPS drops boss’s health down. Healers bring the raid’s up. Boss’s health needs to drop fast – dps uses a cooldown. Raid takes a huge hit of damage, healers use a cooldown. Not gemmed or enchanted right? Dps lose .. well, dps. Their output goes down the hole. Healers lose hps and hpm, have lower output.
AHH! I need an adult beverage!
There’s definitely some differences and I’m just teasing of course, but anything you do requires perspective. If you haven’t ever healed though – don’t be scared, give it a shot. A good shot. Get a couple of people you know together, find some healy gear, set it up right and que a couple of times. You might be surprised. There’s a lot of good websites out there with really good guides that will help you get started. My personal recommendation? I’ve used Plusheal.com for as long as I can remember, because they have forums for all healers with a smart group of people that excel at their class to chat with, and some happen to even write the guides you find there, so you can ask them questions.
I said it before, but I love a good story. What brought you guys into the world of healing? If you haven’t healed, what’s holding you back? Explain it all, Clarissa!
I know, I know, I’ve been a bad monkey! Working on the next post, I ended up sidetracking myself and completely updating my UI to boot. I’ve got a lot of screenshots I need to edit and get together. BAD ME!
However, I would like to take a moment to point you guys to where I was inspired to give my UI an overhaul. That’s no easy feat either, I’m loathe to change my ui, I set it up the way I like it and grumble like mad any time I have to change or remove an addon. I’m lazy that way, and I’m allowed. At least I think I am… I’ll have to check.
There’s a whole series on different addons that he uses, which includes some of the things I’d like to talk about! You think it’s time for a change? Take a look at his playlist, he shows you how he built his from the ground up. A big thank you to TouchyMcFeel for taking the time to post this video series, I hope he keeps at it, there’s a bunch more I’d like to see!
I love a good UI discussion, actually, I’m a sucker for em! So tell me… what addons do you guys use that you just can’t game without?
If you’ve been healing for any length of time, you’ll probably understand where I’m coming from with this post. If you just started healing or don’t regularly heal, I want to talk about this so that you’ll know that you aren’t alone.
You’re in your raid, scotch (or beverage of choice) flowing through the system, you’re at a boss you’ve been trying to down for weeks (cough elegon cough), you’ve been healing your heart out ermagerd we’re almost to the last phase, and you just let something slip. Tank took a breath to the face and just croaked. With this being a new expansion, careful mana management has almost been paramount – we’ve been brought up to believe being stingy with heals will be what keeps us from wiping from those “oh crap, I’m out of mana!” moments.
Of course, that opens the door for moments like this. The tank you’re in charge of takes too much damage and you just didn’t get that heal out fast enough.. It’s like time slows down for a moment.. Just for a moment, long enough for you to look at your tank’s health meter.. Long enough to bellow at the screen your choice of curse word (apologies to my neighbors, especially little Timmy, who’s vocabulary just expanded). You scramble to come up with SOME way to salvage the situation – cooldowns, that flash heal you’ve got banked, penance, shield, anythingomganythingpleasedon’tdieaaandholycrapthetankisdead.
Then.. there’s the pause. That moment of silence while people are still too engrossed in their job to notice just yet what’s happened. You could swear there was a tumbleweed that just rolled through the platform. And what’s worse.. You know the tank is doing one of two things: Performing the same swearing ceremony you just completed, or silently quaking. Like a train whistle, the pressure’s just building up for the explosion. You look for a hole to crawl in. Why won’t this hearth work?! Please dear internet god, let my connection fizzle, anything I just need to escape!
Realization starts to creep through when the other healer notices a sudden spike in damage for the other tank or worse.. The dps. Where’s the tank? Why is he dead? Somebody get him back up again! Agh, too late, the raid wiped. What happened!?
Your mind starts coming up with excuses, anything: The cat rolled on the keyboard! The dog farted and set the couch on fire and then my grandmother just sang a Kanye West song complete with explicit lyrics, my car exploded due to an errant Dalek blast and then my face melted off.. anything that sounds viable.
In the world of healing, there is no worse feeling that the literal feeling of stares through the monitor and over Mumble of these people whom you raid with.. Weighing your very soul, as the tank vocalizes the fact that he shuffled off the mortal coil far too early. You feel like apologizing for abandoning him, almost like you personally tied him up, threw him into a Justin Bieber concert 4 hours away from home and left him to be tossed around by the crowd. Not that I would know anything about that.. Ok, there was the one time in Jersey, and the guy had it coming to him.
I know for me personally, moments like that make me reconsider why I heal and even play. Sure the naked dancing on the mailbox is fun for a while, but really, aren’t there better things to do? You just pray that your death is painless and that the Gods of Internet Valhalla welcome you into their halls and didn’t hear of your misdeed.
And then you hear it. “Alright, let’s run back in, give it another shot.” I didn’t die from shame, embarassment, or shunning? I’m not kicked for life from raiding for my misdeed? I’m not posted in the Hall of Shame wall of life!??! Ok, so maybe I exaggerated just a tiny bit. But really, you just feel like you let everyone down, what do you do? First of all:
In the world of he said, she said, it’s refreshing to hear someone say “Yeah guys, I totally dropped the ball, couldn’t get that heal out quick enough.” Take ownership of your mistakes, if you’re confident you made it. On the other hand, if it happened to be someone else’s mistake, don’t immediately yell out that it was. Aunaka has a great post on the subject. First step is admitting you have a problem. and then…
Make it work for you – use that as your determination to do the “more better” that you’re known for! For those interested in the detective work, use Skada or even World of Logs if someone happens to be live updating it.. Look at the encounter and find out why the tank died! In the example above, you could look at several things, like how much damage the breath was, and if it’s less than his health, did he not use a cooldown or lifesaving device himself? Were neither of you prepared for the breath, was he too low in health to take the breath? Despite popular belief, It’s not always the healer’s fault if the tank died (cooldowns, moving out of things that should be avoided) although some would also blame the Rogue (sorry wifey).
Sometimes the tank DOES miss a mechanic, doesn’t move out of something, forget a cooldown. If you’re like me, you still end up blaming yourself for stuff like that though – If I had just threw a PW:Shield on him or hadn’t tried to heal the raid back up and just focused on him first, or threw a few spirit shell heals on him before I started raid healing, he would have survived?? You may even venture into the extreme.. “could I have lifegripped him and then pw shield to get him back in before Elegon does a raid yank, or maybe yanked the OTHER tank in!” Yes, I’m weird. In all seriousness though, in a near-future post, I’d like to talk more about reading logs and how to get the full picture, and maybe share some of my own pitfalls, of which there are many.
Sometimes, it’s just plain ol’ unavoidable death.
But for those times you just plain ol’ drop the ball, it’s not the end of the world. Everybody, healer or otherwise, has caused a raid to wipe at some point in their WoW gaming. The important takeaway is that you realize what caused the wipe, ask questions, find out how to fix it so you can progress through and get that ol’ boss down and obtain some shinies.
What experiences have you had with your raid to wipe, and how did you cope?
While Aunaka is off having a wedding inspired meltdown, the lovely and talented MarthaPie is stepping in to tell us all how to be better at healing Heroic Madness as Resto Druids. Please kids give her your attention and remember that while Aunaka is away she’s in charge.
This Monday’s Post is on a more serious note, and brought to you by the very wonderful Ivy4Life. I hope this makes us all stop for a moment in a dungeon or raid and think about our words before we spew them at someone. Cause really it’s a game, and there is no reason for us to be unnecessarily nasty.