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!