A couple weeks ago, I visited the official WoW Priest forums. Boy was that an adventure. Amidst the threads about how Leap of Faith was a terrible ability, and Priest are the worst class because they have two healing specs, I came across a thread postulating that any healer who didn’t heal someone standing in fire was both elitist and a bad healer. The thread immediately was inundated with trolls, but somehow the topic continued in seriousness, progressing to the point of claiming that anyone that disagreed with the OP likes killing blind people. I’m not even kidding. I personally don’t think letting fire standers die makes one elitist, but that is a judgement call, and an argument over opinions is as silly as it is unwinnable. But a bad healer? Nothing could be further from the truth.
I think the problem arises from people that view a player’s priorities as something like this:
- Press buttons to do you job (healing, damage, threat).
- Get out of the fire
- Communicate with your fellow players
- Have a proper spec and gear
Now, you may be thinking “But Zalbuu, that seems like a fairly reasonable list.” Well, yes and no. Those are all things you should be doing, but they’re not in the right order and it’s missing plenty, mostly due to not making important distinctions. Try this on:
- Avoid getting hit by abilities/creatures that will kill you.
- Preform crucial assignments that save others from getting killed (interrupts, dispels, etc).
- Communicate with your fellow players.
- Move out of non-deadly effects/remove non-deadly debuffs.
- Attempt to optimize your location with regards to your role (melee stand behind the boss, healers get in range of your assignments, etc).
- Make sure that your spec, gear, and UI are the best they can be.
- Make sure the target you have selected and the abilities you are using maximize your contribution to the group.
- Press buttons to do your job.
Maybe it’s not a perfect list; I’m not going to pretend I have some magical insight into the best way to play WoW. What I will claim though is that it’s much better then the first list. What I really want you to note is: pressing your ability buttons is dead last. It is the least important thing you can do. Consider the following. Which do you suppose would have a greater impact on the health of the raid: one healer spamming all the right abilities, or 24 other people not standing in the fire? Which would have a greater detrimental effect on raid DPS: every DPSer spending a second to move, or a dead Rogue? Which is more likely to save your top threat DPSer: desperately spamming your abilities, or saying “hey guys vengeance just fell off watch your threat”?
So getting back to that thread, the idea that “the healer’s job is to heal his manz, and if he’s not doing it he’s bad” is patently absurd. The list of player responsibilities is long and complicated, and things pertaining to role are of relatively little importance. The other player moving out of the fire comes far, far before “hey, gimme a heal here!” Right now the worst players are decked in ICC10 epics making mana issues all but non-existent, which is a large factor in this flawed way of thinking. If there’s no real cost to you (besides your sanity), why wouldn’t you heal even players that are Doing It Wrong? Because the ability to save someone and the obligation to save them are not the same thing. And come Cataclysm this moronic way of thinking will be directly hurting your group’s ability to defeat the encounter, by either draining the healer’s valuable and limited mana or getting yourself killed.
I really want to drive this home. Complaining that healers won’t save you when you’re standing in something is the purview of DPS, so let’s reverse the argument. If a healer’s job is to keep people alive regardless of what the other players are doing, and failure to do so makes them bad, then it stands to reason that a DPSer’s job is to kill things regardless of what other players are doing, and if they can’t it must mean they are bad. It shouldn’t matter if the tank is keeping threat, if your fellow DPSers are contributing, if someone is ignoring a mechanic that makes the boss invincible, or if you’re covered in debuffs and weeping. Man up and kill it. It’s your job, isn’t it?