This is part of my “Anyone Can Heal” series, aimed at new healers – priests in particular – or those who have never healed before and are thinking of trying it out.
I’ve been spending a bunch of time lately on my baby resto druid. I’ve chosen to level her almost exclusively through the Dungeon Finder (I do quests largely when they come up in dungeons, when they’re dungeon quests that I happen to run across or that someone shares, or when I need only a few percent to reach an even-numbered level), and so I’ve done a lot of PUGging over the last few days. There have been some good PUGs and some bad PUGs, but I’ve always tried to keep the principles of Anyone Can Heal in mind. So I smile, take a lot of deep breaths, and do the best I can, even though healing as a druid is strange to me (even after 14 levels of instances, I can’t get used to not having Prayer of Mending or Power Word: Shield, but I love being able to root enemies that try to run in fear). Tonight, I had two PUG experiences that I wanted to share, in the spirit of Anyone Can Heal. (This is going to be kind of long, so please bear with me.)
In the first, I was brought in as a substitute healer. The first healer had bailed after he zoned into Gnomeregan and saw that the tank was 24 and none of the DPS was above 28; apparently he’d said something about “these noobs” not being ready for Gnomer. At level 27 myself, I didn’t see much of a problem with it. (In fact, we completed the instance without any character deaths.) As soon as I was finished buffing and drinking, the tank pulled Viscous Fallout, and when we killed him, the Acidic Walkers dropped. They’re not leather and the nature resistance is a little blah, but they were a significant upgrade over what I had (Barbaric Cloth Boots – resto druid itemization really sucks at early levels!), so I rolled Need on them.
So did the hunter. And he won.
I didn’t make any fuss about it – no use in getting upset over an item. But one of the DPS said “hey, you still haven’t explained why you’re rolling Need on items that aren’t good for you”. The hunter didn’t respond. We kept going. I started paying attention to what the hunter was doing, though. He was pulling when the tank had stopped for whatever reason (usually for me to drink. This was a very conscientious tank and, despite being 24, very good; I complimented him on it at the end). The hunter hadn’t disabled Growl on his pet. He wasn’t drinking when he ran out of mana, just standing and waiting for it to regenerate. When Electrocutioner Leg dropped, he rolled Need on that, too, and both the other DPS started grumbling. Someone said “don’t make me have to vote-kick you”, and at that point I whispered the tank and asked him to stop after the next pull. He very willingly obliged, and when all the mobs were dead I asked, in party chat: “[Hunter], I don’t mean to pass judgment with this question, I’m just asking: is this your first WOW character?”
It was. The hunter had just started playing within the last two weeks, although he was quick to point out that he’d been in instances before (“that’s where I got these pants!”). All of a sudden, the group’s attitude changed entirely – the universal response was now “oh, awesome – welcome to WOW!” And we sat down and spent ten minutes explaining WOW group etiquette and best practices – roll Need on the things you’re going to use right away and that have the right stats for you (and we explained what stats are best for hunters); turn off Growl so your pet won’t pull off the tank (and you turn off abilities by right-clicking on the pet bar); let the tank pull unless you and the tank are experienced with running together, so that he can control the positioning of the pull; and if you do get a mob attacking you, run to the tank so he can re-control it. And bring plenty of water and arrows – more than you think you’ll need, so you’ll be sure not to run out if something odd happens.
The rest of the instance went without a hitch, and the hunter gave nobody any more reason to grumble. At the end, I passed the hunter 5g so he didn’t have to feel poor or like he couldn’t afford water, arrows, or training – I don’t have any 80s on this server, so gold is harder to come by for my characters there than it might otherwise be, but I figured I could make 5g back pretty easily with gathering professions – and thanked him for coming along, and the rest of the players welcomed him to WOW again and wished him the best.
The Mage and the Paladins
My resto druid is level 29 now, so over the last few levels I’ve been in Gnomeregan a lot. This particular run, I came in at the beginning of the instance, and was the Dungeon Guide (my first time as a healer!). Apparently there’s a tactic for Horde groups in Gnomer that I’d never seen before: at the first turn, instead of running around the edge and going down the canonical pathway, you can instead go straight and jump off the ledge, landing on a giant gear at the base of the room. This takes off about 50% of your health if you hit the jump right. So we cleared the area at the top of the instance and jumped off.
Well, except for the paladin tank, whose connection glitched out during the jump. He remained running at the edge of the upper platform. We watched him run in place for a few minutes, and then he disappeared. His character icon was replaced by the “disconnected” lightning bolt, and the mage initiated a vote to kick. It passed (without my help), and we were without a tank. Meanwhile, the mage pulled Viscous Fallout: “ill tank lol”.
Mages are not very good at tanking, it turns out. I healed him to full, dropped Regrowth and Renew on myself, and swapped into bear form, stealing aggro from the mage and successfully tanking the boss (with the judicious application of a health potion and Lifebloom). The mage had some choice words for me about taking away his chance to tank, but we continued; I had a quest to turn in in the Clean Room (Grime-Encrusted Ring), so we headed that way. I HOT/pot tanked the troggs on the way, and in the middle of one group, another paladin tank appeared. He effortlessly pulled the troggs off me, and I went back to healing.
(We discovered, incidentally, why Horde groups prefer to jump down: the “safe room” is hostile to non-Allies. Good to know!)
Once we reached the clean room, the mage decided to express his displeasure with not being allowed to tank Viscous Fallout by running around and pulling every gnome in the room. I tossed a HOT on him and went back to the tank, who was picking up the gnomes as he could (one only has so many taunts) and tanking them centrally. The mage’s health was dropping, and he decided to start berating me for not healing him better: “heals” “HEALS” “GOD F$%^ING DAMMIT I TOLD U TO HEAL ME” “Y ARE U SUCH A FAIL HEALER, U NOT HEALING AT ALL”. When combat was over, he was unceremoniously vote-kicked. Again, I abstained, but only because the vote passed too quickly for me to do anything about it. We got a new mage in, who was quiet but knew her stuff – apparently Frost is the leveling spec now! – and we continued on.
In the face of the mage’s abuse – I was not the only one he’d yelled at in party chat – I decided to compensate and make the rest of the run as pleasant as possible. I normally make a point of congratulating people on leveling up and on particularly impressive displays of skill, but for this run, I went out of my way to be reassuring and kind, and to make people feel like they were appreciated. I complimented good DPS, offered suggestions, and guided the group through the instance (apparently none of them had had a group hold together beyond Electrocutioner 6000 before). At Electrocutioner 6000, one of the DPS had to drop group, and we pulled in another character who ended up being a tank (the previous tank having queued for tank/DPS). He switched over and the new tank (also a paladin) picked up on the tanking handily. We didn’t have another problem the entire night, and since nobody but me had been through the instance, I directed the tank in how to proceed, and continued to be supportive and gentle.
At the end of the instance, after we’d defeated Mekgineer Thermaplugg and the group was disbanding, the paladin who’d come in to replace the first tank sent me a whisper. “That was a really great run,” he said – capitals and spelling and all. “When I logged in and saw the mage, I thought this was going to suck, but it was the best PUG I’ve been in since I started playing this toon. Thank you so much for being the dungeon guide.” Then he dropped group before I could respond.
If you take nothing else away from Anything Can Heal, take this away: you have the power to change the dynamic of any group you’re in. If the hunter is screwing up and ninjaing your loot – maybe he’s new. If the mage is berating and belittling everybody in the group – maybe you can turn it around. You have the power and the opportunity to make your dungeon runs great for everybody else. All it takes is a good attitude and a willingness to give people a break.
(A postscript: That hunter from earlier, I discovered, is actually on my server. We got to talking after the instance. He really is a brand new player, and although he has a guild leader who’s helping him out, apparently that GL is not always the friendliest person. We’ve friended each other, and I plan on making sure that he has guidance when he needs it. I won’t be a crutch, but I can’t say no to being a teacher.)