Tag Archive: PUGs

WTB Barkskin!

I need to grow a thicker skin.

This is something I’m working on anyway, but I have a feeling the process is going to be accelerated by playing my new little resto druid (Andi, introduced a couple of posts back). Healers, in terms of the social dynamic in PUGs, are doing it tough at the moment – everything, I discovered, was my fault. Of course, to be quite fair, some of it was; not only am I very inexperienced at healing (at least in WoW), but I didn’t discover until after leaving the instance with a sigh of relief that I’d been healing the whole thing in my kittycat outfit. So, yes, I do deserve some of that (I had to laugh…but I bet the tank wouldn’t have, if he’d realised).

The general atmosphere, however – even in low level instances like Deadmines, which is where I was – seems to be one of placing all the responsibility for the group squarely on the healer’s shoulders. Perhaps Deadmines itself exacerbates this at the moment, since it’s a familiarly named instance in a familiar place but with completely different trash and bosses, some of whom hit like the proverbial truck. This particular group (composed of a bear tank and his shaman friend from the same server, a mage and a hunter) certainly seemed to be of the opinion they could cruise through just like before; of course, we wiped. Multiple times. Sometimes more than once on the same trash pack.

As I said, part of this was undoubtedly my fault, and the tank had lots of suggestions for improving my healing (some of them actually grounded in fact). Some of the problems, however, I refuse to take responsibility for…including (but not limited to):

– A shaman with delusions of being a kangaroo, bouncing around in front of the tank and repeatedly pulling multiple mobs

– The hunter’s pet, which wandered through the mine at its own sweet pace, stopping to chat with trash packs along the way

– The tank in general, who I think may have been new to tanking, but who fully embraces the Wrath philosophy of ‘Chaaaaaarge!’ and seems unaware of any other approach. Let me set the scene…picture a group just outside the Mast Room doors, finishing off the two Oafs.

Ubertank and the DPS clear up the last of the trash. Ubertank bounces happily through the door behind Shamanboy.

Me: mana

Ubertank pulls the boss.

Me: (pops mana potion and tries desperately to heal with restraint and yet thoroughness; somehow, through blind luck, no one dies) Mana after this!

Ubertank bounds happily through door behind Shamanboy, runs around the corner and aggros a trash pack out of sight. Dies, closely followed by the shaman, then by the rest of us.

Ubertank: healer is n00b lol.

Shamanboy: yeh l2heal lol

Me (runs back from graveyard): Sorry, but if you pull a pack around the corner from me when I said I was out of mana, these things happen 🙂

Mage (also corpse running; has been quiet until now): no kidding.

Ubertank (newly resurrected): so you all ready then healer? for the difficult corners in this hard dungeon?

Shamanboy: lol n00b

A chorus of ‘r’ ensues.

Ubertank: btw u should use swiftmend

Me (watching prominent swiftmend cooldown like a hawk): yeah…thanks

And so it went. Like I said above, I certainly deserved some of it (and maybe I’ll remember another time to wear the right equipment; it’s amazing how much difference it makes, even at levels too low to actually have a second spec). Some of it, though, I shall just have to try and regard as practice in letting it all roll off me!

Part of the trouble, of course, is that when someone says that I’m not doing something well I tend to be very ready to believe them. Of course, they’re frequently right where WoW is concerned, too. I’m just getting into heroics now with Dhakeilh, and that’s an adventure all its own; as my guild’s only heroic-capable character so far and one of only a couple of 85s, I have the distinctly dubious privilege of running basically all my 80+ instances in PUGs. Some of those experiences have been good; most of them have been, well, interesting. I certainly understand the number of people I see writing in the blogosphere that they wouldn’t want to PUG heroics. Having no choice if I want to gear up, though, I’m taking a stab at it; so far I haven’t been in a group that’s managed to actually finish one, but I’m sure it’ll happen one of these days…if I’m very fortunate indeed!

The same culture of blame is certainly pervasive in the high level instances, though. I would say that tanks seem especially prone to it, except that I know when I’m tanking myself the antics of the rest of the group sometimes drive me completely batty, much more so than when I’m just DPSing. Really, I think it’s more that people are frustrated by the non-faceroll-ability* of the content and are wanting to beat the damn thing already and get their points of whichever type. Personally, I don’t mind multiple wipes on a heroic, even on the same boss; for me (never having raided), it seems like practice for the kind of attitudes I’m told you need to bring to progression raiding. Er, that is, the ‘OK, what went wrong, what should we try’ attitude – not the ‘WTF heals lol n00b’ attitude. I do hear a lot of ‘am I the only one interrupting’ and ‘move out of the damn fire’, not always with justification; it seems it’s even easier to get tunnel vision when the content is newish and everyone is focusing hard on what they have to do themselves and what’s not working.** But as I said, I don’t really mind wipes – as long as everyone stays cheerful. No, 42g repair bills aren’t fun, but thank goodness I’m not a plate wearer!

Now I feel slightly better, having vented some of that. Experiences like that one with Andi tend to make me very nervous of getting back on the horse, as it were, but I really do want to learn how to heal – and in spite of Dhak really sucking quite badly as kitty DPS right now, I’m determined to get her to the point of getting to see some content. So, WTB barkskin (or stoneskin)! Here’s to learning to listen to the good advice and let the random junk bounce off 😉

*It is a word. Really.

**Lest you think I’m all sweetness and light – I frequently think things along those lines. I’m just too shy to say them in party chat!



All Change, Please!

I like to think that I’m on track to becoming a fairly versatile player in about 10 years’ time, mostly due to chronic inability to only do one thing at once. For that reason, I’m learning to tank and heal (or trying to) as well as practising various forms of dps on various characters. This love for variety means that if I had to pick one and only one class to play, it would be druids – and, of course, my main is a druid.

The useful thing about druids is that it’s usually pretty easy to tell (after the first 30 seconds or so of buffing up) what they’re planning to do in this instance or raid. Tanking druids will be in bear form, healing druids will have branches and leaves, DPSing druids will tend toward the furred or the feathered according to preference. This is pretty much a no-brainer (and an over-simplification, but I’ll let it slide for now). Likewise, one would hope and expect that the druid in question has a talent spec suited to the shape s/he has chosen; a druid rustling around in tree form probably isn’t specced to tank today. However, the nuances of this appear to have eluded our tank in a PUG of Shattered Halls I was in a little while ago (and fortunately, we got lucky).

We started off as a fairly conventional group: paladin tank, holy priest healer, two kitty druids (one white, one purple – because, you know, colour co-ordination is important) and a warlock. About halfway through, just before the first boss, things began to go increasingly pear-shaped; while the tank was fine with holding aggro on mobs that were in front of him, he wasn’t quite managing to keep the healer out of danger. We puttered along for a bit longer, but then Bad Things started to happen on the bigger trash pulls. Suddenly (ta-daa!), the other druid revealed a hitherto-unknown resto spec and turned into a tree to help heal (phew!).

Onward we forged, now with two healers. The tank, clearly not feeling quite up to the job, took a deep breath and pulled the first boss – but by the time it hit 50% health and was ping-ponging between the tank and each of the two healers, it was obvious that all was not going well. In the middle of the fight, the tank said to me ‘I can’t taunt, you tank’ – and started in to dps. Much surprised, I shifted into bear form and we did get through it (my l33t tanking skillz just about extend to keeping a single target’s attention if I try hard enough, and I was at the upper level limit for the instance).

We finished the instance that way, with a bear tank, holy priest and tree healers, and paladin and warlock dps. It seemed to work, even if it wasn’t exactly what we’d expected. I have to admit, though I was a bit annoyed with the tank at the time (what? It’s mid fight! Ack! Quick, growl and where’s-my-maul-key-dammit!), I enjoyed rising to the challenge of a sudden shift in role.

What about you? Do you prefer to choose a niche and stick with it, or do you like classes that can dabble in a bit of something different if it’s called for?