Misconceptions are a rather funny thing. 90% of any sitcom’s story revolve around them; in action flicks, they make heroes go after the wrong bad guys (rendering the real bad guys with more time to practise their evil laughs … muhaha); and directors like M. Night Shaman (or whatever his name was) base whole movies around the misconceptions of their audience. Of course, you expect a twist (not the tree dance, people!) at any turn during the Shaman’s movies (hah, ‘twist at any turn’…brilliant!), but that’s beside the point.
Misconceptions in the raiding world of WoW are hardly ever as funny or entertaining. They can be thrilling, but most of the time they are thrilling in the wrong way. This is the story of one person who failed to state their expectations beforehand and then got angry about the people failing to meet these uncommunicated expectations. For anyone asking themselves who this incredibly handsome, awfully intelligent and utmost perfect individual might be: it’s me. Did I mention I am as modest as they come and completely down-to-earth?
I had a miserable raiding week on my priest. So miserable, in fact, that I named it R.A.T. (Raid of Awful Terribility). Yes, ‘terribility’ is a word now. A word I quite like, if you don’t mind me saying so. I think it quite neatly encapsules the implied recipient’s ability of being that terrible while also not failing at conveying the articulator’s amazement thereof. I could go on to admire this derivation for its almost onomatopoetic character (much like ‘sneeze’ or ‘flap’), but I don’t want to lose the two readers that are still reading this atrocity of a post. Congratulations, dear sir or madam!
Where was I? Right, R.A.T. I consider myself a very calm and composed person. I take pride in the fact that I will stay disimpassioned when all goes to hell and people start jumping at each others’ throats. But this time I could just barely restrain myself from screaming at people on top of my lungs. It wasn’t even going that badly. I mean, okay, due to “staff issues” we did only kill two bosses instead of the four bosses we should “normally” have gotten out of the way. Was I angry to not see any improvement in our raid progression? Yes. But looking at it with hindsight I realised two things that I should concentrate on to a larger extent while raiding. And neither of the two have anything to do with the number of bosses we kill or the purples we get. Maybe it will even help some of my readers. Provided they are still still reading. Again, congratulations, dear sir or madam!
This is composed of two things: both my personal progress and the progress of others. I have made what I feel is great progress in the use of my spells this week. For the first time in forever, I have managed to use cooldowns like Pain Suppression, Power Word: Barrier, Power Infusion, and my Shadowfiend more than once during the Beth’tilac encounter. I have seen improvements in my use of Prayer of Mending, but there is still much room for improvement there (I think I use it as little as I do because it usually doesn’t pay off outside of raids where you only have to heal one person at a time for most of the fights; plus it is somewhat hindered by absorption, but that’s for another time). I have used Penance more than usual, which is a good thing. And I had an ‘OMG I am so awesome’ moment when I saved a tank from falling through Betty’s net by life-gripping him when he was already free-falling. Yay for me!
While I acknowledged things that concerned me right after the fact, I failed to recognize the improvements others right away. Due to one of our Frost DKs not being there, the other DK (we have way too many of them for a 10 man raid) had to fill the position and handle the spiderlings on Beth. I did not take a note of how she improved going from attempt one to the final kill, how the spiderlings became more and more of a non-issue, to the point where we could let our hunter just throw some traps her way and focus on something else instead of assisting her full time. What did I see? I saw that she pumped out about 6k DPS less than our other DK normally does (who is not only used to doing that job but is also generally an insane factory of pain — with better gear on top) and grumbled over the fact that she needed any assistance with the spiderlings at all. She then proceeded to ensure our Shannox kill (I know it’s weird to kill Betty first, but whatever works, right?) by effectively tanking the salamander about 30 seconds into phase 2 after our tank had died (she — another female DK — had stepped into a Flaming Trap of Death). She eventually died, but had bought our tank enough time to get resurrected and gain more aggro on the Hunter of the Firelands than the healers. Props to our other DPS as well. They all managed to Feign Death, Vanish or become invisible at the right time.
That was not all I ground my teeth about. I shook my head in despair as our warrior tank told me he wasn’t aware he had to jump down when Betty casts Smoldering Devastation. That wouldn’t have been that bad on its own, but if I tell you that the same person has downed Betty on his hunter approximately 1,000,000 times (rough estimate), you might understand my frustration when he barked at me (after I had barked at him): “How am I supposed to know that if nobody tells me?” Silver lining: I apologized for making (false) assumptions instead of strangling him. And we killed the vicious spider at the end. What I did not notice at the time was that he used his tanking cooldowns whenever he climbed the net. Yes, it is not the optimal way to use them and he wouldn’t have had any to spare if there had been an emergency, but for the first time ever, I didn’t have to tell him to actually USE them. No “If you have any, use a cooldown, please!”, no healer whispering me why he was so hard to heal. A small step for a Worgen warrior, a giant leap (of faith) for me.
Wanting to control things in WoW can be a good thing. Good leaders know why an attempt went wrong because they monitor it, can sometimes even counter it. You analyze not only others’, but your own performance more closely, and in the best case even more objectively. Your drive to improve yourself can elevate you to new hights (did I mention I life-gripped the tank and saved the attempt?).
However, having issues with control and trust can also be bad. If you have the impression that you as a disc priest absolutely have to keep up the group (with Prayer of Healing) or they will all die while having a holy priest as your ‘associate healer’ (10 man setting, remember?), you know there is something wrong. When I looked at Recount for the fight afterwards, I — shaking my head — realized that the holy priest
used Prayer of Healing very conservatively almost neglected Prayer of Healing completely. With hindsight (of course it didn’t begin to dawn on me back there in the heat of the lava surrounding us) I realized that I was probably the problem. She didn’t feel the need to cast Prayer of Healing much because I would blanket the raid with it. Instead, she mainly kept up single raid members with direct heals and let me — frantically, but how should she know? — cover the raid, instead of us changing roles. I will try to hold back on the group healing next time, focus on our drone tank and the spiderling-person(s) instead (who are probably way out of range for any group healing again) and see what she does. If necessary, I will put Prayer of Healing to some remote place of my action bar for the fight. That is how sacrificing a player I am. I will let others do my work if I have to. She will probably complain afterwards how there was so much more damage in the group. Then I will swoop in and take the blame. It’s for the greater good. Sometimes you have to let the children touch the cooker instead of trying to make sure they don’t.