I’m posting this late, so if this should happen to appear out of order, this run happened on Saturday. I needed a few emblems after finishing the raid, so I ran a couple randoms. I ran as a dps with the remnants of the raid after most people had to go. A short while later I was equipping some new gear (the raid gave me enough frost emblems to get the frost emblem cloak) and replacing some old blue gems with some new epic ones when a random mage asked if I’d like to run a random. I’d just spent the last minute or so buffing everybody that walked into the IF bank, so he probably saw me coming from a mile away and knew I’d say yes, just because anybody who does that sort of thing is probably the sort of person that enjoys helping people. So the two of us queued up and he’s immediately struck by the fact that having a healer in the party did not grant him an immediate dungeon invite. I’m a little put off already (by the way if you intend to use random healers to hop queues faster the least you can do is not tell them about it, especially in a complaining sort of way) but I inform him that while it may not be the 22 seconds the queue timer suggests, it will be much faster than queuing as a lone dps. Sure enough, a few minutes later the invites pop up. 5-8 minutes is still way better than 15-30.
It’s hard to label this run as fail, simply because nobody died, and in the end, I think everyone had quite a bit of fun. But we got off to a shaky start for no other reason than I started off the run with having to go afk. I was polite because trust me I know, I know, and it annoys me too, but I had been ill all day and it just hit me at that exact moment that if I didn’t get to the bathroom in the next 30 seconds there would be quite a mess to deal with. But anyway, after a very short break I came back and off we went. Everything went pretty well at first. The whelps were the typical annoyance that they always are: nothing more, nothing less. The first boss was, as usual, a Holy Nova spamfest since the healing from it is enough to keep everyone topped off and what little damage it does speeds the fight along, if only a little.
The trouble began as we mounted up and hit the middle rings. The tank had quite a lot of hit points, and wasn’t particularly squishy, but somehow couldn’t maintain aggro against the dps. Granted, it was a mage and two warlocks – all doing pretty decent dps – but the tank was a paladin and those guys tend to swim in threat, from what I can tell. I was keeping everyone up, even when they pulled threat off the tank, but it was happening to the point that I actually checked him to make sure he had Righteous Fury up (which he did). So after a few snipes back and forth between the tank and the dps about exactly whose job it is to manage threat we set off again, the dps refusing to tone down their relentless assault on the meters and the tank apparently unable to produce more threat than he already was. (For the record, I’m firmly under the belief that a DPS is responsible for his own threat and if he constantly pulls threat from the tank it’s his own fault). So we continued, apparently under the assumption that nobody would bother about threat and I would just heal everyone through everything.
Which I did. I healed through it when the 3 clothies and the tank each tanked a mob. I healed the group when the tank pulled the mobs and the mage had somehow aggroed one of the dragons. I had to burn my Guardian Spirit, but I kept the mage up long enough for the dps to take down the dragon. I still don’t know how I kept everyone up through that, but somehow I did. I just thank my lucky stars that all 3 dps were ranged and paying attention enough to switch targets, because as amazing as it was to watch those health bars bouncing up and down, I’m not sure how much longer I could have kept it up (those dragons deals some scary big magic damage to unmounted players). But nobody died and we moved on, and it kept going that way. Each pull the dps would pull threat off the tank with their rampant AoE and I’d somehow manage to keep everyone alive and the tank would dutifully go to the next group to at least try to keep hold of all of them this time. So finally we had burned through all of the bosses except Eregos himself, and we buff up all of the drakes (except mine, since I was the one buffing) and it occurs to me then that I am the only one with a green healing dragon. I was once again a little nervous, but we gave it a shot. It, too, went pretty well. I lost one of the dps drakes, but amazingly the warlock landed on the platform and didn’t die. Eregos joined the warlock on the platform shortly after and thus ended the run.
Seeing that I was in the Oculus my sister tried to warn me – and I’ll pass it on to you – to be sure to loot the chest when you run Oculus. In addition to the shared loot there is a bag of random gems and 2 bonus triumph emblems in the chest for each player. So everyone should loot it and not just the one person. Sadly, I didn’t see her whisper and didn’t loot the chest. Those gems would have been nice for me, since I’m a JC and the 2 emblems would have been enough to get me my T9 hat and finish off my 4 pc T9 bonus. Oh well, I know for next time.
Anyway, as stressful as the run was it was all worth it in the end when all 4 of them chimed in with “good heals” and once we got back to the IF bank, the mage added that he’d keep me in mind if his raids needed a “kick-ass healer.” The unsolicited friends list invite is among the highest praise a healer can receive and to get a compliment on top of that brought a smile to my face. As most any healer will tell you, healing is often a thankless job, so receiving so much praise for any single run is an unexpected but welcome surprise. It’s enough to make you feel good for days.
So that was my “fail” pug, such as it was. It may have been a stressful, “fly by the seat of your pants” sort of run, but it was pretty fun, if a bit unconventional. As I mused in Tiger chat afterward, “I’ll say one thing about random PUGs: they’re great training.” So, healers, take heart. Those freakishly bad PUGs you’re in can get to you, but try to think of it as practice for every worst-case scenario imaginable and keep your chin up. It may just work out in the end.