This weekend I had my first chance in what seems like ages to attend a raid. I was only able to make it on Sunday, but at any rate, we still had to PuG in a couple people and it inspired me to write a new Dose this week. Owing to the lack of Doses these past few weeks, I’ll throw in a double two-for. Two Doses of Etiquette with a side of Extreme Fail. Now that’s bargain blogging!
It’s Better to Ask Your Questions, but Be Ready to Listen and Learn. No, seriously. I know a lot of people don’t want to slow down a raid by asking questions, or don’t want to put themselves in the “noob spotlight” by admitting they don’t know the fight or don’t understand a mechanic. But guess what? We’ll figure it out for ourselves in a real big hurry when we make the pull and you screw up. Despite what your first inclinations may suggest, you’ll actually slow up the raid even more when you wipe us and then we have to explain it all again, paying special attention to the mechanic you just missed. And if you think a raid gets annoyed by questions, try giving them a repair bill and see what they say. 😉
The event that inspired this was a particularly irksome Rotface encounter. Despite numerous explanations and repeated assurances that they understood them, two of the PuGgers simply couldn’t execute the Mutated Infection mechanic: one of them (a healer) kept cleansing prematurely(which is to say, “ever” because he was told that only I should be cleansing) and couldn’t get the hang of throwing a heal or two at the infected player and neither could get the hang of running out of the middle to where the kiting tank is. It was kind of astounding to me that I was getting so little help on the infected players because there’s very little raid damage going on otherwise. He just saw a health bar dipping quickly and figured “not my problem” because it wasn’t the sort of raid damage he was used to seeing (i.e. either slow and steady or spread out and spiky).
Now, granted, our raid typically uses a somewhat… different strategy in healing. We normally have one healer keeping up the main tank, one topping off the raid, and one (usually me) focusing on the kiting tank. The two other healers stand in the middle with the main party and I follow along with the kiting tank (usually beside the ooze, actually). Normally I beacon the kiting tank and focus heals on the infected player, which allows me to do cleanses and keep the kiting party alive as they approach me. Of course, a gigantic monkey wrench gets thrown into the works when nobody is running towards us and people die or somebody cleanses and the small oozes get dropped in the middle.
Which brings us to the second part of our two-for-one special: Own Up to your mistakes, and Be Ready to Correct Them.
Now, before I rant too much, let’s get things straight. I don’t begrudge them a learning curve. As far as dance mechanics go, Rotface has a steep learning curve: there are lots of things to remember and even a slight mistake has big consequences. However, I do begrudge them the fact that they had a raid full of people ready, willing, and able to explain how they could do things better and they kept insisting that they were doing it fine when they were not. It’s one thing to wipe a raid and say “I’m sorry, I forgot that I’m not supposed to cleanse,” and quite another to remain silent or try to shift the blame. Protip for blame-shifters: you can lie all you want, but recount won’t lie with you (if you really weren’t cleansing recount won’t say you did it 4 times).
If something goes wrong and “what happened there?” comes out over Vent, I’m always among the first to speak up with what I may have done wrong: “It’s my fault, I forgot to refresh beacon,” or ” I was out of range,” or whatever. It’s always everyone else who chips in and says “don’t blame yourself so much” or “even if you had done X, I messed up Y.” If somebody asks “what happened there” and the first words out of your mouth are blaming somebody else (regardless of whether that player is mostly to blame), you’re doing it wrong. No, really. Honestly. Not joking. You’re doing it totally, completely, and unforgivably wrong. Raiding has quite a lot in common with team sports. You either come together as a team, support each other, and lift each other up… or you don’t. But anybody who experiences both kinds of teams will tell you which they prefer and which tends to be more successful.
Our raid wound up with a happy ending. After it became clear that we weren’t going to be able to do it our usual way, we switched things up a bit and our Disc priest took the kiting tank and left me with the more stationary role on the main tank. Granted, this set-up plays better to the strengths and weaknesses of our respective classes. With the main tank beaconed I was able to stand and brute-force heal the infected players without any support from the mostly-useless “raid healer” and everybody survived long enough to get to the kiting tank and be cleansed by the disc priest, regardless of how long they took to get there.
That’s not the point, though. The point is that 8 experienced raiders had to switch up our game plan – one that had worked for us – to accommodate 2 inexperienced ones because they couldn’t fit into our team. And while it says some very good things about us and our teamwork that we could all switch gears and still work together seamlessly, it also says some bad things about the two newcomers that we even had to. In the end, the raid’s success had more to do with the Disc priest and I being able to overcome the holy priest pugger’s faults than anything he did that was helpful. I’m not normally one to put too much faith in meters, but the disc priest and I accounted for about 85% of the healing, with the remaining 15% being split as about 8% the “raid healer” and 7% being various self-healing abilities (like protector of the pack and death strike). Yeah, the dude barely beat out the tanks’ passive healing. In all, we’d have been better off two-healing and having him go shadow, but as I understand it, he wanted to get in some raid healing experience, as he was still somewhat new as a healer.
Don’t get me wrong, we were all there at one time. Taking a peek back through the pages of this very blog will hearken back to the days of a then-fresh-and-untested healer struggling to find his stride. What bothers me about it all is that he was so busy pretending to be just one of the guys that he lost an excellent learning opportunity. At the risk of sounding a tad big-headed, our healing team is a very good healing team. Even our second-and-third-string healers are talented and capable healers. But the two of us that he was working with are the big boys: the a-team. And although I was on my paladin and the other priest was in Disc, both of us play a Holy priest: you know, the very same class and spec he was trying to learn. He could have learned a lot by watching what we did, asking us questions, and generally basking in the glow of our awesome (ok, that last bit of ego-strokage was for comedic effect, but still). Don’t handicap yourself like that. If you’re ever lucky enough to find somebody who is both better than you at what you’re trying to do and willing to help you get better, take advantage of it. I know I would have loved to have had a mentor when I was learning the healing ropes.