On Sunday morning I welcome a fourth 80 to my crew, my resto/enh shaman. I’ve leveled him mostly through the LFD tool so that I would have a good basis of experience healing when it came time to do heroics and the occasional outdated raid. I’ve got my keys bound similar to my paladin and I feel fairly confident that I know enough to get by.
But apparently I Am Not Prepared.
My first two heroics were with guild groups, and I don’t feel too horrible about letting over-eager Bladestorming warriors die. But this morning I threw myself to the wolves, queuing on my own as a healer. My first draw? Halls of Stone. I explained that I had just hit 80 and would do the best I could, but asked that the tank not chainpull and please wait for mana.
Naturally, he ignored me completely. After the inevitable wipe, he left and I requeued. Utgarde Pinnacle. First tank was a paladin who apparently had no clue where his blessings were and felt it was a good idea to chainpull with his 26k hp and a new healer. Second tank ended up getting us through, so that was a relief. After that I got Old Kingdom, one of my least favorite instances. I couldn’t keep up with the AE damage and got the lovely whisper pictured above. Tank dropped, I dropped. Same story in DTK.
Four failed PUGs in the span of a few hours. I promptly turned tail and swapped to my DPS spec, eating the queue and getting mocked for my 1500 DPS for another few heroics.
I’ll admit, I’ve been That PUGer before. I’ve probably overpulled without looking at the healer’s gear level. I’ve gotten frustrated when a new tank won’t go as quickly as I am used to. But I always stay, and if they make it known that they are new and/or undergeared, I dial it down. Yeah, it might take longer than 15 minutes to get my frost badges. So what?
Patience seems to be a rare commodity these days, and I feel very sad for the folks whose main has just recently hit 80. Boss explanations are few and far between, and people with legitimately bad gear are needlessly belittled.
So to channel my frustration, I thought I’d offer some tips for the new healers attempting to stick it through today’s Northrend heroics.
Queue during peak times: You’re much more likely to get folks around your same gear level if you queue during prime time. It won’t alleviate all the trouble, but it should cut down on some of the stress and will gate you into a lower heroic.
Queue for specific dungeons: Yes, you won’t get the two extra badges, But you can start yourself off with easier heroics instead of relying on the randomizer to choose for you.
Gem and enchant to the best of your ability: Get some green gems into those empty slots as you acquire gear. Toss on some cheap enchants. Fill your glyph slots. Spring for some crafted blues or purples. In short? Do the best with what you’ve got.
Make sure you’re using the right ranks: Dual-spec has really put a wrench into this, so be certain you have the max ranks of all of your spells. You will get RankWatch spam if you don’t.
Be honest: Tell your groups that you are new and will do the best you can. Most people will adjust for that, but the internet breeds stupidity through anonymity, so you’ll get people who are just plain dicks about it. Let them leave the group and eat the debuff.
Queue with folks you know: This is always the best option when you’re just starting out. Even if it’s just a tank, you’ll double your chances of getting an instance you can actually heal. And people tend to freak out when they see a tank with less than 30k HP unbuffed, so the asshats are likely to leave post-haste.
Above all else, don’t let bad PUGs get you down. You’re still learning, you’re still gearing, and everybody had to start somewhere.