Monday, May 2, 2011

Pugging for Fun and Excitement

While bored yesterday I offered to heal for a friends heroic and was pleasantly surprised at how I did.  Mind you, I was just a beginner Shaman healer not so long ago and I rarely use the character either.  The character is basically there to help people out.  I've only healed once in the past two months.

Something strange must have happened in the last two months however with Shaman healing because I know damn well that I did not get better at healing with a Shaman in two months of not playing it.  If anything, not playing it should have made me worse.

Seems like they buffed it nicely.  I had no problems what so ever.  Of course, this was with two guild members.  I still would not want to deal with a group of random people.  Never know what to expect with those people.  Just thinking about it is enough to give me nightmares.

Thus began my day, a day of pugging.  He told me, give it a try, if you go alone the luck of the draw buff should be enough to boost your healing to a whole new level that you will be able to make up for a lot of people failing.

I kept saying no, no and again no just for good measure.  Then the call to arms popped up and I thought, what the hell, what is the worst that could happen.  Lets give it a try.

My personal rules to pugging as a healer are as such.  I will now only queue if I am getting the bag.  I doubt that was what Blizzard intended, having less healers because they will sit out and wait but bad ideas usually bring out thing like that and the satchel is a bad idea.

I will give every group a good try.  I am not afraid of wiping.  I am willing to explain if someone needs it.  I will do my best to keep everyone up, within reason.  I'll chill and move with the group but be willing to drop the hammer down and take control if and when need be.  After all, no matter what tanks like to think, the group lives and dies at the whim of the healer, not the tank.  If I say wait, you wait.  That simple.

So the day started and I enter my first random.  Throne of Tides to start off, fresh run.  I always dread this one because of the hallways.  The run goes smooth, DPS sucks of course, but we never wipe and we do all bosses.  When someone said they wanted to do the one some skip the group says no problem. 

In temperament this was the perfect group.  No whiners, no complainers, no one insulting others, if every run was like this one I would do more randoms.  Like I said, it was smooth, but the DPS was horrible so it took a lot longer then it should have been.  I had no mana issues either, so it never got to the point where the bad DPS hurt me.  End of run, not counting the inflated last boss saw the tank as #1 DPS of 8K, the three DPS all had 7K.

That was not such a bad experience.  I'll try it again.  To bad the goodie bag was not available for healers.  No big deal, I'll wait.  This was just a test run for me.

Second time, the bag gets offered, I queue up and land in Lost City, second boss.  Seems like it was just after a wipe, not good at all.  One dead body was still on the floor the other three where back already.

I lost a DK on that boss that was taking more damage then the tank was.  No biggie, I revive him after the croc and we go at the boss, no one dies there.  Third boss is a one shot thing and that trash pack when you first walk through to him that I normally had problems with I had none.  I really think they buffed Shaman healers a huge amount or maybe it was just the luck of the draw buff helping.  For someone that has healed one thing in the last two months I should not be doing this well.  Unless something finally clicked in me as a player it has to be all buffs.

Last boss turns into a wipe fest.  I am healing the DK more than I am the tank.  Seems to be he is taking all sorts of crazy damage from every end.  Blowing everything I have to keep him and the tank up leaves me near empty when we hit phase two.  A wipe soon follows.  Second attempt, more of the same.  Third attempt someone asks what the problem is and I say those swirls really hurt, stay out of them.  The DK apologizes and says he turned up particle rate so he can see it.  Next attempt goes better but we just do not make it.  I oom, people start dying. 

The elemental shaman says we will never get this done and drops group, he is replaced by a warlock I believe and we down it on the next try and I still have 1/3 of my mana left when we do.  Looks like the elemental shaman and his super awesome 4K DPS is the reason we where wiping, along with the DK standing in everything.  Replace the shaman and make the DK move and it went from a hard battle we would have never finished to a cake walk.

After that I figured I've had enough so I am going to call it for randoming solo when I notice I am only 1200 away from exalted with earthen ring for my 359 boots.  Okay, you convinced me, I will do one more.

I had to wait for the bag to be offered again which took a bit.  I need to find something to do to pass the time while waiting.  Maybe I can do dailies or something.  Either way, it pops up and I enter the queue.

Seven minutes later, you can see how much healers where needed if they are offering me a bag to wait seven minutes, I get into Grim Batol and see bones all over the place, at the entrance.  This is not a good thing.  I ask where they are up to as they are running back and they say the dragon boss.  Oh joy, this is going to be fun.  Tank dropped as soon as he made it back in.  Maybe wanted to rez first before dropping group.  We get a new tank and the new tank asks if we just go to the last boss.  I say, no problem, I was here for rep anyway and joined after all the nice and easy rep is gone so the sooner we end it the quicker I can get in a new one and get some rep.

I get netted by the one trash guy and just heal myself through it, waiting for someone to come and save me.  We down that guy and everyone runs ahead.  I have to say in party, can someone break me out back here.  Damn blizzard for having caster melee weapons have no damage any more.  If I did not say anything they would have just left me there to die as they headed into the next pack.  Actually, they did almost.  The one person that came back for me was the only one, the other three charged into the next pack of four.  Did not wait for me, or even ask if I needed mana.  I ran up to save them, tank had to use lay on hands because I never made it in time, but we down them and all the other trash before the boss.

Boss time, and from past experience in doing this on my Hunter (who has never been able to do it with a pug because pugs suck) I was afraid this was not going to happen but I am always up for a challenge.  From a mana stand point this fight has always been a breeze if the adds are caught in time and do not release the whelps.  It is one of those fights that explain why I say when everything is done right healing is an easy job.

Thing is, when things are not done right it makes healing a hard job and this is a pug after all so you do not expect things to go right do you?  First time around one add releases whelps.  No biggie, just actually making me have to do something this fight.  I keep everyone up, second time, both packs release whelps, everyone is dead three seconds later.  Maybe it is a skill issue on my part but there was no way in hell I was going to keep everyone up spread out so far with that type of AoE going on.

The tank picked out what went wrong, the people where not split up right, and reassigned who goes where.  I was throwing frost shock to slow the one on the side with the least DPS and apparently no one that could slow.  The fight took forever.  Every other time I have been in there I have never seen more then three add phases, most take two, this time had five, yes five, but they did all five right and like I said, if no whelps are released it is an extremely healer friendly fight so I still ended with half mana and that is even with having to heal this one mage who seemed to refuse to get to the eye of the storm twice.  Not all that bad over all.  DPS was horrid of course, as always it seems.  Tank was 14K, the three DPS where 8K, 6K and 6K.  So that explains why it took five add phases.

I still wanted my boots so figured I am good for one more and I wait until the bag is offered.  When the offer pops up I wave my hand and yell, me me me and queue up.  I get Blackrock Caverns and wonder what this will bring.  This is an easy instance if you get people that know how to move from the beam and hard as hell if you get ones that don't.  But first thing first.  There are a pile of bones all around the first boss.  Oh crap, this does not bode well at all.  Apparently either the previous healer just gave up or they kicked them, either way, I doubt this fight could ever be considered a healer issue fight unless they really really suck so I am already of the opinion that this has to be a DPS issue.

We pull, things are going well, the DPS does look on the low side but there are no fights in here where that could be an issue unless someone starts taking avoidable damage and I need to heal two tanks effectively.  If people execute correctly this dungeon can be done with lower DPS.

First chains, we break them, one person dies.  Second chain, we break them, the other two DPS dies.  Did you know there are only two chain events?  I know that now.  No one thought to release and come back, maybe they did not realize you can on this fight, but the tank and I finished off the fight.  Yeap, just the two of us.  No other chain popped up.  Interesting, I could have sworn I've seen the chain happen more then twice before, I was mistaken however.  I knew if another chain popped we were done for so I am glad one did not.  It did explain why there were so many bodies all over the place.  DPS that can't move are a bad thing.

Thinking this does not bode well for the next fight that really needs DPS to move but thankful I have an amazing tank I know that after the second boss the tank and I could theoretically two man the rest of the instance and just take whatever help we get from the DPS while they decide to live.  One problem, tank dropped.  He probably knew what the DPS not moving means for the next fight and did not even what to try.

We get a new tank and it is one of those go go go tanks and I am on my toes trying to keep him up being he is always moving even if I am drinking or looting it doesn't make a difference.  Thing is, he is another very good tank.  Thank god for small miracles.

We assign roles for the second boss, everyone does what they are supposed to do and it should all go smooth.  This is another healing non issue fight.  Even if this fight went on for 20 minutes I would never run out of mana.  I interrupt the fears myself, just in case, one of the reasons I love being a shaman healer, bad DPS that does not interrupt, no problem, I will do it myself.  We go in and out and in and out and in and out and I start to think sooner or later, the longer this goes on, someone is going to make a mistake and it happens after the seventh or was it eight in and out and we end up wiping finally.

Now for the best part of this entire post if you made it this far you are about to be rewarded.  This one guy starts going off about how horrible everyone is, saying people with 9K gear scores should be able to do more then 5K DPS and that everyone sucks and there is no way they could do this if they are going to continue to be so horrible.  He rants about the DPS for about 5 minutes before leaving.

Punch line time:  He was the lowest DPS at 4K.  Excuse me?  Why are you ranting about horrible DPS when you where the worst of the horrible DPS?  The other two DPS where 5K and 6K with the tank at 8K.  Yes, once again the tank is leading DPS and once again there are droves of DPS all under 8K.  Where do these people even get off being in heroics?  It baffles the mind really.  In a way I agree with mr rant and rave about DPS, how the hell can people with a 350 item level be doing 5K, you should be doing 12K with your eyes closed once you get to a 350 item level.  My hunter can pull more then 5K with just auto shot.  It is sad.

Either way, we queue up for a DPS and get a replacement and surprisingly, at least to me, the other two DPS suddenly got better and moved to 8K and 9K.  Was that one person really bringing the other two down?  If so, how exactly does that happen?

We down the boss no problem, tank tries to sneak by some packs but the hunter accidentally gets to close and they come for him. The tank, on his toes it seems, comes flying over and wraps up the mobs.  It is a bit of a mess for a minute but we get them and no one dies.  Is this the same group I was just with that had horrible DPS, died to chains and yet they do everything perfect here to recover including CC on the fly, target focusing, priority killing.  Who stole my puggers and replaced them with these body snatchers.

The rest of the run goes well.  Even on the next boss with the damage buff they barely break 10K DPS but they are over 8K and once everyone is over 8K these runs become easy.  We mow down all the trash, no need for CC or anything, only used it once to recover from that mispull.  The hunter had never kited the last bosses adds but says he will give it a try and he does fantastic.  Last fight is another healers dream.  Nothing much to do there at all.  I've noticed a lot of fights really go one way or the other.  They are hell on the healer or they are easy on the healer.  There are no fights that just keep you busy and make you work.  It is one way or the other.

I go and get my boots.  From doing all that I have enough points to get myself a justice piece and a valor piece now so pick them up as well.  I bounce around to my jewelcrafter and my enchanter and make some new gems and enchants for the new items and send them to my Shaman and get everything all set up and see that there is another offer of a goodie bag.  A bit reluctant but figuring that my luck has been good I would give it a try. 

I join up and it is Stonecore.  I am standing right in front of a giant worm and see bones all around me.  I've experienced this before and it did not turn out too bad.  It is still scary to come into something like that and see a wipe fest on the first boss.  Maybe they kicked the healer, maybe the healer left.  Soon enough I will see.

We pull, things all going well, they down the shards instantly, nice work there, they move when they need to move, they switch targets when they need to.  I barely need to heal.  Then the worm goes underground and the adds pop up and all or them look to take a bite of the tasty healer.  So I drop a totem to burn them a little and run to the tank with a pack of 20 adds in tow.  When I get to him, he runs away.  I run following him, he keeps running away from me.  The tank does not try to take the adds off me, the DPS are not AoEing them down, everyone is just running from them.  The only person doing anything is me healing which means they are all coming for me, I get eaten alive.  Everyone dies soon after.

Next attempt they try discussing what went wrong, someone says that someone got hit by the worm.  I say, that is not a problem, I can heal that you just need to keep the adds off me.  I got eaten by adds.  We go again, same thing happens.  I run to the tank, the tank runs away from me.  Take the adds off of me you retard.  Wow, this is amazing.  How can anyone be that stupid.  No doubt this is one of those baggie tanks that are only a tank for the bag and he has no clue what his job is.  Come on now, even you you where a DPS or healer your whole life you know it is the tanks job to get the attention of the mobs.  How could you fail that bad.

We try one more time.  I say the same thing, keep the adds off me and we will be fine.  Once they start hitting me it will be a wipe.  We go, same thing happens, I get devoured by adds.  Someone says, lets just queue up for another one and I reply.  No thank you, in the past I would have said yes but now I only queue alone for the bag or with guild when they need a healer.

That was when I called it.  Seemed my good luck wore out its welcome.  Glad I got a few good runs in there and three new pieces of gear.  A few little things appeared to me in my four runs, well five if you want to count three wipes for nothing.

How the hell do you do 4K DPS with three stacks of luck of the draw? 
Hell, how it is even possible to do 8K only with three stacks of luck of the draw even if you are in quest greens?
A 350 items level apparently doesn't mean you have any clue how to play.
Tanks where the #1 DPS in three of the four dungeons I finished.
Either I am amazingly becoming a good healer despite healing only once in the last two months or Shaman healing has gotten a huge boost.
The luck of the draw buff does really help.
PuGs, even when they are a success still suck.
Low DPS can still turn something easy into something hard.
Low DPS also seems to make average tanks seem fantastic.

And the biggest one, I might go bag hunting on my Healer some but I still do not see myself ever wanting to tank a random.  If anything, it seems heroics are not a bad as I once remembered them.  Or maybe it is just looking at it from a different perspective.  When I DPS and my DPS is more then the tank and the other two DPS combined it is annoying thinking I have to do all the work whereas when I heal, DPS is no longer my problem, so I do not feel as if I am doing all the work.  When I heal I just do what I can do the best that I can do it.  There is no marker to work against.  It is just me.

Over all I would say it was not as horrible of an experience as I would have expected it to be.  Maybe I should try a tier two random?  Nah, not yet.  Baby steps.


  1. Haha, I love that you randomly got quite the shuffle of Heroics. But I've quite noticed the sudden influx of really low DPS as well. Everyone was worried about CTA bringing a rush of bad tanks but I've seen instead a rush of 5-8k DPS groups. It's quite surprising and more than a little frustrating.

    As for Shaman healing, I don't know them that well but I do know that they got a straight-up bonus to healing across the board a while back. Some talent was like +10% all healing, or something like that.

  2. I can tell they got some sort of buff. I would occasionally get into some really hard places healing and I did not see that yesterday at all except for when the tank ran away from me and that is his problem, not mine really.

    Not sure what is up with the DPS but it is just sad really. Even when I take it easy on DPS I pull 12K over all and 17K on bosses. It makes for nice and easy runs. If I press it I can easily squeeze out more DPS but I usually don't sweat heroics.

    If you can get three DPS like that most runs take 20 minutes now. It just seems like we are moving in reverse, people are getting worse, not better. At least my luck had it so while I did have bad DPS they where bad DPS that stepped out of the fire which made things doable. So while bad, they where not bad bad, just bad numbers.

  3. Fun post!

    When I DPS and my DPS is more then the tank and the other two DPS combined it is annoying thinking I have to do all the work whereas when I heal, DPS is no longer my problem, so I do not feel as if I am doing all the work.

    I think this is interesting, because I would have thought that it's the opposite (or at least it's for me). When I dps, other dps doing low damage just means that I have to do my rotation a number of times more often. Except on fights like Corla this doesn't result in any additional strain for me at all. As a healer on the other hand, low dps directly results in fights taking longer, making the job of making my mana last a lot more difficult.

  4. @Shintar

    The thing for me is, with DPS it means I have to try and do more to compensate. This puts pressure on me.

    With healing, low DPS or high DPS makes no difference, I heal until I OOM. Sure, it is stressful when I OOM but my job is the same no matter how much DPS is being put out. My job is to keep everyone alive. That never changes.

    Simple terms.

    Low DPS as a DPS. I have to do more DPS to compensate.

    Low DPS as a healer. I heal the same, healing more is not going to compensate.