This afternoon, Ghostcrawler came out of a self-imposed sort of exile to announce that some changes were going to be made to the Luck of the Draw buff that players had become accustomed to receiving when they queue for random dungeons and that had either not been showing up at all or at reduced effectiveness.
Needless to say, this is being seen by some as a “nerf” or more of an attempt to make Heroic 5 man dungeons easier than they were intended to be. There has been a lot of talk about how bad things involving the Dungeon Finder are or can be and I think it would be much too easy for someone like me to hop on board with that and join in on the complaining and the frustration. They say that it’s much easier to frown than it is to smile and so I’m going to throw a smile on and share my tips on how to create your own luck as a healer in the Dungeon Finder.
Tip #1: Check Yourself
Sadly, most of the complaints that I see about how hard the Heroic dungeons are come from people who could be seen as unprepared for the task at hand. Empty gem sockets, strange talent choices, a noticeable lack of enchants, bad glyph choices, etc. You should be putting the same amount of care and work into gearing for Heroics as you would into gearing for an actual raid. Just because you have an iLevel of 329 does not mean you are ready for Heroics.
Ask yourself if you’re really ready. Find fights on normal mode that you may struggle with and do them repeatedly, because you know they’re going to be much worse on Heroic. Don’t just settle for buying blue quality PVP pieces off the Auction House that will give you stats that aren’t good for you. Use the time you might spend farming a particular instance for gear to learn how to heal that instance in a number of ways, with different group compositions, different tanks, etc.
Eliminate yourself as a possible reason that things may not go well. It’s all too easy to blame other people in this game and by doing so we miss opportunities to really look at ourselves and to see what we could have done differently to better the situation. Maybe you could use some more spellpower or could stand to improve your mana regen. Maybe you need to break old habits left over from “Wrath” and get more used to the new healing model of your class.
Taking accountability for yourself and walking away from a situation knowing you did everything you could feels a lot better than walking away and knowing there were still things you could have done and simply didn’t, for whatever reason.
Tip #2: Practice “Us vs. Them”
If you’re a healer in need of having to use the Dungeon Finder to get groups, try to pack the group with as many people as you can that you know (preferably from your guild). Not only can you possibly get more Guild Reputation this way, but it will create a sense of there being more of you (people who have a better chance of knowing what they’re doing) than them (people who may or may not know what they’re doing). This can build your confidence and those of the players you bring in from the Dungeon Finder, when they see a group of people from the same realm or the same guild in the party.
It also helps to bring along people you know so that you can unite together when the remaining people you don’t know start being difficult. If you have a tank who refuses to recognize CC assignments or a moonkin who can’t stop using Typhoon at all the wrong times, the people you brought along can band together and ask that person to stop. People are less inclined to listen to one person being vocal about something, but it’s hard to ignore two, three or even four people telling you that you’re wrong.
Use that unity to take control of the group, if the ones you did not bring with you try to take the run in an entirely different direction than where you feel it should be going.
Tip #3: Keep An Open Mind
Eventually, you get to a point where you have run an instance so many times that you feel you could heal it in your sleep. Then someone comes along that asks you to change the strategy a bit and your first reaction is to balk. You may respond with a “Do you realize how many times I have been here?” or “I’m a Hand of A’dal, of course I know how to heal this fight!” before the other person even gets a chance to explain why they’re asking you to change things up a bit.
Case in point: I was healing a Heroic Lost City run the other day and one of my very dear friends in guild asked me to stand on the crocodile statue before the tank was going to pull Lockjaw. “Why?” I asked. She replied, “Because you can avoid the crocolisk adds and not take any damage.” I rolled my eyes. “You’re crazy. This is never going to work. See? I can’t even jump up there!” A few more tries and I could get up there and I was still convinced it wasn’t going to work. I had the choreography to my “Told You So” dance all planned out and I was ready to let loose.
Guess who didn’t take any damage from the adds on the fight? Me.
Remain open to different CC ideas, new strategies for defeating bosses and unique combinations of party makeup. You never know when you might find an idea or a suggestion that you didn’t think of and that could have made your life a whole lot easier all this time.
Tip #4: Lose The ‘Tude
Somewhere down the line healers began to develop this really drastic sense of entitlement, which gave them the feeling that they had the right to deny people heals for any number of reasons. Some of these reasons were really good, like that rogue who just can’t resist standing in fire and others were really silly, like pulling before the healer’s mana bar was absolutely full again.
Believe me, I used to pull this and it got me nowhere fast. By treating strangers this way, you get used to being catered to. You get used to this feeling of getting whatever you want, by acting poorly or by flat out removing yourself from situations you don’t like. You can’t always do that in a guild. You may have to deal with situations that you don’t find to be ideal. You may have to deal with someone else’s personality or a learning curve that you’re not used to. We all have ideal situations and circumstances we wish we could be healing in. Not everyone is so fortunate to have things turn out that way.
You are a healer and you are there to heal. If a tank is pulling more than you’re used to and you have the mana, heal them. If you have an add on you, use a defensive cooldown (like Psychic Scream or Hammer of Justice) and run to the tank. You can make the best of a situation or you can hearth back and not only send your group back to square one, but yourself, as well. Nobody wins in that situation. Remember, you need them just as much as they need you.
Tip #5: Re-define Success
People have different definitions of a successful run. Some consider it a success if they can end a boss fight with a certain amount of mana left over or the ret pally doesn’t face pull something for a change. For others, it depends on the number of times you wiped or the number of times the tank did not break CC.
I think we need to broaden our horizons on this a bit. If you made it through the entire run, from start to finish – that’s a success. If you convinced one more person to click on the Lightwell – that’s a success. If you learned something you didn’t already know and can use that in future runs – that’s a success. Avoid the urge to count all the ways your run didn’t go well or was a failure and focus on the ways that it went well.
The great thing about the Dungeon Finder is that you can always dust yourself off and try again. If things do go in the worst direction possible, exercise your right to vote someone out of the group. If you end up being the problem, go repair your gear and figure out what you did wrong and can do better next time. The Dungeon Finder is always there, always full of people like you who are just trying to better themselves and get the gear and experience they need to advance in this game. Give it a try. You may be surprised just how well it can go.