Managing Expectations

As a little treat I’ve started levelling two new characters- actually one is brand new (a mere babe) & the other a respecced character.

The first is a human warlock. I already have a blood elf warlock in her 60s but I wanted one Alliance side so I could join the guild. Hence Welshshell was born. She’s only level 9 – hanging out with Guard Thomas at present (there’s definitely a vibe between those two – although he’s hiding it well by repeatedly sending her off to fight murlocs – but this is always a sign of a little crush  I find). She has all the marks of a great character- she achieved a stupendous level 8 before her first death. I judge them all by that (my stupid rogue Swedgin- name copyrighted – taken from the way Mr Wu said Swearengen’s name in Deadwood (I loved that show) – died at something stupid like level 1 – I think he was just picking up his first quest &  stabbed himself with his own dagger trying to be too clever. So he was deleted (I show no mercy when they fail me).

The second is Styleesh- she was a shadow priest but had mana problems (humiliated herself in Shadowfang Keep by needing more mana breaks than the healer). So she is now a Discipline Priest. I never knew it would be so enjoyable playing Disc. It so suits my personality- I’m all about control & forward planning. As a Disc Priest I can bubble & renew & leave the party just to get on with it, topping up when needed. I LOVE IT. There’s been the occasional frantic healer keyboard mash (when they’ve done something stupid of course….not when I got sidetracked in guild chat…oh no…never)  & I’ve once had  to advise a mage to try not to act like a tank (it simply wasn’t working) but on the whole it’s been awesome.

But alternating from Mage  to Healer is proving interesting. Not just because I’ve confused several people in Stormwind by offering portals as Styleesh. No actually it’s the whole expectations thing. I’ve discovered  that mine from the healer  when I’m dps are very different  from the dps’ from  me when I’m the healer. In a nutshell-  others expect far more than I ever would.  Now I’m not crazy here – I’m not all shocked that they expect me as healer to ACTUALLY HEAL THEM (the cheek of it!) I didn’t expect to go in and  occasionally bandage some light flesh wounds & leave the rest to the magic healing fairies. No I fully expect to heal. I want to heal and I want to heal well. But still ….the expectations of some dps (leaving the tanks out of this – so far so  good there – knock on wood) are different from my own when I’m dps.

I started thinking about this the other day in fact when  I was reading something written by a healer who was ranting (sorry writing) about how annoying all dps are – they stand in crap, expect you to heal through everything, don’t ever listen, caused every single war in the world and have destroyed the ozone layer etc. I got all affronted as someone whose main is a dps (sorry Bravetank sorry- please forgive me- now be quiet & get back in the  cupboard). As a mage I try very hard not to stand in bad (I’m like one of Pavlov’s dogs in my reactions to GTFO- I move quickly and then go to the kitchen and beg for a biscuit). I actually never ever expect healing!  As a mage I know I’m the lowest priority (although I draw the line at companions getting healing before me – that Pandaren monk can look after himself). I understand where I am in the hierarchy. So …I have my own potions, I have glyphed evocate to give me some healing when I use it, I maxxed first aid & always have bandages, I have and use (sometimes too much – I am a coward after all) Ice block & Invisibility. All the tools of the trade. While I’m showing what a model little mage I am can I also point out that I use Decursive to help the healer out whenever I can.  I see it as the added extra a mage can bring (as well as food of course & an ever ready pop band with my Mirror Images).  I know how to look after myself and so if I die I regard it as my fault (even when perhaps …dare I say it … it isn’t). And yet judging from what that healer wrote most healers would  assume I expect the world from them. I don’t.

The other day in LFR I was merrily blasting some trash away when all of a sudden I sailed into the air & found myself toe to toe with the mobs. Fearing some sort of clever mob ability that would now turn me into a bomb & then decimate everyone around me I immediately blinked back out. I thought I had done the right thing. But oh no. Of course not. After the fight it emerged (from scathing comments in raid chat) that the healer had grabbed me (which ones can do that –  hope it’s Disc?) to bring me close in (probably to a healing circle?) to minimise damage. But (a)I didn’t know that’s what he/she was doing (b)I did not see a healing circle & I do look for them (c)the assumption was the healer had to protect me not that I understand the healer’s main focus is the tank & that I know what damage I can/can’t take in an encounter without needing the healer & if I die (which I wouldn’t have  anyway – it was all under control- don’t let the empty green bar and the fact I’m crying on my knees fool you) it would have been my fault .

Again though maybe I’m wrong here (can you tell my middle names are “totally appeasing devil’s advocate fence sitter”). I do understand all deaths slow things up & cause problems & all unnecessary ones should be avoided (but I wasn’t going to die anyway so all that’s academic …grrr …I’m arguing with myself now). Anyway I apologised in raid chat & said I hadn’t realised & all was fine. We completed LFR, I got a great staff – all good.

Jump forward a week. Magic wavy hands – I am now a discipline healer. What am I finding in dungeons? Expectations galore!! Yesterday in Gnomeregan all of a sudden the tank & mage started taking lots of damage. Both standing in totally different places – all mobs on tank – I focused on the tank & then tried to save mage. But it was too late for the latter. No problem- just needed to be ressed. Not the end of the world. But within seconds the mage had typed “Heal…”. Oooh those three dots of rebuke. How they irritate the crap out of me. The thing is it was a mage – why was he taking damage when all the mobs were on the tank? It  suggests to me the mage was in the vicinity of one of those bombs they set – so whose fault is that? And yet obviously his expectation was that I would heal through that (& I nearly did- it was just the tank needed attention first). Now when I’m dps & die through standing in the bad I just apologise profusely & shamedfacedly run back in (or get lost on way back in of course- making everything feel 100 times worse) & feel (know)  I’ve let everyone down. But not this mage- no. He was entitled to be healed no matter what.

This has happened a few times (not much though – most of the runs have been straightforward -and while  I know they are at this level please let me enjoy the fact I was actually complimented  this morning by the entire group for my healing – we were a dps/healer only group (tank had left) blasting through a dungeon with no one dying- it was great!). But now I do understand why the healer in LFR did what he did to me – firstly he didn’t want to have to waste time ressing anyway (or waiting for a numbskull like me to run back in), but secondly for all he knew I’m a dps who expects it all from the healer. Why wouldn’t he think it? That’s how it seems.

I’ve also noticed (while I’m on my weekly soapbox) no awareness of healer line of sight (I know I should  stand in the right place & I do- but when someone falls somewhere random & expects me to be able to heal them…that’s just ridiculous). Also of course no awareness of healer mana (an obvious one this- won’t even dwell on it), a healer’s whereabouts & of course absolutely no attempt from other mages to use decursive (although maybe they can’t in their 30s – I should check but I’m in the flow right now). Anyway basically (just to restate my point) their expectations & behaviours as dps are different from mine.

Who is right? I know it’s not black & white but it just feels to me that everyone should first  play their class properly (all aspects of it – if you can do the occasional self heal do it, use your CDs wisely etc) and be prepared to do that little bit extra for the team and not automatically assume the world revolves around you. In real life I see the same problem all the time. We have such an entitlement culture now. People expect the world & are looking to sue or blame when things go wrong.  Fail your exams – teacher was crap. Lose your job- victimisation. Fall over – crack in the pavement. What about revising, working hard & looking where you are walking. I know I’m generalising. Sometimes people/organisations do things wrong & need to be brought to account. I understand that and I support that. But what happened to holding oneself to account? What happened to personal responsibility? Sometimes the fault lies closer to home and we should be big enough to deal with this.

God I feel old.


17 thoughts on “Managing Expectations

  1. Any spec priest can use Leap of Faith (or Life Grip as it’s more commonly known), but not until 85. Yes, even shadow priests get it (it just knocks them out of shadowform when they use it).

    What the healer may have been doing was bringing you into the group on the oozes on Yor’sahj, because if the red ooze is up, it does MORE damage based on how far away you are from it. So everyone needs to stack up tight, otherwise, you’ll die due to the red beams of flaming death. Pretty much every trash combo in LFR should have the group stacking anyway; the green ooze, which does more damage if people are standing near you (it splashes), doesn’t splash in LFR, so you can stack up.

    And welcome to the fun of disc priest healing! My favorite spec by far.

    1. Oh that’s what that was! Wish they had a little macro notice that comes up to say “Do not worry. I your friendly healer am casting Leap of Faith on you.” At least then I’d have known what was happening 🙂

  2. You always have to take into account that leveling dungeons are also, well, learning dungeons. I try to cut people some slack and assume a teaching approach whenever possible.

    That doesn’t apply to asshats, though. And oh, you WILL find them in random groups. But I’m preaching to the choir here. 🙂 Long story short, yes it is a black and white question, they are wrong to expect the healer to keep them alive through their mistakes. Avoiding damage is an important part of being a good DPS, and a few minutes chewing the floor is a powerful teaching tool. Use it!

    I see LFD as a good way to exercise self-confidence – the more you know your class and the game in general, the more secure you’ll feel in diagnosing the problem and fighting back when someone shifts their blame on others.

    That said, welcome to Disc Priesting, I leveled one to 85 last month and it was indeed very fun in dungeons! In fact, don’t be surprised if you’re causing more damage *while healing* than the actual DPS players, by using Atonement in lower levels. 🙂

    1. I really tried the teaching approach yesterday. A hunter was constantly pulling. I said, “Please let the tank pull.” He replied, “She’s my girlfriend.” After I picked my head up from my desk I replied, “Good. Still let her pull since the aggro is too spread out otherwise” (this said as the mage was fleeing past me chased by an angry plant). “Healer is right,” confirmed the mage on her return. But would be listen – no. Ended up randomly in another dungeon with the happy couple halfway through after their original healer had left- how surprising! But I do find I am more confident in these dungeons that when I was as either Bravetank or Seashell- even in a different role. The refusal to listen to advice I see is the same though!

  3. Get used to the vote to kick button. I use it often. People being asshats are common at all levels. If DPS stand in bad, they deserve to die. Let them. After the encounter, inform them not to stand in said bad. If they get lippy, kick their ass out of the group.

    I was in a group tanking the other day. The healer claimed “I have 4 tanks ilvl 401 and higher in a top 20 US raid guild. WHO FLIPPIN CARES!!!!!

    He also constantly purposely broke CC because “CC is an insult to a tank”. WHAAAAAAT?

    I have never seen CC as an insult and have been tanking in WoW since the beginning. He also insulted our top DPS until the DPS (mage, who was also CCIng) left. I tried to kick the douche, but it did not pass.

    1. I have never heard of CC being an insult to a tank! That is absolutely ridiculous! It’s a key part of being DPS. I blame damage meters – used to the extreme they really encourage poor play.

  4. If I’m a dps I play it safe in dungeons. If someone complains at me I’ll just take the blame, cause i’m just a dps and can be replaced immediately. Now, if someone were to annoy me on my healer I would just leave. I dd that once in Scholomance. Just got in, was getting the quests while the rest of the group was already up ahead pulling, and then got something like “healer, do your job”. Enjoy your wipe jackasses!

    1. Yes I’m going to have to get firmer about that – there’s a masochistic streak in me that wants to stay until the bitter end but it’s not healthy!!:)

  5. Nothing, I tell you, nothing rouses my ire more than a dps commandingly saying, “HEAL!” to the healer. When I’m the healer, I cleverly reply, “DPS,” in lieu of “STFU, moron,” as it is less likely to incite drama and yet will hopefully shut the obnoxious dps up.

    Disc is my favorite healing spec. I recommend trying battlegrounds with it–lowbie disc priests in heirlooms are OP. (Geared disc priests in max level bgs are also OP at the moment, for that matter. I say ‘at the moment’ because you know how Blizz loves to tweak and rebalance.) Pick an heirloomed hunter and stick to him like glue throughout the bg and you’ll have fun.

    Regarding people being obnoxious towards healers in instances–you’ll find it’s usually a scrub who’s never played a healer and therefore has unrealistic expectations. To be honest, WoW rather encourages this sort of mentality in noobs. Stand in the bad in your desperation to top dps meters–what goes down? Not your dps. Your healthbar, which is the healer’s territory. When you die because the healer can’t keep you up through the increasing damage, you then start screaming as to why the healer didn’t look after his territory–namely your health bar. (Case in point: LFR Ultraxion and the special snowflakes who feel the healers should have to heal all 10 of them soaking the Twilight damage along with the tank, so that they can try to climb the meters harder.)


    You can tell I’m not pissy about it at all; no, sir.

    1. Will try it in BG – it’s a lot of fun right now in dungeons. I’m really enjoying it. You’re right about the bad behaviour being encouraged by the game mechanics. It would be good if dps did go down if when you stand in bad- I mean realistically in the real world you wouldn’t be putting out your best stuff while being eaten alive by some frothing green pool of nasty stuff would you (if that was to happen in real life I mean). Anyway as a new Disc Healer I understand & empathise with your rant!

  6. Question) Do you have a link to the healer rant?

    “The thing is it was a mage – why was he taking damage when all the mobs were on the tank? It suggests to me the mage was in the vicinity of one of those bombs they set – so whose fault is that?”
    You can see what damage people are taking with an addon like recount or skada.

    I like to spam meters into chat after a wipe that was impossible to heal through.
    “14k hps” after a wipe in a level-85 heroic 5-man means we were taking too much damage.

    Yeah, that makes me want to not heal them, or rez them, or play with them.
    This healbot has mulfunctioned.
    Attempting to target Mage: Invalid Target.

    My first main was a healer disc priest.

    Some good healing/priesting resources:

    Here’s an old blog that I used to love on discipline priests.</strong

    “What about revising, working hard & looking where you are walking.”
    Yes, people out there…please do this when walking into traffic where this is no crosswalk.
    Looking AWAY from oncoming traffic does not make you invincible.

    1. Thank you so much for these links! They are great – so useful. Once I start playing a new class I’m always on the look out for info to read on it – get obsessed for awhile 🙂 I forgot I can check damage done to players – will be doing that from now on. Would have been useful to have understood exactly what happened with that mage.

  7. This healing mantra will serve you well:

    If the tank dies, its the healer’s fault.
    If the healer dies, its the tank’s fault.
    If the dps die, its their own damn fault.

    The tank must keep aggro off the healer who is the only person who should be generating uncontrollable aggro. Mostly that happens, although Big Bear Butt has found otherwise at times. If you die as a healer because everything is hitting on you, then the tank screwed up 9/10 times.

    You must keep the tank alive. Otherwise everything will nom you. The tank is way more important than any of the dps. You had the right of it there.

    Not all damage to dps is avoidable, but a lot of it is. It is totally a healer’s prerogative not to heal stupid. If the dps stands in bad and expects to be healed (as in ‘heal…’ or ‘OMFG heal’ or, my personal pet hate, the addon that demands healing under a certain level of health), that dps is an asshat. There are lots of them out there. The trick is to laugh at them. They are not worth your irritation or anger. Other dps may stand in bad because they don’t know not to, and I try to gently educate when this happens. They generally won’t be in the ‘OMFG heal’ category.

    If you are looking for other resources about healing Elitist Jerks is normally good for an overview at max level, but also try Plus Heal, a healing forum set up by Matticus from World of Matticus. He is also a priest healer and his blog might also be good to reference.

  8. When I was healing on my paladin (before I discovered the joys of tanking) I always told angry and more often, dead DPS that “It was more mana efficient to let you die and then res you” 🙂

    For me as a tank that mantra stated by Morrighan is law. I do everything in my power to keep the healer alive, the healer in turn looks after me. DPS isn’t just doing big numbers, it’s managing your aggro, mainting your spacial and situational awareness. Standing still focussing on doing the biggest numbers just gets you a bad case of the deads.And as we all know, dead DPS do no DPS.

  9. After years (!) of tanking and dps-ing, I finally descended into the scary world of healing. A cow-orker of mine rambled about the joys of Disc, and so “Anastasie”, my Troll Disco-Priestess was born 🙂
    Oboyoboyoboy… I *thought* I knew the dungeons from tanking and dps-ing. Let’s just say that I was mistaken 😉 Of course, in heritage gear, the dungeons 1-80 were pretty much “bubble-renew” – often “renew, call me when you want a heal, should I spec shadow?”
    Insert: Dear bear tank in Stockades. Please do not grab two rooms full of mobs and then turn your sizeable butt towards them.

    81 came around and I decided to quest a little – health pools skyrocketed, and my mana didn’t 😉 At 82 and quest-greens/blues, things went back to normal.

    Healing has made me more aware on my other toons. Pero’tharn in Well of Eternity? After he sucks the life out of everyone? I bandage/evocate/recuperate. And I try to be a little better with my mitigating abilities as a tank 🙂

    But yes, people, why do you have to stand in the blizzards on the trash before Hagara in LFR? No, that’s not the friendly frost mage in the raid, that’s the bad stuff happening.
    Those green flames on Mannoroth? I can’t heal you through that. If you would have told me that you’re stupid, I could’ve pre-bubbled you, this way, hmmm, see, you *can* run back 😉

    However, especially as Disc, you *can* educate a lot of those players: Bubble at 10% of their life and a token renew. The same token renew I toss on a warlock who suddenly taps for half his health! (Don’t scare me like this! You have lifetap, suck it out of the next mob!)
    It’s amazing how much smarter people play when their bar is at 7% 😀
    Dear Tank, thanks for running away – hear those gulping sounds? That’s me drinking. On that note, I “loot” the dead bodies. It’s not “looting”, it’s called “the tailor is farming cloth”. Oh, you’re a DK/Paladin? You have self-heals, you’ll be fine, no need to wait for me!

    I actually have a lot of fun on my priestess. By now, most people do have a clue, or at least do appreciate me trying to keep them alive when something stupid happened. Haven’t attempted battlegrounds yet, though – I’m staring at my healing addon losing all kinds of awareness.

    Btw, I like websites like “”, “”, and of course “” in addition to the sites that others mentioned.

    Have fun – even if someone dies 😉

    1. You’re so right about healing giving you better awareness on your other characters. I’m looking forward to healing HoT dungeons so I can see where I’m going wrong!! And yes it’s not looting it’s farming – that makes me feel less guilty about it now 🙂 Thank you for the links too – enjoying reading up on all this.

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