Jov sez: Healing myself out of a job

July 21, 2009

Okay, so stop me if you’ve heard this one:

So, a guild walks into Ulduar for the first time.  And they totally splat on (XT/Razorscale/Ignis) trash.  “OMG!” they say, “WE NEED MOAR HEALERS!”  So the guild goes back to Ulduar, with 8-9 of their 25 spots filled with healers.  And they wipe, and learn new content, and wipe some more.  And after learning the fights, they go “OMG THIS IS SO EASY NAO, BUT WE NEED TO KILL FASTER TO (activate hardmodes/get top-scored fights on wws/race zerg bosses)!!” so they recruit DPS and start benching half of their healers, cause they’re so not needed now.

The end.

Yeah, me too.  This hasn’t happened to me directly, but it does get my panties in a bunch when I see it.

Like many guilds, Axiom’s suffered a bit from the summer blahs.  Lots of vacations, some recruiting, it’s left us with some pretty interesting, non-standard rosters over the past 6 weeks (“okay, 10 healers are signed, but we totally have no DPS… So, volunteers for respec for the day!” followed the next week by “Wait, what? only five healers?!  shit!”)

After a particularly rough night (Five healers rocking Thorim, Mimi, and Vezax) the joking starts on the guild forums from the DPS.

DPS 1: Meh, they’d already proved they can do it with 6 or 7. Next time I’m thinking 4…

DPS 2: Four, we’re doing three next week…..

Me: And 1 tank and 5 DPS.
If we’re running half healers, as a show of solidarity, we’re running with half everything else, too. No fair only healers get the bench.
/love and kisses.

And then things get serious:

DPS 3: Max. of 6 ever, HS/pot/bandage if necessary, stay out of fire or get teabagged.

DPS 4: That’s forever the healer dilemma, gearing/playing yourself out of a job. :/

DPS 3: Gotta break some eggs sometimes to make an omelet. (emphasis mine)

And lemme tell you, beyond earning a place on my shit list, DPS 3 really pissed me the fuck off.  (Or should that be the other way around?)

Because, excuse me?  Omelet?  Healers are eggs now?  And we’re talking about “breaking them” for the sake of the team?  We’re talking about breaking ANY member of the team?

1.  I’m sorry, I’m not going to EVER advocate benching the people who’ve been working and wiping from the beginning for the sake of your e-peen.

2.  I’m not going to advocate making MY job harder when all you’re doing is standing in place drinking-birding your 1 key.  DPS monkey sez: lawl afk making sammich.  (Sorry, Seri, but it’s true)

I mean, I understand that the number of healers needed at the beginning during wipes is not the same as the number needed once shit’s on farm.  I don’t want to be sleeping through content because there are 10 healers present leaving me with nothing to do. For the most part, I’m okay with it (I mean, I’m NOT okay with Blizzard’s idea that the challenge rating on an encounter is pretty much wholly the healing difficulty, but that’s another rant).  What I’m NOT okay with is the idea that healers should be the one always “taking one for the team” and not reaping the rewards of their month(s) of repair bills.

Of course, I’m also not okay with the folks who only want to attend farm nights and always skip out on progression.  Are you sensing a theme?  At least I’m consistent.

But something strikes me as wrong with this picture:

The number of tanks you need stays pretty consistent.
The number of DPS you need usually goes up.
The number of healers you need drops dramatically as more and more things go on-farm.

And people wonder why no one ever wants to play healers.



  1. Hmm…you don’t have healers who are willing to play dps?

    In my general experience a good healer can fairly easily switch to good dps (since they already realize not to stand in things because dps taking damage = evil, and pressing buttons like all hell).

    Plus, you still have your healers around if need be that way.

    The other way around is often a lot harder.

    • I’m almost certain most of our healers are some sort of dual-healing spec. 😉 Well, or are me, who is forbidden from DPSing, because even as DPS spec, I don’t break 2k on Archavon. 😉

  2. I disenchanted my DPS set so they couldn’t make me do it.

  3. “all you’re doing is standing in place drinking-birding your 1 key. DPS monkey sez: lawl afk making sammich. (Sorry, Seri, but it’s true)”

    Hey now, be fair, we have at least 3 buttons to push at a given time.

    Now, less QQ, more whack-a-mole.

    • nou

  4. I hope my comment didn’t make you mad! It’s one of the things about wow pve that makes me sad sometimes, the fact that if you have really good healers you can get away with fewer of them, and adding DPS always makes things easier (Yogg’s enrage timer, for example), so lots of raidguilds end up doing that.

  5. If the raid wipes, it’s “your fault”; You have to know your job and everybody else’s job; other players’ stupidity can prevent you from performing your role; you have to pay attention to other players to the point where you don’t get to actually watch the pretty scenery; and as you put content on farm you either get bored or face a chance of getting benched.

    Why WOULDN’T you want to be a healer, really? What are the downsides?

  6. I could go shadow-



  7. I did a post somewhat in the same vain yesterday…perhaps it’s only the healers noticing this trend?

    The other thing that really gets my goat is why “hardmode” is “bench half your heal team half the time, so that you can bring more dps”. I’m sorry, if it takes 7 healers normal mode, it should take 7 healers hard mode.

    Needless to say, I’m not overly thrilled with a lot of Blizzard’s design decisions right now =)

  8. Well said! As a healing team lead, I hate feeling compelled to bench someone who has contributed above and beyond up until that point, because we don’t need so many healers.

    As someone mentioned, the key this time really is dual spec. I know who has a DPS spec and gear, and the ability to play it, and I’ll bring them in one of those new DPS spots. And if the DPS team leads don’t like it, they can heal themselves next raid. 😉

  9. I have not had to deal with this at all as I belong to a small, casual raiding guild. We have not cleared Ulduar let alone started worrying about hard modes. However I read about this stuff and it does tick me off. I love the idea of hard modes, but I’d rather accomplish those hard modes with the same group that worked so hard to get through the raid in the first place!

    I will also say that I never see this happening with us as we simply do not have the dps to do it….most our raiders want to heal or tank and as it is have to take turns dpsing…without dual specs we’d be sooo screwed! I keep joking that we need to start renting out tanks and healers! 🙂

  10. The number of tanks on a particular fight basically stays the same as you gear up, but the number of tanks needed on a fight changes from boss to boss. Hodir only need 1 tank, Iron Council and Freya needs 3, trash usually needs 2, etc. DPS offspecs are a way of life for all but 1 tank in a raid. Though tanks at least avoid the “putting yourself out of a job” effect of healers.

  11. yep I’ve noticed this on some of our hardmode attempts – and also We do Yogg 25 with Minimal healers – so that means not as many healers have the achievement/kill/loot oportunities – and everyone was crying out for healers not too long ago..

  12. I seem to have been spared from this a lot. Our guild always manages to have too few healers. Needing less healers is then welcomed 🙂

    But I agree it is an aggrevating issue. And for some reason, I dunno why, there’s always that one dps idiot rubbing it in when it happens. I’m not saying dps are unsportive… but there’s always that one guy, that one bloody damned guy that just has to make a remark about it or make it sound so easy to just flush away your spec and gear ‘for the sake of the team’. 9 times out of 10, he never returned the favor.

  13. I disagree with the folks who say dual-speccing is the answer to the dilemma. For one, like Jov & Ambrosyne said, many healers are dual-specced for healing. Others are for PvE/PvP. You might find the occasional paladin or druid who is specced heals/tanking. So some amount of coordination is required for this to work.

    Also, not everyone who heals is going to be able to put out the DPS required for various hard mode encounters. This isn’t knocking healers’ skill (since I know a number of fantastic healer/DPS combos), but people ought to recognize that most Trees can’t just put on some rogue leather and go JOHN FUCKING MADDEN! on a boss the way your dedicated Cat can.

    Guilds that are just starting those hardmodes really need the DPS, which is why they pulled the healers in the first place. But if that’s true you want folks in the DPS slots who can hit the very best numbers, have the most experience with their role, and can switch mindsets on demand with good gear sets for both specs.

    Again, there are a lot of folks who can fill these shoes. But I don’t think the answer is as easy as “Tell the priest to go spec shadow and get a Dot Timer.”

  14. Not to mention the gear issue. There is no way you can have a dual spec healer/dps and have equally good gear in progression raiding. The healer gear always comes first, then the dps gear is an afterthought if you have dkp and nobody wants it, oh and the primary cloth dps doesn’t need it. And naxx gear doesn’t really cut it for hardmodes, I know (not that i’ve been there).

    So, yeah, no option but benching the healers until they get their dps gear up high enough to pull their own weight. Its BS but what can you do. It screws over healers and it makes progression harder.

    • There is no way you can have a dual spec healer/dps and have equally good gear in progression raiding.

      I disagree. By the time a guild is capable of hard-modes, its dual-spec healers should have had ample time to build raid-viable off-sets — provided that the guild’s leadership has made that possible. We identified our “official hybrids” at the start of the tier, and prioritized off-spec gear to them (after main-specs, of course, before non-hybrids’ off-specs). None of our healers were required to dual-spec for DPS, but we made a point of helping those who volunteered to gear for both roles. We haven’t had to sit a healer yet.

  15. See it as an opportunity, not a problem. With dual specs raids should embrace the possibility to tune the healer/dps ratio from raid to raid and sometimes from fight to fight.
    There are lots of healers who got pushed from DPS cause “omgz we needz teh helurs”. Let them dps for a bit.
    There are lots of dps who have dualspecced to healing. Have them heal when you need extra healing, so you dont need to recruit into oblivion.

    Encourage dualspecs and offspec loot and you will get a raid that is flexible and can easily adapt when raid composition matter.

  16. awesome post, jov, though you are somewhat preaching to the choir given that most of your readers are healers. not that we ever really expect the dps monkeys to “get it” 😉

  17. I love you guys ❤ Just found this site.

  18. […] Jov@World of Snarkcraft covers this better than I ever could. […]

  19. This post inspired me so much that wrote a post about my thoughts on the subject at my blog. I hope you don’t mind! I linked back to you. =)

    I just find this whole process of raid role comps very intriguing.


  20. […] the year progressed and the expansion matured, Jov learned that it sucks to be so awesome. Even in new content, these days, we’re down to bringing 5-6 healers instead of the 7-8 we […]

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