So, as our faithful readers are probably aware, our guild is currently recruiting. In case of any of you bright, awesome, and intelligent people decide to work up the courage to try and spend a bit more time with Seri and myself, I’d just like to give a cautionary tale to keep in mind before you do so. That tale can be summed up in a single sentence: Just because all the odds seem to be in your favor doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to make it to the interview and beyond.
Okay, to backtrack.
As you probably know, I’m the healing team lead of Axiom. We’re recruiting healers, and have actually been getting a few good apps in. Now, an application is your chance to make a good first impression, so a certain amount of talking yourself up is to be expected. But there’s a good way of doing that and a bad way of doing that. Talking yourself up to a guild in a way that makes them want to get to know you better involves stressing your positives, especially in a way that doesn’t rely entirely on putting others down to do so.
This application I’m referencing had, on the surface, all the stars in allignment. It was an applicant from our server, our faction, and returning to the game after a hiatus. We are recruiting his class. He typed in complete sentences. These are all positives. Being local and horde means that in an iffy situation, we’re more likely to say yes and give you an initiate period. We’re generally nice people and don’t want to waste time and (your) money on a transfer if we have concerns. Being local gives you a toe in the door, if not a foot. And returning to the game after a hiatus means while your gear might need some work, we’re not leaving any of our friends’ guilds in a lurch by yoinking someone from their raid team roster. Additionally, this person was a friend of a friend of a former raider, who left the guild (the good way) a few months ago because RL was eating his time.
So why with all that going for him did he get a decline before he could even interview?
The answer lies primarily in a single sentence: “Most <applicant’s class> healers suck, so I enjoy healing against them.”
I’m a healing lead, I read that and instantly went no, do not pass go, do not collect $200.
Okay, so… Meters aren’t a competition. This isn’t to say they’re not useful, but their utility is NOT in proving you’re so much better than everyone else around you. It’s always said that raiding is a team sport, and that’s true, but it’s true exponentially moreso of healing. In a team activity, you do not play against your teammates. You play with them in a trust game. You trust them to know what they’re doing and to ask for help if needed. You trust me to know what I’m doing in giving out assignments. And if things go wrong, you trust everyone to work together to fix it.
“But Jov,” asks the kind and gentle ones in the audience, “why do you assume he’s talking about meters?” It’s quite simple– what does ever dps’er in your pug do at the end of every pull to show off how much they pwn? They link the meters. It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to guess that’s what he’s talking about when speaking of the suck of others.
“Does that mean it’s wrong to top the meters?” No, so you trees can let out that breath you’ve been holding. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with being on the top of the meter. It’s a listing. Someone is going to be on the top. Someone is going to be on the bottom. That’s how lists work.
“If your place on the meter doesn’t really matter, why should healers even care about them?” Meters are there for self-analysis (or my analysis, I suppose) and personal improvement. The easiest way to do that is to just look at what you’re doing.
“I don’t know how to read a meter, there’s too much information. I don’t know what I’m looking for.” There’s really two ways of doing this: the easy way and the hard way. I’m a big fan of the easy way. Pull up a boss fight, look at yourself. What spells are you casting? What spells aren’t you casting? Think about your assignment on that fight, and think about why you made the spell choices you did. Now, pull someone else of your class/spec for that same fight. (WoL is excellent for this, since you can search by server. Find someone roughly at your level of progression.) Look at their spell choices for that fight. Now do it again. If whoever you’re checking seems to have the same spell priorities as you, you’re probably doing it right, regardless of your place (or their place) on the meter. If your useage is different, some of that can be do to raid composition, but you might want to try out what you’ve seen.
“I’m using the same spells, at roughly the same priority. But I’m at the bottom and X is at the top!” There’s a lot of things which can account for meter position, but the biggest culprit is going to be one of two things: lag and overstacking of healers. Lag is the most unfortunate, and the one I can sympathize with most. But to put it simply, if you’re running at a higher ping or lower framerate than your raid-mates, chances are they’re going to get the heal off before you do. More of your heal will be overage, more of their heal will be effective. They’ll move up the meter compared to you. Overstacking healers also tends to lead to jumps in effective healing. Unlike DPS, who can do damage and do damage and do damage until the boss is dead, healers can only heal as much damage as has been taken. The reason fewer and fewer healers are needed as content goes on farm isn’t a matter of the healing power of the healers increasing from gear as much as it is the incoming damage becomes less as the tanks gear up and the raid is more comfortable with the encounter dynamics, reducing raid damage. In that situation, it can feel very much like a race sometimes to see who can get the heal off first.
“After all that, I still want to know what’s wrong with wanting to top meters, it just means I’m wanting to do better, right?” No, no it doesn’t. It goes back to that trust issue I mentioned above. If you try to top the meter, you’re going to do that by trying to do your job and everyone else’s at the same time. That means I as the healing lead (and 23 other people in the raid) can’t trust you to keep your assignment first in your mind. I’m not talking about X Priest only healing group 2; I’m talking about X Priest keeping group 2 as their top priority and only tossing hots/prom/coh/shields on g4 if g2 is stable. If your focus is on outhealing PallyZ, that is where your focus is, not on G2’s health.
So if you’re wanting to apply to Axiom, tell me how awesome you are. Don’t tell me that everyone else sucks and you’ve got the recount screenshot to prove it. That’s much more likely to get you an interview.