Monday, November 16, 2009

Locked into Healing

I've come across this dilemma with Bellbell time and time again. I levelled her to be Ret. But she is, most definitely, Holy.

The problem started as soon as I got to 80. It was just easier to get groups as a Holy Paladin, so that's what I did. It was easier to get raids started if I chose to heal, it was easier to be involved in anything. So, in order to get things done, I continually switched to her Holy spec.

Well, common loot rules being what they are, your main spec is what you're raiding as, and those upgrades for the DPS set take a while to accumulate. It eventually came to pass that while her Holy set was nearly all ToC 10 and 25 gear, she was still wearing a blue hit trinket and Ebon Blade reputation boots, and a tournament badge sword.

I finally bought her two pieces of badge-only T9 ret gear...and she's never had an occasion to use it. In fact, it's almost like clockwork; as soon as I equip her Ret gear and switch to her Ret spec, a friend needs a healer. It's come to the point where I only play her to help other people (thus the lack of Bellbell-flavored posts).

Now, another Paladin in my guild has the exact opposite problem. He's been running only as Ret because that's the only gear set he has (he apparently didn't do what I did and save up every random piece of offset gear while levelling), but all he wants to do is tank or heal. So while he's sitting with the sword off of Onyxia bemoaning his lack of a healing trinket, I'm silently sending envy waves at him.

It seems like dual spec didn't really change anything for me, besides not having to pay for Bellwether's respecs to PvP. It made Bellbell's situation worse, because eventually to do the content I wanted to do, I had to play her "secondary" spec. I don't have the time to continually farm for her to keep her DPS spec up to snuff, and the fact that healers are always in demand and plate DPS is everywhere, there's just nowhere for her to fit in.

For example, the ToC 25 I ran on Saturday? Along the lines of three or four ret paladins, two warriors, and three or four DKs. Completely detrimental to the group for me to say "Screw healing, I'm going to overload our melee even more."

Well, who cares? Tell one of the other Paladins to switch and get your Ret on.

For one, I'm not a jerk. I'm not going to say "one of you respec just for me so I can bring in my eclectically geared ret paladin." The other paladins have tank offspecs, and we have plenty of (sometimes too many) tanks for my alt ToC 25 run.

For another, it gets groups together, and faster. I don't know how many times groups have fallen apart because we couldn't find a healer. Eventually, even if I'm in a PUG, I'll have to admit that I can switch to healing after we sit in LFG for half an hour with no bites. I don't have time to sit around in a LFG channel; with all the other things going on in my life, if I'm going to run something I need it to start quickly.

There's also healer guilt. "We wouldn't be sitting in LFG if I just switched to healing." "Time is wasting because I want to DPS." "They just need a healer...I suppose I can do it." "If I switch to my healer then maybe the tanks won't die."

It's not that I don't like healing. If I didn't enjoy it, I wouldn't have kept the spec. It's that it's not what my character was supposed to do. It was just for me to experiment with other types of healing. But I made a mistake at level 80, and even with the gear I have for Ret, if Bellbell ever sees Arthas, it will be wearing the wrong kind of dress.


Andreas said...

I recognice alot of this. Playing a Druid, with Balance/Resto spec. In my case it's immensly easier thoguh since the gear is very simmilar. I basically exchange trinkets and +hit gear for spirit and I'm set.

Our guild also have the oppposite appproach to main/off -spec. You sign up for your main spec, in my case Balance, and then the raid will sometimes ask you to run as your offspec. but you stil have looot priority for your mainspec.

This whole setup makes me alot less reluctant to run as my offspec, as it willl still let me bid on loot for my mmainspec.
This arrangment seems to work out wel for our guild at least.

Toque said...

I have exactly the same problem. I have a tree/kitty and a resto/enh shammy, but basically I heal except for the odd time when I hear "LF1m dps for ..." and manage to slam in my "me" response in before the other 30 guys.

I just rolled a mage :)

Leafshine said...

I think people sometimes get pigeon-holed as healers. They just get used to you, the player, being a healer, and assume you won't mind taking that role.

I'm tempted, should I ever get an alt to 80, to make it a warlock, so no-one can ask me to heal with them. :)

Ayashi said...

I had that problem back in TBC, but with two characters, not one.

I leveled my main, a human warrior, to be DPS in my guild. It isn't that I disliked tanking, but I really enjoyed playing her as DPS.

She hit 70, I got her keyed for Karazhan and geared up. Unfortunately at that point my guild wasn't ready to start raiding yet, so I started playing alts.

I leveled up my druid to 70 and found that getting groups (guild or pug) was SO EASY! I geared up really fast and I was ready for Karazhan.

Soon my group was ready for Karazhan as well... and as time went on by, it ended up that we needed a healer. Well, I have a healer so I'll just bring her this week. And next week. And the week after that. Hm, now we're in Zul'aman and my warrior is still just wearing her beginner Karazhan gear.

Wait, how did my druid become my main?

I've been very careful this expansion. TBC taught me that sometimes it is okay to be selfish, because that is precisely what most other people are going to do. I still play my druid sometimes when we need her, but I don't let her outgear my warrior spectacularly anymore. If I want to play my warrior, I will unabashedly sign up only my warrior for a raid.

Just make sure that you prioritize what you want out of the game and out of that character. Sometimes it is okay to be selfless, but if you do that all the time then you aren't playing for yourself anymore, and sometimes you can lose the fun. EVERYONE should be making the sacrifice every once and a while - not you all the time.

lissanna said...

I just find really creative ways of keeping up 2 sets of gear on my druid; but that means that I don't actually gear up any alts at all (because I basically take my "main" on alt runs to get my second set of gear).

hardlyhearshimself said...

I pretty much did the exact same thing with my Paladin. Hell, at first I'd only told myself I would heal for PVP, but then somewhere along the line I ended up healing raids and I have yet to start or join an Arena team. But I'm not really complaining, I love healing. I might even just get rid of my DPS spec and switch it to tanking since I've put a set together for it. Although at this point I'm carrying three or four sets of gear on me at a time, I think. That's the only downside, really.

Sir Nicholai said...

As someone who loves dualspecs (I have a druid who has tanked, healed, and pew pewed toc10 and 25, and a pally who's tanked all of 25 and 10hm, and healed 10 reg) I find that if you are healing or tanking, you are generally desirable enough that people will let you roll on offspec gear.
Maybe not in ToGC10 or something, but certainly in heroics, ony, etc, when you get in a group and people ask you to heal, simply state that you will heal, but you'll still be rolling mainspec ret.
I have found this to lead to significant improvement in gearing up the spec I need gear for at the moment, whether it be Baer, Tree, Healadin, etc. You'll just need to have the guts to say "I'll only heal fr you if I can have a share of the loot I actually want just like everyone else."
And once your ret set is more geared up perhaps you'll be able to use it more. :)

Kayeri said...

We do allow for raiders who come in to fill a hole playing their offspec to roll for their main spec loot. It simply must be asked for and agreed to before we begin and it's not considered a huge deal. It's simply announced along with the loot rules at the beginning. After all, these people are doing us a favor by filling a gap in our raid, we don't want to penalize their main spec for it.

LSNDuck said...

Like your Ret colleague, I have the opposite problem. I have been a healer since level dot and all of a sudden I can't remember the last time I healed a Heroic, let alone a raid. I just seem to get stuck in bear and now my tanking gear is a good chunk better than my healing. Even my kitty gear has a slightly higher average ilevel. Rawr!

Hana said...

It's something I'm very aware of as a moonkin main spec. When dual-specs game out I didn't have one for a long time (I dual-specced my pally alt first) because I was concerned about what would happen to my much-loved main spec if healing or tanking became an option.

Also, I love being holy on my paladin, and having a healing spec on my main would make his existence redundant.

So I went bear on my main, so I could be a backup tank. And it's still been good for finding groups since it's less common than dps. Maybe not as much a healer, but that's what my pally is for. Most of my pugs on my druid are done as a tank. I do get to run as moonkin for nearly all my guild raids though. I find as long as I got to do enough pew-pew as the moonkin I'm all right.

Maybe you could talk about swapping with another pally just to have a break?

Nef said...

You know Bell, I gave you the opportunity to bring Bellbell in for hodir and you refused! ;)

Bell said...

@Nef - oh, yeah, great choice. Get my Ironbound, or DPS as Ret?


(You're a jerk)

Phil Jackson said...

Lucky for me, I was just like you and played with people just like us. So we all had healer sets between several of our characters. So we would just take turns on who would DPS or heal for a run or so.

Pike said...

I think I'm pretty lucky with my guild. Most of the guild officers/active players have a TON of 80s, and everyone pretty much has at least one good DPS, one good healer, and one good tank. So any issues with filling roles are typically accomplished pretty easily by having people switch around and bringing different people in. It's why I'm healing and DPSing about equally now in guild raids, and it's pretty fun.

That's the nice thing about having two toons though, one of which is a "pure" DPS. For example, I never get to do anything with my druid's moonkin spec, which I'd love to dink around with-- if the guild wants topnotch, geared DPS, I bring my hunter, and when I'm PuGing, well, getting in as a tree is sooo much easier than getting in as a boomer, as I am sure you know from experience with your paladin =P

Anonymous said...

My new method is to wait (for long periods sometimes) in LFG as "feral dps", and once I get into a group, if they are still looking for a healer I say "Well...I guess I can heal, as long as you guys are ok with me rolling on dps gear...sound good?"

They usually are fine with it cause after all, they wanna get going just as bad as you do.

Com said...

I leveled Com to be Ret in vanilla WoW, hitting sixty a few days before TBC. After hitting 70, I tried getting a descent set of Ret gear (which back then was ele-shaman gear if memory serves).

Coming from another MMO (FFXI), I understood what underperforming felt like. While running BM with another "I'm not healing" paladin, I became frustrated after several wipes, put my healing gear on and we finished the dungeon in record time. THAT WEEK I got an invite into a Kara raid. This was back when Kara was the shit to run.

I really enjoyed Holy, if only because it was clearly the only spec that was well made. I even had a deep dislike of retadins for choosing to play a broken spec.

Then I went and became Ret myself with the WotLK changes. I avoid healing now partly because I don't want to do it in raids (and I get the feeling if I pull out the gear once I'm never going to be allowed to take it off). Even still, I like to make sure I have a tank offspec so that I can pair up with a healer and immediately find a group. If I were a healer I'd find a tank buddy asap.

I completely understand your feelings of "healer guilt." I think this is more suggestive of a flaw in MMO design. You have DPS, Tanks and Heals. It wasn't always like this. In other games you have (had, really) Buff classes.

Red Mage was a classic Buff class. Your role would be to throw up all the buffs and debuffs (shocker) onto the mob and party. Usually, since the job made healing look like massaging Katie Holmes while she bleeds, you were able to multitask to keep your mind occupied. You could hit something, heal something, nuke something, just never do it well and never EVER do it in a serious raid where you could endanger the party.

What happened to all the Red Mages and Bards? Nobody played them and everybody needed them. Take all the buffs in WoW and give them to one class. Not good design in retrospect. Now buffing is fully integrated among the other classes.

I think WoW is moving towards making healing and tanking feel more like DPS. Tanking is being pushed far away from the statistical focus it used to have. Instead of tanks preparing before a fight with proper gear and then being largely passive besides taunts and positioning, they now have threat cycles (dps cycles with lower numbers).

Blizzard says they want to change healing to get eyes off the shifting green bars. I think Arthas' children will be raid bosses before they pull that off.

I completely forgot what I was thinking about... TACOS! TAAAACOOOOOOS!

Maaya said...

I once leveled a paladin to try it out on a new server. I wanted to tank with him, but I listened to all the senior players giving advice and put on the holy set from quest rewards that I've been accumulating (again by other people's advice). It wasn't one week before I regretted it. Our casual guild had three tanks and I was the only level 80 that had a healing spec. Close of half the guild were DKs. It was the DK boom.

I left that server after the guildmaster told me flat out they have too many people who want to tank and they need me to heal.

I took some time off and started on another server a new paladin. This time I said heck no to all those people telling me it's better to start holy and go tank when I have accumulated a good tank set. I went prot as soon as I finished my Northrend loremaster (for the money and group quest rewards). I bought the blacksmith epic shield and helm. Gemmed and enchanted in full.

Tanked the four regular 80 dungeons then entered heroics uncrit at 24.5k health. When someone wanted me to respec to heal for them, I tell them I don't have any healing pieces. I've got some ret pieces left over from leveling if you want some lolprotdps.

That was before dual specs.

I had a full heroics tanking set by the end of the week. Off-tanked Naxx10 and 25 PUGs the next week. Maintanked Naxx10, EOE10, OS25+2 PUGs the week after. Within two months of dining 80, I've done everything except maintainking Sarth2D (we just couldn't survive in Sarth3D). When our guildmaster ran into me tanking an EOE25 PUG and saw I was lightyears ahead in threat, I was suddenly designated for the guild's maintanking team ahead of two DKs and one paladin who also wanted to tank (and that paladin was still in holy trying to get some prot gear in Naxx25).

The truth is just that tanks gear up much faster than healers, and healers much faster than dps. So...

1. If you want to dps, you need to just dps---it's slow enough gearing up already!

2. If you want to tank, you must only tank---because other tanks will gear up faster than you and relegate you to other roles!

3. If you want to heal...well there's always a shortage of healers. You can expect people to go out of their ways to help you gear up your holy set. ;P

Jorani said...

Repeating a little what others have said but here goes.

First off be open. Say you are ret but are happy to heal, "as long as you can roll on dps gear". People are so happy to get healers after waiting and waiting and waiting. Chances are you can get the heal gear anyway (especially as pally).

Only spend badges/tokens on ret gear. If you are missing slots fill those holes with badge/craftable gear. So you have an eclectic gear set, so you miss the heal set bonuses. If they want you to be optimal, let you pewpew.

I have 3 healing cabale toons - pally, duid, shammy. I feel your pain. Just remember that if you have to heal to get it done, you make the choice, you make the sacrifice of not dpsing, the least they can do is reward you with preferred loot. If not, guess what, there are heaps of other groups out there happy to have a healer on those conditions....

All the best

drug said...

I love healing. I love tanking. But sometimes I just want to relax and DPS my brains out.

That's when I fall into the big trap of having utility specs on all my toons.

My main shaman and resto/elemental my Druid is resto/feral and my warrior is arms/prot.

And even though I love to throw lightning bolts, go kitty or swing a big 2H weapon, I find myself healing or tanking in 90% of the cases, be it an pug or a guild alt raid.

I think people healing and tanking should get more emblems/raid or heroic instance. ;)

Kring said...

Tank off-spec is probably smarter because:

a) you only have to off-tank an add at some strange boss and can be your main spec the rest of the raid.
b) you get main spec loot
c) gear to tank an add is often not as important
d) Every boss dropps healing plate so you will get a healing set no matter what your function is...

The new 3.3 x-realm LFG has the new loot rule: You can only roll need on your class armor. A druid will not be able to roll need on cloth. This will be interesting to see what happens.

* Melee gLoves drop. Will they go to the Moonkin (or maybe even Moonkin/Resto) druid who can roll need or will the be gven to the enhancement shaman who cannot roll need?
* Cloth with hit drops. Will it go to the holy/disc priest or to the Moonkin?

You can group for a random heroic and you can select your possible functions. If you select Heal and DPS we all know that the server will put you as heal in a group. Everything else would be stupid, from the servers point of view.

Will you be rolling on DPS items althought you heal? Keep in mind, you're going to play with people from different realms. No one but you cares if you cheat them.

I have a shaman. When the daily heroic is an instance I don't need a drop from I play healer because that gets me a fast invite but when I still need an item from this instance I refuse to heal to be able to roll on the item.

Will the new x-realm LFG, the new enforced loot rules and dual spec change the way loot is handled?

Rensaelys said...

I feel ya, hon. I really do. I have two specs on my paladin (duhr), Holy and Prot. Prot is my main spec. Now, the trick about tanking is that if you don't put the raid together yourself, you'll usually lose out on a raid spot as a tank because you just don't need as many tanks as anything else. So, I always end up healing 25-man content that I don't start myself or that a friend doesn't start and has saved me a spot as tank. This means whenever I do ToC 25 (Thursdays), I'm always a Holy Paladin. Poor Pandia. She prefers taking it to the face.

This was the same issue I faced when I app'd to Vigilant last year. I had two DPS classes and a healing class. Mage, Hunter and resto Druid. I was told, pretty flatly, if I ever wanted to see the inside of a raiding instance with them I was going to be healing. Sigh. The irony is that although I enjoy healing, I started out as a mage and was a dpser for my first two and a half years of playing. Leveling a healer ruins you if you ever want to DPS.

Iris said...

I still run into the problem, even though my druid is specced feral tank/resto. I'll be on my mage and manage to get a group and we'll be sitting there waiting for a tank or a heal and after awhile, all I can think of is "*sigh* let me log on my main... *grumble*"

Which is why my mage still needs a lot of gear. Poor thing needs more love :(

Kaethir said...

I know exactly what you mean.

I am a main spec bear.

On my guild raids, unless i run them myself or get really, really lucky, I heal. Regardless of the fact that my tanking set is WAY better than my healing set (and I spend all those badges i get raiding as a healer on tanking gear), I am pigeonholed as a healer.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your post in that there's still a shortage of tanks and healers and you end up in that role. It's still amazing to me that you need 3 DPS, 1 tank, and 1 healer for a five man group but you sit around waiting for...a tank or a healer. It's why I ended up a tank; I had no experience with it but figured it's better to get in the action and fall on my face then sit around bored :-).

The only way to get your alt specs geared is to play "hard to get". Being a Druid, I naturally (hehe) want to help groups get going by filling that last spot. But if you really want to work on your Boomkin set, you sometimes have to wait a few minutes and see if a group can get together.

Also--maybe you can find someone in your guild who really wants to heal. Then when the time comes that a healer is needed, whisper them and have them volunteer. You get to DPS, they get to heal--win win!

This would be for normal runs, probably not progression runs but you probably have progression assignments figured out already. If you want to DPS in progression, find someone else who wants to heal, talk to your raid leader and see if it can be worked out. A change of pace is good for everyone once in a while.

kaozz said...

I know exactly how you feel, it was just so much easier to go Holy with my ret paladin. Now I just get asked to heal when I play it.. Even if I do have a ret set.

I hope this doesn't happen yet again with my Druid I'm leveling. I keep saying my next alt to 80 won't be able to heals. I need to stick to that!

Anonymous said...

great post. i'm in the exact same position (ret/holy). my trouble is trying to figure out how to spend my badges. do i spend to keep my ret set up to snuff or improve my holy set here and there? compounding it, my friend just got his priest to 80 and needs a tank to practice healing on. i got so many pieces of tanking gear from the off-off-spec-well if it's going to DE i'll take it, my tanking set is decent too. argh. the end is nigh for my ret life.

Anonymous said...

Well the cool part is that when you run ony25 on your resto druid, apparently it's common knowledge that DPS casters, and specifically warlocks, use mp5, so when that dagger drops from her they get to roll on it. Cool eh? Isn't it awesome that we can all share the same kind of gear?

Kring said...

If it's an upgrade, it's an upgrade. That's always the question in a PUG. It's like healer rolling on Illustration of the Dragon Soul.

(I wouldn't roll on an mp5 item with my lock.)

Anonymous said...

So lets say the item had +hit on it instead of many people would really be ok with me saying "it's an upgrade" for my resto druid?

Isn't the os25 trinket one of the best ones in game for a resto druid pre-TOC? I mean, we always hear spellpower>spirit>haste> that card gives a constant ~200 spellpower.

Anonymous said...

Anyway, I sometimes wonder what it would be like if blizz ran comepletely on a token system, even for weapons. It wouldn't be such an issue about what spec you were running the dungeon/raid with, and you could take the currency and do whatever you liked with it. I really enjoy being able to use emblems for gear, but I've gotten to the point where I don't have anything to spend them on and now I have to wait for specific drops off certain bosses for an upgrade.

Kring said...

Depending on how you would like to gear your healer, it might be bIS for you. But it's way better for a DD. WAY BETTER!

What about the hammer from Kel pre Ulduar? This item hat mp5 on it and was clearly BIS for Moonkins. Should they roll on it or pass their BIS item because it has mp5 on it?

There is no right or wrong, just more or less rude. Methinks.

Anonymous said...

Moonkin isn't a good example because they USE mp5 quite well. I'm specifically talking about a warlock, which imo has absolutely zip-zero-zilch need for mp5. One single life tap blows any mp5 regen out of the water, thus it was a little silly for him to even roll on it, let alone have half the raid agree with him (although the other half disagreed with him). Just saying that having tokens would make this discussion null, and I'd be willing to run ony25 again in a pug as a healer. At this point however, I'm not too excited about being "locked into healing" because there's really no advantage to it for me. Hyjal US lost another competent healer to feral pvp : )

Kring said...

Actually, no. Moonkins have endless mana. mp5 is worthless for them. Their mana regen scales primarely with crit and int (replenishment).

But I agree with you. I don't run the small 25 mans (vault, ony, sartharion) either, only if I need the badges. Because the chance of winning the important piece is way to small.

As I said I won't roll on an mp5 item if a healer still needs it.

What about the staff from Oculus? May a warlock roll on that item? It was BIS for them pre raid back then.

Anonymous said...

I think this is very similar to the issue of plate or mail classes rolling on leather or cloth gear. Sometimes it happens that gear is BIS for one class like a shaman and is leather. Should the shaman not be allowed to roll on it because a druid needs it too? IMO, yes. It may be BIS but they aren't as restricted to what they can use, therefore are likely to find another upgrade easier. Same thing applies for weapons, healers don't want to have +hit on an item since that would likely take away more important stats. Restricting the options for healer weapons further than dps.

Fact is it may have been an upgrade for the lock, but its a waste of itemization of stats. The previous poster was right in that the healer wouldn't have been allowed to roll on the dagger if it had +hit on it.

Kring said...

Rolling on mp5 as a lock is stupid. I don't like to protect an idiot doing that.

All I wanted to say is that in a PUG, some people will roll on everything which is an upgrade for them. Even if it is an upgrade which will be replaced in a week by a reputation blue.

And even if it's a way bigger upgrade for others.

They will even roll and win multiple items from Sartharion.

Most people are reasonable. The 3 times IotDS dropped ina raid I was, not a single healer rolled for it.

I prefer to do these raids in the night before reset. All kiddis do it right after the reset. The night before the reset is often full with raiders who didn't get a spot in their raids raid this week.

Dave said...

I have a Shaman, a Druid, and a Pally. All 3 have healing specs. The Druid is a Tank/Healer, the Pally is a Tank/Healer, and the Shaman is a Healer/Melee DPS.

When ever I go to instances or pugs that I do not need anything for my Healing spec, I just state at the beginning and through out if we pick up new people that I am only running for X items and not healing gear. If they have a problem with that I can just leave as I am there to help out. Our server has a serious lack of Healers and it shows when it takes an hour to get a 5 man going.

My 2 cents.