Gimme a Super Soaker and I’ll Heal You

Electrika is now in the 60s, which is actually past the point where each and every shaman I have ever made has fallen face first into the delete button.  This is my first shaman ever that can actually FLY.

I’m starting to like shaman healing, mostly because I envision myself doing two things:

  1. I am throwing buckets of water at people.  Lots of buckets.
  2. I am making it rain on their heads.  SAD STORMCLOUD FOLLOWS YOU EVERYWHERE.

I like picturing my party looking like soaking wet cats by the end of the dungeon.  And if I’m sometimes secretly pretending to drown everybody in my party, does that make me a bad healer/person?



I gotta say, leveling a healer from scratch helps immensely in feeling comfortable with that role, even if you take a break for a few weeks and come back to it later.  For example, Ailabeth has leveled to 89 completely in Shadow.  Whenever I use her Disc spec to heal in transmog runs (because Holy has too much going on for me to handle), the feelings are not good.  I am pushing buttons that seem like good buttons to push, but not enjoying it because there are probably better buttons to be pushing and/or a better order to push them in, and we’re all getting a little too close to death for my tastes.  Also, I inevitably look for Dispersion when I’m low on mana.  NOT HAPPENING.

But Electrika shows that increased competence leads to slightly less panicking, which is immensely beneficial.  I had a couple of “AMAZING! IT’S LIKE I KNOW WHAT I’M DOING!” moments in Blackrock the other day, which of course I failed to screencap.

After clearing the Grim Guzzler of all the bargoers, we exited out the back onto the small, circular platform that rises above the anvil you use for Dark Iron.  We had an overenthusiastic enhancement shaman DPS who noticed Lord Incendius down below and decided to engage him by jumping there.  Perhaps predictably, he aggroed the mobs on the opposite half of the circular platform.  In a scene somewhat reminiscent of Gnomeregan but with way more fire, those mobs proceeded to run through the rest of Blackrock to find us, dragging along every additional monster they could find.

I saw them running for the door when I followed the tank down, so I knew sheeyit was coming.  In the chaos that followed (Dark Iron dwarves!  Golems!  Lord Incendius!  Fire elementals!  ALL THE THINGS!), the DPS shaman died.  Everything attacked him first and all at once before the tank could get aggro on some of it (and I inevitably got aggro from the rest of it by SPAMMING ALL THE HEALS).  One other DPS was a clothie, and the poor chap went down almost instantly while I was focused on keeping the tank and myself up and running so we could get control of the situation.  When all was said and done, I somehow managed to keep the last DPS standing too.  We stood proudly atop a pile of corpses!

I will probably never be so badass again.

Similarly, when we jumped into the Ring of Law, I somehow aggroed the spectators in the ring above.  I don’t recall them ever doing that before, but the moment I saw my portrait go red, the “OH CRAP” warning bells went off.  Indeed, All The Things from the nearby area charged me just as we were fighting the first boss there, but Reincarnation was off cooldown, so I popped back up and kept on going LIKE A PRO.  ONLY the DPS shaman died that time, and I have no idea how I did it – I was so low on mana!  Possibly the tank was better prepared for the sheeyitstorm?

Electrika’s now transitioned into Burning Crusade dungeons and Death Knights.  I always thought the party of “all DKs all the time” was something of a joke, but I actually had a party of all Death Knights the other day, and every last one of ’em was in Blood Presence and Death Gripping crap until I said something.  One was still in Blood Presence even after that!

The real big shift that I’ve noticed, however, is how tanks now pull a lot of crap all at once.  I swear this started pretty suddenly in Hellfire Ramparts.  The first big pull is from the door to the guy who calls the warhounds.  Then they pull everything in the middle + first boss.  There’s a bit of a breather when they drag the two guys at the foot of the stairs up to the small group upstairs, but then the open area is a huge pull of ALL THE THINGS.

Have we gotten braver?  Have we gotten dumber?  Has Blizzard placed more mobs more closely together?  I don’t know, but it’s such a huge amount of damage all at once, even with platewearers, that I have to be ON THE BALL or they die when they do that.   Now that I’ve gotten Healing Rain, I start casting that before the tank has gotten everything grouped up tightly, targeting the approximate spot where I think the tank going to end up.  Once that’s up to cover for the DPS getting aggro and to buy me a bit more time to get a massive heal off for the tank, I start churning out those big buckets of water (Healing Wave/Greater Healing Wave/Chain Heal).  If I’ve misjudged whereabouts the tank will stop running and/or the tank runs JUST out of range, tank will likely end up dead.

Dancing With Spirit Wolves I'm the one with Water Shield.  Not like you can really tell ...

Dancing With Spirit Wolves
I’m the one with Water Shield. Not like you can really tell …

People say that healing is boring, and I do see lots of healers jumping around and/or pulling crap.  I can’t say the same, since I find I have to pay much more attention to what’s going on than I do as a DPS.  Maybe it’s just because I’ve leveled so many DPS classes but so few healers?  In any case, I have pretty much zero screenshots of Electrika, because OMFG THE TANK OH GEEZE.

p.s., I’ve written before about totally colluding with the healer to get an annoying DPS killed.  I’VE NOW BEEN ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THAT REQUEST.  It was so WEIRD.


11 thoughts on “Gimme a Super Soaker and I’ll Heal You

  1. bhagpuss

    Just brilliant. When I want to explain to people why healer is THE THING to be I’ll just point them here. I’m playing GW2 now and I miss proper healing so much.

  2. Leit

    Pulling huge amounts in BC has been a thing for a while now, but it got much more widespread when Vengeance made it possible for tanks to basically solo any instance below level cap. Tanks can now tank, heal and DPS as well as a party could previously, and more mobs = more vengeance = more healing/absorbs/damage/etc.

        1. Prinnie Powah Post author

          Ummmmmmmmmmmmmm … I have no memory of it.

          Maybe I was too busy being pissed off by people pulling! Yeah! That’s what I’ll go with.

          Otherwise, oops?

  3. sveltekumquat

    You… you actually ENJOY this, don’t you?

    I leveled my first priest by going Disc all the time — even while questing. It was the Worst Idea in History. The second time, I got Not Dumb, and had him go as Shadow while questing and Holy while in dungeons — and I made sure to pop in for at least one random dungeon every 5-10 levels, to make sure I learned new spells and committed them to Healbot-click-memory. It worked out not-unbelievably-horribly enough that I’d recommend that path for other eventual healerfolk.

    I think Blizzard *did* change the way mob packs were situated in dungeons, but I’d thought that didn’t happen until Wrath — that was when they regularly started clotting them together in mounds of 5+ rather than spacing them out evenly and having them roam around drooling everywhere. Maybe you just encountered a lot more impatient tanks in BC dungeons.

    1. Prinnie Powah Post author

      I definitely wasn’t when I first tried (my very, very first shaman back in the middle of Cata was regularly insulted by parties for being the Worst Healer Ever), or at first this time around (Jeebus Cripes why do shamans not get Earth Shield until level 26?), but I am now. Perhaps it is also because the mental image of making people miserable for their own benefit makes it possible for me to be a healer without going, “healing is a traditionally female role, but I’m a female who doesn’t wanna buy into tradition … I can’t be a healer!”

      I’d argue that people are just as impatient in Ragefire Chasm at level 15 as they are in Hellfire at 60, but that’s just me. 😀

      The worst place right now is the upper level in Hellfire Ramparts, in that big open area. The tanks pull everything almost every single time, and if I hit the wrong heal, hesitate a second or accidentally interrupt myself, they are so, so effed, and possibly the rest of the party too. Sometimes I succeed in keeping them alive through the initial onslaught, sometimes I don’t.

      I have noticed a relatively recent tanking change in Wrath level dungeons. Although I haven’t healed those on Electrika yet, I have been running Utgarde Keep a freaking lot on my warlock, Ignitine. Namely, the tank starts moving and never freaking stops – they move to accumulate as many mobs as they can, and even then they move on to the next pack before the entirety of the first is down. Maybe this is a response to pull-happy DPS? It definitely seems to be a thing now … I’ve seen paladins, monks and DKs do it. It SUCKS as a caster. I’m constantly starting to cast but getting left behind, far out of range. It’ll be … INTERESTING to heal, to say the least.

      1. sveltekumquat

        I started seeing that happen a fair bit in Wrath dungeons, too. My favorite experience was in… I forget, the one with all the bats in that one room early on. Tank pulls the whole shabang, everyone nearly dies, I barely keep them all up. I ask the tank to slow down. S/he suggests I maybe shut my face and do my damn job, then runs into the next room to pull more of all-the-things.

        The last thing I see, just before I’m ported out of the instance for having dropped group, was the tank’s health bar plummet below 5%.

        Felt good, Prinnie. Felt real good.

        1. Prinnie Powah Post author

          One of the nice things about being a healer is that you CAN actually have some sort of immediate consequence in the group dynamic. If you’re a DPS, of course, hardly anyone cares what you do, and not doing diddly squat might get you kicked but it probably won’t wipe the group. If you’re a tank going too slowly, the rest of the party tanks instead. Yet it can be difficult for a heals/DPS type class to suddenly switch when the heals decides “that’s it, that’s enough.” BOOM, KARMA.

          That reminds me a bit of a party I was stuck with on Daschela, my druid, back in Sunken Temple. After killing the Hakkar skeleton wind serpent thing, some tanks backtrack to avoid taking the time to kill the extra trash in the other hallway that connects the side room, while some continue into that hallway for the express purpose of EXP. Since they’re not part of any quest objective, I tend to think that the Right Thing to Do is to follow the tank. (And as the healer, damn straight I’m sticking with the guy who can get mobs off me.)

          For some unknown reason though, the DPS decided to do their Own Damn Thing and split off from the tank and myself. While we were continuing in the dungeon, they were lolzing around in that hallway trying to kill the mobs on their own. We asked for them to come join us – specifically stated that we’re fighting these dragons over here now – etc. etc., but each time they sassed back and refused to budge. It seemed like two out of three DPS knew each other or at least had partied together before – one was a definitely the leader type and the other was a follower. The last DPS was just derpy. The leader one was, of course, the one sassing the tank for expecting them to catch the hell up. They were even trying to troll him, telling him that he was warrior tanking wrong for using a shield and not a two-hander, etc. The healer (me) was, of course, not going to go all the way back there just to heal their asses.

          So the tank and I get to the last boss and start the fight. I forget his name, but he has a mechanic where he sleeps his target/the tank, and randomly aggros on another party member. I bet you can see where this is going.

          The asshat DPS leader and her followers eventually deigned to join us, though at very low health, since I hadn’t gone back and asshat DPS apparently didn’t remember that even Windwalker monks can create healing spheres. At JUST THAT MOMENT, the boss slept the tank, and one shotted the asshat DPS leader.

          I thanked the tank, told her she could walk because I wasn’t ressing her, and dropped the party.


          (To be honest, I think it’s a real short walk from the graveyard to the dungeon and a longer trek would have been nicer, but that’s not the point.)


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