Glow's branches

Ramblings of a resto druid

Being asked to heal

Playing a hybrid class brings lots of utility to a party, a raid, or even a guild. But when it comes to crunch time and you are asked to perform a role you don’t enjoy – how do you respond?

Lets consider a scenario. Glowbird is a moonkin. She’s researched her class, geared/gemmed/chanted/forged for dps, practiced on dummies for hours, poured of the spreadsheets… she lives to burn her enemies with white lasers from the sky. When the raid is in trouble she casts tranquillity. When the tank is down she casts rebirth. When the healers are down she spams Healing touch until she has no more.

But she hates healing.

She tried it a few times – healed some heroics for guildies early in 2008. It wasn’t disastrous, but she didn’t enjoy it at all. It was another layer back from the combat, and she felt like an onlooker rather than a participant. Why play when the other four party members played and she only got to watch? No. Thanks.

And then one evening, they can’t fill that last healer spot and the raid leader asks Glowbird to heal for the night.

The question itself ellicits a number of different reactions, and it’s highly context dependent, but it interests me. It also provokes a number of questions that I’d like to discuss here. There’s also a parallel discussion for ‘being asked to tank’, so replace ‘heal’ with ‘tank’ if it best fits your own role.

If you’re a hybrid class and you don’t mind healing, you have a healing offspec and a few bits of gear aside for that role… then I’m assuming you’d probably say ‘yes’. If you say yes but feel uncomfortable about raid healing, you might let your raid leader know “I’m a bit rusty” or “as long as it’s just till Glowberry is back” or similar.

But what if you actually dislike healing? Is it okay to just say ‘no’?

By playing a hybrid class, you can sometimes feel very ‘put on the spot’ when you’re asked to pinch heal, knowing that if you say ‘no’ the raid might not go ahead. This can be really awkward, especially when there are genuine reasons for saying no, that go beyond ‘I just don’t feel like it’.

So the question is: when you roll a hybrid class, do you sign up for a hybrid role?

This kind of thing is thrown around in trade chat and/or pugs with reckless abandon; usually Glowbird would be told something like “if you want to dps, reroll a mage”.

Is Glowbird within her rights to say “I rolled a druid to play a moonkin, it’s what I enjoy and am good at. I’m really sorry we can’t raid tonight, but I’m just not a healer.” Or are the other 24 raiders right to quietly look upon her with scorn?

Or is she obliged to respec and give it her best shot, for the benefit of the raid?

(And will anyone wonder why she quietly gquits one Tuesday night?)


3 responses to “Being asked to heal

  1. Voros February 15, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    I had this problem back in Vanilla. Granted back then Hybrids were only hybrids in name and not in realistic function. My old main was a Paladin named Althorr. I loved Retribution but it kind of sucked for raiding unless geared out the wazoo. So I was told that in order to raid I had to be Holy. Fast forward to BC and I decided never to run with a Holy Paladin again. To this day Althorr’s specs are Ret and Prot.

    Of course I have now changed mains to a DK and primary alt to a Hunter so the problem is less pronounced.

    Whether or no it is ok to say no comes down to your guild and your priorities.

    If your guild is progression focussed, then surely the priority should be to get the raid happening – although most raid members will be min/max, a slightly less than par healer is better than none at all. Most members of this type of guild, I believe, should be prepared to make sacrifices if neccessary on an ad-hoc basis, provided it is not every week!

    Having said that, a progression guild is more likely to have other healers (or whatever) waiting in the wings, which may provide a legitimate excuse to say no!

    If you are more of a casual guild then things start to get a little more grey. As you wont get gkicked (fingers crossed) for saying no. I wouldnt expect everyone to have researched, geared and be first rate at all available specs either.

    TLDR version: It depends on what your guild (and personal) priorities are.


  2. Zinn February 15, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    I think as long as it’s a one time thing I’d give it a shot. Everyone is being asked to do something they don’t wanna do now and then. Take one for the team! But I’d also make it perfectly clear that “I really just do this this one time, and you pay for all my gear and respecs”. I love playing a healer, and as a priest I also have the option to play dps. Although I don’t generally mind to dps, I really don’t like dpsing as shadow, it is dreadfully boring. People have tried to get me to collect a shadow gear “just in case” since BC, and I usually nod and smile when they hand me dps cloth. But I also tell them that “I will never use this, seriously you should rather disenchant it”. I don’t even level as shadow.
    They have no right to be angry! It’s like inviting you to a party and tell you you get to be the one who sits out front to greet people (or some other really boring stuff). You don’t play this game to get to do the boring stuff, there is plenty of that in life already <.<

  3. glowberry February 18, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Thanks to both Voros and Zinn for your thoughts. Your input, plus some of the discussion I’ve had with friends and on twitter have really pushed my thinking on this issue.

    @Zinn I LOVED this analogy “It’s like inviting you to a party and tell you you get to be the one who sits out front to greet people”, I think that’s really pertinent in a game we all play (and pay) to enjoy. (Plus I levelled my main priest as holy alllll the way – so you’ve found a soft spot in me there. 🙂 )

    @Voros Now I understand your reaction when I suggested levelling Althorr to 85 as a healer =) And I agree entirely about the type of guild you join being a key factor, as long as the expectations are claer upfront you can’t go wrong.

    I should say quite clearly: this is not an issue I’m grappling with from a personal point of view (I’m happy as a healer (though I enjoy tanking as well)). It’s just that this issue has interested me for a while, across the numerous servers and guilds I’ve been involved in, from super casual to fairly hardcore, ever since I heard the cry ‘you should have rolled a mage’.

    Summarising the main points that arose from chatting friends and fellow twitter peoples over the last few days:
    – a GM/RL needs to know which of its hybrids are happy to mix it up, and which are playing as ‘pure’ dps (or insert other single role here) and recruit accordingly. If they are forcing people to fill roles they don’t want to fill, then they won’t get the best performance out of them in the short term and (assuming they are skilled at their usual role) risking losing a valuable raid member in the long term.

    When I re-read that it really does sound like I’m reacting to a drama in our own happy guild, and I’m not! Perhaps I just spend too much time in /trade.

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