5 Barriers of a Raid Healer – Part 2: Criticism

Image courtesy of frko

Each Saturday for the next five weeks, I will be writing about one barrier of the raid healer. Healers are often overshadowed and looked over since we are expected to simply know what to do. With luck, this five part series will help you to become a better raid healer whether you are a varsity or a freshman. Last week, I talked about indecision.

Barrier 2: Criticism

“Complaining about something without taking any action to correct it is irresponsible. If a condition deserves criticism, it deserves an honest attempt to change it.”
John Renesch

Remember that you are not the only person in the world that takes criticism. It can come in any shape or form. It can be malicious or delicious (yeah, think about that for a second). Sometimes it will hurt. When you’re playing at a high level in WoW (and I don’t mean just 70), people will be very blunt with you.

The only aspect of being criticized by others that you can change is your reaction.

As a Priest, I’ve taken my share of lumps going from 1 – 70. But you as a player have to understand that these players, be they friend, foe, stranger, guildmate, or Mr Pinchy are trying to make a point to you. They’re trying to make you aware of your own shortcomings.

We’re in a special class of our own because we’re responsible for the well being of the raid. If anyone dies, 90% of the time, we get looked at first as the main cause. Our results are dictated by one factor: Whether or not our assignments are alive.

When you start coming under fire from your Guildies about why you’re doing such a poor job, it can really blast a person’s confidence and make them question their own abilities. I know I’ve had on more than one occasion.

Dealing With It

Handling criticism isn’t the easiest thing to do in the world. We all like to believe that we are alpha players at the top of the food chain. Unfortunately, we’re not. I lot of people I know react to criticism poorly. Thankfully, the raiders I play with take criticism admirably and constructively. The feedback of others serves to make them better players.

During the summer, I worked as a carnie in the local fair. A job like that really stresses you as a person because every day you’re subject to a large torrent of kids and angry parents who pressure you with questions like "Where’s the bathroom?" and "Can my kid stay a few minutes longer?"

Needless to say, that experience tempered me a lot. It taught me how to accept a lot of flak and ignore it. Sometimes, people will say things that are unfounded.

Applying it in WoW

If my play is under question from anyone, I usually ask myself a couple of questions:

  • Is it justified?

    Sometimes what the other person saying isn’t true. It might not have been my fault to begin with. It could’ve been an encounter mechanic.

  • If it is, how can I fix it?

    There is always a solution to every problem. Work with other players to find out what went wrong and what you can do to fix it.

Accept Responsibility

Be honest and be humble. If it’s your fault, ‘fess up to it. It will help defuse any tense situations that might start to heat up. There’s a lot of players I know both in my Guild and not in my Guild that still have trouble doing this. They don’t want to face the shame or the embarrassment. No one likes to admit that they screwed up. But often times, the hardest thing you do ends up being the right thing to do.

Ask for Help

Lastly, don’t shy away from asking for help. Why do you think Pride is considered one of the 7 deadly sins? If you’re coming across a trash pull in a raid and you’re assigned to a tank who’s about to take a beating and you know healing will be rough, ask for help. Know your own abilities and your own limitations.

On the other side, if you’re noticing a healing in your group who is struggling ask them if they need a hand. WoW often reminds me of a lecture hall in that there are very few people who raise their hands to ask questions. Sometimes, you just have to offer help and they’ll be internally grateful because it saves them the "shame" of asking for it.

So to summarize:

  • Accept criticism without retaliating
  • Learn from it
  • Try to come up with a solution
  • Be honest with yourself about your abilities
  • Ask for assistance if you need it
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About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.



  1. […] The Monkeys over at World of Matticus have been addressing some of the things that stand in the way of being a really good Raid Healer. His 5 Barriers of a Raid Healer series has been great so far, and this week, he addressed Criticism. […]

  2. […] or not you have just started your raiding career or consider yourself a veteran, criticism will come in many shapes and in many forms. I’m notorious for occasionally lapsing in attention during raids every so often (because […]