Are You Happy at the Threshold?

Are You Happy at the Threshold?


I’m going to let you guys in on a secret.

I’m not the best Priest in the world.

I’ve failed the ledge boss. I’ve died to the frogger boss. In fact, last Monday I got nailed by two back to back fire walls. The harshest critic anyone can have is themselves. The exasperation I could hear from my guildies that were not being transmitted over vent was nothing compared to the pissedoffedness I was feeling at myself.

More importantly, I am not the best geared Priest out there. I get a lot of observations about this from colleagues and readers.

“Why haven’t you gotten this item yet?”
”Why are you using this instead of that?”
”Have you thought about using that instead of what you have?”

It’s ironic isn’t it? Here I am with a blog where the mission statement is to make readers better players in every aspect possible with whatever advice and experience I can hand out. Yet getting the current best items in the game isn’t that big of a priority for me.

Because I’ve reached the threshold.

The Perfectionist

This is the player who sticks by enchanting and jewelcrafting to maximize their stats as much as possible. In fact, there are guilds who ask all of their guild members to exclusively use these two professions. I’ve noticed that these are the players who juggle a wide variety of variables in their head. An example would be a Paladin who would ask themselves if they want to pick up this helm for an MP5 set or a different helm for a crit set. This type of player isn’t satisfied with just being good enough. They will never be satisfied until they can excel in every area under their role. I’ve got tanks that have threat sets, stamina sets, and damage mitigation sets.

Same concept.

The Slacker

Not quite as worried about their loot. However, they do need to hit a threshold level of gear to be effective. The slackers are generally the healers. At the current level of raiding, there’s a point where your Spirit, your MP5, your spellpower and all those stats become useless. 1250 MP5 will be the same as 1245 MP5. 2500 spellpower is the same as 2490 spellpower. Once I hit the 220 spellpower mark, I started dishing out the passes to other healers who needed to augment themselves more.

There is nothing wrong with either of the two mindsets. I’d even go as far to say that a healthy guild will benefit by having both kinds because the perfectionist will never be satisfied and the slacker won’t raise hell because they’ve reached the threshold.

This reminds me of a discussion I have with my dad. We both like our dim sum. Specifically, we both like our ha gao. He refuses to eat at a cheaper Chinese restaurant if there’s something better nearby. There’s a decent Chinese restaurant on 1st (for the Vancouver guys, there’s a plaza there. It’s on the 2nd floor opposite the T&T). And it’s pretty good. It’s crazy packed. Huge wait list. But I’m happy with the food I get. So’s my aunt because she ends up paying 2 bucks a dish instead of 4 bucks a dish. My dad prefers the slightly more expensive Chinese places which offer the 4 dollar ha gao.

After sampling both, I say to my dad, “Dad, there’s virtually no difference between 2 dollar ha gao and 4 dollar ha gao. They taste the same.”

“No, it tastes better.”

“It’s the same amount of MSG and the shrimp comes from the same ocean.”

“Yeah, but it still tastes better.”

As you can see, some people just have to have the best stuff. Others are okay with the second best.

Ugh, and it’s 1:30 AM and I just made myself hungry. And just so I’m not the only one, I’m taking the rest of you down with me. If I’m hungry, I’m making the rest of you hungry!


This is called Siu Mai (My spelling’s off, I know)


This is called ha jeong (Shrimp wrapped in flat rice noodles)


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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. “At the current level of raiding, there’s a point where your Spirit, your MP5, your spellpower and all those stats become useless”

    Basically what it comes down to is that there is a healing cap over what your healers generally don’t need better gear. Funny thing is that this cap actually lowers as other people gear up: tanks start taking less damage and bosses die faster to higher dps. There is no cap for DPS so feel free to pass stuff to your fellow dps’ers who would further help with your healing by killing bosses faster 🙂

  2. … now i want dim sum … and it’s 3am …

    That said, I agree and I don’t with HoHo. The cap exists for everyone, but it exists in balance. That the healer’s cap on gear is dependant on the DPS and tanks is definitely true. But it is important to note that the tank’s cap is dependant on the healers’ throughput and that the DPS’ cap is dependant on the healers’ longevity.

    I can’t think of a direct relationship between DPS gearing and tank gearing… except perhaps threat.

    As for where I fall, I’m somewhere towards a perfectionist as a tank (naxx10 geared and below), and somewhere towards a slacker as resto (runs the full gamut from multiple best in slot items to a single, lonely blue… offspec)

  3. I tend to switch. I’m a perfectionist at the start, slacker in the middle and become a perfectionist again when I’m bored or the rest of the group is getting ahead of me.

    I guess what drives me is.. I want to be among the best (or best, but it isn’t measurable) and I need to have a challenge to work to. But this goal doesn’t have to be gear related. It can also be a way of healing, a way of competing with another player or just doing the job with fewer healers. As long as a challenge of some sort can be presented, I’m a perfectionist.

  4. You seem to be thinking you’re a slacker rather than a perfectionist because you assign loot to less geared healers. I don’t think that’s true.

    What you’re doing is seeing WoW as a game in which you use your team to beat monsters rather than your character to beat monsters. This is not the norm but it’s certainly a valid approach.

    Upgrading your team is more important to you than upgrading your toon, that’s not slacking, it’s seeing the bigger picture.

    Falling off the ledge however…. all I can say is I’ve done it too if you mean the one at the Eredar Twins

  5. Matticus, based on my readings I would contend that you are, in fact, a perfectionist. However, your “character” is your guild.


  6. Yum yum! Good thing it’s time for breakfast.

    I tend to agree with you, Matt. I’ve been down the path of loot greed and it doesn’t really reward. Of course, I obsessed about loot more when it was scarce–isn’t that funny? But people ask me the same thing–why am I using X bracer when Y bracer is so much better? It annoys me, especially when the upgrade is cloth. Yep, there’s no way I’m stealing that.

  7. Sure I’d like to have the absolute best in slot items but it isn’t going to bother me greatly if I don’t have them. I kind of feel the same way about achievements. Sure it would be cool to get the Twilight Drake but is anyone else really going to notice I have it besides myself?

    Darias last blog post..Noticing the Slowdown

  8. ” I’ve got tanks that have threat sets, stamina sets, and damage mitigation sets”

    Any tank worth his salt is going to build multiple sets. It’s simply part of the job description.

    BS/JC is actually better min/max than Ench/JC unless something has changed recently I don’t know about.

    Hmm, I guess I know which camp into which I fall, lol.

    Great blog, keep up the good work.

    honorshammers last blog post..Yes, I Really Am That Powerful

  9. Matt:
    You’re evil. Pure effing evil.

    It’s 8:45 and I’m at work with no dim sum shop nearby, and now I’m craving the stuff. *sigh* Maybe my wife and I will go out this Sunday.

    BTW – we have some friends sort of like your dad. There are lots of great dim sum restaurants in Ottawa, but they have decided that they are all inferior to a restaurant in Montreal, and so they flat out refuse to go anywhere but Montreal for dim sum.

    *wanders off in search of sticky rice*

    Karthiss last blog post..How much defense does a Druid need?

  10. This is the same thing that causes me to level my priest, raid my heart out, and promptly get bored after coming to the realisation there isn’t any encounter I couldn’t heal.

    It happened in vanilla, it happened in BC. I wisened up a little and left my priest to 3rd this time around, but it will happen again.

    Oh well thats why I have my tank and dps classes to play. Oddly, I’m more the perfectionist on these characters. Always striving for the little bit more.

  11. I would contend that you aren’t a Perfectionist or a Slacker. I would say you’re a Pragmatist. You see things for what they are and you move loot where it needs to be to better the whole while that may make you a perfectionist in some regards, I think it makes you more practical.

  12. I’m kinda in the slacker department. I can do more with less gear so I pass on alot of gear to get other casters geared to help the team. With this new, better equiped guild I’m trying to catch up and being a Boomkin I’m in the unwanted postion of having to roll on some cloth as it’s just too good. So being a slacker can sometimes have it’s drawbacks. 🙂

    P.S. Thanks I have 2 hours to lunch and those pictures makes be not want to wait. ‘sigh’

  13. Min/max just doesn’t matter right now. Fights getting so short, healers are dpsing half the time in my raids, bringing fewer healers, and tanks do more damage now. At times I’m reminded of MC, when I could afk at any time with no one noticing. 😛

    Even this guy saying any good tank will build multiple sets, why? Most of the stuff can be tanked in 10 man loot.

    We’re a 3D/Immortal guild that didn’t form until the end of Jan, so glad we weren’t raiding from the start.

    xabbotts last blog post..xabbott: @Totalbiscuit listening to latest BluePlz, interesting you brought up iPod. The example you give is almost here

  14. apokteino says:

    as a (pally) healer, before each xpac i look through all the gear and find the overall BiS items. i go through each slot individually and compare the top 2 or 3 pieces. if one is miles ahead of another i put that one down. if 2 are comparable but have slightly different stats (such as haste vs higher crit/spl power but w/ mp5) i’ll note both of them. after i’ve gone through every piece i can then look at the entire set as a whole and see what i may be lacking. i then determine which of the 2 “comparable” pieces i want. i want to know what the best gear for me is so that i can save my dkp and so i can get the most out of my toon.

    however, i am much more worried about my performance than my gear. i’m constantly sorting through recount seeing the number spells i cast, the overheals of each spell, how i regened mana, who i healed, etc. this has helped me figure out how to heal better. i’ve kinda been slacking of b/c naxx is loleasymode but i have WWS and fraps all ready for ulduar. you better believe i’m gonna be crazy analytical (anal?) once the patch hits.

    as a side note, my “perfectionism” goes even to the extent of reading through each encounter on multiple sites to determine the best healing style to use to keep MTs up and if it would be best to have an extra 200 haste or a little more crit on the boss fight.

    maybe i’m a little too serious about healing… but i know someone who is getting ha gao for supper so who cares!!! = D

  15. Now I desperately want Dim Sum. Do you know how many good Dim Sum restaurants there are in my neighborhood? Zero. None. Nada. You are an evil person.

  16. What’s that flaky taro dish called? I play all three roles (tank/dps/healer) now and healing is probably the least gear dependent. I still remember doing 25OS in BT gear and never having a problem.

    I don’t think I <3 you any more but I still want you to hug my fat.

  17. Missmedic says:

    Hahaha, I had to shake my head for a second…
    I thought I was reading a John Chow blog story for a second with the food references.

    PS – have you ever hung out with him at his blogging Dim sum events?

  18. There aren’t any good Dim Sum places in VA, either. Now I’m homesick for some good SF Chinatown Dim Sum! 🙁

    As for the loot thing, I’m kinda both. I like to have good gear, and being one of the only Paladins in our raids, it’s usually not very difficult for me to get geared. Recently I have been trying to make sure all my items are ilvl 213 so that I can have a nice vehicle for Flame Leviathan.

    Sometimes I just like to look pretty, too! That’s why it vaguely annoys me that my chestpiece doesn’t match the rest of my gear. You gotta heal the tanks and look good doing it, too! 😀

  19. I am totally with you Matticus!

    I am 100% at the threshold. But I’m always at the top of the healing meters. There’s a priest in my guild who theorycrafts his butt off all day. I’m sure he knows every formula, every piece of gear, and all the trade-offs he’s making. I myself am content to do what I’m familiar with, as long as it works.

    The other thing to point out is that the healing equation has some other variables too. Like for example, if you’re assigned to healing the MT on a lot of fights, you’ll probably have lower healing overall than someone who was assigned to raid heals. So you could be a perfectionist who is on main tank heals, and still have lower healing than that noob slacker who is healing the raid.

    For me, the secret to healing well at the threshold is to pay attention. Sounds like a no brainer right? Actually, there are lots of ways to help you pay more attention. Like understanding fights soon after you attempt them, installing the right mods, arranging your UI in a good way, or having fast reflexes/low latency.

    As for you Matticus, I wouldn’t worry too much about not being the best priest out there. I’m not sure what you were attempting (3d Sarth maybe?) but that fight is CRAZY chaos and it takes a while to remember that you have to stare at health bars while not dying to add spawns while dancing between lava waves while avoiding blue void zones while….you get the idea. Plus, you are pretty awesome at running a great healing website with lots of users, so I think you’re doing all right.

    • Yurie: Oh I’m not too worried about it. You’re right, it was Sarth 3D. It’s just I’ve always had a flawless track record when it comes down to avoiding stuff like that. To get nailed by them firewalls both back to back is a little disheartening.

  20. Cha shu jeong is one of my favorites. As is cha shu bao.

    The few times I’ve gone for dim sum in the Vancouver area is this one in Richmond that’s fairly close to the DaiSoh. Luckily, my girlfriend’s uncle owns a restaurant in town that we can go for family-discount dim sum and chow fun.

  21. I dont think I’ve ever had the Shrimp wrapped in flat rice noodles, I wonder where’s a good place to get that stuff around here. It looks delicious.

    As far as gear, like has been said, healers gear requirements go down as your raid progresses. With tanks taking less damage and dps killing bosses quicker there is less emphasis on perfect execution on the healers part. That’s why there are a lot of healers out there now picking up sloppy habits that probably wont do them any good in Ulduar. The content is easy enough where healers can play sloppy and not worry.

    As far as slacker/perfectionist goes, right now, its not necessary that healers be at the top end. But maybe with Ulduar incoming and the severe changes to mana regen mechanics maybe its time we started thinking about ourselves. 😀

  22. I’m definitely in the slacker camp, but the biggest motivator for me as far as gear goes is aesthetics. I want my toon to look good! I’ll take a set of inferior (to a degree) gear that matches and looks good over a min/maxed hobo suit every time.

  23. I’m at the threshold for my warrior, and for the most part I’m happy there – because I still have stuff to work towards. Breaking 30k health. Building more specialized gear sets. Learning to hold AOE threat off my trigger-happy cadre of mages… 🙂

  24. Adynathor says:

    Dim sum lover here!
    OMG you made me so hungry! I love dim sum, and believe it or not (listen to your father, he knows what he’s talking about), Dim Sum from a more expensive Chinese restaurant taste WAAAY better than one from a cheaper restaurant. At least that is true for where I live (the Republic of Panama, Central America).
    And… I can’t believe you called me a slacker! >.<
    I just can’t force myself to quit my Tailoring to take JC, b/c I’m a collector, and It would kill me. Even when I spend my days and nights envious of those Ench/JC shadowpriests out there.

  25. I’m such a Perfectionist, but I already knew that; it’s true for me in real life, as well. 🙂

    Also, OMG I’M HUNGRY NOW. I love Chinese food…

    Bacclors last blog post..Sartharion With 3 Drakes Is A Tad Difficult

  26. Your slacker sounds a lot like a ‘satisficer’:

    Once you’ve got something that’s good enough, you’re happy, rather than needing to get the absolute best in slot, even if only a marginal upgrade. Satisficing is the route to sanity and hapiness IMO!

  27. Tanks with multiple sets? Yes please. As a GM and also MT I do request my tanks to have multiple sets.

    It’s interesting to me that you consider gearpassing as slacking. Even though it holds back your own gearprogression it does help the guild more.

    But I found it amusing because I’ve also noted that healers are indeed the only class that often pass gear to others:P

  28. That last one’s har cheong fun, if I’m not mistaken.

  29. Dude, I’ve been following your blog for some time but this topic just made me LOL epicly! I guess I fall somewhere in between. By no means do I have the best stuff but I have decent sets healing/regen/haste etc etc. I guess different guilds need different sort of people. If your roster is big, then you would need more slackers so more loot can float around; whereas, if you have a tight-knit raiding roster, it’s fine to deck out each one of them.

  30. Smartteaus says:

    I’m definitely a perfectionist. I have multiple sets of healing gear for all three of my healers. While, I do agree with Matt about passing gear to the player who will receive the bigger upgrade, I don’t see how healers can attain a cap. With current content as easy as it is, isn’t the only reason to raid to get the best available gear and min/max in order to make Ulduar easier. All three of my healers are decked out in 213/226 gear, but when I take them to PTR, I still have quite a difficult time healing the hard mode of many bosses, or even the easy mode of a boss like Hodir. What I’m trying to say is that no matter how easy current content is, even healers could always use better gear. If you don’t believe me, try solo healing 2 drake 8-man Sarth.

  31. I’d like to think I’m at a happy medium somewhere between the two… but realistically I know I’m more of a Perfectionist.

  32. Kanzaki says:

    LOL you didn’t make me hungry but you made me want to watch Great Teacher Onizuka again for his wonderful horror story related to “siu mai.” I assumed this was pronounced “shu mai.” If not, oh well still want to watch GTO lol thanks.


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