I Can Carry You

I Can Carry You


Remember that scene from Return of the King? Frodo has just about given up hope. He’s at the bottom of Mount Doom. Sam can sense the frustration coming from Frodo and then says:

Sam: Do you remember the Shire, Mr. Frodo? It’ll be spring soon. And the orchards will be in blossom. And the birds will be nesting in the hazel thicket. And they’ll be sowing the summer barley in the lower fields… and eating the first of the strawberries with cream. Do you remember the taste of strawberries?

Frodo: No, Sam. I can’t recall the taste of food… nor the sound of water… nor the touch of grass. I’m… naked in the dark, with nothing, no veil… between me… and the wheel of fire! I can see him… with my waking eyes!

Sam: Then let us be rid of it… once and for all! Come on, Mr. Frodo. I can’t carry it for you… but I can carry you!

And so he did. Sam starts carrying Frodo and begins climbing up one step at a time until they enter inside.

We all know how that ends.

The random dungeon tool

You’ve run into “those” players, haven’t you? The ones that don’t seem to try very hard? They’re sporting a full set of T9s and are firing spells that don’t begin to approach the potential of the player. There’s all sorts of reasons for it. Maybe it’s an alt they’re unfamiliar with. Could be chatting on the phone and distracted. Perhaps they just dinged 80 and are wearing an awesome flavor of blues and greens and decided to start gearing up as quick as possible.

The simplest answer would be that such players downright suck.

You don’t have to be spiteful about it though.

It doesn’t matter to me if they just hit 80.
It doesn’t matter to me if they’re an alt that doesn’t know what they’re doing.
It doesn’t matter to me if they’ve never done that instance (or any instance) before.

I’m willing to carry you.

As a healer, we’re in a pretty unique position of being able to support the entire group if we have the skills.

Bruteforce healing

Ever tried brute force healing an instance before? It’s exactly what it sounds like. The ultimate 5 man healing experience is when every DPS pulls aggro or the tank is simply not able to keep the threat up on all the mobs. Or if the tank decides to chain pull 3-4 sets of trash.

To top it off, you’re at 30% mana because they didn’t notice your mana pool before the trash pulls went off.

Bruteforce healing means you won’t be relying on so much finesse. There isn’t much emphasis on healing rotation or using the “right” spell for the right job. Damage is coming from all over the place and every action needs to be prioritized.

This is where you take the shotgun approach and hit as many AoE and preventative spells as possible. It’s a lot of fun for a Disc Priest.

Whether intentional or otherwise, if a DPS player pulls aggro, I will have their back. I’m willing to be patient and to explain encounters. I’m willing to eat a few wipes.

Unless it’s Oculus.

That’s where I draw the line.

Error, no group ID set! Check your syntax!
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. I just picked up my Pug (pet) last night on my priest and must admit I finally earned the “Patient” title received at the halfway point. I have no problem with new 80’s churning out tiny DPS as long as the group’s moving along nicely. I love the opportunity to pay back the patience so many showed me as I geared up.
    With a well geared tank in older content, I can easily heal the occasional melee/DPS that decides to off tank their own mobs. I’m also much more flexible with tanks pulling trash before my mana’s >75% these days too. With the pace I’m getting emblems, I’m happy to suffer the time and the occasional repair bills as new people learn fights.
    What’s killing me are the groups wading into the new 5-man content and ignoring the fact that for some groups it does require some discipline and the occasional foundation skill, e.g. crowd control/LoS stategies. The new stuff is much less forgiving for pugs that don’t take a moment to make sure everyone knows the fight (beyond the accusatory – “Everyone know this fight, right?”).
    In particular PoS and HoR both have ranged that pick up on healers/casters and wreak havoc. So, 95% of the time I can carry anything, but if I’m getting the snot kicked out of me by the caster standing behind you, “Guess who ends up at the top of the heal priority list?”
    Happy Feast of Winter Veil,
    Xarph of Shandris

  2. Ahh, Occulus. That’s where EVERYBODY draws the line.

    I am the same way, though not by choice. My theory and execution differ vastly, but I guess it makes me a better healer. I am of the opinion of “If the DPS pulled a mob, l2curbaggro” – that’s about the only thing a DPS needs to worry about in 5-mans: not pulling a mob. In execution, though, I see a drop in health and immediately mash my riptide (or LHW if the ‘tide’s on cooldown). It’s always funny, though, when a minmax DPS with 13k health drops like a rock before I can even get a heal on them.

  3. I really don’t mind brute force healing instances if the group is respectful and everyone is having fun. Sometimes, however, you get those clueless groups that either the tank can’t keep aggro, the dps pulls contstantly, and all the brute force healing in the world can’t stop a wipe and yet somehow the healer is blamed and the rest of the party members are jerks and vote you out when it apparent its not you it’s them.

    I’ll heal for anyone as long as there is respect in the group and players recognize their weaknesses and can have a good laugh about it.
    .-= Napps´s last blog ..List of abilities to add to Grid for ICC encounters =-.

  4. I have changed my mind on this one since chatting to a friend. She was tanking for a random PUG and they /bullied/ her into doing an achievement on the last boss. When she refused (it was a really tedious one) they called her names. When she pulled the boss, they all sat back and watched and did nothing but call her names.

    (I would have left, personally.)

    So hell no I ain’t carrying anyone who acts like a moron.

  5. Graam (VeCo) says

    Haha, perfect timing… I literally just cleared a painful Oculus run, closed WoW, came here and saw this. It’s fun with the guild, but when I have to carry folk and can’t use my own heals…
    3 of the first 5 people dropped when they loaded in. 5 min later I have a geared tank but all three dps are undergeared (or less well geared to be fair). 2 of them are just running around talking to all the npc’s after we killed the first boss, so I ask if it’s anyone’s first time. One admits it is (and I have my doubts about the other). That’s fine, we take a sec to go over the next two bosses before we pull, a little slow but no deaths. Go over the new dps ability, overall strat for the mounted boss. 10 sec in i see none of the three dps is channeling the rift. Type something out full of typos as I maintain dots, debuff, and tanks health. Get to astral phase, the tank and I kite away and all three dps stand there…. Wipe and try again, two dps dont move this time. One drops in disgust, we get a pro who decides to help me heal, one dps still doesn’t move on astral so we 4 man him slowly into the ground. On the bright side, after the nerfs two wipes feels like a painful run as opposed to a dozen.
    Thanks for letting me vent given there weren’t any guildies on this time of the morning.

  6. “Unless it’s Oculus.

    That’s where I draw the line.”

    Yep. Loved the article, but THAT RIGHT THERE made it completely.

  7. I don’t care if they nerfed Oculus. I have learned to hate that place. And how is it that I can take on 25m ToC with flying colors and still whipe in a stupid pull on HoS? That is the frustrating part. 3/5 of the group was guildies. /shame.

    Oh well. I am going to go do it all again tonight anyway!
    Happy Hazing!

  8. Oculus definitely, but Halls of Reflection is getting close (and real fast) for me. HoR can be fun, if you have a group that’s willing to prioritize targets and using their abilites to CC certain mobs (Mercs and Priests namely on the spirit waves). Other than, lack luster DPS and/or tanks being critical of wipes can kill the fun in this place real fast.
    .-= Bacon´s last blog ..ICC – Week 2 =-.

  9. I actually prefer the bad groups. I feel like I’m finally, you know, playing the game. I had a warlock (unintentionally) tank Gundrak once. A warlock. Sunwell has nothing that. It’s been my favorite run so far.

    I saw someone ask once if it was ok for a tank below the defense minimum to tank a heroic if they brought their own healer. All I could say was, man, I’ve had a warlock tank before. But that’s what so great about being a healer in the LFD system: ultimately, you’re in control of what happens.

    As for low dps, as long as things are dying at a resonable speed and no one’s afk, I really don’t care if the rogue is doing nothing but white damage. I get my badges at the end whether he’s pulling 7k or 500.
    .-= Ophelie´s last blog ..Airport Adventures =-.

  10. Oculus? Boo!!!! I draw the line there as well. love the article and Yes….I have your back as well!

  11. I healed a HoL run last night, and as many stories go, the DK tank with 27K buffed health did not know the instance, and did not tell anyone till we reached Loki. Now I do not have a problem with a tank with 27K HP or even a DK tank with 27K, but when you can’t/don’t do the little things, like not turning the chain lightning golems away from the group, it annoys me. This group really tested me, 3 Ranged and the DK Tank, think an intense game of pinball with a hint of pong. Almost every pull that should have been 3-4 mobs, ended up with 8-12 mobs because the ranged targeted wrong mobs or just weren’t paying attention or the DK was trying to speed pull the instance. My favorite was when he didn’t stop after I just pulled us through a 10 mob agro and I am at 20% mana before he charges off to smack the boss. We defiantly did NOT have the DPS to burn through this. I could go on and on about the circumstances of this run, but I think you all have been there.

    The point? I am in 100% agreeance with you; a good healer (skilled and geared) can heal through brute force and will group thru an instance. Honestly, this group was a great challenge for me, I can’t say I wasn’t cussing out my monitor, but what a rush to be chain bombing the group and watching green bars drop to 5% and then bounce back to 95% only to immediately drop back to 10%. I can’t tell you the last time I used one of my cool downs in a 5 man instance. I felt like it was my first time healing there again.

    When I can I will always push through a 5 man with my heals. On the down side, if a player that doesn’t understand their class groups with me, they probably won’t learn much from that group and continue to make the mistakes for future groups that are on the 5:15 train bound for Wipeville, population 5.

    The “randomness” of the dungeon finder provides for new challenges for me in old content, new challenges that I never thought possible and I wish they would make achievements for!
    [ Monster Mash ] Pull 20+ trash mobs at once and not have any party members die in any Heroic level dungeon. Reward: Title “The Mashed Potato”
    [Tank you very much] Successfully run any heroic with a tank that has an average ilevel below 200 Reward: Vanity Pet, “Mechanical Yellow Taxi”
    [Dance] Defeat the Drakkari Elemental in Gundrak on heroic difficulty while 4 or 5 party members stand in purple goo. Reward: Mount “Swanky Purple Sloth” (This is a very SLOW mount)

    Put your faith in the Holy Light, we can save your wipe! /arrogance off

    On a random thought, I think Bliz needs to add in a mirror mode a la Mario Cart so we can run the dungeons with a fresh prospective and it will be new to everyone!

  12. As a tank (and healer), I don’t mind carrying the group. There are spots I draw a line. I’ll take one… maybe two under geared DPS into Forge of Souls and Pit of Saron if I know I’ve got one solid DPS to work with. However… Halls of Reflection? Not gonna happen. That place requires top notch DPS.

    If you haven’t tried post nerf Occulus, you’ve missed what will be probably one of the fastest runs now. Its stupidly easy now that everything took a massive chunk of health off. Hell the trash only has like 65k health. Its no big deal to just clear the place in no time at all.

    However I agree with Matticus. I’ve adapted a brute force approach to healing random pugs when I do it. I’ve had some people tell me when I healed Pit of Saron they don’t know how the hell I pulled it off… its simple.. brute force.. burn every cooldown and trick you have and just keep going. Tranquility every 3 minutes and just burn heavy heals.

  13. I’m agreeing with Ophelie on this one–I love the challenge posed by the new LFG tool. I rolled a healer so that I could have a recognizable impact on the outcome of a fight, and the more heroics I do with under-geared and/or under-performing players, the more fun I have turning what could have been a bumpy ride into a smooth 20-minute clear.

    Healing with adds on me? I’m game. Clothie tanks? Bring it. Standing in the boss’s AOE? Go for it. And quick Oculus clears are my specialty. ^_^
    .-= Vixsin´s last blog ..The Line Between Theory and Application =-.

  14. I like pugs, and also bad ones when people respect each other and are ready to have a laugh when some mistake is made. Healing those can be a challenge, and often some experienced player manages to show something useful to a “noobie”, who is grateful for that.

    But I have also met a fair amount of plain nasty people

    – rude and insulting
    – ubergeared dps fighting for recount with a blue geared tank running around like a headless chicken trying to do his job
    – afk 80% of the run
    – spending most of VH next to a dead beast in order to skin that before the other skinner in group, suspending all activity for group, and not looting their own mobs to prevent others from skinning

    There are a few of these on my server as well of course, but they are widely known and most of us immediately leave a group/raid when we see they are in there. This is unfortunately much harder with cross server pugs.

  15. @Starman

    Sure they nerfed Oculus, but that still doesn’t help that people don’t understand the mechanics of the drakes. I normally don’t abandon a group easily, but after the third wipe due to bad heals and dps drakes pulling aggro I figured, as a healer I could have re-queued and cleared a new dungeon before we took down Eregos.

    The LFG tool is fantastic, but I have also seen it lead to new types of asshat-ery. Just yesterday I found a tank that would constantly queue for the new ICC heroics, clear the trash up to the boss out and then quit for Hilt farming. Another tank I had just competely skipped optional bosses without asking anyone. I guess he felt that the extra 5 minutes it takes to down a boss wasn’t worth his time.

  16. The runs with crittable tanks are fun and keep me awake. I ran one where the Ret Pally pulled aggro and basically tanked every boss fight. He was so over geared that he couldn’t help it with the tank not putting out much threat. He wasn’t particularly hard to keep alive either. I think on most heroics I could just get a dps Pally , DK or Warrior to tank and have 4 dps.

  17. The one time I got a random tank in Blues and Greens was in Oculus. Just my luck, right? It didn’t end well, I ended up leaving the group. 🙁
    .-= Lilitharien´s last blog ..How to Pick the Healing Corps that will Keep Your Raid Alive =-.

  18. I thought I could do this in pugs too. I worked for my epic gear and it’s nice to help people out who may just be getting back into the game.

    BUT but.. they have to show they’ve made an effort to upgrade their own gear too. I was healing for a decent group in which the tank was woefully undergeared. When I took a look at his gear after a couple of wipes on trash pulls, I was shocked.

    When someone expects to tank heroic instances at lvl 80 and hasn’t even done basic questlines to upgrade lvl 60 gear? I draw the line.

  19. I’m a tank and I don’t mind carrying a group provided it looks like they’re putting *some* kind of effort into the run. Just any kind of sign that you’re trying, that’s all I ask.
    .-= Rhidach´s last blog ..My WoW year in review =-.

  20. “Unless it’s Oculus.”

    Just had a guy earlier today ask “You guys haven’t done this before?” Acting as though he was the expert, despite the fact that he kept dismounting before we were finished killing blue drakes, and he kept going the wrong way.

    When we got to the last boss, I purposefully did very little damage so he could keep threat initially. But after doing one ultimate rotation peeled. After peeling, he failed to use the damage redirection ultimate and evasive abilities. So I just huddled down on one of the islands expecting my drake to die. But a person from my guild on the green drake kept me alive before he went into the kiting phase (luckily).

  21. Maybe I’m one of those in the tier 9s. The problem is I can’t always carry them. There are tanks that simply go down faster than I can keep them up. Then also as a discipline priest if there is aoe damage going on, I don’t have that many tools (that I’m aware of anyway) to deal with it. I prioritize and try to keep up those that I hope will keep us from a complete wipe, but its not pretty.

    When the dungeon finder first started, evidently there were a lot of powerful toons signing up and it was great. But evidently a lot of those toons are back to guild runs or something. Because the last few days, it seems like I’m being asked to carry more and more groups. I’m not always up to the task.
    .-= Starets Sayas´s last blog ..New Must Read for Me =-.

  22. Unless it’s Oculus.

    That’s where I draw the line.

    Which, considering it’s the easiest, one of the fastest, and the most fun heroic in Wrath, is mind-boggling.

    • @Rilgon Arcsinh: Honestly, I hit a streak where I got Oculus about 4 times. I don’t mind staying in and doing it if the whole group stays. It’s when other players start dropping and cycling out that really annoys me.

      That and the one time I had a bear tank who absolutely insisted on skinning every. freaking. drake. in the instance. I left on that one too.

      As far as being most fun, that’s entirely subjective. From my standpoint, I have more fun in Halls of Lightning and Old Kingdom.

  23. “I’m okay carrying dps”

    I’m sick to death of this.

    Tank messes up, there is hell to pay. You gear up in nomrals, get your def cap, THEN think about tanking.
    Healer messes up, there is hell to pay. If you can’t keep a group up through AoE insanity with them paying no attention to environmental damage, that’s your problem.

    DPS can’t do their job, awww, it’s okay, lets coddle them. They’re trying so hard after all… what with their standing there staring at the fight like they have to make sense of the pretty flashing lights on the screen. And if they do manage to do decent damage, that somehow exempts them from the rules of running in a group and they are entitled to start pulling and randomly attacking whatever they bloody feel like.

    Screw that.

    Make a short-bus random option or something. If my DPS can not do 2k+, can’t manage their mana to last more then 1 fight, and can’t do it with a smile and a kind word, I have no use for them.

    This is why there is a tank shortage in WoW. We’re sick of being the ‘daddy’ of a group of idiot children.

    I only regret my ignore list is limited.


  1. […] good buddy Matt just wrote an article likening himself to “Samwise the Brave”.  The noble friend, no matter the […]

Speak Your Mind