Remember how I told you all, on April Fool’s Day, no less, that I was going to run off and play Ret Paladin? Well, it wasn’t entirely a joke. Yes, I’m still raiding on Syd, and still healing, but I’ve been playing my paladin this weekend as both Ret and Holy. I have a lot more confidence when I’m healing, and I have a few amusing stories about that stemming from a Naxx-10 PuG that I healed last night, but today I’m mostly here to talk to you about the special challenge of melee.
Not many healers have a melee class as their alt, and now I can see why. I’ve done ranged DPS before in group settings. I’d say it’s more of a challenge to me than healing at this point, but I can see how it could be done well. However, I was determined to take my Ret Paladin to some heroics. As I’m in a confessional mood, here’s a list of the Melee Failures I’ve indulged in over the last five days.
Accidentally taunting off the tank. Sorry, Brio. I’m still not sure how I managed to hit Shift 1 with the back of my hand, but I certainly did it.
Pulling mobs by accident . . . with my butt. You know, when you’re a melee class, you have to get behind the mobs. I think that my time as a healer has made me scared of them, and I tend to stay at max range, which can be rather dangerous with patrols around.
Hanging out in the green stuff. I was so happy when we defeated the first boss of Heroic Gundrak. So happy, in fact, that I stood there doing the Macarena as the poison slowly killed me. As always, I was suprised when Marfi hit the floor.
Staying in for whirlwind. I realized belatedly that the last boss of Heroic Gundrak was doing his little spinny thing. By the time I strafed out, I was low on health, and a ghost rhino charge made me go splat.
Standing in front of the boss. Now, I know I’m not supposed to stand next to Brio. I’ve made many jokes in my life about melee humping the hind legs of bosses. I’m not sure why I ended up in front of Heroic Anub’arak, but I do know what happened to me when he cast pound. Pound equals splat, for something like 10,000 overkill.
Getting ahead of the tank. In Utgarde Keep, I was getting antsy. Guess what happened when I edged in front of Brio? More pulling mobs. I’m glad Brio and I have a stable relationship, because I know exactly what he would have said if any other melee did that. Oh well, at least I can bubble and save myself.
Getting too far behind. Also Utgarde Keep. I have no excuse this time, only that I had to pee, and that turned into rather poor dps for a minute there. It turns out that you have to keep up, all the time, as a melee player.
Ignoring the kill order. Skull is for decoration, right? I’m issuing an apology to Amava, who was tanking Violet Hold on his cleverly-named druid Moodyswinger.
Panicking about my own health instead of trusting the healer. No, I didn’t say, heal me please, but I definitely used my Art of War procs whenever they were up, mostly on the tank, but also on myself. I have also bubbled a record number of times during the weekend.
Incomplete gear switch. I’m sure both Ret Paladins and Feral Druids face this one all the time. I don’t use any inventory manager addons, because my laptop’s poor performance means that I can only run necessary addons–nothing extra. This Sunday I DPS’d about seven heroics wearing my Holy libram. . . from Karazhan.
That’s my list of spectacular melee failures. The only one I didn’t check off this week was Die in a Fire. In my defense, Sartharion was the first instance I did with Marfi as DPS. I didn’t realize at that point I was making a checklist. I did die in that fight, not to a void zone or lava wave, but to a stray add. I also did about 1000 dps in my full suit of greens, but hey, I’d just dinged 80 10 minutes before. My dps has improved a bit now, but the failures keep mounting.
The Value of Failure
I’ve always told my students that failure is instructive. Errors are acceptable–even a good thing–while you’re learning a language, and they’re acceptable when you’re learning a new class role as well. If you never allow yourself to make mistakes, you’ll never learn. You’ll just continue doing what is comfortable and never branch out. However, I know my limits. I’m practicing in Heroics because they’re the minor leagues. The next time I see the green stuff, I’ll be running away.
There’s a very good reason that I haven’t let myself DPS in Naxx yet. Even though the paladin is different from my resto druid, it’s the same raid role, and I have a wealth of experience healing on both toons from Classic to current. In a raid, I owe more to my group members, so I have to know what I’m doing to some degree. Sure, I messed up my Holy spec last night and forgot to even get Bacon of Light, but it didn’t matter. I still beat the other healer, a better-geared Holy priest, on the meters. It is true that I only pulled ahead because she died on the first pass of the Heigan dance, which then continued for 10 more minutes with about five players alive, but I was proud of myself nonetheless. It’s absolutely amazing how much energy playing a new character can give me on this very, very stale content. However, the Flash of Light spam nearly killed me. Syd uses such a variety of spells, which I have mapped for both hands (left hand for direct heals, mouse for hots), that I never feel stress in my wrists. This morning my left wrist is killing me from repeatedly hitting the C key. I don’t know how full-time paladins do it.