Second Verse, Different than the First

Second Verse, Different than the First

**Image is text from one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.

In the week since the infamous post, I’ve been able to see the wide spectrum of responses and views on the topic. I’ve been condemned and praised for it. The praise came mostly because of points made in the post; the condemnation referred to the tone I used. I let the post simmer a few days, and it’s become clear to me that the tone definitely deserves the condemnation. Anyone that has read my posts here before has come to expect different of me (I hope). That’s true. I normally don’t write with vehemence, but this time I let my professionalism go and was wrong to do so.

The Apology

It was unprofessional of me to “attack” Dills as I did. Funny enough, those that know me in real life knew my tone was lighter than it’s been made out to be. That doesn’t excuse it, nor does it allow me to assume that anyone else would be able to tell the playfulness from some letters on a screen.  We talk all the time about how it’s impossible to tell tone from a text message or an email. Something that’s meant as a tongue-in-cheek comment could be taken the complete opposite; something meant as an important conversation could be shrugged off as an “April Fool’s”-style joke. That’s the danger of writing/blogging like we do. Especially with the type of person I am outside of this game, I lost the foresight that I usually exemplify in my posts. It was never meant to be a “lol noob” type of phrasing at all (I’ll explain the Billy Madison quote in a minute). Was it meant to be a sharp criticism? Absolutely. However, the extra teeth–which came across even worse than intended–were uncalled for. I’m perfectly capable of writing a post that reflects my viewpoints and expresses my counterpoints in a clear and concise argument. Well, the argument got lost. My “bridge” comment was never meant to imply that anyone (including me) should jump off it. In Chicago, the Chicago River is actually used to move some of our sewage. People are not allowed to swim in it for fear of infection. I didn’t write the comparison to imply suicide but to simply say, “I could do this, but it wouldn’t be smart because it’s a gross river.”

The Billy Madison quote: I admit that this was a huge mistake. In drafting that post, that quote came into my head–not as a means to further slam someone but as a sort of ironic chuckle. It made me think of a movie that I know I get a kick out of. When I transcribed it, I never thought, “Ha! This’ll really show him!! RAWR!”. I thought it was a funny reference, and WoW!! was I wrong. Since I didn’t realize how my words would be interpreted, I also didn’t see the poor taste of that joke. Matt was right to remove it. I didn’t remove it originally because I was defensive and felt compelled to stand up for what I wrote. I was standing up for the wrong reasons.

Minus the tone, I still maintain the points I made about Dills’s post. It was unfair of me to attack him, but no one should be immune from criticism (even me, of course). In “An Instance of Fail”, there were rumblings of true debate in the comment section. This, to me, signified that there is real discussion in the points and counterpoints that were made. In writing the post, and even in the days following, I continued to read Dills’s entry. With all due respect, I stand by the inferences I made. There is nothing in the post that lead me to believe otherwise. I’d like to make my points in a much more civil way.

Lightwell

I really have no problem with Lightwell either coming or going. I think it’s a very interesting mechanic and can be situationally used. If it were fixed, I’m sure it’d be a great spell. It could be dropped right before a Bone Storm in Marrowgar or dropped behind the ice blocks in Sindragosa. It would be very beneficial during the 3rd phase of Professor Putricide for casters moving out of slime. Just a quick click as they’re running to the closest safe spot.  Essentially, it could benefit any fight situation where the ability to dps is hindered by movement or transition phases. It’s a great alternative to spells like Divine Hymn or Tranquility. With both of those spells, the caster (Priest and Druid, respectively) has to remain still to channel it. This allows the Priest or Druid to continue moving during a transition, put distance between himself/herself and “the bad”, or simply cast spells on others that are nearer to visiting the graveyard.

Although the fate of Lightwell doesn’t really matter, I disagree with the following phrases:

“I know when I’m dpsing or tanking the last thing I want to think about is healing.”

“That’s what the healer is for.”

I remember when I was a lowly Warlock back in SSC/TK, I was excited to start a Priest, because I wanted to be a help to the raid in whatever way I could; healing seemed to be a great fit for me. Leveling to 70 wasn’t instantaneous, obviously. I then looked at my own Warlock spellbook to see how I could help the raid beyond just my Shadow Bolt spam. When it was deemed appropriate, I would put Curse of Weakness on the boss. I was always happy to throw up Curse of Tongues on Fathom-Guard Caribdis (in the Fathom-Lord fight in SSC) to give the Shaman and Rogues enough time to interrupt his huge heal. If everyone was taking a lot of damage, I would throw Siphon Life (when it was a spell) and then Drain Life the boss to give healers some more wiggle room. I would do this even if it was a hit to my DPS. Whatever was the best way for the raid to succeed, I did it.

It’s how I continue to play today. Even when I’m DPS’ing on my Enhancement Shaman, I’ll throw out an instant Healing Wave (via Maelstrom Weapon) to help out the healers when they need it.  When I heal, if I have global cooldowns and mana to spare, I readily start DPSing the boss.  It’s the mentality that I try to encourage in the people I play with. Of course it’s our job to fill our roles, but it’s also our job to help out the rest of the raid where we can. I remember when raid members carried bandages, and used health pots (when you could chain-pot, anyways). It was always more about “us” rather than “you” and “me.” It’s the “us” mindset that helps make our in-game community strong.

Dampen/Amplify Magic

“I know, we use Amplify Magic on the Saurfang fight.  I’m aware of that.  However; one fight does not make a spell useful or necessary.”

Although that may or may not be true for the current level of progression, look at other older bosses that stood to benefit from Amplify magic: Gruul, Patchwerk, General Vezax, Icehowl. Gruul hammers on the tank for physical damage. He doesn’t have a dedicated enrage. With Amplify Magic, you were able to squeeze a couple more Growths out of him. When Patchwerk was the gear check, we worked hard to gear up our off-tank to take the Hateful Strikes. Having Amplify Magic on the off-tanks made our heals hit harder, thereby saving our mana so we could make it to the enrage, if need be. As for Vezax, a fight where mana regen is negligible, any additional help for the healer was welcomed with open arms, especially on heroic when you’re not using the Saronite Vapor mechanic. There’s usually always at least one boss in each tier of progression that uses purely (or mostly) physical damage. If it can be used, there’s really no reason it shouldn’t be cast on a tank (or the raid, for that matter) that’s taking mostly physical damage. It’s hugely beneficial on Valithria Dreamwalker. Cast it on her and heal her quickly to 100%. Makes heroic a lot more manageable (more on this later).

“Dampen Magic is especially useless unless you are in pvp and there are no healers which usually means you will be failing no matter what you do.”

As for Dampen Magic, well of course it’s situational. A lot of mages use it for leveling. My friend Andrew plays a mage. Anytime he’s on his 56 mage and I’m on my 56 warrior, we have Dampen Magic on. It helps us out quite a bit. Some use it for farming. In those situations, less incoming damage means less time bandaging/eating. Like Dills says, it’s beneficial in PvP as well, especially world PvP or certain arena matchups. There’s some misinformation that PvP is pointless without a healer, and that’s actually not the case.  When I’m up against a mage, Dampen Magic (or Amplify, too) is just one more thing I have to dispel off of him to get to his Ice Barrier. PvP is not necessarily who has the heals, but who plays his/her character better. ArenaJunkies.com is peppered heavily with purely dps teams. A team combining a mage with any other non-healing class(es) stands to gain a lot from Dampen Magic. Everytime I see a Mage/Rogue pairing that knows how to play, it’s very tough to beat. All of that CC, and then Dampen Magic makes it that much harder. Especially in PvP, people look for whatever edge they can get, no matter how small. It doesn’t serve the PvE benefit that many would like, but that doesn’t mean it’s useless by any means.

“I do think the idea is solid but in practicality it comes up so rarely that these spells are often completely forgotten about by many Mages.”

My argument: Just because a spell is used only on the occasional fight or on a situational basis, it does not mean it’s useless. People choose not to use it, and that’s fine. However, that doesn’t mean it’s a wasted spot in the spellbook. That’s the fun of the game. Each encounter is different and calls for different abilities. I would find the game pretty boring if I had to do the same thing each and every fight. It makes me sad that interesting abilities like these are being shed.

Mind Soothe/Soothe Animal

I have to admit, I never really knew about the value of Mind Soothe and Soothe Animal until I was in SSC back in Burning Crusade. Those were the days when CC was absolutely needed. Humanoids feared us, Beasts bled us, Dragonkin healed their friends. We had to have Saps, Sheeps, Repents, and anything we could think of. My friend Jayme plays a mage. A nice, squishy clothie. I could tell he’d be nervous stepping up to ready his Polymorph. One wrong step, and that pack comes charging at him. Death would be his likely end. I could even feel the anxiety across vent. A Priest and Druid then stepped up to Mind Soothe and Soothe Animal the mobs nearest to my friend. A sense of ease fell over him. Now, it didn’t need to be so precise where his character was placed. He had a little wiggle room. The pull went as planned, and no one died.

That brings us to Instructor Razuvious, the first boss in the Military Quarter of Naxxramas. Obviously, in 25man, you need to have two Priests to Mind Control two of his Understudies. Because of their aggro range and the range of Mind Control, this pull has the potential to be hectic. The first time I tried this fight, we had to have a countdown on when to run in, hoping that my Mind Control was able to take hold before the Understudy decided I’d be better used as a doormat.  Another tactic was for our tank to run in, grab everything (and run his own risk of becoming a doormat) and possibly pull the mobs out of our range. It got frustrating, and it got frustrating fast, even with a team that I felt confident raiding. Once Mind Soothe was brought into the mix, it made everyone’s lives so much easier. I could settle into my spot, and the countdown was now when to cast Mind Control, not frantically to set up.

How about Zul’Aman? I always was so sad when they removed the Amani War Bear. We never were able to get ahead of the timer after a little while. That raid was full of Humanoids, as well as Beasts. The perfect place to use both of those spells to sneak by mobs and get the edge on that timer. Someone commented on Dills’s post that using those two spells was a great way to solidify that awesome bear for someone in his raid. I wish I would’ve thought of it at the time.

It serves a much bigger benefit than what Dills refers to as “…spells that sneaked in there because Blizzard need to give players something new around level 20 and ran out of ideas” or as a “[d]umb spell with almost no uses at all.” Keep in mind that we’re heading into an expansion that Blizzard wants to have more dependent on crowd control. I know I’d much rather be settled and ready for each pull in the new raids than have each one be a mad dash to gain control. Pulls like those lead to sloppy wipes and wasted raid time. As my buddy Dralo says, “Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast. Fast is deadly.” I’ve always found that Mind Soothe and Soothe Animal help that.

Thinking Outside the Box

Lodur’s guild, Unpossible, is still hammering proudly through ICC hardmodes. Valithria Dreamwalker is no cakewalk. The Emerald Dream is actually the Nightmare. Each orb applies a DoT to whoever consumes it. Simply being in the Nightmare ticks away at your health. VD’s health decays over time, which means you need more bang for your buck. Your heals need to hit has hard as possible in order to assure victory. Unpossible utilized an unorthodox technique also used by other guilds in order to get the job done. They took a BM Hunter with a bear pet. Tenacity pets have a 2-point talent called Blood of the Rhino. All heals on the pet are increased by 40%. They coupled that with Beacon of Light from their Holy Paladin. Beaconing the dragon and healing the bear resulted in a huge boost in healing. It saved mana and helped counteract the health decay. Needless to say, they won the day. That’s the beauty of this game. It’s not simply point and shoot. Takes some thinking to come up with a strategy like that. Post note: I’m aware that the mechanic was nerfed. Still took some brains to think of using those skills together, which is the point.

There are tons of ways that we can all use different spells in the game to make our playtime more enjoyable and unique. Rather than dismiss certain spells as “useless” and “dumb”, we should look for unique ways to utilize our spellbooks and challenge our minds. If someone new to the game wants advice on how to begin this journey, I try to encourage him/her to think about team before self.  Don’t shrug things off as “my job” and “your job”. Embrace the idea that defeating the raid is “our job”. Look for how your class’s lesser-known abilities could stand to help the group. Read your spellbook; try different things out. I think you might be surprised what you might find. Remember, raiding is a Team Sport. Let’s welcome the newest WoW generation with that in mind.

Email: Elder.Thespius@gmail.com | Twitter: @Thespius

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Comments

  1. Posting a quick reply, I didn’t get a chance to reply on the infamous post. Thespius, I’ve always enjoyed your posts, and I will definitely continue to do so. You hit the nail on the head in this article. I commend you for your response and I for one think you are spot on.

  2. I was one of the people that did not like the tone of the post, but I am seriously impressed by today’s post!

    Sometimes it is easy to get swept away in a writing fervour and not realising that what makes sense in the context inside your head will look differently when viewed from the outside. Being able to stand up and admit that one got carried away is something few people do – I commend you for doing so, sir. 😉

    /salute

  3. Personally I thought a lot of your original post was spot on, where you ripped apart his views which were all centred around how it was always someone else’s job to watch his back, and how he did not have to take any responsibility for his own mistakes.

  4. EnderAsha says:

    While I knew exactly where you were coming from in your original post I think you did a brave thing coming back and admitting that your tone of post might have been a bit more scathing than you intended.

    That being said I don’t think you should ever, EVER, back off your beliefs pertaining to DPS who ignore survivability and healing…or feel bad about having that mentality. I think the WotLK expansion has done some damage to the psyche of dps players in the game right now. Mana flowed so free and so endless that were able to pull a lot of butts out of the fire even when players were too aggressive, not using their healthstones at critical times, or spending too long in a “do more damage but take more damage” scenario. For a long time there was perhaps too much slack. I think heroic ICC and heroic Ruby Sanctum are a showing them there’s a lot less wiggle room however the real looming threat is Cataclysm. I think right now the projected mana cost of Wild Growth at level 85 will be something on the order of 7,000 mana, I don’t care if I have a 70,000 mana pool, 10% for one spell is the equivalent of it costing 3,000 mana now (as opposed to 650). Things are going to get really dicey, people are going to hover at lower health totals and the whole game gets thrown on its head. Players are going to need to learn to adapt now, or expect to die a lot in Cataclysm. The following is a hilarious quote from a DPS blog I was linked to pertaining to Marrowgar normal upon its release:

    “Me on the other hand… well I just do work and ignore bone storm, I suggest you do the same If any of your healers complain about excess damage going around just go ahead and gkick them”

    I’m not saying for us healers to start playing god or have a complex…just that we are going to start making decisions on who we need to spend our mana on. Anything people can do to help is beneficial.

    As for the other spells I think there is a difference between situational and useless. I think we can all agree that sentry totem and amplify magic are on separate levels of usage. Even situational use is still a use in my book. I know it is weird, but sometimes I like that certain spells can be a nice flourish on a strat, something unorthodox or creative to use…something we discovered making it just that much easier.

    Keep on doing what you do man I enjoy reading your articles.

  5. Thespius, I have to say your original post was exactly the response that was needed. You weren’t mean or personal, you where honest. Other blogs would have gone much further than you did and would have been right in doing so. There is no need for you to apologize as you did nothing wrong.

    I am incredibly disappointed in Matticus for editing that post. It is very telling. Since it has become apparent that he is more interested in not hurting people’s feelings than speaking the truth, this will be the last time I visit this blog.

  6. From above:

    “When I heal, if I have global cooldowns and mana to spare, I readily start DPSing the boss. It’s the mentality that I try to encourage in the people I play with.”

    You certainly didn’t encourage me when I asked about it, you wrote this:

    “Healing has times of being slow. It’s the nature of the beast. If you’d much rather snipe some damage instead of heal, then guess what? You’re not a healer. You’re a DPS. And as a DPS, you’re not specced or geared right.”

    and

    “Is “Healer DPS” taboo? Yes. Why? Because in the eyes of this Discipline Priest, you shouldn’t do it unless the raid leader calls for it.”

    You can read it all here:

    http://www.worldofmatticus.com/2009/11/30/healer-dps-the-good-the-bad-the-unfair/

    Thes – I am starting to wonder what you believe.

    Dahk

  7. | While I knew exactly where you were coming from in your original post I think you
    | did a brave thing coming back and admitting that your tone of post might have been
    | a bit more scathing than you intended.

    I want to second this, good on you, very well done.

  8. how it was always someone else’s job to watch his back, and how he did not have to take any responsibility for his own mistakes.

    Far be it for me to break up the Thespius back-patting train, but did you even read the article that he tore apart? The only spell that he mentions that even gives this vibe at all is Lightwell, and he’s completely within his bounds to state that, especially if you take into account hard modes.

    Yes, it’s a DPSer’s responsibility to ensure that they aren’t causing undue stress on the healing team. This includes using personal immunities or damage reductions intelligently, assuming it’s not a hindrance to their output. That doesn’t mean that they should be expected to go out of their way to compensate for healers that aren’t doing their own job. Thespius’s very own example of using Healing Waves from MWx5 instead of Lightning Bolts is a prime example. Could it make the difference of one particular kill? Perhaps. But it also serves to cover up a weakness in the healing team. If a healing team can’t out-pace the guaranteed-to-happen damage in an encounter, something is wrong and it needs to be analyzed. The only way to tell if something IS wrong is if it happens (or if the Shaman that has to HW themselves speaks up, but I know as a DPS who has absolutely no qualms about calling out when someone’s failed and I haven’t, most healing officers will point-blank ignore DPS input on healing).

    And Lightwell’s implementation is flawed. I don’t think you’ll find a single player – healer OR DPS OR tank – that would disagree. Not one that I’d want to raid progression content with, at least.

  9. Thespius says:

    @Rilgon – Please remember that the current state of Lightwell is not under debate here. Also, using an instant Healing Wave in a fight (or some other ability such as a bandage/healthstone/healthpot/heal), I never consider as a knock against the healers. Sometimes things get tight for unexpected reasons, and the ability to selflessly ease the stress on other parts of the team is something I look for in raiders. I don’t see it as a “weakness” in the team. I look at it as teamwork. None of us are perfect, and thinking so is impractical, if you ask me. Thanks for the input, though!

  10. And if it’s an one-off occurrence, it’s probably not an issue. But if you’ve somehow had to blow your healthstone, use a Runic Healing in place of a Speed, popped Gift of the Naaru if you’re a Draenei, and STILL need that MWx5 Healing Wave? Something’s going wrong.

    My tanks and healers trust me to do the most DPS I can possibly bring without endangering myself or my raid members (standing in malleable goo, chaining ice tombs, etc). In that vein, I trust my tanks to hold threat against me with reasonable assistance from myself (an MD at the start and when I blow all cooldowns, FDing midway through the fight to give them an edge), and I trust my healers to keep me alive in the face of normal, expected raid damage. Yes, if I make a mistake – getting clipped by a goo, for example, I’ll mitigate it myself by using Gift of the Naaru and a healthstone. If I see someone on Sindragosa with Frost Beacon at ~10k HP, I’ll pop my Gift of the Naaru on them in order to get them up above the frost blast threshold.

    But I’m not going to step on my healers’ toes and assume that I know how to do their job better than they do. If I see something that I think was a failure, I’ll let them know (“Hey, I got no heals after that Infest and it just ate me”), but I’m not going to try and course-correct forcibly.

  11. EnderAsha says:

    @Rilgon

    I think we’re actually all on the same page as far as what a class is expected to do. DPS classes have four key points to increase survivability: The first is to use your consummables for healing, second is to know the fights and avoid all incoming damage, third is to proactively use cooldowns to mitigate predicted damage not just “oh crap” damage, and the fourth is to spec into talents that reduce damage taken in some fashion or add some form of increased survivability.

    In this day and age the first is generally avoided in place of dps potions, the third sometimes happens (e.g. dispersion on pungent blight) and the fourth rarely happens. We are in a day and age where the requirements of DPS tend to be: awareness and really high damage output. Healers aren’t asking DPS to play in any drastic way differently. If you can help, sure please do. Healers just ask that you do everything you can to minimize damage. Don’t get too many stacks of mystical buffet, or whatever the debuff dujour is that prevents dps’ing.

    The general indifference to healers and a mentality that “i can take more damage and the healers just need to step it up and heal more” is not a healthy one and I don’t think you’re the culprit…you seem fairly aware.

    Most healers i know are paranoid about Cataclysm. Right now the numbers don’t look right, our spells are crazy expensive and we’re being told we will need to leave raid members hovering between 60 and 80% health and being forced to make critical decisions about who we waste our precious mana on. That being said we can’t spec for the dps players. If there is a talent that makes you take less damage, but might cost you damage increasing talents to take, do you take it?

    It seems things are tipping towards personal responsibility for survival. Healers will only be able to do so much in Cata. You might need to actually bandage yourself in fights (dps loss onoes) or take a talent that reduces all spell damage taken by 10%. Things might change and this may all just be a giant scare tactic by blizzard but we’re staring down the barrel of a gun and I think some healers believe certain dps players won’t realize just how different it will be.

    I could be wrong though.

  12. Matt – Now you are deleting comments that challenge the honesty of the blogs here. It was quoted and linked fact, yet it is gone. I really wonder how you justify your moderation policy.

  13. nvm… I see what happened.

  14. I enjoyed the “infamous” post and actually didn’t see anything wrong with it. Besides, a bit of controversy and opinion is always fun to read! Although I very much aware that it’s not so much fun when you’re at the center of it 🙂

  15. There’s a difference between opinion and openly bashing a new and upcoming blogger, though.

    Especially if most of your arguments are unfounded and nebulous.

  16. Healing pets or classes with +healing received modifiers via Beacon emphatically does not result in increased healing on Dreamwalker. This was patched out relatively early in ICC’s life cycle because of the way it trivialises the encounter. However, the Holy Light glyph still double-dips from the buff stacks (10% of the buffed heal, which is in turn multiplied by the buff), so if the pet was stationed close to the boss then the glyph splashes are probably what made the difference.

    While it is certainly true that intelligent use of niche abilities can help in a variety of encounters, you really should check that the niche ability that you use as an example actually has the effect that you claim.

  17. I hated the original version of this post. I’m not sure I even read it in its entirety. I know I made it at least half way before I just didn’t want to keep reading it. In this post I think you made incredibly well made points about being a good player for your assigned role, and putting the raid ahead of personal performance. And feel EnderAsha’s comments were spot on re: Dills attitude, and the overwhelming dps attitude in Wrath today.

  18. @Dahk – I can understand where you would get that impression about my views on Healer DPS. Note that in the post that you quote that I say that a nudge is fine, but it can become excessive. In the post above, I say that if I’ve got the global cooldowns to spare, then by all means go for it. Most of the “DPS Healers” that I talk about in the other post are found in PuGs, where they selfishly ignore what’s happening with the other healers. In a team of people that you know and trust, you (ideally) can tell where you can afford to go off your assignment for a little bit, or you let the team know.

    Aside from that, views can shift a little bit. It’s part of being human. I may be stubborn, but I’m not THAT stubborn. 😉

  19. Dampen Magic can be quite useful in PvE if you really break down encounters and think outside the box. As an example, it’s brilliant for getting the meta achievement Chaos Theory in the Nexus. (http://www.wowwiki.com/Chaos_Theory)

    I love Amplify and Dampen Magic on my mage. I’m really sad they’re taking it out. I think it doesn’t get used half as much as it could because it can take some real research on a fight to know when to use it…and a lot of raid leaders don’t understand it enough to call for it.

  20. Thes – great to see you recognized the spirit some of the original comments were made in (mine included). Your follow-up post shows real class. Kudos to you and to Dills – who I saw responded in your original thread – for both deliberately deciding to refocus this discussion on the topic and not on each other.

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