The Price of Popularity (or Healer, Heal Thyself)


This is a guest post by Sylly Syll who writes about the cons of being a sought after healer.

Certainly, negatives might not immediately leap to mind for a healer who has a lot of friends, is generally considered to be talented and capable, and is offered seemingly endless opportunities to do runs for which other classes have to sell their soul to get a spot. (WTB Healer PST). However, for me there have been some definite downsides to this situation since WOLK hit. Specifically, being constantly whispered by friends, guildies, and strangers to heal. “Please, please, PLEASE heal this run for me so Ican get the much coveted Epic Boots of Awesomeness”, I hear, leading to me running more instances than I’d ever dream of initiating on my own, which leaves me struggling often with the following three issues:

1. Poverty: Repair bills, raid and instance pots, buff foods, enchants, gems vs. no time to raise gold to offset costs leaves me perpetually scrounging for cash.  And, of course, even when I find the time to quest or farm, healers are faced with the daunting task of boring mobs to death.  No lightning-fast, face-ripping pew pew for us. Alas and alack, none at all.  Over the holidays I blew through well over 1000 gold sending toys and purely frivolous fun things to dozens of people who make me smile on my server.  It was without contest the best time I’ve ever had spending gold in WOW.  It lit me up like a Christmas tree.   And as great as that was, a couple of weeks ago when I was scraping by to get pots for a Naxx raid, I almost regretted spending that gold.  Best gold I ever spent, and I almost lamented having spent it.  That’s pretty gristly food for thought.

2. Healing burnout: On occasion I just want to sit on a mountaintop and take in the amazing art of the game, or putz around Dalaran checking out all the vendor goodies, or doing some other innocuous, ultimately unproductive activity.  Sometimes I just want to quest all by my lonesome, where the only death I could possibly be responsible for is my own.  From time to time I just feel like parking my carcass in a quiet corner of the world and carrying on a long conversation (typed or otherwise) with one of the friends I treasure in the game.  Because of the healer shortage, finding time for these things can be hard, which can leave me a little grouchy, a little snarky, a little closer to trading bark for feathers and doing the Chris Farley bop.

3. Guilt: When I log on and my guild message of the day is replaced instantaneously by a sea of purple text with friends saying "omg now we can run!" "SYLL! come heal x for us!!!" "Have you done the daily?" etc. etc. ad infinitum, I feel instantly guilty, whether I tell one or none of them yes, because ultimately I have to turn someone that I like down.

Of course, all three of these issues could be solved very easily and with finality in a number of ways.  I could give up the wait for dual specs, jump into a feathery owl suit, and leave it to others to heal me. Or maybe I could come up with a list of runs that I either needed or really enjoyed, and categorically refuse to run anything else.   I could turn off WOW and go clean my house.  No, not really.  That third one was just silly. But I’ve come up with a couple of solutions that are not so drastic as these to keep this tree blooming and happy, willing to spread the leafy goodness around.  They are not perfect or complete solutions, but for me they seem to be doing the trick.  Even though I’m resto, this druid needed some balance in her life. 

Here’s some places I found it.

1. Loosening up the bank vault:  I’m a terrific hoarder of mats. Leatherworking mats, enchanting mats, gear for 3 specs (even though the moon will fall out of the sky before I use my druid to tank), all KINDS of goodies find their way into my bank, or my bank toon’s bank, never again to see the light of day.  I’ve recently started to let these things make their way to the auction house or the vendor.  Sure, some guildie might need me to make something for them and I won’t have the mats immediately on hand.  This is a possibility.  But then he can farm the mats.  Or I can.  Or we can together.  Surely the world will not end if I auction some of the goods I’ve leveled a profession to make, right?

2. Providing the hook up:  To assuage some of my guilt over saying no to healing a run, I’ve been trying to hook up friends or guildies who might not have otherwise run together. So when someone asks me to heal heroic Old Kingdom, I might say to them, “You know that run is almost impossible with a resto druid in the group, right?  Let me see if my holy pally friend is busy.  Maybe he can go with you.”  Even if the hookup doesn’t happen, I still feel better for having actively tried to help, rather than just saying “no, kthxbye”.

3. One hand washes the other: I’ve recently, when asked to heal a run, let some of my friends know that I need to get some work of my own done, and asked them if they would mind helping to speed me through some dailies if I help to heal their instance.  This is definitely a win-win arrangement for all involved.

4. Where’s Syll?: I confess; I hide on alts.  DPS alts.  This doesn’t cut out on all of my invitations to heal, as many of my friends know who my alts are, but it does reduce the number of invites when I just don’t feel like being a productive member of society.

5. Offpeak hours: I have a pretty strange sleeping schedule, and often am wide awake at 4:00 a.m. 4:00 a.m. is a wonderful time in WOW. Nothing is camped. Quest mobs abound. Quiet scenery is there for me to soak up at will. I get a lot done at 4:00 a.m.

Although these strategies are not perfect, they’ve made me a much happier healer.  I have a comfortable amount of gold in my bank, I’m quite a bit happier to run the instances I do run, and I have a clear conscience about how I’m spending my time in WOW.  No one wants their game to become their work.  I know I don’t.  It is my disposition to be most happy in the support role that healers inhabit.  As a rule, I adore healing raids and instances.  But WOW is a huge game that offers opportunities for me to indulge many other aspects of my personality, as well.  I can be social or introspect, helpful or greedy, ambitious or a big lazy sloth.  It’s a relief to work out these balances.  It makes my healing stronger.

Image courtesy of barunpatro

21 thoughts on “The Price of Popularity (or Healer, Heal Thyself)”

  1. I so get it. I just joined a newly-formed raiding guild, and we’re making progress, but at the expense of raiding 8-days a week.

    Not literally, of course, but finding time to quest is not really possible. When I do have that time I start at -100 gold in respec cost because I only quest as balance.

    None of this is helped by the fact that I almost never have that much gold anyway. I was a compulsive novelty pet buyer pre-Wrath and I started the expansion without even enough gold to train my professions.

    I’m trying to cope by leveling my warlock (gross right?). I figure I can take his gold while he levels and then once he is at 80 I’ll have a dps bot to quest for me, sans respec costs.

  2. Ditto Syll.

    While we don’t raid as often, we do split our schedule up to accommodate PVP events (which requires another set of gear). I struggle with PVP with it’s current broken state, but I still do it because it’s done with my friends.

    I’m finally parting ways with a bunch of old inventory now to payoff repair bills and consumables (mostly flasks). Most of it’s stuff I’ll never use and just hogging space (Righteous Orb? Why is that still in there?).

    Thanks for the post and helpful ideas.

    Baconstrips last blog post..I hate my video card

  3. You. Nail. Head.

    Being a healer (or tank) means you fill one of those roles that are highly sought after. If you are good at your job, its like you instantly make “friends”. When I was in the early stages of 80 I used to do a lot of heroic grinding. I guess I made a good name for myself by knowing what I was doing. Whenever I would log on immediately I would get whispers from several people asking to heal a heroic. Even from people I didn’t even know. Apparently I became the unofficial resto druid for some other guild when I healed one of their runs.

    I was even accused of cheating on a group because I was running the daily heroic without them and also accused of abandoning another because I didn’t have time for them because I was “always raiding”.

    When I was looking for gear I loved the fact that I could hop on and know that I could instantly get a heroic group going. Now that I don’t need badges or gear I find myself spending a lot more time on alts or even respecing once I get my raids done for the week. I find it funny that as Moonkin I can top meters on most of the runs I go to and I still know all the fights the same yet I don’t get invited as much… so much for “friends”.

  4. The timing on this post is awesome. As many of us healers, no matter what your spec, are finding – it’s awesome to run, it’s hard to grind, and it’s even harder to do what you want without feeling evil.

    I actually had someone try to guild kick me because I wouldn’t heal for them, no matter that I had the flu. I give up.

    My new favorite people are the ones the buy my love…give me money for the repair bill, frostweave, flasks, mana pots.

    As a guild, we are TRYING to stress the importance of helping each other out with our professions, but it doesn’t seem to be working. For instance, I just made our new 80 lock 3 pieces of gear – for free. And yet I’m still spending 8-10G per mana pot, not to mention 50-75G per flask.

    Told the guild – no more raiding for me 7 nights a week, I can’t afford it.

  5. I have the same issues, only from the tanks point of view. I spend roughly 4-5 hours a day playing the game, and out of that 4-5 hours, I spend 80% of it in instances and raids, leaving a very small amount of time for working on professions and recouping my gold losses.
    Fortunately, I have some very forgiving friends that will help me speed my way through the dailies (hell, my GF will summon me to different parts of the continent to avoid 5 minute flights!).
    I also recently emptied a bank alt of alot of old gems and ore that were piled up for that rainy day.

    Lots of good suggestions for alleviating the stresses of being an in-demand player.

  6. I learnt to tell them no.

    ok ret pally bud who has dependably had me on focus for a quick bop when I pull aggro due to healing overzealous dps in a raid… who needs that belt from nexus? sure dude, ya got it it better not be a crap group..

    but generally its guys, i’ve ran heroics to my wits end, long after i’ve farmed out everything I needed for main and offsets back early december, and now you are taking me with shit tanks who think they can pull three groups with dps in the 800-1400 range?

    sorry guys i’m on strike.

    a good guild run put together by someone whom values my time and expense, because they NEED an item, and not some sucker achievment that half the group is no where capable of? sure i’ll heal it for you.

    most of the time I hide on my mage, and only come out for raids, chants and people I have respect for.

    the rest can lick my ass.

    healer shortage 2009. L2P

  7. Yeeeeeeees.

    I feel twice as guilty now, because not only am I healer, I’m an officer. Nevermind that I really, really want to level my priest to eventually replace my paladin for the sake of my sanity. Really guys, I’ll run heroics with you in 9 more levels!

    I also usually come with tank in tow, making me a favorite of DPS. D: I love you guys, but but but NOT ALL THE TIME. WTB dailies?

    And no, I’m not doing H HoL on my pally. Ever.

    /hides on her DK

    Ambrosines last blog post..Yay!

  8. As a holy priest, yes, I am constantly getting asked to run whatever in random whispers by people I don’t know. I cope by just not answering them LOL.

    I’m suffering slightly from raid burnout as my guild is progressing through 10 mans right now and still gearing up and until we can clear Naxx in three nights, we’re raiding sometimes 7 nights a week as if there are enough people on, my GL wants us to raid. I work all week and can only get online for a couple hours each weeknight so my entire week basically is spent raiding.

    On weekends which is my only time to myself, if I’m not being begged to go heal heroics, I’ll work on leveling my boomkin because eventually she’s going to be wanted for raiding to rotate other healers in. But yeah…it can be annoying getting asked to heal all the time.

  9. I feel a lot of it. I am actually dumb enough to have two level 80 epic geared healers and trust me i am very careful when i am puggging on my alt to not! let them know my main is. But even them i log on my alt for guild naxx and straight away get invites to 3 raids and 2 heroics. I finished last week locked to 14 different raid instances across my chars.

    But gold doesnt seem to be too much of a problem , Naxx drops a lot, a couple of greens,1-2 abyss crystals and 10g of greys, 24 mins on the weekend to get enough herbs for 4 flasks including the 4 frost lotus. It took me longer a hour last night to grind up 12 fish feast and a stack of spell damage food but its still not long and I only had to get my fishing pole bloody a couple of times. I did naxx 10+maly 10+sarth 25 ast night and after repairs and buying 4 gems on the AH had more gold then I started the night with,

  10. /r Not right now, sorry 🙂

    Like Dscomboulat says, the key is in learning to say no. (without coming across like a dick) Playing time is valuable and you should structure it so that you get the things you need done first, and then you can go help others. It’s ok to be a bit selfish, really. If you’ve really gotten to the point where you hide on alts just because people lay ridiculous claims on your time just throw up a /DND those people do not own you, and it won’t kill them to get their boots of awesomness tomorrow instead of today.

  11. Believe or not, but I’m experiencing this as a protection warrior: several invites in an hour, “would you be interested to tank [enter instance here]?”.

    Is there a lack of (decent) levelling tanks already?

    And this post is excellent and up to the point: there is no rest for the wick… healers in the game anymore! My lv39 priest got invited to heal in Scholo already, and I can say that “I am not prepared!”

    Funny thing is, that 1/3 of our guild is priests, all saying the same…


    Copras last blog post..Another new breed

  12. The easiest cop-out is this:
    “Sorry guys, I’ve had a long day at work, I’m too tired to do any instances tonight. I’m just going to potter round doing some dailies/fishing/cooking/whatever.”

    Works all the time for me.

  13. As a holy priest, I too have experienced the healing demands. I even started to get upset about it because when I hit level 80 there were no guild tanks online to be found and so I relied on a tanking friend to do some mutual gearing up for raids. So now these same afk tanks want me to heal for their achievements (and by heal, I mean mostly wipe)?! Total BS! So most non- raid days I hide from my raiding guild on a druid alt in a friend’s guild and then I barely get bothered. 🙂 This has made it so that I can still enjoy my time with my fellow raiders because I choose to be there rather than feel made to be there. 😉

    But seriously, before I took to hiding I was getting down right snippy.

    Additionally, I’ve been whispered a bazillion times by people I don’t know in guilds I’ve never heard of to heal THEIR 10 mans, 25 mans, and heroics… sometimes when I’m even IN the particular raid they are asking me to go heal… “Want to heal Naxx?” … “Uh, I’m in Naxx now?”. Which is something that really never occurred in BC raiding. The random tells really SCREAM healer shortage more than any good bye posts on the general forums.

  14. Either I need to switch servers or I must really suck. 🙂

    On Elune, Horde-side, there is a desperate tank shortage and more than enough healers to go around. I can’t tell you how many evenings I log in only to find 4 other healers spamming LFG for heroics. Weekends are slightly better; I typically get a few random whispers to heal something but which, more often than not, the group falls apart before we ever find a tank.

    It sucks being a healer (and enjoying healing) when all you can do is solo and bore mobs to death.

  15. It really does extend even past the guild at this point. Luckily we are pretty much past heroics, the people that wanted the mounts have them. The problem is the people not in the guild. I have gotten whispers in all kinds of places asking me to heal everything from a non-heroic Nexus to Naxx. Last night during OS3D, mid pull, I got a whisper from a 77 DK asking if I would come and heal their Reg VH run.

    I guess at this point I wish people would look at where someone is, and show a little respect before asking such things. Honestly, the 20g+ repair bill is not worth my suffering through you learning to tank on your DK. Sorry.

  16. I know completely how you feel.

    I am a tank and my husband is a healer so people probably just think of us as “easy heroic in a box.” I do feel especially guilty (as a co-GL) saying “No” when I know the asker needs the Emblems and the rep to gear up for our guild Naxx run.

    I am at a point where I don’t need anything from anywhere so I try to find ways to make it fun for myself like gathering shards to buy BoA gear for future lowbies or asking people to do the achievements in heroics (yay red proto-drake).

    But sometimes when I feel the symptoms of burn-out I have to just log-off and go read a book. In the long-term my guild-mates will probably a appreciate a GL who is around and doesn’t suddenly disappear and a re-roll as a horde rogue.


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