HoTs and DoTs: A Restoration Druid and Shadow Priest

My Gear is Too Good to Queue as a Healer

Pit-of-Saron Shadow Priest

If I queue as a Healer my future group is going to miss out on this.

Sometime during the last month I stopped queuing as a Healer/Damage for the daily random Heroic. Now I just choose Damage.

Yes, now I have much, much longer queues to get into Halls of Stone (which I get about three times more often than any other dungeon). I was trying to pinpoint the moment when I unchecked that “Healer” checkbox. The long wait for a dungeon as Damage – 10 to 15  minutes – seems like a reasonable trade off compared to completing the dungeon as a healer.

I think I know when things changed: when I won Muradin’s Spyglass and, the following week, completed my 4 piece Shadow Tier 10 set. It was when my Shadow set suddenly became awesome.

My healing set is still a mishmash of +hit items with 2 piece Tier 9.

I started choosing Damage so that I could run Heroics and enjoy my new gear. To try out my new gear in a familiar setting to see how it performs – and after a Target Dummy, a Northrend Heroic which I’ve run a billion times is where I conduct my second test drive.

After a few days of patiently queuing as Damage I had a particularly busy day outside of WoW – one of those days where you leave the house and realise 12 hours later that you’re not getting home any time soon. I got home right before midnight, mentally calculating if I had time to do the random Heroic before the day “ended”. In Blizzard time I think this is at either 1.30AM or 2.30AM server time. To speed things up I queued as Healer/Damage and was dropped into – you’ll never guess – Halls of Stone to heal.

The DPS was agonizingly slow. The tank and 3 DPS were all still in the gearing-up stage where Emblems of Triumph are the goal. We did a full clear. I didn’t complain. But I felt that this group needed me – needed me as a Shadow Priest. They gained a healer, yes, but at the cost of a significantly faster run. I tried to help out with the damage but I’ve never really mastered DPSing while healing as Discipline. It’s certainly not like DPSing once you’ve talented into the Shadow tree so I’ve never really been compelled to try.

There was once an argument covered on WoW.com: Who should heal in battlegrounds? And the answer was: anyone who can, should. Whether you think that’s true of PVP or not, I don’t think that’s true in PVE. Asking damage dealers to queue as their weaker/less geared Tank or Healer role does presumably get groups matched up and started faster. But you’re losing a whole bunch excellent damage dealers in the process.

Futhermore if it’s true that the Dungeon Finder evaluates you on the gear in you possession, whether it’s in your bank, bag or equipped, then I’m being chosen as though I’m a first rate ICC25 geared and experienced healer – which I’m most certainly not. Yes, I’m still qualified to heal a heroic. But there’s only so much “carrying” that I can do.

As my guild clears the Icecrown Citadel bosses my Damage and Healing gear sets will continue to get further and further apart. My DPS set is excellent. And why shouldn’t my future party members benefit from it? What’s the point in spending thousands of DKP to get Dislodged Foreign Object only to let it gather dust in your bags?

So now I queue as Damage only. It’s the role that I’ve perfected. I’m not one of these slackers who queue as Damage wearing full healing gear and request that everyone else passes on healing gear – if you’re one of those: get out of my party or start doing your “main spec” job now.

I have a new understanding for why so many Ret Paladins, DPS Warriors and DKs queue as DPS only when they could be tanking.

20 Responses to “My Gear is Too Good to Queue as a Healer”

  1. pewterNo Gravatar says

    Well said. I sometimes heal in 10 mans on my elemental shaman, purely because I raid 25 mans as elemental and we have an overload of ranged dpsers wanting to do 10 mans, but not so many healers. In 5 mans unless I am specifically trying to practise healing, I only ever queue as Damage. I’m well geared, I do my job well – there is no reason for me to heal.
    .-= pewter’s last blog: Starting Over: Gnome Anklets =-.

  2. JokeyRhymeNo Gravatar says

    One of my New Year’s resolutions was to stop lying to the Dungeon Finder. Yeah… that didn’t last long. Although, to make myself feel better, I changed my tank build into a second DPS one, so I could tell myself that I really couldn’t tank and therefore could honestly leave that box unchecked. :P

  3. RazorstormNo Gravatar says

    Very interesting thought. I’ve been contemplating dual speccing my holy pally, and whether to do tanking or dps. One vote against tanking is that it will require integrating a whole set of powers into my UI that I don’t use while either healing OR questing, while the ret spec would be what I use when questing.
    .-= Razorstorm’s last blog: Skinny-Dipping in Frostfire Springs =-.

    • CassandriNo Gravatar says

      Yep I’d definitely choose Ret as your secondary. Otherwise you’ll end up with two “support” roles neither of which will let you go off and quest as easily on your own.

  4. CynwiseNo Gravatar says

    This is an excellent, thought-provoking post. It’s timely for me, since I’ve been healing battlegrounds on my baby druid lately.

    (Yes, I’m healing. It’s possibly the strangest thing I’ve done in WoW, but I’m doing it. And having fun at it!)

    I’m not trying to DPS except in emergency situations. I’m healing with the intent of keeping everyone around me alive, of topping the healing meters, of dramatically influencing the outcome of the battle, of having the opponents yelling KILL THE DRUID in /bg chat.

    I don’t have a clue what I’m doing, but it seems to be going pretty well.

    The reason I think it’s going well is not because I’m a great healer, but rather because the team composition in any given battleground is random. It’s made up of whomever wants to queue at that moment, with no consideration for role. If you get 10 mages for WSG, you get 10 mages for WSG. (You will probably win if they’re all Frost, btw.)

    I could be a totally fail healer and still be enjoying the success I am, entirely because there usually aren’t very many healers around.

    Conventional wisdom holds that everyone who can heal a BG should heal, not because of player ability, but of a desperate need to fill roles. A bad healer is better than no healer at all.

    But what if you were making a premade? Would you think that way? Would you think “I should take my great ret pally who has a full Relentless set and make her heal, because we’re short on healers?”

    No, you’d go out and get yourself an equally good holy pally, if that’s what you wanted. You’d pick the healer based on the player’s ability to execute. Just like your DPS.

    5-man random heroics are more like a premade than like a pug bg. You have roles that must be filled. You can’t run without a tank and healer and 3 DPS. And the group will run best if everyone does the role they are best at doing, because *someone* will come and fill that role. You will get a tank. You will get a healer. You will get 3 DPS, even if it takes that last one 30 seconds to come back from AFK.

    If you are better at DPS, if you enjoy it more, if you are geared more for it, if you know it better — that is exactly what you should do, without guilt. Especially for a random dungeon, someone will come and fill the other role. Hopefully they chose to heal because they enjoy it and are good at it, and not just to shorten their queue time. But if they did, that’s their choice.

    Complete randoms are even better than guild runs in this respect. There’s no social pressure to fill a role you aren’t well suited for in the dungeon finder. Queue for the job you’re best suited for, not what you think is necessary.

    So, I agree with you. PvP and PvE are not equivalent here. Don’t let the axiom of the battlegrounds influence your heroics or raiding.
    .-= Cynwise’s last blog: Graveyard Control in Alterac Valley =-.

    • LathereNo Gravatar says

      I’m still so excited that your playing a baby tree! I quite enjoy the odd battleground especially if I’m following around a friendly DK or Ret Paladin who is keen for some heals. Having a protector makes it especially fun because they stop the bad guys from smashing you :(

      • CynwiseNo Gravatar says

        I’m having a tremendously fun time healing. It’s so much less stressful than DPS, where you are like DIE DIE DIE OFF THE HEALER DIE DIE DIE. Right now I have classic healer tunnel vision, where I’m totally counting on the DPS to get me out of tight spots.

        The good ones do, and they get a pocket healer for the BG. The bad ones … well, they let the healer die, so they die too.

        I need to get better at situational awareness and using all the tools in my druid’s kit to their fullest. I know that’s my biggest weakness right now, but I’m still trying to figure out which heal button to push at which moment. It seems like Healing Touch is better than Regrowth.

        Also, I’m about to hit level 50, but I’ve specced into Balance for some of the early talents. Should I put everything into Resto so I can go Tree of Life form? I always worry about how conspicuous that form is. :-(
        .-= Cynwise’s last blog: Graveyard Control in Alterac Valley =-.

      • LuinielNo Gravatar says

        Actually, I might be tempted to spec Dreamstate Resto for a pure-battleground spec, and glyph Healing Touch.

    • CassandriNo Gravatar says

      “having the opponents yelling KILL THE DRUID in /bg chat.” This is why I prefer to heal in PVP. There is simply nothing more annoying to the enemy than simply not dying.

      You could make the argument that if more people were willing to choose the roles of Healer or Tank for the Dungeon Finder queue all group would be matched faster and there wouldn’t be a disparity in the wait times for Damage compared to Healer/Tanks. I guess I’m just trying to say that you’d also probably end up with crappier, longer runs as people are pushed into filling their offspec role.

  5. PsynisterNo Gravatar says

    I ran into the exact same situation on my DK. I leveled him as a tank, I intended to tank with him in heroics and raids, and then I got some decent DPS gear and added a DPS spec. Now I really have no desire to tank on him at all; I just want to own faces and watch my ghoul(s) eat things.

    It’s interesting how things like that happen. It never happened on my paladin, he was a tank from the start and still is right now. Other hybrids are the same way sticking pretty well to one primary spec. I don’t know what it is about the DK that makes me want to DPS rather than tank. Maybe it’s the lack of shield? Who knows.
    .-= Psynister’s last blog: Hunter Weapons: Level 20-40 =-.

  6. VidyalaNo Gravatar says

    Hey, you guys updated your gear in your lower image (how do you call that? It’s not a header…)

    Good for you, Cass, for unchecking that box! I recently did the same thing, especially because I’m typically queuing with a tank anyway… why am I checking “Healer” to be assigned to heal, when I know my DPS gear will help us rip through the instance in record time? I find that most DPS nowadays is of the “needs emblems and is gearing up in heroics” variety, which is fine, but it can take a long time. This way it’s over fast and I get to practice what is, after all, my primary spec. :D
    .-= Vidyala’s last blog: In Other News, Fire Is Still Hot =-.

    • CassandriNo Gravatar says

      Yep finally updated our “image”. I was waiting until I had a token to upgrade my shoulders because the Emblem of Frost ones (251?) are lime green. Ick.

  7. Channii/Zha'aneNo Gravatar says

    Tree form isn’t that conspicuous on a bg as they look the same no matter which faction you are! But really, at 50, it’s still about the mana pool. No need to respec just yet. When you have wild growth and swiftmend, you’ll see regrowth is much more valuable to you than healing touch. I only have healing touch macroed with nature’s switness as an oh sh17 button. And if you are still using buttons to heal, I highly recommend playing with healbot for a while. It is extremely easy to set up and will help your response time in healing treemendously! (See what I did there?) After you get a feel for that, switch that out for VuhDo. A little more complicated a setup, but more reliable and configurable. /druidadvice.

    Back to the topic at hand, my DK started on one server as just a way for me to pass the time and play around with the new class. She’s still sitting at level 71, as she started out at wrath launch and didn’t have the benefit of LFD. I wasn’t about to be one of four DK’s and a healer in Instances. But I really wanted to tank on her. Here it is 2 years later-ish and I rerolled her on a new server and thankfully, DK’s aren’t as popular as they once were. AND LFD made queuing so much easier! So now she’s 80, and pretty damn well geared, and I just love insta queues… But I can’t get to tank in raids as no one runs the lower raids anymore, and it’s a pain to break into established raiding groups without a dps spec. So now I find myself wantng to work on my DPS gear, but won’t roll on dps gear as the tank unless no one needs it. Usually for me someone needs it. :-/ So now I’m starting to queue as a weak DPS and feel real bad when the group can really use me as a tank!

    My pally on the other hand, is meant to be my DPSer on this server. She’s full ret specced, but since she’s still sub-60, healing is still really about the mana pool, so she queues as dps/heals and usually ends up heals. I even drop some of my healing gear for DPS gear and help pound on things! (beat a kitty Druid once in RFD while still healing.) Only wiped once when the tank got too far ahead of me and I could get to him in time. I suppose I’ll need to pay for the dual spec eventually, but right now she’s doing ok.

    So in essence, I have a tank that needs to dps in order to get a tank slot, a dps that heals to get her better dps gear, and a rogue that stabs things, or… Uh… Stabs things! (no I did t mention the rogue before… Deal!) not to mention an old dk on another server gathering dust.

    (wow – editing on my phone fails. Keep in mind, I really can spell, I just can’t type! And phones make it worse!)

    • CynwiseNo Gravatar says

      Thanks for the advice! I’ve switched to VuhDo — Healbot was okay, but I don’t have a middle mouse button and it wasn’t customizable. Now I’m playing with VuhDo’s setup to try to make everything work right. Clicking instead of keybinding is my biggest problem right now, and I’m constantly casting the wrong spell.

      My druid is at http://www.wowarmory.com/character-sheet.xml?r=Durotan&cn=Cynli and I would appreciate any and all feedback for making her a better BG healer. I know I need to enchant more of her gear, but I’m just now switching from Feral to Resto and it’s been a bit of a transition. (At least I have a tailor to make her spellpower things!)
      .-= Cynwise’s last blog: Graveyard Control in Alterac Valley =-.

    • CassandriNo Gravatar says

      It’s certainly confusing. l really strongly believe in playing the role you want to play long term (especially if you intend to raid) in your dungeons. It’s all practise.

      That said, I’ve got no problem queuing as weak DPS: my Shaman is slowing turning into a Elemental Shaman and my gear is pretty awful. Poorly geared DPS is almost expected in heroics these days. I just go in with the mindset that I’m going to do absolutely everything in my power to hit it hard and outperform my gear. So far I’m doing very well (it’s a bit disturbing knowing that very soon she’ll out DPS my Shadow Priest in heroics with gear that’s half as good… burst ftw?).

  8. Vangogh - MalorneNo Gravatar says

    What to do if you are both a good tank and a good dps? I was a dpser in ICC till just 2 weeks ago, now I am 3rd tank (second OT). So I am equally skilled at tanking and dpsing, and equally geared (tanking is getting the edge now), but maybe 1/3 the time I’ll queue as dps only because I know that I’ll make the run go alot quicker than I could as a tank. The truth is tanks and healers can only insure the success of the run, they can’t control the speed.

    You could always do what my guildies have started doing. ICC 25 healer plus plate dps tank (warrior mostly). Now your tank does 6.5k dps, and healers get to be entertained.

    • CassandriNo Gravatar says

      Easy. Queue in whichever role you enjoy more. Or feel like practising at that moment. Or, yes, you could be one of those tanks doing the job wearing DPS gear. That’s kind of mean to inflict on random healers, though!

  9. ShivaNo Gravatar says

    I think it’s important to point out, you can dps as a healer, or heal as a dps too. I’ve experimented doing randoms as holy, discipline and shadow.

    Now, I must state on a tangent to my point, I am rather amused you got in as dps when queueing as dps/healer, I’ve only gotten in as a healer when I queue as such. But that point aside…

    I think my preference now is to queue as healer using a Discipline spec, and then getting ready to spam shields and mind-sear my way through most randoms. On the otherhand, if I see a really well-geared paladin or warrior tanking (shield tanks are amazing!) I know they take very little damage and I’ll often swap to my shadow spec. And start nuking away. If things get rough, I know I can rely on Divine Hymn to save the day, usually.

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