HoTs and DoTs: A Restoration Druid and Shadow Priest

Getting Our Balance

Caesandra-BCDungeonFinder

Something changed when I got close to level 70...

I remember how impossible it was to find a tank in the Burning Crusade. And I remember how hard it was to find healers early in Wrath of the Lich King. I remember how long the Dungeon Finder queues were for DPS when the Dungeon Finder was first introduced.

I remember how we worried that the Dungeon Finder made us too anonymous. That it encouraged players to behave like jerks. And that it was ruining the sense of community that you can just barely feel right now on your own realm.

Now I’ve almost leveled all the way to 80 on my Mage using the Dungeon Finder. And I’m starting it all over again on my Warlock. And I think like all things, the community will balance out all on its own.

ps. Lath is super excited and asked me to include this message: Vitare are currently looking for a second Resto Druid to join our raid team!

I could see a light at the end of the tunnel towards the end of the level 60-70 bracket. It wasn’t so much that my wait times as a Damage Dealing Mage were faster. They weren’t.

I remember how desperate we were for a tank when Pixii and I were stuck around level 50 running Sunken Temple. Not only were the tanks terrible tanks but everyone kind of put up with it simply because the time to replace a tank was horrendous. Thirty or forty minutes. This wasn’t much of a surprise, we had been inevitably waiting for tanks since we started way back in Ragefire Chasm through to Gnomeregan. Scads of damage dealers, quite a few healers and just not enough tanks to go around.

Around the time we started queuing the Burning Crusade dungeons, and as we got further towards level 70, there was a noticeable shift in available classes/roles. There wasn’t enough healers to meet demand. No longer did the tanks have absolute power over the group.

A part of me wonders if this drop off in available healers can be attributed to healer burnout courtesy of terrible Death Knight tanks that plague the level 58-65 bracket.

I remember running one of the Auchindoun instances, Mana Tombs perhaps, with a Shaman healer that just wasn’t coping. We barely got through the first half of the instance alive. I felt that every pull we were flirting with death. I think the tank did die a few times. Most interestingly of all, to me anyway, was that not one person complained about it. That is, not one person said anything until the healer typed “got to go sry” and left the party.

Even though we were stuck in a fairly long queue waiting for a replacement there was a silent sigh of relief going around the party. Eventually someone said what we’d all been thinking:

He wasn’t a very good healer anyway.

In the same way that we handled our Sunken Temple tanks with such care, treating them like special snowflakes, careful not to upset them in any way, we now treated our healers the same!

When we lost the majority of pugging players to the Random Wrath Dungeon queue at level 68 the pool of available players for Steamvaults, Shadow Labyrinth, Shattered Halls and the Tempest Keep instances shrunk significantly. The pool of available players was so small that every single member in every single five man dungeon I joined from level 68-70 was valuable. Tank, Healer of Damage Dealer: each was important. And not just to me – almost every single player in the group valued their teammates.

I joke to others that I sweet-talked my way to Outland Dungeonmaster. But the truth is, I’ve never been treated so nicely by my PuG teammates.

I spent almost 2 hours in a cross-battlegroup party that had fallen apart one pull into Shattered Halls. The healer left – this would normal force a group to disband. But we all teleported out of the dungeon, too reluctant to lose our group and requeue as individuals. And we chatted while we waited. I think I’ll always think of that party when I’m picking Fire Leaf (how I spent the queue time).

I remember the healer that I found in an unsuccessful Steamvaults run. I remember that we requeued at least six times in that night, slowly picking up extra party members until the final group of 5 of us ran about three BC dungeons back to back working on each other’s Outland Dungeonmaster achievement.

I remember the level 70 tank that was determined to replicate his old Druid’s reputation and gear set (Sunwell gear and all!) and ran Shattered Halls with us back to back. When the third DPS dropped out we just kept going. It took almost an entire SH run – 20 minutes perhaps – before we were able to find another Damage Dealer using the Dungeon Finder. Because even Damage Dealers for that instance are rare and valued.

The sense of community, that human connection, was definitely coming back into my Dungeon Finder runs.

I have stumbled across two or three Barthilas players in my runs that have made it onto my Friends list. Whenever we can Pixii and I try to invite them before joining the Dungeon Finder queue. And there are times that I really really wish I could friend players on other realms and even group up with them before joining the queue.

When I first joined the queue on my level 17 Warlock I was surprised at how fast I was matched with a group. 20 minutes? Hell no. 6 minutes? (about the time Cassandri would get into a level 80 heroic queue as Shadow) Hell no.

Try 1 minute.

A 1 minute queue at level 17 for Damage Dealers. I’ve queued and completed about five or six dungeon runs since as my Warlock and the longest that I’ve waited has been 5 minutes. We had one player drop out of the group in Shadowfang Keep and had to wait a good 5 minutes or so for a replace. And they were DPS.

I think this is a sign. Way back before I started playing the introduction of battlegrounds forced faction population balance. Back when only world PVP existed players talk about the faction imbalance as though Alliance out-numbered Horde 2 to 1. When players, Alliance and Horde, joined the first battleground queues the system matched them up 1 to 1 (or 10 vs 10, 40 vs 40 etc). This meant that Alliance players had almost double the wait times of Horde players to PVP.

The Horde PVPers got twice as much game time, twice as much honor and twice as much gear in the same amount of time. So what did all the Alliance PVP lovers do? Rerolled as Horde of course!

I think we’re seeing the same effect in our dungeon groups now. If your chosen class can tank or heal why wouldn’t you? And classes at level 15 aren’t too difficult. It’s much easier to pick up how to tank/heal at level 15 than waiting until level 80. But even more than that, I think players are rolling alts in order to power level as a tank or healer.

A tank that Pixii and I played with in Zul’Farrak had reached level 80 about a week after our ZF runs together. While we were waiting for a group for Sunken Temple. Getting to max level so quickly is a strong incentive.

Give it another few months – perhaps around the time the first Cataclysm raids have been well and truly cleared and players are rolling new alts yet again – and I think the waiting time in queue for all three roles: Tank, Healer and Damage Dealer will be near evenly matched.

Perhaps it will take a minute or two to match up a good class composition (mixture of different armor types, different classes, some cleanse ability, some crowd control ability) but I think it will be that fast.

  • 20% of players will queue as Tanks
  • 20% of players will queue at Healers
  • 60% of players will queue as Damage Dealers

And the more players who choose multiple roles (say Damage or Healer), and collect gear for multiple roles, the more likely we’ll find that perfect balance. Remember, once you reach level 40 you can purchase Dual Talent Specialization for your alts. That makes multiple roles even easily to fulfill. And it’s about at that point where you might find it difficult to heal with Shadow talents as a Priest, or tank with Fury talents as a Warrior etc.

What this means for end game I’m not sure. If 10 man raiding is the way of the future (and I believe it is) the balance is more like:

  • 20% Tanks (2 out of 10)
  • 30% Healers (3 out of 10)
  • 50% Damage Dealers (5 out of 10)

We might be in for a slight healer shortage.

That said, I remain convinced that the next wave of players will be better hybrids and more knowledgeable about tanking and healing than I. And that’s exciting!

12 Responses to “Getting Our Balance”

  1. ManbearcatNo Gravatar says

    Also a promising notion from cataclysm is the reduction of the dual spec cost to 100g. That should help matters a lot more and hopefully it’s not just a setting on beta. After forking out 1k gold 7 times (not to mention 7 lots of epic flying) I’m a bit annoyed, but this will especially help new players.

  2. WasselinNo Gravatar says

    Won’t that balance fall apart when we get to 85 and the end game requires raiding groups to have 2 tanks, 7 heaalers, and 15 dps? Of course if 10 man raiding is supreme the balance might work a little bit better.

  3. LaraNo Gravatar says

    I think part of the reason it’s hard to find tanks in the intermediate levels is that people can be so awful to them. The ones who remain tend to be power-hungry, Type A personalities with rabies, the kind willing to lay down the law and ignore the endless parade of failure that arises from impatient dps who pull for you, healers wearing dps gear, and what Vidyala calls “pug diffusion,” that general tendency of people in low-level dungeon-finder groups to just kind of take off and do their own thing without regard for the rest of the group.

    As far as I can tell, the only reason the balance shifts in Outland is because of the Death Knight Plague. Hellfire Peninsula is swarming with poorly-played Death Knights, but at least some of them imagine themselves to be tanks enough to queue that way. Some of them can do it; most can’t. My desire to queue as a healer for those instances quickly waned, especially given how quick and painless the questing is now that they’ve buffed the experience from levels 60-68.

    I hope you’re right about the balance in the future, but I admit I’m skeptical. When Wrath first came out, I found there was no shortage of tanks for the instances in Northrend; the shortage came later, once that early cohort of guilded tanks had reached 80 and stopped running with people outside their guilds. As you say, the Dungeon Finder helped, but tanking for pugged Heroics can be a thankless and unpleasant task at times.
    Lara’s last post: Be Prepared

    • ManbearcatNo Gravatar says

      It can also be a rather rewarding experience. I recently levelled my pally, which had been sitting at lvl 16 for a year, as prot. It was pretty much tho most fun levelling short of my enhance shammy that I’ve had. And that was using about 80% dungeon finder groups for my xp. If you’re a good tank and show it, usually people will either work with you or at least keep their mouths shut. I believe I only had 2-3 noteworthy bad experiences out of the entire grind. Fingers crossed the maturity level in wow rises even more in future

      • AppleNo Gravatar says

        You are luckier than I. I’ve been levelling my Pally as a healer, all through instances, and… well, let’s just say I quickly learned why so many healers are grumpy and disillusioned.

        I myself am only mildly grumpy and not at all disillusioned, but I can see how many people would be. The way healers get treated throughout a good chunk of the levelling experience, especially by those type A tanks and their DPS buddies, is just horrific.

        For some reason smashing your face into things gets you at least grudging respect, but keeping people alive gets you nothing but trouble. *shrug*
        Apple’s last post: One day- Ulduar! and other updates

    • RedbeardNo Gravatar says

      I think part of the reason it’s hard to find tanks in the intermediate levels is that people can be so awful to them. The ones who remain tend to be power-hungry, Type A personalities with rabies, the kind willing to lay down the law and ignore the endless parade of failure that arises from impatient dps who pull for you, healers wearing dps gear, and what Vidyala calls “pug diffusion,” that general tendency of people in low-level dungeon-finder groups to just kind of take off and do their own thing without regard for the rest of the group.

      Yes. This.

      I ran the first Mauradon instance yesterday with the same tank about three times. He wasn’t a bad tank at all, but he had to constantly grab threat from DPS who started trash pulls. After a while, that just drove me nuts. If it wasn’t for us wanting to finish the runs in a reasonable amount of time, I’m pretty sure the tank would have just let the DPS die.
      Redbeard’s last post: Finding a place to call home

      • Dyre42No Gravatar says

        Since I’m leveling a shammy atm I solve the dps pulling for the tank problem by throttling back healing on them when they do it. Then leaving them at low health after we’ve downed the mobs. They either figure out the pattern or complain to which I respond,”I don’t heal tank wannabes. If you want to do the pulling then roll a tank.” . 99.99% of them to date have behaved after that.

  4. RedbeardNo Gravatar says

    I joke to others that I sweet-talked my way to Outland Dungeonmaster. But the truth is, I’ve never been treated so nicely by my PuG teammates.

    Well, with your Aussie accent, sweet talking will work quite well with a lot of American guys I know. ;-)

    Seriously, though, I’m debating whether to experience the later BC content at the correct level or just jump to Northrend on my alts. My current plan is that it depends on the alt. The one I’m leveling solo on Ysera I’ll probably jump to Northrend with, while the ones I’m leveling with others I’ll probably roll with the consensus.
    Redbeard’s last post: Finding a place to call home

  5. coupNo Gravatar says

    i just leveled a druid to 80 mostly through lfd but switch to questing around 55-58 and 65-68 just because que was getting longer to find and the quality of players was just terible. i qued as tank/healer/dps til outlands where i found i was put as healer ,bad healers couldnt keep me up or the frustration of dps/healers pulling for me drove me nutz. the good news is i found i love healing as a druid and may make him my main in cata

  6. WP ThemesNo Gravatar says

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  7. GabriellusNo Gravatar says

    I can remember what it used to be like trying to find instance groups, that in the end I just never bothered with it while i was leveling most of my toons.

    It wasn’t until TBC and i swapped my druid’s spec to feral and decided to give tanking ago, and i was hooked. With a good group i found tanking to be rather relaxing, far more than healing and more involved than standing up the back nuking away on my Warlock (yes they do exist :P ).

    Since starting out with the start of TBC, ive now rolled 4 tanks and actively group on all of them, getting to know the tanking world from every possible aspect, and i would throughly encourage everyone to have atleast one tank. If for nothing more than knowing what it feels like to have than annoying dps in the group who aggros the entire run :P

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