Hey – this grass isn’t really green…

Ah, fresh back and all relaxed from a two-week vacation in Orlando I sat down on my last day of work vacation and logged into WoW. Well tried to. Because as my luck would have it, it was Tuesday, and that’s patch day. My luck never ceases to amaze me. Still later that night after the servers came up, then down, then up, then down (fast forward a few hours), and up, I logged in. You see, I’m now playing a Horde Priest, having taken my own personal semi-challenge about healers I posted previously. I’ve decided crow doesn’t taste nearly as good as advertised, even with BBQ sauce.

I rolled up a Horde priest for a wide variety of reasons, among them my firm assumption that not only were they in the minority, they were constantly in demand. I figured I’d log in, and BAM, 20 invites to groups, all of which would have tons of happy loot for me. I found that to be broadly true, except for that last, halucigenic part. However, the majority of people I grouped with seemed to assume that I was either a) a hired NPC healer, or b) there solely for their benefit, that I found out why there are so few priests around.

WoW has made it easy to solo, and my priest really has no issues. I’ve tried both the Shadow and Discipline builds (the latter suggested by Tobold) and found a mixture of the two to be best for me. I’ve been told you can solo just spiffy as a Holy build too, but currently I’m in a good groove so I won’t give that a try yet. Even with my bargain basement AH gear, no enchants, but all spells for my level and a good wand, I found no true barriers to my soloing. Perhaps I’m just good at picking targets. Either way, I applaud Blizzard for making a healer that is soloable, and yet still able to heal well in groups.

Groups. Ah yes, there’s the rub. My new character is on an older server, so there are precious few “new” players there. The characters I would group with were a twink’s twink’s twink, or someone being powerleveled for the battlegrounds. These people, on the whole, treated me as some sort of mobile bandage dispensing machine. Here’s a typical example.

The priest was in his low 20’s and killing in Ashenvale. Suddenly, a group invite appears on the screen. No “hi”, nothing. I look up the character to find it’s a 45th level rogue. I simply let it expire. It appears again. This time I send them a tell, to the tune of “Hi, what’s up?” The reply is “Join. Need you to help finish WC.” Ah, apparently he missed that golden rule talk as a child. Still, I could use the staff from the WC quest series, as it’s pretty nice and about 2 million times better than my current one, so I agree. I actually have my hearth set in Crossroads, so I pop back, and start running. I’m now in a group with the 45th level rogue, a 17th level rogue, and myself. The 45th level rogue is talking the younger one about how his new rogue will rock with the quest items from killing the bosses. I mention that I could use the bosses too, and am told only one is left. I mention I have a few other quests to do here as well, and am told “no time.” Ah, I see. Still, masochist that I am, I zone into the instance. It’s fully spawned at the entrance, and the elite stuff starts smacking on me. It’s still blue to me, so I’m not doing so well. I zone in and out a few times. The rogues ask why I’m taking so long. I ask them to come back and kill the entrance stuff, as it’s too strong to me. No response. I zone back in again, and manage to kill one, burning all my mana and most of my HP. I again zone dive to safety. The elder rogue then says “I’ve gotta go, my BG is ready…the priest should be able to kill it” and leaves. The junior rogue then spams “hurry up I gotta get into my BG” for a few dozen lines. I advise him that this isn’t going to work and leave. The elder rogue then starts sending me tells cursing and complaining that I agreed to kill the bosses for his friend. He fails to explain how we could even do so (mid 20’s elites, if I recall correctly?) and just continues to swear at me until he joins some others on my ignore list.

There were several other good ones. The SM group who said they were doing the quest set, then disbanded after the Armory (which was done first). When asked for an explanation, they said that they advertised for all three since they knew no priest would go to the armory otherwise, then “lol”‘ed themselves for a while. The warrior and mage duo that would only do red to us STV quests (Tethis at 33 is impossible, btw). And others. This is not to say that all groups were bad. I had a great group one afternoon where we roamed most of STV showing each other quests we didn’t know about (GromGol! Wow, Alliance really got the short stick with that Kurzen bit) and helping on ones we knew well. That was a fantastic group. I also helped some warrior doing an axe quest outside of Tauren Mill somewhere, and in thanks he helped me do the Battle of Hillsbrad last part. He was impressed that even though I was 5 levels lower than him, I was able to keep him healed and gain no agro. Apparently he had a lot of priests faceplant. *flex* There was also that fun harpy slaughtering group I joined. I didn’t need the birds, but they needed a healer, and having done the quests already I helped guide them in the right direction. It was fun seeing those annoying stealthing ones die miserable deaths.

On the whole though, there were many many more bad groups. Groups that would disband the microsecond they achieved a goal. Many groups who would advertise for a false reason just to get “the healer”, and then disband and laugh. Far too many of those, sadly. I can understand, now, why the few high level healers I met in my hunter incarnation tended to be surly and grumpy, or refuse to group unless they had some guild member support. My brother priests, I now understand your angst. As the guy covering everyone’s back, it’s not comforting to know that not only do they not have your back, but there’s a good chance in a tight spot they will remember that old dragon mantra:

Its not outrunning the dragon that’s important. It’s outrunning YOU while you’re outrunning the dragon that matters.

Sages in my Everquest guild used to abbreviate this into something that rolls off the tongue better:

Trip the wizard and run.

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Jaded old gamer, and father of gamers, who's been around long enough. Still, he's always up for giving the Next Big Thing a whirl.

7 thoughts on “Hey – this grass isn’t really green…”

  1. First, Heartless Gamer speaks the truth. A well geared shadow priest that understands just because you have shadow form doesn’t mean you need to be in it all the time is probably more ‘overpowered’ than even warlocks! ;-)

    Second, Healing can be the most thankless job in WoW, but I believe it can be the most rewarding too. Inevitably people will blame the healer for people dying even if there is nothing you can do about it, but honestly screw those people. The people you want to group with are the ones who say “Thanks for the heal” or who ask “Would you be interested in healing?” rather than assuming it as a foregone conclusion.

    Also, I don’t know about your PvP inclinations but if there’s one thing I’ve learned about healing in PvP its this: Keep a mental priority list. Its an obvious thing to do but there’s one catch. Don’t put supposedly ‘important’ people on the priority list, mine is filled with people who have thanked me for heals or protected me while I was healing in a PvP setting.

    The one thing I always try and keep in mind when I think about the stupid people I’ve encountered as a healer is how much easier it is to remember the idiots than the non-idiots.

  2. Healing in PuGs is generally a painful painful process as you’ve discovered. However, on the other hand, healing for a good group or a group of good guildies you’re friends with can be more rewarding than playing any other class. When the people in your group cover your back and let your do your job right it can be very fun.

  3. I just rolled a priest who is currently running deadmines with PUG’s /shudder. I have ran DM 3 times now and of those three, one PUG was comprised of respectful and generally decent players. The other two groups I ran with had at least one 12 year old who kept spamming noob noob noob into the /say whenever he killed anything. Imagine that; every single mob that goes down in DM is followed by a /say of die noob. pathetic. The other terrible PUG I was in was filled with a tank who didn’t know how to use his shouts, as well as a mage who was “leveling his sword skill” instead of dishing out DPS like he was supposed to. I really like World of Warcraft, but I am getting sick and tired of the moron to decent player ratio. I can’t wait for Age of Conan to come out because hopefully with that game being rated M, there will be less 12 year old kids spamming until I want to throw my game out the window, but who knows, I may just run into the same type only this time with gore. I wish there was a way in WOW to turn on the idiots in your group and massacre them until they got the point; or stopped playing. Oh well until then I will have to agree with E’s comment of helping the people who are respectful and allowing the morons to wipe until they leave the group with nothing but a repair bill /evil grin.

  4. Having played a healer in many games, including WoW, I can comiserate. However, the one thing to keep in mind is that not every desirves to be healed. If you don’t like someone, pertend not to notice they are taking damage. After they die a few times, they will leave. The /ignore fuction is also your friend.

    Never, ever take a group invite that is not solicited. Those are by far the worst. Though you can join them, get them to a tough fight, then bail. Makes for good times.

  5. Hence my “Top 10 Lies About Priests”. Many players do expect you to be their personal healbot. And they want you to run forward after each mob, not caring if you had time to loot corpses or regen mana. If priests were soloable, there’d be a whole lot fewer of them, as many players are way too selfish for you to have to rely on them to level. On my warlock I stopped summoning ppl to instances for PUGs and handing out Healthstones until we’d made some progress. Wasting my shards on groups that disbanded 10 mins into an instance pissed me off SO much. I’m a player paying to have fun first, and a priest second. I think if this priest was my first toon I would have abandoned it. Luckily it like number 5 so I know the deal and act accordingly.

  6. I’m kinda sad.

    I play a Priest on a Normal and Old server. There are so many twinks it is pathetic. I currently have a priest I just can’t bring myself to level anymore. He is level 59.

    I don’t have a 60 yet. This saddens me to no end, but I just can’t stand the BS that PUGs and other morons that curse me when they die. (DANG IT, a ROGUE IS NOT SUPPOSED TO START THE COMBAT BY AMBUSHING ONE OF THE 5 MOBS IN A GROUP! I WON’T HEAL YOU!)

    I pray that this horrible taste will leave my mouth in regards to playing a priest, but for the meantime I have found a home on a RP-PVP server as a 55 warrior! Level Caps are a GREAT way to play with friends in a guild and learn your class!

    Well, I have hopes of getting 60… one day.


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