There is no I in Healing Team

So, a while back, a guest writer over at World of Matticus talked about how raiding was about being part of a team.

I was frustrated today after reading a lot of healing forum posts that seem to have forgotten that raiding is not a competition against your other raid members.

The over-focus some people have on DPS and healing meter numbers usually distracts from being part of a team. The goal of the descriptive meter rankings is to show how people are different from each other, not to show what makes teams good at defeating bosses. The bar graphs are designed to emphasize the differences in numbers, not to promote having doing what they need to on any given boss encounter. You can have people who win at meters, but fail at moving when they need to, or fail at being a good part of the team (or pop green clouds on Yogg!).

What makes raiding with PUGs generally worse than raiding with consistent guild groups is that the people in PUGs are usually not playing a team sport. They include individuals who may or may not ever talk to that group of people again, which ends up just breeding a really bad kind of behavior. This kind of more selfish behavior in the PUG raiding group (ie. wanting to see who “wins”) really distracts from accomplishing their goals. It also makes loot distribution really hard because no one wants to pass gear to people they will never see again. Even people running with consistent groups made of members who aren’t in the same guild are better than random invites for inconsistent groups.

With guild runs, you are part of a team, and you can’t treat it like you would a PUG (heck, you shouldn’t even treat Pugs the way I just described treating Pugs). As part of a consistent raiding group that usually have the same core of members, you have to care about the progress of the whole team, and understand how parts of your team work together. I miss whenever one of our healing team is gone, because they fill a really important role as part of the healing team (for example: we struggled on Yogg +3 last week because we didn’t have enough magic dispels, since our pally healer was gone).

It doesn’t matter who came out first on a meter for any fight, especially for healing. It matters if the boss died or didn’t die, or if you kept alive the people you were assigned to healing. If you stood in a fire, spamming heals on yourself to look good for a meter, then you aren’t really doing your team any good at all. If damage dealers stand in a fire and expects the healers to keep them alive, then they aren’t doing their team any good even if they are normally the highest DPS for that third of a fight when they are alive.

Healing spells and other tools for priests, druids, paladins, and shaman are designed to work together in a raiding environment. They aren’t designed for competing on a healing meter. So, some days I like to forget about those dumb statistics, and just focus on being part of the team. Some days, I just review my personal performance on a World of Logs report after the raid instead of having a “recount” box taking up space on the screen (and distracting from what is important). When I have recount running, I still keep it minimized during fights, and I only pull it up to review my performance after fights when we’re waiting for the next one to start (and I really only use it to see % of healing done from what spell when I’m resto, along with my DPS when I’m moonkin).

I really wish meters could give a ranking for who reacted best to various events that happened in the fight, or who worked best as part of a team. However, there aren’t numerical values we can assign to these qualities or skills. So, when you are working with your guild (as a healer, or as DPS, or maybe even a tank!), think about what it means to be a good member of the team. Focus on what it means to work together with the other healers in your raid, rather than trying to compete against them. Everyone wins when your raid works together to accomplish the goal, when everyone is aware of their surroundings (and when they need to move!), and everyone respects the other players in their raid enough to be happy when other people in the group do well. That ends the day with less drama, less pain, and less hurt feelings.

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17 Comments

  1. Dillion
    Posted September 29, 2009 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    While I agree that you are part of a team I will say this. Competition is good for a team. I wouldn’t say during a fight. But after the fact my guild, Acceptable Losses, look over WWS or WoWMeters and review performance. It’s fun to get jibes off on other people, or lightly gloat about out doing your buddy on a fight.

    Negative competition isn’t so great though. I believe one person in a pug I was in referred to it as \humping the meters\.

    I essence, shit talking can be good for a guild to build comradery. Just make sure it’s not going overboard.

  2. Posted September 29, 2009 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    /Agree 100%.

    There are only two things people should be measuring:

    1) Did the boss die or not.

    2) How many people died during the fight.

    As long as #1 is true and #2 is 0, then who cares?

  3. Posted September 29, 2009 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    This reminds me of when meters first started coming about and UBRS was a 15 man instance. I hated for people to ask about seeing a meter or post meter ratings in the raid chat because it automatically made the group start playing like a bunch of idiots. This was back when content was a bit different and involved more engagement than tunnel vision so I think that meters were possibly even more detrimental at that time than they are now.

    I do think that in a 25 man raid group consisting of mature and skilled players, a competitive spirit can be a very good motivating factor. But when it gets to the point that the recount or wws bars are more important than the health bars, that is when it becomes destructive.

  4. Tari
    Posted September 29, 2009 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    I fully agree. I lack the bone in me to compete or play to win, and tend to take the “ooh, I topped the healinglists again” from people, as if the person is slightly insecure over their performance. It might be like that or might not, but it sticks as a nagging little feeling in the back of my head.
    The healingmeter is for me, always a way to review my performance and see where I can improve, nothing more. I’m also very proud of the healingteam which I am part of, after a really good fight it’s always “good job all, that was some really great healing”.

  5. Posted September 29, 2009 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    our guild rules actually forbid meters to be posted in any public channel. your personal performance can be whispered to you if you want to see, but no full meters. i tell people that if the boss dies, your dps is high enough, and if the tanks live, your healing is strong enough (of course, with some variation depending on fight). but for the most part, meters are not a part of my guild.

  6. Galashin
    Posted September 29, 2009 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    While I agree in general, especially regarding healing meters, that does not mean they have no place. If you’re running with 5 healers, 4 of which are relatively even (accounting for fight mechanics favoring one or another style), and the 5th output less than *half* the healing of the others without specific cause (i.e., less than half overall, but 80% of the healing the MT took would *not* be unreasonable), then that 5th healer performed poorly–and you should consider doing the fight with just 4.

    Another example is Jaraxxus–if our resto shaman gets 100% of the dispels, with the mage(s) and priest(s) getting none, and anyone at all died for lack of healing, then the mage(s) and priest(s) did not do their jobs properly, despite the boss dying.

    Just because raiding in general, and especially healing in particular, is collaborative does *not* mean that every individual is \succeeding\ just because the boss dies.

  7. Tympanic
    Posted September 29, 2009 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    On fights where standing in fire (ice, void zones, etc.) is an issue, take a look at Damage Taken on the meters and compare that to Damage Done. If somebody is uber on the DPS meter, but is on top of the Damage Taken meter as well, they need to learn to move. This doesn’t work for Retadins because of Seal of the Martyr, but most others show up well.

    I used to use this on Hodir to see who was standing still and taking too much frost damage.

  8. scaresome
    Posted September 29, 2009 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    I agree as well.
    I play in a lot of pugs and I hate it when someone posts recount.
    However, once or twice (and only that) I posted the \activity\ panel when I see someone typing during a fight or just standing there! Most have not seen that panel and are surprised that I’d call them all.

  9. Mortiseraph
    Posted September 29, 2009 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    @scaresome

    thats actually a really good idea. i think from here on out if any huntard or random dipshit in a pug VoA/whatever keeps whining about meters, ill post activity instead. I really hate recount sometimes cus people focus on it so much like its some testiment to ability or, as someone said earlier, ‘winning’.

    /twitch

  10. Hrbek
    Posted September 29, 2009 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    Obviously some jerk in a pug linking the meter after every pull is irritating and even in a raid setting raw numbers do not fully describe each individuals contribution to the raid, but I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss them or reduce analysis to “the boss died so everybody must be doing a great job”.

    There is a wealth of information available in combat logs and it can tell you all kinds of things – about how effective people are at assisting on adds quickly, whether they are using appropriate heals for their assignments.or whether they are taking excessive biting cold damage from allowing the debuff to stack too high.

    It is certainly possible that the people at or near the top of the dps and healing meters are standing in fires, but it is just as likely (more so in my own experience) that the people struggling to maximize their healing throughput or dps are also the the ones struggling with raid awareness.

    The combat log’s usefulness ultimately depends on the difficulty of the content you are working on and how interested you are in maximizing your own performance. It is possible and can be unnoticeable that some raid members are coasting through farm content, but those same players can quickly become a liabilities in progression content – even if they are performing at the same level that was “good enough” just a few pulls bosses ago.

  11. Lissanna
    Posted September 29, 2009 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    I know that meters have their place, so it’s not that I never use them, but just that I like reminding people not to get so hung up on competition that it hurts their performance.
    :)
    I was also just feeling particularly controversial when I was trying to write a post while I was on campus today… I think it’s lack of sleep…

  12. Hrbek
    Posted September 29, 2009 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    I will say that anytime I see a screen shot of someone’s UI during a raid with recount open it makes me cringe.

  13. Chipster
    Posted September 30, 2009 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Healing meters make even less sense if you have assignments. If your targets take less damage than anyone else, then of course you will be lower on the rankings :P

  14. Posted September 30, 2009 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    The usage of meters can be a difficult thing to manage.

    On the one hand if you never take them in to account, you’ll have some people working their asses off to do as much damage as they can, while others just coast along the whole way getting “carried”.

    On the other hand if all you’re focused on is the metres, this can lead to instances of tunnel vision and/or heal sniping. This can lead to neglect in other areas (i.e. letting people in your assignment die becasue you’re heal sniping to max heals or dieing in a fire if not concentrating on DPS).

    In essence, it’s up to you to be able to find the balance where people are involved in ‘healthy competition’ to do the best that they can, whilst keeping people alive (or staying alive for DPS) as per their required role.

  15. mushu
    Posted September 30, 2009 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    There’s a lot I find wrong or at least misguided in the original article, and several comments above nail the point precisely…#6,#7,#10,#14. The bottom line is that if you don’t know your numbers and those of everyone else on a fight you can not do any better than you are currently. Stated another way: you must be able to have a frame of reference to be able to improve. And everyone can improve, no exceptions. The guild that forbids meters being posted at any time? That’s ridiculous, they could never be anywhere near a top progression raiding guild.

    I won’t belabor the point but the 2nd paragraph (after the 1st two sentences) in the article bothers me most. ‘cum hoc ergo propter hoc’ aka ‘correlation does not infer causation’…a pug doing badly while showing meters does not mean the meters are causing the pug to do badly.

    The Greedy Goblin has written extensively on the different types of WoW players, and to say that everyone must be a “team player” (urg..) in order to do good is just crazytalk. I suggest reading the past month or so of the GG blog and then come back to this topic. :)

  16. Ditto
    Posted September 30, 2009 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    I have to say, I agree meters are not the be-all-end-all teller of healing performance. What if you are a raid healer, and your DPS knows that fire burns, while at the same time, the tank is a bit squishier than normal. This will impact the meters.

    The opposite is true as well, if you have a killer tank who has the RNG smile at them, and they dodge 10% above the average that night. Your tank healers are bored, and the raid heals don’t change, inflating the raid healing numbers. Which is to say nothing of the fact that Disc priest numbers are naturally going to be low, due to a fair bit of their ‘healing’ coming from Shields / Absorbs.

    However, if you have two different people sharing an assignment (two tank healers), and one has 40% more healing than the other one, it is likely the other was slacking.

    @Tympanic — Seal of the Martyr was removed some time ago (3.2?). Your ret paladins shouldn’t be taking any more damage than the rest of the DPS anymore.

  17. Tympanic
    Posted October 1, 2009 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    @Ditto – I quit raiding right around the time of 3.2 due to RL issues, so I didn’t know Martyr went away. I suppose I should read more of the release notes than just Druids. :\