Dungeon Crawling: Healing in WoWs LFD tool

10 Draenei Warrior
30
What this is:
1) a guide to help common frustrations with healing in low-level dungeons and the most-commonly held answers to those concerns. 2) Helpful tips to maintaining your sanity in LFD. 3) A little fun on the forums.

What this is not:
1) a whine-fest. If you don't like the advice, then just leave it. If you use a piece of advice and it doesn't work, then its not the norm. 2) a place to lodge complaints about LFD.

Preface:

Frequently enough on these forums people will post a poor experience and ask for assistance with determining whether or not they were in the wrong for a particular dungeon run, or to complain about a behavior by one or more of their peers. You can see a number of those types of threads on the first page of just about any of the role forums.
Its with those types of threads in mind that I am writing this, and furthermore to give some advice to minimize the impact of those incidents on your play experience.

There will be no TLDR. Switch to decaf. Seriously.


Table of Contents:

1: This is a social game
1a. Communication

2: Looking for Dungeon
2a. Dual spec
2b. Huntar Lewtz!

3: So I got a bad group... now what?

4: Taking the blame
4a. But... it wasn't MY fault!

5: FAQ: How can i tell if I got a bad group?

6: The end. (Or is it?)
Edited by Creverus on 12/2/2010 5:14 AM PST
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10 Draenei Warrior
30
Part 1: This is a social game

Like it or not, more people than just you play this game. This might come as a shock, i know, but with a few deep breaths you might feel your calm returning. More often than not, the people you group with with be just like you. Wanting to get some play time in to accomplish a goal or just to enjoy their time with the distracting escapism of WoW. There will however be those times when you just find yourself grouped with some people that don't share your view of how the game should be played.

As a member of the community there is a certain amount of self-policing that we feel obligated to do. In the same way that we might berate a trolling poster or a veiled QQ post, we can be intolerant of poor behavior in groups. However, there is an underlying mistake that we make by jumping to that conclusion, and more often than not we act, and then question our own actions rather than the reverse, and that gives rise to posts here on the forums looking for validation of our position.

Part 1a. Communication

The majority of problems with any group situation can properly be fixed with one simple word: Communication.
Want to do the [Emerald Void] achievement in your Occulus group? Speak up when the dungeon first drops you in the group. Want to do all of the optional bosses of Blackrock Depths? Mention to the group that there are "over 10 bosses here! Wouldn't it be fun to do them all?". People in the group that you just entered have their own agenda. They may be looking to get in and get out, they themselves might be wanting to kill all of the bosses or be looking for the same achievement. If you don't speak up and instead expect others to read your mind, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.

This point cannot be stressed enough. As a healer, there will be times when you get a tank who just feels like Elunes-gift to the LFD group. He/she will pull the first four groups in the SM:graveyard along with Interrogator Vishas and expect you to keep up while constantly line of sighting your heals with the pillar in the middle of that room. Speak up. Its clear that you and the tank are not on the same page. "LOS", "cant heal through stone", "are you mad?" "pull more" and "i got you, keep going" are all responses that tell the Tank either that behavior is good, or its bad. Saying nothing is a silent agreement. If you aren't comfortable, but you make it through the tank might simply assume that everything is fine and move on, pulling the whole next room (its a big room). You might die and everyone will blame you assuming that you failed for not keeping the over-pulling tank alive.
Communication at some point at least lets everyone else in the group know how you feel about what is happening. No one can read minds, and if they could, i'm sure it would be even more difficult across an internet connection.
Edited by Creverus on 11/30/2010 10:09 AM PST
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10 Draenei Warrior
30
Part 2. Looking for Dungeon

LFD is a tool. Plain and simple. Don't make it any more than it needs to be. Rather than spamming 'Healer LFM for Heroic farming pst' in trade chat for an hour trying to get a group, you can press a button, pick a role and wait for it to do the work for you. It does very little else.

As a tank, queue times are nearly instant. Healers generally wait a little longer, but not nearly as much as a DPS. You are a commodity in the LFD tool, and a valuable one.

The queue system is very simple. If you are ported into a dungeon then you are on a set timer of 15 minutes. If you drop group within those 15 minutes, you will get a debuff that doesn't allow you to enter a dungeon for 30 minutes. If you are kicked from a group, you get no debuff. If you run multiple dungeons with the same group, you only ever get *one* 15 minute restriction.

There is a misconception that dropping group punishes the group you left with a wait time for the next healer, tank, or DPS. This is false. If you drop group, you place that group at the top of the queue for a replacement. It is only kicking a player from the group that results in needing to 'requeue' from the bottom.

2a. Dual spec

Dual spec no longer costs 1000 gold. Whew! Thank you Blizzard, can i get a refund for my other toons? :P
More often than not this means that as a healer, you have a second DPS or Tanking spec. When you change spec, you lose all of your current mana pool. As you can imagine, this can be very very bad when you have the Elunes-Gift Tank stated above. Do yourself a favor and be prepared.

When the LFD assigns you to a group and asks if you want to enter an instance, it will tell you what role you have been selected for. (Healer. lets face it, i never get picked as DPS. *see: you are a commodity above.)
Before you mindlessly click 'Enter Dungeon', Stop. Change specs *BEFORE* you enter the instance, drink up and then join. If the dungeon is already in progress, they might be fighting. If its a new run, the tank might want to be a super hero. Being prepared before you enter helps avoid unnecessary drama with overzealous tanks and in-combat groups. You get 30 seconds. Use them.

This might seem like a simple thing to do, but more often than not i find myself just entering and figuring it out later. I found out the hard way to be a boy-scout.
Edited by Creverus on 11/30/2010 10:10 AM PST
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10 Draenei Warrior
30
2b. Huntar Lewtz!

Inevitably there will be some argument over items. At low levels, you can roll 'Need' on just about anything you want. And people will. The shadowpriest will roll on the DPS sword with the summoned dragon pet proc. Its going to happen. Alternatively, you might want to get a non-traditional piece of gear (i had grey boots until level 33 and finally decided that cloth boots that boost my spellcasting will be just fine for now).
  • First, don't panic. Refer back to part 1a: communication. When the loot drops, ask if its ok to roll on it. Most groups won't have a problem. Some people will cry, but simply pointing out that you are being courteous and asking will generally simmer those people down. Alternatively, if someone is rolling on something they can't use and you can, give them the benefit of the doubt. Chances are they aren't trying to screw you over, they just clicked too fast (we all do).


  • Second, try to trade items to solve problems. Currently, there is an issue with cross-server trading. Blizzard doesn't allow it. So chances are pretty good that once an item gets in someones hands, they won't be able to trade it regardless of the time remaining to trade the item. If they are on your server, great!


  • Third, your item was ninja'd. Yup, no ambiguity here, that item you wanted was just rolled on and won by the rogue in spellpower leather. What do you do now? Well, you have three options:


  • 1) stop. You can choose to not continue with said rogue unless the item changes to your hands (or the next person who won the role and will use it). This could be dropping group, attempting to kick the rogue, or porting out to Stormwind to await a kick from the group.

    2) get revenge. continue healing the run, but constantly berate said rogue about stealing your loots and refuse to heal the filthy ninja.

    3) get over it. Continue healing the run, shaking your head at how bad some people are.


    This is where many groups can break down. Ultimately, at any level prior to max level (and even then unless this is a raid situation) option three is going to be your best bet. Yeah, it sucks. Your character is not as strong for having missed out on that piece of equipment and your progression as a powerhouse of healing is stunted as a result of someone elses greed or incompetence. Heres a little secret though: its not the end of the world.

    Loot tables are limited, items will drop again, and (most times) there are alternatives to the piece you lost out on. At lower gear levels, you are going to replace just about everything in your possession (with the exception of heirlooms) at every other level or thereabouts. Don't stress, add that person to your ignore list if they were really bad and move on. Your play experience will improve by simple fact of not stressing out about that guy or girl being a clown.
    Edited by Creverus on 11/30/2010 10:13 AM PST
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    10 Draenei Warrior
    30
    Part 3: So I got a bad group... Now what?

    Its bound to happen. You get the intellect mail wearing warrior tank using the fishing pole with the tap-to-near-death warlock, and his two taunt-spam-for-fat-deepz retribution paladin cronies all in one group.
    The world is ending in a cataclysmic fiery ball as Deathwing covers the land with an inferno of blistering rage and these four are standing in it yelling 'HEAL ME!!!'.

    Slowly, repeat after me: "I am not responsible for other peoples play experience, only my own."

    There. Feel better? I mean, you can go however you want with a group like this. You can become super-healer(tm) and heal them through the dungeon run, then come to the forums and gloat that you carried that group where no other sane person would have. You can berate them from the safety of Orgrimmar and pass out their names in trade-chat for the Wow-armory epeen folk to ridicule... you can change to a DPS spec and start shouting 'HEALZ!!! where is the healer?!?!? Pally, heal me!!!1!1!!!11!!ELEVEN!!' /boggle

    Ultimately the choice comes down to your play experience and whether or not you are having fun. If you aren't, then stop what you don't like. You don't HAVE to run that dungeon right then and there. Its ok to drop group and eat the debuff. Really. The WoW-police aren't going to come to your house and take your computer away. Probably you will be just fine doing a few quests, gathering some materials for your professions, or doing the maintenance on your off-spec glyphs that you have been putting off. 30 minutes is not that long. Not every group will be that bad, and some might be absolutely so amazing you want them all to transfer to your server.

    As healers we need to look past the motherly attitude of coddling our groups like little children. Simply value your own play experience above such shenanigans and have fun.
    Edited by Creverus on 11/30/2010 10:15 AM PST
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    10 Draenei Warrior
    30
    Part 4: Taking the Blame

    Sometimes bad things happen to good players. Your delicious waffle fell from your hands in the middle of the boss-fight and you went to retrieve it, hitting your head on the desk and falling unconcious for 10 seconds, enough time for the entire group to die.

    Unfortunately, the hardest thing to do sometimes is just to own up. yup, you went for your waffle and hit your head. yes, it hurts and your waffle is gritty. Let the group know "that was my fault. Sorry." No explanation, no excuse, just an apology. What happens now is up to them. Most groups will just continue, appreciate your candor and move on. Some will throw fits of 2yr-old-temper-tantrum rage and shout obscenities. This allows you the opportunity to right-click their name in chat and select 'ignore'. Thank them for the privelege. There will be some groups that will just kick you on the spot. Honestly, this is fine. You are probably better off not having to deal with some people if a single wipe pisses in their oatmeal. Enjoy your relatively short queue time by getting yourself another waffle and eliminate that gritty mess from your plate. Does this mean you are a 'bad'? no. It means you are fallable, and that you love waffles.

    If this consistantly happens and you find yourself completing fewer dungeons than you are kicked from, its time to put the waffle down and examine your play. Not everyone in this game is a super-star. I certainly have had a learning curve going from tanking to healing (the playstyles are completely different) and will be first to call myself 'bad' when I play poorly. Keep practicing, look into your class, (you've already taken the first step by coming to the forums) and focus for the next time.

    4a. But... it wasn't MY fault!

    You may be right. Some people find it easier to blame others than to take accountability for their own actions. We like to call this a 'life lesson'. There are a few things that can alleviate this type of situation.

  • The first one should be obvious: See Part 1: Communication. Let your group know when bad behaviors happen during the run. This sets you up as a knowledge base and refutes the 'fail healz' /kicker. saying things like "get out of the fire", "interrupt that cast", and "line of sight! can't heal" lets the group know that this is a team effort, and that they are making it more difficult for the team to succeed. (there may be addons that will tell the group when someone is out of range of your heals or LoS if you can't type fast)


  • The second one is as simple as ignoring the comment. Sometimes people just want to whine. The group wiped and it stinks, so why not throw an insult at a stranger rather than be positive about the next attempt. Usually this doesn't even deserve a response. Just continue as though that person said nothing. If they continue, then move to the third option.


  • Drop a 'damage taken/sources' meter on their head (the 'recount' addon has a huge number of uses that people explore very little of other than for Epeen). DPS who stand in the fire, take more damage than the tank and die to that mechanic will be silenced almost instantly. Tanks are a little harder to quiet, but generally they KNOW when they messed up, even if they won't admit it. One suggestion seen later in the thread is to link what killed the offending tank. This will help everyone understand unhealable damage. (alternatively the meter may show that the offending player really didn't take all that much damage and perhaps, you need to refer to part 4: Taking the blame). A word of caution: combat parses and meters are not to be linked on a whim. Make sure that you understand and are comfortable with what you are linking to the groups chat window.


  • The final option is the one i dislike the most in this situation. Drop group. Yeah, you don't really get your say, and those people will see it as an admission of guilt, but sometimes you are simply better off without the blame-game crew.

  • Edited by Creverus on 12/2/2010 5:13 AM PST
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    10 Draenei Warrior
    30
    Part 5: FAQ

    Question: How can I tell if i've gotten a bad group?

    Answer: This can be a tough one outside of healing a few pulls. My personal rule of thumb is when I port into a dungeon and we are buffing up, I say 'hi! how is everyone?'. No response = time to be on my toes with my mouse hovering on 'drop group'. If people get chatty then it usually ends up being a group of like-minded people who aren't going to complain about much (even if they are complaining about something in RL :P... funny right?). Beware the dog that doesn't bark is a saying i think holds true here.
    Some people will tell you, talent spec, gemming, gearing, etc... but really, thats just a lot of epeen stroking b.s. Good players can have terrible specs and still succeed at this game, and the worst player can be told what to do from the internet and be carried to great gear.
    Edited by Creverus on 12/2/2010 5:22 AM PST
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    10 Draenei Warrior
    30
    Part 6: the end. (or is it?)

    Thanks for reading. If you have any comments or questions feel free to post them below my last reserved post. (i will be formatting the above posts for better readability)

    Some of you may be thinking 'this is all common sense, what a stupid thread'. Well, every time someone comes here to whine about a preventable and social problem with a dungeon group, a warrior specs into Impending Victory, preventing that talent from beinge removed for something better. I'm just trying to save my main from having horrible talents in his tree. cheers.
    Edited by Creverus on 11/30/2010 10:18 AM PST
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    10 Draenei Warrior
    30
    reserved
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    85 Troll Druid
    2185
    Great read. I've had several issues like these happen to me in the past. I used to get riled up when I was being blamed that was clearly the fault of the trigger happy hunter, but I've realized that being super epicly angry doesn't feel very good. I find it much easier just to laugh at their stupidity, and move on.
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    10 Draenei Warrior
    30
    thanks Velsa.

    Funny... this thread falls to page two, but the first two threads in the forum are:

    What grinds your gears
    and
    Healer rage
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    85 Troll Priest
    5880
    Because people look to complain, not for answers.
    I've all but given up posting anything well written and thought out as it does the same thing. Slips away, hehe.

    In anycase. Back to the top this thread goes and we'll see how long it can float.
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    10 Draenei Warrior
    30
    suggestions Soulspyy?

    I tried not to sugar-coat anything, and while that may feel like talking down to the more experienced players on these forums, even they need a dose of reality now and then (myself included).

    There is an inherent hostility on most forums anyway... but i digress.
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    85 Human Paladin
    9125
    I don't think it's so much that the post is condescending, as it is that you wrote it from the perspective of a friendly vet giving advice. Which you are, so that makes sense. But some people may not appreciate the joking tone (or may just not think you were all that funny, which is clearly absurd because the waffle thing was great).

    On the other hand, there may simply be some people who take any form of advice as condescension (which does beg the question: why are they in this thread at all? But that's another matter I suppose...). Hard to say, really.

    *shrug* I thought it was a good read. I may even link it to people in my guild looking to start up a healer.

    Edit: There was a forum thread over on MMO-Champion that was highlighted on the front page not too long ago about how to not suck at Cata, aimed at people who started playing in Wrath. It was a lot of basic dungeon strategy, the sort that was mandatory for TBC and a complete waste in WotLK. A lot of people responded saying they felt that author was being insulting and condescending, where I felt it was another good article. Just for what that's worth.
    Edited by Dajakisubo on 12/1/2010 7:44 AM PST
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    10 Draenei Warrior
    30
    interesting. I'll have to check out that thread if its still there.

    I actually started writing this because of my baby shaman, if you can believe that. My first alliance toon since i started in 05 and decided that the horde was where its at. currently 37 and resto from the word 'go'. its been an eye-opener for how things have dramatically changed since i had leveled from 1. I found myself getting very frustrated because i wasn't running the show (i have warrior [main], paladin [heal offspec in ICC], and DK tanks at 80, w/ a druid coming up) and getting angry when I really didn't need to be.

    I did want it to be fun, just like the game should be. I guess my sense of humor doesn't translate well to text.
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    Would you take a bit of time and add possible suggestions how to spot where the group problems are please?

    One thing that quickly comes to mind is reading the Recount parses (no, not the dps meter...) such as incoming damage to the tank, CC broken, Death tab info, etc.

    Instead of just stomaching all the blame, sometimes pointing out simple issues that are logged in these are basically part of communicating the existing problems in the group.

    Like tank is standing in fire on a boss, dies, and asks "wtf heals?" Instead of stomaching that, I find it more useful open up the Death log, see how he died with lots of fire damage, post that in group chat, and tell him "Please don't stand in fire. Kite or something." Most tanks will realize it's their mistake, play better and finish the boss.
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    10 Draenei Warrior
    30
    I'll expand section 3 to include warning signs for bad groups, and clarify section 4a to better illustrate the use of parses. (its there, its just not very clear)

    edit: updated the FAQ with my rule of thumb for groups that could be bad.

    Clarified section 4a and added a warning regarding linking of parses.

    I agree that this is something that really can a player up as a dungeon guru to be trusted and valued (remember the idea is to gain a reputation as a good player who people want to group with from all aspects... not just executing the game well).
    However, it really should only be veteran players with a good knowledge of what those parses mean espousing this technique. (i almost removed it)
    Edited by Creverus on 12/2/2010 5:27 AM PST
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    85 Blood Elf Paladin
    4485
    As a new-ish player I found it funny. i actually giggled at the waffle thing.

    Also helpful as I've only healed a handful of dungeons still. Maybe I need to macro responses as I get "you're awfully quiet lady" from people because I'm too busy focusing on anything to actually talk to anyone. Me = fail at communication lol
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    10 Draenei Warrior
    30
    It sounds like you've gotten some pretty good groups though Anelakahili. If they are interested in talking to you, you've done something right! :D
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