When I first started raiding, all those years ago, I was a hunter. I quickly became a sort of assistant raid leader to our guild master at the time, back in Fated Heroes. I have fond memories of telling people to /assist me as I burned down the adds on Venoxis, one at a time and getting through three of the four sheep (haha, 4 mages in a 20m! It was glorious!) and then not being able to find the fourth sheep to break…
Believe it or not, my BROTHER was one of our first healing leads, on his druid Fog. This eventually became the one and only Cryptkikr, an extraordinary holy priest. We spent a good deal of time in Molten Core and Crypt was our healing lead throughout it. I picked up bits and pieces of it since I was required to heal through at least some of the fights on many of our raid nights. The idea of a healer custom channel was, to me, GENIUS. So that’s where I learned about assignments and while cross-healing if your target is stable is fine, respecting your assignments is still the important part. To this day, one of my favourite times was healing through Thekal in the original ZG. I’d killed Thekal a handful of times as Kurn, but the raid needed a healer, so I went in on Madrana and HOLY CRAP, what a freaking rush. In truth, that may have been when I first really felt like I was making a difference in a raid as a healer.
In early Burning Crusade, I wasn’t with Fated Heroes and Apotheosis had yet to be born, so my experience with healing in a raid situation at that point was Karazhan and dual-healing Kara with another holy paladin. I had responsibility for one tank and group, the other paladin (the raid leader) would handle the other tank and the other group. We ostensibly had a priest who was supposed to be healing with us, but she was shadow most of the time (MANA BATTERIES YAY) or, oddly, AFK. (2-healing Moroes with two paladins and careful use of Turn Undead was fantastic, by the way.)
When Apotheosis first formed, Cryptkikr was our natural choice as healing lead. And since I was the most geared of pretty much anyone (with my one piece of T4, the gloves, and several off-set pieces), I decided I wouldn’t DPS. I decided to heal.
So Crypt gave out assignments and such, although I filled in now and again, especially when we were on separate Karazhan teams, but he was key for Maulgar and Gruul and Magtheridon assignments. Meanwhile, since I’d always been the research-type person, I handled strats and general raid leading duties, with Majik also being fairly vocal, and then after raids, Daey and I would sit there and go through logs for an hour after every single raid.
It was as we were getting through SSC that we felt a need for more DPS, so Crypt went shadow. We needed bodies and had pulled in several people from my first guild in BC, including a couple of healers. So Crypt went shadow and I took on the healing assignments. Crypt eventually stopped playing due to RL issues and, well, I kept doing healing.
I loved my healers. I really did. There was Furormalic, Massimo, Kazir, Noon, Opus, Ribs, Space, Q, Lokdog, Legs and, of course, Euphie. We had a great time together in Burning Crusade and I loved being in charge of the healers, even when I wanted to kill them on Bloodboil for cross-healing when they shouldn’t have done so. :)
I maintained both raid leading and healer leading through the start of Wrath, but things went poorly in terms of attendance and so we couldn’t progress, then couldn’t recruit and we stopped raiding. I went to Bronzebeard, to a guild called Resurgence, after we’d stopped officially raiding in Apotheosis. Within two months or so, guess what? That’s right, promoted to healing lead.
I left them after being there for about six months. They were having trouble forming raids, the raid leader having gquit (apparently because of me and my arguments with him — to which I say, dude, if you’re going to call for a second set of cooldowns on 4m Ignis, you’d better make damn sure we HAVE 2 sets of cooldowns to use, jackass), so I went to Proudmoore and raided with my Real-Life Friend the Resto Druid. I was there from mid-September until late May/early June and somewhere in February/March… I was asked to take over healing for my RL Friend the Resto Druid who was going through some personal stuff and couldn’t raid for a good month or so.
I left that guild shortly after my RLFtRD returned and moved on to Choice where I was happy as a clam. I didn’t have any responsibilities except to heal. It was great. Of course, I helped out with some strats and such, because I had already gone 11/12 HM on Proudmoore and the guild was 7/11 HM when I joined, so I happily gave them any input I could — which I’m sure annoyed some of the officers, but the whole walking-the-fine-line between helpful and annoying as shit is a story for another time.
4.0 dropped. I headed back to Eldre’Thalas, to resume being a raid leader for the first time since early Wrath, and to be a healing lead again, for the first time in months.
When we started raiding on January 4th, 2011, our healing roster looked like this:
3 Holy Paladins: Myself, Walks and Apple.
4 Healing Priests: Kaleri, Oestrus, Numinal and Legs.
2 Resto Druids: Hestiah and Kaleina.
1 Resto Shaman: Dar.
(Yes, we overrecruited.)
Apple and Legs pulled themselves from the starting roster due to lack of time to get their ducks in a row to be “raid ready” by the extended deadline I’d given them. We removed Kaleina from our starting roster on January 25th due to a variety of things, including sporadic attendance. So our 10 healers dropped to 7 healers — good thing we overrecruited.
Having said that, we now have 8 healers on the roster, one in his trial, and though there’s only three of us left from a year ago (me, Walks and Kaleri), we’ve gained Sara, Kit, Featherwind and, of course, Jasyla. Plus Baylie, our new resto shammy who’s in his trial with us.
I love my healers. Sara and Kal share a brain sometimes (and, for whatever reason, poop comments/jokes are quite popular with them). Walks wanted to be a raid healing paladin in Cataclysm and so he has become phenomenal at it (unlike my sorry self), while sneaking in the most terribly awful puns you could ever imagine. Kit and her Spirit Link Totem have SAVED THE DAY on more than one occasion. Feather is always up for a challenge and is another one of us strange people with two max-level healing toons of the same class and spec. Baylie is still making his mark, but I’m looking forward to seeing more from him. And Jasyla, well, Jasyla is awesomeness in druidic form.
Healer chat has been filled with pudding and wine discussions, poop jokes, a ton of laughter and massive amounts of RSA announces.
Through the last year, it hasn’t always been easy for me to raid lead while being the healing lead as well. On countless occasions, I’ll have forgotten cooldown rotations and be in mid-fight and go “uh… crap… okay, so I’ll get AM first, Walks gets AM second, Kal third with PWB” and so on. Sometimes, I’ve actually forgotten to give out healing assignments at all. >.>
I came into the expansion thinking “I AM GOING TO DO HEALING REVIEWS EVERY MONTH OR TWO”. And I’ve done them twice, total, in the last year. (And will be doing them again this week.)
Overall, I feel that the healers have really deserved better from me in the last year. I’ve always thought “hey, I can do (some healer-related thing) tomorrow or next week,” but tomorrow or next week never seemed to come.
When my grandmother broke her hip in late December (she’s in a rehabilitation center now to build up her muscles and such, so she’s doing quite well — thank you for all your concern, tweets, emails and positive thoughts!!), I suddenly had 2-4 fewer hours in any given day, due to going to the hospital to see her, staying anywhere between 1-3 hours and then coming back home. This utter lack of time, plus the start of my winter semester, plus the fact that one of my officers with whom I’ve played WoW with for six years, on and off, is stepping down as an officer and a raider… this meant something had to give if I wanted to continue to play WoW with any kind of seriousness.
So I approached some people in the guild about becoming officers. One was Serrath, whose name you’ve certainly seen in the comments on this very blog, who I asked to take over Loot Master duties. The other was Jasyla, because it’s clear to me that it’s time for me to hand over the healing lead reins to ensure that the healers get the attention they deserve.
I’ll remain a healer — despite the fact we’ve had trouble recruiting hunters, I know that no one wants me to inflict my poor DPS skills on the raid on Kurn — but will hand off the healing lead hat to Jasyla and I’ll concern myself primarily with raid stuff.
In a way, it’s going back to my roots. This is where I started, after all, right? Barking out commands and orders in Zul’Gurub on Venoxis? It’s something I’ve done for the last year, so it’s not new to me, either.
But at the same time… my healers are my peeps. Don’t get me wrong, I really like my guildies overall, but over the years, dating back to BC at least, it was always the healing team that made things awesome for me. Cryptkikr, Euphie, Furormalic, even Noonshade and Opus back in the day (despite the nastiness that happened in the start of Wrath, I still think fondly of the BC days with them), all of which gave way to the people in Resurgence, like Kaleri (and Kaleina, who was healing on her priest as Carmentes back then) and, shockingly, Euphie (again!) and Fadorable. That gave way to my RL Friend the Resto Druid and a couple of the other healers over on Proudmoore. And eventually, my move to Choice gave me the opportunity to get to know Fugara (the GM) and meet Walks and heal alongside some very talented healers in Wrath. Even today in Choice, I love chatting with Fug and Azrulian and Lovin, while getting to focus on JUST healing the fights, which is still glorious.
So I am very reluctant to place them in someone else’s hands, but at least I know they’ll be well-cared for. Apart from anything else, I know Jasyla knows how to read the logs, so I know she’s not going to bench people for low healing output. ;)
This change has been in the making for about a month and that’s still not enough time for me to accept that for the first time in years, as long as I’ve been an officer-type person in the guild, I am NOT going to be doing healing assignments on a regular basis. I know it’ll be a benefit to the raid group as a whole to have someone else dedicated to that and no longer will I have to sit down and do assignments AFTER I’ve explained to everyone where to stand, etc, etc. No longer will I forget cooldowns or forget assignments altogether. It’s a good thing. It’s a good change.
Change is scary, though, and I really have to wonder how it’s going to feel to me, personally, next week when Jasyla does the healing assignments solo. (This week is a transition week for both Toga and Serrath as loot masters and me and Jasyla as healing leads.)
At least I’m still going to heal on my paladin and will still be in healer chat and will still get to hang out in the best Apotheosis raid channel. And I know my healers will get the attention they really deserve. <3