Welcome to the Dark Side

… or how Zarigar learned to heal!

That’s right, I’ve got me another guest post today.

My work schedule is going to be kind of freaky for the next couple weeks so some of the posts may be a little on the lean side until things calm down.

Today, however, is anything but lean as we delve deep into the mind of the troll that wouldn’t heal, or would he?

Arioch couldn’t get me to do it.

The rest of my guild couldn’t get me to do it.

The possibility of me getting to raid more often couldn’t do it.

The temptation of the dark side and their supposedly nummy cookies couldn’t get me to do it.

So why did I finally break down and pick up a resto offset?

We can thank the random LFG for that. That’s right—I was brought down by ridiculous DPS queue times.


My disdain for healing was a joke to people who knew me. When my old guild merged with the new one, this often appeared in guild chat:

Hey Zar, can you heal?

Arioch: Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha

When I say “disdain”, I don’t mean that I looked down on healing or healers. On the contrary, I have a lot of respect for people who do it and do it well.

It just wasn’t something that appealed to me. And the pressure, oh God, I have to try to keep all these people alive?

If I am sucky DPS, people might look at me sadly and my epeen might deflate a little.

If I am a sucky healer, people die and rack up repair bills.

I didn’t really want to deal with the pressure. As DPS, I have 2 others (and sometimes the tank) who could potentially pick up the slack if I was underperforming. There is no real safety net for healing.

Bad DPS might be tolerated (if not mocked to your friends and guildies).

Bad healing will probably end up with you getting the boot.

And I had convinced myself that I would be a bad healer.


Oddly enough, my first toon ever was a healer. My little space goat priest made her appearance on an RP server that didn’t seem to take the role-playing itself very seriously (thank God).

This was before WotLK and dual spec, so she made it all the way to 70 as a holy priest. (Why did I do that to myself?)

We weren’t really running any instances or end game stuff back then, so she didn’t really get to show off any of her healing prowess. Most of the healing she did was of the light kind, tossing a few heals while in group to kill elites, nothing too major or strenuous.

Sometime after that, someone got the great idea to create toons on a PVP server. (Not naming names; rhymes with Larioch.) (Edit: it wasn’t me, it was Tay – Arioch) I had no desire of replicating my priest and getting another one up to 70, so I chose to play a shaman instead.

Because it was a PVP server, we tended to quest together in group to increase our chances for survivability. Despite not speccing for it (still no dual spec at the time) my enhancement shaman occasionally became the de facto healer.

He healed a few group quests at the beginning of the game and some early instances, but eventually phased out of healing as more talent points got put into the enhancement tree. By that time we had some dedicated healers who were doing a great job of it and I decided I didn’t really want to spec to resto.

Aside from the occasional jabs and jokes about why I don’t heal—even after dual spec finally came out—it wasn’t anything I gave more than a glancing thought over.


And then freaking patch 3.3 and the random Looking For Group tool came along. The first time I queued up, I looked at the options available for me as a shaman: healing and DPS. I glanced at the little cross that signified healing, shrugged, and then placed my check mark next to the little dagger denoting DPS.

Then I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

What the hell?

Finally, after 10 minutes—which felt like 3 hours—the ready box finally appeared and off I went. I collected my emblems and queued up for the next one.

And waited.

And waited.


Trade chat was full of people complaining about the same predicament. DPS was waiting a long time while tanks and healers were getting snatched up. They were running multiple instances in the time it took for me to be picked up for one.

Healing…ugh…do I dare?

I made my choice while I was in queue and missed my ready check.

“You have been removed from the dungeon finder.”


Ok, let’s heal.


I did a little research. Read some blogs. Tried to understand what I was going to do.

I had no illusions that I would hop in and be a master healer, but I wanted to at least not look like a total noob my first time out.

My old enhancement spec went bye-bye as I unlearned all my talents and converted it to a resto spec. All these weird new spells looked foreign to me. Riptide? Earth Shield?

Thankfully, I had a bunch of older tier emblems collecting dust, so I used them to buy lower level healing gear to start out with. I cobbled together what I could of a healing set. What I couldn’t yet acquire I used my elemental gear to fill in some of the gaps.

Seriously, I was pretty ghetto looking. I imagined my future pug-mates inspecting my gear and thinking, “WTF is with this guy? I know this is not the person we are depending on to keep us alive.”

Because of this, I hesitated before putting myself into queue as a healer. I wasn’t interested in healing for healing’s sake or for keeping people alive. I just wanted to get into the random instances faster.

Did that make me a fraud? That I was basically trying to jump the line because I didn’t want to wait 15 minutes for an instance? Was there any difference between me and the other bads who queued up as tank & healer to get in faster?

I’m sure if I had asked my guild I might have gotten a few brave guinea pigs to let me test my heals on them. But I decided to practice on strangers instead. In my warped logic, I imagined I wouldn’t feel as bad if random tank XX from server XXX died instead of Soth. And if my healing was so terrible—as a last resort—I could always just cowardly drop group and teleport back to the safety of my server.


Alright, screw it. I respecced, bought some gear, did some research. Might as well put it to use and see where I stand.

I opened up the LFG tool and clicked the Healing box–

Wait-wait-wait…if I random queue, then I have no say in which instance I get. I might get Oculus or Halls of Reflection or something that is easy for me as a DPS but might be a little hard to heal.

Eh, screw it. I’ll give up the extra emblems and put myself in queue specifically for UK. That is a nice easy instance and should be a nice first practice.

I’m in queue for less than a minute when my ready screen pops up. Yikes, my queue time went from 15 minutes to 15 seconds. And, look at that, with the power of healer I can make other people run the instances I want.

Too late, I remember that UK in particular is one in which the tanks like to show off their own peen. As in, let’s blitzkrieg through this as fast as we can. You get emblems and gold and 3 virgins each if you complete the instance before the LFG debuff falls off you.

And, yes, as DPS I absolutely love this kind of tank. Faster pussycat, kill, kill! As a healer I want to run back out of the entrance and hide underneath one of the hammocks in the Dalaran inn.

So bear tank takes off down the hallway, grabbing every vrykul he can get his paws on. I try to keep, throwing Earth Shield on the tank and try to keep everyone else healed.

I’m so worried about staying in range of everyone and making sure they stay alive, that it doesn’t occur to me until about halfway through the run that I haven’t dropped a single totem…

Epic fail.

Running as resto means that I have now played all 3 shaman specs. And in all of them, you drop totems; it’s like one of the first things they teach you in shaman school. Hell, it’s just one button now. It kind of unnerved me that I was missing this basic step in being a shaman.

/hangs mohawked head in shame.

Thankfully, no one called me out on it. And if they noticed, they were nice enough to not say anything.

All in all, though, the run went pretty smooth. Then tank was excellent and the rest of the group was pretty good in not taking unnecessary damage. No one died (yay!) and I got a better feel for healing.

I still consider elemental my main spec, though I now alternate between healing and DPS for my random instances. Some runs are super smooth, while others are a bit of a nightmare. When a run goes badly, I still get the feeling of being a “pretend” healer who doesn’t know what he’s doing.

But, all in all, healing is not so bad.

So where is my damn cookie?

/gives Zarigar a cookie

I have yet to be healed by Zar since he’s made the switch to resto off-spec… sounds like we need to queue up!


26 comments on “Welcome to the Dark Side

  1. Shawndra says:

    I used to be the same way on my priest. Someone new to the guild would ask me to heal something and the rest of the guild would laugh. I did heal a little in the beginning of Wrath, when my guild started raiding and healers were hard to come by, but Shadow was my thing. Once the guild members started dropping out from the inevitable WoW boredom that hits them once an expansion, I went back to shadow. Then 3.3 hit. It didn’t take me that long to switch to my holy spec. People looked at my gear and asked why I ws healing in dps gear (I had roughly 140 hit in my heal set, because I was cheap). Now, all I do is heal. I have been seeing a lot of people looking for shadow dps for raids lately, though (rubs hands together and plans out next badge purchases).


  2. Darraxus says:

    Maybe I am a sucker, but most of the time I prefer to tank or heal. You really have more control of you fate than you do as a DPS. Although DPS can be fun sometimes too.


    • Rurjaos says:

      Control is illusional!
      You always have 4 others who are able to determine the moment of your virtual death.
      So everything that counts is fun. So virtuos blitzkrieg is fun, dps-as-dps-can is fun and druidic stanceless battlehealing is fun. Doing something out of my main spec might be fun, if necessary (single raidencounter). Doing it just for the emblems isn’t.


  3. koalabear21 says:

    I hate doing instances as boomkin on my druid. Don’t get me wrong, I loved leveling as boomkin, I just don’t like instance DPS as one. Healing is soooo soooo very easy. Especially as a tree. Like you, I was scared to death to heal at first. My guildies even brought in a back up healer “just in case” which really makes your confidence plummet.

    I am currently leveling my priest as holy through the LFD tool. So far so good. I am sure I will be insane by the time I hit outlands though.

    Good luck with the healing! :D


  4. Dark/Soth says:

    Great post Zarzar! Dude, you totally should of hit me up when you wanted some practice. I would of wiped for you a few times. Also, if I ever tank for you, you get to dps as well! I think Liyhe put up 900 dps a couple runs ago. Fun times.


  5. For the Pie says:

    900? Liyhe did 54 in our last UK run. Freakin slacker.


  6. Orangeslice says:

    Yeah i know i need to bring up the slack….freakin healers not contributing.

    And Zar welcome to the dark side. :)


  7. Hulan says:

    I’ve been healing on my priest ever since I created her about 2 years ago. More recently I’ve been healing on my Druid and Paladin (despite swearing in the past that I didn’t want to heal on either of them!). I’ve decided to go for a full set and roll a Dwarf Shaman when Cataclysm comes out.


  8. theerivs says:

    LOL as I foray into the world of healing i feel your pain. I too am sick of the long ass DPS queues.

    What I find funny is first time i healed, I forgot to heal myself. LOL!


  9. Orangeslice says:

    What…what do you mean i have to heal myself….

    I do that all the time…even though priests have a very useful spell called binding heal….

    Protip – when healing someone who is not a tank…and you are missing some life. Use Binding heal…so the tank you are healing will not lose the grace buff. :)


  10. For the Pie says:

    So I am home, woke up with Migraine. Feel better, respec my priest Disc to do some heroics.

    First heroic, out the gate, Halls of Stone. Pally, 39.5 Health. I am thinking, easy peasy….

    Not really, I got heal aggro a lot, because apparently he didn’t think consecrate was vital to pack pulling.

    Got it done, no wipes, a couple died in the Brann event due to standing in the bad. Got Good Grief, as well. I think Zug had rolled a warrior in my battlegroup due to how much damage he took.

    Not sure I am cut out for healing, at least disc priest healing. OMG. Shields? Uh..tank and me got them. Every so often, if I remembered, I gave them to others.

    I think a mouse over macro or something would prolly help.

    But I am doing nothing major until I switch to my new computer.


    • Orangeslice says:

      Hmmm….I think when 1st healing as priest i found it easier to heal 5 mans as holy rather then disc. Not saying you cant..i just found it easier.

      But it gets a lot easier…so much so…when i did try holy again in some 5 mans..i felt so lost….

      And yes MO macro for PW:S is a give in…i think pretty much for any healy spell, MO is absolute!


  11. Orangeslice says:

    Yup I am really really deep into the disc tree.

    I admit i stole your MO macros from the guild site and it work with binding heal for me. When you are using binding heal…are you MO yourself or the target you are trying to heal?

    If you MO yourself…it wont work. You need to pick the target you wish to heal for the macro to work.


  12. Lymph/tranq says:

    Its all about the shaman healing. I love when tanks chain pull and we’re out of there in like 15-20 minutes. Just pst me on my pally for shaman related questions. Doesn’t look like Lymphocyte will be coming back as soon as I had anticipated :*(


  13. Delerius says:

    Sadly, Zarigar just used too much mature language for my phone to handle…

    But an excellent post nonetheless. Welcome to the Dark Side Zar =)


  14. Zarigar says:

    Thanks everyone for reading and thanks Arioch for letting me have a place to post that. I guess the next step would be to change my guild note that says “WILL NOT HEAL”…


  15. Koushirou says:

    i feel sorry that you got your first healing experiance off a blitzkrieg type tank as they tend to be more annoying to heal, it’s a good job not all runs end up that way or i’d have to stop healing myself.

    of course the most annoying part of healing is the rampant difficulty curve changes, you’ll get some instance where your getting realy bored hitting only renew (riptide for you i suppose), then you’ll get another where if your not spamming flash heal (lesser healing wave) the tanks going to hit the dirt fast and it’s hard to tell which type of run it’s going to be from the start… unless it’s PoS then your fucked, i swear garfrost was made to throw heals into a rage that would make fury warriors cower.


  16. […] was kind enough to let me guest post at her site and I’ve decided to spin-off my guest appearance into my own series. (Like most spin-offs, […]


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