Tobold was lamenting about healer blame and many of his commentators feel the same – that people would blame healers for wipes that are not the fault of healers. Surprisingly, I’ve not met such people in the many pug WOTLK heroics we’ve been running. Before I respecced from elemental to resto for good, I have however met one prima donna healer who really give healers a bad name. She has previously featured as Specimen #1 in Pockie’s post about under-brained players. Or maybe it was part of her tactic to avoid healer blame. What better way than to go on the offense and start the blame game on dps instead!
One of the reasons why blame is usually misplaced is ignorance — not understanding the fight and what went wrong. If you have no idea what is supposed to happen, it’s more likely that you wrongly accuse someone. So let’s say in the last boss on Azjol Nerub, we had a group that wiped massively on him before we gave up. We had a mage who was on his first ever heroic, a rogue whose dps is on the low end and a death knight. The boss burrows and spawn adds. One of the adds are venomancers who spews an aoe poison debuff that stacks and each debuff does 1500 damage per second. As a resto shaman, I already had it easy since I have poison cleansing totem. But the dps was too low/unfocused and we were unable to take down the venomancers quickly enough, leading to the inevitable death. (Also didn’t help that the rogue died to the boss’s pound). Without a clear view of the fight, it is easy for group members to think along the lines of “ok, a healer’s job is to keep me alive. I died. Therefore it’s the healer’s fault”. Just as in the case of Specimen #1, because she didn’t understand the mechanics of the voidwalker boss in heroic Violet Hold, she thought that we did not zerg him fast enough when actually she was one of the clueless culprits who did not kill the adds, leading to our inevitable demise.
And it doesn’t just happen in pugs, while our guild was learning the Archimonde fight, healers get a lot of smack because the tank dies or melee complain that “I never get healed etc etc”. In actual fact, it was because many people are getting caught in doomfires and healers have to spread their heals out and heal reactively instead of putting pre-emptive heals on the tank. In the end, we tackled the fight by asking people to get out of range before fear, running like headless chickens if a doomfire is near. It drastically reduced the amount of doomfire damage and tank healing stabilized. And for those people who complain about not getting heals, I also installed an add-on such as recount that logs deaths and the last 10-20 lines of what happened before that, so I can just tell people to stop eating doomfires for supper. That shut them up pretty quick. Power to knowledge, I would say.
The other theory I have is a lack of bargaining power for healers. I’ve noticed recently that there seems to be a surplus of healers in LFG. One evening, there were 4 (!!) holy priests looking to do the heroic daily and hardly a single dps. As a healer + tank combi, our leverage in a group is much higher since we can just fill up the remaining positions with any dps we find. Sole healers may find themselves less valuable to a group because there are alternative healers who can fill the position.
As a healer, how do you protect yourself from abuse from jerks? Well, there’s nothing much to do about jerks except /ignore but recognizing that the complaints arise from ignorance, it may help to enlighten the group on what went wrong and suggest improvements to overcome whatever it is that wiped you. If dps has not been helping you kill adds and you have trouble healing, then let the tank/dps know. Most importantly, don’t get worked, throw up a big fuss and huff off with your hearthstone. If they insist on being jerks, then you can hearth at will