I Like Being a Lazor Chicken, Honest!

Is everyone tired of bloggers whining about Heroic Ragnaros yet? Probably. However, I’ve got my own little tale of woe that I’d feel better talking about here than continually whining to my raid leader about, so you get to suffer with me. Aren’t I nice?

Here’s the thing. We’re not really that far into Rag if you consider other teams kill records. 101 attempts (by my count) isn’t that bad. The team has glimpsed at Phase 4, even if we didn’t actually do much while we were there. The point is, the progress is just fine.

How Can You Not Love This?

While I spend most of progression layering the raid with HoTs, I’ve been known to put on the feathers from time to time: lazer beams of doom from the sky is just too much fun to pass up, amirite? I really enjoy being a boomchicken, but let me tell you, this is the first time I’ve felt super pressured to perform in that role.

Most of the time when I go dps, it’s because our regular dps has gotten good enough and our damage has gotten low enough, that we can afford to cut back a healer and get the fight moving a little faster. The only exception to this has been H. Cho’gall. My main role in Cho’gall was correctly placing boom shrooms and staying out of the bad while the real dps did their jobs. Just sayin’.

And then we get to Rag. I haven’t really done dps on any other fight in Firelands. I briefly flirted with it on a couple of early attempts of Staghelm, but we discovered that our paladin’s ret dps just blew my lazer beams out of the water. Last week was my first time to pew pew on H. Baleroc. I did well there, but it was pretty much Patchwerk style for me as I only filled in on a crystal as a last resort. Long story short, it’s been a long time since I’ve gone really done serious deeps.

Our first night in I was regularly swapping spots on the damage meter with our feral tank, and I seriously wanted to cry. I thought I knew what I was doing, but I figured another look couldn’t hurt. One of Beru’s guildmates was kind enough to look over my gear and logs, and while there were some gearing suggestions (stop slacking and get your 4-piece already! screw having heroic pieces) he pretty much gave me the thumbs up. It made me feel a bit better… for awhile.

After another night, I decided to go look for myself. I went to World of Logs and dug through a number of balance druids who’ve been killing Rag. I eyeballed their dps. I picked over their gear. Better kitting definitely equaled better dps, and frankly, they just died less than I did. Although I can’t hit the top 200 in dps, I’m not so woefully behind that I feel like I’ll never hit those numbers, just not in my current state. So that made me feel a little better… for awhile.

Because tonight one of our healers was out for the night, and I stepped back into a restoration role. While I didn’t execute flawlessly, I sure as hell did a better job healing things than I did dps’ing them. I felt better too. I wasn’t in anxiety mode the entire night. And honestly, that makes me kind of sad. I like to dps. I enjoy the minute log sifting which really shines for dps, but not so much for healers. I like the graphics, the pizzazz of blowing things to smithereens.

But, and it’s a big but, it is really hard to perform really well at a task that you do once maybe twice a tier. I’ve done this kind of swapping before, from a tank to a healer throughout BC and Wrath. I honestly thought I did an ok job. But you know what… so long as all the little boxes stay topped off and none of them goes dark, a healer has done their job.

I just don’t feel that way when I switch to dps, especially one where overall our dps needs a good shot in the arm. I really except and need to be at a certain benchmark to be a valuable contributer to the progress of the fight, and I’m just not there right now. In many ways, I feel like I was thrown in an alligator pit for this particular fight. The fight is complicated to begin with, comprised of a number of intricate puzzle pieces that raid members have to perform successfully as a team and as individuals. Once you get away from the horror of the fight lasting for a seriously heartbreaking amount of time, it’s actually kind of fun.

What’s not as fun is sitting in the back of the room, working on making sure your rotation is as perfect as you can make it, and still feeling like you’d do just as well riding the lava waves to victory. Talk about a major bummer. It didn’t really hit me how stressed I was until we had done the seed phase a couple of times tonight. I consider Flames of the World my personal bane. There’s damn little I can do but fire of moonfire spam as I try not to get my tail feathers burned as a moonkin. But as a healer, I’ve got all kinds of helpful, useful things I can be doing while I dance between the fires. A part of the fight that I was whimpering in terror from I was now dancing with some measure of ease.

This is the horror of healing requirements being all over the place. It doesn’t have anything to do with what I find fun. It isn’t a case of just being in the wrong role for me. I like both the roles, I think I could probably execute both quite well. But there’s a huge difference between knowing, for my gear and death level, that I’m probably doing just fine. Because the fights change so radically in healing and dps requirements, even in 10-mans, even between normal and heroic modes, I’m finding myself feeling totally inadequate in a dungeon. For 6 bosses, including heroic, we could 3 heal if we wanted. We frequently did because meeting the dps requirement wasn’t an issue. But the final boss, the creme de la creme of the entire instance just can’t be done with 3 healers. Even with 2 healers and a full complement of full-time dps players, the requirements would be tight. But my team is small. We rarely have an extra dps available to take over my slot even if that’s something the guild wanted to do. Being the nice people that they are, they don’t want to exclude me from my regularly scheduled raid slot, and I love them for it.

But because the rest of the dungeon didn’t really need only 2 healers, I’ve spent an entire tier doing nothing but heal. Honestly, I don’t have the muscle memory as tight as I’d like to be the best I can be. So, instead of keeping my skills fresh and up to date where I spend my time, in the raid, I’m retraining myself on the dummy. Which sounds great, but requires no movement. I can dps like a queen as long as I don’t have to do anything ^^

So, I’ll end my personal outpouring of angst and whining with a question for you:

How do you keep up to date on two roles when you only do one in the environment you must perform in regularly?

Bonus points for those who read my mind read this next part and agree that just toughing it out on those Rag attempts will make me a better chicken. Pew frickin’ pew.

5 thoughts on “I Like Being a Lazor Chicken, Honest!

  1. I’m a ret paladin, but occasionally serve as our guild’s backup tank, for the rare occasion that one of our regular two tanks are unable to make it. Last week, our main tank went out of town for two weeks, meaning I would be tanking everything except for Baleroc, including Heroic Ragnaros. Long story short, we got our first kill on Monday. Role swapping in general is stressful, but to do it on that fight is definitely another thing entirely. To learn the fight in one role, and then to have to step into another, less familiar one, is not easy.

    When I practice my ret dps on a dummy, unless I’m trying to figure out a specific rotation or something, I will run circles around the dummy while dpsing. If I were you, I’d have the in game timer running, and, for example, spend 5s of every 20s running around while continuing to DPS. That way, you’re practicing in a more realistic environment.

    • I hadn’t though of running around like a chicken with my head cut off ;) I’ll definitely give that a try at the dummies.

  2. I’m in a similar situation, though we aren’t anywhere near heroic Ragnaros yet. I only go Boomkin for Heroic Alysrazor at the moment, and I was horrified by my poor performance when we started that fight. On normal Alysrazor I was frequently in the middle of the DPS pack, which I thought was pretty good for someone playing their off-spec with less-than-optimal gear. But for some reason when we jumped to the heroic version I was way down at the bottom of the chart. (I think I was doing 10-13k DPS, tops).

    So what was the problem? Well, I almost never play Boomkin. This means that I don’t have my rotation ingrained into my muscle memory. I still spend a lot of time staring at my bars and timers, because if I don’t I have the distressing tendency to cast the wrong spells. (Ooops! Didn’t notice I was in an eclipse state! Maybe I should start casting Wrath…) Because Alysrazor involves so much movement I was making mistakes all the freaking time.

    Since I hate performing badly I did exactly what you did – spent some time with the training dummy. By just practicing my rotation I managed to improve my DPS by several thousand on the dummy, and in raid I jumped back up to the middle of the pack.

    I wish Blizz would just decide how many healers they expect us to have and then design the encounters for that many healers.

    • Agreed. I like both, I’d play either (and I have!) I think changing specs to help your team is admirable, but this is the first time I’ve felt like dead weight.

  3. Your doing bleeding edge content.. like the best of the best (I think) and your healing it like an awesome mad person… and then you expect to have that kind of skill on your off spec that you dig out of the dirt every once in a while… I think that would be pretty hard. If your guild thinks your bringing value then I am sure you are.. try and get better if you can but release that your doing something very difficult in one spec and cut yourself some slack when your not quite as good at it on a totally different spec… that’s my take at least.

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