I’m feeling a bit lost, a little left out if you will. The channel of heals has been shuttered and closed, with a crappy little placard saying “Password Protected.”
Like many raiding guilds, Production Company had a healer channel set up when I joined. When we first started healing (and dying) together, it was a great place to chat back and forth, and communicate healing related crap to our raid leader, who also happens to be a tank. Of course, unlike any other healing channel I’ve ever been a part of, it seemed that everyone but our in-house raid strategist, elemental shaman, and sometime restoration shaman was in the channel. Since all but one of our raid team was involved in the channel, a healing slanted discussion would often end up resulting in a general strategy discussion, leaving the raid channel curiously silent.
Our raid leader’s reaction: shut down the healer channel. His reasoning isn’t bad, I mean, healing changes should be taken into account when determining overall raid strategy. From that perspective, adding it into the general flow of the raid channel is a good thing. But, here’s the thing: that’s not happening either.
Part of the reason is that healing discussions rarely impact the raid as a whole. Some things need to be coordinated between a tank and their particular healer to avoid cooldown confusion, but otherwise, whether or not I use my tree-form or tranquility, or paladin A beacons target 1 or 2, and whether paladin B does the same is kinda irrelevant information to anyone else. Ditto for finding out whether the raid healer is concentrating extra healing on certain raid members or tanks.
Since we’ve lost the healer channel, I’ve seen two things done to compensate: use the raid channel and whispers.
The raid leader is probably cheering as I say we’re using the raid channel; however, I’m getting aggravated about it. Healer discussion doesn’t stop the flow of information that is being discussed about overall tactics: we just end up talking over each other. Where before, I had orange text that was general tactics and a blue-green text that was healer related, now I’ve got a big ol’ blob of orange text. There will be some lines of general, a couple of lines of healer and back and forth with no real way to keep the two separated. It’s easy to tell why: a lot of general raid discussion isn’t 100% important to healers. I mean, who cares that you have to DPS down a shield. Is that shield robbing you of life while you do it? No? Don’t care. Same goes for our heal-y discussions. Who cares how the healers split up the raid damage: so long as I get enough healing to get my pew-pew on, I’m all good!
In the last couple of raids, I’ve noticed that we’re reverting to an overall weak medium: the whisper. See, whispers are good because it keeps the clutter out of general discussion and doesn’t mess up the flow of the conversation. Whispers are evil and bad because they only allow two people to get the information. If the paladins are discussing beacons in whispers, it has the potential to mess up my flow a bit: I’m the raid healer, I keep some HoTs on the tank I think needs it, but if I know that the paladins are stacking beacons, it can mean I need to change my priorities a bit. Same thing goes for cooldown discussions, general healing advice and just about all that other crap that you talk about in a healer channel. The disc priest and I were discussing strategies for keeping players alive during the Atramedes encounter the other day: would everyone have benefited… probably not. Would the other healer present? Maybe. If nothing else, she might have had an interesting insight or a strategy that she found helpful.
The final note I’d like to make about a healing channel is rather touchy-feely, and maybe a bit elitist. You see, healing is stressful. You could argue (and I’d agree) that all roles are stressful, but in many ways, healing stress if produced by others, and not be our personal failure. Sure you can’t help that the boss is beating the crap out of you if you’re the tank, but plenty of raid DPS is self-inflicted, and it’s our job to bandage that up.
Tanks, to some extent, compete against the raid in threat and against the boss in defense. DPS measure their performance in large part by improving their numbers. Healers measure their success by not having the raid die–a factor that we can rarely control if the shit really hits the fan. And unlike the other roles, it is a task that is impossible to do without a solid team effort. Healers really are a team within your team, and having a place where they can forge strong bonds is an important part of keeping a leg in your trinity functioning at peak efficiency.
How does your team handle role-specific channels? Do you feel that a 10-man team really needs channels, or is a hold-over from larger raid sizes? Would you feel lost without your channel?