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?


20 thoughts on “Shutdown

  1. My guild has a healer chat channel that they use during raids. I'm very hands-off with it. I couldn't even tell you the name. I trust them to give me important information and over-arcing healer strategy. Sometimes I'll give initial assignments or suggestions. And when there's problems we're trying to address, I try to solicit specific feedback on their perspective. But I'm not a healer and it's not a space I really understand, so I let them deal with most of the coordination themselves.

    I always have one healer in the raid group with assist so that they can rearrange people as they see fit. ("You're in charge of healing your group," is a common assignment for us.)

    The only thing having a separate healer channel has spawned is a separate hunter channel. But they tell me I'm not allowed to join, even on my hunter. Something about not being angry enough…

  2. I don't think I have ever been in a guild that didn't have class/role channels. I would feel pretty lost without them!

    I think the solution that was determined in this situation was not the correct one. I'm a firm believer in people that are not a part of the role surrounding that channel not being allowed in said channel. If you're not a healer and not the GM/healing lead – get out.

    That would be like me sitting in a DPS channel. I have nothing to offer about that side of things. What else would I be doing there?

    I think a specific channel dedicated to a certain role is a huge resource in any group makeup – be it 10 man or 25 man. I would also disagree that discussions around healing do not benefit the raid as a whole. You would be surprised how much a conversation about shuffling cooldowns or changing up assigments in healer chat can make a huge difference in how many people survive an encounter or how much mana you are really having to expend during a fight.

    I feel those discussions can make a big difference!


  3. Not only does my guild have a healer chat channel, but we have a tanking one, and a dps one

    I tell the healers its up to them to make changes to their strategy, as raid leader I sit in all the channels to see everything going on.

    From my perspective DPS doesn't need to know how the healers are handling assignments or their personal strategy, its noise.

    Hopefully you can get a healer chat channel back, if not do it in secret, I think its very beneficial

  4. I don't really see your RL's point. Other people are in the healer chan, so… shut down the healer chan? Why not just ask those people to leave? Or, if they just won't, change the name and don't tell them?

    For my 10-man guild, the healer chan isn't terribly useful, but it has its purpose. I think it will see much more action once we get into heroic modes and free for all won't work anymore.

  5. Seems to me your raid leader is acting immature about the situation. Sub channels are a great way to help coordinate various aspects of raiding and (I feel) can be of a great benefit. There can be times when they are used incorrectly, which is way some basic guidelines can avoid potential issues. Instead of talking with the team as a whole and voicing their concern about the use of the channel, your RL took an almost infantile approach – stomping their feet and shutting it down.

    Perhaps speaking with the RL about creating some guidelines can help you both reach a compromise.

  6. We've had two special channels forever – one for tanks, and one for healers. Periodically due to alt-drift or people playing off-specs, the number of people in the channel would begin to grow. We had an "opinionated" paladin with an off-healing spec that used to butt into healer channel all the time, so we asked him to leave.

    It's kept small and exclusive for a reason – for instance, I'm not in it, as I'm not raid leading or a healer. I used to be in it when I was a moonkin/resto, but I'd rarely speak up unless I'd been healing for that encounter or had a question related to what my task was. If I were leading a raid, I'd probably join for just that evening and then leave again after.

    I think our healers would be pretty ticked to lose their channel – the better option would be to make it clear to the raid that it's for healers and the RL and so GTFO. 😉 It's important to them to have a place where they can plan out their healing strat as a team and as you said it makes it easier to get to know each other.

  7. Zel has been crusading to get us a healing channel, and this is the strongest defense of one I've seen. I am hoping we do set one up and can get some better information flow between healers about healer related things. One thing I really don't like is healing strategy from nonhealers (unless they are the raid leader, and even then I've gotten some really BAD healing advice from raid leaders, so I'm gonna just take you with a grain of salt there) because they often just do not understand the mechanics of healing. If we're losing our heads it helps to be reminded to coordinate cooldowns — specific advice on where to put guardian spirit or when to drop mana tide rarely (if ever) is useful.

  8. First of all, welcome back!

    On your topic, my old raid guild did have a healer specific channel. It was mostly healing strats (as yours was) and QQing about people not moving when they should. Our channel was password protected and only healers were allowed in – not even the Raid Leader/Main Tank broke those rules.

    The "comment worthy" part of it was that when I repecced and began tanking and/or dpsing, I was still in the channel. I never was asked to leave nor removed by force, so I kept privy to some of the things being said. The best perk was seeing when I was being QQ'd about by people who'd joined the guild and channel after I'd stopped healing. I always gave them a shock by replying "Man, thanks for pointing that out – I'll make sure to work on it."

  9. As Vidyala mentioned above, we have two channels, one for healers and one for tanks.

    Fact is, the level of coordination and communication required between members of those two groups is often higher than the rest of the players. These groups need to communicate clearly and without obstructions from other players.

    As the Raid Leader, I am in both channels but I never, ever speak in healer chat. They're the healing specialists, not me. I would never dare try to teach them their job. I'm only in the channel to see if they're struggling with something that I can help with or that they're still discussing and so I shouldn't pull and interrupt.

    I would create another channel, password it and keep everyone who's not a healer out of it. Communication is always a good thing. And forcing you guys to discuss in the middle of the cacophony that raid chat can be is not productive.

  10. /wave

    I guess that I'm the uncompromising, infantile, immature spaz who likes stomping his feet and taking his ball home when he doesn't like how the game is turning out…

    First up, thanks to Terrielle / Wind for the feedback and as I'm already sure you're aware, but for the sake of the audience, I don't mind in the slightest that you posted it here. Maybe the discussion will help others out in some way.

    Who was in the healer channel: (parenthetical notes are reason why)

    Me (Raid leader and Tank)
    Roksi (Tank)
    Brunpal (most common back-up tank)
    Convenience (Shadow priest / offhealer)
    Harvesting (Hunter who asked for permission to join the channel because he just recently hit 85 on his druid and is planning on trying to heal for our alt raid, he promised not to "disturb" any of the conversations)
    Terrielle (Healer)
    Nykitaa (Healer)
    Maccabe (Healer)
    Aavarus (Mage who has healed in the past on his druid/shaman/priest and tanked on his DK, all for our regular progression raids)

    Who is not in the channel:
    Zylyxx (rogue, good at standing in bad stuff)
    Zullu (Elemental/Resto shaman who joins the channel whenever he is asked to heal and then leaves when he is finished healing. Very nearly never stands in bad stuff)
    Nujak (DPS DK who occasionally tanks)

    We don't actually have a tank channel because until very recently, Roksi and I were the only tanks and we generally did all of our "coordinating" outside of raids intermixed with our daily conversations as RL and GM. Roksi's recent absence due to real life issues has made me appreciate how much "natural" coordination exists between us as I have been working through Hardmodes, usually with Brunpal and occasionally Nujak.

    I would say that the majority of the discussion that was going on in the healer channel was related to the coordination of tank and raid cooldowns, which really made it sort of the combined tank/healer channel for the most part. Other than that the healers were *occasionally* chatting about things like confirming/clarifying healing assignments and such with each other, though this was fairly rare and often rarely changed once assignments had been decided on.

    So that is, briefly, what was going well with the healing channel. The only two real "issues" that existed were:

    1) Me having to pretty regularly relay to Zullu details about the discussion from the healer channel, usually in raid chat or over vent, because he "did the right thing" and switched back out of the channel whenever he wasn't healing.

    2) Our DK not being present for the discussion about raid cooldowns also caused me to have to relay most of those conversations to him so that he understood when and where we needed him to drop his AMZ (a huge help for several of the fights this tier)

    That leaves two solutions, have the DK and Shaman permanently join the healer channel, or have everyone else move the rest of the chatter over to the regular raid channel. The only difference in who would end up seeing all of the chat is the rogue.

    As far as the potential chaos that raid chat might be for some, the only thing usually going on in our raid channel during raids is Zullu providing a brief analysis from the logs about why people died and who screwed up on what while we run back (he has the enviable gift of being able to type ~100+ wpm without it affect his ability to run back, buff, and generally do anything else in the game) So it isn't like there is an abundance of chatter that goes on during raids that would overlap with the chatter that was already confined to the healer channel, in addition to me relaying that information to the raid channel or to the raid over vent.

    For the most part, I am a huge fan of as much transparency as possible. A great example is why I don't mind having this conversation in public. The issue had nothing to do with the healer channel having too many people in it, it was that the 2 of the 3 people who weren't in the channel were missing out on bits of the conversation that I ended up regularly having to relay to them.

    As far as the whole "locking the door" concept, I just figured that it would be an easy way to get everyone's attention and remind them to try moving their chat over to the regular raid channel for an evening. The password was only in place for the one evening and hasn't been there since. I appreciate the comments related to needing to restrict access to the healer channel or develop policies about who is and who isn't allowed to share in different parts of the raiding experience, but I suppose I'll just have to disagree. We don't let people into our raids who can't figure out how to "behave themselves" from one chat channel to the next.

    I will admit however that one factor I never really considered that was clearly lost with the direction I went was the ability for people to segregate their information by assigning different colors to the different types of chat. As raid leader, I basically have to parse through everything that gets typed anyway (a regular stream of whispers, healer chat, raid chat, and people typing suggestions or observations into /o chat for me to see) and so eliminating one of those colors didn't really affect me. But I can also see that it would be a much larger impact for someone only dealing with 2-3 different chat streams to suddenly have the two busiest channels lumped together in the same color. I also know that it just helps a lot of people trying to carry on multiple conversations at once to be able to segregate them into separate windows/colors/streams.

    Additionally, for the same basic reasons that cause people to feel more comfortable whispering observations and suggestions directly to me as the raid leader, there is probably an element of ownership that makes the healers feel more comfortable "speaking out" in their own channel, even if everyone is able to see everything in both channels. Exactly like Terrielle may have felt more comfortable "speaking out" about the issue here on her own turf rather than in our guild forum.

    The fact that people can tweak a couple of settings to make the healer channel and raid channel look like they are one and the same, but there aren't options to separate out things in the other direction means it probably makes a lot more sense to admit I made the wrong choice and just have everyone go back to using both channels and ask the shaman and DK to join them full time. I guess the rogue is out of luck…

    • "I guess that I’m the uncompromising, infantile, immature spaz who likes stomping his feet and taking his ball home when he doesn’t like how the game is turning out…"

      So… I'm curious as to where you got this from? From what I read, nothing even approaching that sort of negativity was said by Windsoar, nor does she come out in support of the person who said that. Judging someone's blog post by the comments left on it? Harsh dude, harsh.

    • I know some of this is in response to my post, and some in response to the comments that have been made on it, but I thought I'd clarify some things from my end:
      – I chose to talk about the channel here instead of our forums because I wasn't sure how I felt about the healer channel. I'm still undecided. It's only been gone a couple of weeks vs. my entire raiding career of having a segregated channel (either as a tank or healer or both). I've also spent most of my raiding career in large (40/25-man) guilds other than my brief foray as a GM of a 10-man guild. There, our healing channel was a contested area — I actually had to ask the raid leader to leave it, and I became the "voice" of the healers. Obviously, channels work differently in different guilds, so I wanted a larger perspective on other people's experiences, especially those in 10-man settings, to help clarify whether this was an issue I should address with you/the guild or not.
      – If you "lock the door" and say you want to try life without a channel, then I'm not going to turn around and make a channel without your consent/knowledge. You run the raids, you need to have some general idea of what the heck is going on in people's head so you can plan for it.
      – I'm seeing you reference having to share the "healer chat" with the rest of the raid quite a bit. I'm sure any of us would be happy to summarize the healing strategy in the general raid setting if this is the issue (too many channels/strategy tweaks, not enough cohesion).
      – In general, our raid and healer chat are fairly static (i.e. not much going on). However, when they're busy, it's because we're learning encounters. That is I personally find the distraction of giant wall of text most distracting.
      – My next "step" was to take an informal poll from Nyki and Mac to see if they thought the channel was necessary or not.

      • Yeah, like I just mentioned in my second reply above and tried to cover in my original comment, I didn't take your article to be anything other than an interesting point of view presented in a perfectly acceptable manner to hopefully generate some fun conversation.

        I'll admit I found some of the comments to be a good reminder that everyone's guild is different and that too often all of us fall into the trap of assuming that everyone else's group is just like ours. I didn't really take any of them personally despite what the sarcastic tone embedded in my response likely suggested. It really just makes me more appreciative of our own raid group I suppose.

        To be completely honest, I would rather we all just worked together to try and do more coordination of stuff in advance rather than trying to sort it out during the raid. Last minute adjustments will always be necessary and the bulk of the lack of advanced coordination falls on my shoulders (at least within our own guild's social and communication structure before currently) and is one of the items on my in-game new year's resolution list of things I need to work on.

  11. Back in Wrath, my guild regularly made use of a healer channel to coordinate healing. Raid leads, tanks, and healers, all monitored the channel. We would discuss heal assigns, coordinate cooldowns and abilities (which shaman had Earth Shield on which tank, that sort of thing), and discuss healer specific gotchas relevant to a particular encounter. Raid leads and tanks were encouraged to monitor the channel so they knew what we were doing, and so that tanks and their healers could coordinate THEIR cooldowns.

    Now that Cata has hit, we've gone tens only, and the channel has dwindled in use. One of our conventions for group layout is to put tanks and heals in the same group, so party chat has become the new heal channel. We can have as many as three tens running on a raid night, so all of us using the heal channel would have been awfully confusing. No one ever explicitly said hey, don't use the channel any more…we just all kind of stopped talking there.

    The raid leads do sometimes spread the healers between the two groups – at those times the person doing the heal assigns will just use tells to communicate assignments. Much less efficient, but it gets the job done.

  12. Pingback: Healing Assignments in the Cata World | Murloc Parliament

  13. Just picked up this thread after MP posted about it.

    One thought hit my mind. If it's a 10man then why not just do it in /raid as the leader has suggested. I appreciate things sometimes get lost but I've found 10mans to be much more of a collaborative thing than 25s mainly because there's a fewer number of voices.

    I do an alt run one a week now (I have no time to raid properly). I dps it on my hunter and considering the people healing play a variety of mains I appreciate that all of the discussions are generally done in /raid. When we were struggling with chimaeron it was good to know that our shamans found it tough and meant we were much quicker to change our positioning for more chain heals.

    With a mature bunch theres a much higher chance of catching a problem if everyone is looking for it. I personally would side with your Raid Leader – I found that all specific channels did was create somewhere to bitch about not getting the loot you wanted.

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