Learning and whining – the two faces of wiping
15 September 2009 § 2 Comments
For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been leveling a druid to 80. He was the last alt I had got to 70 before Wrath hit, and after about a level as Feral, I decided I didn’t like that, and switched over to Balance. Fast forward to 76, when I made the big step of buying dual spec, and went Resto. Then yesterday, at 78, I see a call in a chat channel for a healer for Trial of the Champion. Given the quality of loot in there, I decided to go. Turns out the tank, an 80 warrior, was not very experienced (his first time in there) nor very well geared (26k health with Mark of the Wild). And of course, my Resto experience is quite limited, having healed only two instance runs formerly.
So we wiped. A lot. About 4-5 times on the Champions, once on Paletress, 3 times on the Black Knight. And at first, I thought it was my fault for not keeping up the tank, or the tank’s fault for not grabbing the mage (who proceeded to annihilate me), or use his cooldowns, etc. Then I started asking more questions: “Was Grounding Totem down?”; “Can we interrupt the mage?”; “Please Purge the Renews”; “Any chance we can Frost Trap the Ghoul?”; “Was Cleansing Totem down?”
In all cases, I pointed out stuff that hadn’t been happening before, and that did improve our next attempts. The tank had a fantastic attitude, trying to figure out what went wrong and to improve the next attempt. I was figuring out what to do with all my HoTs, and learning how to handle situations of tank at 50% health, with 3 HoTs on him, Swiftmend and NS on cooldown…
One of the group members started complaining about the tank to me in whispers – he and I had known each other for a long time, so I think he assumed he would find a sympathetic ear. He was complaining that he was “tired of training tanks, that they should know what to do”. In other words, he was blaming the tank for all the wipes, and whining about it. That’s when I started asking about the various things DPS could have done to improve the situation, and had not – and whispered back to him I was tired of training the DPS.
This however made me think. Aside from my snarky comment, I actually wasn’t frustrated. Sure, I would have preferred one-shotting everything and completing the instance in 15 mins, but all in all, I thought it was ok. It’s not that I enjoyed the wiping, but I enjoyed learning more about druid healing, from using Nature’s Grasp, to Barkskin, to Dash, to all the more normal healing spells – and the wiping was a mild side effect to it. Instances are easy when we go with our ultra-geared alts, but I think they’re also a LOT of fun to do when we’re pushing the envelope of our abilities, when we not only have to do max dps, but also interrupt, cleanse, off-heal, off-tank, kite, etc. These are all playing skills that will become useful in other contexts, when we will be faced with difficult encounters, like raids. I think too often we blame other people, instead of thinking about what WE could have done to help. If the tank is undergeared, reducing incoming damage through interrupts is even more important. If the healer has 13k health, we need to kill the ghouls quickly, and make sure they are not on him. In other words, people need to adapt, and learn how to use ALL their abilities, and not just the three in the max-dps rotation.
Whining and learning are really the two possible answers to wiping – neither changes what happened before, but learning tries to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen again. Now, that doesn’t mean that I’ll be able to always learn from my wipes, and never get frustrated. But it’s good to rationalize why some wipes with some groups are so frustrating, while other times I can wipe with no end in sight, and still feel like I’ve accomplished something.