Healing is something that comes naturally to me. I like healing in World of Warcraft. I like playing as a Holy Priest. Being responsible for the virtual lives of other characters doesn’t bother me. I leveled as a healer. I didn’t level as Shadow until 81-85, when Cataclysm came out; for Mists of Pandaria, I went back to Holy because quest rewards were based on specialization, and I needed to have Spirit on my gear, not Hit Rating.
It always makes me uneasy when I’m playing as a non-healer. I always feel like the healer who is taking up the mantle is going to do something wrong. Seeing health bars that aren’t full actually makes me panic. I’ll be yelling at my monitor, “come on, heal the tank, they’re going to die.” The tank rarely does, of course. You’d think I’d have learned to trust other healers by now.
The weird thing is, I don’t like healing in LFR. I didn’t know why until this weekend. It was something a death knight said when we were in the Halls of Flesh Shaping. What they said was so idiotic it was actually infuriating. I wanted to turn on caps lock and just chew this person out.
We had just wiped on Dark Animus. The strategy the tanks wanted to use was to kill the adds one at a time. Keeping the activation rate of constructs slow would almost guarantee us the kill. I guess for our first attempt, some of the damage dealers got a little impatient and started doing AOE. As we regrouped, the tanks restated how we need to single target the adds. Then the Death Knight said:
“why don’t we just nuke them all down? its easier that way.”
Behold the epitome of why I hate healing in LFR.
It’s not easier to nuke everything at once. What that does is enables damage dealers to ignore whatever discipline they have. You don’t need control to do AOE. You just fire and forget, and watch everything die around you. The thing is, doing an AOE burn on Dark Animus does make it easier, but only for the damage dealers. It shuffles responsibility from the damage dealers to the healers. Their insatiable desire to watch everything blow up means that Large Anima Golems will start to come out en masse. The incoming damage ramps up very quickly with this reckless tactic. If healers aren’t prepared—i.e. have the gear and skill to deal with the increased damage, or have healing assignments covered so that more of the raid can be healed simultaneously—then there will be a wipe shortly after the Dark Animus activates. But hey! At least the damage dealers got to see the damage meters inflate!
I wish I could say something to the effect of, “damage dealers are competent players,” but I can’t. It’s just not true in LFR. They don’t care about anything other than their own damage output. And since it’s a 25-man raid, there are seventeen selfish, incompetent morons waiting to blow up the damage meters, stroke their epeens, and get their harmful ejaculate all over the raid.
This isn’t something new to the Throne of Thunder. This has been happening for as long as LFR has been around. For Morchok, nobody cared if he or she was standing in the Black Blood of the Earth, because the healers would fix it. For Yor’sahj the Unsleeping, it didn’t matter if you didn’t kill the correct blood (if you killed it at all); it would only be extra damage for the healers to deal with. For Ultraxion, no one could be bothered to hit their extra action button, because the damage was negligible, therefore the healers should fix it.
In Mogu’shan Vaults, nothing changed. On Stone Guard—the very first boss of the raid tier—players would spread out for Jasper Chains, stand in Amethyst Pools longer than they should have, or disregarded where the Cobalt Mines were. This extra damage wasn’t just unnecessary, but it was 100% avoidable.
If the damage can be avoided, then you can be certain that half of the raid won’t bother to avoid it.
I think the problem is that the damage really is negligible. For Ultraxion, no one hit their button for Hour of Twilight because it never did more than 60% of a player’s health in damage instead of killing them outright. The passive raid damage was low. The time between each Fading Light cast was long enough that even someone’s passive healing could top them off.
In Heart of Fear, the Wind Bombs Wind Lord Mel’jarak puts down in LFR only does 50,000 damage when they detonate. For a worst case scenario, where you cheesed the item level requirement to get into LFR, you’d need to have less than 15% of your health to be killed by that. Contrast that to what happens on normal difficulty, where players take 350,000 damage instead. That’s seven times more! If you were doing Heart of Fear when it was current content, then you might have survived if you were at full health before it detonated. In fact, I was in a Heart of Fear LFR run (I waited in the queue while I wrote this) where 11 Wind Bombs went off. Nobody died. That kind of damage would have wiped the raid ten times over.
Going back to Dark Animus, the differences between normal and LFR are like night and day. On LFR, the smallest Anima Golems just exist. On normal, those same golems have a passive buff that reduces AOE damage by 90%, and they do double damage when they’re in close proximity to one another. No sane tank would pick up all 25 golems if they do double damage, which means the only viable strategy is to kite everything and single-target them down. The AOE reduction doesn’t need to be there. It takes the guesswork out of a strategy for normal, and that seems completely backwards to me. LFR is supposed to be the difficulty for brain-dead morons, not the difficulty that encourages problem solving.
Considering I want all the damage dealers to die in LFR—which, by the way, is NOT the kind of thing you want your healers to be saying—my proposed solution for this problem might be a little extreme. For starters, Blizzard needs to stop enabling the “healers will fix it” mentality. The primary cause for that is negligible damage. Instead of reducing avoidable damage by 80%, the damage shouldn’t be reduced. It’s avoidable. The tradeoff for LFR would be to delay how long until the damage hits. Cast times could be longer, projectiles could take longer to hit, and ground effects could be more obvious. There could even be boss notifications specific to LFR that warn players to take action or they will die.
“Healers will fix it” needs to go. It’s not an unsolvable problem. All Blizzard has to do is stop enabling this mentality. In the meantime, what can we do as a community to mitigate this problem?