Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Rambling Thoughts on Healer Turnover

Lately, our raid has been experiencing a high healer turnover.

Most people have reasons. (There’s always a reason, when you think of one . . .)

Most healers have had to leave because of school or job changes. That is understandable, but why this trend seems to be affecting my healers more than the dps, I have no idea. Hey, real life happens, and when it does, raiding takes second place.

Some healers gave the raid notice that things were going to change for them. This is the courteous thing to do, when you know people are depending on you. It gives the leaders time to think of alternate plans—get someone to fill in as off-spec or recruit a back-up.

But some of the healers just sort of disappeared . . . leaving the officers wondering what happened. Did they get in a car accident and die? (Well, probably not, as they were on during the afternoon.) Did they get held up at work? (It happens, but it would have been nice if they would have texted someone or posted on the forums that they might be late.) Was there an emergency? (Possibly, but three days in a row?)

We generally try to contact the ones who drop off the face of the earth to figure out what is going on. Can we expect them to return? Have they decided to quit and simply didn’t tell us? At least it lets us know how to plan for the future, so the raid can continue to run.

Sometimes when I look at the healer turnover, I wonder if I am doing something wrong. But the more I read, the more I’ve realized the problem is not unique to our raid.

Of all the roles, it seems people burn out more frequently as healers. When I mentioned this to my husband, who has played tank, dps, and healer at one point or another, he said, “Of course. Healing is boring, and you get blamed for everything.”

I protested that healing wasn’t boring, at least not for me and for some of the more dedicated healers in the raid. There’s always a new challenge to be met and overcome. Sometimes we think and discuss strategies and possibilities for quite a while before we decide on a course of action. (Sometimes the raid leaders aren’t sure our ideas are going to work, but to their credit, they let us try, anyway. We usually manage to succeed with the strategies the healing group has worked out together.)

And our raid leaders and healers are smart enough to know when something is and isn’t a healing problem. If someone wants to blame the healers for a wipe when it was really a dps-didn’t-avoid-unnecessary-damage problem, the healers simply do not accept the blame, even if it is only in healer chat. We have meters, too, and we can make reasonable judgments on whether or not we are doing an adequate job. (It really makes no sense to run around assigning blame. Just point out improvements, buff up, and try again.)

But I realize that healing isn’t for everyone, just like tanking isn’t for everyone. <*ahem*> It takes a certain personality to enjoy the type of challenge which healing presents.

Whatever the reason, the fact is that we need healers—again. And so our guild leader will advertise—again—and hope we can find a holy priest and a resto shaman (do they exist . . .) Perhaps these ones will stay a while.

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