Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The importance of communication

Right about now, I would suspect that there is a lot of burnout and frustration in ICC progression raiding teams.  There certainly is in mine.  People making simple mistakes are causing massive explosions of arguments, and fingers are getting pointed. People taking breaks, recruiting people well behind the curve, necessarily dropping standards; this is all leading to a slight backwards step in progression.

This is frustrating.

As people are generally frustrated, they take it out on each other.  Small arguments get blown out of proportion, and things start getting said to your face in not the most pleasant way.  I was a victim of this last week.

For some reason, people think I am unapproachable - this could be because I a) talk back and b) require evidence of theorycrafting and the math to back it up.  If a minor change is minor, don't expect me to toe the line if my personal preference is for something else.  If you are going to tell me "You are wrong, you should be doing this" I will question you, I will ask for proof, I will not just take it on your word that you are right. So, don't sidle up to me and subtly try to change my mind.  I don't take kindly to manipulation, mostly because I do a lot of manipulating myself and zomg icwotududther HAHA.

I am a unique and special snowflake as a holy paladin, and DON'T forget it.

For 4 years my healing style as a paladin was hybrid, as a GL, and healing leader, I was generally doing all the jobs and covering people's arses.  I was paranoid about mana usage (still am) and my goal was to have the lowest % overheal I could possibly manage and still beat the boss or have my healing assignment still standing.

Now, new guild has a new way of doing things.  Fine, I will try to fit in.  I ask questions in the healing channel and get radio silence in response.  I ask more questions, again nothing.  In the end, I give up asking questions.  I just keep the tanks alive in the method I have grown accustomed to - minimal mana usage, minimal overheal.  I am not in the "healer group" in the raid, I am not getting innervates or mana tides benefits, I have to tank heal and manage myself solo.  I am also not getting communication because all the healer communication was occurring in party chat in the "healer group".

OK, got that set up?

Now, fast forward to last week.  I had an inkling that there was resentment towards me, to the point that I was about ready to quit raiding.  I was sick of the snide half remarks and bollocks pointed at my healing style.  Not a single person would outright talk to me about anything.  It was all "why don't you..."s or "You should..." without a shred of evidence or reason as to why I should.  So, I would always counter with logical sound arguments: "I have to mana manage on my own, so I use flash a lot more...", "If I do that this will happen and that's bad" and so on and so forth.  No one countered my arguments to my satisfaction, no one convinced me with good reasons to change my style.  All I got were other classes QQing that I was flashing, to which my response was "Are tanks dying? No."

This all came to a head last week when the GL said "Can you please just use HL all the time on the tanks?"
Uh... Where did that come from?  Are tanks dying?
No, but people are complaining that you are using Flash too much.
So, why don't they tell me that?
Apparently they are?
No, not in so many words.
Can you just do it?
FINE! I will be an OOM meter whore for you then, but this is silly and a waste. 

I then proceeded to come in the first 1,2 of effective healing done on the meters, and ran dry early on in the fights.  I played dumb, not smart, and that shut people up.  It was ridiculous. 

After the raid, I was pulled aside for "a chat".  I was told that I needed to tank heal more.  I proceeded to tell the GL what happened from my pov, the issue wasn't that I was healing wrong, I was healing right with the complete lack of information I had about my healing team and given zero communication to me about what my role was and how I fitted into the team.  No one tells me, raid to raid, what people are doing in our healing team, who is healing tanks with me, what I am supposed to do in special circumstance fights (ie heroic saurfang) - because I am not in the healing group in raid.  Those guys all talk about that stuff within party chat, they bitch moan complain, work out healing strat all that stuff, each and every time forgetting that I am not psychic and have no idea that they have changed what they are doing.  I have to watch tanks die, or key assignments die, get blamed, then work out from looking at meters that people had changed their roles, and that I needed to adapt.

It was never a healing "fault" on my part, I could always do what they wanted me to do - it was a communications fail on their part, and to some extent mine for giving up on trying.  The last time I had a long chat with officers and healers, I completely changed my spec (to a style I didn't really like) to cover off short falls in our raid team!  I am not adverse to doing things differently, but you need to back it up, give me a good reason to be running myself dry, that blah has your back, tell me that blah is your go to person for innervates, and they will save them for you.  That you are tank healing with this person, to give you someone to bounce off when there are issues with tanks.  They finally explained how everything worked and where I fitted into that, I finally got through to them how alienated I always felt and the next raid, you know what?  I didn't have to try to be psychic, I was told what was happening, in the healing channel, and strangely enough everyone else noticed the difference.  I was no longer a mushroom, sitting in the corner of the healing channel in the dark second guessing what I had to do.

Half the reason I was miserable raiding was that I was an island, and I was in quarantine, no one talked to me.  It was quite demoralising.  I felt isolated and on the outer - all because I was the 6th healer, placed in the tank group and no one on my team talked to me about the important things, like being a team member.

This guild does not have specific "section leaders" and I tell you what, I am REALLY noticing that not having them makes for isolation within the raiding team.  I very strongly recommend that you have officers with jobs - section leaders - who make sure each section is looked after and communicated with.  It is so very, very important.  Talk to each other... now more than ever.  The thing that is going to get you through the frustration is communication and a feeling of belonging, because right now, progression is hard to come by.