5 Barriers of a Raid Healer – Part 2: Criticism

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Each Saturday for the next five weeks, I will be writing about one barrier of the raid healer. Healers are often overshadowed and looked over since we are expected to simply know what to do. With luck, this five part series will help you to become a better raid healer whether you are a varsity or a freshman. Last week, I talked about indecision.

Barrier 2: Criticism

“Complaining about something without taking any action to correct it is irresponsible. If a condition deserves criticism, it deserves an honest attempt to change it.”
John Renesch

Remember that you are not the only person in the world that takes criticism. It can come in any shape or form. It can be malicious or delicious (yeah, think about that for a second). Sometimes it will hurt. When you’re playing at a high level in WoW (and I don’t mean just 70), people will be very blunt with you.

The only aspect of being criticized by others that you can change is your reaction.

As a Priest, I’ve taken my share of lumps going from 1 – 70. But you as a player have to understand that these players, be they friend, foe, stranger, guildmate, or Mr Pinchy are trying to make a point to you. They’re trying to make you aware of your own shortcomings.

We’re in a special class of our own because we’re responsible for the well being of the raid. If anyone dies, 90% of the time, we get looked at first as the main cause. Our results are dictated by one factor: Whether or not our assignments are alive.

When you start coming under fire from your Guildies about why you’re doing such a poor job, it can really blast a person’s confidence and make them question their own abilities. I know I’ve had on more than one occasion.

Dealing With It

Handling criticism isn’t the easiest thing to do in the world. We all like to believe that we are alpha players at the top of the food chain. Unfortunately, we’re not. I lot of people I know react to criticism poorly. Thankfully, the raiders I play with take criticism admirably and constructively. The feedback of others serves to make them better players.

During the summer, I worked as a carnie in the local fair. A job like that really stresses you as a person because every day you’re subject to a large torrent of kids and angry parents who pressure you with questions like "Where’s the bathroom?" and "Can my kid stay a few minutes longer?"

Needless to say, that experience tempered me a lot. It taught me how to accept a lot of flak and ignore it. Sometimes, people will say things that are unfounded.

Applying it in WoW

If my play is under question from anyone, I usually ask myself a couple of questions:

  • Is it justified?

    Sometimes what the other person saying isn’t true. It might not have been my fault to begin with. It could’ve been an encounter mechanic.

  • If it is, how can I fix it?

    There is always a solution to every problem. Work with other players to find out what went wrong and what you can do to fix it.

Accept Responsibility

Be honest and be humble. If it’s your fault, ‘fess up to it. It will help defuse any tense situations that might start to heat up. There’s a lot of players I know both in my Guild and not in my Guild that still have trouble doing this. They don’t want to face the shame or the embarrassment. No one likes to admit that they screwed up. But often times, the hardest thing you do ends up being the right thing to do.

Ask for Help

Lastly, don’t shy away from asking for help. Why do you think Pride is considered one of the 7 deadly sins? If you’re coming across a trash pull in a raid and you’re assigned to a tank who’s about to take a beating and you know healing will be rough, ask for help. Know your own abilities and your own limitations.

On the other side, if you’re noticing a healing in your group who is struggling ask them if they need a hand. WoW often reminds me of a lecture hall in that there are very few people who raise their hands to ask questions. Sometimes, you just have to offer help and they’ll be internally grateful because it saves them the "shame" of asking for it.

So to summarize:

  • Accept criticism without retaliating
  • Learn from it
  • Try to come up with a solution
  • Be honest with yourself about your abilities
  • Ask for assistance if you need it

11 thoughts on “5 Barriers of a Raid Healer – Part 2: Criticism”

  1. Wow talk about a post where every point of emphasis very true…..

    From a personal stand point I think one of my biggest saving grace’s is first being willing to admit if I screwed up and second not being afraid to ask a question, whether is be about a strategy or about a healing assignment. If I have a question I ask it before the pull. A lot of healers are scared to ask questions and think they will just follow someone else and be ok, and that in turn leads to them not paying enough attention to there assignments, which in turn leads to a wipe and a lot more criticism.

    In all honesty if you have played this game for very much time at all than you have experienced some type of criticism, and most likely will experience more the longer you play. While there is some criticism that is without basis a lot of it does have some valid points and if you do not take it personally and get defensive about every little thing than you cam make it constructive and utilize it to make yourself better.

    One other note from a raiding perpective. When criticism is being given out it is usually after a wipe so there is a lot of emotion invovled so it sometimes comes out wrong, but that is not the time to argue or make excuses. If it is a officer or class leader giving it out than just accept it, think about what they are saying, and get ready for the next pull. If you want to discuss it than AFTER the raid is the best time to do it.

    Sorry I wrote more than I wanted to :/ But again another excellet post Matt.


  2. Healer criticism can be pure hilarity if it involves people standing in aoes, dying, and then blaming the healer for their monumental screw ups every attempt.

    I think a lot of people could take humility before they criticize healers, because often times your survival is very much in your own control.

    Sometimes people don’t want to admit that there was a healer problem in a raid; we had an issue like this with our raid the other day that I spoke with one of our leads privately about and resolved the problem that way.

    The thing was that several people insisted it wasn’t a healing issue, even though it was; this was one of those situations where the healers themselves weren’t being humble enough to admit fault. – so it can definitely go both ways.

    I think everyone could take a lesson in humility; the “function of healing” is never limited to healing spells, but likewise you can’t expect classes without healing spells to recoup themselves from constant raid-wide damage either! 🙂

  3. Grim reports are really great, they plainly tell what went wrong. I think they are very helpful in making things less tense as well, since you’re just pointing to a chart saying “here it says you did x, doing y would have been better.” Then it’s not the person criticizing you, it’s just the facts and you’re learning from them.

    Being constructive in criticism is an important skill for leaders.

    But during raids the person receiving criticism should just take the note and move on. Like in a class where you have to perform some skill, and the teacher gives you instruction after, you don’t talk back or make excuses or be defensive. Just listen and say ok. Next time when there’s less emotion you may wish to implement their idea or not. But you don’t waste everyone’s time arguing. I couldn’t stand people who did that during improv classes, and usually it’s the less skilled people doing the arguing, since they never learned to incorporate instruction and thus never improved.

    After awhile you realize who is just rude or wrong a lot, and who you should listen to.


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