Fear of Heroics


The typical PvE progression path upon reaching level 80 is to jump into heroics.  Whenever I’ve done this, there’s a period of intense fear while I move from normal instances to heroic ones.

Part of the problem is the ease of raiding in WotLK, specifically the ease of getting tier 7.  If you’re in a guild regularly running Naxx, you can be boosted up from mostly iLevel 174 or 187 blues to nearly full iLevel 200 epics in a couple of weeks.  Even after one run through Naxx with a guild that isn’t just starting, you can probably jump into heroics without much fear of your gear letting you down.

But if you don’t have a guild running those instances, or if you (like me) don’t tend to burden your guild members with the task of gearing up your alts, things are a bit different.  It’s pretty hard to get groups for the high-level instances in normal mode, so your gear tends to be a mix of iLevel 174 (the stuff you get from HoS, Gun’Drak, and maybe CoS if you’re lucky) and whatever iLevel 200 epics you can craft or purchase from the AH.  With that mix of gear, heroics are really challenging.

The danger spot for tanks is when they’re uncrittable (535 defense for heroics) but have gimped their avoidance to get there and for healers around 1400 to 1500 buffed spellpower, with relatively low regen.

The problem only really exists for tanks and healers.  As long as DPS get hit capped (which is easy using quest rewards, supplemented by an elixir if need be) and pay attention to environmental damage (which they don’t, but somehow they get a pass on this where healers and tanks get yelled at), they can manage,  Their DPS might not be really high, but so long as you can pull 1400 dps, you’re probably not going to get kicked from a heroic.

If as a healer you can’t keep the tank up, or if as a tank you can’t hold agro against over-geared DPS, then all of a sudden you’re the worst WoW player the world has ever seen.  It doesn’t really seem fair.  Healers and tanks are the most requested class in the LFG channel, but the burden for them to jump from normal 80 instances to heroics is higher than the facerollers.

(Much love to the facerollers BTW.  Just don’t stand in a void zone)

In and of itself, having entry-level heroic gear isn’t a bar to running heroics.  If it was, nobody would ever make the jump.  The problem is that most PUGs (and some guildies) aren’t capable of modulating their playstyle to the people in their group.  If your tank is uncrittable but has low avoidance, the healer is going to have to spend more time on them.  That means that they won’t be able to pay as much attention to DPS.  That means that DPS need to use more caution.  Don’t assume you can be healed through a whirlwind; don’t assume that you can stand in a mojo puddle because you’re too lazy to strafe a couple of yards over.

Likewise, if a healer has low regen, they’re probably going to blow their entire mana pool on most pulls.  In addition to trying to minimize the level of incoming damage, the group needs to help with regen (if their class can) or let the healer drink betwen pulls.

In a guild run, it is far more likely that your guild members will assist in this regard.  But not PUGs.

And this is what leads to my fear.  Recently with a resto shaman I went through this phase.  Thankfully I’m past it now, but for a while it was nail-biting through an entire instance.  Sometimes it still is, if my tank is undergeared or my DPS are exceptionally stupid.  But generally, I not longer fear that I’m the reason a group will fail.