While I had wanted to talk about faction change, and I actually did switch my dranei shammie to a perky troll with pink braids, I am going to talk about something else first.
After this post on Aggro Junkie I was suddenly inspired to write about a different subject, so I figured I would just run with it, and go with faction change some other time.
My road to becoming a healer.
I started World of Warcraft as a warlock. A cute gnomie I figured would be cool to play. So while Thror started his pallie, I ran around being a destro lock. We both got our horsies at 40 that way. (this was in Vanilla, so yay for warlock and pallie horsies back then).
I played my warlock till 60, and on the side I was levelling a hunter. The warlock was my main in the guild, and for the longest time my hunter was in a different, much smaller guild. I had made friends there which I wasn't ready to give up. The solution eventually came in introducing the people from my hunter's tiny guild to FP and they merged happily.
TBC came and I ran my warlock through the gates of the burning legion, and started running around in Hellfire. My hunter followed only slowly. Thror and I went through Hellfire together, but halfway through Zangarmarsh something happened, and I suddenly lost the feel for my warlock.
At that same time I had started levelling a shammie, I felt I had to do the whole dranei thing at least once, so why wouldn't I also play the new alliance class. She raced through content, it was amazing how fast I could level an enhancement shammie.
She reached 80 before my warlock did, and I announced an official main change. I would be the dual wielding axing shammie. It was great.
Until we started raiding.
Though I did pretty darn good on my shammie, my group needed healers more and more often, and I was asked more to heal on my shaman. I didn't like it.
Shaman healing was slow, and clunky compared to the fast paced enhance spec. Chain healing took forever, and chain heal was the only way to go back then. Besides that, I felt mostly like a walking trinket, since my totems seem to be the most important thing I brought to a raid. Of course it wasn't so, but everything I did on my shammie as a healer seem to take forever compared to what buttons I could press on my shammie as enhance.
So one day I sat down, and started thinking. I spoke to my then raidleader, and said that I wouldn't mind switching to become a healer, but not on the shaman. If I would have to heal, I would do it on my priest.
Problem... My priest was only 43 or so at that point. And we needed healers now.
I put my shoulders under it, and started levelling. Within a week not only did my priest level to 70, she was also ready to start healing Kara. (And yes, I did have a job and other things to go to. )
I was sold. I was addicted. I was a healer.
I couldn't have done all this without having several tanks very ready to run me through dungeons, help me level, and help me get gear. She was lucky enough to get a pretty okish healing set kitted out through the level 70 dungeons, and my tanks were patient enough to run me through.
The tank/healer relationship
The moment you start levelling a healer you start developing a bond with your tanks. The tank's first responsibility is to keep the healers alive, and the healer's firs priority is to keep the tank alive.
I ask my tanks things about their role and class, so I can do a better job, so I can heal them better. And in return they keep an eye on not running out of los. And the first thing that a tank will do when additional mobs run in is make sure the healer is free from agro so they can do their job.
Communication is key, and not only the business like communication. As I've progressed in content, it became more and more important to know my tanks. To know how they would react to situations. To know how much health they had, and how much damage they would be able to mitigate, dodge, and block.
Over time I also got to know which abilities of theirs I can call on to save lives. Which abilties are their oh shit buttons, and how working together will make the experience so much more fun.
It did help that Thror went from healing to tanking in TBC and that I had a handy test subject available, but I could hardly expect there to be a paladin tank every time. So I started reading tanking blogs, and elitist jerks forums.
This is from my healer point of view, but I know that all good tanks have gone through the same from the other side. They need to know which abilities they can call on from a healer if they need it. They need to have complete trust in their healer(s) to keep them standing, and to allow them to do their job.
To me personally dps is a way to let go of stress, rawr! But nowadays within a dungeon I can say that as long as one of the very good tanks I know comes along, we can basically bring any 3 people along to a heroic, and we'll make it. If need be the tank and myself will finish it together.
Of course dps is important. And the dps in my 10man (or in pugtastic nowadays for that matter) is very dear to me. Good dps makes the fight easier. The better the dps, the faster a fight goes, the less shit you have to deal with since there is less time for a mob to throw out shit.
In fact, the content that my 10man is currently working on couldn't be done without our outstanding dps. But the tank/healer relationship is special.
While I once thought about tanks as a meatshield way back when, something to make sure I could keep seeing the high numbers, as a healer my tanks are special to me.
My tanks are my big, cuddly protectors who keep me safe from harm. Who make sure that the raid lives, and who throw themselves in front of the raid to heroicly stand up against the big baddie.
They stand in front and shout out to the boss, "Hey dude, hit me, not my friends!"
I suggest that we create an international 'Wuv your tank' day, and give them a little extra love.
I wuvs my tanks!