I healed in Gnomeregan for the first time last night. Glorwynn is already well past Gnomeregan in level, but I’ve been really cautious about queueing for dungeons with her. I keep waiting until I have “that next healing ability”… whichever one I’m going to train or have the talent point to spend on in just another level or two… and then I queue for something in the lower half of the dungeons LFD offers me at that time. Muchao was just barely the level to queue for Gnomeregan last night, and for some reason I didn’t argue when my husband suggested that we just see what comes up instead of choosing a specific dungeon.
Of course, it was Gnomeregan. Where I’ve NEVER had a good group! I was spoiled early on. A friend who understood my love of lore and fear of groups took me through there my first time. Just the two of us, a lot of lore talk, and a stop by the mailbox in the Clean Zone to pick up our Onyxian Whelplings. I’ve run other people through there since then, and made solo trips several times. But groups have always ranged from “so terrible an experience that I don’t know how we managed to finish” all the way to “I am not someone who drops group unless absolutely necessary, and I wish I could find a way to consider this absolutely necessary!” If it’s not fighting about which way to go, it’s people just deciding Gnomeregan is too long and leaving. Or having a fit over who wins the roll on the Hydrocane. Or two people want to clear the whole thing, two people just want to do it as fast as possible (no matter what kind of strange antics that requires that result in doing the whole thing anyway) and one person is AFK. Or dps informs us all that we suck and were only born because our mothers were too made of fail to know how taking the pill works after we get overwhelmed by a group of troggs pulled by that dps.
It’s always something, and usually more than one something.
This was a GOOD group! The first good group I’ve ever gone through Gnomeregan with! The warlock used a soulstone on me without me asking, and that’s good because I have no clue at what level warlocks can do that and wouldn’t have asked. Everyone greeted each other when we got in and congratulated each other when we leveled up in there. No one argued about where to go… we all just followed the tank. (That’s something I know would have been a weak point if there had been arguing, because the tank was my husband and he and I always argue over which way to go in there. And he’s wrong at least half the time. The “keep quiet and follow the tank” approach worked nicely.) The person who won the roll on the Hydrocane got it… no one begged and pleaded for them to trade it or pitched a fit over having lost the roll. We went into the Clean Zone (I got the 5 Dungeon Quests Completed achievement from using the Sparklematic!) and when one of the dps got too close to some gnomes who were still standing in a corner, they spoke up and brought the gnomes to the tank. Everyone was polite, everyone worked together.
No one chewed the tank out for having trouble holding aggro on some of the trash at first. He was barely the level to get in there, as well. I remembered the conversation he and I had about paladin auras a few nights ago. I was able to train Retribution Aura, and knowing which aura I should be using in a group is a little confusing for me right now. If the tank is a paladin, obviously I should ask him to be a warrior instead use an aura he’s not using. I use Devotion Aura when I’m questing, and it’s the only aura I’ve had until a few nights ago, so it’s what I used in dungeons. The benefits of using Concentration Aura don’t really matter until I can learn it… so do I use Devotion Aura or Retribution Aura in a dungeon if the tank is not a paladin? My husband (who has never played a healer, but makes a fine Ret/Prot paladin) explained the benefits of Retribution Aura for the tank to me. I pointed out that the problem is that some tanks take more damage than others, or take more damage from certain types of mobs, so what if I would have to work harder to keep them healed up if I don’t use Devotion Aura but they’re just fine on threat generation? “That’s what the decision should really be about,” he told me. “What makes it easier for you as the healer? That’s the one you use.”
I felt like that was still sort of a non-answer until last night. He was taking very little damage, but something would get away from him and start attacking the dps. So then I was healing two or three people instead of focusing on “just keep the tank going”. I switched from Devotion to Retribution Aura, and things got a lot better. The dps didn’t complain and quit during those first few handfuls of trash, and I was able to see what was happening so I could do my job better.
The warlock’s demon died in one of the trash fights. I know I shouldn’t concern myself with that. My job is to keep the tank up. Keeping other people alive is good, too, but I don’t have to keep folks at full health. I really don’t have to be responsible for pets. I know that’s all I have to do… but I want to do better than that. So I do everything I can to keep melee dps above half health in a fight as long as it doesn’t mean I’m spreading myself too thin and risking the tank dying. I don’t let anyone go into the next fight with less than 95% of their health, and the tank doesn’t go in with less than 100%. I make sure everyone has my Blessing. I’d rather refresh it ten minutes early than run the risk of it wearing off while we’re in the middle of combat.
And, yes… the next time I saw the warlock’s imp taking heavy damage, I knew I had a Word of Glory to spare so I healed the imp. I blame all those times I’ve watched my hunter’s pet slowly dying from poison or a disease and knew that I couldn’t do anything about it.
The shaman in the group was especially awesome! He was an enhancement shaman and very clearly knew what he was doing. He handled his character too well for me to believe he doesn’t know which totems are best for him. However, the other two dps in the group were spellcasters, and the shaman put out the totem that would increase spellpower. He sacrificed a bit of the dps he could potentially do in order to put down a totem that helped the other two dps and healer.
We really had no choice but to go through there the long way. The quests the Alliance gets and the parachutes that let them skip over areas aren’t available for the Horde. It was one of the best LFD groups I’ve ever been in though, and the only good Gnomeregan group so far. I’d gladly do it again!