Monday, June 17, 2013

Rolling With the Punches

"In the face of great adversity, great heroism can shine through."  -Me

While burning through content, there's always the possibility that things can go sideways.  A thunderstorm knocks out the electric, the dog chews through your network cable, kids get sick - we've all been there.  If it hasn't happened to us personally, it has happened to our team. My team has the infamous Jasper Wipe of 2012, when at 3% on what would have been our first kill of Deathwing, our dog Jasper knocked the power cord out of our wireless router. You can imagine the uproar that ensued with the main tank and a healer disconnected there - and of course the ensuing wipe.

The questions with the unexpected are not if they'll happen - but when they'll happen, and how will you handle it. 

My guild master / raid leader / husband (poor guy right?) is the type who has contingent plans for contingent plans. But what can you do if the backup to the backup to the backup is unfeasible?  As healers, we know better than anyone that you can't always follow any plan. You have to roll with the punches. You die and are battle rezzed with 10% life and mana - on a fight that you already leak mana like a sieve. Give up? Hell no. Innervate, ask for a fellow Druid's Innervate, pop a potion, ask for a Mana Tide Totem, or spot heal lightly as you beg the blue bar to fill up faster. Adjust the healing strategy on the fly when you have to. Try not to focus on what won't work and find a solution that will work. And at worst, you'll still wipe - then you walk in there again with your head held high and do your best to not make the same mistake twice.

So how can this possibly fall in line with managing a raid team? And what does it have to do with adversity and heroism?  It has everything to do with it. Let me give you an example...

We were short handed while trying to down Megaera the first time.  While we run with a roster of five healers (we three heal most fights in 10M), that particular night life happened and only two of us were able to run.  We had been struggling, both as a raid team and as a heals team, on the "easiest" color combination (GRGRBGR).  Healers were OOMing, tanks were getting pulverized and DPS were dying to the floor.  Despite the fact that we were a healer short, we decided to roll with it.  In the heat of battle, our successful strategies have frequently developed as a result of Murphy's Law kicking in.  We changed up our color combination a few times, and found that our wipes were getting closer and closer to a kill...when it happened.  We came upon the combination that everyone else said would never work (RBRBGRB), and BOOM.  We had a kill on our hands, with two heals.  All thanks to rolling with the punches.

Healers always roll with the punches. Whether its dealing with RNG or bad game play, we seem to bear the brunt of it. Raid teams have to do so as well. Your main tank down with a case of the stomach flu on a major progression night? Consider rolling without them. Family drama knocks out your top DPS? Bring in a sub who doesn't perform as well. Give your teammates the opportunity to do the unexpected. Let them shine, step up the game, walk into unexplored territory. The strength of a team isn't best measured in the most pristine of conditions, but when the mess hits the fan. At worst, you still won't progress without your A-team. At best you will. You'll find that diamond on the rough that you may not have even known you had sitting on the sidelines. You'll see that your people are stronger than you realized. And you'll give someone an opportunity to be a hero for a change, instead of ol' reliable who never got the chance.   It will force your team to work harder, stretch their limits, and become stronger as a result.

Until next time, long days, pleasant nights & happy Raiding.