Why you should never doubt yourself too fast

I’ve got some kind of “curse”. Every time I try something new, things go horribly wrong, or just extremely difficult, while I feel it’s not supposed to be that way. Yet, I rarely find out what the reason for that is right away. In the past this has made doubt my own abilities.

Luckily I don’t believe in nonsense like curses. Bad luck just happens. Especially the first time things tend to seem worse than they are.

Why am I telling this?

I just finished a very rough HoR run. I still hadn’t healed that place on the paladin, and now I got it for the daily. While I knew she was geared more than enough for that place, and I didn’t have any problems with the other ICC dungeons, I just didn’t like the thought of having to heal it without any AOE spells.

When I entered that place I first made extra sure there weren’t going to be any surprises, so I checked the tank quickly to see if he was any good. This guy’s gear was looking great. Everything was nicely enchanted and gemmed, his spec seemed fine too (as far as I can tell from a DK, the only class I barely know anything about). The rest of the group seemed like decent dps too, except for the warlock who immediately started tapping and took no effort to drink/eat  *sigh*.

I didn’t heal the warlock and we started the fight.

Ouch, this was harder that I hoped. I was spamming holy lights constantly, while getting knocked back, stunned, interrupted, frozen. The tank got to dangerously low levels quite a few times. I know DK tanks can be spiky, but this wasn’t fun anymore. Also, compared to my Shaman, the greater heals seemed to take forever, which was weird in a way, because I remember healing this place when they were just as fast on my shaman (1.5 seconds). I didn’t remember me having to use that many greater heals before. Earthshield and Ancestral Healing are powerful abilities, though, I wondered if those made the difference.

A tragedy happened: we wiped on the 4th wave. I had a hard time keeping the tank up, and he went down to 5% in the short time I got stunned. I didn’t have time to finish the cast after the stun wore off. The tank died.

I can’t remember wiping in HoR anymore. That hadn’t happened in ages, at least not when I tanked or healed it, so I felt kinda shitty about it. And even though I couldn’t believe that I wouldn’t be able to heal this place, there was absolutely nothing I could think of that could be wrong, I double, triple checked.

The group wasn’t complaining oddly enough, so we tried again. I politely asked the tank to use a cooldown when I was stunned. I knew he would be too busy to notice that and I don’t even know what kinds of cooldowns a DK tank has (he was blood spec I think), but I felt I had to try something.

So we tried again. This time I prepared myself for heavy heal nuking and mentally switched over to my 25Mans tank healing mode. I only focused on the tank, healing others using full holy lights as soon as the tank took the slightest bit of damage. I also used holy wrath every cooldown to create some short time-outs. Every single thing I did was necessary, because I had a real hard time keeping this guy up.

We got to Falric. In contrary to other healers, this is actually a great one to heal as a paladin healer. That might sound strange, because he does massive AOE damage, but having Shadow resistance aura + Aura mastery, and Bubble + Divine protection makes mitigating his AOE’s a joke. So, we downed him without too much effort.

Second set of waves.

Oh no, wipe at the 4th wave again!

I’m slowly starting to doubt my ability to do this. Are there any more abilities I can use? Would hand of sacrifice be a safe thing to do? I didn’t know it anymore.

We started again. I decided to use my bubble as soon as I noticed a rogue, in the fourth wave, because I clearly couldn’t afford one single stun.

I was hating the spikes. This damage was abnormal! I gave it all I had, blowing every cooldown I had, and we got till Marwyn, though I was OOM.

I used Plea while I drank  in the short time that boss came running to us. This boss was never hard to heal, I didn’t need much mana for this.

A few seconds into the fight. Tank loses 70% of his health in one shot! Whaaat??

I heal him up. Bam, again, 20% HP left.

What is this? I heal him to 80%, but now I’m out of mana.

Tank dies, we wipe.

“Ok guys, I don’t get this. I’ve never seen tanks take insane amounts of damage like this on that boss before. Something is wrong, but I have no idea what it is. Everything seems to be ok”.

A moment of silence..

“My gear is broken”.

You’ve GOT to be kidding me…. That never even crossed my mind even ONCE!

I only had such a thing happen to me one time, way back in TBC, after a bunch of wipes on Prince and then Nightbane. I was just as surprised back then as I was now. I always repair every chance I get, mostly because it’s done automatically by my addons (I believe titan panel has it build in). It had never happened to me before also, so I even wrote a ticket about my stats being wrong. Recount was covering the location where the “broken gear guy” was located, so I didn’t have the slightest idea something obvious was wrong.

Since then it never happened to me again, ever. And besides the random “lolwut” dps in pugs that asks for a repairbot after the first wipe, something that always annoys the crap out of me, I never even slightly considered this to be a thing that would happen to a decent player at the start of a raid, let alone a heroic.

But it did.

This whole run I was slowly beginning to doubt myself, even though the voices of reason, wisdom and experience were shouting to me: there is something else wrong, and you know it! You just haven’t figured out what it is!

I knew these “voices” were right, because they’ve always been right, yet without a good explanation I feel very uncomfortable, I have to know everything: I hate guessing.

Anyway, after the tank came back from fixing his gear, his health had shot up with 4000HP compared to when we started the instance. He must have had multiple pieces broken even back then.

Healing got much more relaxed, like it should with our gear. I didn’t have to stress anymore. We ended the waves and fight with me still having 85% of my mana.

The rest of the run was no problem as well, and I didn’t even break a sweat on the final battle. This all made a lot more sense to me.

It’s funny how after years of experience with healing, different classes, specs, roles, basic game mechanics, but definitely also a lot of experience with this particular encounter, I was still able to start doubting my own abilities. I’m always telling other people to never do this, but I still do it myself. Yet again, I got proven that there is no reason to. Will I end up in a similar situation again? Most likely. Will I doubt myself about things in the future? I hope not, but it can always happen.

I just hope this experience shows once again, that whenever things just seem like they aren’t right, they probably aren’t.  Some call it instinct, others call it intuition, but it’s in fact just your own logic being suppressed by momentary fear (doubt), or other clouds covering your judgment.


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March 2010
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