It seems I’m a little late on the scene with this one, but I found the topic so compelling, I thought I’d address it anyway. While stumbling around the interwebs the other day, I decided to venture onto Mek’s blog and check out some of his latest posts. Admittedly, I haven’t been reviewing his content since the release of Ulduar, so I was a bit behind. After reading one of his posts, I discovered how behind I really am. Apparently, according to Mek, Resto Shamans are the lowest of the low, not even worthy of a single raid spot.
[queue Office Space … I guess I need another copy of that memo.]
After I vented my rage on the nearest fax machine, I got to thinking about another movie which seemed relevant—the Butterfly Effect. In simplistic terms (and bear with me, I’m no quantum mathematician or chaos-theory scientist,) the “butterfly effect” suggests that a small change in initial circumstances can result in a large variation of outcomes. It is an effect that Mek seemed to have been at the heart of once before with his Ulduar post about the state of Resto. Or maybe it was the storm created by Vis Maior’s declaration on the state of healing in Ulduar, suggesting that Resto Shamans were hardly useful and that it was a waste to bring any more than one. (Unfortunately, I couldn’t locate the original post, only a WoW forum storm.) Whether intended to or not, those small posts had an impact on a number of resto shamans in game, myself for one.
I had just left my casual guild, where I was considered a fairly competent healer and joined a more progression-focused one, when I found my raid spot had dried up. The basis: shamans weren’t good hardmode healers. The proof: Mek and Vis Maior. No discussion, no comparison, and nevermind the fact that I was consistently outperforming priests and druids; my raid leader pointed to “the best” in WoW and said I couldn’t do it. I needed to go Elemental if I wanted to participate in any hardmode kill. And that, friends, is why I stopped reading Mek’s blog. The notion that there was some guy, across the pond somewhere, who could take away my raid spot simply by sharing his opinion (and yes, it is a bloody opinion) was enough to make me see red. Call me a humanist (playerist?) but I believe that a healer’s potential is a function of a number of things—gear, play style, strategy, mental aptitude and PERSONAL SKILL. No fight in this game comes down to pure throughput, because *GASP* fights are more complicated than “stand here and heal Bob for 5 minutes while he takes insane amounts of damage.” And whether or not anyone cares to admit it, players in top guilds are not there because they are video game prodigies; they are people who suffer the same mental and physical restrictions as the entire player base.
I’m in a more stable position this time around, which is maybe why the butterfly effect of Mek’s little October post didn’t have a profound effect on my raiding. Maybe I should give credit to my raid and guild leaders, who didn’t let that sort of utter nonsense taint their impressions of my performance. They let me earn a raid spot, not as a resto shaman, but as a member of the healing team. For that, I am very grateful. In the end, I’m quite certain that Mek didn’t consider the effect of his posts (then and now) on all of the resto shamans out there who’s guildmates and leadership follow the musings of one of the best guilds in the world. It strikes me as incredibly irresponsible (or incredibly naive), to have such a platform of influence and have its ultimate effect be the deprecation of an entirely competent healing class. Thankfully, I’ve always fed on people telling me what I couldn’t do, so it only gives me more fuel to buttonmash with. But to all the resto shamans out there who will have an uphill battle to fight, who will have to work their arses off to counterbalance the careless words of one of our former brethren—I feel your pain.
And to Mek … don’t let the door hit you on the way out.