Why I Heal
Kurn wrote a post recently talking about being a woman in WoW. It’s a long ass post – that woman rambles. (Well, no she makes very long executed and well formed points, but I dissemble.) I wrote a long post too. And the comments and questions she answers are very thoughtful as well, so here are a few of my opinions. One topic that is first on my list is this: Yeah, I’m a woman and I heal – so fucking what.
What do you think about women choosing healing classes?
Well. I heal. I’m a woman. I hate how stereotypical that seems. I don’t like people pressing me into that role as much as I dislike people pressing me into the kitchen, dispute that I might be a good cook.
I started out DPSing on my mage. It wasn’t fulfilling in a raid situation. Why? Guys are jerks. Errrr…I mean…no, guys, they are jerks. I don’t find maximizing every second in a raid for maximum dps all that interesting. I don’t get off on having a larger e-phallus than the next guy. (I like maximizing my personal level of play.) I don’t like meter comparison. That competition just doesn’t inspire me. And a lot of the time I don’t think it’s helpful to the raid. Kurn lists some great resources on why women are drawn to different roles. (No really, check them out!) And Kurn listed an excellent link to an example of healer meter humping that turned my stomach when I first heard it.
Why does healing feel differently to me?
It’s cooperative by nature. We’re all in this to keep people alive. Sure, it can be incredibly demanding and stressful, but our ultimate goal is working together to make sure that as many people as possible live. Yes, there are still guys who are just trying to top the charts and look good, but that’s not the point. A good healing team doesn’t work that way.
It’s strategic. Yes, there are moments of Bubble Spam For the Win. There’s Whack a Mole healing. But there are a lot of ways to make quick, instinctive, strategic choices to keep people alive. Instead of pushing buttons in a particular order as quickly as possible, healing is a lot more mentally engaging and challenging.
There’s a lot more utility. Something I’ve noticed recently is that people who are battle resed or ank don’t get full buffs quickly. I like buffing them. I haven’t run the meters on this, as much as I’m tempted to, but I’d guess I do the vast majority of that rebuffing in our raids from a priestly perspective. I’ve never been congratulated over this; I don’t think anyone really notices. But does it help our raids? Absolutely. Does it make me look good? Nope, doesn’t help my HPS at all. But I’m proud of doing my part. There are plenty of ways to have good utility in raids. Buffs mid fight, dispelling, CC, keeping loose adds off healers, everything counts. It’ll be more important even come Cataclysm.
Where Are all the Women?
I’ve never had more than a couple regularly active solid women in a guild I’ve been in. Right now it’s 3 in a roster of about 30. I’m a minority in WoW. I’ve gotten used to it. I’ve seen a lot of posts lately – from feminists even – stating that women are just less likely to be progressive. Too much stress, too much time, too much…dear god, maybe we should shut up and be silent and take care of the kids while our husbands down bosses then?
It may not appeal to everyone, but I love pushing content. I really wonder if there’s not a lack of women interested in playing well as much as there is a lack of women interested in putting up with the male privilege and hanging out in the boys club generally needed in order to see progression.
There have been very few links to women who are progressed in content or are raid/guild leaders. I seem to find quite a few of them around an am considering a post just about that. How do our women keep getting so overlooked? By other women who are kicking ass?
A Case Study
I’m not trying to pick on Adam. But his post and Chas’ rebutal was really worth reading. While it’s frustrating, it’s very illuminating as well. (Also, dear god, checking out his follow up posts and the comments everywhere, that particular “discussion” has just gotten disgusting.) The basic post was Adam getting annoyed that women were speaking up about female role models in WoW, and how they had no real right to take over his hobby, mostly best I can tell because girls made fun of him in high school for playing video games. Go take a look; I’m posting one of my comments on this discussion:
I don’t think Adam is being miss-attributed. Adam isn’t complaining about how he is *treated* by female players. He’s incredulous that they are asserting their opinions (on private blogs no less, not even directly at him) about the game at all – because their enjoyment of the game shouldn’t be taken into consideration by the developers. Women asserting it might be nice to, say, have a stronger female role model in the game isn’t an attack on men. It’s not about treating men differently, and it wouldn’t completely destroy his fantasy of having a big sword and kicking ass – it’s about increasing the game’s appeal to a portion of their audience.
“It is what a fantasy video game has always been as well as the whole fantasy genre; big guys with swords killing each other at an alarming rate with semi-naked females scattered around for your viewing pleasure.”
He’s not complaining about how women interact with him, he’s upset we even bothered to open our mouths. Clearly, we should just shut up and demurely lounge around half naked for his pleasure, waiting to get drug off to get ravished in a cave. (Yes, he really said that.)
What he’s saying boils down to: WoW is a boys club, made by and for boys. If girls want to show up, that’s fine, but its offensive if they expect to be treated as full members.
That’s what’s getting my panties in a twist (and what a condescending phrase that is). It’s *his* hobby…and yours…and any other guy’s. But it’s not mine. I shouldn’t get a say.
Why? Because he is resentful of a few girls who made fun of him twenty years ago. (And of course those actions should reflect on every single woman in existence for the rest of eternity.) Frankly, I’m astonished that women didn’t flock to his obvious charm and sensitivity.
Do you think women raiders aren’t taken as seriously?
As Kurn said…Abslolutely. We aren’t. We get more shit about “drama” and wining drops when we’re “not really part of the team”, and how much we contribute – much more than any man I’ve ever seen. If you are a guy, you have no clue how hard it is for a woman to work her way into a respected raid position. Every bit of gear, every movement in a fight, every mistake, every wipe that might have been her fault, every drop a Real Guy didn’t win…are all things she needs to get past to succeed. We are not – with few exceptions – taken the least bit seriously. We fight for that part.
Oh sure, I’ve gotten through silly PuG raids on a new to 80 character because OMG I sound sexy and all, and no one cared I’d never been there before or made mistakes or didn’t have gear. Gee, that felt good. Really. I’m very glad I’ve found a guild now where gender just doesn’t seem to matter.
Do you think women don’t play tank characters because of the preconceived notion that tanks = men?
I don’t know. I think there are a lot of things involved in that discussion. I’ve heard a lot of good tanks I know say that raid tanking is unbearably easy. But it can be hell leveling. Come on? We all know those jerks the the LFD who make everything difficult. I’m leveling a tank now, and I’ll tell you its the most stressful thing I’ve done in the game aside from a few epic healing moments.
I didn’t avoid playing a tank for so long out of stress or some weird preconceived notion of masculinity. I hated melee. And I didn’t know the instances well enough to lead them. Well, a bit more time (and support from my boyfriend who helps me the first time I’m anywhere with pulls and direction) spent in Azeroth, and I’m more comfortable with that. I’m personally excited to give this a shot in raids as soon as I get there in level. Just to say I did.
Have I ever seen women main tanking in raids? Nope. I’m sure it happens, but it’s definitely the most rare position for a woman to fill. It’s also the hardest position to join a guild with, male or female, just because of how critical it is. With how rare women are to begin with, I’m not convinced there’s a statistical significance. (Does anyone have any statistics on this?)
One thing my boyfriend told me when I was starting out tanking was that he had a lot of motivation to hit bad guys with a big sword. I instantly knew I didn’t. We’d have to find something else. And I did. The strategy of a perfect efficient multi-pull through an instance. It was thoughtful, it was interesting, I had to adjust for the group I had, I had to spin plates to keep threat, and the efficiency…well as one of those silly girls with a grad degree in a business field…efficiency gets me all hot and bothered.
Oh Noes! I flirted. Just Kill me Now.Yeah. Okay. I’m a woman. Get over it. Having a conversation in vent along the lines of “OMG It’s a girl” is about as interesting as the “Gosh, you have such amazing breasts!!!” I tend to get in bars. It might occasionally be a complement, but it’s not a conversation. (Where on earth do you guys expect that conversation will lead?) It gets boring. Real fast.
I like flirting, though I tend to avoid it in the game because it gets way too much attention. I’d rather be taken seriously. I think things that resemble panties for tanking are absurd, but whatever, there are always alternative gear choices. Do I mind the sexuality obvious in WoW? Hell, I like looking at a cute Blood Elf ass. I just think there are more important things to think about – like theory crafting and boss strategy.