Yesterday I had the honor of running probably the longest random Zandalari dungeon in my World of Warcraft career. Don’t get me wrong, I love healing random dungeons, and even if the tank is slightly under-geared it’s usually still fairly easy to heal. But I realized that there has to be a point where you can say, “I”m sorry Mr. Tank, I can’t heal you through this dungeon.”

I’m a firm believer as a healer in giving every tank a chance, especially after watching a close friend of mine heal a severely under-geared yet skilled DK tank through a very smooth and successful Dead Mines.

I’m not an elitist by any means, and I’ve been thanked for being patient many times by random people, and even guildies as they’ve moved on, but yesterday, I almost turned into a screaming harpy.

Even spending time with the folks over in the Plus Heal Chat room, and trying some of their tips to get through terrifyingly bad runs, I found that I still wanted to berate the tank, chew on the DPS for being under-geared, and not paying attention, and most likely break my keyboard and smile as the keys flew uselessly around the room.

Then I realized, that I’ve been there too.  Scary enough once upon a time, I was that under-geared noob trying to scratch out my first pieces of gear, struggling to heal tanks that were doing the same thing I was. I remember two-healing Rajh because neither myself or my guild mate had enough HPS to get through the fight.

I stopped and took a deep breath, and remembered. I also remembered that our tank (a guild mate and amazing tank, we’re not sure if he’s human or cyborg at this point, though there’s been speculation in Mumble on many occasions) worked hard to keep his gear somewhat enchanted, always had gems that were appropriate. Then I got to thinking, when is it time to throw in the towel and say, “Mr. Tank, I can’t heal you through this, you need more gear.”

With Zul’Aman and Zul’Gurub being relatively new content in the spectrum, while puggable it’s still not content we’re chainpulling our way through. With summer out, and the new Satchel of Mysteries, there are more new tanks, and with new tanks there tend to be issues.

This isn’t a rip on new tanks. I adore the fact that there are new tanks, and that there are more people taking a vested interest in tanking, but you need to be healable. You’re not gonna necessarily hit the avoidance cap in entry level heroic gear, but making sure you have SOME avoidance is a huge help. Try and aim for as many easily acquirable enchants that you can get, I don’t expect you to have Windwalk on your blue quality sword, but at least have mending, as every little bit helps.

If you’re unsure about a fight, say so. I can’t stress this enough, as a healer I’m usually happy to help explain a fight to a new tank.

And as a healer, don’t hesitate to use big heals in a sticky situation, a few big heals is better than dying.

Above all, give the tank a try, and if he or she is unhealable it’s okay to say, “Mr. Tank, I’m afraid I cannot heal you.”