As a druid I've filled all four roles in a raid. I've been Tank, Melee DPS, Ranged DPS and a Healer. Yes... my altoholic in a box druid has raided in all three main specs. So lets talk about what I've noticed while leading in each of these three roles and their impact on the raid leader's position.
The View From Behind - Tanks and Melee DPS
"I can't squat through my own big fat @#*!!!!!"
As a tank or melee DPS, frequently your view is quite limited. As a bear tank, all you get to see for a lot of fights is big hairy butt for hours on end. With bears in particular, the angle it drops down too and all you see across a third of the screen or more is your own big butt. God forbid you have to back up against a wall!!! But there are some nice benefits too.
- As a tank you can set the pace of the raid. You control the speed of pulls as well as the amount of down time.
- You get to pick the tanking assignments. Want to try XYZ boss? Grats you can try to tank it.
- You get a close up view of the boss and everything going on.
- Frequently in boss fights you suffer from a limited field of vision. Any fight where you are forced to back up against a wall you can really be limited unless you are very good at tanking in reverse and messing with your camera.
- You limit the amount of Off tanks and trained tanks you will have. If you always fill a tank slot you really limit how many other tanks can train up in your instances.
- You may miss some times if adds appear and some times you are so busy keeping people alive you don't have time to call out on TS or Vent for an issue.
"The boxes... All I see is Boxes... They blink at me in my sleep"
As a healer you gain the advantage of perspective. You are most times not standing on top of the boss. So you have distance on your side for sizing up the situation. Healers come from all perspectives. Druids have the advantage with their healing of being very mobile. I also am a "mouseover" healer. I LOVE mouseover healing for Druids. With most of their spells being instant HoTs its great to just bind them to keys and constantly hover over the raid frames and just press 1,2,1,1,2,1,1,1,2 etc.. I can quickly heal large swaths of people. But from a raid leader lets look at this differently.
- Not right on top of the mob. You get a much broader view of the fight.
- You should know at any given moment where the damage is going in the raid. You'll get a very good perspective on where healing needs to go and when spikes occur.
- Healers can some times suffer from what I call "tunnel" or "Grid" vision. They get so focused on what they need to heal that they can tune out what's is going on around them.
- It can be difficult to manage lots of rapid fire healing while watching for boss abilities to call out.
- Depending on your type of healer, you may not be able to move well and get a decent view on a fight.
- As a tank healer you need to watch the tanks and can't slack off of healing to adjust things in raid. YOU MUST HEAL.
"See him?? Dude I saw him and I burned him down before you ever got a chance to get a whiff of his stench"
Ranged DPS has a unique perspective on most fights. They have to be mobile enough to move when their target moves as well as far enough away to keep out of the range of special abilities. Of the three roles the easiest one I've personally found to play is Ranged DPS. Whether hunter, warlock, mage, shaman, druid, priest, etc... the distance and situational awareness that I have gained as a ranged DPS has dramatically increased my raid leading.
- You have a broad perspective on the fight. Spotting problems and adds is easier as you are LOOKING right at the boss or other targets on the screen. You also tend to catch when people are out of place.
- Limited focus problems. Once you know your spell rotation, you only have to really watch what is happening on the screen and where you are on your threat meter.
- Its easier to catch threat problems on threat based fights. Generally you focus on the threat meter so catching someone overthreating is easy.
- If you are doing CC, your focus may be split.
- Your speed and control is in the hands of the tanks and healers. You have to rely on them to pull at a reasonable pace.