Why DPSing on my druid makes me uncomfortable

I have railed and complained all of Cataclysm about not wanting to DPS.  I even had dual heal spec - PVP and PVE (some may say you could use the same spec for PVP but really, if I want to seriously arena it is much better if I had the right spec) and I resisted dpsing for the whole of 4.0.  I have been promoting 3 healers for every 10 man and 6-7 for every 25 man that our guild runs, saying that it isn't fair that we switch our roles to be something that we are not.  As raid heal leader I was trying to look after my healers so that we would continue to all be happy, and not be disheartened that "We are not wanted/needed" and then the healers who DO get to go are either the outstanding healers, or the ones who do decent DPS.

But I think it comes from my own anxiety about my DPS.  I haven't DPS'd in a while, and when I do I am not very good at it - something I am sure will improve with practice.  However, as the only raiding resto druid in our guild, I was often protected from the need to DPS, as well as the fact I was consistently a top 3 healer.

But this week that had to change.

In our whole Firelands experience, only one Fandral's Flamescythe has ever dropped.  And it went to me as a DE, which I kept for looks only.  Then I thought 2 weeks ago that I should try and make use of it and maybe try feral.  I had a whole lot of offspec gear lying around in the bank and with the lack of raiding rogues and kitties most of the leather agi stuff was being DE'd.

So with Valor points, exalted Reputation with Avengers of Hyjal and drops, I managed to piece together a set which actually looked quite good.

Now I had the question of: whom do I ask for advice on how to play a kitty?

Our raiding kitty has stopped playing - no doubt pursuing the other games that have appeared on the market recently, and also he lost interest in raiding.  The other mainspec feral druid is a tank who doesn't DPS.  And so I asked two of the officers who tank on their druid alts.  Now, no offence to them, since I am going to write what they told me (but I am VERY grateful for their advice!) and I don't want anybody bagging them out but they said:
  • Don't gem for anything other than Agi.  Don't worry about socket bonuses except the helm.
  • Don't worry about hit cap (I was skeptical but I said ok)
  • Alternate Rips and Savage Roars
  • Shouldn't have to worry about Faerie fire since there are other druids and a warrior in raid
Getting my rotation was rusty, I hadn't really dpsed since I was level 70, and I had to hit the dummy a few times to see if I could remember what I was supposed to do.  I was so embarrassed about doing it that I refused to do it when my friends were online so they wouldn't laugh at my noobishness, I was that paranoid about it.
I ran a few runs with guildies to practice my dps (in heroic dungeons) and I got the hang of it a little, but gee, mobs die so fast I don't know how anyone can hit anything before it dies.

And then there was last Thursday, when I got to dps for Baleroc.  I know that I am the weakest healer there for that fight, so when the dps were struggling and one of us was asked to DPS, it was either me or Voe and I put my hand up since I know that my healing is not the best for that fight.  Even though inside I was cringing and mortified that I would be standing in the wrong spot, not moving from the crystal, not tanking the crystal properly, and of course I knew I would be at the bottom of the DPS but when you are used to being at the top of a meter, it's really hard to look at yourself as being the worst in the group.  Yes, yes everyone says it's fine, you don't DPS often, you're a healer, you're not expected to DPS as good as the rest of us but the competitive part of yourself wants to be good, wants to be better, doesn't like dragging down a raid.

Anyway enough self pity.

So then I was staring at my stats again on Friday and Coolidge asked me what I was doing and I told him about my anxiety about stats and DPS and things.  And he was thrilled to be able to assist me and he offered me TONS of advice.  Some of that advice including reaching hit and exp cap, and not gemming for hit (hey those gems were CHEAP that's why I put them in ok!!!) and then he helped me regem, reenchant and reforge all my gear to what a raiding feral druid should look like.  He tweaked my rotation a little bit (by then I had felt comfortable that I actually HAD a rotation instead of just shredding everything and then oh oops I havae 5 points better use them huh) and so I tried on the dummy and it was better than what I had done before.  So now, armed with a decent set of gear, stats and rotation, I am ready to tackle the raid tonight and hope that I can help us get a new heroic boss kill.

I wish that Baleroc was harder to heal so that we could have the 6 dps pumping it out so that we could kill it before enrage, and so we would ahve 3 healers all the time like I think we should.  What would be even better is more fights like Dreamwalker, I reckon, where more healers are needed and balance the whole offspec thing a bit better.  Anyway, I can only dream :)  And hope that this won't be a permanent thing, because just because I'm a bit more comfortable now, doesn't mean I like it.