To answer that question for the MMORPG player: Nothing. We would be buying potions buy the truckload and using good skill/stat points in spells for healing ourselves, instead of whoopassnes. Playing the healing class is one of my guilty pleasures in gaming. It's fun to see the party perform well when they are getting good support from the back row and I don't mind doing it.
Although, they seem to get a little more brazen and sometimes stupid, testing the healers limits and reflexes is not something you want to do. The downside of this is if anything does go wrong, like hearing "Oh, shizz, I just aggroed the whole room!" If you don't pull it off, run out of mana or heavens forbid the tank dies: it's all your fault.
Quite a large mantle to carry around with you, along with a million manapotions.
Side Note:Don't get me wrong, I love EVE. I am a fulltime supporter of this game, to me it's the best MMORPG out there. I didn't need anyone to tell me that, I found out for myself. I just needed a break from the Wormhole grind and looking to enjoy a few different games before a different grind starts soon: college. When I get tired of a pirate shooting space cowboy I turn to something a little more laid back. Keeping a whole party of people alive.
What am I looking into to fill that gap?
Dragon Age: Origins
I know, not even a legitamate MMORPG. Shame on me! Now I was playing through as a run of the mill human, noble warrior. I know, boorrrirrinnnggggg. I was going through poultices (health pots) faster than you can say chicken cutlets. I hadn't picked up Wynne (the npc healer) yet and was just getting into some of the premium content. Wardens Peak and I was in the midst of aquiring Shale, your friendly neighborhood Golem, those quests were kicking meh behind. I decided I wanted to re-roll.
Cut scene: A few couples are at the movies over the weekend and I was talking to my gamer friend who is a girl and she was raving about DA:O to me. She said she had the Prima strategy guide and would loan it to me. Hey, no problem, I am not above using a strat guide, the game was actually kicking my booty a little bit.
I discovered how much of the game I was missing and re-rolled a healer. When I am not tanking in an MMO and inflicting pain, I prefer a cleric/priest/white mage etc class. I found out long ago how indispensable the healing class is in any RPG. In MMORPG's, they are critical, a good healer could turn a good party into an awesome one if he/she's on their game.
And the game is going so much better now. Their is no death penalty in DA:O except for starting over from a save. But I couldn't help to realize how much of a difference it made to getting through the lower level content. At the end of the day I was having more fun, and thats why we play these games right? Right? OK, but it's ONE of the reasons at least.
I'm sure this is the same in any game, but reminded me of some of the other games that I ran the triage route.
Final Fantasy XI: I had a taru Blackmage/Whitemage around 65 on both. BLM was fun, but getting a party was so much easier when I listed myself as WHM/BLM. FFXI is a game that made every class important, however there was a few that became mandatory in parties.
Surprisingly, it wasn't what you might think. Redmages became the most sought after class when I played because of the Refresh spell, regain mana over ticks. Very, very useful in long fights and intense leveling parties. My huge Galka Paladin sadly got left in the dust because it was hardest to find a group as that, I wan't to experience the content. FFXI had some great content back then.
Runes of Magic: 50 priest/knight. Fun, it was a good class to roll into open beta with. When most people were caught up in the Rogue/Ranger nerf system, good healers were hard to come by. I was leveling relatively quick so I became a sought after person to have on raids/parties. And I got a lot of good gear early because it was cloth with wisdom, useless to 90% of the party except me. Epiced out at 40 during open beta, Ah-Ha!
Anarchy Online: Just my luck, I rolled the Martial Artist to find out that it had very good healing spells. I was told to just punch and heal. That's what I did and leveled up pretty fast. AO was a fun game, very huge sprawling maps that are hard to get through without some floating or flying vehicle. The graphics were a bit outdated and most of the community was on endgame content. I still managed to land a good clan and enjoy myself. This made it a little easier to find groups and the mission rolling system made up for it on off times.
I have a close friend who's at the endgame stage of Aion as a priest. She loves it and is having the time of her life. Don't get me wrong, healing as a full time job is fun, but sometimes it's good to be on the frontline grabbing glory. But without a strong healer in the back, you don't stand a chance.
Three cheers for the squishies that keep us alive and looting!