In this week's Community Spotlight we focus on the thread, "The life of the Healer" by Arclan:
A rumor is going around that the Healer class is boring; and that everyone else gets the 'fun.' Well let me disagree. My secondary EQ character was a Cleric, and I spent thousands of hours playing him and loved every minute of it.
1. You get respect from everyone, and appreciation from your group mates
2. You help push the group into more dangerous and lucrative encounters.
3. You employ constant problem solving and decision making; deciding who to heal, when, and for how much. All the while trying to avoid aggro and, if you got it, keeping yourself alive.
4. The consequences of your decisions are high; literally holding the power of life and death.
Although I mention problem solving/decision making third, it is THE reason I loved being a healer.
Read on for some highlights from the thread!
naZchoco finds healing the most fun:
I've been healing since 99' as a Cleric myself.
I love the respect I get from it.
I love how attentive we have to be on certain fights. Aggro control, status ailment curing, heals, while all the same doing the usual waltz around red rings and AoEs like everyone else.
I think it's the hardest of the classes and I think it's the most fun.
The only problem I have with it is we usually get the shaft in terms of looks. Except cleric - at least it was plate wearing :D
Psistorm finds healers to be the hardest to play, but also the least rewarding:
Personally I feel that healers are probably the hardest class to play, and in many ways also the least rewarding. You get to keep everyone alive, watching 5 targets on top of needing to know when the fight needs special attention on top of doing the mechanics, and if you slip up you generally get shouted at. You pretty much have to have healed a dungeon in order to be allowed to heal a dungeon, so to say. Or at least have read up on every encounter.
Meanwhile tanks need the same kind of pre-knowledge, it almost feels as if healers/tanks aren't allowed to learn anymore in todays MMO society, people expect them to know everything up front already. They need to be more geared usually, though they don't have to do a ton of work over dps. They often are subject to different mechanics, but most games seem to give them gratuitous threat building abilities so that threat isn't really an issue.
Meanwhile DPS can die all they like and blame others in some games, only need to do the waltz whilst spamming their rotation as fast as they can, because the tank is expected to keep aggro and stay up, and the healer is expected to smooth over any screwups the group does.
Granted this is my personal, perhaps slightly jaded opinion, but in todays "don't talk, just kill stuff already" LFG experience, this seems to be what it boils down to. Which is probably why I a) really should find me a nice guild on any upcoming MMOs I play and b) will probably pick up tanking. I tried healing once and it really is a bit too much for my taste, but tanking I tried out and I like the taste of it.
So what can games do to make it more fun? Imho break up the trinity, and try to make every role responsible again. And re-introduce CC and support as a major player. Make it so that DPS classes aren't pure DPS, but instead have a good helping of temporary buffs, small heals and such at their disposal, as well as some CC. Make fights revolve around those concepts, make the party turn into a scenario where people help each other, rather two people carrying three others to an extent.
Ridelynn has mixed feelings about healing:
I usually like playing as a tank, because you tend to control the direction and tempo of a group.
I've dabbled with healing a bit here and there - it's not bad. You certainly get some amount of respect, and the healer and tank are more or less in sync - they both have to be on the same page, or the entire group just falls apart. In some games (and particularly in large raids) it seems like you just stare at health bars, and it's an entirely different meta game. I got bored with it fast in EQ and WoW, but in FFXIV I'm liking it a lot better.
DPS is just kinda along for the ride... You follow the script of the event, and you follow the pace of the tank, and you try not to get the (negative) attention of the healer.
I was always the DPS type guy. I used to love playing rogues and I still love playing archers. Today, I can have fun doing anything. It was actually Warhammer Online that changed my perception on support roles. Tanks actually had an important role in WAR's PvP and I learned to appreciate healers a bit more when I played the reworked Archmage. The Archmage was a lifetap healer who could heal his secondary target while damaging an enemy at the same time. Their healing wasn't as strong as someone dedicated entirely to healing, but it was actually respectable and honestly, quite fun.
I haven't spent a whole lot of time being a healer in a dungeon setting, but I don't think I would find playing whack a mole with health bars all too exciting. That said, healing isn't inherently boring; it's all about how you do it. There are certainly mindless healing classes out there, but there are also exciting variations available and that's ultimately what we should strive to see in our MMOs.
What's your take on healers? Share your thoughts in the comments below!