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MMOSide Chat - Healer, Tank Or DPS?

How Did You Choose Your MMO Calling, And Why?

Joseph Bradford Updated: Posted:
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I’ll admit: I’ve never properly tanked in an MMO before. My entire life I’ve either played as DPS or acted as an off-healer in our group. That is something I’m trying to change as I build a tank in The Elder Scrolls Online for group dungeons.

However, tanking, or healing for that matter, has never really been my calling. I excel at DPS, especially ranged DPS. For years while my friends were playing alts and learning new styles of gameplay, I was sticking with my hunter in LotRO, or burning down foes with a DPS Templar in the early days of ESO. When I started my Monk in World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth, I naturally navigated to the DPS spec, ignoring the healing and tank lines altogether. The Priest I’m leveling for Shadowlands at the moment is the same way – Shadow Priest is a lot more fun in my book than pure healing.

However, I want to learn these other styles of gameplay to make myself a more rounded player, especially since seemingly everyone in game queues as DPS in dungeon finders. The Duty Finder queue in FFXIV is infuriating to sit through if you don’t have a healer in your party (I play a Red Mage mostly in this game). Currently I’m running through old Shadow of Angmar content in LotRO with a friend who just started and finally thought it was my time to truly learn how to play my Minstrel healer.Three weeks in I was leveling a champion, one of the best DPS classes in the game.

One of the major reasons why I think I feel this way and gravitate towards DPS-heavy characters is down to the flow of combat. Tanks feel slow, and Healers, at least in the games I’ve tried to play them feel even slower. I find myself when checking out a Guardian or an early tank Dragonknight build – or most recently the Nova class in Black Desert – I actually find myself getting frustrated at how sluggish it feels. And this may just be me – I could simply be perceiving it as sluggish when in fact, many tanks might argue it’s just as fast paced and engaging as slinging spells and arrows from a distance.

While not an MMO, I have played a healer almost exclusively in Overwatch, putting more hours into Mercy and Zenyatta than any other character in my career. In fact, my team and I tend to do well when I’m playing a healer, and the matches we lose are the ones where I try my hand at DPS. I’ve since tried to learn tanking in Overwatch to break up this monotony, playing Sigma more often now, but eventually I find myself going back to Mercy, reviving my party and providing clutch heals so my friends can get Play of the Game off the back of my efforts.

I’m pretty sure I’m destined for DPS in any MMO I pick up, regardless of whether or not I try my hand at the other two-thirds of the holy trinity. I have friends who only gravitate to healers, while others pride themselves on being a go-to tank for their guild. Meanwhile, good DPS is a dime a dozen, so I find myself just waiting patiently to be invited to the party.

How about you? Do you have a style you prefer, or are you skilled at any role your team might need you for? How did you choose your preferred role, and why?


Joseph Bradford

Joseph has been writing or podcasting about games in some form since about 2012. Having written for multiple major outlets such as IGN, Playboy, and more, Joseph started writing for MMORPG in 2015. When he's not writing or talking about games, you can typically find him hanging out with his 10-year old or playing Magic: The Gathering with his family. Also, don't get him started on why Balrogs *don't* have wings. You can find him on Twitter @LotrLore