December 4, 2010

Woes of A Healer

It's strange how, despite knowing the trials and tribulations of rolling a healer or a healing capable class, I constantly do so in many of the MMORPGs that I play. Though I enjoy playing a healer class, I nearly always have an equal amount of QQ while playing, sometimes to the point of just giving up playing that character altogether. It's as if I never learn my lesson. I've tried a few times to get my head around why this is the case, and I'd like to think that I'm not the only person who's encountered this. Why do we roll healers even though we know the troubles we'll be going through?

I suppose the first reason why players such as myself roll healers in MMORPGs is because of personality. Some just enjoy playing as healers, or as a support role as opposed to offensive roles such as tanks or DPSers. Others may just be good at playing healers, therefore continuing to do so. The next most possible reason why players regularly roll healers is because of group roles. It's not uncommon for a group of friends to start playing an online game together, and because of the plans of playing together as a group, party roles are often assigned. From these roles, a healer is nearly always included, simply because having a healer in a group is essential for the group's survival, and having a healer you personally know is more convenient from having to pull a random player.

This would have meant death if no Healer was around

So what are the woes of playing a healer? First off are the woes of a healer in leveling. Healer classes are mostly party dependent. In order to level at a more or less acceptable rate, healers must most often party with other players. Unlike tank classes or DPS classes, for healers, solo play isn't very supported, unless the class is outfitted with offensive skills. And even if given offensive skills, these are usually few and not suitable for leveling. Aside from that, many online games make use of a skill point system for skills; going after offensive skills as a healer would be a waste of skill points, as these points could be used for support skills instead. Related to leveling as a healer, often the areas where a healer can level solo are sometimes limited. For example, a priest-like class with holy attribute skills and spells may be limited to mobs or areas with demon or undead type monsters, which, depending on the game, may be limited. Of course, this isn't always the case, but seems to be a common woe.

And last, quests, which can be great sources of money, equipment and experience, are sometimes impossible for healers to do alone. Quests that require a player to kill mini-boss-like mobs or venture into dangerous maps can be taxing sometimes to the point of sanity bending for low defense healer classes with few offensive skills.

Sadly, the woes of a healer don't end at leveling. Rolling a healer, aside from being difficult to level, comes with the high expectations that come with the class. As healers are often party dependent when it comes to leveling or questing, a large chunk of the responsibility for the party's survival lands on the shoulders of the healer. The healer is expected to keep the party alive. Though many party wipes or deaths may be caused by people not knowing their roles/not knowing what to do/not knowing anything, the healer is expected to pull miracles to save any member's life from near death, no matter the circumstance. When this can't be done (which is often, as healer are healers and not miracle workers), the party's healer often gets part, if not most of the blame. The QQ continues for healers even outside of battle. Since healers are a support class, they are also most likely to have numerous supportive buffs. If gameplay in the game is buff dependent, healers will most likely always be hounded for buffs, sometimes to the point of harassment.

Healers are not walking potions

Yet in the end, we still roll healers. Why is this the case? One reason could be that healers are a very self-sufficient class to play. As a healer class, one doesn't have to rely heavily on potions or healing items to survive, yet I suppose on the other hand one becomes dependent on mana healing items or potions. By being able to heal oneself, the player can save money. Aside from this, because of healing skills, there is less down time caused by regen. Another reason would be the indispensability of healers. Healers will always be needed. To an extent, one can say that there can never be too many healers (again, to an extent). In a boss battle, in questing or dungeon raiding, healers will nearly always be welcomed to join. Lastly, healers can still be fun to play for many.

In the end, what am I trying to say? As I've pointed out, healers have many reasons to QQ; having a hard time leveling, dealing with the high expectations that come with the class and sometimes even having to deal with harassment, even though there are many benefits to playing a healer, and that the class is essential to any online game. So make your healer's life a bit easier; respect them and treat them nicely. Keeping us alive isn't easy, and for that they deserve our gratitude.

Credits: MMOsite

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