The problem with healing…

I like playing a healer yet at the same time I really don’t like playing a healer. Let me explain. I like playing support in a group, helping keep the warriors fighting and playing a vital role in the team’s victory. Yet at the same time healing the group means I’m not whacking the daylights out of the enemy and that is not what I signed up for.

Like a lot of LOTRO players I listen to the Casual Stroll to Mordor podcast and on that Goldenstar often talks about her experiences as a healer and I have to say I was always uneasy with what I heard – healing seemed to be a reactionary role where attention could be split between the game and doing something else such as watching TV. At first I was sure that I was missing something, simply not grasping what must be a more complicated job than I understood. I mean, surely a key mechanic of not only this game, but seemingly all MMOs, could be so limited and, well, dull. Could it?

And then I read a piece on CSTM by a healer named Vraeden and I knew there & that the life of a dedicated healer wasn’t for me.

All a healer ever sees of a fight is bars. Green bars. That’s it. All the beautiful architecture looks like green bars, the bosses and mobs are just green bars bobbing up and down, the rest of the team just green bloody bars. To me there seems no point in playing the game, not if you can’t actually see the game you are playing.

Until, that is, Guild Wars 2 came along with a new model and I found myself excited about healing & support in a dungeon bash. You see, in GW2 every class can heal themselves therefore there is almost no need for a healer. True some classes can provide heals to their group, but these are small and not suited to keeping everyone alive in a rumble. No, instead GW2 does away with the healer as a crutch (as well as the tank and the damage-heavy warrior or magic user) and puts the responsibility on you to keep yourself alive with self-heals and clever dodging. As a healer in LOTRO, the tank should be keeping the boss away from you so in turn you can keep the tank alive in a beautiful circle of dependency. But in GW2 there is no tank and no one can hold the aggro of a boss or mob in the way they would in a game like LOTRO which means that if you are trying to be a healer no one is keeping the enemy from knocking seven shades out of you.

In GW2 no one can take their eyes of the screen and switch to ‘auto-pilot’ No, in GW2 you have to be a vital and active part of the fight along with everyone else and this, for me at least, is bloody exciting! Yes I can heal folks, but not in a way that makes me a healer. Like me, they have to look after themselves as well as everyone else in the team. There is no longer a dependency on each other as much as a co-operation between equals and that sounds more more fun that watching green bars with one eye and my twitter feed with the other 😀


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