How to make healers awesome

| Monday, December 14, 2009
Pardon me being three months behind, but I inhabit a very small part of the blogosphere. A small piece of the WoW blogosphere. It's tiny. "That's what she said." Very mature.

Mordiceius asks Why can't healers be awesome? Good question! I suggest that it's because healing is innately not very awesome. And game design makes it even less so.

Think about what a healer does. They stand there as something smashes your face in. Then they heal you up again. And then JUST STAND THERE. Maybe they heal you again and again, but the main action of a healer is just standing there doing absolutely nothing to prevent your head from being removed.

Think about a tank now. They are the ones preventing you from losing your head. They scream their heads off and make the enemy so mad that it can attack no one else. They pull out shields and deflect the enemy attack. They turn into bears and just take the hit. Just like that. Or they dodge it because we all know bears have moves. They surround themselves with frost and use their weapon as a barrier, deflecting attacks and turning them right back (parry haste ftw? maybe?). Point is, tanks are fucking badasses.

DPS aren't quite as much. After all, they won't do much to keep you from losing your head, but they will potentially remove the enemy's head. They'll stab them. They'll swing a hammer that just knocks it right off. They'll set them on fire so their heads cease to exist. DPS aren't as badass as tanks, but they are as badass as the huge boss trying to remove your head.

Healers stand there and wave their hands and you don't die. And that's it. You still lose ten gallons of blood. You still lose limbs. While it is kinda neat to be making all that regrow, it's so reactive. At best they'll put a glowy bubble around you that will negate a small percentage of the horrible pain that is coming.

Can this change? Can healers be badass? They could be made into something similar, but more badass. I previously imagined making DPS more group-oriented by allowing them to return attacks from enemies. But you know what? Screw them! Let's give that to the healers instead.

How about instead of Sacred Shield absorbing some tiny bit of damage every 6 seconds if it instead gives the tank the equivalent of a second shield, or a shield at all, which they can use to block more and increase their damage. Yea, let's see that, a BEAR WITH A SHIELD. You think getting mauled by a bear claw hurts? Imagine if that is backed up with a magical shield tearing across your face. This would be temporary of course, but healers would be a bit cooler if they could at least play the person who throws the gun to the hero.

Let's up the ante. How about healers healing vengefully? Ultimatums. "If you dare touch him (the tank) you will suffer the wrath of [Naaru, Elune, the elements]." Think the disc talent for a reactive shield, but times a hundred. The healer would magically contribute his or her weapon to the cause of the tank, fighting along with it. They would parry attacks and swing right back.

At the least they could play the martyr. Take the damage suffered by the group into themselves; perhaps at a 10% rate, and then recovering it over time. Healers would act in rotation; absorbing damage until near death and then recovering while the next takes over. Think of it as divine sacrifice/hand of sacrifice, but more powerful, combined with an automatic HoT on the healer when the effect ends.

I must admit, I rarely heal. I hate the reactive nature and the stress of it. I have no confidence in my ability to heal. So I leave the final word to the healers: What would make you more awesome?


Busket said...

All a healer really has to do to be awesome is do some PvP. You feel the power of your healing, the gratitude from your allies, and the hatred of your enemies so palpably there.

Even in PvE there are opportunities to be awesome though. As a resto shaman, I pay close attention to my totems, changing them mid battle depending on conditions. I have a focus set at all times for my wind shock macro so I can mess with casters (sometimes helping bring them into the tank's AoE), and am ready to drop a grounding totem if that's on cooldown. If my awesome tank is too busy being awesome to notice a stray mob beating on me, I can keep both of us up. And in those truly stressful healing situations where it seems like everyone is going to die, I shoot laser heals at the group, pew pew, and it feels like I'm keeping everyone up through sheer force of will. Awwwwwwwesome. :)

Ponder said...

I have a saying about healers.

"Healers don't see content."

By which i mean, they rarely care about what mobs/bosses are doing. They just focus on party health bars. THIS MUST END.

In fact, the whole idea of priests/etc healing is crap. Its doctors/alchemists/nurses who really heal. And they heal by touching or bandaging or applying balms. NOT in the heat of battle, but AFTERWARDS.

Priests/etc heal our spirits not our wounds. SO priests must play a PSYCHIC role not a physical health role!

PS. Don't have a final solution though ...

Shintar said...

I think it's wrong to equal "awesome" with how violent your character appears to be. I'm currently doing the dungeon dailies on four different healing toons and loving it. And if I manage to heal anyone through a sticky situation that should have killed them ten times over, you bet that it feels awesome! If I wanted to beat on the enemy, I wouldn't have become a healer in the first place.

The only thing I would wish for is that being a healer should scale better while soloing. Gear up a dps or especially a tank a bit and they become indestructible. Yet my priest in full tier 9.25 is no more capable of soloing Chillmaw than she was while in blues. I do think that sucks sometimes.

Klepsacovic said...

@Busket: Okay fine, penance and chain heal are pretty awesome.

@Ponder: Oh cry more, I have to stare at a boss's crotch for the entire fight!

@Shintar: How dare you even consider that awesome and violence are not inextricably linked!

G-Rebel said...

Adding additional effects to heals, such as damage done or tank/dps buffs of any nature would be great fun, but I think they would have to come at a cost to make the healer have to think even more about when and if to use them.

I would enjoy seeing a healer have the ability to pull everyone, boss included, into another dimension, where "damage" done would regenerate the health of both the group, but also the boss would regain health at a percentage of the same "damage". Don't mock, I know it'll never happen, but it's an idea. It would help the issue of the last post, make the instances longer.

But what do I know? Some enjoy just standing there and "poppin' heals".

kaozz said...

I will admit, most of the time I am watching health. Sometimes my tank tells me whats going on from his side of the room because I'm so busy watching the health bars lol.

I run around and heal thank you! Druid healing ftw =p

At the point WoW is at now, with everyone always taking so much dmg I don't know if I'd want to do anything else. I already have enough to do. My tank and I sometimes feel like we are the ones doing the brunt of the work.

I am bad ass because I kept you up ;) I know what you mean though.

Jyorore said...

Healers can indeed be Badass, but as Shintar stated, you don't have to be violent to be awesome. A resto druid I know tops heal meters every single day without using a single addon. That's awesome.

A good paladin can heal two tanks at the same time. That's awesome, lets see a tank solo two bosses at the same time.

Healers can keep everyone up through some serious 'You want me to heal what?!' moments. That's awesome, and when your doing the healing, you feel awesome...after you stop pulling your hair out of course.

Of course I believe that tanks are the most awesome, because I play one as my main and have one as an alt, but that's just a preference. I also think that DPS is the most uninteresting, but a majority of people play them, and would disagree with me.

Klepsacovic said...

@G-Rebel: Maybe that's good, healers having to think beyond spamming.

@kaozz: All of this would be part of your 'healing', ways to make you not need to heal so much.

@Jyorore: I've tanked two bosses at once.


You could always go the Pain Domination route; whenever you heal, buff, or resurrect someone, you get a bonus to damage for a short time, not to mention some very sought-after group buffs.

Thistlefizz said...

I hear one of the future encounters in Icecrown Citadel will give healers a chance to be extra awesome. There will be a dragon (I forget its name), and the encounter involves healing said dragon up to full whilst defeating wave after wave of baddies. I'm looking forward to that one!

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