Do you need to suffer to be a real healer?

You probably know the kind of person who is very proud of being a ‘real’ healer. They are happy to heal 100% of the time and consider it a sign of weakness if their character has any non-support spells at all. Worse still would be a viable dps spec, because that might attract *say it in whispers* the wrong kind of player.

Damage? Only the feeble minded want to be able to solo on their healers, real healers need not these things.

Real healers ™ never ignore a call for a healer from any quarter; LFG channel, guild chat, random newbie, they will trudge out to the ends of the earth to martyr themselves to whichever poor soul needs their tender ministrations.

Real healers give of their time and gold unstintingly, knowing that the effort may never be really appreciated. They may occasionally cry out to the heavens about how miserable their lot is, and how difficult it is to be so very popular, but they secretly enjoy it.

Real healers get very very pissed off if they see a hybrid ‘stealing’ their group or raid spots. Because apparently it’s not enough to want to heal 50% of the time, if you don’t heal 100% of the time and suffer constantly for your art, you don’t deserve to have healing spells.

Real healers are twats. They know that their vaunted popularity depends on them being available in limited numbers. And they know that the best way to keep the numbers down is to make the class as unappealing to anyone who is not a real healer ™ as possible.

Real healers have a vested interest in making sure that it’s always hard to find a healer. This goes against the interests of the majority of the player base which is why we’ll keep seeing more hybrid healer classes in future (until someone thinks of a way out  of the tank/healer/dps model.)

There is nothing wrong at all with having a preferred role and always sticking to it. That’s cool, although soloing usually requires a different type of role to grouping anyway. But assuming that yours is the only worthwhile way to play makes no sense.

Complaining when your class gets better soloing tools makes no sense.

People who think that hybrid healers should not be able to heal as well as pure healers are living in cloud cuckoo land. There is a difference between wanting to heal 70% of the time and wanting to heal 70% as well. Healing 70% as well means that if instances are tuned for the pure healer, the hybrid will really struggle AND if instances are tuned for the hybrid, the pure healer will be bored.

The big problem with the idea of lesser healers is that there isn’t much of a role in many games for the off-healer. And when it does exist, it’s a lesser role that isn’t always necessary. So unless a hybrid has a lot of extra utility and damage to add to the off-healing role, when they do get to heal they’ll have to be the main healer.

There are a lot of dedicated healers out there who are also good players, fun to hang out with, and not hung up about playing the martyr. These are the guys to find and treasure, everyone will have more fun.

8 thoughts on “Do you need to suffer to be a real healer?

  1. But you also get the healers who play that archtype and never get anywhere near a heal spell during a scenario/battle.

    “Oh look I have 2 healers in my group, excellent”

    Not if they aren’t healing. The number of grumbles I hear on vent on this subject is scary.

  2. @skarbd I think PvP is a special case because you tend to get dumped into a group with people. If you were forming the group yourself you’d ask for healers and the guys who didn’t want to heal wouldn’t offer anyway.

  3. ahem… so this is Syll of the “crying out to the heavens” post who “secretly enjoys” the popularity I wrote about =P. I would say a couple of things here. In my post on Matticus, I made it pretty clear that I love healing, but that I was having some issues balancing my gameplay because of the demand. I also offered some solutions which I have found to be constructive for me. My claim is not to be a “real healer”, nor do I have any issues with hybrid healers whatsoever. If the group stays on its feet, hallelujah! I might even consider speccing restokin myself if it were viable for raids, but in my guild it is not. I am the only raiding tree and need to be at full strength because of it. Although I don’t personally recognize the stereotype of the Real Healer that you outline in your post, don’t particularly know anyone who fits that bill, I assume that they must be out there somewhere. I just kind of prickled at being lumped in with that group and having my blog post be representative of it. If my post came off sounding like martyr-speak, then perhaps I didn’t write it, or you didn’t read it, clearly enough. I’m not looking for a cross to crawl up on. I’m looking for ways that are as comfortable and fun as possible to support the game play which I most enjoy, which is raid healing. This is why my post didn’t stop with QQ I am too popular, but ended with some strategies that have allowed me to balance my time in WOW and, simply put, not martyr myself.

  4. @Syll Firstly, I’m sorry if this came off as being a personal jab. It’s just that you very articulately described a playing style that I don’t entirely understand, and find difficult to cope with in others. And what I mean by that is healers who spend a lot of time complaining about never having any time to themselves or any gold. I have known a few people like this, I’m sure it isn’t just healers but it seems more endemic there.

    In your post, you talk about poverty, burnout, and guilt. You talk about hiding on alts. You talk about playing on offpeak hours so as to avoid people.

    But you don’t talk about learning to just say, “No, I’m busy.” So as a reader I wonder to myself, “Why doesn’t she just grow a backbone?” Is it really better to be chased onto alts and have to log in at odd hours than just to say, “Sorry, not in the mood,” or, “Sorry, need to gather herbs so I can pay for repairs this week.”

    I didn’t want to reply to your post directly because it sounds way more personal than I had intended. I hope you have fun in game with your choices. Healing is fun! I had a lot of fun healing on my resto druid in TBC, and I was popular, but I never had to hide and I never went broke. So I don’t really understand why you’d choose to do that.

    But more to the point, I’ve known other friends and players in game who had similar issues. We were friends and all, but I did get tired of listening to them complain about always being broke, and feeling guilty if they couldn’t go help some random group somewhere, because it all seems so unnecessary. I don’t feel that you need that level of dedication/martyrdom to be a good healer is all.

  5. Syll does have a point. Learning to say “no” is important (god knows I could learn a bit more of that), but it would be SO nice if other players could learn to take no for an answer.

    Playing a healer taps right into that sense of entitlement some players seem to have with regard to other players in games. “You’re a healer, so you’re at my disposal. YOU made that choice when YOU rolled a healer class and you have absolutely no right to refuse any request I make.” I also saw that to some extent back in the day in SWG, when entertainers healed wounds — people would come in, watch you, get healed, and bog off with nary a word and certainly not a tip. Because, yeah, I stand there all day trying to be nice and helpful and I do it because I love you, asshat entitled player.

    MMOs would be so much more fun if everyone in them was like ME! (/sarcasm!)

  6. @ Spinks, your reply is fair enough. Listening to someone constantly complain about being broke or doing something they do not want to do or feel obligated to do does seem ridiculous when there are so many other options open. Everything we do in game is choice based, in the end.
    My post, however, was intended to explore my own efforts NOT to become a whining, broke, sullen, obligated healer, rather than the opposite. I learned some good habits (not hanging on to every mat/item of value that crosses my path), good responses (no I can’t help you, but maybe this other person can, let me shoot them a whisp and see if they’re busy), good strategies (trading heals for the kind of help I might need), and good alternatives (playing my face-melting mage or playing at odd hours), all of which combined make me much happier overall.
    I also recognize that the fact that I wrote about my issues with being a popular healer on a widely-read blog is a very public act, but truly it is not something that I spend any amount of time QQing about in-game. I wrote the blog post not to complain, but to demonstrate that I had found some ways to balance out my experience. I don’t know if reserving some gameplay for off hours is a good solution for someone else, or playing on alts, or any of the other solutions that worked for me personally, but these things make me happy, so I thought I might share them.

    At any rate, thanks for your post, and your response to my comment. It’s helped me to re-evaluate my own perspective on healing and to solidify some of my own thoughts about how I game and why. I absolutely agree with you that healing is fun. It’s even more fun when you can clearly and comfortably lay out the terms as to when and who you will heal, while still making time for whatever else you enjoy.


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