You can’t heal stupidity!

You have to feel sorry for overgeared healers sometimes. Trotting along behind the group, with a DS in one hand (thank you Professor Layton, rescuer of dull instance runs) and the other lazily tapping out the equivalent of Bach’s 4th Brandenburg Concerto on their healing buttons – looking up occasionally to check which instance they are in and to hit need on any shards.

It isn’t surprising that many entertain themselves by rescuing foolish tanks and dps from the results of their own stupidity.

Stood in the fire again? Yawn, no problem. In fact, I saw that one coming so I had a heal preloaded. That’s how good I am.

Others make up their own sets of rules – eg. always res the gnomes first, don’t heal people who refused to run back after a wipe, see if you can play chicken with the tank if they didn’t stop long enough for you to drink, and so on. It will usually involve something really arbitrary, or some healy way to punish people who are playing the game ‘wrong’.

In fact, one thing healers don’t tell you is that they all have their own version of The Rules. It’s like having your own little version of Miss Manners along for the ride. And for extra spice, most healers won’t actually tell you in advance what their rules are. Now I say this with all consideration to healers. Because I play one also and I also have my own set of secret rules which lucky group mates have to figure out for themselves.

I don’t care if people don’t run back after a wipe, I’ll let the group know if I need to drink and then run and catch up as best I can if they don’t slow down, none of those things bother me on my tree druid. But I don’t heal stupid.

Oh, let the healers with the strong work ethic, the ones who really LIVE the healer role, pull off those legendary saves where no one else bothered to read the tactics and they all stood in the fire. I’ll laugh as you die and I’ll even laugh as I do if it was all down to stupidity. (Of course, I’ll explain the fight in advance if people mention that they aren’t familiar with it too, I’m not that lazy.) But if you dare to complain to me about your death, I will simply tell you that I don’t heal stupid.

This was brought to mind the other day when I was healing a run through the Halls of Lightning. We had two suicidal rogues in the group. They ran ahead and pulled trash groups. They died. They got too close to the pack of slag elementals (I did not make up that mob name, by the way). They died in the explosion. They didn’t get out of the way of Ionar’s disperse. Guess what, they died. And every time, I laughed and ressed them after the rest of us had finished clearing the mobs.

And you know what? No one complained. They were too busy laughing at each other, or being mocked genially by the tank. It was one of the more good natured runs I’ve been on recently. Because not only do I not heal stupid, sensible players understand that if they’re living on the edge and doing daft things, they won’t get healed. I think of it as darwinism in action – plus, if you never died when you did something risky in a game, life would be so dull.

I don’t think I was ever really cut out to be a career healer, you see. I’d be more like that healer girl in Guild Wars who keeps yelling at you not to be a wimp and go kill more stuff, because she’s got your back. But I bet she doesn’t heal stupid either.

So, if you heal in MMOs. Do you have a version of The Rules? Do you tell the group or just let them find out?