“The ultimate meaning to which all stories refer has two faces: the continuity of life, the inevitability of death.” – Italo Calvino
As an MMORPG player who makes something of an amateur virtual career of healing others, I inadvertently face the same question from other players over and over again: “Doesn’t healing get boring?” Because, honestly, taking a big stick (okay, sword) and repetitively whacking at one object over and over again is so exciting.
Classes in any MMORPG can be broadly lumped into one of two categories: a healer or support class and a dd (damage dealer) class. These categories can be roughly defined as a dd being any class with the primary purpose of surviving the direct damage of the enemy and dealing damage to the enemy and a healer or support class being any class with the primary purpose of keeping their party members alive and buffed.
In my experience, no matter what class a player initially chooses to try in an MMORPG, they always inadvertently fall back on the class which is most fulfilling to them. More simply put: the “heroes” and rambos tend to play warriors/melee tanks, the egoists tend to play assassins, the trolls tend to play cc classes like ice mages, the self-proclaimed strategists tend to play ranged damage, and the passive(aggressives) and bleeding hearts tend to play support/healers.
I play priest-type classes for three main reasons:
1. I am a social gamer – I play MMORPGs because I like to run dungeons/instances/raids with other players and have very low utility for solo-gaming activities
2. I don’t like confrontation – some people might find a warrior assaulting them at full speed an exhilarating experience. My first instinct is to shield myself, run, and hide in some unobtrusive corner
3. I like helping others – rather than accomplishing something myself, I like being told “hey I don’t think I could have done that without you!” (or conversely “I would’ve killed him/her if it weren’t for you! @#!$@-ing priest!”)
There is also a lot less epeen-waving involved in playing a healer – it’s fundamentally an “unglamorous” job – no kill counts to speak of, being out dps-ed by lower level players and sometimes, even pets! This lets me get away with a lot of non-competitive behavior like refusing duel requests without the usually obligatory shit-talk afterwards. (Because anyone who brags about being able to win a 1v1 duel versus a pure healer class really needs an epeen and/or brain transplant) Besides, I’ve never particularly felt the urge to develop a peen, virtual or otherwise.
In MMORPGs, healers foster a sense of community and cooperation between players – we’re not saints, no matter how many of us may see ourselves that way (and we do put up with a lot!) – but we do approach gaming with an attitude that is fairly unique and rare in players who choose other classes. Instead of focusing on self-gratification and the proverbial size of our own epeen, we prioritize our ability to support other players and, in turn, expect other players to return the same measure of support. A metaphor the vice-lead of my guild used to describe 3v3 PvP team compositions is a perfect way to describe the relationship between healers and other players. A 3v3 team, he said, is composed of three components – the sword, the shield, and the king. The dps and the cc are the sword and shield, they attack the enemies and shield the party from the attacks of the enemy. The healer is the king. The sword and shield protect the king and in turn, the king supports them and holds the party together.
So perhaps my preference for playing a healer is much simpler – it’s just an extension of my princess sickness ( *∀*)y