Nov 15, 2011

Posted by in Halls Of Healing | 5 Comments

Halls Of Healing: The Social Side Of Healing

Each week or thereabouts here at Ask A Jedi, we’ll meditate on the finer points of the healer’s role in Star Wars: The Old Republic. No matter where your allegiance lies, you’re sure to find guidance here in the Halls Of Healing!

In previous articles we’ve covered topics on game mechanics, advanced classes and the user interface. This week we will take a look at the social side of being a healer.

I’m sure most of you who are reading this will have some form of connection to healing. You’re either planning to play one, have played a healer before or played with a healer on some occasion.

Healing in Groups

In groups the healer’s job is to keep yourself and your group members alive. This can often be mistaken by the majority of players that it’s solely the healer’s job to keep the group alive, not a group effort.

I’m sure many of you will disagree with this and say that, “Everyone needs to be a team player.” I agree that this is highly preferred, but it’s not the case in a majority of groups I’ve played with (I’m generally talking pick up groups here. Not guild runs with people you know. However this is also the case for a vast majority of players inside guilds).

Despite this I will say that the required level of teamwork for both the damage dealers and tanks is not as high as that of the healer. The damage dealers main job is to kill stuff; that’s their primary task (yes, working together with your group will definitely assist them in their killing, but will in most cases not be crucial to the conquering of the encounter).

The tanks, on the other hand, are different, similar to the healers; they have a bigger need to cooperate with the group. Their job is not to kill stuff; it is to keep the attention of the enemies in order to keep the group alive, similar to the healers.  However, the tanks are in most cases the leaders of the group opposed to a follower. They decide which mobs to pull, in what order to kill them and the pace at which this is done. This gives them a unique position where they don’t really need to mind what the rest of the group is doing, they can do their own thing and just let the rest of the group follow their lead.

We healers are supporters, we need to adapt to the other players, cover other players’ mistakes. Usually mistakes the players themselves are not even aware of. As a healer you will not be part of the action, you will stand at the back aiding your group while they take care of the action at the front lines.

Overall the job itself is very thankless. Don’t get me wrong, if you do your job well and your play with other skilled and friendly players it can be one of the most rewarding jobs there is. For the general pick up groups this is usually not the case though, be prepared to be pigeonholed into the previously described position.

Healer Motivations

With that said we can assume that people who despite all this choose to play the role of the healer voluntarily have a different mindset and approach than that of the majority of players.

Players dedicating their entire career to healing must have some reason why they do what they do.

I play a healer for many reasons, one of the biggest being that I like having an overview of what’s going on; and as a healer standing back looking at what’s going on is part of the job. The other big reason is the teamwork you can have with your healer-group and your fellow tanks. Some of the best experiences I’ve had in any game I’ve played has been raiding and overcoming difficult encounters through very well coordinated teamwork.  The satisfaction when you find a healing buddy or a tank buddy that you don’t need to communicate with to know what the other person will do, when they will do it and how is indescribable. This along with many many other reasons is why I always come back to healing.

What is your reason for choosing the role of the healer? Maybe this is your first time, after reading this article are you scared off or excited for trying it out? Share your story and thoughts in the comments below!

Reedyn is the chief nerf-herder over at Force Heal, the healing community for Star Wars: The Old Republic. Artwork is done by strawbeki.

  1. I’ve played all roles at some point in different games; but I have to say, for me, healing IS (as you describe cogently and beautifully) the most exciting and satisfying job there is in mmorpgs.
    Especially, of course, if the tank (and damage dealers respectively) know what they’re doing.
    Everybody needs to be good at what they do in order to have a successful and entertaining rai.. erm.. operation (!). But in the end, guys, it’s ME who keeps you alive ;)

    Great column, keep it up!

    Greetings from a crazy german healer,

  2. I’ve dabbled in all roles, myself, but yeah, I keep coming back to the healer. It feels like the most reactive, most critical job of the group – I love the feeling I get when I know that I’ve averted disaster. It’s helping the group, it’s knowing what’s going on at any given moment, and being ready for that instant when it all hits the fan.

    Sure, sometimes it’s just filling green bars. But that in itself can be meditative. I like it best when there’s opportunities to do other things as well, of course. :)

  3. I have been dabbling in it a bit myself. Lets just say with the ability to do both healing and DPS in a role it has moved beyond old school button mashing

  4. I love healing, perhaps even moreso than straight damage dealing. One of the great tools I learned early (and translated beautifully into healing) is situational awareness. As you point out in the post, it’s everyone’s job to minimize incoming damage to make healing easier and the best tanks and damage dealers will be doing that.

    As a healer it’s quite easy to fall into the routine of filling green bars and never looking up from your UI (insert joke about never following healers because they will fall off cliffs and get lost). But the best break those tendencies and keep the pace.

    There is little that compares to the joy of a successful run or a bad pull and boss fight that forces you to use every trick in your toolbox in order to create a positive outcome. No one has to thank me. I’m a healer and it’s hard to find a group of folks who perform a thankless task with grace and aplomb. Just don’ tell everyone that I’m doing it with a huge smile on my face.

  5. I have only played WoW as an MMO, so my experience is somewhat limited. I became a healer based on only one thing….in my first guild, I had the only toon that was capable of Healing (a Shaman in BC to be specific. After doing a lot of PvP healing with my Guild, I loved the idea of denying the easy kill to those attaching my guildies. When we shifted into PvE, that thrill only increased. I tried DPS both on the same toon and on others, but keep coming back to Healing becuase I love the feeling of control and effectiveness I have protecting my team from all that is wrong in the world.

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