Thursday, August 31, 2006

What Makes the Healer Class Unpopular? Part3

How to make a Happy Healer

If you are looking for an truthful answer then you need to ask difficult questions. Probably an ancient eastern proverb but right now its just how I am tackling the priest problem and it is a problem. Just look at the population numbers for any MMO and you'll see what all the complaining is about. The fact that clerics and priests are required for any advanced encounter and that they are rare is just another time sink. So lets get our hands dirty, our brains tired, and are fingers cramped by trying to figure out what can be done.

What's the difference between healers and other classes in MMORPGs?
1) They focus on achieving victory by keeping others alive
2) They have to be more aware of hitpoints and other player's actions.
3) Their ability to heal is most effective in groups

What are the negatives aspects of these differences?
1) No direct damages done to enemies from healing
2) They have to be good at multi-tasking to watch everyone's health
3) They are required to be constantly paying attention which often leads to higher burnout rates in raids/groups
4) Dealing damage to enemies draws attention away from healing and uses mana
5) Soloing can be much slower for priests then grouping

It just doesn't seem like a priest receives enough credit by healing people. How come there's no videos on YouTube of epic priests healing people for 5k? Because its boring and people are more impressed by damage dealt directly then damage dealt by healing the main tank.

Some abilities that address direct damage:

1) The Death Bubble: Give priests the ability to bubble allies in a shield which bursts and deals damage to the enemy that hits them. Assign the damage to the priest but assign the agro to the shielded target.

2) Lifeburn: Warlocks sacrifice others but priests are all about self sacrifice. Thus allow them a spell that uses their own life to deal damage to an opponent. Blood Elf paladins are already getting a similar ability in Seal of Blood

3) Wand Mastery: Allow an talent or ability that allows priests to cast a healing spell without interrupting the auto wand ability. Other spells should stop it but come on allow them to heal while doing mediocre wand damage

Multi-tasking is one of the big problems I personally have with playing a priest. Its not that I am lazy but its challenging to keep the main tank alive and watch out for suicidal dps classes.

4) Auto-Heal: An ability that automatically casts a priest's small heals on party members with less then a certain amount of life. The ability can have a slow cool down so its not as effective as manually healing. But it would allow a priest to watch one health bar and not miss out when someone else takes damage. There is already a Emergency Health Monitor mod in World of Warcraft so I guess the developers are not set against lessening the multi-tasking healers have to do.

5) Auto-Self-Heal: When not in a group the priest can use a ability which automatically heals them for a low number of hitpoints without interfering with any other casting. The ability uses up mana for every heal so think of it as a heal over time that the priest can end or start whenever they want

If you notice, all the changes I proposed don't interfere with the priest's ability to heal others. They basically allow the priest the do a little more direct damage to targets and have a bit more survivability in solo combat. Feel free to tell me what you think of my suggestions.

Part 1 - The History of the Hard to find Healer
Part 2 - A Healer does not a Hero make
Part 3 - How to make a Happy Healer


Daztur said...

Maybe I'm just wierd, but I almost always play as a healer because:

-People like me. Everyone likes a healer and I can go and run around and heal newbies when I want. This is good to have in a social game. It's also nice having people start giving me tells to join their groups as soon as I long in.
-I have crappy eye-hand coordination and usually healers don't have to move around too much.
-I like being able to put some thought into strategy. Usually it takes a bit of skill to heal correctly and efficiently and good players usually appreciate it. Healer strategy usually doesn't require good eye-hand coordination, just attentiveness and being careful and I can do that well.
-Nobody wants you to die since you can rez so people usually try to keep you alive. That's good.

Not much glory and a bit repetitive but I always seem to come back to it...

Relmstein said...

The priest class really does seem to fit some people's play style very well. The only problem is that there are not enough of those type of people to meet the demand for the healer class. World of Warcraft has done wonders for allowing hybrid healers to support groups but in raids pure healers are still needed.

MMORPG companies could redesign raid encounters to require less intensive and mana efficient healing but then guilds with a large number of pure healers would have an advantage. That's why I think it would be more effective to widen the appeal for playing a healer and increase their numbers all around.

yashima said...

I am playing a druid, my boy-friend a priest. I read your healer series just now and I see the troubles.

Even in our small casual guild the healers and tanks are burning out. Since even in a small guild like ours there are many more damage dealers than of any other type the healers/tanks are always needed in groups. We always need to be there to help out. Nearly all our healers/tanks have started one or more alts to get out of the instance routine.

I have been feral specced all the time with this druid since I nearly always had my personal priest with me. Now he only plays his hunter alt and I have to beg to make him come along with the priest. There are always always requests for me to join groups, I just cannot stand it anymore. There's more to the game than instances ...

I am guildmaster and I feel I cant just quit the game, I feel responsible to come along and help out more often than I probably should and the rest of the time I feel bad because groups don't happen without my help. The damage classes are just too demanding and I'll never make them see my point of view. They are all very nice guys and gals, but ... our healers just cannot satisfy their needs for instance groups.

I never start groups anymore because I am sooo happy when it's just quiet.

So much for the social aspect. Aside from that I love playing a druid both with a healing or a damage/tanking spec.I have tried a priest and it just does not compare, I could never play a pure healer. Not after watching my boyfriend suffer through the leveling process.

Paradigm said...

(level 60 priest, WoW, The Venture Co)

Well, I have to say that I am one of those people who loves playing pure healing classes. I ask for no recognition on my 4k + heals and I ask for nothing other than fair treatment in parties and raids.

However good my intentions maybe I still get annoyed when people play stupidly:

"NO! I don't need a shield! I get more aggro using my 2H weapon!"

Well yes you do, you also have approx. 2k less armour and a much reduced block ability. The simple fact remains that the lower level and cheaper mana cost spells are far more effective to use than full on greater heals.

"But I haven't died yet, you've been doing a great job of healing."

This is possibly the most annoying comment disguised as a compliment. Normally there have been other members of the party that have died due to them needing alot of attention. (Sorry Warlocks). My reply: "Well, in 30 seconds I will stop healing you... lets see how long you live."

The comment in the post about high level pure healers becoming jaded and quiet, shrunken and non-cooperative personalities is incredibly evident when I analyse my game play compared to when I was a level 20 - 30 priest and my rant above!

I don't want to do any extra damage, that I don't mind. I enjoy keeping people alive to carry on the fight... I throw in instant cast DOT's when I can.

My opinions on the suggestions made to improve pure healers ability in one on one combat are simple. Keep the re-spec costs for priests at a fixed 5g. Guilds will not accept Shadow Priests in Raids... yet we are expected to stay Holy specced when soloing as the respec fee is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

nice post.

read it, and it activates my neurals ^^

i started with a dps class (lazy hunter), then i rerolled paladin as tank to enjoy other gameplay
and then, i did some heal.. and discovers how more complex it can be. it is not just about how to optimize his dps or how to maximase his threat & survive... it is an undercover massive task.

which make me think... why not how simply make the heal a contribution to dommage !!
you heal for 5.000pv --> it reflects 5.000 dommage to the target !! (of course no overheal)