10 Reasons People Don’t Heal

I love healing. I have four healers, three of whom I play fairly regularly. I tend to be automatically drawn to healers in games. I’d shift out from Bookin and throw heals if the group’s dying. As plate DPS I run around telling people to stay still so I can bandage them.

Heck, in Team Fortress I default to the medic when my team’s limbs are flying freely.

But I know a lot of people who avoid healing like a Lich-bourne plague. Curious, I asked a few of them why it wasn’t their cup of tea, and thought back over some of my more negative experiences as a healer. I’m sharing these thoughts to see if anything rings true with you, whether you heal or not.

10. Visuals. Mostly we get to watch lil’ boxes rather than the pretty moving pictures on the rest of the screen. I’ll give that a moment to sink in. We don’t actually see the game we’re playing and paying for, whenever we’re healing in a group situation, just some bars going up and down. I can see why people wouldn’t want to watch that all the time. (Tho settling into the ‘healzone’ and watching those boxes can also be a reassuring balm for a healer. Or maybe that’s just me.)

9. Reaction based. Playing a healer requires you to think fluidly rather than do the same things over again, like DPS rotations. While this might be great at times it can also be daunting to commit to constant thinking in a ‘relaxing’ game. Not only that but healing’s very reaction based – current content tends to require quick twitch reactions both on plain ol’ healing and getting out of yon fiery goo. Those reactions aren’t something some people have permanently at their fingertips.

8. Personal preference. I believe there is a “role” in everyone. Some people ARE healer players. Some ARE tanks or DPS. What you play is obviously personal preference. But if you’re getting uppity when playing your feral cat character because you’re finding the rotation an absolute nitwibble, perhaps you’re unlikely to go for another stressful role – healing – as a change.

7. Perfectionism. I suspect a lot of healers are perfectionists. Deep down, we like to succeed in keeping everyone in tip-top shape. I don’t know about you but if people die from anything other than a one-shot, my thought is usually “I could have done better.” Even if that person died while I was a jot busy, like avoiding adds while jumping out of fire and cleansing a ticking disease. And healing the main tank who’s being mushed by an enraged boss. I can see some people might like to avoid engaging their inner perfectionist regularly.

6. People are stupid. Healing setups and assignments are things which some non-healers don’t think about and aren’t interested in learning about, whether or not it would help them support their healers and organise  more cohesive groups. The amount of times I’ve been in PUGs which have said “we need 5 healers anything will do” and we get 3 trees, 1 holy priest and an offspec resto shaman and are then expected to heal a Festergut25 attempt… which leads on to:

5. Blame game. Other members of the group tend to look to us healers first if someone dies or things go wrong. Sometimes the blame’s genuinely ours – everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes, in PUGs or randoms particularly, we’re just the easiest ones to blame – people died after all, and that’s what wiped us. Yep. Can’t be anything to do with the hordes of uncontrolled adds chewing healers’ faces off. Other times people aren’t blaming us at all but asking for information on what we saw and because many healers carry the can of blame we can get used to assuming blame anyway. It’s an uncomfortable position.

4. Responsibility. Healers are often put in a spotlight. Your tank healer is standing in the fire and your top DPS has eaten a nasty DoT. Which one dies? If you falter then everyone will die, if you make the wrong decision then everyone will die. Everyone might die anyway. Those decisions can be hefty responsibilities to shoulder and it’s easy to have a rabbit-in-the-headlights reaction.

3. No influence. Think about it. If any tank says “jump down that hole” you jump down that hole. If a healer tells someone to do the same, the healer either gets told to “stfu”, kicked, or a reputation for being mouthy – before they’ve finished the sentence. Even when the other half of the sentence is “…because if you don’t those adds are going to rip out your ey-ohnevermindthen” Ah, the trials of being an unsung hero.

2. “Meh: Lose” situation. Being a healer’s far from win-win; there’s no criteria for personal ‘win’. If people don’t die then you’re performing adequately – at present. If people die, you’ve ‘lost’ or failed. The closest healers get to winning is on healing meters, which amount to superfluous and unfair competition given that different healing classes perform in different ways. The healing puppetry show is far more than “Heals Per Second – that’s the way ter do it!”

1. Mystery. Many gamers are used to “survive by killing that horde of zombies” or “save the world by sticking your sword in Mr. Mwhahahha until he falls over”. Not “save the world by by enthusiastically patching up your group’s assorted grazed knees and bumps on the head.” For players used to the former mindsets and styles, I gather that rolling a healer and then progressing through a game primarily with friendly and defensive abilities is a bit like “now go and live the same life as everyone else does using nothing but a chinchilla for defence.”

Now it’s your turn. I’m curious about this – do you have any reasons to add as to why you or someone you know won’t heal? Do you vehemently agree or disagree with any of these – or are you not fussed either way, given that it’s just a game? And do you think shedding light on these things will get healers a little more respect – if indeed we deserve more?

This is an article by Mimetir, an owl (and resto shaman) of a raid leader on The Venture Co. (EU) You can find my twitter feed here.