Why Play a Healer?

why-play-healer

This is a guest post by Professor Beej who describes his healing epiphany.

Being the guy or gal standing in the back of the raid, tossing heals, mezzing, fearing, buffing, shielding, and just doing everything we can to keep people alive and the raid moving smoothly is a thankless job.  The battle-cry of "blame the healer" is our bane, yet also our motivation; it keeps us on our toes.  Our gameplay consists of clicking on colored bars whenever they turn not-green and never getting to look directly at the dragon we are told we are killing.  We know that going in, and we accept it.  In fact, we thrive on it and love it.

But why?

Are we gluttons for punishment?  Masochists who just love having less fun than the people we play with? Do we feel some sick need for penance (even those of us who aren’t Priests) that we voluntarily play the MMO whipping boy?

I don’t think so.  I think we do what we do because it is, far and above, the most fulfilling role in MMO gaming.  Unlike DPS and tanks, healers get to directly interact with those whom they play with.  Sure, tanks taunt off silly DPSers or enthusiastic healers, and DPS help out by blowing things up, snaring the occasional runaway, or tossing occasional buffs around, but healers are the only archetype in gaming where the vast majority of our time is spent interacting directly with our friends and teammates rather than through an intermediary.

I didn’t realize it when I started, but I have always played a support character, if not a healer, in MMOs.  In Ultima Online, I was never the duelist my friends were.  Instead, I had Grandmaster Hiding and would pop out unexpectedly from the shadows to throw my allies a heal or cure or cast Wall of Stone between them and their pursuers for some breathing room.  In Star Wars Galaxies, I did everything I could to work my Jedi Holocron grind around maintaining the Doctor (or at least Medic) tree in my template for as long as possible.  I even toyed with a high elf Paladin in EverQuest.

Then came Warcraft.

WoW made me aware of this tendency.  I had rolled a Warlock during release week, thinking DoTs and demons were my flavor.  I pushed hard to get him to 40 just to get his free mount (remember, 100g was an absurd price to pay in November 2004) and promptly got bored. I couldn’t decide what class I wanted to play next, so I rolled a Druid because he would be able to fill any role he needed to.  I leveled Balance and around level 42, I did Uldaman for the first time, and my group needed a healer.  Not even having a single point in Restoration, I healed my group through Archaedas and was given the compliment of "you’re the best healer I’ve ever grouped with" from all 4 other people.  And thus my career as an MMO healer was solidified.  While I eventually switched from the Druid to a Priest to a Shaman and back to the Priest, I have always been most comfortable playing a class that could heal.

To me, the reason the healing role stuck was three-fold:

  • I was good at it.  Very good at it, from what I was told.  And I’m the kind of person who avoids doing things I’m bad at.  So finding something I excelled at made me want to keep doing it.  I think that applies to everyone.  I know some healers who only heal for the prestige, but I know many more who do so for the love of the game and because they try their hardest to be their best.  
  • It made me feel important.  Let’s face it–DPSers are a dime a dozen.  Good DPS is harder to find and exceptional DPS might as well be mythical, but just finding someone to pewpew a Heroic is simple.  Being a healer and thus always being in demand was part of the ego boost, but it was also the idea of "these people’s [virtual] lives are in my hands and mine alone.  I’m responsible for them."  It made me feel good to know I was, in many ways, the most pivotal person in the group. Most healers can pretty easily keep the group alive if the tank loses aggro or CC breaks, but it’s much harder to keep things going smoothly if the healer drops and things go haywire.
  • The focus was not on me.  Healers get to stand in the back, do their thing, and rarely be bothered.  For the hardcore introvert like me, there is no purer gaming bliss. I don’t play games for drama; I play games to unwind and have fun. I don’t care if I get top 5 on a meter, nor do I have any urge to yell "BOOM HEADSHOT!" on vent every time I a spell crits.  Even though we occasionally deal with "blame the healer" drama, most of a healer’s life is spent in the background being ignored.  And that’s just fine by us.  Sure, every guild has their token prima donna healer, but most of us are content to sit a few rows back and let the extroverts have their spotlight while we do some real good.

The Mistake and the Revelation

When Wrath of the Lich King came out, I tried to switch from healing to DPS.  I leveled my Death Knight to 80 first and realized within a few raids that it was not for me and finished my Shaman’s grind to 80.  So now, whenever I try out a new game or start a new MMO, I always go for the Priest/healer archetype first.  I know it is what I’ll end up playing anyway, so why should I delude myself and think I will play any other archetype as anything but an alt?

So what about y’all?  Is there a particular reason you play a healer (or a reason why you don’t)?  Is it simply preference, a guild need, or something more?

Image courtesy of Crafts N Things

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About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.

Comments

  1. My first toon, and long time main, has been a Tauren Shaman. From the very early days of leveling him in vanilla WoW I raged against healing. I swore that I would never be a group healer (mainly because the couple times I tried it I was very bad and frustrated by it) and would rather just hurt things rather than heal them.

    So why did you roll a Shaman you ask?

    Honestly because I just wanted to heal myself while I was leveling and questing.

    But once I hit 60 the small guild that I was in at the time needed more healers for running things like UBRS and progressing into ZG. I decided to give it a shot and finally switched over to Resto to try healing.

    Guess what happened? Something inside me clicked and I realized that I was meant to be a healer. From then on the only time I had dps’d was while questing and leveling in BC and Wotlk. I was a dungeon and raid healer from that day forward.

    Finally after several years I have put together a dps set for my Shaman to try dealing damage instead of healing it. But strangely, I’d always rather be healing.

    Now my Shaman is taking a break while I play my Paladin. Instead of healing though, I’m tanking. There’s just something about being the one to protect the group or raid, rather than doing damage that I have just come to prefer.
    .-= JasonZ´s last blog ..Warcraft Movie: Rise of the Lich King =-.

  2. My first experience with an MMO was WoW. I rolled my first toon, a paladin. I leveled her from 10-80 in holy spec (I know, I’m insane). She is still my main. I love healing. I’m good at it and I like being good at it. Hanging out in the back healing folks is my cup of tea. 🙂 I’m working on leveling up a shaman and while currently elemental, she will also be a healer.
    I think I got lucky when I rolled my first toon and stumbled upon the role that clicked for me.

  3. I started off with a warrior that I made into a tank. I thought I loved it, being the meat shield between the baddies and the group. Its what the guild I was in needed at the time and I think I played it fairly well.

    Then things changed and we had too many tanks – so I started to level my druid alt that had sat on the back burner for years. I thought it would be nice to know the other side of the coin and heal a bit – and it was what the guild needed most.

    Then when I actually started healing with her I became aware that I was good at it, really good at it actually. I fell in love and never looked back. I love the thrill and the need. Now my poor tank is left to sit and keep stacking the dust. Most of my days now are filled with swirling green leaves.

  4. Lychordia says:

    I love healing. Lycho is my first and still my main toon. I leveled her as holy and never went shadow till dual spec and that was just to get me to 80. I have always been a caster in any MMO, including those old MUDS of text euphoria. Now being a priest has changed so much and I feel is so demanding that I am not sure that I will ever be at that uber level as I once was. But that still doesn’t stop me from playing. A healer at heart. And a healer I will always be. I take every death personally, unless it’s a bad squishy dpser that I tend to sacrifice to save the raid… but still, every death is a blow to my continence. Priestess ftw.

  5. I have a latent (and sometimes not so latent) hostility towards healing. It comes from one too many times of being told that the only way to play a Paladin was Holy (mostly in Vanilla, but still some in tBC) and too many nights of being told ‘spec Holy or don’t raid’ (vanilla and far too often in tBC).

    I wear plate mail and have a big old shield, what am I doing in the back spamming flash of light and cleanse? It made no sense to me.

    WoW was my first MMO and I had no concept of tanks/healers/dps when I rolled Honorshammer. I actually wanted to roll a Mountain King (from WC3) and picked the wrong class.

    I’m now leveling a Druid to try the the healing thing out.

  6. Seamaster/Anachronos says:

    I might be one of those “token prima donna healer” refered to in the post:D
    i started as dps warri, and i lvled my shaman to be elemental dps, never meant to heal ..ever ..

    than my guild was in need..the rest is history..she’s resto for good now, after the initial period now i actually enjoy healing them, I find it way more rewarding than just be one of the dps-ers

    i still have the warrior tho, full pvp kitted just to let the steam out on bg-s between 2 raids when i will do a world of good:D

  7. Tank Tank Tank- I can’t get away from tanking- I have an 80 paladin that I leveled as a tank (not necessarily prot but he was always the tank). My 80 DK who I swore was just going to be DPS now is tank spec with duel peacekeeper blades….and my 48 druid is going to be a tank. I just seem drawn to tanking…

  8. I have a Holy/Shadow priest and the absolute ONLY reason I heal is because it’s easier to get groups. I levelled from 1-80 as holy mainly through instances, and while I’m a pretty darn good healer now because of it — I VASTLY prefer Shadow DPSing.

    I keep the heal spec/gear up-to-date and unrusty because sometimes I like to PUG a raid or my guild will need one for their various raids… but yes imo healz is borin’ compared to fasemelting.

  9. This is why I love my Paladin. I can tank/heal/DPS – whatever it takes. I love tanking and healing – but there’s something about facrolling to greatness in a BG that is just plain theraputic.
    .-= Adgamorix´s last blog ..Let’s talk buffs =-.

  10. I’m amazed at how many people also voluntarily heal. I know a lot of people in my old guilds who have to be coerced into healing for whatever reason and resent that is the only way they get to see content. It makes me happy there are so many people who have done it their entire MMO (or at least WoW) careers and still stick with it.

    @Vulpina: What is it about healing that’s boring to you? To me, DPS was about as mindless as a game could get. I got not feedback, negative or postiive, (outside of meters–eww) that let me know whether or not I was doing a good job. To me, that’s what makes a healer interesting and keeps me on my toes. If I’m not on my A-game, then people die. If I’m not on my A-game as my DK, I lose a few slots on Recount and can pretty much just fall into the crowd and let other people carry me. To me (and I know this is preference), that’s the boring part.
    .-= Professor Beej´s last blog ..Blog Action Day 2009 – Climate Change in Pop Culture =-.

  11. Zorash was enhancement from day one. I LOVED smashing things with my big maces/hammers, and being right in the fray. Even when Enh was terribad early BC, I managed to pull out good numbers and was proud of it.

    Then a funny thing happened, at about level 78 I was sick and tired of the quest grind and wanted to just group through some dungeons to 80, but I couldn’t find any groups looking for dps. I figured I’d swap to resto to try it out and get some extra groups. Sure enough, I started getting groups, and learning how to heal. Thanks to a couple of friends I swiftly made 80, joined their guild, was handed a couple crafted epics, and got sucked into my first Naxx10 run within 12 hours of dinging 80.

    Two healing Naxx10 (back in November-ish 08) with quest blues and three crafted purple epics after only having been a healer for a week was … interesting. The resto druid I was with was very helpful pointing out what I needed to do for each fight and picking up my slack, but everyone seemed pretty impressed with how well I kept up given the lack of gear and experience. Everything else is just history, as they say.

    I’ve been in the guild and healing ever since. I’ve gone from a newb healer to the healing officer to the GM and I absolutely love blasting heals on the raid. I have pretty serious dps sets for both Enh and Ele but I still prefer to heal whenever I can. There’s just something about the interaction with the team, the amount of focus and concentration required, the multi-tasking and situational awareness…I dunno, I just love filling up those green bars. 🙂

    I do agree, though, that being good at it (or told I am, anyway) has something to do with it. I love that people can count on me and have come to look at me as a quick way to ensure a solid, fast run with minimal deaths/downtime. I won’t lie, the appreciation is nice.

    -Z

  12. I quit my Paladin in the days their late game role was healing healing healing.
    In fact I enjoyed the Warlock class a lot, and often wondered what happened if I would have picked Warlock first. Maybe I would still play WoW???

    This aside, I like to play, and also usually play DD casters and off-tank/DPS warriors. I also have a soft spot for Paladin-style hybrids, but once they get pidgeonholed into a pure healer role I feel BAD. I need to do something destructive!

    I often feel like I am only playing superfluous, asocial and selfish chars that are not essential to the holy trinity or any other kind of party. Makes me wonder and feel bad at times.

    I know the feeling of keeping people alive, it is very cool if people appreciate your effort to save them over and over, keeping them alive even if you and they think they are going to die. But it has no lasting appeal to me.

  13. The very first time I played table top Dungeons & Dragons the other players decided they needed a healer and gave me the job. I have tended toward healing ever since. Honestly though…I am a support type. I find supporting others to be more rewarding. I do not know why, but it is how I have always been.

    I am also a perfectionist and I’m constantly working to do my job better and bertter. My job is to keep people alive and I do it well….and yes it feels good that people notice it!

  14. I just had my healing epiphany recently… I rolled a mage and started out as pure DPS… got to 80, started running heroics for gear and promptly burned out. DPS felt like I was an interchangeable part. Someone who was nice to have there, but just about anyone else would do equally well.

    So I took a break from my mage and leveled my ret paladin… and lo and behold when I hit Outland I decided to try my hand at healing and… something clicked. I think I’ll be holy forever.

    I’ve noticed a lot of people mentioned that they’re healers because they tried it and they were good at it. I noticed that too. I started getting comments on what a good healer I was from the very first run. Maybe some people just have the knack? It’s certainly fulfilling to know that someone else in your place wouldn’t be just as good… that it’s important that YOU are in the group. I never got that sense with my mage.
    .-= Rhii´s last blog ..Weekly Raid Quests… =-.

  15. @Ayslin: I’ve never actually tried to play a healer in a tabletop RPG. I want to, but when my friends and I actually used to play D&D, I had to be a Wizard instead of a Cleric. I know now that I would have done much better with my group as a healer, but hindsight–even in gaming–is 20/20.

    @Rhii: That’s why I love to heal. I feel I’m important and integral to the group, whether I actually am or not. I *feel* that way, and in the end, that keeps me plowing along in a way that any DPS class I’ve played never has.
    .-= Professor Beej´s last blog ..Blog Action Day 2009 – Climate Change in Pop Culture =-.

  16. @Professor Beej – To answer your question about why I think healing is boring – A scenario. I PUG’d a 25-man Ony raid the other day – as what else – the heals. Phase one goes by, yawn – damage to the tank, some raid damage here and there all overhealed cause the other heals are bored too.

    Phase 2 – whelps come out – my inner DPS is shouting AOE PARTYTIME LETS GO!!! but no. The re-re DPS who spewed a little too early die anyway, cause there’s no way to save a AOE happy warlock vs 50 whelps. I throw some AoE heals quick as possible, but eh. I wish I was timing my AoE fasmelting instead of pressing PoH, CoS, and PoM as fast as possible.

    There’s finesse in Shadow DPS. It’s an art. I could see how others would feel the same about healing though.

  17. I think I like healing in raids and dungeons because a part of me prefers to see my job laid out in graphs. I am not a very abstract thinker and I guess it shows in the simplest of things.

    When I started playing, I did not know how to quest very efficiently. There were no quests in the MMO I played before, only non instanced grinding. Since I was already familiar with grinding and not at all with questing, and I had not been using questhelper or even a website like Thottbott, I would often just get lost trying to quest. Although when I first tried healing Deadmines I found it boring and decided to be a shadow priest, my preference for dungeons brought me back to Holy pretty quickly. I found that I was bored before because I was not doing my job well, and that quality healing was fun for me. After I learned how to quest effectively I still preferred instances, so I healed (and smited) my way to 70 and later 80.

  18. Yup – healing is in my gaming blood as well.

    EQ – high elf cleric (I miss my plate and shield)
    SWG – master doctor/master carbineer
    WOW – holy priest

    Hell, even in tabletop D&D I play clerics!

    Its just something about having a wide array of spells/abilities and having to know when and how to use them to save the arses of yourself and everyone around you. Much more mentally engaging than any other game role.

    Though I admit a little primadonna-ness has developed during my WOW time just from the social difference between it and the other mmo’s I’ve played. You almost have to develop an attitude of sorts to discourage people from walking all over you (or guilt tripping you)

    Either way, even after all the changes and alts, I still love all my healer toons first and foremost!

  19. Hm my first max level toon was a tank and I had a blast with it. I had the control of the groups in TBC and really managed the runs. But the druid nerfs hit me hard and my priest and shaman were levelled as shadow/enhancement respectively. The first to hit 80, my shaman went resto to make ten mans and heroics possible and I learned fast and learned to love it. Now all three are healers and I can’t get enough. The stress level is about as high as that of a tank, and the skill set is pretty unique. I think my experience as a tank really helped my healing skills somehow.

    The convenience factor of having a healer and getting into groups or raids really is nice. Often times I feel bad for the pugging dps that never get responses to their LFG requests.
    .-= @valkyrierisen´s last blog ..Practice for roleplay =-.

  20. We heal for similar reasons.

    Gobble gobble
    .-= BobTurkey´s last blog ..Leeches =-.

  21. I love these sort of posts for most of the reasons posted. I have a few more reasons why i rolled a druid in 04. I played lineage 2 and the druid had a root and could heal too just like my prophet in lineage 2. After 40 the druid didnt seem right for me anymore and i went with a priest for the tools. Even after loosing my account recent i still picked up new copys of wow and rolled a priest right away.

  22. I have done it all, played all the 3 roles from the start in Anarchy Online and now 5 years in WoW.
    I also have the healer heavy side, but from my experience all the roles is just as important as the next one. If the tank doesnt know what he is doing, you can be the best healer in the world with BiS all over, but 1 hit could insta drop him. And on the flip side, you can be the best tank in the world with BiS gear. But if you do not get that heal when you need it, you will go down. Last, but not least, the tank and healer can keep it going for quite a while, and sometimes just duo stuff. But without propper dps and the right mindset, it just wont work.

    Currently my main is a protection paladin, I had holy as offspec, but holy pala isnt something I like. So I have a resto shaman for my healing needs, it was a main during a 2-3 month period when ulduar was released. I did alot of 25man healing there. But the state of resto shaman was not all that good then. So I went back to my friends guild and we started raiding 10man. Me and a DK switch on MT/OT and when one tank is needed the other one dpses. I also have a hunter that I sometimes bring in to dps with, if ranged dps is more needed.
    And in pvp I use my disc priest, cause that is the only thing I like in pvp.

    So, I am a healer, but I can truly enjoy all aspects of the game. And synergy between the people is important.

  23. When I first started playing WoW, my intent was to play a Holy Pally. While at that time, I had no clue what gear i was supposed to do, I enjoyed the ability to heal myself. I hardly touched a regular dungeon much less a heroic or a raid.

    When I decided to make the Shammy, I found true love! While I have always loved doing DPS in Heroics and what not, the healer really appealed to me as a more intellectual and challenging thing to do.

    Thankfully I had the opportunity to start going into raids and doing Ulduar on a weekly basis. While I may not be the best healer in the guild, I pride myself on all the compliments I get when I PuG.

    I have to agree on your main points of why a healer is awesome. I have no other real reason why I chose to be a healer. My brother was one as well, so I guess that I also wanted to live up to his reputation as a good healer.

  24. Lìlith says:

    I’ve played a rogue and a rogue only for a long time. Most of the other classes were still interesting though my all time favorite was rogue. I would try out classes but never got one past 15, lost interest, dah dum.

    Then…. I made a priest. I made a healer because.. well pretty much so I’ll find groups easier. I wouldn’t be just another dps in trade, I’d be a healer whos needed always. I didn’t know nor think I would like healing, but I tried anyway..

    LOVED IT!!!

    Its awesome. I even got grid set up in the early levels healing. It was just cool. Its pretty cool to strategically place healz on different party members based on what they need, and find yourself at the end of a pull or even an accidental double pull with every at full health. Very rewarding.

    Sure I like to sit in the back and not be noticed as much, but instead of being 1 of 3 dps (or 5 or 6) I’m one of the few whos doing my job. Like a puppeteer in a not so creepy way. Holding them all up so they don’t fall down. Its pretty cool.

    Rogue is still my main, but My priest is my other main. Not an alt.

    Plus.. when that Jack*** joins your group, and is doing stupid crap all day long and blaming everyone else and no one likes him. You don’t have to kick him, just… let him die. MUAHAHHAHAHAHA

  25. I’d been playing a prot/ret pally for 7 months, not grouping with others generally. I liked the soloability of it but not the fight style. I noticed my first healing tendencies when doing escort quests I found that I could heal that npc and let them do the fighting. Then at some rare grouping moments on my hunter I’d be throwing out bandages on my partner. Well, when they started giving exp in battlegrounds I decided to roll a priest and learn how to pvp. Something clicked. And I started getting in game messages like “good healz” right away. And the occasional curse, hehe. I ran into a wall at lvl 20 when I was a lowbie in my bracket and my heals weren’t effective. And that hurt. But overall healing is very engaging and I like that. I feel very supportive to the team. (As a ret pally I’m probably a detriment to my team, lol). I’m “in the zone” when I heal and that keeps me queing for those bgs.

  26. One day I looked around and discovered that as an avid BG fanatic since Vanilla there seemed to always be a severe shortage of competent healers. In a way I felt rail-roaded into the position at first, it honestly wasn’t my first choice. Over time though it began to grow on me when I realized how much control I actually had over the situation. As the healer it is up to me to determine who lives and dies. I think it is that power trip that really turned me on to the role. Without competent sustained heals any group fails. Now I enjoy healing so much I’ll probably never do anything else.

    My healing experience, as well as much of my BC experience was sequestered within battle ground after battle ground doing the one thing no one else seemed to want to do: Keep everyone else alive so the killing wouldn’t stop. My approach to healing at that time was, “it’s a dirty job that no one else wants, fine I’ll do it, and I’ll do it good because I know what typical killing machines need, how they think, how they react; and hopefully they’ll be smart enough to keep crap off me”.

    During the sunset of BC, Blizz began implementing changes to the Resto Shaman class that greatly improved their versatility as a reliable PvE healer. I started 10-man BC raiding around the time my old buddies had the Betrayer on farm status. When Wrath came out I finally found my place, and have truly fallen in love with the responsibility of Healing. It’s truly a powerful position within the group. Like stated before in all honesty, the Healer is the guy who decides who lives and who dies. Tanks are a special breed, and while being a big dumb meat shield is appealing it’s just not in my cards at this time. DPS can be easily be scrounged up, but good solid healers who actually like to heal and appreciate the role… those are diamonds in the rough and hard to come by.

  27. My first toon was a priest back when they were in high high demand. I would get 10 whispers when I logged on “Hay wanta heal UBRS we have a warlock and gtg”

    Then BC came out and DESTROYED priests for healing. Making the other healing classes better at healing than a priest. Paladins would rock me on the healing meters, and still do. So I rerolled a Paladin and see how they have everything but AOE healing.
    .-= Skonged´s last blog ..Leveling a Paladin 72 – 80 =-.

  28. Playing a healer you get more control over the groups your in. Just last night I saw a raid group looking for a healer for the last 3 bosses of Naxx 25. I joined the group and when I got summoned someone noticed I had 2 green pieces on, along with 5 other epics.”Hay he has greens and no flying mount! Kick him” well this guy would not drop it after 5 minutes of complaining about my gear. So I asked the raid leader to kick one of us…

    He kicked the mouthy DPS.
    .-= Skonged´s last blog ..Leveling a Paladin 72 – 80 =-.

  29. Healers control the flow of the battle. Prioritize who gets to live and die. Decide who resses from the dead to tip the scales of DMG mitigated/Healed vs Dmg dealt.

    Simply put they are gods.

  30. Amalthaea says:

    One word: Rotation. Dps for me gets very boring. I have a lv80 affliction warlock and love her to pieces; she’s fantastic fun and can output wondrous dps when in a boss fight. However, I get bored casting the same spells on a certain rotation. Yes, occasionally interesting things happen, like I have to move or similar, but with healing on my 80 Druid I am constantly having to rethink and react to the fight as it unfurls before my eyes.

  31. I’m fascinated by healers, and the mentality behind it.

    However, I’ve never been able to truly get into the swing of things as a healer. I first played a Hunter on WoW and later rolled a Priest alt, but despite being able to find groups a little bit easier it also came with what I felt is a lot more stress. I agree with everyone who’s commented so far saying that healing gives you responsibility and power over the lives of the people you’re grouping with. It is… not a responsibility I think I can handle day after day. Moreover I find it extremely frustrating. I’m not a perfectionist, but when someone in the group dies under a “I /should/ have been able to catch that!” situation it hits me very hard. This is especially true since I’m playing Aion right now, and the healing/damage calculations work differently than WoW — the HP gain is only counted after the entire healing animation is over. What would have been a last-second heal on WoW becomes a late, useless heal on Aion.

    I like the control behind DPS classes. When playing DPS, I’m being proactive instead of reactive. It is for similar reasons that when I *am* healing, I like preventive/protection spells much more than direct heals.

    Keeping my grades up in college feels like healing, lol.

  32. When I started playing late last year, my first toon was a mage that I got to level 15. Then I started an RAF account with my friend. I wanted to make another gnome mage, but my friend and her ex convinced me to roll a priest, as we would need a healer.

    I group levelled as holy, swapped to disc at 70. I’ve always loved healing. Just seems so much more fun to me than dps. Even if melting faces is a nice change on occasion, it’s just not as interesting to me.

  33. I just sort of fell into my choice as a healer, and I haven’t looked back. My boyfriend at the time I started playing suggested playing a priest/healer because it would be “easier for us to get groups.” Of course I had no idea what that meant at the time, but I did it anyway. I don’t regret my choice at all. In fact, every time I try to play a non-healing class I fail miserably. (I don’t really count my DK since she’s just a gathering mule.) So, currently, I’ve abandoned my mage alt at 42 and am leveling a druid. She’s now 35. 😀
    .-= Lilitharien´s last blog ..L2Discipline: How About Them Stats? =-.

  34. I have healed all of like 5 times and every time it is as an offspec and I have like 1 peice of gear for it and I only have that peice because I havent vendored it yet. But every time they are like “Dude totally FL you you did great.” and my responce is “lolwut?!” But maybe I should try healing I think I want to play a priest.

  35. Back in Vanilla WoW, my main was a hunter, but I found my guild had a hard time putting groups together for anything because our guild was over 50% hunters and we had like one decent healer. I was chatting with a guildie who was having a hard time irl and he said he was thinking of rolling a new toon. So I said I was considering doing a priest or a pally and on a whim, we decided to just roll the new toons and start together.

    Hence, Whimzee the priest was born. She was holy from the start. My friend had me healing instances starting with DM and I got the “Great Healing” message from the pug we were in even though I was scared to death. But I loved it. My hunter was still my main until about a month after BC came out, then it was all about the healing because I could easily get groups for instances and I love running instances and raid healing.

    I easily became one of the best and most sought after healers in our guild, although there weren’t too many healers to choose from. And at that point, I hadn’t even discovered any healing mods. It was the click on a portrait, heal, see who else is low on health, click on their portrait, heal, etc. I loved the rush I got when no one died in a tough fight, but I still take every death personally unless someone was doing something stupid.

    I mainly hung out with a warrior and he said he knew I’d be a good healer because whenever I quested with my hunter in a group, I was always running around bandaging people after fights. And the warrior/priest questing combo was lethal. We never had to stop for anything except occasional mana.

    I now have 4 80’s. Two are healers (priest & druid) and it’s what I prefer. Both are raiders, although I’m better on the priest. My dps toons are just there to make me money or for when I want to go destroy something or to allow someone else to heal for a change. However, I find when I play my shaman (who is not healing specced on purpose), I usually end up doing some healing anyway. It’s just in my blood.

    I love learning better ways to heal, so I was thrilled to find WoM and this healing community. I’ve learned a lot of ways to be more effective and better manage my mana, so thank you!

  36. vsureaper says:

    I started as a healer, but for some reason, I just got really bored. I even did it the hard way (no healbot, decursive, or grid!) using only the most basic xperl raid frames. I enjoyed standing in the back, doing my own thing, playing favorites with the raid damage (my future GF always got heals and rez’s first, and the guy that I ended up paying 6k gold to get camped for a week until he cried always got them last >.>)

    I was considered one of the best healers around on my tiny server, especially once people saw what I was using for gear. But after awhile, I just got bored; got tired of seeing the same names, the same bars, the same everything. Never getting to join in on the conversations about how one bosses animations are better than another’s made me feel pretty meh.

    There was also the fact that if an overzealous add got loose I was DAMN lucky if I could survive more than one hit. After awhile, I got sick of it and decided that it was time to reroll something a lil more HP friendly…
    So I rolled a tank, prot warrior.

    I dont play my priest that much anymore, but when I do, I love it and have so much fun on it.
    There’s just something that absolutely sucks about having less HP than the hunter’s cat…

  37. @vsureaper: I do understand what you’re saying about the lack of HP. I am having a hard time getting used to my Shaman not having a Fade button (Wind Shock is a poor subsitute). My HP is dismal, but I’m sure that changes as I get more raid gear (obviously).

    My healing UI is “hard mode.” I don’t like grid or xperl or healbot. I sometimes throw them on just to get a change of pace, but I find I’m better and faster at utilizing all my skills when I point manually at a person and heal that way. Blizzard’s done a lot of optimization to their UI lately, and I don’t see a lot of reason to break my almost 5 year habit now. 😉
    .-= Professor Beej´s last blog ..LFM and LFG: The Difference =-.

  38. WoW is my first MMO but I’ve been playing for about 4.5 years now. I started a Mage and raided at 60, but when BC came out and I could roll a paladin I did. I found my new main in my little tankadin. He’s usually prot/holy dual specced, and now I’ve got an my 80’s as Disc/Shadow Priest, Feral (bear)/Resto Druid, and all Frost Dk specced Tank and DPS. So you can see I like being in the “crucial” roles. I’ve always loved that fulfilling feeling after a run that you were integral and not just one of many pew pewing.

  39. Stupid Mage says:

    I really enjoy Healing on my Druid. Almost as much as I enjoy Bear Tanking. Healing with my Shaman feels harder but it’s probably just a “learning how it works” thing.

    I’ve always been an advocate of playing each aspect – Tank, DPS, Heal, so you understand what they do. As a guild officer, I feel knowing how it all comes together is important. In support of that I plan to level my Paladin next to see how the holy side flies.

  40. I basically love healing for the following reason. When it comes down to it Healing is as close as wow(PVE) gets to playing a game like an FPS, RTS etc. Now some people are like “WTF how is healing like Counter Strike.” Well lets analyze what is required to heal vs DPS (never tanked for all I know it follows the same ideals.)

    Reaction Time:
    For DPS you don’t have to react much. Just stick to your rotation and you might have to react to something procing or to getting agro. But if your reaction time is lower then all that means is the boss dies a little longer than usual. That can cause a wipe but I’ve been in heroics where dps was only like 1000 on 2 of them and all it did was make me have to worry about my mana a bit more.

    For a healer even going to la la land for a instant could mean someone dies. I’ve seen the tank die because I hesitated for .1 sec (thats how much my Flash Heal cast bar had left when he died) and we wiped. If adds come I have to quickly top off the tank while figuring out who’s about to take it right in the face and decide if I can even save him (remember if I try to heal and fail then the mob looks at the guy that gave him that extra 2000 health) then do it or “amputate” the DPS and try to save the group.

    Judgment:
    Every good healer knows exactly how long his every heal he has takes to cast and can impeculously judge how long a person has to live. We also have everything planned out at least 3 heals in advance at any given moment but also change that plan almost as much as we execute it. It’s like chess meets juggling and finding that perfect healing rotation in .1 seconds then flawlessly executing it(anything less than flawless and it’s a wipe) is the rush every healer lives for.
    DPS only has to google ” rotation” and bam there’s their perfect dps maxing rotation that will only ever change 1 or 2 times per instance and usually only change in a very predictable easily pre-determinable way. Other than CC or agro reduction abilities this will rarely change and requires little judgemnt or reaction time plus failing usually doesn’t mean a wipe it just means you have to get rezzed (yes I DPS shadow so I do know what it’s really like)

    Anticipation:
    PVE mobs all react the same on a predetermined basis. This means that DPS really only has to watch the threat meter and their DBM raid warnings and they’ll know exactly when and how the mob will do something. Their enemy is very static and rarely will suprise them.
    For a healer your “enemy” includes your party and how they react. IE you have to know that your warrior will shield wall if adds get pulled so you can buy him time to pull them off the squishies by healing your ass off. You also have to know if he won’t (and pay attn to if it’s on cooldown) so you know you have to sacrifice the first poor squishy that caught their eye to save the group.
    My point on this is when i dps shadow there are times where I didn’t even know we had a mage in the group unless he popped a table because I didn’t care what the other dps were or if they were any good or how geared they were. It just didn’t matter my rotation would be the same and I could do my own thing.
    The first thing I do when healing a group is look at what they are, what spec they are, and how much health each one has so I know what agro managment and survivability they have. I also pay alot of attention to what they do and how they manage things like agro (knowing a mage will Ice Block his adds to the tank can mean the diff between a wipe and an easy kill) and how well they take a beating.

    Finally gear:
    Gear makes a DPS in the sense that if they won’t be able to pull 7k dps in greens no matter how good they are. A good priest in greens is > a crappy one in T9.5 being played by his little brother. This means I can heal “above my level” if I’m good and if i get called a noob it’s probably because a. that blame the healer syndrome, b. I messed up realllly bad and not just because I haven’t spent as much time in front of my computer as the lock that put all his spells in a /castsequence and pressed the same button over and over again but has +3000 damage from gear.

    My 2 cents.

  41. Just read my post. Came off a bit too along DPS bashing. That’s not what I intended. The post is heavily biased to what i look for in a game and so it seems like i was calling DPS noobs. Thats not true there are many things that make DPS require alot of skill it’s just that those things don’t challenge me personally. That last paragraph with the /castsequence comment was meant to illustrate how much gear in a dps class can outshine player skill. But it’s also true that between 2 similarly geared DPS skill could easily mean a HUGE difference in not only DPS but in use of support skills that don’t show up on a damage meter.

  42. @Eti: I don’t think it came across as bashing. There is just more of a glass ceiling for DPSers. It’s obvious who’s a good healer and tank because the goup will utterly fail without them. There are so many subpar DPS, though, that the underwhelming masses become the norm so that the few exceptional players are overshadowed and often ignored.

    Also, the rotations bother me. I like having to react, not having to make sure that I hit Scourge Strike after a Blood Strike or I lose a CD or something. To me, that’s not nearly as fun. I can predict exactly how I’ll hit my DK’s buttons, but even if I’m healing a single target, the healing and fight will always be different and unique. I love that.
    .-= Professor Beej´s last blog ..Saw VI – Sixth Time’s a Charm? =-.

  43. Yay Priest says:

    I found this article while searching what meta gems to get for my priest (thanks for the help with that btw) and really enjoyed it. My reason for choosing a priest was simple, I had some friends who played WoW and conned me into being one for them so they’d have their own personal healer.

    Starting out was hell, since I leveled as a holy priest. At one point I decided to try out shadow for leveling, but I just couldn’t get the hang of it though and switched back to holy. Although I leveled slowly and died a million times, I do really enjoy being a healer.

    Half the time I finish a dungeon and I honestly can’t remember what went on, I just kind of follow everyone around keeping my eye on people’s health or running around in circles when no one needs healing. But it’s nice to be the one keeping everyone alive.

  44. I started out5 years ago playing WoW as a hunter and struggled to complete quests and to lvl. I gave up the game around lvl 50 only to find myself returning a few months later, rather then returning to my hunter I rolled a druid and found that I loved healing and casting, rather then struggling I flew through levels like never before. After hitting 60 I rolled a priest, and when BC came out a shaman(who’s now my main) and found that I loved any and all healing classes. It’s really rewarding to know at the end of a dungeon or raid that the group literally couldn’t of done it without you, if the DPS all dies or D/Cs during a fight and it’s only the tank and you you can(in time) beat the encounter, because of this I’ll most likely continue playing one healing class or another for as long as I play the game 🙂

  45. Thanks for the blog.Much thanks again. Awesome.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Matt Low gave me the chance to guest post at his blog World of Matticus again this week about my predeliction toward playing a healer/support character in MMOs.  (You can read my earlier guest posts at WoM […]

  2. […] of Matticus recently featured a guest post about healer mentality, suggesting that the healer role requires some aptitude, a desire to avoid […]

  3. […] I being compared to? I’ve given my own reasons for healing, but someone else gave their view over at World of Matticus recently, and in both the article itself and the comments that followed, “I’m good at […]

  4. Willpower | Anea says:

    […] made clear to me, through my own revelations but then clarified by Professor Beej’s article “Why Play a Healer?” – I am a healer.  I enjoy healing.  I like standing in the back and bringing you back from […]

  5. […] Why Play a Healer? – Professor Beej contributed a guest post on why healers play healers. […]

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