Class Role Call or Why I Play a Healer

25 07 2014

I’ve been playing Online RPG’s a good portion of my life. I started with Ragnarok Online and eventually moved around to many different games over the years. For a long time, my preferred class choice has always been the healer and support classes (I will be using these terms interchangeably) and many times when discussing these games with people I get asked why I like to play such a “boring” class.

45f2d60e26b097e9006dcf46276c0a54To me, a support class is far from boring. While DPS (Damage Per Second) classes are much stronger in solo play, support classes have always shined in any sort of party play, such as dungeons or raids. In fact, the combination of a Tank class and a Support class is normally the lynchpin of an entire raiding party. Both of these classes are so vitally important that if one of them dies or fails to play their role effectively, the entire party falls apart. This is the reason that healers and tanks will always take the most flak during dungeon runs, a crappy DPS is rarely noticable until higher level play while a crappy tank or healer has an immediate effect on gameplay.

One also has to take into account that the roles of both Tank and Support are much more complicated that the roles of DPS. When you boil it down, DPS roles are all about stat caps. What combination of equipment leads to the highest attack damage. In battle, you just attack the enemies that the tank does. I’m sure I’ll get people commenting that DPS is more than this, but I’m breaking it down into it’s simplest form.

whi3Support, on the other hand, has to constantly keep tabs on every party member’s health and status. They need to know how low a party member’s health can go before healing is critical. They need to be able to dispel debuffs at a moment’s notice and they need to be able to do this for 4+ people at any given time. Healers have know what is going on with every party member at all times, or else they will die. And if your tank dies, the party dies. The healer can’t just spam their heal spells either. In many games, it isn’t just attack damage that draws monster aggro (aggression), but also healing. Spamming heals too much can draw aggro from the tank and end with a dead healer. Support classes are constantly trying to balance the field.

20121226041211144092Tanks need to constantly be watching the aggro of monsters. Keeping the monsters attention is the most important job of a Tank, as it’s the only thing stopping the healer and squishy DPS classes from getting pummeled into oblivion. A tank needs to be watching all enemies, including the bosses ADs (additional spawning enemies). They also need to make sure not to pull to large of a MOB (group of monsters) or they may take too much damage for the healer to keep up with. Tanks are the strategists of the battlefield, dictating the course of battles, for better or worse. Tanking is far different than playing a DPS class as damage is not meant to be their focus. I can’t count the number of Tanks I’ve played with who built their character like a DPS class and couldn’t understand why they couldn’t survive very long in dungeons.

Both Support and Tank classes seem simple at first glance, but you really need to be paying attention to everything going on to be effective in these roles. This is the reason that you always find so many DPS players in most MMOs but fewer Tanks and Healers, many people choose to go the easier route.

(Note: I am not bashing DPS players in any way, they are an important part of the game. But in my opinion, healer and tank classes require much more effort and attention to the game in order to be effective.)

Follow me on Twitter @ImmortalDreamer

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