You are a healer. One of most rewarding, sought after and important roles there is in Dungeons and Dragons Online.
Part One – What is a healer?
Easily one of the most under appreciated and over simplified roles in Dungeons and Dragons Online is the healer. The healer is tasked with keeping the group alive and in good condition to be able to tackle the situations they will encounter in a dungeon. Along with being under appreciated, this role usually bears most of the responsibility, unfairly so, for the success or failure of the group. I’m not exactly sure where this comes from but it happens all the time. The truth of this unfair weight comes from it being too easy for others to blame a healer for their own failures when they do not survive.
I think the first thing to realize is that the responsibility for the success of the group does not and should not rest solely on the shoulders of the healer. Certainly, a healer’s job is to heal fellow party members to ensure they can continue the fight through the dungeon. But a healer’s success also depends on the other players in the group playing smart, working together, and only taking the expected damage and injury from the adventure.
Let me explain what “expected damage” means. The amount of damage a character is expected to sustain in a particular situation can fluctuate, but it always falls within the normal dangers in the dungeon. If the fighter is running far ahead, charging through traps, and doing little to protect himself from any of this damage, then the healer is released from the expectation to help him. Unnecessarily foolish actions put undue burden onto the healers, and is never their job to keep this type of player alive. The fighter never would’ve taken damage had he waited for the rogue to disable the traps, and the amount of healing the fighter sustained would have been the expected amount had the fighter been doing his job. The fighter should stay within range of the healers so he can have a chance to receive their magical powers of curing.
You should never have to chase anyone down to give them a heal or to remove some affect such as poison or disease. If players need the help of a healer in the middle of combat, they should move back to the healer, report what the problem is, and then wait for the cure. Outside of combat, it is quite reasonable to expect everybody in the party to take care of their own minor cuts and bruises and affects. Anyone can drink a potion to heal up, remove poison or cure diseases. Any self-respecting player should always carry a stack of these to keep themselves topped off between battles. Many classes can also use wands and scrolls and can cast spells of their own for themselves and fellow party members between flights.
There are many different types of healers and they can even be of many different classes. The traditional one is the cleric. Later, the Favored Soul was added to the game. Arcane casters can also be effective healers with heavy war-forged groups. But don’t count out the other classes that can either do back up healing or fully heal parties in normal quests such as Bards, Rangers, Paladins and even Rogues. It doesn’t take much UMD skill to be able to use wands and scrolls. It can be good healing to about 10th level as it should not be too terribly difficult to wand heal a group.
Communicate your Expectations
Playing games is about having fun. Healing in an MMO is a lot of fun. Healing in DDO is great. The combat is exciting and it takes true player skill to excel at Dungeons and Dragons Online. Playing a healer can be rewarding and fun. You are in high demand and if you make a good name for yourself as an excellent healer there will be nothing in the game you cannot do. To get there you need to be sure to communicate with your groups about how you play, how they play and how best you can get through a dungeon. There are many great players and the absolute most important thing is to communicate. You must have patience with others and communicate with them openly and honestly.
Please keep in mind that there are a great many levels of experience and knowledge in the players around you. You may be grouping with a newbie, fresh off the Korthos boat, or someone who has played the game 40 hours a week since Beta. Don’t assume anything and make sure you are speaking openly with those in your group and you will soon learn the level of knowledge in the group. Work with what you have, teach others and learn from others in equal parts. There are a great many ways to play DDO, find the one that is best for you, but be sure to learn the benefits and drawbacks from the others.
That should help wrap your head around the role of being a healer and how rewarding and fun it can be. Next week I will go into how you fill this role with some tips and tricks about how to keep the group up and fighting through those hard encounters.
Healers are an incredibly diverse and fun role to play. They can come in many shapes and sizes and be of a wide variety of classes. You will never be bored as a healer and can often be the hero of the group, saving them from a painful death. You may also be the focus of ire should things go wrong. However, keep in mind that as long as you are playing a good healer the group will be smoother. Do not take responsibility for other players poor playing abilities. Instead use it as an opportunity to learn and grow as a player. Focus on being a good and open healer and you will quickly surround yourself with many good friends and quality players. You will be able to find groups easily, get into the content you have always wanted to try and have the ability to solo should you just want some quite time.
So if you haven’t tried a healer, I encourage you to build one now. They are a very fun role to play in any MMO but are incredible powerful and versatile in Dungeons and Dragons Online.
Check back in a week for To be a Heala! The Guide to Healing pt II.