Why do people play healers in games? Where does this urge come from for someone to sign up and want to help someone else instead of seeking their own glory?
I’ve wondered about this since I started healing in Dark Age of Camelot 20 years ago. I don’t know why I did it or stuck with it, but in every game I play now, I tend towards that role.
And after playing healer for so long, I’ve seen the good and the bad about it. I’ve been verbally abused and killed by enemy teams more times than I can count. And let’s face it, it’s not always fun – not just for those reasons, but because healing isn’t the flashy stuff games are sold for.
Basically, you are there to make other people’s exploits possible. It’s a bit like goalkeepers in football: it’s an important role, but one that nobody really wants. They want to score goals.
To give you a quick picture, in World of Warcraft, healing in a raid meant standing in a corner and taking turns in teams healing a tank character who was fighting a giant monster. Who is more heroic in this scenario: the pack of healing bots in a corner or the character fighting the giant dragon?
Sometimes a game’s design can even mean that if you’re fully focused on healing, there’s nothing you can do without another character fighting for you. You are useless alone without someone to heal you. Imagine that in a single player game.
All of that came back this week when I was playing Overwatch 2 – when I was able to log in. Those queues, right? Overwatch is a game with tanks and healers and damage dealers. It’s actually built from MMO parts salvaged from Blizzard’s canceled Titan game. And guess which roles fill first? I’ve even played a few games where no one chose to play support – talk about selfish defiance.
However, Overwatch has the best healing characters of any game I’ve played. Making them viable in a fast-paced team shooter and being able to contribute and not die too quickly resulted in some really interesting designs. And they’ve only improved over time, with tweaks and new characters. Some are fairly competent damage dealers themselves and move beautifully.
Overwatch also really encourages healing – or support as it’s called. Rating tables rate healing contributions or damage reduction for someone, and there is an acknowledgment system that is made to look like people are especially thankful for it. You can assist a teammate after a match, and the healers are almost always the first to be thanked. There’s even a separate game support queue, which I assume will have the shortest wait time once things settle down, and you’ll have an incentive to queue for support with extra Battle Pass XP .
That’s all great. But these incentives are proof that the game still needs to encourage people to play support. Obviously, doing a lot of damage and getting Play of the Game and then posting a replay on Reddit is even more appealing. And I can understand that. So it’s still the nature of a certain type of person to fill the support gap.
Where would we be without her? You know, even when I pick a different character – I really like Mei and I try to play everyone at some point – I’m still very aware of where the healers are, both mine and the opposing team’s. I still look over their shoulders even when I’m not playing them – their presence is huge. If you ask me, they are the most important characters on the field.
So salute everyone who plays support – or plays a healer, no matter what other game you’re playing. I see you doing the work that others don’t want to do and I see your sense of responsibility. You are the people who make games like this work in the first place. There’s no fun without you. So thank you. thank you for being you You are the real heroes.
https://www.eurogamer.net/shout-out-to-all-the-overwatch-supports-where-would-we-be-without-you Greetings to all Overwatch supporters – where would we be without you guys?