Don’t worry friends, I’ll be talking about Winterfest very very soon! First, though, I have something I need to get off my chest.
My mental image of myself as a gamer includes the idea that I am a healer. It is something that is deeply tied to my gaming identity, but it wasn’t always that way. In the olden times when I played Dungeons and Dragons I stayed pretty far away from cleric types. I loved being a wizard or a ranger or even a fighter. The closest I came to healing was when I played a druid, but even then I always focused on shapeshifting into fuzzy animals and hugging things to death. My few healing spells were just backups in case something happened to our real healer.
Fast forward to my early days in World of Warcraft. I initially leveled a paladin and really wanted to tank. Unfortunately for me this was during BC when “pally” and “tank” didn’t fit too well together in a sentence. I got frustrated by my guild’s requests that I go healing on that toon, and gave up on her. Ironically, I ended up leveling a priest, and eventually fell in love with healing with her.
As I wandered through other MMOs over the years I still gravitated toward classes that had a healing option. Even in the ones where I didn’t have a guild or friends playing with me, like TSW, I still unlocked healing options just in case. But I have noticed a trend over time, where I am less inclined to heal random group content. There was a time when I would cheerfully throw myself at healing random pugs in WoW. When I played RIFT I was excited about the group finder. In SWTOR I had a reputation for constantly pugging, against everyone’s better judgement. More recently I’ve become wary. I still pugged as a healer in FFXIV, but usually only after I had learned the dungeon. In WildStar I’ve only run vet and raid content as a DPS. During my recent return to WoW I’ve been doing LFR a bit…but only on my mage.
I wish I could pinpoint exactly when this change began, or exactly why. I do have some ideas though. Healing is definitely more stressful, which is part of the reason why I love it so much. It is more of a challenge to me than maintaining a DPS rotation. However, it feels like lately people just want to speed run though dungeons. This leads to giant pulls, tanks that can’t aggro everything, and groups that chain pull and don’t stop moving for the entire instance. Frankly I hate it. As a healer, especially one with “casual grade” gear, it is challenging enough for me to keep everyone topped off on a normal run. The “gogogo” mentality makes things a thousand times worse. Dungeons go from an entertaining diversion to more stress than I want to deal with.
I think the other key piece for me is that because healing is such a big part of my gamer identity, I take a lot of pride in my ability. This means that when people speed run and things go wrong I get double frustrated. Once by the horror of chain pulls etc., and once by my inability to cope with it. I’m a good healer! I should be able to handle it! When I can’t handle it I feel awful. Am I getting bad at games? Probably not. But I can tell you I took it super personally when I got kicked out of a random group for my “shitty heals” this weekend. Even though not one person had died that run.
Queuing as a DPS is a huge breath of fresh air, and not just because I have to spend more time outside in the world waiting for the queue to pop. It is no longer my problem if the tank chain pulls, as long as I do my best to kill everything. I know for a fact that my skills as a damage dealer are far below my healing reflexes, but I couldn’t care less. I can feel good when I out DPS the tank. I’ve never even been kicked as a DPS, even though I know I’m awful. Nobody seems to notice you if you keep your head down and don’t act like an ass. It’s so freeing! As you know I love expeditions in WildStar, and one of the great things about them is they can easily be done with no tank or healer at all. Just what I need right now.
I know I’ll probably never really let go of the healing mantle. Especially when I actually have a guild or group of friends to run with it will always be my preferred role. As a solo player, though, I’ll be pew pew pewing for the time being. My game time is too precious to spend it stressed out and unhappy.