How different games envision a role: Healer Edition

A brief overview of how some games approach the healer role.

I was thinking about all the different approaches to roles in video games, so I figured I'd share my thoughts. This edition of role comparison is going to look at healers. A healer is a pretty self-explanatory role, you target someone and cast a healing spell, but why are there so many different ways to do this?

 Final Fantasy XI

Final Fantasy XI has a few different healer roles that all work differently. The three different roles are as follows.

  • White Mage
  • Scholar
  • Red Mage

First I'll go into the things that are common between all three. The targeting system is a tab target system where you can just scroll through the list of party or raid members to heal the individual that needs it. All three classes run the basic Cure I-IV single target healing spells. Cure IV is highly un-recommended due to its high amount of aggro generation from my last play of the game.

White Mage

White Mage is your primary healer in XI, it's set up to get the big heals off when and where they are needed. White Mage single target heals go up to Cure VI. The addition of Regen spells make it really easy to keep individual parties alive. White Mage also has a job ability that grants Stoneskin to characters that they heal as long as you keep the job ability active. This is the job you will see most often in an endgame event.

Scholar

Scholar, in Addendum White is a very useful healer as well. Scholar makes use of stratagems to do aoe buffs for support and aoe Regen spells for healing over time to make the total healing load less. A Scholar can still do big single target spells getting up to Cure V, so as long as Regen is kept active a Scholar can rival a White Mage in healing.

Red Mage

While a Red Mage isn't a primary healer, you'll want at least one in your raid to support healing. Red Mage gets up to Regen 3 and Cure IV so while it is out classed by the other healers it can cover the minor concerns so that the primary healers can cover the major ones. Red Mage however gets Refresh and Refresh II granting MP regeneration over time. So while a Red Mage is covering the minor heals it's also supporting the primary healers by giving them mp.

Final Fantasy XIV

As of right what has been playable to date there is only one healer in Final Fantasy XIV. Conjurer which becomes White Mage is your healing class. Upon release a second class  will become available which will unlock a healer job as well. Arcanist wich can branch into the Scholar job will also be a healer. Since Not a lot is known on how Scholar will work yet besides it's fairy being used to help heal I'll only cover Conjurer and White Mage.

Conjurer/White Mage

Conjurer which becomes White Mage is a bit different in this game. It's still primarily focused on buffing and healing, but it also receives some of the elemental spells, such as Stone and Aero. In XIV these are primarily debuff spells, Stone adding weight debuff on top of the damage, and Aero being a damage over time spell. The healer/support limit break is on par with the Benediction skill from Final Fantasy XI, so overall it's a pretty interesting new spin on a classic job.

Tera

Tera has only two healer classes, Mystic and Priest. The biggest thing about Tera is it's a point and click style. So a healer has to constantly be running around and manually locking on to targets to heal them. The focus heal is about the only thing these two classes have in common everything else is different.

Priest

The Priest class has more support buffs, lock-on heals, and aoe heals. In theory the Priest class would be the primary healing class if you could find a Priest with the skill to handle it. Unfortunately even with these advantages and the increased effect of Energy Stars in a recent update Priest is still taken less than Mystic.

Mystic

Unlike Priest's multitude of heals Mystic has around three actual heals. The first is a focused heal that allows targeting of multiple party members. The second is an indirect heal, where the Mystic drops an orb and the party member picks it up as needed for a heal over time effect. The third, which has been broken since a recent update is a summon skill. The mystic summons a pet that heals the mystic and the party for a short time. This skill is broken due to the hp decrease of the pet. The mystic is taken over priest due to the fact that a priest can buff before entering a location and then the mystic crit aura and mp regen aura can be used.

Guild Wars 2

The last game I will cover is Guild Wars 2. This game doesn't really have a standardized healer class, the closest thing to that would be Elementalist in water element mode. What Guild Wars 2 does is give the different races and classes unique skills that can optimize team performance. That accompanied with unique weapon skills that you can swap weapons in combat to use make the need of a single individualized healer obsolete.

I hope this has given you some insight to how healers work in different games.

Featured Columnist

Currently an unpublished author working on multiple full length novels 3 of which being a 3 part trilogy. Also an avid video game player with a penchant for MMOs.

Published Jul. 29th 2013

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