Friday, January 20, 2012

Why is healing in swtor so bad?

For those that do not know my history, I've started my mmo-career out as a healer. Hell this blog is named after the nicname my healer had (Dreamweaver, DW). And I've always had him in my backhand ready to help out, in case my group did not need a tank.
So it was with WoW, so I had planned it to be with SWTOR.

Enter; Washburne Whom I had (in honor of Alan Tudyks marvelous performance) rolled as a smuggler and planned on giving him the title Captain, and never changing that. So I rolled Scoundrel, and talented up in sawbones.
Now, I'm okay with the fact that it seems to take him *forever* to kill anything, he is a healer after all, even if my tanking companion seems unable to do any actual tanking... may just be a low level thing. Regardless, everyone knows healers, level up in group play. So I went group playing.

Healing is horrible in this game. Both because of personal preferences and because the game does not seem to not like healers. Allow me to elaborate

1. Setting up any sort of decent healing grid is a pain. 
Honestly, when you have to look at tutorial videos in order to find out how to set groups up in the same grid as in operations, something is wrong. It is not very intuitive, it is not easily done and you have to set it up in order to have any chance at healing, because the default is not made by healers for healers. It's made by... well my guess is that the UI in general, has been made by a designer. Not a game designer, but an add designer. It has all the slickness and cleanliness as any add agency I've worked with, can produce. But it has no thought behind it, either. It was made to look pretty, not to be functional. 

2. Nobody in the design process where healers
That is a harsh statement, I know, and it is more meant as a provocation than something I actually believe, but when you can't get companions on your healing bars. And you can't get the person you group with Companions health to show up *anywhere*, something is amiss.
I ran Esseless with a guildie on his Jedi Sentinel alt, so our two companions where the tanks. It was a horrible experience. He had to remind me of his little droid every now and again because I had no where to see it's health. And then I had to try and click on that little metallic thing in the middle of where all the mobs where, in order to heal it.
If Companions are supposed to receive a heal, either in Flash-points or in heroic areas, why not automatically add em to the group grid, so I can see their effing health?

3. (personal preferences) I want my click casting
This point might seem petty to some, but for me, this is the difference between enjoying healing, and not. It's to do with those blasted addons, that has spoiled me. Be it "Healbot" (my ol' favorite), Vuhdu, grid or whathaveyou. They gave me a clear view of HoT's, health and made it easy for me to cast a heal and the type of heal I wanted to cast. I could rightclick on a portrait that lacked health, and it would cast my big heal. If I held down Ctrl+right clicked, it would cast a HoT ect ect. Sure it sometimes gave healing a "whack-a-mole'esque" feel, but it allowed you to do what you wanted to do, when you wanted to do it.
Just looking at theese addons makes we long to play WoW again...

4. SWTOR does not seem to know what they want healers to do
That would be the short answer, but it would also be wrong. Do they want all healing classes to be similar? Doesn't seem like it.
Do they want healers to do damage while healing? This does not seem to have been discussed. On one hand it seems that the idea for healers where that healing is boring, so the design of the class was that they (not unlike WARhammer) should be able to dish out whilst still healing.
But then why not give us the same ability as in WARhammer? two targets, one friendly, one not. Allow me to target a mob while I heal the tank.
Actually, this is something my tank could use in pvp too.
This was one of the greatest things about WARhammer. If you are of the belief that healing is boring, then facilitate us healing and dps'ing, similar to how WARhammer did it.
If you believe that people actually roll healers because they want to heal (shocking), then give us the tools to actually heal.
They way I see healing, is that the people behind the game, have not been able to decide what they want healers to do, or be.
Smuggler, do you want us to do damage too, while healing? Why not pair us in the gunslinger tree, instead of the melee tree? (This might change drastically if I ever get him past 30'ish, but atm it is clunky and akward to heal and do dps, and it seems to be a waste of my time to only heal - especially soloing)


  1. I would assume that the operations frames don't display companions because you can't have them out in operations. If you simply use the default UI, you can see their health just fine, even if it's unnecessarily pretty. Still strikes me as a lot more functional than hiding their bars completely and always having to click on the companions themselves.

    As for the rest of your post... I see your points and I'd certainly welcome any UI improvements for healers, but to be honest, I've been levelling as a combat medic and it hasn't diminished my fun.

  2. That would be a silly reason not to display em imo. If I use the default UI i'd never heal again. it is, in my opinion, not made by people who had ever considered that their pretty ui would be used by players to do anything, let alone heal.

  3. heh. my primary character is healing sorceress and I've been having tons of fun healing on her. I have other alts and my original intention was to get a legacy name with her, then switch servers for where the rest of my friends are and get a legacy there. but i cannot stop playing my SI.

    maybe its becasue at some point I couldn't use addons while playing WoW, it literally took me a few seconds to find use operation frames as party frames option... because I did exactly the same thing in WoW.

    not being able to clickcast sucks, but they did say they are working on macros. I'm hoping mouseover will be part of it, but for the time being, I've been doing it the old fashioned way.

    not being able to see companions... is annoying. I do have their nameplates turned on to be able to watch them somewhat. you cannot click nameplates, but at least you can see where they generaly are.

    the debuff situation and general sparse customization is also not so great, but.. I'm willing to give them time. as someone who at some pint had to have no addons in WoW, I'm not having as much trouble and herein lays the biggest issue. Blizzard created a monster. they dug their own grave difficulty wise, becasue they gave community too much of a free reign when it comes to adding to the game. and now they have to account for it when designing encounters.

    I still need to try healing as commando and sawbones, I most certainly plan on it... when I can manage to tear myself away from my SI :P but so far, it actually looked fun to me as well.