Time Wounds All Healers
September 26, 2012 6:40 AM   Subscribe

City of Heroes is shutting down. I am overwrought with grief! Okay, not really, but I'm a little sad, and I want to find a new MMO where it is fun to play as a healer...

I would really like to play a healing class. The healing classes in City of Heroes were super fun to play and I was hoping that someone with more MMO experience than myself might be able to recommend a new MMO home.

- I'm looking for a game that has specific healing classes.
- Genre doesn't matter so much (fantasy, sci-fi, etc.)
- Free-to-play is a plus, so I don't have to spend $50 to find out whether or not I like the game.
- Graphic requirements are not an issue (spiffy new nVidia GTX660ti)
- I spent five years in WOW, and I think I'm done there. :)
- I'm looking for something where the healer class isn't just relying on a HealBot mod. I want to be able to enjoy the encounters without JUST staring at health bars. I often felt in WOW like everyone had a great time in the boss fights except for me because I wouldn't actually pay attention to the fight. :)

Regale me with your tales of great fun as a healer in your favorite MMO!
posted by DWRoelands to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Be a medic in Team Fortress 2. :-)
posted by dgeiser13 at 6:51 AM on September 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Guild Wars 2. Widely considered the best MMO for a long time, and also subscription-free (though there is a one-off purchase cost). I'm loving playing dungeon runs as a support Guardian, and there is a huge range of possible support classes and builds that vary wildly in style. The tank/healer/dps trinity is much less defined than traditional MMOs, but of course you'll be used to that from CoH.

(A moment's pedantry: 'healers' that don't babysit health bars are more commonly known as Support. Many of us who played Defenders and Controllers who stopped health bars going down rather than moving them up cringe at the H-word ;) )
posted by Bodd at 6:54 AM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Seconding the suggestion of TF2 Medic. It's not an MMO, but it's rooty tooty shooty fun, easy to get into, free-to-play, and it has a really great friendly community who are always on the lookout for good Medics to help cap the point. TF2 Medicing is about way more than watching the health bar -- you have to be constantly on your guard for spies and bomb traps, as well as able to direct the team, watch for opportunities to pop your Uber and defend yourself alone when neccessary. Even if you don't stick with it, it's well worth giving a try.

That said, if you're stuck on an MMO, I've been playing Guild Wars 2 solidly for the last week or so and it's easily the best of its genre I've seen in a long time.
posted by fight or flight at 7:07 AM on September 26, 2012

Not to hijack here, but I'm genuinely surprised that more CoH refugees aren't jumping on Champions Online, as it's basically the game game, from the guys who created CoH in the first place. It's also f2p now, so it's pretty easy to try out.
posted by Oktober at 7:18 AM on September 26, 2012

Don't be too quick to dismiss WoW if you haven't played it recently. Just yesterday the Monk class (tank, dps AND healer specializations available) became playable. My healer monk is already level 20. Leveling has become much more streamlined in WoW following some of the more recent changes and there are now more options for HOW to level. (Which ultimately benefits healers because you can actually level as a healer - unlike once upon a time when that would be really impossible or take forever.)

To boot, they've just revamped several of the classes including healers.

Monk: The Mistweaver has a channeled primary healing spell which is pretty powerful, but also has a handful of other quirky options that make healing playstyle much more interactive. Your healing aura (jade serpent or somesuch) actually heals your party members when you do damage. So basically, you whack on the enemy and other folks get healed. To boot, at higher levels you pop out "chi spheres" which are sort of like consumable heals that your teammates can run through when they need some life. That lets you focus more on the killing and less on the whack-a-mole healbot stuff.

Priest: Now has two very distinct healing play styles. Discipline is now ACTUALLY about shielding more than healing, with some abilities like "Spirit Shell" which cause your heals to instead provide an absorption barrier for the amount of the heal. Also, disc priests zap the enemy and in addition to doing damage will actually heal a nearby party member. Holy priests now have "chakras" which allow them to choose between being a super-nukey instahealer OR being good with AOE group healing.

Shaman: Shaman healing has improved considerably with the addition of a good AOE heal. It isn't about whack-a-mole like some healing, because your heals are smart and they'll automatically heal the lowest health players. The AOE heal (healing rain) is stationary, so you have to do a good job of predicting more about positioning in the fight.

Oh and did I mention you can make a PANDA?!
posted by jph at 7:24 AM on September 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

I've played Champions Online at release, and more recently F2P, and it really is nothing like CoH (which I played on and off for 6 years), bar the spandex. The talented members of Cryptic's CoH team stayed on the orginal game. Not even worth the effort of installing, in my opinion. Before anyone raises DC Universe Online, that is also nothing like CoH, but is a reasonably entertaining dumb action game in small doses.
posted by Bodd at 7:25 AM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is free to play to level 20 and you can get a wide range of in game experiences including the rifts events (better known as ZOMG it's the end of the world, the first few times you're in one) instant adventures, major cities, with no time limits or credit card needed. There are also raids, BGS and all the usually stuff if you are into PVP.

I have only done basic healing but there is a lot less pressure to spec your class the "Right way", unless you are in a super serious guild and more on doing it however works best and is fun for you. I currently have a rogue/bard/hunter combo going that I am having fun with so can't give you any direct info on healing but this is a good forum thread, I think, on healers in Rift.
posted by wwax at 7:31 AM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

This video might also interest you.

I just realized the thread linked to above wasn't the one I thought it was and now I can't find the one I meant. - Sorry.
posted by wwax at 7:34 AM on September 26, 2012

Seconding GW2. If you can shell out the $50 for a copy, do so -- it's unquestionably the best MMO I've played in years (and I've played them all).
posted by AmandaA at 9:09 AM on September 26, 2012

A very low risk alternative to CoH would be DC Universe if you haven't tried it out yet. The playstyle is very action-y compared to traditional MMOs as it was designed with console players in mind (PS3). I really enjoy the PC version...really comfortable once you get used to the controls.

What you'll probably like:
- Similar super hero style MMO
- Very polished graphics, sound, and gameplay (one thing I didn't like about CoH was the low budget feel)
- Very interesting and unique encounters
- Lots to do endgame
- Free to play (but worth putting in $5 to get the extra character slots)

Things you might not like as much:
- Different style of controls...follows a WSAD/number row approach rather than point and click
- Not a giant raid kind of game, but rather small group encounters up to 8 players
- Sony Entertainment....
posted by samsara at 10:58 AM on September 26, 2012

Seconding the TF2 Medic. Medic has offensive abilities and weapons, like a gun that shoots syringes, but his chief weapon is a healing gun a kind of firehose of health that connects, tentacle-like, to a targeted player. He can double another player's health temporarily (the part over 100% will decay from that player if he stops healing them), but his most effective bit is the UBERCHARGE! After accumulating a certain amount of energy (gained by healing players), the Medic fires his health-gun at another player and activates the Uber, which makes both Medic and Player completely invulnerable for 10 seconds of mayhem. And mayhem, my friend, is the word to describe TF2.

It's possible to be the top-points player in a round by playing Medic in a healing capacity.
posted by Sunburnt at 12:57 PM on September 26, 2012

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