Introduction – How to be a great healer in MMOs / MMORPGs
Healing exists in some form in almost all MMOs, and many of these games have specific classes or skills dedicated to healing one's self, another person in the game, or a teammate. For people who do not play healers, the subtle nuances of healing can often be lost on them. For them, healers are simply expected to keep them alive long after they should have died to a raid boss or the last warband that ran over them. There are, however, several different types of healing spells, and they all serve different purposes. Knowing when to use a specific healing spell can often make the difference in a tough spot.
MMO Healing Abilities List
Ablative healing: These types of heals are usually disguised as some sort of shielding. Ablative heals are placed on a player and then forgotten. They allow a player to take a certain amount of damage and last for a set amount of time before they expire. Examples: Power Word: Shield (WoW Priests), Veil of Chaos (WAR Zealots)
Channeled heals: Channeled healing forces the healer to cast a healing spell that continually heals the healer’s target until whatever resource used to cast the spell (mana, soul essence, action points, spell points) runs out or the healer is interrupted. Examples: Rend Soul (WAR Disciple of Khaine), Drain Life (WoW Warlock)
Direct heal: Direct heals are the staple spells of most healers in most MMOs. This is simply a spell that lets one player directly heal another player with a burst amount of healing. Most games have two direct heals for the main healing class. One heal will have a longer casting time but do a lot more healing. The second direct heal will have a quicker casting time but heal for a lot less. Direct heals almost always require line of sight. Examples: Healing Touch (WoW Druid), Greater Heal (WoW Priest), Flash Heal (WoW Priest), Heal (Threshold Cleric), Flash of Light (WoW Paladin), Elixer of Dark Blessing (WAR Zealot), Healing (EQII Templar)
Group heal: This type of heal works like the direct heal, but it affects the entire caster’s group. This type of heal becomes more mana efficient with more people in a group, but it usually does not handle burst damage as well as a direct heal. Most group heals can be done without line of sight, which means that a healer can hide and keep healing the entire group. Stacking group heals is a great way for two healers to keep an entire party alive. Examples: Dust of Pandemonium (WAR Zealot), Prayer of Healing (WoW Priest)
Group HoT: This places a heal-over-time spell on everyone in the group. (See the next page for the definition of heal-over-time.) Examples: Ritual of Lunacy (WAR Zealot), Khaine’s Vigor (WAR Disciple of Khaine), Radiance (AoC Priest of Mitra)
Heal Over Time (HoTs): Heal over time spells restore a total amount of hit points over several seconds. These types of healing spells usually require little mana, spell points, or whatever type of casting currency exists in the game. HoTs are likely the most efficient heal spell to use on another player, but they do not handle burst damage well. This type of healing is strictly used to counteract steady damage taken over a period of time. Examples: Renew (WoW Priest), Rejuvenation (WoW Druid)
Heal plus HoT: This is simply a HoT with a small direct heal given to the target of the spell. This deals with burst damage a bit better than a HoT. While this spell will not heal as much damage up front as a direct heal, it usually heals for more over time. Examples: Regrowth (WoW Druid), Dark Elixir (WAR Zealot), Restore Essence (WAR Disciple of Khaine)
Reactive heals: These heals are placed on a player and will heal a certain amount of damage as it is taken by that player. These heals are usually placed on a player before battle and are excellent for dealing with the alpha strike (the initial burst of damage) when attacking an opponent. Examples: Bestowal of Vitae (EQII Templar and Inquisitor)
Spread heal: This is the “smart" heal, and it is a group heal. The spread heal heals a specific amount of damage across the entire group, but it assigns more healing to those who are most damaged first. Examples: Spread Heal (DAoC Healer)
Vampiric heal: These heals require the healer to be doing some sort of damage. Then a percentage of the damage done is translated into heals for the healer’s chosen target. These are often small amounts of healing that can add up over time. Examples: Bleed Fer’ Me (WAR Shaman), Rend Soul (WAR Disciple of Khaine)
Start Healing On Your Favorite MMO / MMORPG
Simply knowing the types of heals that exist and identifying them quickly will allow you to quickly assimilate to any MMO where you want to be healing. While some games have truly unique healing systems, most follow a general pattern that can be easily discerned and maximized. Keep these heals in mind, and practice using them appropriately as you move through whatever world you and your teammates are currently exploring.