For those of us inclined to do so, the healer is a great role. Yes, it has problems in PUGs when three different people pull then blame the healer, but it is rewarding to see your friends made into boundless engines of destruction and victory.

Healing is great for marginal teams that are barely scraping by, but moving a team from “non-functional” to “winning” or from “winning” to “dominating” is a job for non-healer support. The best times I have had on any support character have been when healing is a secondary role. It is nice to have that in your pocket, in case things go pear-shaped, but support is at its best when healing is unnecessary. Debuffing is great, buffing is usually better, and control is invisibly wonderful if often fragile.

As with many things, City of Heroes does this the best of any game I have played. It is not readily apparent in the early levels, when defenses and abilities are weak and healing is necessary. It starts in the mid-levels and comes into its own in the late game. Everyone who got tired of things in the 30s? You missed the best part of the game (although I concede a love for the frantic newness of the low levels). Kinetics is the big star, with Fulcrum Shift as its last ability, putting your entire team at the damage cap. Life at the damage cap is a beautiful thing. Along the way, Defenders might put you at the speed cap; put all enemies at the speed, damage, or accuracy floor, or all at once; give everyone endless endurance (mana) and regeneration good enough to make healing redundant; and be the best pulling class around. Controllers do all of that with slightly lower numbers and the bonus ability of turning the enemies into statues. If you were not loving the game in the late levels, you were playing with/as a healer and not a Defender.

This is not CoH-specific. Playing a support mage in Asheron’s Call was a beautiful thing, letting my friends specialize all their attacks while multiplying their damage. There was a special joy in debuffing an enemy’s magic skills and watching it fizzle its attack spells repeatedly. My Theurgist in Dark Age of Camelot was a primary damage class that was more valued for its run buff, stuns and slows, and especially the bladeturn chant (self-refreshing group buff: the next enemy attack misses). A Minstrel will improve his legendary items’ healing cost and power buffs in The Lord of the Rings Online, but one “required” legacy is increasing the group melee damage buff, and the damage reduction from traiting for buffs is greater than the healing increase from traiting for heals. World of Warcraft is kind enough to make many buffs last ten to thirty minutes, for your ease as a buffer.

The life of a healer is usually boredom or panic. In a good group, there is not much to do. In a bad group, there are too many people demanding your attention at once, and in a badly designed encounter, you have people going suddenly from full health to nearly dead. Buffers are not half-AFK waiting for a green bar to go down, and there is always something interesting to do as a debuffer.

: Zubon

3 thoughts on “Support”

  1. I find that pet-users make some of the best support classes, because the player can slide their attention between support and micromanaging the pet as opportunity allows.

    PS: Perhaps use “slightly lower effectiveness” when describing controllers. You use the word levels a few times in reference to character level, and it threw me for a minute. [Zubon: done.]

  2. Was doing the War in Kryta finale, and took ages to figure out a good combination of heroes; 2 healers, a healer and prot, a bonder, in the end an SOS rit and a panic mesmer worked the best, that is 1 healer/DPS and a control build.

    The great thing about an ability like panic is it works better the more mobs there are, each time a mob casts it interupts nearby mobs, so in a mission with huge mobs where healing can’t keep up, AOE shutdown rules. It could be considered OP but it’s only really effective on large groups that bunch together. It was so much fun to see in action that I’ve rolled my own mesmer.

  3. “Wait, what’s this? You only have status-inducing magic spells? Why, those suck!”

    Support has been and will always be my favorite class to play. Xelors in Dofus, Red Mages in FFXI, Controllers in CoH, Mesmers in GW… good times.

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