I finally found a healer I like playing…
…trouble is, it’s not in World of Warcraft. >.>
I’ve been on a bit of a sabbatical from WoW on non-raid nights (which partially explains the lack of content on the blog this week–that, and work’s ramping up into a very busy July). My latest addiction is, surprisingly enough, Team Fortress 2. I say “surprisingly” because I’ve never been big into shooters, especially multiplayer ones. I’ve never been a big LAN-party ZOMGFRAGFEST kind of guy because, quite frankly, I suck at them. A combination of poor reflexes, hypercompetitiveness, and a dislike of braggadocio in general has left me with a sour taste every time I’ve tried. I dabbled in Planetside for a while but gave it up, and still keep my Battlefield Europe: WWII Online account open mainly because of the very cool people I know there. But stuff like Counterstrike, Team Fortress, BF1942, etc.? That’s never really appealed to me.
Enter Team Fortress 2, which I got as part of the Orange Box a while back after buying it to get the two Half-Life 2 expansion episodes. I went ahead and installed TF2 on a whim after some friends from Feathermoon started playing, and lo and behold…I liked it. It’s just too humorous and cartoony to get all pissed off when I die. The graphics are straight out of a 1940s-era Looney Tunes–I keep expecting Wile E. Coyote to step out from behind a mesa and frag me in the face with a rocket launcher. The sound and voice acting is hilarious. (Go out on Youtube and search for “TF2 meet the” to get an idea of how awesome it is.) And the gameplay is fast, furious, and fun. Yes, I do still suck. But I don’t care nearly as much when I can jump on a Pyro and just suicidally charge stuff, firing my flamethrower and screaming through my voice-muffling gas mask like the bastard child of Kenny from South Park and Charlie Brown’s teacher from Peanuts.
One of the classes in TF2 is the Medic. The Medic is a very proper Germanic fellow whose primary job–don’t be shocked, kids–is to heal the other classes. Yeah, you get a dart gun that shoots syringes (not very far and not very accurately) and a bonesaw for melee. But your primary toy is your firehose-like medigun. Just put the crosshairs on a friendly close by and push the button, and glowy tendrils of goodness not only gradually heal them, but boost their health by 50% temporarily. It even works around corners (to an extent).
What’s even better is that while you heal people, you build something called Ubercharge. When your Ubercharge hits 100%, you can right-click your target, and you and he will both be completely immune from all damage for 10 seconds. This is why Medics are so essential. A well-timed Ubercharge of a good player can be a gamebreaker. A couple of Ubercharged Heavies or Demomen can be the spearhead of smashing the other team’s defense and winning a round. (There’s a second medigun you can unlock, called the “Kritzkrieg,” that instead of making the target invulnerable, makes all their attacks automatically do critical damage for 10 seconds.) Oh, and if you’re healing somebody and he gets a kill? You get the kill assist and rating points for it, a nice touch.
So basically, as a Medic in TF2, I heal people with glowy red or blue pewpews, and can shield them from all damage or make them vastly more powerful. Yep. The TF2 Medic is obviously a disc priest.
Look, I’m not even going to pretend that point-and-click healing in a fast-paced shooter like TF2 is anything like trying to keep 24 other people alive in WoW. But I’ve never liked playing the healing support role in any game before, until this. In trying to figure out why it suddenly appeals, I hit on two main reasons.
1. The fact that I really am awful at all the other eight damage classes (except Pyro, which I’m merely bad at) means that I can do more for my team by picking up a medigun than a grenade launcher or a chaingun. Which leads into…
2. While there are TF2 servers that run arenas and deathmatches, the ones I play on use the more “goal-oriented” maps–stuff like grab and hold all the capture points, push the railroad cart into the enemy base, capture the briefcase and return it, etc. I like team, goal-oriented gaming. I’m not in it for individual achievement, because I know I’m not (yet?) skilled enough to gain it. I want my team to win, be it defense or attack. I’d rather get 2 kills and die 20 times but see us “push little cart” into the enemy base, than get 20 kills, die twice, but watch us lose.
This is the same way I approach raiding. Yeah, I look at DPS charts on those times I DPS. I was pleased to see that Linedan did 3750 dps as Arms last night on our first Hodir attempt, a personal best, and was #7 on the meter in total damage done for the fight. But that means absolutely nothing, because he enraged at 3% and wiped us. The goal is not to top the meters. The goal is to kill the boss. Meters are great for telling you how you’re doing and what you can improve upon. But if you’re bragging about being top of the meter on a raid that can’t execute well enough to kill bosses in Naxx? Totally worthless.