Dang, this is a heroic-looking pre-fight shot, ain’t it?
Now that the main story quest has passed from mundane to at least somewhat interesting, it decided to dump me out at level 46 with a notice that the next quest won’t pick up until level 49. I’ve never had this happen in FFXIV before, and while I wasn’t exactly peeved… I was a little peeved. It feels like a weird disruption of the flow, and since I wasn’t doing any side quests, I don’t even know where I’d go right now to pick up some additional work.
Really, it just means that I need to do three levels’ worth of dungeon grinding to get back on the MSQ train. At least as a healer, that’s not a horrible prospect; queues are near-instantaneous for me.
So let’s talk about something I’ve bumped into a couple of times so far, both in the game and in various comment threads/articles — and that’s the issue of whether or not healers in FFXIV are expected to do double-duty as damage dealers. Now, most MMOs I would say that the answer usually (but not universally) is, no, you’re a healer and you come to heal (and buff, debuff, cleanse, etc.). In fact, in many other games I’ve played, if a healer up and started trying to DPS in fights, they’d end up with a grumpy group worried about their own safety.
For whatever reason — and I think it’s an issue of class and game design here — FFXIV has a culture that puts pressure on healers to moonlight as damage dealers in dungeons. Now, I’m not against doing damage, even as a healer. If I’m in the mood, sure, I’ll DoT things up as long as everyone’s safe. But generally I don’t feel like DPSing on my Scholar, because (and follow me closely here) I’ve queued up as a healer because I actually want to heal. If I wanted to do damage, then I think I could probably figure out a way to switch to do that.
As a healer, my vision is mostly drawn to the party panel where I watch health bars and debuff icons, playing whack-a-mole with hit points and slapping shields all over the place. I only keep a little bit of attention on the rest of the screen, mostly to stay near the party and out of any telegraphs. If I have to throw out damage, then I’m taking my toggle off the tank and have to take my attention away from health bars to look at enemy mobs. When I’m doing that, I’m getting nervous because my eyes have to keep darting back to the health bars because — expected to DPS or no — if my team dies then I’m going to get stinky eyes.
It’s sometimes a little more stressful than I’d like in a run, so while I do DPS occasionally, I don’t make a regular habit of it. It’s my subscription and if they don’t like it, vote-kick me out and I’ll find another group happy to be kept alive.
The other night the tank got snarky with me during a boss fight that I wasn’t throwing out DoTs, which violated two small pet peeves of mine — calling me by a role instead of my very-easy-to-spell name and telling me how to play. I bluntly replied that I was fine as I was, thanks, and left it at that.
I know it’s a weirdly contentious topic in the FFXIV community and it bugs me that it even exists. Healers wanna just heal sometimes — there’s a joy to it and I don’t often get to be a healer in MMOs. The “DPS too!” crowd can suck on a lemon.