Healing The Cookie Cutter Role

Garbrac July 25, 2013 8 Comments » Share

Elder Scrolls Online approach seems to be Tank, DPS, Hybrid.Zenimax is trying to create a game that prevents cookie cutter builds. They are offering players the freedom of choice when it comes to the type of character they want to make. The character I want to make has no choice but to be a cookie cutter build. He will be a clone of every other player that wants to play the same type of class as myself. I plan to play a dedicated Healer from the time I enter the game until I hit level cap, my focus will be to fill that role. Every other class in Elder Scrolls Online has much more diversity when it comes to building their character.

When asked about this very thing, Paul Sage replied, (source)

“Well, there are two full ‘healing’ paths, that aren’t just healing, but that is their focus. Also, most “healing” classes usually have other skills or abilities. For us, you can determine what those are. I think the openness of the skill system really will allow you to play a very versatile healer.”

So it sounds like the two full healing paths, aren’t full healing paths they will have some damaging abilities in the tree but the overall focus of the trees will be healing.  His comment on how “healing” classes usually have other skills or abilities makes me believe that Elder Scrolls Online doesn’t want to have a dedicated healer they want to focus solely on Hybrids, a Templar that can damage and heal.  He also feels that the openness of the skill system will really allow us to play a very versatile healer.  Being only two skill lines doesn’t really offer us much for being versatile in terms of dedicated healing, it does however offer us the ability to be versatile in being a Hybrid.

As it stands, the four classes in Elder Scrolls Online (Dragonknight, Nightblade, Templar, and Sorcerer) all have three dedicated class skill lines that only they have access too. All classes will have access to the One-Handed / Shield, Two-Handed weapon, Dual Wield, Bow, Destruction Staff, Restoration Staff skill lines.

Let’s say you choose to play a melee Dragonknight. You have plenty of options to choose from, you can be One-Handed with a Shield, Two-Handed, even Dual Wield, once you decide on the type of weapon you want to spend your points on you also have the three Dragonknight class skill trees you can spend your points on. Each skill offering a morph ability, giving you even more choices for you to pick from.  This goes the same for a Nightblade or Templar. Perhaps you picked a Sorcerer and you want to be a Two-Handed, tanking Sorcerer. You have that option as well, putting points into your three class skill lines, the two-handed weapon skill line, and the heavy armour skill line, again tons of options. Each class is given a diversity of options allowing us to create that perfect character that we want to play. Except for those of us who want to play a dedicated healing role.

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If you want to play as a healer your best option is the Templar class, as one of their dedicated class lines is focused on healing abilities. What if you’re not a Templar though, and want to fill the role of healer? Restoration staff is your only option. Anyone who wants to heal, is either a Templar class, or Restoration Staff wielding character. When it comes to spending your skill points as a dedicated healer you have two options: Templar class skill line or Restoration Staff skill line. When it comes to how you spend your points as a Healer you have very few options.

As much as Elder Scrolls Online says class is only a starting point, each class has a purpose they were created for and will perform the best in that role. You still have the option of being that heavy armour Sorcerer tank, but will you perform as well as a Dragonknight tank that has class trees dedicated to that role? No.  A Dragonknight is best suited for a Tank/Melee DPS, Sorcerer obviously ranged DPS, Nightblade the sneaky Melee/Ranged DPS, Templar the hybrid class that tries to be Tank/DPS/Healer.  When we look at the Holy Trinity we have, Tanks, DPS, and Healers. But the Elder Scrolls Online approach seems to be Tank, DPS, Hybrid.

Because of the lack of a dedicated healing class, we’ll be seeing more hybrid builds than we will dedicated healers. Being a Templar will offer the group a lot more stability than if a Sorcerer was using a Restoration Staff. Any other class would require a weapon swap in order to cast a heal, as those abilities will be tied directly to the weapon currently equipped. Whereas, with a Templar using the class skill tree you can use any weapon and still cast heals, allowing you to be the better hybrid healer since you don’t require a weapon swap. Restoration Staffs are fun, but due to the lack of diversity or freedom of creating the character, people will choose the option that offers the most freedom of play, and sadly it is in a Hybrid and not a dedicated build.

I believe Zenimax needs to introduce one more class (like a Spellsword) into the game, a healing class, one that has at least 2 skill lines dedicated to healing, and one dedicated to offensive attacks, allowing the healing class to be both supportive and offensive. Giving us two class lines and a restoration staff line would give dedicated Healers diversity when it comes to healing. We don’t have to have the same five healing abilities slotted. Maybe we can choose between being an Area of Effect healer where the healer would focus on putting healing spells on the ground, wherever they wanted.  Or perhaps a Point Blank Area of Effect healer, a type of healer where the heals themselves radiate from around the healer. The third line could be conal effects, allowing us to healing those who are in front. These options would allow us to customize our builds to be specialized or perhaps a mixture of all them.

What do you think? Is playing a healer too limited, too cookie cutter?

8 Comments

  1. Ebonman April 9, 2014 at 3:15 am

    I am really confused if you guys are playing the same game as me. Lets not talk about the 1% who will min max, but for your normally player:

    I now have a lvl 25 Toon. I have been healed (skillfully) by:

    A sorc with a resto staff, and crazy amount of CC
    A nightblade using a mix of Resto staff/Siphons
    A Dragon night using defensive cooldowns, light armor, and resto staff.

    Personal i have Templar with resto staff, and i'm having trouble as i have about 10 different direct healing spells (not including interrupts damage cool downs, and buffs), and i can only fit 3 or maximum 4 healing skills on my each bar (assuming i want to ihnclude buffs, and cvooldowns on my bars too) I have already found 3 different builds all SEEM to be completely viable at this stage.

    Sure, if you want to do Molag Bal on hard mode they probably wont be viable. up until lvl 25 they all seem fine.

    To further this, the main buddy i run around with. After YEARS of being told he cant do this in wow, is no successful a Mage tanking in plate with a 2 handed sword. He is focusing on CC from the mage skill lines, and heavy armor , and 1 skill from the undaunted. and also focuses on skill from handed and shield since he got his 2nd bar open up.

    As each guild has their own skill line too, and you have racial and world (ala cyrodil) skill lines too, i have been playing around with making a build WITH OUT ANY CLASS SKILLS for dps. Bow/Blade/H.Armor/Undaunted/Fighters Guild/ and Assult skills from Cyrodil.

    All your class does is determine 3 out of the MANY skill lines open to you. I'm in love with the freedom this game gives you.

    Like i said, I KNOW there will be a BiS, there always is. but in WoW or Swotr for example there is no way in hell a Sorc could tank unless he massively out geared content. here you can.

    So i don't if much has changed since the beginning of the year. But i feel as if i'm not playing the same game as the commentors below.

  2. Isende March 5, 2014 at 5:13 am

    While I have to say I'm enjoying the openness of finding that "best" healing build, and then that "most-fun" offhealer, I have to second your statements. I've played with a Temp/Resto Staff, and while she's great for the number of heals available, she's decidedly weak in offense. She'll likely be the one I run around with my husband. That said, I've found the Sorc/Resto Staff to be not only fun, but almost as viable as the Temp. I remember my WoW days, with my very first healer — full Holy Priest. Now that was a dedicated healer! Sadly, I think WoW set the standard for damage/heals being the "norm" now. Lots of our abilities — esp in the Disc line — became associated with damage. Do damage, heals result.

    I do miss those full-on, balls-to-the-wall pure healing days.

  3. Cagable March 5, 2014 at 3:25 am

    I want to start this by saying that I have NEVER played a Elder Scrolls game before this past beta weekend. If anything, I say contradicts the way this game series is designed, or the mechanics of it, feel free to call me out on it. Just remember, I'm new to the series, always winning to learn, and I TES newbs have feelings too!
    You pretty much read my mind. I have always played a healer type class. In WoW, I was a Resto Druid, and currently in Swtor, I have a Commando Heals and a Operative Heals. Both my SW healers constantly get berated on Vent: "You are a commando, you should be helping us dps too!" or "Operatives can dps.. " from people who never play healing classes. Now, granted in SW there is a bit more versatility to healing classes being able to dps, but those who do not play a healer fail to realize that by dps'ing, my resources get sucked up quickly. Much more so when I dps than when I heal. So I am really looking forward to playing a class that doesn't really have the ability to dps as much. And I hope that the others in TESO are aware that a Templar is a HEALING class and is suited to healing only. But in saying this, I did find myself a bit 'squishy' while playing the beta this past weekend. So I am a bit concerned about being able to run around solo and quest efficiently. Sure I can keep myself alive pretty well, but will I be able to kill at the same time. As much as I am looking forward to playing the Healing-only class, I do think I will have to look into the idea of using a destruction staff while solo. I know that once a char hits level 15, you can have to weapon slots, and both the weapons will have their own 'hotbar' so I think this will work out pretty well. I'm not too sure how I will do it.
    What do others think about the level 15 dbl weapon idea? Do you think it will retract from being a healer only? Or add to your char by giving you a bit more efficiency while solo? I'm extremely curious as to how the rest of the community think about the subject.

  4. Temporalus January 9, 2014 at 4:22 am

    You took the words out of my mouth. I was very surprised to find that spells, unlike weapons, are restricted to the classes. In ESO, we were supposed to be able to mix and match skills and different play types. If I can play a high elf sorcerer who wears heavy armor and wields a bow, why couldn’t a nightblade use some conjuration, or a sorcerer use healing? The class system sounded like a good idea at first, it would give you xp gains, maybe increased damage in that field, or better armor/defense capabilities, and I thought it might be a good idea to give them lower level caps in skill lines outside that class’s expertise. That would solve the problem of a character maxing out all his skills and having no specialization, and no variety in top tier characters, but still giving you the same freedom to mix and match skills, creating a character that feels truly unique, using a play style that no one else has thought of. That’s one of the reasons I love TES, my character feels like my own, not just a generic tank/dps/healer that has only one way to play. ESO has done a great job of this for part of the community: the physical weapon users. You can be a fire shooting sword slashing dragon knight, or a spear hurling, Templar using sunlight spells, or a nightblade fighting with any kind of weapon he wants, but when it comes to spell users, you have much less freedom. You have some flexibility as a dps sorcerer, you can be a battlemage or conjurer or full-caster, but you can’t mix and match spells. I wanted to use a class similar to the dark mage, using traps and stuns, and whatnot, but also focus on healing. If you want to conjure as well as use illusion or spells like the nightblade’s siphoning line, you’re out of luck. TES is supposed to be an RPG, so it isn’t unreasonable to expect your character to feel unique, feel like he is special enough to the player, and immersive enough to be played in first person. The weapon/armor skill based characters may be very customizable, but many casting-oriented players will find that, as you said, their characters will end up feeling very ‘cookie cutter,’ particularly the healers. Overall, the way ESO has dealt with spells goes against the core principles of customization and freedom that is a major part of what makes the series so great.

  5. Gwaurin September 23, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    I often play healers or hybrids because I love playing damage mitigation roles. Having a backup skillset or dedicated class can save a lot of frustration and trouble when plans don't go the way they were planned.

    However, a truly exclusive healing only class is not viable solo (I don't know any games that have one). If you could only heal, you could only be an appendage to a party. Healers in most games have at least a few offensive abilities but offensive and dps penalties that make solo leveling slower and more difficult. The difficulty of playing a healer solo is the main reason I roll the class simply for the challenge of outwitting, out-healing, and out-surviving more lethal opponents.

    However, I am not sorry if TESO integrates healing as only one part of damage mitigation options in a wide array of abilities to handle incoming damage whether as alchemy, enchanted gear, scrolls, items, or spellcasting. I'm excited to know how much alchemy and enchanting will be implemented in TESO and I hope it allows more creativity than merely a few cosmetic buffs.

    I think TESO will be a better game experience for reducing the reliance on strict healing spellcasting to mitigate damage in groups and look toward personal responsibility, command of personal skillsets, and battle awareness to increase survival over "blaming the healer."

    One of the greatest annoyances of a dedicated healing class is the "blame game" when the group fails. When there is a dedicated healer class, other players tend to ignore their own health, take risks they wouldn't otherwise take, or simply throw themselves directly into harm's way because "we have a healer." Mana or majicka is not unlimited but try telling these morons that. "Just don't heal them." Easy to say but other group members rarely realize the antics of their fellows that tax a healer's patience besides their resources. You let any member die and you look incompetent or unaware of your "job." It is laughable to tears how many players are compelled to inform healers "you're the healer" as if they didn't know that already. Or they will trumpet the ubiquitous cry "wherez the healz?!" but not understand the healing role in its operation (casting rotations), limits (mana), or design in a group context (like maybe, just maybe, the tank didn't tank and the dps ran away which caused the fail not the healer?).

    No. As much as healers can be challenging to play (in more ways than gameplay), I will not miss a dedicated healer class that exists to expunge blame for group suicidal behavior. Leroy Jenkins blood be on his own head.

    I am more interested in a Restoration Mage/Cleric class-build which can fear undead and set them on fire.

  6. Auroness July 31, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    Considering that they keep talking about versatile characters, I suspect that there will be additional classes. Initially, they are focusing on getting the combat oriented players functional, and making certain the skill trees and schemes they have will work the way they want. Once they get the integration of combat skills and classes working, it will be much easier to add in other classes, like Healer, non-combative thieves, or Merchants.

  7. We know July 31, 2013 at 10:53 am

    Bro, come here, let me hug you.
    I will add only that all other classes will cutted too. If we take any game and considered DPS or tank role, there is always more then one class to do things but if we going serious raid or dungeon, noone will take DPS healer, or warrior with dual-wield or healing paladin (all characters are fictitious and any similarity is accidental). Same I think will be in ESO. I doubt in DPS templar, restoration stuffs and nightblades, mages with weapons and so. I dreamed about game totally free from classes since TES 3, ESO was my only hope but to this moment this game seems more cookie cutter than any other MMO despite all "freedom" they invented.

  8. Wisp July 26, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    This article has echoed my own concerns.

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