I’ve been reading a lot lately that has me concerned that players and developers have lost their way when it comes to plate healers. Nobody seems to understand the tradition they represent and what exactly they do. This particular condition is game agnostic so this won’t be an article focused on any one class. It applies equally to anyone that wears plate and calls themselves a healer. It is time we get this niche back on track and working the way it was envisioned such a long time ago!
I wear heavy armor too
Plate healers are exactly what the name suggests: healers that wear full plate. No where in the lore is there “healer plate,” “cleric plate,” or whatever kind of lame, not as solid as “tank plate” plate you want to imagine. There is no such thing! Full plate is full plate and the sooner we get to that understanding again the better. Everyone gets frightened at the idea of clerics wearing the same armor as a tank. They say, “Nooooooo, tanks are suppose to have the best armor.” No, they’re not. Tanks are tanks not only because they can soak damage but because they can attract and maintain aggro. A plate healer should be incapable of doing that! Survival is not a market cornered by tanks, aggro is.
I’m also not squishy
I’m not sure where the notion of all healers being squishy came from but I do have my suspicions. Once more this isn’t a historical fact and it makes little sense. Some healers were more squishy than others but the notion of all healer types having similar amounts of hit points is ridiculous. Plate healers have traditionally been in the hit point tier just behind tanks. They’re not frail like mages and those sissy, nature loving, druids. We plate healers stand shoulder to shoulder with the warriors. To be told to stand behind them is an insult. We wear the same armor, carry the same shield (at least we’re suppose to), but we do a different job. Classifying us as a healer first and then making determinations based on that just feels wrong.
I am now and have always been willing to take the penalty for the ability to endure damage like a tank. Plate healers tend to have less offensive capability compared to their healer cousins and that is acceptable. We’ve also suffered in the utility department and that too is fine. Somehow these days our cousins have caught up in survivability but we have not caught up on offensive capability or utility. Not that I want to! Despite that this cannot stand!
If the tank does his job your survivability doesn’t matter
Wow really? This is how we want our MMORPGs? Tank vs non-tank? Nobody can survive a hit and if a mob EVER doesn’t immediately go to the tank we lose? If the tank ever dies nobody can step in as a stop gap until they can be revived? What sort of foolish argument is this? Especially since every MMORPG on the planet decided we HAVE to be able to solo to level efficiently. If this is ever the truth, ever the design strategy, and something anyone ever accepts I think I’d rather not play the game. Classes need differentiation and survivability is one of those. We’ve just taken it too far with the whole “we can all solo” trend.
So what is a plate healer?
A plate healer is the sort of healer that can stand side by side with a tank. They may not be able to attract a monsters aggro but they’re not afraid to take a hit or twelve. They wear heavy, full plate armor and carry a large shield. They know how to swing a mace even if they don’t do much damage with it. When a monster comes raging in and doesn’t directly go to the tank that doesn’t worry a plate healer. They’re a defensive power house and are always the last person standing when things go wrong. They are neigh impossible to kill without concentrated fire but are incapable of dealing damage comparable to that of their cousins. They might not have a lot of tricks up their sleeve but they know their role. May we all hope they get to perform it again one day.