“I can have fun now that I’m not playing a healer!”
Photo: Petr Kratochvil, publicdomainpictures.net

Time to tackle another stereotype: female geeks always like to play healers in RPGs (role playing games).

There is truth to it: many women like to play healers, and both males and females aren’t always comfortable asking directly for such care. To role play this in a general way (or even in a sexual way, like a woman wearing a nurse’s outfit) recognizes that role, which is generally accepted by society.

I admit there is a part of me that likes taking care of everyone. I really like hosting friends and having people over for game nights. However, there are some standard healer duties I don’t like:

MMORPG Bar Game: Playing the bar game frankly sucks. In Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) I decided early on that I wanted to play a Consular Sage, primary DPS, secondary healer. However, because the guild needed a healer, I found myself going into a healer spec, and SWTOR does not currently allow for dual spec. I missed seeing about 12 levels of quest content (including some flashpoints) because I was busy just watching hit points bars. Boring!

While a healer has an impact on the success of the group and is appreciated by the group, I feel ineffective if I’m only healing. I’m not playing the game to get praise and acceptance from a group of men–I’m there to kick ass. I know I’m most effective at ranged DPS. Yesterday I did a re-spec and I’m much happier–I don’t have to depend on other players as much, but I still work well in a team.

Group Counselor: I like to give advice, and I’m always here for my friends. However, I really hate making drama or being pulled into it. While I admire strong female characters like Counselor Deanna Troi (Star Trek: The Next Generation), I’ve come to realize that after a while, it’s not as interesting to play the counselor. When you play any type of healer, it’s natural for players to gravitate towards you for comfort and advice.

Some women play healers to feel
desired in their group.
Photo: Petr Kratochvil,

I don’t mind that, especially in games like SWTOR where I run with my husband and a very close group of friends. However, it gets tedious in a high-drama group and I don’t want to be in everyone’s business.

Group Ownership: Some females who play healers like to act like they ‘own’ the group they’re attached to, especially the males. I find this to be emotionally exhausting from every angle and I really don’t want to project that sort of image, even in character. Besides–if I’m playing a healer, that means I’m wearing cloth armor and don’t have very many hit points. They should be protecting me.

Being Desired: Feeling desirable is an awesome feeling for anyone, and playing a healer is a sure way to feel wanted by the maximum number of people. There are often a shortage of healers and never too many of them. While it’s nice to feel wanted, it gets old. I’d rather do what I want to do, not just something that makes me feel wanted.

While being a main healer isn’t my thing, I respect that others love to heal and that healers are integral to the success of most groups logistically and socially. I’m just tired of people assuming that just because I’m female, I’ll want to play a healer.

I raise a glass of hot chocolate to my SWTOR Jedi, now a DPS spec. I look forward to playing the game again soon now that I can do what I want in the game.

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