The Daily Grind: What is the most unique MMO healing class?

It’s a mistake to assume that if your job is refilling green bars in MMO dungeons, then you’ve got the same tools and techniques available as every other healer in the genre. Healing classes have grown quite diverse and interesting over the years, with some professions offering unique twists on how they keep their party alive.

So what is the most unique MMO healing class? Is it one that heals while doing DPS? A class that marshals a posse of pets to assist in battlefield surgery? What about shielding healers, or ones that have to hurt themselves to aid others? Maybe it’s the blood magic of The Secret World that gets your interest or the high-tech healing fields of WildStar’s Medic that keep things interesting. Sound off in the comments!

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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89 Comments on "The Daily Grind: What is the most unique MMO healing class?"

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Brown Jenkin

Not so unique anymore but I think the combat-healer archetype is one that brings a bunch to the table. From Bear Shamans in AoC to WAR’s Disciple of Khaine and War Priests, lots of fun all around.

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Jeffrey Wu

I think I really liked the poison medic in Global Agenda. The two healing guns were the TF2 medic beam and HoT dart. Paired with a dot pistol and grenades and it was the first iteration of Ana.

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Ian Wells

Tree of Savior may be cheating a little, what with a single character gaining access to anywhere from 3 to 8 classes as they level (depending on their build), but I feel it deserves a shout out. Personal favorite healer build in PVP would have to be Cleric 1/Priest 3/Bokor 3/PD 1. People laugh when they hear that build, but they shut up fast when they fight my party in group PvP. Here is a link to the build: http://www.tosbase.com/tools/skill-simulator/build/nxs98oytzq/

For the uninitiated, let me break it down.

Clerics heal by placing healing spell circles on the ground. Party members can then walk over them to heal.

By being priest 3, I gain access to Revive level 10. Revive is an auto rez skilled applied to the whole party that lasts for 90 seconds. At level 10, it activates right before they would otherwise die, and heals for 50% hp and grants 100% damage resistance for 10 seconds.

Bokor 3 gives me access to Mackangdal level 10, which is party wide buffs which applies 20 seconds of 100% damage resistance at the price of hitting each target with the sum of all damage they would have taken in that time as a single, massive hit of Dark damage at the end of the buff. Revive catches the hit, and rezzes my party back to 50%. That is assuming they dont make it to Protection Zone (a Cleric skill), which completely nullifies all damage for a set number of hits while in that area.

Finally, Plague Doctor gives access to a wide array of unique skill. First and foremost is Blood Letting, which applies a very small DoT on all party members, but provides them with immunity to nearly all status effects in the game.

The long and short of it? A full support healer who rarely needs to lift a finger to actually heal. Alone, I could provide 30 seconds of true invincibility right out the gate, letting my party play on full offense.

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James Mock

I like Medic in Wildstar. A lot of the healing classes in EQII are fun and unique. The rifle healing in TSW was fun for soloing. I never tried it in group though.

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Jeffrey Wu

I’ve done some group stuff with rifle healing, which is pretty good. It’s still a kind of cycle healing that the game’s system works like, except you have to maintain range with your target and healing target.

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Arktouros

I might be biased, but I always liked the Bear Shaman in AOC. The active healing back then was pretty unique when it was introduced. My second favorite was, by far, the Warrior Priest/DOK in Warhammer with the melee heal build where you could actually heal your whole team through dealing damage (IE: Hit for 100, AOE heal around you for 400 kinda thing).

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James Mock

I remember being able to solo all kinds of crazy stuff with my DoK… so good.

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ghostmourn

Worth mentioning that ‘Fist Weaving’ was a pretty cool concept for the Monk class in WOW. Been healing on Monks since GW1 :D

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James Mock

Fist Weaving was so fun, especially in LFG dungeons when you get 2nd or 3rd in DPS, kept everyone healed. Sad they took it out.

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rafael12104

Hmm. Ok, I have to add Blade and Soul’s Summoner class. This is not your typical healer for many reasons.

First as the name implies, this class has a familiar companion in the form of cat and through this cat the Summoner can heal the entire party if in range, grab aggro when needed, dps and cc as well.

Second, the Summoner can can turn its staff into a Dandelion, blow it into the wind creating a mist that blocks attacks and heals OR makes the Summoner invisible for a two or three seconds depending on how it is spec’ed.

And last but not least, a Summoner is wrapped up in the smallest of packages, resembling a woodland creature. They are as players make them, but they are generally cute and cuddly and in despensible to any group running the more difficult content.

It is ironic that in a game like BnS, which is heavily dps focused setting the holy trinity aside, tanks and healers are so highly valued. The Summoner is the best healer in the game, with great dps, a built in tank (when needed), and does it all with cute yet viscous aplomb.

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Sajiri

I have to say FFXI’s Dancer class. Now, whether it can still be classified as a healer is debatable, it was meant to originally be a melee healer but due to its long cooldowns they started to shift it towards a damage dealer class.

However thanks to the gear swapping in that game, with all my sets for DNC I was able to heal, tank, and deal pretty respectable damage all at once. I loved that a ‘support’ job was able to also be such a successful soloer.

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Eric Campbell

I’d like to submit for consideration the SWTOR class of Commando Trooper. THe look and name doesn’t lend itself to the thought of healing. The armored look and the fact that some of your healing is performed through the large assault cannon is pretty unique.

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Chris Mc

Loved my Disciple of Khaine on Warhammer Online. Miss that game.

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Jack Kerras

I was all about the Warrior Priest right up until that Godawful ‘righteous fury on offhand’ change. It turned my awesome hybrid class into a ‘hammer and book or GTFO’ pure healer. :/

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Fred Douglas

The Captain in LOTRO is pretty fun, healing on defeat, sacrificing your own life for heals. Not necessarily a “healer,” but you could main heal less-difficult instances.

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Oleg Chebeneev

If the question would be about most unique class overal, I would give it Vanguard’s bard. But so many mentions of its disciple and blood mage made me think that in reality those werent very unique. One had to melee to efficiently heal, another had to cast damage spells to do the same. We’ve seen plenty of this in other MMOs. For example AoC’s Bear shaman that too was mentioned many times is the same “hit target to heal” type.

Funny enough, my answer would be the class that you would expect to hear here the least. WoW’s priest. You can find disciple, bloodmage, bearshaman “hit to heal” mechanics among many MMO classes. But how often you’ve seen mechanics like this:
-put a well on the ground and everyone who clicks on it gets heal.
-after you died, you keep healing party for several seconds as a spirit.
-put buff on target that heals him when he gets hit.
-aoe explosion the deals dmg and heals everyone in its radius.
-throw wave of light that goes ahead healing everyone on its way and returning back healing again.
-summon a copy of self that mimics healing done.

And thats on top of three talent trees that provide very different playstyle with tons of other healing/absorb/buff/utility abilities including pretty much everything that any healing classes in other MMOs ever had.

ps/ talking not about Legion’s iteration of priest, but WoW priests across varied expansions.

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Bruno Brito

“-put a well on the ground and everyone who clicks on it gets heal.”

Engineers on warhammer, but they aren’t healers. Normally, those kind of skills are present on utility based characters, like Warlocks and soul wells.

“-after you died, you keep healing party for several seconds as a spirit.”

While i give props to WoW about this, i don’t think it’s the only game that has it. I just didn’t see it present in any game i’ve played.

“-put buff on target that heals him when he gets hit.”

There are several buffs like that. I’m highly sure GW2 has some.

“-aoe explosion the deals dmg and heals everyone in its radius.”

GW2 has a lot of those. Ragnarok has Sanctuary.

But i’ll agree that wow’s priest is pretty fun to play.

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David

Just have to mention City of Heroes Defender archetype here. It just had so many different options from straight up Empath healing to healing with fire, increasing defense with force bubbles, increasing resistance with sonic powers. Avoiding healing by debuffing enemies with radiation or darkness, mixing things up with trick arrows or traps. There were many more that I can’t quite remember now. Why did you die City of Heroes?? :'(

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mechageist

My Earth/TA had healing arrow. Or at least the Call of the Sandman proc slotted in Poison Gas Arrow which frequently healed me for a chunk of hp whenever i hit a spawn with it. Usually i played Defenders and Controllers which ‘healed’ most of the time by boosting team defenses and/or crippling enemy offense. Specifically healing focused abilities were the fallback for when things were going badly and were generally a sign that someone had messed up really badly.

Celestia
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Celestia

Ditto :(

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Veldan

Uh, depends. Some games go out of their way to make it silly. Of the more reserved ones that still feel unique two games come to mind: RIFT for chloromancer and Guild Wars for Ritualist. Not only were these unique and fun to play, both games also provided excellent hybrid options, making way for even more unique healing builds.

In RIFT I’ll never forget the power of chlorolock in vanilla (that PvP OPness), or harb/chloro in Storm Legion. I was usually healer in dungeons, and at some point when my gear was good enough I swapped from full to the hybrid, and healed dungeons while basically playing as melee DPS. People’s reactions were priceless :)

In Guild Wars Ritualist gave access to what might have become the most used healer builds in the game. I mean, who didn’t run N/Rt on their heroes back in the days? The exact builds varied (FotM and all) and I liked to adapt mine all the time, but they all shared the necro’s energy gain and minions combined with ritualist heals and a spirit or two. Much fun.

Estranged
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Estranged

Yes, the Chloro hybrids in Rift. So much fun.

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ZoSo

“Most unique”. My old English teacher would have words with you!

It’s like saying “totally dead”

c- See me. ;)

Oh, and my votes for Minnie in LotRo.

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HNN

What’s the correct way of saying that?

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ZoSo

There is no correct way, if some is unique you can’t quantify it. It just is unique, nothing more. :)

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Loopy

Unique is singular by itself, since it means there is nothing like it. So saying that there is a scale of uniqueness is contradictory.

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Schmidt.Capela

Most unusual, perhaps?

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Sashaa

One more vote for Age of Conan’s Bear Shaman. Most fun healing class I’ve ever played.

Steely Bob
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Steely Bob

I mained a Shaman (Mystic) in eq2 for many years and was especially delighted when they opened up the secondary skill tree that let you change to a melee based mystic rather than a spell caster. A lot of the healing classes became infinitely more fun as a result of that mechanic.

kjempff
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kjempff

Vanguard blood mage

Steely Bob
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Steely Bob

Vanguard Disciple was pretty dope too..

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Robert Mann

I got nothing. Well, maybe runeshaper in Lotro with the balancing beam act.

If we can drop the word class, however, I would note that there are at least a couple games where healing is different than the MMO norm. That is because they don’t just push your health bar back up instantly, or give you more effective health some other way, but rather healers in those games help you recover faster with actual treatment of your wounds and you still need rest.

That obviously doesn’t work in a game where combat is the only focus, and the only real activity that isn’t a sideshow. So it would really make most MMOs stupidly painful. Which is fine for some games, of course. However, since next to nobody else has made MMOs that aren’t just a wandering slaughter of things at a near constant, the result is that such a system is incredibly unique in MMOs.

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TomTurtle

I like the idea of healing through preventing damage. World of Warcraft’s discipline priest (before the changes) and Guild Wars 1’s Monk had those capabilities. I feel that a lot of professions and their skills in Guild Wars 1 were unique, such as certain ways Ritualist’s could heal.

Rift’s Chloromancer and to an extent Bard felt unique. Ditto for Chloromancer in Trove.

The way a Ventari legend Revenant in Guild Wars 2 heals is pretty damn unique using a tablet to move and command around the battlefield. It’s not often used, but it is pretty effective.

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Jesse Schulkers

I am not seeing people post about it. Tera had a fun idea. I can’t recall the classes name but a good part of your healing you went around dropping clickable orbs for the rest of the players in your party to pick up. Pick up an orb and get a strong HOT. I really liked that. Oooh piece of candy!

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James Mock

Mystic.

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fanggwj

Most of the unique ones have already been mentioned. I would like to add engineers from Global Agenda. It is probably my favorite class ever (and why I love Paladin’s Barik so much) with incredible utility: turrets (damage and healing), robot familiars/pets, shield walls, and spray and pray
And we mustn’t forget Vanguard’s other healers: druid, cleric and shaman because Vanguard made even stock archetypes unique
Archmage was the bomb in Warhammer Online
Rogue/bard hybrid in RIFT
Since Massively does cover Paladins, I am going to say they have a stable of unique and fun healers: Ying, mal damba, grover, seris, pip
Th spiritmaster in DAOC while not a true healer was fun to play as one :)

Steely Bob
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Steely Bob

warrior priest in warhammer online was fun…

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Tulerezzer

Any healer that can heal while dps’ing is always fun and a little out of the ordinary, whether it be melee, ranged nukes or even dots.

But my favorite will always be EQ1’s Cleric with later game AA’s unlocked that allow you to redistribute the health of the party evenly almost instantly (on cooldown of course) not to mention Complete Heal, what can be better than a 100% heal? Oh and plate armor, nothing looks better than full plate~

Steely Bob
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Steely Bob

Cheal chains…

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Dread Quixadhal

My favorite was the bear shaman, which I think was Age of Conan. It was a heavy armor melee class where you healed your teammates by wading into combat and doing damage. Every swing that landed did a small amount of healing to any allies that were close enough to you.

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life_isnt_just_dank_memes

Rune Keeper. The rune system for attuning to dps or healing was awesome. My fave healer of all time was the Monk in GW1 though.

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Castagere Shaikura

I loved the Minstrel in LOTRO. You buffed , debuffed did damage and healed at the same time.

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Doubleplusgood

And what’s also unique about LOTRO is that characters don’t have hit points. They never die, that is, they are never killed, only defeated. They instead have morale.
And Minstrels healed by inspiring their morale with song!

ernost
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ernost

SWTOR’s Commando. While there are other classes in SWTOR and other games that heal with guns, the commando does it with an assault cannon.

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Paul

+1 for Vanguard’s Disciple (I miss my disciple) and Blood Mage.

Minimalistway
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Minimalistway

In WoW, Discipline Priest used to be mostly shielding (bubbles!) then they changed it to healing with DPS, i like both ideas … i like the idea of healing with pets, just imagine a hunter with healing pets, the spec should be named: Field Nurse.

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Rheem Octuris

EQ2’s Channeler. Does bow damage, automatically heals allies. I think. Oh, and they get a golem that they can swap parts out for based on the souls of animals they’ve defiled.

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Bryan Turner

Vanguard Blood Mage, Necromancer in GW2 has potential for this, I could even see Deathknight given a 4th spec that could do the same mechanic, basically Vampires that steal health for their groups.

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CthulhuDawg

Unique my choice is definitely not, but either you go Cleric or you GTFO.

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BP Wolfe

Warhammer Online had some really unique front line healers. I never got a chance to really get into it, but the concept of doing damage tin order to heal seemed like a great concept for a front line healer. I loved my DAoC healing Druid.

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Kevin McCaughey

Bloodmage in Vanguard. Without a doubt the most innovative healing class where nukes healed your passive target. Lots HOTs based on your damage too. A very complex healing class.

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Serrenity

I always liked Scholar from FFXIV — probably not the most unique healing class, but I loved a pet healing class. I didn’t treat my fairy like it was just another set of spells, instead I would send her out and just let her do her thing, very occasionally forcing a spell or two. There were a few fights that were more spread out where I would put my fairy generally next to the tank and let her do all the off-heals while I kept the rest of the party up. It would kind of like having another healer … but only kinda.

Then, I would inevitably forget I had used the stay command and ran on to the next mobs only to discover she’d despawned because I got too far away. Oops.

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Totakeke

Blood Mage and Disciple from Vanguard were pretty awesome. Basically anything from the gun and melee side of the skill circle in TSW were also great.

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Slaasher

Looking into the future I think Camelot Unchained will have a pretty unique healer type with their stone healer. Only Vikings would have a healer that throws rocks at your head to get you up and moving again lol

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A Dad Supreme

The Secret World’s Assault Rifle healing.

I’d never, ever, under any circumstances be able to square shooting a rifle and hearing that automatic sound with healing someone.

Usually that sound means “run for cover” not “thank God someone’s shooting things in the face”.

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Jeffery Witman

I do love the concept behind it, though. You’re debuffing the mob so that the damage done to it returns health to the attacker. It’s the exact opposite of a retributive strike/damage reflection. It’s a very cool concept.

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wild-abyss

I also enjoy punching health into people. Or basically spinning in a circle claws, shredding health into my allies.

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MesaSage

If you watch Rambo backwards, it’s Sylvester Stallone healing people with his magical bullet vacuum

Rahayan Wiziwiz
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Rahayan Wiziwiz

I’ve played Wildstar during beta and on release, and had the most fun playing a Medic healer (Esper was kinda standard).

Haven’t played any of the older MMO’s, but FF XI’s Dancer sounds really cool, hope they implement it at some point in FF XIV :-)

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MesaSage

I thought the Wildstar Medic was very cool and if I could stand to play that game for more than 15 minutes I’d probably choose that class. I like any healing class that doesn’t do the boilerplate priest. The Lotro Minstrel is a fun class because it can do both support and solo well.

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Paraxes

Glad to see the second post was about the Bear Shaman from AOC – most definitely agree with that.

Healing by smashing in the head of your foes with a giant spiked 2h-hammer, supported by 2 ghost bears is a very unusual style for healing.

The most fun I ever had with a healing class in any game.

Mukit
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Mukit

I kinda liked the Warhammer Online Warrior Priest: heal by beating the snot out of your enemies.

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Pandalulz

I thought that was a super fun mechanic where you had to DPS to heal.

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Angel

So it’s an Older game, but I really enjoyed Healing with my Ritualist in Guild Wars. Spamming spirits was always fun.

Shawn Schuster
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Shawn Schuster

I prefer the term “timeless!” I forgot about the Rit’s healing spirits. Those were/are fun.

Sykes
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Sykes

DDO’s Pale Master. It can only heal party members that are constructs or undead, making it extremely niche. It summons undead adds that tank or dps while it heals them. Pale masters can become a wraith, skeleton, zombie, vampire, or lich to gain extreme penalties to light damage in order to benefit from things like incorporeal miss chances, bonuses to charming spells, or defensive buffs against slashing or bludgeoning weapons. It can specialize its non-magic dps as melee or ranged if you choose to dps to supplement heals, and many builds now run a repeating crossbow with it.

It’s a healer that must specialize in undead and construct healing and can specialize in ranged spell dps, melee or ranged non-magic dps, crowd control through magic, dps or tanking through summoning while specializing in undead healing or take a hybrid of those abilities.

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zoward

Very, very difficult to solo, though …

ir1shguy
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ir1shguy

Rifts cholormancer is a ton of fun and I have not experienced a healer like it in any other game.

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bobfish

Vanguard’s Bloodmage or Disciple.

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Galactrix

Blood magic in The Secret World? That’s just standard.

With the mix and match of the ability wheel, I was able to use really obscure and unique healing build combos, such as pistol/sword – using the pistol builder Hair Trigger with the Culmination focus passive from blood healing to heal with every shot, and Saving Grace from swords reducing damage on the target by 90 per cent so that the small heals would have time to work. Did rubbish damage, but the point was to heal 😜

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Utakata

Mystics in TERA, where they can drop healing and mana eggs. o.O

failed_apathy
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failed_apathy

I don’t know why, but it’s certainly one of the more memorably fun/cute healers. Something about those little Skittles eggs… *plink*

TERA’s also been doing aimed and egg healing for a quite while now too, although I don’t know what game did it first.

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Utakata

The fact they’re also used in making temporary game graffiti gives them an extra charm about the mechanic. <3

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bigangry

A bunch of healing secondaries/primaries from City of Heroes, including but not limited to Dark Miasma, the Traps healing pyramid, Kinetics was pretty neat (especially with fire control’s fire imps getting speedboosted!). I think Masterminds with healing secondaries were pretty unique?

There’s also… whassit called, the Bounty Hunter/Trooper healers in SWTOR. Heal your friends with healing bullet lasers shot from your healing guns!

I really like Astrologian in FFXIV, though the cards are (until The Lady from Stormblood) all buffs instead of heals.

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DM Taps

I loved Dancer in FFXI. Melee attacks to build TP and then spam a dance to heal your mates. Very clever and the 1st melee healer I ever played.

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BalsBigBrother

I very much enjoyed being a Galka monk / dancer in FFXI. Not sure anyone watching my Galka dance enjoyed it quite as much especially when I was wearing the dancer artefact armour :-)

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