One of the most important implications of the virtual worlds we visit is that they all boast medical care far above and beyond anything we have in our society. In reality if we get cut by a sword, fall off a cliff, or roasted by a fireball, we’re in for painful surgeries and lots of physical therapy — if we survive at all. In MMOs? Someone tosses a field of sparkly localized light and bam, you’re good as new again.
And if you die? No biggie unless you’re an NPC the storyline wishes to keep dead.
For today’s list, we’re going to examine some of the weirder ways that MMOs have us heal one another. The best part is that there are no insurance forms to fill out afterward!
WildStar: Resonators, probes, and fields
Future tech is bound to be pretty crazy and revolutionary, although I have my doubts that some yahoo running around with giant ray guns that dissolve bad guys have the skill to flip on the “heal instead” button and zap me when I’m hurt. Still, you have to give it to these Medics: They are perhaps some of the most stylish of all MMO healers and a one-person rave machine (if need be).
Lord of the Rings Online: Words and stones
The joke often goes that characters never stop shouting in Middle-earth. And would you, if your shout could snipe a troll from a hundred yards or mend a paper cut? Out of all of the shoutyness is the Rune-keeper, who harnesses words and stones to treat broken bones and other critical boo-boos. I can only imagine going into the ER and having a doc toss shards of granite on my chest and then screaming nonsensical words into my face for a minute before declaring me healed.
While I’ll single out Neverwinter’s Bard here as an example, truly this applies to all games that use Top 40 hits to suture oozing wounds and fix blunt force trauma. I’m sure it’s of great consolation to be in the worst pain of your life and have your friend prance up to you, look down in concern, and then whip out a lute and start a soundtrack to your suffering. But hey, it works, so why fight it?
Star Wars: The Old Republic: Spray droids
Kolto is the miracle drug of the Star Wars universe, and it makes complete sense that one might stock a first aid kit with a few injections of this wondrous green goo. Less sense follows, however, to create floating droids with reservoirs of the stuff and have them go around spraying people in the face with it while those people are fighting for their lives. I’m not really sure how kolto is able to distinguish different medical needs, such as an allergy sufferer vs. someone whose leg is now nine meters behind them.
RIFT has some pretty odd healing methods — just ask the Defiler what he does with those tentacles — but I’m going to give it up to the Chloromancer for commanding seeds, flowers, and vines to perform emergency battlefield surgery. The way I look at it, this skips the middleman of harvesting medicinal plants, drying them out, grinding them up, and putting them into little pills. Naw, just fling ivy at someone with a gaping spear wound and call it a day!
City of Heroes: Radiation
I always find it strangely hilarious that somewhere along the journey of pop culture, people took a look at radiation and decided that rather than dabble in the reality of what these rays actually do to a human body, it should glow bright green and bring healing and/or Hulk-style transformations. In any case, bask in the supremely healthy verdant fields that generous Radiation Emitters produce in City of Heroes and don’t ask about the dangerously high levels of cancer incidents that follow!
Vanguard: Forcible blood transfers
Speaking of “concepts we shouldn’t think about TOO closely,” there’s the late, great Blood Mage from Vanguard to consider. Willfully ignoring incompatible blood types, this class formed “unions” of life-giving ichor between characters, ripping blood out of one person and giving it to another. The Red Cross does not always approve of such methods, but then again, it’s not like Blood Mages got a lot of oversight back in the day.
Age of Conan: Bear power
Bears are not to be trifled with on the battlefield, but if you’ve received a mortal wound and the world is going dark around you, that medically trained ursine might be your last, best hope. Bear Shamans channeled the fierce power of bear philosophy (I’m guessing?) into healing those around them. My only regret is that we don’t get to see a grizzly carefully applying antibiotic cream and gauze bandages afterward.
Final Fantasy XIV: Decks of cards
Life? Death? It’s all up to whether or not your healer happened to get a royal flush or a crummy two-of-a-kind. I should be more incredulous that an Astrologian’s deck has the ability to confer such medical abilities, but you know what? You try to attack that concept, and every other please-don’t-think-about-it-too-closely MMO concept comes tumbling down like a house of cards.
TERA: Candy orbs
Perhaps TERA knew best all along because when that game gave us the Mystic class, it remembered that there was a whole generation that grew up on Pac-Man and had strong associations to eating big dots for emergency assistance. Likewise, the Mystic runs around pooping out candy-colored orbs on the battlefield for other players to munch and not question if this class got the medical mixture right or if they’re about to overdose on pure love.