I think it’s necessary to preface this post with a few things.
First? This post is in no way making reference to gender roles and archetypes in video games. If that’s what you expected or hoped for? My apologies. That’s not my intent and it’s highly unlikely you’ll ever see me post about such things on here.
Secondly? I’m doped up on meds. Fevers and a stomach bug suck.
Finally? Oh hai. /waves
I had gotten into this dialogue with a fellow Unison League player just a few nights ago. For a mobile game it’s pretty fun and I enjoy the folks I fight alongside in game. Compared to most other mobile games? This is one where I interact most with real time players.
I’m in the process of leveling up my avatar, Pizzamaid, in game and was randomly running quests with this player for the weekly event available. Usually following a quest I make it a point to MVP a good player I come across, send them a /wave or /dance, and go on my way. Particularly in this instance, this person reached out to me stating how it looks like my current guild is dormant and inquired if I was interested in joining theirs. I have no intentions on leaving behind the Maid Militia and its members who are friend of mine so I kindly thanked them for the offer but am a lifer with MM. Said player responded with the above featured image. Now here’s the thing:
I wasn’t playing a cleric. I was playing and leveling up my mage. Yeah I have some healing spells on my bar, but I’ve been leveling mage since day one. So out of curiosity I had to ask what made this person think I would be a healer. They mentioned that they thought I brought out critical heals in our quest when necessary, and that I just seem to be the “healer” type.
Here. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. I didn’t rage or anything of the sort, but THIS was where the wheels started turning and I started thinking.
In the dichotomy of video games and specifically games that involve playing with other real time players, what facets of our personality and character gravitate towards role archetypes? Is it the fact that I’m a bubbly and optimistic individual that gives folks the intuition that I’m predominantly a healing / support based player? Is it the person who carries out instructions or directives to lead a party to victory that classifies them as the “go-to tank”? Is it the person that’s quiet, but effective with their calculated logic and reasoning that deems them the typical ranged / melee DPS? I’m legitimately curious about this.
What a lot of folks don’t know is that… I suck as a healer. Okay— I don’t suck immensely; I just have my derp moments. For the most part though? I can keep folks alive in a dungeon or raid when needed. Here’s the catch though— I’m still a chicken when it comes to healing. It’s a role that I take seriously (almost too seriously for myself) and in the process of running a dungeon or raid, I build up some mild anxiety from it. For something that’s just a game I should enjoy the role that I play, correct?
This is where I come to a crossroads (and I think is the root cause of my altoholism in MMOs). Do I play a class that makes me nervous, because other folks from a third person perspective think I’m proficient at it? Or do I play the safe role that gives equal parts contribution but sans the limelight in the role priority list? Perhaps if I built up more confidence in my skill set as a healer, it would be more fun for me? Or maybe just playing a minor but critical role as a ranged DPS is fun because I’m not a pivotal focus?
I believe my exact words on Twitter were, “I quit. I’m now just committing to being a professional healer in any game I play so I can at least stop sucking at it.” One day I promise I’ll retell the tale of how the HMIC came to be a WHM in FFXIV, but this was a post that I had been meaning to flesh out for sometime, but the opportunity never really presented itself until now.