An RPG Without A Dedicated Healer

BloodletterQ

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Hey folks,

I have been thinking about getting rid of the concept of the healing mage or at least making it an advanced ability and instead go for using a class that focuses on items. What are your feelings about the lack of a healing class. Otherwise, items can only be used on oneself if not of the item-user class. I know Dragon Age Inquisition doesn't exactly have healing magic.
 

terrorchan

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What do you mean? Is there still magic? Then can't the magic user just heal? There doesn't have to be a dedicated healer. imo having a character that only heals is kind of a waste. I prefer two mages that have healing abilities and then only use them when I need them, but I wouldn't classify them as a healer mage :/

Using items to heal is perfectly fine and an save MP, as long as you're sure to have the potions affordable and make it easier to get money.
 
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Chaos17

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I know Dragon Age Inquisition doesn't exactly have healing magic.
I disliked from all my heart.

If you doesn't want a dedicated healer, you can simply use a matria system.

So any magic skills won't be restricted to anyone.
 

BloodletterQ

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There is still magic, but I currently have five classes planned: the DPS warrior, the buffing and tanking guardian, the elemental-magic using magus, the debuffing archer, and the item-using lesser DPSer Rogue. I do find that a dedicated healer becomes a waste of space when you're doing great in battle regardless. Items will have a larger role and only a basic revival item can be used by one character on another. Keep in mind that guardians will also be able to provide regen and possibly auto-life.
 
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Chaos Avian

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I don't have dedicated healers at all in any of my games. If they can heal, they can usually smash your face in (think any Tales Of character that can heal. i.e Sophie). Most of the time certain characters with have a healing spell/ skill of some sort. I guess when you go for focus, static party roles a healer does seem like a waste of a slot most of the time. But have more flexible roles helps overcome this.

A few games that do the "No dedicated healer" quite well is Legend of Legacy, 7th Dragon 2020 and Crimson Gem Saga. All of which pretty difficult games in their own right battle wise.
 
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Zoltor

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Why not go a hybrid route, such as Sage,  Why even have a pure mage at all, make the magic damage doer, and the healer the same class.

Other then that, you could make a Alchemist, but I would say a sage char is far more enjoyable.
 

Pierman Walter

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Maybe you should have a potion-brewing sorcerer or something like that who is able to create more effective items than the ones found with gathered ingredients, and is able to use common items with much higher effectiveness.

In Epic Battle Fantasy, when some characters use food to heal, it regenerates twice the amount of health compared to a different character using it.
 

Hoppy

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A dedicated healer is a waste, I'd rather have 2 characters that can heal and attack or support other party members well.
 

Chaos17

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Just don't take example on Dragon age inquisition where you can kill 11th dragons easely..; that game has balance problem.

Crimson Gem Saga... that game was totally forgotten and not loved at all by most of the rpg fans. So it might not be a good example either of good mechanic...

Personally, I'm for dedicated healer so I can't help you futher, sorry.
 

BloodletterQ

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Why not go a hybrid route, such as Sage,  Why even have a pure mage at all, make the magic damage doer, and the healer the same class.

Other then that, you could make a Alchemist, but I would say a sage char is far more enjoyable.
Well I'm strongly for the mage being able to use some healing magic. I'm not even using MP so TP won't be a matter but the mage is supposed to be more focused on elements as well. I'll still need to think of abilities for my rogue with an item focus.
 
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Dedicated healers fell in disuse as if the enemies aren't dangerous enough they're a waste of space, so people always give them one extra role like giving status ailments, breaking any buff enemies may get or even as moderate damaging mages. You could give the healer skills like debuffs and other kinds of battle support as well.

Most people know Paladins as strong in defense (physical and magic) and being able to give support buffs and moderate healings all while being able to dish some great melee damage.
 

Psyker

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I prefer the Paladin or Cleric style of healer.  Heavy / Medium armor with Damage / Support abilities.

Could also look to Water Attunement for Elementalist in Guild Wars 2 for ideas.  Damage and support in several of their water skills.
 

Chaos Avian

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Dedicated healers fell in disuse as if the enemies aren't dangerous enough they're a waste of space
Literally the reason why I didn't mention anything made by Atlus (i.e. Etrian Odyssey, and any SMT game). But as some of the others said, hybrid classes (Paladin, Sage) seem to be the way to go. MIx and match other basic/ static classes and see what you find or make.
 

Luiishu535

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In my current game, I have a Paladin. He can heal, cure status effects, revive, deal powerful holy damage, boost stats and hit hard while having a strong defense. Don't limit your characters/classes. Instead give your classes potential roles/uses.
 

Tuomo L

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There is still magic, but I currently have five classes planned: the DPS warrior, the buffing and tanking guardian, the elemental-magic using magus, the debuffing archer, and the item-using lesser DPSer Rogue. I do find that a dedicated healer becomes a waste of space when you're doing great in battle regardless. Items will have a larger role and only a basic revival item can be used by one character on another. Keep in mind that guardians will also be able to provide regen and possibly auto-life.
Waste of space? I always thought a dedicated healer is like literally one of the things you always have to have in your party for epic boss battles.
 

Wavelength

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There are a bunch of ways that you could approach an RPG with or without a healer, and it mostly depends on your other game mechanics as well as (very importantly) what you want the mechanic of healing to do to the game's overall challenge.  In early RPGs the "dedicated healer" was often problematic because their "kit" of stats and abilities didn't often offer interesting decisions, and they'd be absolutely necessary to bring into boss fights (crowding out other party members) while nearly useless in regular combats (unless the regular combats were long and hard, in which case they'd be absolutely necessary once again).

There have some modern games that have set better examples, though.  League of Legends' Soraka is, in my eyes, the most interesting healer ever - she can put out truly mind-boggling amounts of healing to other allies but it puts her in extreme danger to do so (due to short range, HP costs, and no self-targeting on her primary healing spell).  This would be hard to replicate in a turn-based RPG but I think serves as a good model for any battle system that takes place in real-time, or even turn-based systems that use a spatial element in combat.

Chaos Avian brought up Tales of Graces and while that game does have something of a dedicated healer (Cheria), I think the game is still a good example of a game that does the dedicated healer right.  The combat is hard enough that you'll need some healing during combat, but most characters have ways to heal themselves (or sometimes others) a bit while they fight, and - this is what makes her fun to play - Cheria herself can pretty easily kill monsters with melee moves when she's not on healing duty.  Her drawbacks seem to deal more with squishiness, slowness, and lesser ability to juggle/stun/flinch monsters (so if she's attacking, she can be very easily attacked back unless played with a lot of skill).  Again this is something that works better in an action battle system, but could probably be brought into a turn-based system by giving the healer high attack but low defense and moving the "enemy disable/debuff" abilities to a different character.

There are a few games that have mostly or completely gotten rid of the idea of in-battle healing altogether.  This can create some balance issues but it can also make for some very thrilling gameplay.  Usually such a system will give you a full heal as soon as the battle ends, and within battle your goal is simply to wipe out the enemy party before they wipe you out.  There's nothing else to worry about besides winning that battle, and because you have very few safety nets, it can feel very exciting.  A few different variations of this system might include:

  • Presence of healing items (be careful though - if the healing items are cheap and easily obtained, like in Dark Cloud 2, you run into the standard "healing grind" problem and it becomes a lot less exciting)
  • Very powerful magic, but only your HP is healed after combat (this is great because it acts as a balancing lever - a slightly-too-weak party can still survive combat by using their magic; however, it can create a weird dichotomy between warriors and mages so you need to design around that)
  • Passive healing available - for example, a character earns a small burst of healing when they hit an enemy's elemental weakness, when they kill an enemy, or when their magic reflection move successfully reflects magic (what's nice about this is that you don't need to balance battle difficulty or length based on the amount of healing the player has - instead it's just a bonus to reward strategic play)
I guess I've played around with a lot of disparate ideas here, but what ties all of these together is that the healing works well with the core design of the battle system in the game, the healing doesn't overpower all else to the extent that it becomes significantly harder to win without it, and the dedicated healer - if there is one - is exciting to play and requires skill or strategy to use effectively.
 
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bgillisp

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What I did in my game was I made the healer also have very powerful single target damage spells. So now you can use the healer to heal, or to do high damage to a single target. That seems to have worked well so far to make it not feel like a waste of space for a character.
 

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What I did in my game was I made the healer also have very powerful single target damage spells. So now you can use the healer to heal, or to do high damage to a single target. That seems to have worked well so far to make it not feel like a waste of space for a character.
Have you found this often creates interesting choices, or does it simply give the healer "something halfway useful to do" when their healing is clearly not needed?  Is the decision tree usually "does someone need healing - if so use it, otherwise use the single-target damage spell", or are there times where the decision between using the two is a tough choice to make?
 

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Depends on how beat up the party is. There is one party member with a weak AOE heal spell (it does about 1/3 the healing of the healer's single target spell), so sometimes I find myself using the weak AOE while the healer blasts the enemy away, and sometimes I really need the higher power of the healer's spell. And, sometimes I have to decide whether I should just blast away and hope I finish them off this round.

Some of it though also depends on the element resistances of the enemy, as I have most healing spells under Light magic. So if the enemy is weak to Light and Holy magic, then I definitely want to have the healer casting, and try to heal other ways.
 
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trouble time

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In my current game the healer in one othe parties is also the second best damage dealer, but she needs to change stances to use heals and her damage in her other stance is based on speed (when her heavier armors and weapons reduce speed). Enemies in the game hit extremely hard unless you outlevel them a lot so it comes to a risk vs. reward sceneiro or trying to set up a safe time to change stances (also of note, changing stances locks her in her stance for at least a turn) Also of note, items in the game only heal over time, so there's no way to just stock uo on potions and leave her in her damage stance all day.

The other party in the game doesn't have a healer, instead they have a tank and one character is sort of modeled after a druid so she has some heal over time with a little burst heal at the time of casting, but her main role is to bring the buffs.
 

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