Friday, May 28, 2010

Healing I Learned From Mario

Welcome to my very first series entitled All I really need to know about Healing I learned from Mario, in which I'll be discussing learning to heal from a generic (I'd like to call it organic) approach. There are tons of great guides on my blogroll if you're looking for a how-to-holy, but in these next few posts I'd like to talk more about how we can learn inside the video game instead of playing alt-tabbed.

Even if you're already an expert on healing and video games, I hope you can still enjoy the nostalgic (and terribly photoshopped) images while I show you what Mario has taught me about the fundamentals of learning a game, and learning a role within a game.

Part I: It'sa me, Mario!

In most MMORPGs today, we're presented with lots of choices. While it may seem overwhelming to a novice player, the character art and blurbs (often thumbnail stats) will most likely guide you into making a choice. Don't sweat this part too much, if you learn more about the game and decide you don't like your character, you can always reload the game/make a new character. Games are about having fun, yeah? So jump in and have fun while you take it all in!

Theorem #1: Video game designers and artists spend a lot of time and energy into ma
king game art convey the aspects of the game. This goes beyond themes/colors/styles and can indicate important information about the character, the boss, or the encounter. With that in mind, if you had to choose tanks/damage dealers/healers from below, which one would you pick?

(As an aside, Peach plays a holy priest who spams smite. Don't ask her to heal.)

Once you've made a character, it's time to start playing. That brings me to my next important point: starting areas.

Whether it be Windurst, Elwood Forest, or Yoshi's Island, the game will dump a new character in an area appropriate to learning the new environment and game controls. Here you'll do things like slay monsters for the village guard or collect candles from enemy kobolds in exchange for mittens (or what have you).

Slaying monsters and filching candles doesn't sound very healer-esque, but bear with me. There's more to playing a healer than filling up green bars. This is the opportunity the game is giving a player to learn everything about his character. Go through your spellbook, abilities page, traits list, talent choices: whatever you have available to you has a place in the game, and if you know your abilities inside and out you'll be prepared.

I've made the mistake of dismissing abilities and spells because they "weren't for healing", but Mario would tell me that he needed every ability he could scrape together to face Bowser. Our heroic plumber crawled through sewer pipes, weathered sandstorms, and braved monsters of all kinds with a change of clothes, some reagents, and his wits. Know thyself? That is wisdom, indeed.

You'll need to know your controls if you want to bring your full capability to the table. What that will be for you is up to you, and part of the learning experience is figuring out for yourself what your buttons/controls should be. Mario might suggest that whatever your controls are, you know them well.

Up next is Part II: Brave New World. We'll see you then!

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