Making Team Shooter Healers Interesting

What do you think of videogame characters who specialize in healing other team mates like Mercy, or the Medic?

I mean, this only really applies to Overwatch and TF2. Other games like Dota and MMOs have healers, but they don’t really overlap with the things I have to say about healers in those particular team shooters.

Basically, Mercy and the Medic, characters like them (with an auto-lock heal beam) in these team based shooters have a tendency to be really powerful. Medic was the most powerful character in TF2, and Mercy has been at or close to the top frequently. Lucio is actually better than Mercy and has been top tier consistently throughout overwatch’s life cycle. These characters serve a valuable function that all the other characters need, because these games have a slow pace of movement, and a low time to kill, factors which compound on each other. You basically always need and always want a healer rather than another damage dealer or support. They’re that essential to winning.

What kind of sucks about them though is, they’re not terribly interesting characters (except perhaps Lucio). They generally get to move faster than other characters, but their input on the battle is basically holding M1 and avoiding getting shot. Mercy is kind of interesting, because she can dash to the target she’s healing (and otherwise moves slower than the other characters), glide along in the air, and resurrect everyone on her team within a certain radius.

TF2 put an interesting spin on the medic with the vaccinator: A weapon which allows the medic to select a resistance for their heal target, between bullets, explosive, and fire, making the process of healing the target slightly more involved, but overall is still kinda just, hold the button and stay close, but don’t get hit.

Making a character that is more interesting than that in a healing role is kinda tricky and I don’t have any good ideas off the top of my head. Making it so healing characters aren’t as necessary to a team means making a game where you don’t always fight battles of attrition, but rather more rock paper scissors oriented fights. Right now you can’t avoid losing damage, so you need a way to heal it or you can’t have a sustained map presence. Also making the game faster helps, but also makes it harder to maintain a defensive perimeter.

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