I died fighting a rift today. That’s a feat when we’re talking a minor RIFT and a Justicar, even two levels under. I died because out of five of us, two rogues and two mages besides myself, no one had a single healing ability — or didn’t want to use it. So here’s the question I pose to you: In this bold new world of class freedom, is it your responsibility to fill multiple roles?
Now, I understand not everyone wants to do that. The MMO genre has been filled with DPSers forever by design. Tanks and healers have more responsibility than everyone else, that’s a fact. Because of this, and the horror stories the players who fill these roles share at every turn, the average player happily remains silent when someone asks “can you tank?” Who can blame that person, the one who’s never tried, who wants their game to be fun and stress-free, for avoiding that responsibility?
I’ll step up. I’ll blame them. Call me a jerk, but it really grinds my gears when the game literally hands you every potential option and makes it easier than any other game to try, and people would still rather slam their face against a wall instead of giving it a shot. How much sense does it make where the person tanking is also responsible for healing himself against a pack of five mobs AND tossing out group heals at every turn? It doesn’t. It’s the same old story of players passing the buck. Well, RIFT doesn’t give you the same excuse you’ve always had. There is no excuse. If you want to play in a group, it’s your job as a player to be prepared to support that group. It’s your job to be prepared. Anything less than that is laziness.
Now, I’m not saying that if you hate tanking or healing you should volunteer yourself for it. Quite the opposite. Avoid it at every turn. But when the time comes and you’re faced with a challenge, there is an expectation to have those other roles prepared. If you have a healing ability and the group has no other healers, and you don’t even use it, then it’s your fault that group fails.
At the very least, it’s your responsibility to be honest. Tell the group that you don’t like it. Let them go their separate ways. Don’t be silent. As you might know, in another life I’m a teacher. When kids are busted, put on the spot for something they don’t want to do (like being honest about something they did or saw happen), they get quiet and look at their shoes. Waiting for someone else to step up is the equivalent.
So let me answer my own question before handing it over to you. Players have a responsibility to one of two things: either they get the soul and try or they own up to why they won’t do it. Play how you want to play. It’s your money and if you never want to DPS, that’s fine. But you need to be prepared to explain to that group looking in your direction why.
The sad part? All those horror stories that drive so many people away from roles they might genuinely enjoy are the absolute minority. It’s a game no matter what role you play. And the god’s honest truth is that most people will be happy to have a tank or healer in the first place.
Because most players wait for the other volunteer.
Hat tip to Tobold for originally raising this question.