Ok, no suprise to anyone reading this, I like playing Healers. To be more correct (and to agree with Abalieno, in a sec), I like playing Support characters, it’s just that Healers (the ones that make the health bars go up) are the most direct method of insuring people… don’t die.
That being said, PvE Healing in World of Warcraft is boring as hell. Why? Beacuse it’s just making the bars go up. To be more correct, PvE Healing sucks… hell, for the sake of screwing my point over, PvE sucks as a whole.
Ok, so that being said… can you make supporting abilities more interesting (although healing’s pretty interesting as it is, better then being a DPS bot), possibly better then straight healing at keeping people alive (that whole “Ounce of Prevention, Pound of Cure” thing doesn’t really apply in MMOs). Still, you’re treading on the ground of the TBCs, so that way indeed lies madness.
Honestly, healing in PvP is slightly more interesting, although it really depends on communication (i.e. Teamspeak) and telling the person soaking up the damage to not be retarded. It really comes down to teamwork and not really based on the mechanics. The whole responsibility for keeping people alive is the attraction, and if you actually care about the people you’re working with, that helps… a lot.
Still, if you look at an example of a game without healers like RFO… well RFO‘s problem is that Consumables > player abilities in terms of keeping people alive, so that’s kinda fucked up. Rather similar to the debate over Health Pills being nearly as strong as Patcher skills (in the hands of a mediocore player) at keeping someone up. It’s outsourcing in games! (Although it stems back to D&D healing potions being called “Clerics in a Bottle”.)
Don’t know, I’ll have to think over this one, but I’m not sure how you work on making “support” a better “supporter” then a straight healer (just look at CoH with groups really asking for “Empathy” over dedicated Defenders in other areas like CC or buffs) without making the proper healer completely worthless. I think some CU SWG comparisons between Combat Medic and Doctor may be useful here (I’ll have to look the math up again later today).