Pet Based Healing Terrifies Me

One of my goals for FFXIV was to get Arcanist to 30, which gives me all the Disciples of Magic classes >= 30. That means I can ditch all the sub-30 DoM gear from my bags, which frees up all kinds of space. I just did that yesterday. I then went ahead and unlocked Summoner and Scholar, because why not?

Summoner I understand. It’s a pet/DoT DPS class. Scholar? Scholar terrifies me.

Scholar

Scholar. That pet fairy? More healing spells than I have.
Scholar. That pet fairy? More healing spells than I have.

Scholar is a pet based healer. That is, the two pets you can summon now become faeries, and they have healing/support abilities. In fact, at level 30, my healing fairy has more healing power than I do. I only have two healing spells: a single target heal, and a single target heal that puts up a shield. My pet has more abilities. I’m sure this will flesh out later, but it sent me into a fit of terror.

Healing, to me, is all about triage and decision making. I only have so much MP and can only output so much healing at once. Figuring out where and how to direct it is the heart of what you’re doing. I really don’t trust a pet AI enough to offload some of that to it, nor do I want the extra work of babysitting a pet (both in terms of healing targets and in positioning to avoid bad things). There’s more than enough going on already without that extra work.

Fear And Confusion

As anybody in free company chat last night can attest, I didn’t know how to react to this. I started asking all kinds of questions. The idea of actually trying to use this to heal terrified me, especially when I have the warm, fuzzy blanket of White Mage to fall back to. That’s a healing class I understand. The idea of a pet based healing class is so far out of my comfort zone that I recoiled in abject fear from it.

Fairy healing spell bar
Fairy healing spell bar
Scholar healing level 30 spell bar
Scholar healing level 30 spell bar

Is that fear justified? Probably not. I’ve been healed by lots of Scholars (and their pets) in my time as a Black Mage, and aside from noticing some mechanical differences, they always got the job done. But, understanding that at the rational level doesn’t make the fear go away. It’s still there today, when I think “maybe I should try that Scholar”, my immediate reaction is “maybe I should start leveling a tank instead”.

I understand the root of where this is coming from. I really cut my teeth at MMO healing in WoW, doing progression raiding. For quite a while I was a raid guild’s healing leader. I had a huge toolbox and all the freedom and control to deploy it however I wanted. Thus, success and failure (or for the group, life and death) was on me. Losing some of that control of the outcome to a pet AI sets off all kinds of negative reactions.

Control

This really comes down to control, which is why pet classes in other contexts don’t bother me. I’ve often summoned a Unicorn in D&D and used it as a healing pet, but due to how D&D works, I’m still functionally in control of it. DPS pets are okay, because they don’t need the same kind of babysitting to do damage (target changes are less frequent and it’s less likely to kill someone if I let the AI handle it).

Taking healing control away from me and giving it to a pet just… ugh, no. I can’t even form a coherent thought because of how much it rubs me the wrong way.

Maybe one day I’ll work up the ability to overcome this and give the class a fair try. For now though…

White Mage Robes are like a warm fuzzy blanket
White Mage Robes are like a warm fuzzy blanket.

8 thoughts on “Pet Based Healing Terrifies Me”

  1. I think a part of that worry ids just because of how critical and dynamic the role is. We do’t worry about a pet tanking but for healing it’s more nuanced. You have to be reactive and target specific people at the right time and we just don’t trust an AI enough in that role

    1. Yeah, almost certainly. 🙂

      Also, if I fail at it, there’s likely a dead party member. I’d really rather not have to say “oops, AI didn’t feel like healing you.”

  2. The fairy “AI” is actually a very simple script, so it’s easily managed. Its main heal “Embrace” will be cast on any party member below 80% health, with priority on you, then the tank, then finally dps. Eos wil cast all her other abilitiesn on cooldown and this is suboptimal, so you want her on obey. Selene saves her cleanse until it’s needed, at least, so she’s considered ok to leave on sic if you’re feeling lazy. I foind in the lower levels that I could just leave either fairy on sic and go into cleric stance and do dps about 90% of the time, but it got more involved as I got higher in level, and I started to prefer WHM starting at about 45. That said, SCH is currently being called overpowered by many, so it still seems it must work out ok.

    1. That’s good to know, thanks! I don’t doubt that it works, given how many scholars have healed me successfully in other stuff.

      Still weirds me out though. 🙂

  3. Oh yes, this so much! Other than the LM in LOTRO, I have stayed from pet classes in MMOs like the plague. I think my problem is the dispersed focus; I don’t like fussing around with another mini-UI at all instead of concentrating on either a boss or healing allies. There’s more micro-managing involved than usual. Also, so many MMOs make you chase your pet around half of the time and I really hated the re-positioning hassle in every game I tried it!

    1. Yeah, exactly. Especially if the pet is killable. If it stands in bad stuff and gets blown up, now I’m out it’s healing AND I’m out my healing when I try to summon it back.

      It’d be less bad if it was invincible against AoE or something.

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