Monday, July 30, 2012

First Aid: The Forgotten Profession

While I am of the belief that all the professions are in desperate need of a serious overhaul the one profession that seems to have been forgotten the most is first aid.  Some might argue that it is only a secondary profession and as such it does not need any real attention, it does what it needs to do and doesn't need anything else.

While in a way I agree I also don't in another.  Fishing and cooking are getting a lot of love in mists and have even had dailies since the days of the burning crusade.  They are secondary professions too.  Even the newest secondary profession has received a lot of love in the upcoming expansion.  So much so that to get all the little goodies you missed in cataclysm you can just hang out with the pandas and still get the older stuff.  How is that for love?  They are making sure you can get old stuff doing new stuff.  So why is first aid still so blah.

I've recently asked some people about how many feel about the first aid profession and the standard response is that they do not even learn it.  It is a waste of cloth and that cloth, more so for a new character, sells so good that it really isn't a choice.  Sell all the cloth you get while leveling and get better bags, flying when you need it, stuff for main professions if you fall behind, etc.  So it comes down to gold or a bandage and most people that think about it choose gold.

Part of the gold vs bandage argument that a couple of people mentioned to me was the ease of leveling now.  They don't ever get hurt badly, so there is no longer a need to bandage yourself and I can't argue that.  You could probably level most ranged classes without ever even taking damage until level 30 or so.  I am sure I could level a hunter without taking much or any damage all the way to 85.

So looking at it, not only is first aid the forgotten profession but it seems like the game is actually designed around not needing it now.  Kind of the reason most people that level healers never learn it.  I can heal myself, what do I need first aid for.  Now it is not only healers, it is most people.

I remember when I leveled my first character.  First aid was very important to me.  Admittedly I was not as knowledgeable as I am now but I was always getting my butt whipped while questing and having some bandages was a blessing.  Even now, leveling alts in this world where we do not need first aid I am attached to it.  Perhaps from fond memories or perhaps because I am a completest or perhaps because I know there are still a great deal of uses for it.  Maybe all three.

PvPers still learn first aid, at least the smart ones do.  Because sometimes you just need that heal and if you can get to a safe place for a few seconds a band aid is better than wasting mana, a precious resource, for even healers.

People that like to solo content like myself also know the wonders of bandages.  I've done a lot of soloing that I would have died if not for taking the time to bandage myself.  Even a few ticks of a bandage can mean the difference between life and death sometimes.  It is why I rolled with herbalism for the longest time.  The lifeblood skill used to be a solid, even if small, heal that saved me on more occasions than I can count before blizzard nerfed the heal to hell for some unknown reason.  The never ending healing flask in wrath and the root in cataclysm also came in handy for the hunter that likes to do soloing, namely me.

Some people understand the need for those small heals sometimes but those people are few and far between.  It depends on what they are doing and weighing what matters more to them and in the end a small heal you need to channel does not seem to offer enough incentive for people to even consider leveling first aid.

Lets face it, how many people do you see stop and bandage themselves in a random when the healer is having trouble so they can take pressure off them or when the healer died just to give them that little life they needed so they would not die?

I would guess that number would be really low and I would not be surprised that if you saw a hunter doing it you were in a random with me.  Because I always have at least 100 bandages on me at all times and I am not afraid to use them even if my DPS will take a hit for a few seconds while I keep myself alive and help out an overwhelmed healer some so they can concentrate on the tank.

See, the thing is that first aid is just not an attractive profession.  I look at first aid as the one thing you can look at and tell the difference between a player and a gamer.   A gamer will have maxed first aid even if they have never used it and a player wouldn't.  Gamers are old school and first aid is old school.

With the redesign of the old world and so many other things catching up to the new way of gaming I think it is about time to make first aid a good secondary profession for everyone and not just something that people like me use.

How exactly could that be done?

I think there is one change that can be made that would immediately move first aid for being a blah profession to a cool profession.  A worth having profession.  One that even healers would use and might even use more than the non healers would.  One little change that could turn first aid from the forgotten profession into a must have for every player in the game.

What is that change you might ask, so I am going to tell you.

Instead of needing to channel the heal make it so as soon as you click the bandage it puts a heal over time effect on you that ticks over 10 seconds for the amount healed.

Now even healers could use it for spot healing and saving mana.  Pop heal over times on everyone while in heavy movement with the bandages and let your mana regenerate some.  PvPers do not need to find that line of sight all the time to get the heal, they could be fighting you head to head and suddenly there is a heal over time effect on them.  Soloing would be the same thing, no more waiting for that moment when I know I will not be interrupted by some AoE or an add or something under my feet forcing me to move.

Having bandages apply a heal over time effect instead of needing to be channeled might take a little of the need for skill out of the PvP aspect and soloing aspect, but it sure as hell would make it attractive to a great deal more people.  I might even hazard a guess that it would be something everyone would have.  Free heals that you can move during, cast as an instant, and restock whenever you want is something that most people just can't ignore.

There are a few more things I think could be added to first aid to move it from forgotten secondary profession to must have profession for any serious player.  If they would do the few things I am about to present I could even see any serious rated battleground team, arena team or raid team making first aid required of all their applicants.

What First Aid Needs:

1) Heal Over Time Effects:
As I just mentioned above.  That alone could very well be enough to make first aid worth getting for many people that just ignore it now.  The number one reason you do not see many people learning it, outside of the gold thing I mentioned, is the channeling effect.  It is time that channeling requirement went away.

2) Anti-Poison:
We used to have this, where did it go?  There should be one for each level block.  It would add the first aid debuff of one minute as all first aid things would do and it could only be used on yourself.  Cures one poison.

3) Anti-Curse:
Another one that would be on the same first aid debuff of a minute, can only be used on yourself and have one new one each level block.  Cures one curse.

4) Anti-Disease:
Same as curse and poison, just in disease flavor this time around. Cures one disease.

5) Anti-Magic:
Same as disease, curse and poison, just in magic flavor this time around. Cures one non-damage over time magic effect.

6) Anti- DoT:
How about one that will remove one random damage over time effect from you.  A new interesting twist to first aid and one that would really be hit or miss but could very well save your life in a battleground or end up removing nothing special.  Are you willing to take the chance?  Same as the others of course, only on yourself and applies the debuff.  Cures one damage over time effect.

7) Lightwell:
Why should priests have all the fun yelling at people to use the lightwell?  Just like there is a guild cauldron for flasks there could be a guild bonus for max level members that have maxed first aid.  They can create a first aid station that would have 10 or 25 charges and people could click it to get the same heal over time effect and debuff that a bandage would give them, or maybe even a tiny more being it is a guild thing.  10% more healing for the first aid station bandages would make sense as a guild bonus too.

8) Higher Heals:
Bandages could use a little healing boost too if you think about it.   In a game that has things and people capable of doing so much damage in such a short time the amount it heals for just does not seem worth the effort for most people.

As it stands now, there are very few reasons for many people, most even, to learn first aid.  The heal they give is not huge by any means, it is channeled, and it requires cloth that could be sold for a fair deal of money.  To the average player the gold will always win.  Even more so when they have the "its the healers job to heal me" mentality that it seems 98% of the player base has.

Having first aid that has more uses, more useful uses, would make it more attractive.  With the changes to dispelling and the longer cooldown for healers along with the increased mana cost having a way for people to take care of themselves would be a good design and I could even see raid leaders requiring that all their raiders had maxed first aid and came to raids fully stocked.

This would also create an additional market for many items, not just cloth.  The items needed for all the other things would vary and could be things that fall off different types of mobs requiring people to go out in the world to get them.

Don't need to make it a vanilla type farming grind where it would take people all day long to get the materials, but even a 20% drop rate would be easy enough for people to get it and give people a reason to get out in the world again.  Not going to turn this into a "benefits of grinding" article, but needing to get materials has always been and will always remain, the best way to get people out in the world, plain and simple.  If there is something people need and they do not want to buy it, they will go out and get it themselves.

For too long first aid has been the forgotten profession and it needs a face lift.  This idea might be a little much because adding that all could make it seem like a mandatory profession which would break the mold of what a secondary profession is supposed to be, but at the very least I would like to see bandages change from channeled to heal over time.  That might be enough for it to be worth people training it again.  As it is now, only the few that know it can still be useful will train it.

If they can go through all these efforts to make the other secondary professions attractive why can't they just make the one simple change to an HoT on first aid, the forgotten profession?


  1. Anon, Grumpy's GL:

    I don't always agree with your ideas, but this one is pure gold. Being as I am a gamer, and one who is better at healing than any other aspect of the trinity, I might be thought to ignore first aid by many, but no, I always level it. I may not have it maxed on my main, but that is because she is a tailor and until recently, every scrap of cloth was and is needed to use in tailoring. On all my other characters, if first aid isn't maxed out yet, it is close or as close as their current level needs. So from your fingertips typing to the eyes of the Blizzard developers, please let this flow.

  2. I agree. Back in vanilla, all my healers had it and I remember bandaging passing rogues during the Twin Emps fight to conserve mana. Don't think I've used one in the whole of Cataclysm though.

    For the "Lightwell" aspect, they could revisit that Intravenous Healing Potion you could buy in Dalaran. Rename it, buff it's heals slightly and allow people to click it in combat and suddenly first aid would be useful to everyone again.

    1. I remember those. Had a tank that used to use those. It would work something like that, exactly.