Stubborn has been writing about why he thinks that MMO healers are pretty much doomed to be unhappy. Our role forces us to focus on the other players instead of NPCs, so that we get to watch all their little failures from up close. How could you not end up resenting the guy who is standing in the fire yet again?
I found Stubborn's take on the subject quite interesting, and some of it definitely resonated with me as well. I do remember more than enough WoW pugs where the tank treated me like dirt, or which featured tiresome dps players that were totally oblivious to their environment as well as each other and yet proudly patted each other on the back for a job "well done" after every fight.
The point where I disagree with Stubborn is that many of the annoyances that he describes in his second post are usually quite obvious to non-healers as well. If someone consistently plays much worse than the rest of the team, he's not just going to tick off the healers. The problem here is bad play, not the healer having to cope with it, even if healers might find some of it more noticeable than players of other roles.
The bit that really got me thinking though was the one where he talks about weighing up positive and negative experiences with your fellow players. He concludes that healers are subjected to much more nuisances from their allies than any other role. I might even agree with that... but the thing is, he never mentions the positive experiences that balance it all out!
So during the last couple of days in particular, I've been paying extra attention to how other players make me happy when I'm healing them, and there was a lot of joy going around.
Healers and tanks:
Whether a tank is using his or her cooldowns properly is something that's generally not very obvious to anyone else in the group - except to the healer. A tank who knows how to minimise damage on himself is a beautiful thing to behold as a healer.
As a tank and a healer get used to each other, they learn to appreciate each other's quirks. The healer knows when the tank will blow his cooldowns, and when he will be vulnerable and in need of extra healing. The tank on the other hand knows to keep his healer close, to keep an eye out for adds and not to let his life support out of his sight. It's very satisfying to establish this kind of unspoken rapport with another player.
In PvP, a tank can protect a healer from a lot of harm through the use of taunts and guard (well, in SWTOR anyway). How could you not love someone who literally redirects damage that other players try to do to you onto himself? I've blown random kisses to tanks on the fleet who guarded me in the past because it's just such a massive boon to my play when done right.
Healers and dps:
Dps players are probably the ones that you have the least connection to as a healer, simply because the core of their job is so different from your own, but that doesn't mean that they can't still make you happy sometimes.
They may not be tanks, but most damage dealers still have ways and means to help a healer out of a tight spot, both in PvE and PvP, whether it's by mopping up some loose adds that have aggroed on you or by stunning an attacking enemy player to let you get away.
Also, as a sort of counterpoint to the cliché of the annoying dps that stands in the fire, it's always a delight to see dps players take responsibility for their own survival and do a good job at it too, whether it's by using cooldowns, healing themselves when needed, or retreating towards their healer to get patched up before jumping back into the action.
Healers and other healers:
Healers can be very catty towards each other if they think that the other one isn't doing a good job (I would know /cough), but if they are on the same or similar performance level, healers are each other's best buddies, to the point where their camaraderie rivals even the special bond between healer and tank.
Nobody understands a healer's job better than another healer, and it feels good to work with another person who knows what needs doing. You've got their back and they've got yours. Similar to a tank/healer team, healers that work together for a prolonged period of time will also get to know each other's "healing styles" and know instinctively how to complement each other instead of getting in each other's way. Again, there is something very satisfying about knowing what the other player's going to do and being able to react to it without having to talk about it beforehand.
All of these little things can occur frequently and at any time while playing, so I find that being a healer in support of good players is actually a very rewarding experience. The occasional survival screw-up isn't nearly enough to cancel out all the warm and fuzzy feelings created by this direct teamwork.