There’s no doubt that the Medic is a very important class to have on your team. They keep bulky classes healed, give them the advantage in fights, and build up the devastating uber or kruber that can break a defense or stop a charge dead in its tracks. Everyone wants a medic on their team. But actually playing the Medic seems to be another matter entirely. Despite the medic’s undeniable usefulness, even in the hands of an amateur, the simple fact is that a lot of people don’t want to play the medic. Sure, they’ll play it for the sake of the team, but they’ll be quick to anger, refuse to heal people who don’t explicitly thank them in chat, and generally think the world owes them for bothering to play medic. Not the signs of someone enjoying themselves. Although possibly the signs of someone about to enjoy themselves at someone else’s expense
So where’s the disconnect? If the Medic is so useful, why do so many people dislike playing the class so much?
Team Fortress 2 is, after all, a first person SHOOTER. And as the Medic, you’re going to be doing very little shooting. This can get a little boring for some people, because in the end they don’t want to hop around while keeping the medigun beam on a Heavy, they want to be shooting people- even if the latter is less useful to the team. It’s the same reason that some Medics seem so eager to go rambo all of a sudden- “ze hurting is more rewarding than ze healing” as the Medic himself would say.
People shoot for the Medic first. It’s just a fact. In higher level games like PUGs or even just serious servers with semi-comp players this is even more apparent. Once I ran into a Soldier using the Direct Hit who purposely rocket jumped right into the opposing team’s Medic’s face over and over to hit him with the DH up close and finish him with the Equaliser, not caring if he died in the process. That’s about the level of determination people have in regards to your death if you’re a Medic. There’s good reason for it- even if you’re not stopping them from killing someone, you’re building an uber, so they want you dead before it’s ready. Even if it is ready, they want to force you to waste it before you get to the rest of the team to minimize the damage. The only time people WON’T shoot you before your target is if you don’t let them, or if they’re a Spy or Sniper going for the easy target. After a while, this starts to get old, after the tenth time you get hit from behind with a rocket and then finished off before you turn around.
You Don’t Control How Well You Do
Here’s the one that scares people out of playing Medic on a losing team time and time again. As the Medic, your main concern most of the time is staying alive while keeping your team alive. If you find a good Medic buddy, you can go on a rampage and get stuff done while keeping your buddy alive. If your team is bad, you’ll often end up hopping from buddy to buddy as they’re gunned down, leaving you with nothing to show for it but a scattergun to the teeth after you run out of meatshields. And yet, the difference between you rocketing to the top of the scoreboard and rotting at the bottom is often independent of your skill. The fact is, without good players to support, the Medic just won’t do well.
You Need a Lot of Rescuing
Closely related to the last point, the sad truth is that a lot of time your team is going to be a pack of morons, and you need to be the one to get them in shape. But as the Medic, you’re not going to stand up in a fight with most other classes most of the time. So your Medic buddy, or just any random person you’re healing at the time, needs to kill them for you. And if they can’t, you’ll die. Over and over again. This is also one of the top sources of rage for Medics; a Medic buddy who can’t or won’t protect them. If they die, expect the buddy to get the blame. Often, even if it’s not their fault, if the Medic’s mad enough.
However, I enjoy playing Medic. It’s hard to see why, with all of that against it, but let’s look at the good parts of playing the Medic.
A Different Skillset
I’ll be honest; I’m a bad shot. I miss plenty of the time, and my habit of playing on servers with high ping doesn’t exactly help matters. My aim is less than superb, and I’m not exactly a pro at getting the range for confrontations right either. But playing the Medic, that starts to matter less, and my abilities to find cover, dodge shots, keep an eye out for enemies, and gauge the safeness of an area matters more.
Help From Others
Let’s be honest- if a Pyro had your back and he got attacked by a Scout, there’s a good chance you won’t save him. But if a Medic that was healing you was, you’d at least try to save him if you knew. And while a Heavy sometimes throws a sandvich to a Soldier, most of the time it’s the Medic who gets a free lunch.
Helping Your Team
Even with the odd disconnect of you feeling powerless and like you aren’t helping, if you compare how a team is doing before and after the addition of a Medic, it’s pretty obvious how much of an effect the Medic has. Lots of fights start turning against the other team, and the heaviest hitters on the Medic’s teams start killing people more, and being shot down while running for health less.
So yes, playing the Medic is frustrating. You can feel powerless, die with full uber, and get killed constantly despite your best efforts. But it’s all worth it when you keep a Heavy alive as he mows down an entire team, or uber a Pyro and watch the world burn.
written by SirMax