Friday, March 7, 2014

The Mighty Medic: Adaptability

“I told you people I don’t need a doctor, dammit- I AM a doctor!” -Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy

Doctor Himmel Wilhelm III: Medic (Art by Pyra)

THE MEDIC: Featuring guest commentary from Doctor Wilhelm (OC for Pyra of WSRP and amazing artist. Check out her other work here)

The Medic, despite their name, does not entirely represent things of a medical nature persay, but rather they represent the core concept that lies behind such professions. Though they themselves focus on knowledge relating to the care and harm of the living body, they use this wealth of personal knowledge to adapt to any and all situations that come before them.

Think of it this way: When a doctor enters a patient’s room they know very little, if anything, about what the patient is suffering from. They have a limited window of time in which to hear about the issues and pull from their knowledge to figure out the puzzle at hand. The cleric in your D&D party must figure out the best way to utilize their skills for the party without wasting their precious spell points needlessly and your priest in World of Warcraft may have had to figure out which party member to heal and which to let die to survive an encounter. While they certainly can function as “healers”, that is simply a convenient and powerful staging ground for what they represent. The core personality trait that the Medic displays is Adaptability, or the ability to use what they know and what they can do to conquer any situation that comes along.

Dr. Himmel: Any doctor worth his medical degree knows how to adapt and take control of a situation.  The difference between a good doctor and a worthless doctor is how much blood is on the floor by the end of the day.

Medic can adapt to the field, or change the field to suit their own needs.

In WildStar lore, Medics were at the pinnacle of the healing arts, valued far and wide until the prowess of technology finally surpassed them. With simple, quick and far cheaper methods to tend to the galaxy’s citizens they found themselves struggling to find work and worth in the new world. It was in this crisis that they learned how to adapt with their tools. Many taught themselves how to fight and how to turn their tools of healing into ferocious and deadly weapons. In fact, in many ways, the Medic is one of the most frightening on the battlefield. They know the secrets of life and death and it is up to them to choose who they will save...and who they will end.

I personally like that Carbine added this into their lore. In part, I suppose it was to show that this isn’t just a class for healing, despite their name. I think it also accurately reflects the idea of what the class is really all about! Though before I continue to delve into roleplaying idea and food for thought for the Medic, let’s take a quick look at this flexible class!

First of all, if you haven’t seen the official medic class video, check it out here! As well as this link to the official class page.

And a quick breakdown:

Resource-Power Cores/Focus
Innate Ability-Energize
Armor Class-Medium

The Medic is one of the two light armor classes who runs on a resource called Power Cores which are generated by casting their basic “builder” ability and consumed by “finisher” abilities and generate quickly out of combat. Focus is consumed with healing abilities and regenerates slowly in combat and swiftly out of combat. Dual Resonators function as miraculous multitools of medicine and mayhem, dealing out healing energies or deadly rays to friend and foe alike.

These tools are not the only technological wonders in your arsenal. Generate powerful fields of malignant or benign energies in the world around you, hampering your foes and creating protective zones for your allies. Place them where you wish or become the epicenter of these sci-fi wonders, making your placement on the battlefield a strategy all of its own.

Dr. Himmel: I can only place the Repair Stations in viable locations accessible to the group.  But I cannot be held accountable if they do not wish to jump through and reap the benefits of such medical marvels.  It’s their skin that’s melting off, not mine.

And let’s not forget your adorable probes! These little balls of tightly packed efficiency extend your soothing or searing reach to wherever you direct them, hovering protectively around your allies or circling like ill omens around your enemies. They can even be your friends if you find those in short supply…

Dr. Himmel: Probes are glorious little devices.  However, I would not recommend trying to befriend one.  

I intend to make friends with them anyway...

Use these abilities to restore your companions or wreck havoc on your enemies. Set yourself up as a powerful DPS and use your knowledge of science to deadly effect, or play as a HEALER and keep your allies unnaturally healthy to make sure that you’ll have all the minions you’ll ever need in the field. Or mix and match your favorite skills on the fly and play however you like!

Remember only you know the secrets of healing and harm. You hold the power of life and death in your hands. Exercise your better judgement or twisted moralities to decide how you will utilize your deadly arsenal.

Dr. Himmel: In all honesty, I prefer to stay at optimal range of Gaius when he goes about his sword-swinging path of destruction.  In doing so, I can rest assure that brute of a warrior is chopping things to itty-bitty pieces instead of hitting one of our fellow comrades.  But if a fellow Medic wants to get up close and personal with an opponent, by all means.  Their face, not mine.

Examples of some Medic-like RP personalities: The Medic: Team Fortress 2, Doctor Stein: Soul Eater, Doctor Zed: Borderlands and Doctor House: House

So now that we have an idea of what the medic is in terms of gameplay, let’s explore what the medic means in terms of roleplaying. To start, I’ll share a couple of stereotypical personalities that I have found through my years of reading and roleplaying, talk about some ideas for character building specific to the WildStar universe and share some food for thought, for some more unusual personality/background ideas.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to be 120% unique in order to have a good character. Stereotypes are there for a reason and sometimes that can be a good thing! What is truly unique is the way you play your character. There can be hundreds of people playing the sly doctor with a hidden agenda but no one out there will play them quite like you will. So choose what is fun, take a little time to explore and round out your character and maybe even do a little research to add some more plausibility to the mix and you will be the most beloved of the battlefield in no time!

In my opinion, there are six main stereotypes to the personality of the Medic: The Helpful, The Cold Doctor, The Mad Doctor, The Martial Medic, The Back-Alley Doctor, The (Medical) Prodigy, and The Natural Healer. Keep in mind that these are not exclusively all there is and can certainly be mixed and matched. They’re simply the most common stereotypes that I can think of.

The Helpful- The Helpful is, well, exactly as their name states: Helpful. They are the first to the scene and the last to leave and tend to do anything in their power to help others. This stereotype is approachable and friendly and enjoys making others feel comfortable and happy. If they have an office, it will often be clean and warm, with lots of pretty decorations and maybe even treats such as coffee and sweets for adults or candy for kids. If they travel a lot, they may bring some of these effects with them. The Helpful is always open and caring, they take the time to get to know their patients and while their emotions may sometimes get in the way of the work they must perform, they will never resort to viewing others as tally counts or machines. The Helpful may function as a doctor and may also double as a psychiatrist and they tend to find that people will actively seek them for the comfort they can bring. They are most content when they are able to aid others and can become distraught when they are unable to help people. The Helpful makes a fantastic enabler character, allowing others a chance to share their own character’s personal stories, concerns and dreams. While working with others can be greatly rewarding, beware of those who refuse to show equal consideration for you.

Examples- The Tribal Spiritualist, Doctor Nice, The Happy Healer

The Cold Doctor- The Cold Doctor is almost the complete opposite of The Helpful on the outside. Cold, calculated, and clever, they have a tendency to be narcissistic and rude and may turn away any kind gesture sent their direction. These mavericks tend to look down on their patients and may often insult the intellectual prowess of those around them. While this Doctor Jerk is slow to make friends, when you get under that spiny shell they’ve covered themselves in you find out what makes them behave the way they do. Often times in order to become such a talented physician, the Cold Doctor has found it a necessity to never let emotions or feelings get in the way. Therefore they force themselves to see others as “less than human” allowing them to suffer through the pain and loss of their profession as efficiently as possible. They often find that such an attitude only covers up their problems and may admit that it never gets any easier. Usually they are found to be the horrible jerk with a heart of gold deep inside, as they really /do/ care and that is precisely why they try to hide away under that sneering, disapproving mask.

Examples- House, Doctor Jerk, Sarcastic Surgeon

The Mad Doctor-  There is a reason only certain people can make it through the medical profession. On a daily basis they may have to witness and perform some of most disgusting and creepy things: digging inside bodies, messing with organs, blood and other unsightly fluids, and then they’re done and smiling and ready for the next patient. There is that creepy sense of something off, something just not quite right with a person who goes through that on a daily basis. The Mad Doctor takes all that wrongness and makes it real. In this being, something has already snapped and they use all that knowledge about life and the workings of the body to twist the science and perform strange, cruel and often disturbing experiments. They might be cackling and deranged or calm and pleasant, but they have definitely taken their arts about a thousand steps too far.

Examples- Hannibal, Doctor Stein, Doctor Kreiger

The Martial Medic- This stereotype takes their knowledge of healing to perform better on the battlefield, or sometimes vice versa, using their knowledge of death dealing as a means to heal. This is the person who knows exactly which muscle could incapacitate their enemy if severed, which toxin or poison would be the best to use in a given situation, or even the best way to heal such afflictions. In some stories they are a mystical teachers of martial arts who can heal with a perfectly placed punch, and in other they are a strong and stalwart combat medic, willing to brave the field of battle and fight their way to the side of their comrades to patch them up in the thick of the fight. Sometimes this character is just coming into their own strengths and may be nervous about actually stepping out into combat situations and their story may be largely about their training and growth. Others might be veteran field medics who have learned to not only help their fellow soldiers, but to use their unique skillset to make them a useful addition to the battle team.

Examples- Sakura(as a ninja medic), The Battlepriest, Field Medic

The Back-Alley Doctor- This doctor may not have the professional license you’d prefer to see in your surgeon, but they don’t ask you questions so long as you return the favor. These characters are the favorite of those who dodge the law, preferring the anonymity of the procedures and the lack of any official tracking that could root them out. You need a new face to cover up your identity? No problem! Want a black market kidney or replacement limb? I think I’ve got two in the back here...just don’t ask where they came from. However, this might also mean poor conditions for the medical field and a good bit of their patients may leave under more...ah...questionable circumstances. But that’s okay! With a cheerful smile and a fat wallet, this doctor brings hope to the downtrodden, the poor and the less reputable citizens of the galaxy.

Examples- Dr. Zed, Any Cyberpunk sawbones ever, Facelifters

The (Medical) Prodigy- The Prodigy trope is a character who has found in themselves a rare and powerful talent that they never knew they had. Typically they begin as an average person, going about their daily lives never truly realising their true potential until they finally get to the right school or environment that let’s them blossom into the genius they truly are. Sometimes their story might be about how they adjust to their new skills. Perhaps they are ostracised, perhaps they are viewed with envy or awe. They might be proud or arrogant of their talents or even nervous and uncertain after a lifetime of feeling inadequate.  Or the story can deal with the aftermath with your character already having come into their power as a thing of the past and their story follows what they choose to do with these skills. Whether they use them to ridicule the lack of intelligence in their peers or to use them to become a formidable power is up to you.

Examples- Doogie Howser M.D., The Studious Recluse, Simon Tam

The Natural Healer- This healer believes strongly in the use of traditional and ancient medicines. Sometimes they use it to simply augment their technological arsenal, and sometimes they might shirk technology entirely, but they always spend a lot of their time, effort and money on their specialized remedies. I highly recommend doing a little reading on your own time if you want to play this stereotype. Take the time to learn a brief description of some useful herbal remedies. Learn about clay scrubs, tea, aromatherapy, hot springs, massage oils and heated stones. It’s really fascinating stuff and a little bit of information can add a lot of credibility to your roleplaying. Sometimes these characters might grow their own herbal remedies, mix their own salves, prepare their own teas or even host their own hot springs. A well-played natural healer is also a great enabler to other characters, opening up a lot of conversations ranging from information on the treatments to just offering a relaxed setting for casual chatter.

Examples- Tea Shop Owner, The Herbalist, The Mountain Mystic

Dr. Himmel: Hm, I wonder which one best describes me...

These are just a couple ideas that could be used with the medic class, but they are not the only ones! WildStar alone has an incredible pool of lore to pull from. Instead of something more generic, why not try something straight from the world of Wildstar?

  • -Perhaps your Exile medic is fairly squeamish about the idea of being a medic, but they really needed more on the Arkship and your character had a knack for connecting with the patients
  • -Your Chua medic keeps running out of test subjects for their work, so they’ve taken to sampling their experiments on themselves first. How thoughtful!
  • -Your Granok medic does their work where they know it is needed the most: out in the middle of the battlefield, and boy do they have some stories they could share. Just be prepared to offer up a few drinks to get them.
  • -Maybe your Cassian medic believes that a strong spirit goes a long way to healing physical wounds. They are a battlepriest from the Vigilant Church and preach their grand teachings while they patch up their patients
  • -You Mordesh specializes in poisons, both in their creation and their usage. They are their own personal assassin and their services fetch a high price on the right markets
  • -Perhaps your Mechari medic is a bit different from the others. They’ve learned so quickly that they’ve put their fellow classmates to shame. Now whether to use these skills to help the Dominion, or pursue goals of their own…

And how about some additional food for thought that breaks the mold a bit?

  • -Your medic is actually a resonator technician. While they may not understand the science of medicine themselves, they certainly know their tech. Their knowledge of the resonators and probes makes them a fairly decent fighter on the field if they apply themselves to learning it and the programs they download into the probes can help them perform the basics of first aid when needed
  • -Perhaps your medic’s resonators are not medical at all. Maybe they are actually omnitools meant for electronical manipulation or repair. They might make for a skilled hacker or bot technician similar to the engineer

Dr. Himmel:  Personally, I find all of these to be good examples of potentially noteworthy doctors.  Though, I’m not sure how I feel about any back-alley quacks doing anything worthwhile.  But I suppose even those with a less than acceptable license to practice medicine still need a job...

The Medic is as versatile and moldable as they are powerful, lending a wide variety of personality types and career paths to consider when building your very own character. However, as with all classes, remember that your class choice does not have to strictly influence every single part of your character. If you just plain enjoy medic, but you rather focus on your character’s path, or even something else entirely, that’s okay!

Otherwise get out there, have fun and show them why your enemies should fear you. The Doctor is In.

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