Follow TV Tropes


No Experience Points for Medic

Go To

A video game trope. In games which feature a Class and Level System, Experience Points are needed to progress the character. In some games, to gain Experience Points, instead of Leaked Experience, each character has to actually be the one to finish off an enemy to gain the experience from this.

As a corollary to that system, the healer class is screwed over. Not built for offense, the healer is not going to be able to "last hit" enemies well. As a result, they will be particularly stubborn to level up. In a multiplayer game, expect players to attempt to play a Deadly Doctor, or to avoid the class altogether. In strategy games, a typical loophole is softening the target with strong attackers and then allowing a weak support/specialist unit to make one last killing blow.

Contrast Non-Combat EXP; many games avert this by allowing healers to gain experience points by healing.


    open/close all folders 

     4 X 
A variant: in Civilization (and in particular, in the fourth version of the game), units get XP for winning battles (and nothing else, other than some limited free XP gained when the unit is first made). Offensive armies tend to be involved in lots of battles, and while many will die, the survivors will reach a high level. Meanwhile, defensive troops will just be protecting a particular area, and waiting until someone attacks them, and thus tend to get very little XP. In Civilization 4 (and, perhaps, the later editions of the game), there are several lines of promotions to spend XP on that buff options other than direct combat, such as a line helping siege weapons knock down enemy walls, and — fitting for this trope — a medic promotion line that lets the unit heal other nearby troops. Getting a unit a long way up these promotion lines is extremely difficult.

    First Person Shooter 
  • Played straight in Team Fortress Classic. Medics were not rewarded points for healing teammates, but that's okay because the metagame rarely uses Medics to actually heal.
  • Mostly averted in Killing Floor, where healing regardless of perk will earn you "dosh" and level up your Field Medic perk. Played slightly straighter with welding doors, which helps levels up Support Specialist but does not (as of current) help the player at the trader.
  • Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare gives characters objectives they need to meet in order to level up; this includes healing. In addition, simply healing others earns smaller monetary rewards.
  • Zigzagged in Overwatch:
    • It's pretty common for Support classes to rank high on the scoreboard for healing, even passive healing like Lucio's, but earning Play of the Game is much more skewed. Some, like Mercy, tend to earn it to a disproportionately high degree thanks to her powerful Resurrection ultimatenote . Others, like Ana or Symmetra (until the latter's range and durability was buffed), rarely earn it because they deal relatively low damage and their ultimates rely entirely on teammates doing well by receiving it.
    • Originally, the skill rankings systems used in matchmaking would undervalue the medics if the team was doing very well (and thus needed less healing), which could give even a very cooperative team a wide spread of skill rating. This was eventually fixed.

  • Played straight by Campaign battles in Final Fantasy XI. For reference, players get awarded experience points and Allied Notes based on actions that contribute to the battle, such as attacking enemies, taking damage, and so on. While healing other players does qualify as a contribution, you gain experience slower for doing so, compared to the above, and the maximum XP bonus caps out much lower.
  • Can occur in The Lord of the Rings Online, although not with Experience Points, since everyone in the group gets them. Certain skills can, if used enough times, get upgrades that you can choose to use. In general it's not that hard getting those upgrades, as most of them can be gained purely through solo play. However, healers have skills that resurrects other players from death (although not at full health) which means that they need to be in a group to use them (they can not be used on yourself). The upgrades to those skills means players will return from death with even more health than without the upgrades. The problem arises when a player has to die a number of times in order for the healer to gain that upgrade. This means that a good healer who is doing his job and doesn't let anyone die, will have a lot harder gaining that upgrade than a bad healer. Not that the good healer would need the upgrade if they never let people die, but still...
  • Completely inverted in Warhammer Online - you will gain influence, renown and experience for killing enemies or assisting, but healers will get a portion of the rewards by healing those who dealt the damage, depending on how much is healed. Not only do you get rewards during the fighting, but by healing an ally who has recently gained rewards you also get bonuses, meaning that by throwing heals on random allies who are coming back from a battle will give points. Considering that an Area of Effect heal that restores 10% health to 5 allies in will give the healer roughly 10% of the spoils that each ally just received, per heal, it's no surprise that healers are always the top classes when it comes to the charts of earned XP and renown at the end of a scenario.
  • The French browser-based MMORPG Les Souterrains de Delain used to work like this, and relied on fighters repaying the healers by manually transferring XP to them. It was later upgraded to an automatic XP attribution system.

    Multiplayer Online Battle Arena 
  • Until about a year after its launch, League of Legends did not reward healers for the achievements their patients got and the healing characters as a whole were seen as collective Low Tier Letdowns. This was eventually rectified.
    • Rectified to the point where Sona gets assists for simply being nearby due to her aura effects. Exactly how speeding up Karthus in your base while his ultimate kills someone at the other end of the map qualifies as helping him is unclear. Also, if you are Zilean, you can ultimate someone to enable him to resurrect on death, completely waste it because your patient doesn't actually die before it wears off, and still get an assist.
    • Well, for Zilean it is much the same effect as healing someone who would not take enough damage to die anyway, you could at least make the argument it allowed them to be more aggressive.
    • Yet if you are Rammus you still don't get assists for taunting players unless you have Defensive Ball Curl up and they hit you. Pulling them into a tower will not give you any reward.
    • Healers in the current metagame do not scale well with items or levels compared to any offensive champion. This means support players cannot farm whatsoever and are supposed to leave all of the gold to the team's carry. As a result, healers are utterly weak and insignificant during the second half of a match and their role can be summed up as "ward bitch" - get a few cheap items that generate gold, use said gold to buy tons of wards in order to reveal enemy movements, and stay the hell away from combat. Still, four well farmed champions on a map lit up like a Christmas tree will always defeat five champions that shared their farm and are playing blind, so picking a support champion is a free win if the other team doesn't have one.
    • Recently, steps are being made toward allowing support-class characters to catch up. New items have been released for increasing your gold generation: Ancient Coin gives you gold whenever an ally near you kills a minion, Relic Shield expends charges to enable you to share the gold you get from killing minions with a partner, and Spellthief's Edge gives you a large amount of gold whenever you "poke" an enemy champion or tower. In addition, they can be upgraded into better versions which increase their gold generation and give powerful support effects; Coin's upgraded form gives a temporary speed boost to all allies around you, Shield gives a shield to all nearby allies, and Edge shoots an arrow that slows all enemies around the target it hits. Damage-dealing classes are discouraged from building these because the gold-giving effects are disabled for a few seconds when you kill a minion yourself (with the exception of Relic Shield, but its recharge rate is slow and it doesn't increase the gold you get yourself anyway).

    Role Playing Game 
  • In the text based Grendel's Revenge, monsters who took the Shaman healing class as a primary had a doozy of a time, since new skill points were dumped into healing skills primarily and attack relegated. Poor build sequencing could lead to players being unable to kill their solo spawn. Eventually this was rectified when healing itself (and all support spells for the Shaman) gave XP, but for a long time you had very little room for error when playing a Shaman. Interestingly, by mid-game development they had the advantage of not having to worry about XP loss from dying like the combat classes did because they could potentially chain-die so often they couldn't kill their spawn; whereas Shamen and builders gaining XP through non-combat means meant this was a non-issue for them.
  • A variation is in Final Fantasy VII's Limit Break system. While the whole active party gets equal EXP per battle, getting to the next Limit Break level requires finishing off a certain amount of enemies. If you're using a character primarily as a healer, such as Aerith with her healing-based limit breaks, they won't advance as quickly, if at all.
  • A glaring problem in Ultima III. Clerics are fairly screwed for leveling up, though turning lots of undead helps.
  • In the Tenchi Muyo! RPG, to get a character to go from level X-1 to level X, that character must land the finishing blow on X enemies. This can be a problem when trying to level up characters with low attack, like Sasami, or low movement (Preventing them from getting into attack range of an enemy), like Azaka or Kamidake.
  • Averted (for the most part) in Final Fantasy X, where all participating fighters get experience. However, this trope comes into play when trying to get your characters different ways of filling up their Overdrive gauge (once you perform an action enough times, you can set the gauge to fill up when using that action)- Yuna is going to be stuck with Healer for quite a while. Can also be used to your advantage, against an incredibly powerful move that deals damage equal to ten times the enemies you've killed. Yuna is going to laugh that one off.

    Third Person Shooter 
  • Transformers: War for Cybertron: Scientists get no steady source of XP for healing teammates.
  • Zigzagged in Warframe. As long as everyone sticks together, everybody gets the same total amount of experience from kills no matter who did it, but the way it gets distributed among each person's equipment varies. While the rules governing this breakdown can be a little complicated, the net effect is that healers have a harder time leveling up their Warframes but an easier time leveling up their weapons, and vice versa for damage dealers (assuming they don't just leech off another player's kills). The same issues get compounded with the Focus system, thanks to the mechanics of earning Focus points. In order to gain Focus points, players need to equip a Focus lens to a maxed piece of equipment, which will convert the experience it would have gained into a proportional amount of Focus points; needless to say, equipping a lens on a healer Warframe is a pretty big waste.

    Turn Based Strategy 
  • In Disgaea, Healers are sub-par at everything except healing, not quite as speedy as frontline units, and squishy as all hell. Healing does count toward leveling up the spell you used, and the Staff skill if you use one, but provides no EXP. Healers tend to lag deeply behind because of that. It doesn't help that the games are very much about the grinding, either. Team-attack formations would help, but since that Healer is a bit slower, dragging one along to level them will slow down those already-tedious grinds.
    • This was corrected in the second game and onwards. Healers gain EXP for healing in every game except the first one… But they still only gain Mana from knocking out an enemy, and Mana is needed to increase the area of spells they know and to learn new spells. Fortunately, there are ways to leak mana from one character to another.
    • The best way out is a potential Game-Breaker. If healers learn offensive magic via reincarnation or apprenticeships, their large mana pools and high caster stats can make them more dangerous than similarly leveled combat magic classes.
    • There are also maps with Geo Effects that turn healing to damage and vice versa. Plant the healer on a tile and she is now a one-woman nuke who whon't get killed by anything except enemy healers, which are rare.
  • Age of Wonders avoided the problem by giving the healers a ranged attack.
  • Nintendo Wars series:
    • Super Famicom Wars and Days of Ruin require a unit to deal damage to gain experience at all. It's even worse in Days of Ruin because you need to get kills for any experience, and you don't even get any major stat boosts at all.
    • Game Boy Wars 3, however, subverts this trope, as most non-combat tasks actually provide decent experience.
  • Shining Force plays this pretty straight with the staff-wielding healers, but the monk characters avoid this by having respectable attack power as well as healing magic. This is especially true in the second game, in which Master Monks are very powerful melee fighters. The second game also awards huge amounts of experience for each Cure spell cast, making the healers level up faster than everyone else.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • In the first game, healers did not gain experience from healing, but instead would get it from being hit (and surviving). They got as much as with a kill, so with a HP-recovering terrain such as a fortress nearby, they could Boss Abuse and get to a high level fast. This would count as a Game-Breaker if it weren't for the magic stat not being a concept at the time and tomes having low might (this counteracts enemies having no resistance).
    • The second game, Gaiden, also gives healers no experience through healing. The good news, though, is that healers started with Nosferatu, a somewhat inaccurate Life Drain spell that did grant experience, and eventually learned a more accurate attack spell when they promoted.
    • Double Subverted in some later games, where they do gain experience from healing, but it's so low unless you go out of your way to train them that they'll still trail far under the rest of the team. Other games avoid this by allowing you to Level Grind, using Bonus Experience on them, or simply making staffs give tons of Exp.
  • Played with in Gadget Trial. The medic's healing command to other units does not give experience, but they still get experience by capturing buildings.
  • Averted for the most part in Final Fantasy Tactics and the sequels, where any successful action performed grants experience, based on the level difference of the user and the target(s). Offensive classes do have a slight edge, as killing an enemy gives more EXP.
  • In the XCOM games (original and reboot), using a medkit on a wounded soldier is not on the list of actions that give experience towards improving stats or being promoted.note 
    • It must be noted however, that in the remake, simply taking part in a successful mission grants XP, and there is bonus XP for accomplishing a mission with zero KIA soldier.
  • Early Super Robot Wars games gave no experience for healing, but it became standard from Super Robot Wars F onwards, mostly to give poor combat units but good medics a chance to level up as well.
  • Battle for Wesnoth mitigates this trope somewhat; while the best XP gains come from outright killing things, units still gain some XP for fighting an opponent without killing it, and healers tend to have more powerful leveled forms to make up for being harder to level.
  • Healers and medics in Makai Kingdom gain a little exp by healing, but no mana, so they'll lag behind... until you find the Syringe weapon. The Syringe uses the Res stat for damage, which is also used for healing, and thus prioritized by the Healer. In other words, once you get your hands on a Syringe, your Healer will transform from a meek backrow reserve to a deadly fighter.
  • A problem for Wisps in Ancient Empires. Their main purpose is to stay in the back and boost your attacking units. Sending them to attack is a bad idea as they have the lowest attack of any unit and are relatively expensive, yet combat is the only way to level up units.

Alternative Title(s): Combat Only XP