Well, hello my fellow Hyborians and Khitans. Welcome to another week of Hyrkanian Insight. This time we will be discussing the Art of Healing in FunCom’s Age of Conan; reviewing the differences, but also the similarities, of the three healing classes: Bear Shaman, Priest of Mitra and Tempest of Set (listed by alphabetical order, not by personal preference.)
So if you enjoy keeping your brothers in arms alive, or if you are curious about the mysterious ways of those in whom you trust your life, sit down and grab an argossean red, or maybe a good Cimmerian stout while I share my humble knowledge of the healing art with you all.
When I started playing AoC back in June 2008, I gamed with my husband and my brother. We were really looking forward to this game and we all decided to create Stygians. In our lack of knowledge, we thought maybe the necromancer would be somewhat similar to the one in EverQuest, whose pets can tank for the caster, while the rest of the group members remain safely out of harm’s way, (or relatively) so I created a Demonologist, my brother a Necromancer and my hubby a Tempest of Set (to have some healing.) It was the only healer option, as we all wanted to be Stygians and progress together. I remember one of our first adventures in the starting area, particularly remember our shock when the mobs went straight for us even with the pets hitting them and us doing nothing to gain agro; and then the even wider astonishment at our healer’s lack of healing power. His only healing spell was Healing Lotus, a heal over time spell which, in its first stages, healed 2 points of health each tick. Of course, it was not enough, given the fact that we didn’t have a soldier with high armor and damage mitigation among us.
Nonetheless, we couldn’t believe a healing class didn’t have a single direct healing spell, which in AoC are known as “nukes” (I know that now, but didn’t then.) However, we persevered, we grew together, left Tortage Island and went to explore and conquer Khopshef Province, achieving deeds even without the help of a soldier. And still the healing skills of the Tempest of Set seemed lacking and insufficient; though most probably, I’m sure, due to our lack of knowledge about how those healing skills exactly worked.
Nowadays, after having leveled up a Priest of Mitra to maximum level (and raided with her more T1 and T2), a Bear Shaman to level 53, and toying with a Tempest of Set who is still only level 22, I can say that I understand much better the ways of Healing and how it works in this, our game of choice (though I am far from being an expert on the matter.) Looking back in time it’s clear to me that we didn’t understand the class and took for granted that the Tempest of Set was not a real healer, but something of a hybrid class that could only be at most a backup healer. Honestly, nothing could be further from the truth.
The three healing classes have the same base healing spells and are as follows:
Green Heal: A low, heal-over-time (HoT) which affects group members ONLY. It’s known as green heal because of the green ring effect that remains for the spell’s duration. This heal has a long casting time. The green heals are: Renewal (Bear Shaman), Healing Lotus (Tempest of Set) and Emanation of Life (Priest of Mitra).
Blue Heal: A direct, moderate heal with a moderate heal-over-time component which affects everyone standing in a cone in front of the healer, with a variable area and range (depending on the feats chosen.) As with the green heal, it’s known as blue heal because of the blue ring that will appear around those affected by the spell. This way it’s easier to know if you’ve missed someone with the blue heal. This spell has a short casting time, nearly instant, and is practically impossible to interrupt. The spells are: Blood Flow (BS), Life of Set (ToS) and Wave of Life (PoM
Nuke: The nuke is a potent direct-heal which will significantly replenish everyone within the range of effect around the healer. With this one it doesn’t matter whether the members of the group or raid are in front or behind the caster. Though this spell has a moderate casting time, it can be reduced with feats until making it even instant (if investing 5 points in the right feat.) Reducing the casting time is highly helpful in emergency situations. But be aware that, even if the recast is not too high, those affected by the nuke of a healer will get a debuff preventing them from being healed again by it for 1 minute. The nukes are: Fierce Recovery (BS), Vitalizing Jolt (ToS) and Radiance (PoM).
The three healers also have different spells to do what’s known as “crowd control”; those being stun, knockback, fear or root their enemies, which can save not only themselves from being killed, but also their group members, if a pull goes wrong or unexpected enemies join the fright. Like Ursine Crush or Ferocious Smack in the case of the Bear Shamans, Cobra Stare or Quicksand used by Tempests of Set or Condemn and Eye of Judgment for the Priests of Mitra; to name some of them.
Which is the best healing class of the three, is a source of many and heated discussions. Many defend the Bear Shaman and their medium armor as the best; for the higher armor, arguing it provides a higher survival ability. Others defend the Priest of Mitra as the “pure healer” class. And in truth, very few consider the Tempest of Set as a main healer class, but this is probably because most gamers choosing ToS as their class go for pure DPS (damage per second) feats and specs, not bothering much, if at all, with healing. Let’s have a look now at each class separately.
[singlepic id=3107 w=320 h=240 float=left]Bear Shaman These are the Cimmerian healers, basing their powers and spells in the spirits and the earth itself. They can wear medium armor and are melee healers; they not only look after the health of their comrades but also are fearful in direct battle, having melee combos like the soldier or rogue classes. But however appealing, this can be a drawback as they not only have to maintain a good power pool for the spells, but also a stamina pool for their melee combos. The choice of feats is very important because it’ll mark the difference between good BS healers from lousy ones. Even if going for the Spirits feat tree, investing 5 points in Nature’s Revenge from the Wrath tree is a must, since it will give a really useful buff with each melee hit to boost the healing of the Blood Flow (blue heal). And yet both trees will have healing benefits.
[singlepic id=3108 w=320 h=240 float=right]Priest of Mitra Priests are firm believers of the teachings of the god Mitra, obtaining divine powers to restore health and protect their friends and allies. They can wear light armor but if they choose, can also use shields for their own protection in battle. Although a PoM’s focus is protecting their comrades, they can punish their enemies severely with Holy Wrath. The DPS power of a PoM is not as high when specialized in healing, but they are tough to kill as well. Spells for self-protection, like Hand of Mitra, which provides self-immunity for a short period of time, can save them from tight spots while soloing, instancing or even raiding. Crowd control (CC) spells like Condemn, or Avatar of Mitra are also really helpful. Then again a PoM not specialized in healing, won’t be as effective and efficient as a BS or a ToS who are.
[singlepic id=3109 w=320 h=240 float=left]Tempest of Set The followers of Set may be the most fearful healers, commanding the Storm and the Snake they worship as strongly as they can heal their allies with the powers Set grants them for their loyalty and dedication. Lightning and venom are second nature to them, providing a deadly combination for these stygians. This, however, does not diminish their healing abilities, being able to keep their comrades alive while spellweaving (to add their DPS to the group) makes them worthy allies in any confrontation. They can root with Quicksand, stun with their Cobra Stare and heal themselves at the same time, becoming immune to most damage with their Serpent’s Transmutation. Again the difference comes from the feats chosen, which will enhance the healing or the damage output. Yet I suspect (this is the class I know the least on a first-hand basis) also enhancing both.
And with that I will stop for this week, as the subject will take longer than I expected at first. Next week we’ll see about the healing process in groups and raids and a few other considerations, as well as a personal conclusion about it all. Hope you enjoyed part one. I look forward to your comments until next week.