Hello again. As you may know, last week, in the first part of The Art of Healing, we were talking about the different healer classes in Age of Conan and their particularities, differences and resemblances. Today, we’ll continue our examination of the healing process and explain the work of those devoting their time to keep their comrades alive.
Understanding how healing works is not only important for the gamers playing a healer, but also for those playing other classes, if only to make the healing job a bit easier and let them know what to expect from them. So follow me after the jump and let me tell of you of the days of mending. *winks*
How to heal
As I said, I’m no expert and I don’t pretend that my way of seeing things is the only valid way or even the best; but I hope these tips help you better understand the work of a healer. I would like to point out that, even though many people rank healers as good or bad based on the amount of healing done, using parsers like Conan Stats and other programs like it, (and having in mind that the more you heal the better for the raid or group) it’s not about spamming the heals to everyone; it’s more a matter of timing the heals so they are efficient and heal the most amount at the right moment. And sometimes, a healer will even focus on a single target, like a soldier off-tanking some mobs apart from the main raid, or a non-soldier (barbarian or assassin) also off-tanking a mob on a “fun pull” during an instance.
I’ll say again that groups and raids have different tactics. In a raid there are different encounters with bosses that have different skills and requirements, but there are some things that are valid for every situation.
The first thing that a healer should do is keep the particles shown for either the group or the raid, so they know at all times who’s being healed (with the blue heals) and can notice if someone was left out of the cone of effect. This way you will avoid spamming heals unnecessarily and be more power-efficient. (If your computer is as old as mine, this may be sort of a problem; just lower the particles to “low” setting and disable “world particles.”) Knowing who’s been missed with blue heals is most important in raids, where the number of people is much higher and there may be more than one fight and various soldiers tanking various mobs.
Positioning is also quite important. The green heal will affect all the members in the healer’s group, no matter where they are. But the blue heal, as stated in The Art of Healing part I, affects only those in front of the caster and in a cone area. Therefore, the healer should place herself or himself so the most number of people is between them and the mob(s) being killed. The nukes have an area of effect (AoE) though, thatbeing centered on the healer and working outward in a radius. The area of effect can be augmented with feats like Far-Reaching Spirit or All-Encompassing Spirit, which can be found in the general healers’ tree.
This also applies to the rest of the raiders, placing yourselves between the healer and the mob will assure you a steady influx of healing whenever possible.
Personally, I usually start casting the green heal since it’s the slowest to cast, and then again immediately after the blue heal. As a Priest of Mitra (PoM ) I then work on building the Divine Blessing effect from the holy damaging spells to get the Divine Halo to add another heal to the member of lowest health. Bear Shamans (BS) get a buff from successfully smacking their foes which also will improve their blue heals, and Tempests of Set have their own buff as well.
Once heals are cast and the buff is at its maximum, it just depends on each fight. Using crowd control spells and skills, if needed, helping dps down the mobs, or using special spells like Holy Cleansing or any other for specific fights. And of course renewing the green and blue heals as soon as they wear off.
Coordinating the use of the nukes is very helpful in certain fights, particularly in raids, where the presence of the three different healing classes is most useful. Since the nuke has a debuff that will prevent anyone from being healed with it for a whole minute, using the PoM, BS and ToS nukes will help greatly in long fights or in encounters where large amounts of damage are dealt regularly to the whole raid or a high number of members; thus coordinating their use and agreeing on a set order (or maybe having someone ask for them when needed) will improve the efficiency of these heals and prevent healing power from going to waste.
It is my experience that it doesn’t matter what you choose, the three classes are designed to provide main healing and each of them can keep a group alive on their own in an instance. The skills are there, the tools are there to be used. So it comes down to the player and how s/he makes use of them, turning them into great healers or just mediocre ones. Tempests of Set are as good as healers as the other two can be, if the gamer behind the character knows what they’re doing and bothers to do it. I have been in groups with Bear Shamans as the only healer class in the group, with ToS as only healer class in the group (and he wasn’t even healing specialized) and with Priests as well. I even remember an occasion where the ToS was number 1 in healing done in certain encounter (I usually run Stats add-ons to check on stuff like this) AND he was also number 1 in damage done in that same encounter! I mean, being both the top of healing and DPS is just amazing!
I can hear some of you say, “Yeah, yeah, but that was just one gamer doing that.” Well, yes but that only proves that the class is not deficient or lacking; that what most people blame on the characters or the skills/spells available, is just their own lack of understanding what they have in their hands. Don’t get me wrong, stats are not everything and don’t show the real skills of a gamer with his/her characters, but achieving top stats speaks for itself.
These are my general tips and explanations of healing in AoC. As with everything, there are exceptions, certain encounters that will require different tactics and cycles of spells, but those must mostly be learned through experience. Most of the times it doesn’t matter how much you read about an encounter, you won’t really master it until having gone through it at least once or twice. Though, obviously, knowing some concepts and facts beforehand will improve everyone’s performance for sure.
Please, feel free to disagree and state your own opinion in the comments. All will be welcome.