So You Want to Be a Healer #Rift
I’m one of many who have been playing along in the Rift beta events and I have been sticking to just one character for the most part because I find it incredibly fun. No surprise, the character is a cleric. To be specific I’ve gone down the Sentinel / Warden / Purifier soul lines with a heavy focus on Group / Raid heals (Sentinel). This weekend was beta 4 and I tried out Warfronts, many invasions, and a few rifts. After a twitter conversation this morning I thought I would post a few helpful hints on healing outside of your group in Rift.
A lot of the neat things that happen in the world involve these giant planar creatures coming and ripping apart your quest hub. There are also rifts which is what the screen shot above is showing, and they’re quite small and can be taken down with relatively few people. In fact the one pictured above only had myself and another player there, and I noticed some gravestones that I could click on, so I clicked them and it spawned some Fallen Wardens who helped out in the fight. Awesome.
A down side to these awesome invasions is that you are (unless you’re playing with friends) more than likely soloing your way through all of this so when an invasion shows up you’re not in a group and don’t have the slightest idea what to do or who to heal. The default UI set up for Rift is NOT going to help you out as a healer. If you want to become a better “out side of group” healer as I’m going to term it for now there are a few key things you will have to do.
Number one – TURN ON TARGET OF TARGET. This is in your UI options. It is far easier to target one of the mobs and click on the person the mob is targeting (which will cause you to target them) than it is to try to cycle through all of the good guys in front of you. In fact if you notice one person is actually (gasp) tanking the mob more than anyone else you can hit control + T and set them as the focus. /Focus will clear it. Your focus will always remain on your screen and you can click their portrait easily and keep an eye on them while you work through other people to heal. Basically what I did was target the main boss of the encounter, find out who was tanking it (once it stopped switching targets) and set them as a focus. Kept them up with my big heals and buffs, and moved on cycling through other targets for spot healing.I think target of target is essential to game play as a healer and there’s no reason to over look it. I also found the icons really big for default, so I shrunk them down a bit.
Number two – RE-BIND THE CYCLE THROUGH FRIENDLY TARGETS KEY. Right now this is set to control tab which is really annoying to press in the heat of battle. I bound mine to Q which is a strafe key I never use. I ignored the mobs once I had tagged them once (you need to, in order to get kill credit for quests) and then concentrated on cycling through all players with the Q key and healing them all. I also made sure to put my buffs on anyone who didn’t have the bright yellow sunshine icon.
As soon as I figured out these two simple things healing became much easier, and my rewards from participating in invasions went way up. I was mistaken in thinking that DPS characters earn more than healers by their actions. Remember during an invasion you can actually heal the .. I forget technical term. The stone that your invasion is trying to smush. You can heal it and buff it while the tanks and DPS are trying to work down the mobs.
I also have two specs, one for healing out of group invasions (also my solo spec for now) and another for healing warfronts. When you’re not in a group your group / raid heals are useless. You can’t cast them on other groups (at this point in time at least, please note that this is beta and subject to change). I moved these heals to another side of my hotbar as a note to myself not to use them. You CAN still put death prevention and wards outside of group and I make sure to use them every single time they’re up. As far as warfronts go – so far I haven’t lost one. I’ve stuck with whomever has the fang, the fang does damage to the player and I tend to heal them through it until it gets to the point where there is no use they’re going to die. Then I can quickly pick up the fang and keep myself healed until that person runs back to me. I switched off between myself and another healer for the majority of the warfronts, keeping each other alive and hidden behind a tree while the dps and tanks did their thing in front of us, keeping the opposing team away. I don’t know if this is how everyone runs warfronts, but that’s what I’ve done so far.
I feel that healers (at the moment) are incredibly over powered. Unless I cast my group heal I can pretty much chain cast for 20 minutes without running out of power. My group heal takes a lot of power and I can only cast that a few times before I need to gain more back. I found this amusing when I compared to my mage who ran out of power so very quickly.
I am still hoping that some sort of “auto group” option gets in place for when you approach an active invasion and rift. This would at least make it easier to monitor who needs healing and when but with a few tweaks, it’s at least no longer impossible to tell who needs to be kept alive. Feel free to post other tricks of the trade as you encounter them! The more information we can get out about how to play a good ‘out of group’ healer the better.
Happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!