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!

6 Responses to So You Want to Be a Healer #Rift

  1. pkudude99 says:

    Yeah, I’m thinking the Cabalist/Inquisitor caster combo combo looks like it could be fun. I’ve actually got a Chloromancer/Archon build I’m checking out. In the low levels it’s really just playing like a nuker that happens to incidentally heal a little, but in looking at the higher level abilities I’m thinking it looks similar to the Bloodmage from Vanguard. Technically a mage, but can still be a primary healer — sounds fun.

    That said, I don’t mind melee so long as I’ve got survivability. Justicar has it in spades. The rogues I’ve tried so far haven’t, nor have the dps warrior builds yet. The “pure tank” build I made has decent dps and good survivability, though, so I’m kinda digging that. I haven’t seen anything that looks like a “melee mage” and tbh I wouldn’t want ot be one. My coercer in EQ2 is one since I’ve got nowhere else to put aa’s anymore and while it can be kinda fun to get in the fight and swing between spell casts, it’s more of a pain than anything. If I’m a mage I wanna just stand back and nuke! Which is why my 1th level mage is a Pyromancer/Archon/Elementalist. Pyro for big booms, elementalist for tank pet to allow me to stand back and nuke even when solo, and archon buffs fire, so it works out nicely.

  2. stargrace says:

    @Pkudude99 – I played a Shaman / druid for a bit and that’s what I found, I had no actual heal spells (I didn’t quite make it to 10) and it was mostly melee (I am not counting my fairy pet) and I just did not like the combination at all. Power was still never an issue at least. Melee and me just don’t get along at all ><

  3. pkudude99 says:

    @Trammel — My cleric is a Justicar/Shaman/Warden. Justicar is supposedly the tank role, but it’s doing pretty good dps for me, especially with the crit buffs from the Shaman. My standard melee auto-attack hits for 30-50 ish, and my regular main strike is another 50-60 on top of that. My crit chance is about 20% right now from all my buffs and the crits tend to be about 130 for both the auto-attack and the main strike. And of course every “special hit” heals me a little bit. Not enough to keep me topped off usually, but it makes my health loss so slow that I’ve got no downtime between fights. I too have a) seen what Stargrace has in that my mana use is quite low all things considered and b) I have mana regenerators. I usually am at full health and power at the end of a given fight. . . .

    When doing ranged stuff, the Warden’s instant-cast 0 point nuke does about 40 damage and I can usually get 2-3 off before a mob gets close enough for melee. Spell crit hits for about 90. Not as big as my pyromancer’s fireball on a per-hit basis, but it’s an instant cast so overall I think the dps is actually higher.

    So while I’ve really not taken the dps role souls (well, shaman is, I suppose) I’m still doing very good damage, imo. I do plan on trying out a “pure dps” cleric in the next beta to see how it does. I’ve seen some people in chat talking about being level 10 and not having any heal spells at all yet. Not exactly how I envision a cleric, so I think it will be interesting to try it out and set my perception of a cleric on its ear.

  4. stargrace says:

    @Tramell – as of yet, no, I have not tried to make a dps cleric. I’ve been focusing purely on heals. I probably will though, next round of beta! =)

  5. Tramell says:

    Was just curious to know, if you tried to make a DPS cleric. I have one at 8 but still need to play it a lot more to get a better opinion on it.

  6. pasmith says:

    In addition to turning on Target of Target I think you have to turn on another option, “Cast on target’s target” (or something like that) in order to actually cast through a mob onto the person with the aggro.

    Unless I’m hallucinating… which is totally possible.

    Also people forget that one of the consumables they get from rifting also let you buff/build up the Wardstones — and you don’t have to be a healing spec to use them! Another will spawn a group of guardians to protect the wardstone or attack an invasion (called Something Flare). And lots of rifts have some kinds of healing buffing items laying around that most players overlook.

    There’re a lot of nuance to the game that, IMO, a lot of people are over-looking when making their Proclamations based on playing from 1-10. :) (Definitely NOT looking at you, Stargrace!)

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