Melee Healing in RIFT: And I’m off!

22 05 2011

I did some break downs with Advanced Combat Tracker with the RIFT plug-in and I have a tiny sampling of data. It’s really too small to make any solid claims, and all of this may be for nought as I’m only lv35 and I have NO idea how well this will scale. Nevertheless, I wanted to share with you my first impressions.

My build: Shaman/Justicar/Sentinel

The goal with this first build was to see if I could crank out enough damage to make up for the healing penalty on Reparation (when non-Justicar abilities are used).You’ll see that points have been recently diverted to Sentinel because – frankly – being a healer without a rez is embarrassing. Those ten points will net me some +% to my healing though, so no loss there. (I hope.)

So far I’ve been averaging out at 50% of the healing that the main healer for the group does, and somewhere between 75% and 100% of the top dps member for each group (typically closer to 75%). This makes sense; if I could both top damage output and heal that well, there’d be no reason to run any other kind of melee dps.(Well, except maybe variety.) I would like to see higher healing amounts. I have to stress that this may not scale and only represents a dozen dungeon trips or so, but it’s a start. This could either not carry well to end-game, or it may do beyond my wildest dreams when I get that far.

The good:

  • Shaman game play is fun; I love the reactive abilities (Jolt, Fated Blow, and – less useful in party settings – Glory of the Chosen) and the fact that I’m swinging my two-handed hammer.
  • I have a charge-ability, Battle Charge. I don’t run, I fly. In fact, I will jump and use this ability to carry me over low obstacles and pitfalls should there be an enemy over there to get to. It has a pretty good range. It’s an exceptional boon to mobility.
  • When crap hits the fan, I can save the day. I can readily overheal myself to push some HP into the tank, and Doctrine of Loyalty is easy enough to pump out if I cease on shaman strikes and fall back to the Justicar’s Strike of Judgement. Focus-healing burns through my mana pretty fast though.
  • Between Ageless Ice and Purpose I never run out of mana. They do in fact stack, so if I get to the bottom, I can shoot up to the top FAST.
  • It’s nice for Rift healing support, with the constant stream of AoE healing coming out of me.
  • I feel unique.

The less impressive:

  • Justicar strikes and Shaman strikes are not really interchangeable. I need Justicar Strikes to amass convictions for Doctrine heals, and I need to use Crushing Blow to reset my Massive Blow cooldown. Censure only buffs magic damage and most Shaman strikes are Physical. Lust for Blood only works for Physical attacks…none of which fall under Justicar.  They are interchangeable insofar as the mana regen abilities, which is nice.
  • I have only one heal I can cast at range and choose whom it hits, and it has a cooldown: Healing Breath. This locks me into a “not a main healer” role, unless the dungeon in question is a milk run. Even then, it’s difficult.
  • The healing is not as big as I’d like it…probably because my points are further into a dps tree than anything else (you noticed that, did you?) as I really wanted a charge ability on my healer.

There’s not much more value to pumping points into Justicar for me. I can see myself pushing as high as Doctrine of Valiance, at which point I’d really need to specifically melee with Justicar abilities to take advantage of anything I buy there. The tree beyond there (both above and below) get specifically for tanking, which is not really my goal with this toon.

I miss having Warden abilities; all the HoTs were nice supplements and I kind of want to bring them back in. I may, instead of Sentinel. The trap there, though, is that too many points in Warden mean I have a “fall back” to long-cast-time HoTs (and I lose the 10-point rez). There’s more than one balance game here: it’s as much effectiveness as it is what I’ll enjoy.

There’s a lot of tweaking to do, but I like what I’ve seen so far. This is pretty firmly a support spec.

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