On the Devoted Cleric

I’d been hearing a lot about how threat is "broken" in NW (Neverwinter) and that cleric healing generates too much aggro. I’d also been hearing that DCs (Devoted Clerics) need to be more versatile than simply healing. I’d also heard that DCs get into dungeons a lot faster, since nobody plays them (because of the first two items). Well, I wanted to see all of that for myself, so I started a Devoted Cleric.

I think DCs are kind of fun. They are kind of badasses in fact, initially doing quite a lot of damage. Unlike with my CW (Control Wizard), with whom I gave up on dungeons after two because the queues didn’t work at the time, I’m spending a lot of time in dungeons with my DC and not leveling very fast. (You don’t get much experience from dungeons, only loot and seals.) As of this writing, my DC is 30.

I’ll work backwards through the points above. Do clerics get into queues really fast? In my experience, not hardly. It takes just as long to get into a party as any other class. I’ve only done the first three dungeons though. Each successive dungeon takes longer to get into for some reason. (Probably because each one is markedly more difficult than the last, so casual players probably give up on them, so there are less people queueing. Also more people are probably in guilds which don’t go into the queues.)

About the lack of the traditional healing role, I find this to be pretty true. As a cleric, you won’t be standing around healing people. Basically you top people off, give people a little boost now and then, occasionally help a player in trouble, rez people who fall (I just assume that’s a cleric’s job, but anyone can do it), and the rest of the time, you’re contributing to DPS (damage-per-second). In a traditional MMO sense, you’re more of an off-healer or support, to be honest. Nobody should ever expect the cleric to heal them so much they don’t need to use potions.

Personally, I like it. It’s challenging. But people who are used to the traditional healer role, where you stand in the back and pull the puppet health strings that determine whether the party succeeds or fails, tend to hate it. If people get in real trouble, they have to use potions, plain and simple. You can drink a potion every 10 seconds in NW, so everyone can be responsible for their own healing. It has to be that way, because my DC is only level 30, but so far I don’t have anything resembling an emergency heal. Honestly you don’t even need a cleric to do dungeons. They are just nice to have.

Now let’s move on to threat. I’m not prepared to say threat is "broken" in NW, but let’s just say that if you’re used to WoW (World of Warcraft), I can understand why you would *think* it’s broken. It’s very different. As of now, healing people generates a *lot* of threat. That is another reason why you can’t be a traditional healer. If you stand around healing people all the time, you’re going to have every mob chasing you and that will be the end of helping anyone else because you’ll be spending the rest of the encounter running around trying to stay alive. Especially with adds and minions. (I mentioned in a previous post about the minions right? There’s a lot of them in NW. A constant stream of minions popping up all over the place. It’s hardly ever a plain single target fight.) So you have to be very judicious with your heals. If anyone but the tank is dropping rapidly, you have to count on them to use a potion to save themself. Even if the tank is dropping rapidly, there isn’t much you can do about it. There aren’t many direct heals; your powers are mainly indirect heals (meaning players receive heals when they damage a monster) or HoT (heal-over-time) skills. Possibly you can keep someone from dying in the next 2 seconds, but that’s about it. Sometimes the best thing you can do for people is draw the mobs away until they get themselves healed. Usually unintentionally.

The bottom line is that a cleric won’t be able to "carry" a bad group through a dungeon. You know how sometimes a healer can heal everyone through all the damage they’re taking so the group succeeds anyway? You won’t be doing that in NW.

One thing I’ve been struggling with is targeting as a DC. NW doesn’t do traditional MMO tab-style targeting, it’s pretty much all mouselook-style FPS targeting. You can’t click on someone’s portrait and heal them, for instance. You have to locate that person on the screen, point at them, then press the heal power key. You’ll find it very difficult to target people you want to heal, especially melee players that are constantly on the move. They bunch up together with monsters and all those health bars sit on top of each other. The best HUD settings I’ve found is to set it so that player damage meters always display, and enemy damage meters never display. Then all you ever see are the players. It’s great for healing, but it has a major drawback because you won’t be able to see most monsters. I’m not sure if the benefit outweights the drawbacks yet. I’m still working on it.

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