I would like to share my view of progression of a player as a cleric. This is the road I have travelled, so mileage may vary. I post this mainly to assist other clerics who may be struggling or wondering how they might develop more. I think it is particularly needed with the influx of new players. I humbly submit these musings for your entertainment:
This is the first stage of learning, where a player will typically focus on what other MMOs have taught him to be his role in a group. Pen and paper players may have some insulation against this fallacy, as well as players that haven’t played other MMOs.
Primary learning objective – healing is your primary role as a cleric. You should be learning how to do it well. You learn to watch health bars and stay towards the back of the group.
2) Poor Healbot
You understand how groups function and are now a cleric most groups love to have. Nobody ever dies on your watch is your moto. If someone dies you take it as a weakness in your play. You go through resources like crazy and are constantly broke. You can have fits if someone runs ahead or somewhere out of your ability to heal them.
Primary learning objective – you are learning how to recognize squishy toons so that you can keep them targeted for cures/heals. You are learning how to use resources other than mana efficiently, much to your bank account’s displeasure. You need to learn that you aren’t responsible for other player’s poor play choices in build or playstyle.
3) Damage Preventer
You have had a revelation. You can save a lot of mana and resources by properly preventing damage. While buffs are nothing new to you at this stage, you are learning that crowd control can mitigate a great deal of damage a group suffers, saving you resources. Although you still may be suffering from other issues, you have noticed a significant change in how much money you are spending on quests.
Primary learning objective – you are realizing that there are more than just health bars in the game. But in order to effectively use crowd control you have to be able to take your eyes off them now and again. You are learning what your crowd control spells are and what works best on what. You need to learn when it is needed and when it is not.
You are the player all groups love to have. Every time you log into your cleric, provided you haven’t gone anonymous yet, you get tells wondering if you will join their group. You can keep just about any group going strong by preventing or healing damage as the case warrants. You are always short on mana and have become addicted to mana pots. This is where most players get stuck, and although they may advance in other ways, they are hampered in their advancement because of the continual need to heal that over-healing entails. They are also hampered because of all the positive praise they are getting from groups and may still be poor.
Primary learning objective – You are learning which groups are good as far as party makeup and will cost you the least amount of resources. You are learning raid situations and how to best heal large vs. disperse groups. You are learning how awesome quicken is for keeping everyone going. Your biggest weakness is you haven’t learned yet what heal/cure spells are the most efficient in all situations. You need to learn mana efficieny rules as far as healing. You should be able to solo cleric VoD on hard (properly lead, at level 16) or last at least 2 rounds in shroud part 4 (again, at level 16).
You have finally realized that there is more to playing a cleric than healing. You have realized that you can actually complete quest objectives yourself, rather than just keeping everyone alive so they can complete the quest objectives. Basically you have perfected your healing to such a degree that you have time on your hands for something else. Although healing is your major role, you have realized you can fight and offensive cast as well. You are now a real cleric rather than a healbot. This often entails rerolling your toon to either be an exceptional offensive caster or fighting cleric. You can heal, fight, and offensive cast but you need to specialize in either fighting or offensive casting to be good at them.
Primary learning objective – you are learning to multi-task. You are developing your sixth sense about monster damage output vs. squishiness of toons. If you fight, you are learning how cool mass cures and the Demon Queen Torc are in a fight. If you offensive cast, destruction, harm, and greater command make everything so fun. Blade barrier is everyone’s friend.
6) Struggling Cleric
The world of clericing has genuinely opened up before you. You often wonder why people play other classes. When you are in a group, people say, “Whoah, is that some cleric.” or “Hey, I wish he would just stay back and heal like he is supposed too.” The demands of multi-tasking put pressure on your mana bar though. You may just stick with guild groups to insulate yourself from this. This should not be confused with the over-healer mana issues.
Primary learning objective – You are learning when your secondary role is most beneficial vs. your primary role as a healer. You need to learn that other classes can assist you in maintaining the group and controlling agro so that you are more free to perform your secondary role. Other classes have nice buffs besides bards and arcanes, let them use their mana for them. If you are throwing resists there is probably something wrong. You need to wean yourself off the quicken crutch, and learn you don't need it most of the time.
7) Great Cleric
You can actually do all three aspects of the cleric very well – fight, heal, and offensive cast. You have stopped wondering why other people play other classes, because you don’t group with them anymore because you don’t need them. I say that in partial jest because it is still a MMO and most of the fun is still in grouping. You rarely run out of mana, because monsters are so kind to give it back you when it’s needed. You solo end game content on normal with little issue, and you do some of it on elite. Weapon shipment is a nice loot run when you want to take it easy.
Primary learning objective – How can I fine tune my enhancements and gear to maximize my three aspects? You are fine tuning your ability to recognize sub-standard toons BEFORE they become an issue and adjust your playstyle to compensate for these or other weak points in a group. You may even view grouping with these toons as a challenge rather than a hassle.
I would like to conclude with a comparison of cleric bios:
- Don't zerg ahead or run around corners if you expect a heal.
- My mana bar isn't your health bar.
- Donations accepted.
A great cleric:
- I like to go around corners and run ahead alot.
- Yes, I am the zerging cleric, come with me if you want to live.