Monday, April 28, 2008

Healing in Age of Conan

Healing in Age of Conan has been misunderstood by many and there is a load of confusion going on about it. I therefore thought it was time someone wrote about it. First off, what healing experience do I have in the beta? I've played a ToS from 1-28 then it got wiped. Started a new ToS, got to 52 then it got wiped, and now I have a bear shaman at level 23. I have done SoBS, been healing in a group for the ymrish multiple times, and done AoE grinding.

Let's start by looking the basics. Most of the heals are HoTs, ToS for instance have two HoTs, one which is AoE moderate healing and the other one is cone-based which heals twice as much on friends than on you. There is also a few "real" heals, which is AoE based, and heals for X hp and places a debuff on the target for 1 min which causes him/her not to get healed by the spell anymore. These emergency heals have about 2-3 sec cast time I believe but with feats it can be reduced to an insta cast.

There are three healing classes; Bear Shaman (BS (no not Bull Shit)), Tempest of Set (ToS) and Priest of Mitra (PoM). What roles do they play, and which one is the primary healer you may ask? All of them is the primary healer. Their pure healing power is about just the same, but they have different other ways of contributing to the group. The ToS is a AoE nuker and healer, it has some nice buffs and abilities which increases the damage of the group as well, and some insane mana regen stuff. And also one stun and a snare. The Bear Shaman does some nice melee damage, can do knockbacks and have nice buffs. And the PoM have some good nukes as well as it's supposed to be CC master. The PoM is also supposed to improve damage through healing.

The ToS and PoM is a bit special, as the ToS gain some bonuses to healing through doing damage, and PoM gain some bonuses to their offensive spells through their healing.

Now, lets look at the first 20 levels. This is where all the confusion comes from really, as healing in these low levels feels really underpowered, and many draw conclusions. During the first levels healing feels really underpowered, you star with heals healing you 1-2 hp a sec and so on. What people don't really get is that once a second is pretty often. If you've played WoW for instance your used to once every third sec HoTs, which will give bigger numbers. And I got to admit, the low-level healing is not that powerfull anyway. It helps a bit, but not much. I think FunCom should remove heals at these levels and give the healers some dmg or hp bonuses instead, so people won't draw conclusions on this weak healing.

If we look at how healing is after level 20, preferably 30, things start to get good. Your HoTs on yourself is fairly balanced, and in groups you really can heal, and it does help a lot. I have no numbers atm. In the groups I've been in, we wouldn't stand a chance without the heals, and due to the emergency heal and some nice timing I could keep us up against the spikes as well.

So how is it to play a healer in AoC? I find it very fun! I can like to stand behind and spam healing, but in the long run it's not that fun. However, to play a nuker, where you do damage, you buff, casts stuns, have CC while you must run around position yourself for your heals and keep them up at all times, while keeping an eye out for spike damage that has to be dealt with quick is actually so much more fun! To be honest, I simply love it. If you play a BS you even have to run in in melee, then run out when the heals is about to expire and position yourself (it is important to get all the people in need of healing in one heal, else you have to cast multiple heals).

What about PvP I hear you scream! What about if you try to keep up a guy versus big spike damage? Well, if multiple people is nuking your friend and you try to keep him up, you will do much better than in the 20 PvP tests thats for sure, but after all if they keep up the nuking, he will die. But you can probably triple his life-span which is enough. Who said that healing should be able to keep a person up in PvP? And remember that you can do damage, CC and a whole lot more while the healing is working on multiple friends. It helps a lot in PvP, but in the end, if you got enough nuking-power on one target you will get him down, even though he is being healed. But that is good, right? Do you really want it to be impossible to take down someone being heal-spammed?

I know it is a big change for many people, I was sceptic myself, but after some playing at higher levels and discussions with FunCom, I've found it to be really good and much more fun. Please do not let the early levels decieve you!

In conclusion; healing can keep you up in PvE and is strong enough (unless you try something stupid) and it will help really much in PvP, but ultimatily it can be taken down if you focus some high dps over longer time. But remember that you also got nice damage while healing. And it is really much more fun than traditional heal-spamming imo.

Now I'll add some quotes from the forums, some from the officials and some from other people in the post below. You see many people have been crying about potions being more powerfull at lower levels (which was not the case... The problem was that potions healed every third second, while healing is every second, after a patch potions now heal each second instead).

The emergency heal heals myself for about 60-70% if I remember correct, so it is really powerfull, and really bumps everyones hp to 100% every minute! Just to note that.

And even though the heal-numbers are lower than the damage you recieve sometimes, it often ticks 2-3 times between eadch mob hit.

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