PVE Healer Theorycrafting – Basics

What set should I run? What skills should I slot? What trait staff? Why is the answer always “depends”?

Patch: Wolfhunter

I could tell you, “just do this.” But for better or worse, this game allows some breathing room for support roles. DPS who want to min/max don’t have much choice at all, but healers have a few. And while choices in quests have no impact, choices in your build certainly do. There’s a million ways to play, but what is your goal? Do you want to clear content, farm it, or be on the leaderboards? Keep your goal in mind and work towards it.

  • Class This guide is mostly geared towards Templars and Wardens. However, a well built tool in the hands of a skilled player can do wonders.
  • Race Altmer, Breton, Argonian. Which race to pick? Altmer are designed for dmg, Bretons for sustain, and Argonians for reactivity. I recommend Argonian Templar for those just starting out.
  • Attributes 64 points into magicka; you may want to invest a few in health (or even just a glyph) to tide you over until you’re max CP and comfortable healing. Some higher-end builds have started investing points in hp for vHoF and AssAss specifically; 10 attribute points will get you 1220 additional hp (before modifiers) while one infused gold chest/legs will get you 1240hp, so you have some options there. Try to keep your max hp above 18K for most situations (including the tank’s Ebon), 20K if you’re just starting out or in completely new areas. 16K is fine for very experienced players.
  • Mundus Stone Thief or Atronach are mathematically your best choice. We’ll get into that later, but I recommend Atronach for beginners.
  • Vamp? Reasons to go vamp include increased dmg resistance at lower health and increased mag regen. Reasons not to include vulnerability to fire dmg, like in HRC and HoF. In general, if your build needs the regen and you can avoid the dmg, it could be a good choice for you. I do not recommend it for beginners, unless you have very keen situational awareness. Dead undead healer does no healing.
  • Crafting max out your alchemy and provisioning so you can unlock the passives that extend your pots and foodstuffs
  • Food: blue hp/mag food or Witchmother, depending on situation/ trial/ group comp or Citrus Filet
  • Pots Essence of Spell Power 100% of the time in vet trials. They’re made with lady smock, water hyacinth, and cornflower. Try to keep at least one stack for each raid night. Expensive habit, that.
  • Poisons Make yourself some poisons to help out your team since you’re weaving to generate ult and keep your mag from running out (right? riiiiiiight?). Minor breach for mag dps and minor fracture poisons for stam dps. Be careful which bar you slot it on; it’ll override the weapon enchant, so pick one you can live without. Something to think about, however: are you running PoL? It applies both debuffs, although 100% uptime may be difficult with a small stam pool. However, it’s unnecessary for the healer to run it if you have a stamplar in group.
  • Inventory: Max it out (200 slots), you’re gonna need all of it.
  • Passives: Yes.
  • Resources: Remember to light attack between skills, and use skills that return mag if you’re low (healing springs, magicka harness). Don’t be afraid to HA (resto>destro, but whatever works for where you’re at). Use spell power pots 100% of the time. Trash pots are ok in low stress situations (fun runs, dungeons, etc).
  • Mechanics: Knowing the mechanics to the point you could heal it on audio cues alone is integral to being a good healer. Watch videos and pug dungeons, whatever you have to do to learn as much as you can. Navigating mechanics is the best way to break the 50K hps barrier and it’s also protection for you: when someone blames you for not healing them, you can respond with…. “I noticed you popped Absorb Magicka when the spheres started the poison DoT. Since poison is not a spell projectile, please use a shield that protects against physical dmg since I will need 2sec to hit Purge and then Prayer, based on the cooldown.” I trust you’ll say it that politely too.

  • Reactive vs Preventative Healing Healing comes in two types: you know what’s about to happen so you prep for it, or “Oh shit that guy has 300 hp.” Hopefully you don’t run into the second type because you’re awesome and they don’t stand in red. If not, your FIRST reactive heal of choice is combat prayer followed by healing springs (unless it’s 1000 cuts on an un-Guarded tank, which we’ll talk about later). Your SECOND choice reactive heal is BoL. Don’t double bar it. In fact, I challenge you to take it off your bar in situations you’re familiar with, to learn how not to rely on it. Balancing the two types of healing takes some understanding of the skills you’re using. Some skills burst heal, like BoL, while others are HoTs. Knowing when and why to use HoTs will come with practice and familiarity with mechanics.
  • Tank vs Group Healing Tanks shouldn’t need massive heals, just orbs/shards for resources mostly, so this is really “group heals with off heals focused on tank.” If your tank needs lots of heals in non-dmg-heavy situations, tell them to L2P.
  • 4 man vs Raid Healing These are very different settings and require very different set ups. A dungeon healer is expected to do a minimum of 20% of the group dps whereas a typical raid healer will probably not break 5K dps (the obvious exception noted below).  It’s easy to overheal a dungeon, so consider a magplar dps rotation that includes BoL. Dungeons are a great place to practice your reactive heals… especially on pugs.

In a perfect team, everyone would shield up and stay out of red and never die. So theoretically, the role of the healer is to do dps rather than heal, because a top team will only need off heals/buffs and the healer can instead contribute to dps. Theoretically. Realistically, it’s a slider with two extremes and you must find the place where your team needs you to be: all heals all the time without stopping and on the other end, magplar dps. If you want to know what morph, what armour, what build to adopt: think of your team first. Try to recognize choices that are not beneficial to support them and respec accordingly.