What set should I run? What skills should I slot? What trait staff? Why is the answer always “depends”?
I could tell you, “just do this.” But for better or worse, this game allows some breathing room for support roles, so it’s important you’re an independent healie-thinker. 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.
#1 Inventory: Max it out (200 slots), you’re gonna need all of it for sets and staves!
This guide is mostly geared towards Templars, Wardens, and Sorcs as utilized in a generally optimized raid environment. However, a well built tool in the hands of a skilled player can do wonders. Which Class should you be? Templars are all-around good for any situation, making them the most popular choice. They provide synergies, Minor Sorcery, Minor Fracture/Breach, a DIY purge, and have a strong burst heal. Sorcs also provide synergies, a strong burst heal, offer Minor Prophecy/Intellect and are most often used in all-stam DPS raids. Wardens help their groups with strong HoTs, Minor Intellect/Endurance, and Minor Toughness. In general, Wardens are good at proactive constant heals while Sorcs are good for burst healing… and Templars do both well.
Breton. There used to be more options but honestly if you choose something else that’s fine… just understand that choice is for RP, not for numbers.
Generally all 64 points into magicka. If you are not max CP, you may want to invest a few in health (or even just a glyph) to tide you over. Some builds invest points in hp, as in tank healing in Asylum for example. 10 attribute points garners 1220 additional hp (before modifiers) while one infused gold chest/legs will get you 1240hp, so you have some options there. Hakeijo (Prismatic Defense) is another option to boost hp just a bit while not sacrificing as much mag. 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 experienced players. Please don’t make a 50K mag pool your goal in life. That’s not helpful. For most situations 35K-ish is more than enough.
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).
There’s quite a bit of room for personalization here now that resources don’t leave us starving. Choices include Atronach, Mage, Ritual, and Apprentice. We’ll get into that later, but I recommend Atronach for beginners.
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 keen situational awareness. Dead undead healer does no healing.
max out your alchemy and provisioning so you can unlock the passives that extend your pots and foodstuffs
Depending on how your trial/ group comp/sets affects your goal for hp and mag pool, you have lots of options to try. Double Bloody Mara or Witchmother/Citrus Filet, are the two most common. Other options are Artaeum Pickled Fish Bowl and tristat purple food.
Essence of Spell Power or tripots depending on the situation. Spell Power pots are made with lady smock, water hyacinth, and cornflower. Tripots are made with mountain flower, bugloss, and columbine. Try to keep at least one stack for each raid night. Expensive habit, that.
May be requested if you do not have access to the debuffs Minor Breach and/or Fracture. 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?). Be careful which bar you slot it on; it’ll override the weapon enchant, so pick one you can live without. However, if you’re on a Templar you are generally expected to run PotL, which applies both. Keep in mind this will sap your stam pool to keep good uptimes. However, both Potl and poisons are unnecessary if you have a stamplar in group.
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 gud healer 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 one of the big burst heals like BoL or Matriarch. 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. Also show them my guide to tanking.
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. It’s easy to over heal a dungeon, so consider a dps rotation that includes a heal. Dungeons are also 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. Ideally, the role of the healer is to buff/debuff and just provide heals when needed. 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.