Syndeo's Guide to Being an Effective Cleric
Welcome to Syndeo's Guide to being an Effective Cleric!
To see a broad overview of the Cleric class, please visit the Cleric page of the wiki. The following Guide is more in-depth and will walk you through choosing a Race, Building your Cleric, and Gameplay. Both battleclerics and caster clerics are covered by this guide.
This Guide is not Complete, and any experienced players are free to add beneficial knowledge, but I will continue to add more lists and pointers as time allows.
- 1 Getting Started- Races
- 2 Building Your Cleric- Stats and Paths
- 3 Gameplay - Healing like a Pro
- 4 Conclusion
Getting Started- Races
I will first begin the actual guide from the beginning: Race choices
In the creation of a cleric, one must look at the pros and cons of each race and from there decide on which race to choose so that your cleric has the stat improvements and feats and enhancements you desire.
Warforged are the non-flesh race of the DDO world and as such receive many pluses and minuses
No breath meter displayed when swimming
Many free Warforged Immunities
Great Weapon Aptitude for THF Battleclerics
Access to the Lord of Blades faith-based enhancements, including Bladesworn Transformation
Since Warforged are not made of flesh, they receive a -50% modifier to incoming healing spells (lessened to -20% by Healer's Friend feat)
Warforged clerics are only good for battleclerics, and even then they are an iffy choice. Bladesworn transformation can turn you into a killing machine once every 10 minutes, and all those immunities are a big help, but -2 to Cha and Wis means you'll never be great at casting spells, and you are resistant to your own healing spells, and completey immune when transformed. Dwarves and Humans are probably better choices.
Humans are the most level of the races and are good for any beginner to DDO as they can be adapted to any class.
+4 Skill points at creation
+1 skill point after every level past level 1
1 Bonus Feat at level 1
Access to a 1+ bonus in 2 different stats
30% more healing amplification on self
Though Humans are balanced, they do not have any specialty in any one area.
One of the best races for clerics, Humans are a solid race choice for any cleric build out there. That extra feat goes a very long way, and can help some builds immensely. Human Adaptability lets you get 1+ to 2 stats your build needs.
These stout and rugged characters have many attributes and defenses unique to their kind
Bonuses to saves against magic
Bonuses to saves against poison
Extra SP enhancements.
Axe bonuses for melee clerics.
Yes. The pros mentioned allow the Dwarf to be a stout character and able to stay alive longer than clerics of other races, and this is very valuable indeed. They also get enhancements to increase the size of the clerics SP pool, great saves against spells and Poison, the ability to get up faster if they fall. The -2 CHA is a minor hindrance to the cleric, as it affects the Turn Undead access and ability, which a cleric will find out later that the ability is useful for a variety of Enhancements. However, your average dwarf will only have 1 turn undead down on other races. With recharging turns, your maximum number of turns is not as important. With careful planning, a player could make a hardy cleric that is beneficial to themselves and the party. They are arguably the best race for a battlecleric, since the bonus constitution helps them survive in the heat of the melee and bonuses with axes help them do more damage.
The Elves are the quick and fluid race that are not as stout as their dwarven rivals but with quicker reflexes.
+2 Save against spells or Enchantments
Immunity to sleep spells or effects
Bonuses with various weapons, which can benefit a Battlecleric
Access to the Undying Court, which provides a free raise dead spell for most races, and a True resurrection for Elves and half-elves.
The Elf is a so-so race for clerics. The +2 DEX and Save as well as Immunity allow the Cleric to be out of harm's way and not worry about other monsters as much, but if a monster does happen to attack and land hits, they must rely on their party to save them.They are only a mediocre choice, as CON is very important for clerics. A dead cleric means a dead party, and even with self-healing your hitpoints are your best buffer between yourself and death.
The Drows are the cousins of the Elves from far away, and bring many new bonuses and inhibitors that Elves do not possess.
+2 Will Save against spells or Enchantments
Spell Resistance: 10+level Access to bonuses with Shortswords and Rapiers, which can sometimes benefit a battlecleric.
Limited to 28 point build, even if bought/earned
Drow is a decent race for clerics. They have bonuses to Charisma and inherent spell resistance that allow them to resist enemy spellcasters and focus on healing the party. Like their elf counterparts they are not as fortified as other races, and this is a major hindrance to your survivability when you need to take care of yourself. A better choice than an elf, but still plagued by the lack of HP.
These small characters have hidden surprises and can stand up to even the biggest giant
Guile enhancements for Battleclerics
Good synergy with a rogue splash
Access to the games best Dragonmark, which can save you SP by letting you get free heals a few times per rest.
Lifting and Carrying limits are 3/4 the size of Medium-sized characters
Although there is no direct bonus to any Cleric-oriented skill, it is possible to build an effective cleric with Halflings, though not my first choice in race. They can benefit some specific cleric builds, like rogue splashes or Finesse Two-Weapon fighting battlecleric builds. They also have access to the Dragonmark of Healing, which can save you SP by letting you cast up to 3 different free healing spells a few times per rest, depending on how many times you take it (up to 3 times). These eat up valuable featslots, though.
Born of the mixed blood of Humans and Elves, they possess good qualities of both races.
Free Dilettante Feat at level 1, allowing them to take on the abilities of certain classes if they meet the stats requirements, can be made better with enhancement lines
Most of the enhancement lines of both elves and Humans
Access to the Undying Count faith-based enhancements.
Cons Due to them being a very balanced race, Half-Elves do not get any special bonuses to stats.
Cleric Material? Yes. While not as good as Humans as the "averagely average" race, they add the main benefit Elves bring to the Cleric class without that icky -2 Con penalty! That Dilettante feat can be very powerful if chosen correctly; a Half-Elf cleric should plan out its Dilettante feat very carefully to maximize its power. A good example of this would taking the Fighter dilettante as a Battlecleric to save yourself from having to splash fighter. If you were still willing to splash a level of fighter into your Battle Cleric, you could use a sorcerer Dilettante to give you access to a large range of buffs, as well as wands of knock, for soloing.
Born of the Mixed blood of Orcs and Humans, Half-Orcs combine the drive and versatility of a Human with the bestial vigor of an Orc.
Orcish Fury enhancement lines, which provide extra strength when low on HP
Orcish Great Weapon Aptitude and Great Weapon Damage/attack lines to make them Two-handed Fighting killing machines
Orcish Power attack enhancements
Cons -2 INT -2 CHA
Cleric Material? For battleclerics, a very resounding yes. While Half-orcs are generally oriented towards ripping the heads off of things with their bare hands, their massive THF melee damage bonuses make them a very tempting choice for a battlecleric if you have it unlocked. While they won't get the extra feat a human does or the extra toughness a Dwarf does, they are unmatched in their ability to unleash raw HULK SMASH fury on foes. A well-played Horc cleric might make true melee classes envious!
Building Your Cleric- Stats and Paths
After you choose your race it is now time to build your character
Don't get suckered into taking a pre-built cleric path. They take many misplaced feats, skills, and stat increases. Don't roll one!
Those wishing to not specify in any one area or would like to pick and choose what they want and don't want can read below.
As stated before, the 6 main stats are Wisdom, Charisma, Intelligence, Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution. Keep in mind that your Race has inherent stat additions/negatives that affect the base number of all these named. Which stats are the most important to you will vary according to your build, but keep in mind you shouldn't ever have less than 14 CON. Also, keep in mind you will need at least 19 WIS to cast all your levels of spells.
STR: Set it to 10 if you're going to cast mainly spells. Starting with about 16 STR (give or take two) is best for a standard battlecleric build.
CON: No less than 14; 16 is best. CON is a good stat for all classes; clerics are no exception. A dead healer means a dead party, and high HP lets you take more punishment. Even with self-healing, having good HP means you can safely absorb a blow that would be fatal to a more squishy cleric, and heal yourself to full.
DEX: 8 For all but Two-weapon-fighting battleclerics, in which case you should start with 15 (and eat a 2+ tome at level 7) to qualify for the Two-weapon fighting feats.
INT: 8-10 is fine. You can safely dump this on just about any cleric build.
WIS: 14-18 is recommended. Put it as high as you dare take it if you're going to be casting mostly spells; enough to cast your 9th level spells is enough if you're a battlecleric, but more can be good for getting your Blade Barrier DCs up.
CHA: While a good stat, Battleclerics should dump this in favor of more STR and CON. Caster clerics should allocate their spare build points here once they have put WIS as high as they want to take it, Con to at least 14, and STR to 10 to avoid encumbrance.
Skill Points are used to increase skills that are affected by Base Stats but have their own unique use.
These Skills can be useful for a cleric:
Concentration - used during spellcasting, if a monster is attacking you a high concentration allows you to cast the spell without interruption. Failure to do so will spend the spell points but will not give the desired effect. Even with Quicken, this is a great skill.
Diplomacy - This skill, when activated, deters monsters from attacking you. since clerics are passive characters, this skill helps with keeping the aggro off yourself. In my experience, I have honestly only used diplomacy rarely, and feel as if it is optional if the cleric wants to invest points in this skill.
Jump - Set this to 10 if you have spare build points (IE human or Drow), otherwise not terribly important.
Tumble - Don't diplo the monsters away, barrel roll to safety!
Balance - Falling down means you can't heal the group, and then the group dies. It has happened to me on more than one occasion.
Haggle - Buy stuff cheaper and sell stuff pricier! Helps if the cleric has a high CHA
UMD - (Use Magic Device) can overcome racial/alignment restrictions. This can save you SP, let you use race-restricted items, and can let you usea myriad of useful scrolls. A highly recommended skill.
- Note - Investing in the Swim skill is not important because of the Water Breathing Spell that clerics learn later on.
You may not be able to invest points in all of these skills because of how many and some are cross-class (cost 2 skill points for 1 higher skill level) but whatever your preference is all these listed are useful.
Gameplay - Healing like a Pro
Now that you have chosen a race, invested in their stats and skills, and made them look how you want (I don't need to walk you through that, do I?) It's now time to go out and heal the world!
As a starting Cleric you have access to a few minor spells and some spell points. You have 3 slots of prepared spells that you can use at level one (find a tavern to prepare your spells or right after using a rest shrine) and one of them is always a healing spell (at level one, this is Cure Light Wounds). As you level up you will open up more slots and tiers for spells at your disposal.
As a beginning cleric you will want to consider the buff spells that you have, take for example the Shield of Faith Spell. This increases yours or a friend's AC (Armor Class). This spell helps prevent some damage taken by monsters. Preparing it on your spell list will ultimately save you some Spell points that you would have used from your party taking more damage from monsters. Higher levels mean more buffing spells to protect your party.
The hotbar tab is useful for setting quick access to your spells (hold and drag a spell icon to the bar and can be accessed by pressing the 1-9 keys). there are 20 possible hotbars that you can have and can be scrolled through by pressing the (+) or (-) keys next to 1-9 or pressing Ctrl+(Hotbar number). I have found that as I gain in level that it is best to have your healing spells on the first tab, any buffing spells on the 2nd hotbar(so that I can press(+) to get to them and (-) to return to the main) and any curative spells such as Remove Blindsness on the 20th (so that I can press(-) to get to them and (+) to return to the main.
Clerics can make excellent characters for solo play, especially Battleclerics. Your ability to heal yourself, give yourself defensive buffs, and save SP by fighting in melee combat and still retain the ability cast good AoE spells like Cometfall, Implosion and Blade Barrier when you need to goes a long way to make solo play fun. Caster clerics can still solo as well, but it is more difficult because you have to rely on your spells to kill enemies effectively, therefore depleting your SP reserves faster. A good tactic while soloing with any cleric is to cast the Blade Barrier spell and kite mobs through it, killing them quickly and efficiently. Later on, spells like Destruction and Implosion will also become useful for putting the hurt out.
In a Party
Healers are always wanted by parties so that the rest of the group can focus on fighting. Therefore it is easy to find groups willing to take in a friendly cleric. When playing a Battlecleric, it is very very important that you focus on your allies and your HP as much as on killing things. Many people have a stigma about battleclerics being bad healers. This isn't because a battlecleric is a bad healer it itself, it's because the person playing the battlecleric is playing it badly. It is very easy to play a bad battlecleric. If you want to be one, learn to watch both your target and your allies like a rabid hawk, or hang back and heal like a good little nannybot.
While in a party, you can heal anyone in the group by pressing the corresponding F-key as seen by the party list on your screen (F1 is always yourself, F2-F6 for parties, F7-F12 for raid parties) and clicking the spell you would like to use from your hotbar.
A cleric must focus on mainly 3 things: The party's health, keeping itself alive, and keeping up with the group. It's not as hard once you play the game enough to juggle all three of these. You enter a combat area, Try to avoid getting excess aggro, watch people's health, heal when necessary, move into range of the healing spell when needed, and continue on with the group. This method allows you to concentrate on your job while others concentrate on theirs. It's all about multitasking
At level 9 you receive the "Raise Dead" spell (level 6 through the Elf and Half-Elf Undying Court faith enhancements). Before that time, if someone dies try to be the one to pick up the stone so that you can run them to a shrine and heal them.
Before level 12, shoot for as good a suit for Full plate and a large Shield as you can find. Later on, your AC will be too low to be able to dodge hits, so just wear whatever armor has good enchants on it.
Any other items besides weapons are whatever you find that is helpful. Anything that adds to Base Stats, Heal, Running speed, Concentration, etc. is useful. Any item you find that gives you permanent Feather Fall without having to rest to reuse is very very useful for high drops.
Any items of power (Roman numeral I-X Ex Pearl of power IX)will give you 10*(Roman Numeral) extra spell points, and anything with the description "Of the Magi" will give you 100 extra spell points (Sorcerers and Favored Souls gain up to 2 times the amount of spell points from these items but we're focusing on clerics here!). These items do not stack, meaning if you had a pearl of power V (50 extra sp) and a sickle of the magi (100 extra sp) you would only gain 100 extra sp.
Any items with the description "Devotion" are very useful for the heal-oriented cleric. These items improve your healing spells by the following: 20% for Devotion, 30% for Improved Devotion, 40% for Greater Devotion, and 50% for Superior Devotion (Someone correct me if I'm wrong). Following the word 'Devotion' are yet more Roman Numerals, which represent the spell level that the item affects, ex: A Steel Shield of Improved Devotion III will give you 30% more effective healing spells on your 3rd and lower spell levels. The higher the Roman Numeral the better!
(A weapon of "Potency" is even better, as it will improve your healing spells AND your damage spells.)
Tips and Tricks
Here are just some things I have found in gameplay that may be useful to you.
The Empower Healing Spell feat gives you 50% more effective healing spells and stacks with any Devotion item you have, and also unlocks the Positive Energy Aura Enhancement that saves you a lot of Spell points healing! Get it as soon as you can!
It can be argued that the Diehard feat is useful. Sometimes you become incapacitated and you are unable to move while you either bleed until you hit -10 HP or you stabilize. In some instances I have wished I had taken this feat, and other times I thought it easier to die so that someone could take me to a rest shrine. The usefulness of this feat is solely to the player's discretion.
You do not have to keep everyone's HP at full. In battle you will have to watch for who is losing the most HP so that they don't die, but you can conserve spell points by being frugal but useful with your healing spells.
At level 11 you gain the Heal spell, which restores 10*(Caster level) HP (For a maximum of 150 HP every time). Now combine this with an item of Devotion and the Empower Heal Spell. Now you are able to heal someone to full health right before they are about to die! (With all the extra things equipped and activated and combined with a critical I have healed for a maximum of 707 HP) This is a very very useful combination.
The Extend Spell Feat is another useful feat to take, because when activated it doubles the time that your timed spells last. If your Shield of Faith spell only lasts 5 minutes, with this feat it will last for 10! High enough levels can make spells last for 30 minutes or more.
The feat Quicken Spell Is considered an essential metamagic for healing raids, as it makes your healing spells un-interruptable. While a very high concentration skill can help make up for this, it won't make up the extra casting speed you get, which can mean the difference between a wipe and a successful raid at times.
The feat Maximize Spell Is another valuable one. It stacks with Empower healing, and will make your offensive spells more powerful too, doubling all healing and damage numbers you put out.
If you want to be a Battlecleric, you will need to fit in Power Attack and Improved Critical in one of the 3 melee weapon types (Slash, Bludgeon, Pierce), and the three Two-weapon fighting feats if you want to use Two-weapon fighting. It is recommended that you splash 1-2 levels of fighter for feats and martial weapon proficiency if you want to be an effective Battlecleric, to fit the extra feats in.
And last but not least, never make a cleric build without toughness. The enhancements it opens it goes go a long way to adding to your survivability. I don't think I need to tell you again what a dead cleric means.
Check out the Cleric Enhancements Page for a full view of all the many useful enhancements you can gain! I can't tell you which ones are the right ones for your playing style, but increased healing and more spell points never hurt anyone! Also, any cleric worth his salt should take the Radiant Servant enhancements. The regenerating turns, healing aura and healing burst are extremely useful for conserving your SP, and they make you a much more powerful healer overall.
Thus ends my Guide to Becoming an Effective Cleric. I hope that you had a few laughs on the way while learning what it is to be a cleric and how to play like one. There is much more information that I surely have forgotten, but maybe with time this guide can be complete!
Any questions or comments can be emailed to DDOSyndeo@Live.com
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