Playing a Cleric
Tactics for playing your cleric is going to be partly dependent on the intent of your build. The basics are going to be the same, but there will be minor differences based on your focus.
- Learn to multi task - This is the most important thing the player must learn when running a cleric.
- Nannybots have a much simpler job than the other builds, they are focused on only one thing in battle - healing.
- Generalists, Casters, and Melee builds have to remember to not only keep track of the mobs they are fighting, but also the party's health in general. If the cleric gets caught up in the heat of the battle, party members can start dying quickly before the cleric is able to regain control of the situation.
- Because of this, clerics are generally one of the hardest builds for a to be effective with. Not all players have the temperament or play style that allows them to evaluate the enemy, prioritize and pick targets, fight, cast, watch party members, perform triage, and heal - all at the same time.
There are few things that all clerics (with the possible exception of some specialist builds like Battle Clerics or Null-Clerics) should learn to live by. These rules are not "set in stone" and you can operate just fine if you ignore all of them. But, without them you may not operate the most efficiently, or you may find that you are spending every copper you earn just to supply yourself for the next mission.
- Figure out which buffs are actually needed. And, specifically, which ones are needed from you.
- Some buffs you may cast normally (bless) but will be a waste of mana if overridden by other classes buffs ( bard's good hope)
- Some buffs you may cast normally, but others in the party can cast them as well (Resist energy from rangers/pallys/wizards). It may be more mana efficient for you to have them cast the buffs and then you use Divine Vitality or return their spellpoints (or even if you don't have DV, just save your mana for healing).
- Some buffs you may be tempted to cast on everyone, but you should probably wait until actually needed, and find out if the players have equipment that makes the buffs useless (Protection items verus Shield of Faith. Energy resistance items versus the spell, etc.).
- Figure out the most efficient methods for healing party members.
- In general the most cost-efficient spells are Heal then Cure Moderate Wounds and Cure Serious Wounds and then Cure Critical Wounds and Cure Light Wounds.
- The mass cure spells can be more efficient, but generally only if you are healing three people or more at once
- "Topping Off" party members - i.e. completely filling their health bars - is generally not efficient. You will have spent mana to cast a spell curing more hit points than they are actually missing. Best practice is to use whichever healing spell will get them to within 80-90% healed.
- An exception to this rule would be low-hitpoint characters where one swing by an enemy may kill them and so every hitpoint counts.
- A second exception would be using a non-spell-point, renewing healing ability like Ameliorating Strike or Radiant Servant abilities that regenerate.
- Learn triage.
- Need to be able to make quick decisions about which party member gets healed next. Conversely, and perhaps a bit harshly, you need to be able to make decisions about which party members you can allow to die without losing the entire group.
- Especially important when the entire party is running low on hitpoints and the enemy casters are using AOE spells.
- In general you want to keep yourself up first. If the cleric dies, the rest of the party often follows quickly with no healing to keep them up.
- Second is usually either your primary Crowd-Control caster, or your primary tank. Depending on the nature of the mobs you are facing. Sometimes you need the damage to put those mobs down quickly, sometimes the crowd-control can give you enough breathing room to get people back up to full health.
- In general, don't rely on wands or scrolls to heal party members.
- Some specialist builds (Battle Clerics, Null-Clerics, heavy offensive casters) may rely on supplies to heal. But for the most common builds, you usually have enough mana to do everything you need to do in most missions.
- Using wands and scrolls in most missions will reinforce that playstyle, with an end result that you will be constantly shelling out cash for supplies before every mission.
- Carry supplies for emergencies where you are out of mana, but try to stretch them as far as possible.
- Caveat: Wands or scrolls are often required for "burst healing." Because of the reset timer for spells, spells alone often can't cut it during very heavy battle (Boss encounters, elite spiders and scorpions). In these situations, a pattern of Wand-Spell-Wand-Spell or Scroll-Spell-Scroll-Spell can be required to keep the party alive. This method allows the reset timers of the wands, scrolls, and spells to overlap, allowing considerably faster healing during very high damage periods.
- Know your spell-enhancing items.
- Learn the difference between the Potency class of items (i.e. Potency, Devotion, etc.), the Focus class of items (Evocation, Abjuration, Necromancy, etc.), the Lore class of items, and the Spell Penetration class of items.
- Learn the spells to which they apply, which is not always intuitive.
- Experiment with the items, particularly in combination with each other. All or almost all of the Cleric's weapon sets can easily be made to be pairs of these items. In addition to weapons, these attributes are more rarely found on items like hats and bracers, which can lessen the need to constantly weapon switch.
- If you are using a weapon with a scroll or wand, make a weapon set with the weapon off-hand and put both the weapon set and the scroll or wand on the hotbar as well. Click the scroll/wand to use it.
- Know which restorative spells to cast and when.
- Neutralize Poison, Remove Disease, Remove Blindness, Lesser Restoration can all be cast from a wand, and in general are more efficient to use as a wand rather than spending spell points on them
- Several effects are removed by the heal spell, and so it may be better to wait until the other player is wounded as well, and then cast heal to heal them as well as removing feeblemind or some other effect
- Some effects you can let run their course rather than fixing. A dwarf barbarian will almost always make their saving throw if poisoned. Fighters generally don't need immediate aid if they are hit with a feeblemind spell.
- Players should carry they own supplies for some effects. While it is good practice to carry the remove curse spell, players should also be carrying their own potions. If running short on mana, don't feel guilty for not immediately removing the curse or disease for them - they should be able to do it for themselves.
- Know when to use offensive spells and when not to.
- If using an offensive spell will save more mana by preventing the need for heal spells than it costs to cast the spell, then use them. Otherwise, save the mana.
- Generally, learn which enemy can inflict the most damage, and then use a spell on that one foe while the fighters charge him or work on the others. Using a few spellpoints to cast command on an enemy caster that likes Flame Strike or Sleet Storm can save you much more mana than you would have spend healing all the AOE damage their spells would have done.
- When fighting raid bosses, Divine Punishment can be used if there is time off healing as it will be contributing stacking damage to the boss and several people using the spell will greatly increase damage on a single target.
Clerics generally have horrible reflex saves, and while they can be good fighters they should not be the primary tanks. As such, they should rarely be leading the charge into a mission.
Generalist and Melee builds will typically be quick into battle though, trying to get some good damage in before having to slow down in order to heal the party.
Offensive Casters and Nannybot builds will generally hang towards the back of the party, trying to avoid aggro as much as possible.