Share your tips for people who want healing to be an important part of their character here. I'll start with a few suggestions.
1. Consider the kind of healer you want to be.
Every class has a self heal ability, and every class can use a restoration staff. So if you want to primarily self-heal, there isn't much of an issue. If you want to be a group healer, there are different styles to consider.
For example, a nightblade can use the Funnel Health morph of the Strife ability to heal two allies while dealing damage, the Siphoning Strikes ability for a chance to get a return of extra magicka with each attack, the Sap Essence morph of Drain Power which heals nearby allies based on the number of targets hit, or the Soul Siphon morph of the Soul Shred ultimate ability to damage enemies while giving health to three allies. Nightblades also have passives increasing their total magicka and increasing the effectiveness of all their class healing abilities.
The templar has an entire class skill line which offers abilities that remove negative effects, give healing over time (i.e. HOTs), and offer large instant burst of health to allies. The Breath of Life morph of Rushed Ceremony is an example of such burst healing and affects up to three targets. The restoration staff (which any class can wield) is also important, as it also offers HOTs as well as armor and damage resistance buffs, yet lacks burst healing. A templar with a restoration staff therefore has the most diverse and powerful array of healing abilities in the game.
So why then are there so many sorcerers who play as group healer?
Because sorcerer have passive abilities that decrease the magicka cost of abilities and increase the rate of magicka regeneration. Wearing light armor has passives that do the same. Since all healing abilities take magicka, getting it back faster and spending less per ability means you can cast those abilities more often. What really makes the difference is the sorcerer ability Dark Exchange, which trades stamina for magicka and healing. If you pick a race that already has magicka bonuses and roll a sorcerer who wields a restoration staff, what you lack in things like burst healing and removing effects like disease you can make up for by spamming and stacking DOTs.
If you have two
sorcerers in the group wielding restoration staffs, then they can also help buff each other's magicka while healing each other using the Healing Springs morph of Grand Healing. And each heavy attack with a restoration staff returns magicka to any caster regardless of class. This is makes the restoration staff useful even to classes and builds that are weak in total magicka available and in magicka regeneration.
A templar, on the other hand, even using light armor and a restoration staff, cannot match the magicka output of a sorcerer, which makes sense, even with a templar passive slightly reducing the cost of magicka-based, stamina-based, and ultimate abilities. However, a templar does have passives that increase the effectiveness or duration of some or all of the class's healing abilities (Mending, for example, gives a 15%/30% critical chance on healing received by allies in poor health), can resurrect fallen allies faster, and again they have a good burst healing spell and can remove negative effects.
Each major type of group healer, sorcerer and templar, has aspects that the other lacks so each has a different kind of utility in various situations. And yes, you can also help out your group as a dragonknight or a nightblade with a restoration staff as a secondary weapon as well, although a nightblade can definitely do more in that regard than a dragonknight.2. Wear light armor and use a restoration staff no matter your race or class (see tip #1).
There is some acrimony over people using light armor because of the perceived difference in the quality and effectiveness of light armor passives versus heavy armor passives (I've heard a buff or reorganization of heavy armor may be in the works, but who can say what or when?). That aside, as mentioned in tip #1 light armor passives decrease the magicka cost of abilities and increase the rate of magicka regeneration. Other light armor passives boost key offensive and defensive stats of the wearer as well, but having more magicka to cast with and needing less to cast is great for a healer.
Again, your play style should determine your build, and survivability is important, but so is not running low on magicka at a critical time in a fight. I started with and still play a dragonknight who does fine as a secondary
healer wearing heavy armor with magicka bonuses, and I also play a templar who wears light armor as a primary healer
. As to weapon choice, in addition to the obvious benefits of a healer using a restoration staff, it returns 10% of the users magicka per each heavy attack.3. You can't save everyone every time.
If a group member stands in an area that is lit up red, unless they have a huge armor score and a great deal of investment in and buffs for their health attribute, they are going to be badly injured if not killed. If they keep doing it they will definitely be killed. A templar has an advantage in this situation by using a burst heal like Breath of Life, but if the healer has to keep spamming it for someone who keeps taking avoidable damage when it isn't necessary to do so, she will run low on magicka. (In some situations a melee player must stand in red but usually knows to buff health, wear heavy armor, and use lots of self-heals.) In other words, someone playing recklessly can throw off your ability to keep up your HOTs and to offer burst heals to those who really did get caught or stuck in accidental damage. Which brings us to...4. Keep an eye on the group health meters let players who keep repeatedly dropping health really quickly know about it unless there is an obvious and unavoidable reason why that is happening.
Some players think that having a healer in the group means that they can be reckless or play lazy or stupid and that a "good" healer will save them from such game play every time. This is not only false but selfish and it hurts the group as a whole (see tip #2). Politely let the player know that they seem to be losing health too quickly and too often and that they need to watch the enemy tells or use more of their own self heals if they want to run a kamikaze style of melee combat.5. You have to keep moving and dealing damage while keeping up your HOTs, keeping an eye on the group health meters to know when a burst heal is necessary, and keep doing damage to opponents all at the same time.
Simple, right? In other words, you have to keep an eye on incoming attacks by enemies (avoid those red circles and cones!) as well as the location of your group members. Casting a healing or buffing spell when those that need it most are out of the spell's range isn't a great tactic. And yes, you have to do more than heal. In this game, everyone has to deal some damage (and if you are using a restoration staff, don't forget that magicka return for heavy attacks already mentioned!).
6. Playing a healer right and well is very challenging (see tip #5) and also very rewarding
. If you are doing what you need to do group members will still die sometimes (see tip #3) even if they are experienced and play their own roles well. Don't stress about it. Just keep doing your job and enjoy yourself.
OK, other tips or possibly additions or corrections to my advice? Please share!Edited:
Per suggestions and reactions, I have made the following revisions:
- included the Siphoning Strikes ability for Nightblades.
- clarified the mention of Breadth of Life as being an example of a burst heal.
- specifically mentioned the Mending passive for templars as an example of what was previously described only as "passives that increase the effectiveness or duration of some of the class's healing abilities".
- added an explanation to my second suggestion since it's value may not be apparent to newer players.
- clarified my admonition to "keep moving" with respect to positioning.
I think I will leave the rest "as is" since this original post was just meant to get the ball rolling on advice and tips for playing a healer, and there have already been some very informative responses.
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