BIRDMAN EDIT: This has been deemed useful by a number of people so I'm stickying it. Like Kaey said, if you have any feedback/disagreements, make sure to discuss it with civility to have the guide updated.
My Cleric Review and Commentary
Below you will find commentary, opinions, observations, thoughts, and detailed analysis of the Cleric class based off of things that I found while playing a Cleric in the Chinese Aion Open Beta. I will also attach some screenshots and will add more later. Things I will cover will be:
III. Skills and Equipment
IV. Other interesting facts
V. Testimony of other clerics
I may, if I have time and enough content to fill out this review, add more chapters - and actually plan to. And also, a note on the screenshots, they were all taken on the lowest settings possible so people can determine accordingly how their graphics will look.
Chapter 1: Introduction
To begin, I will first say that leveling a priest (and later on, Cleric) is probably one of the more easier classes to level. Not because we have supreme spellpower and uber powerful melee skills -- but rather because we are the most self sufficient class currently in the game. All classes receive the skill bandage heal that costs the reagent of a bandage that heals the player for about 200 health at level one - and then it continues to scale as you level. Even though this skill can be used in combat, it is EASILY interrupted so the chances of you getting it off are slim to none. Fortunately - us priests receive a large heal early on that heals for the same amount, can be used in combat, and is RARELY interrupted. Our access to this makes it so we can cut through mob after mob with VERY little downtime. Our skills have practically obsolete MP costs, to the point where I could solo for three hours straight with 2 (seriously) downtimes. With that said, we spend considerably less time and money running back and forth to questing areas due to deaths like many of the other classes do.
With that said, I will cover the basic most apparent functions of our class that are the most evident. CLEARLY we are the number one healers. With pretty short casting times and large healing amounts we are most definitely called upon the most. Secondly, we are also generally a good spell casting class but don't have nearly as much power to rival that of the sorcerer. And finally, we have melee potential but from what I have seen so far, no cleric is going to fun forward relying solely on sparse melee skills with tedious cool downs. We also have some buffing potential but our buffs provide very minimal importance where I've never died and said to myself "Dang, if only I had my stamina buff up - I would have outlasted him so much longer."
Chapter 2: Playstyle
Playing as a Cleric is quite different in my opinion compared to priest experiences you might have in World of Warcraft, Lineage 2, or Guild Wars (to name a few). MP (mana) is not as large as an issue in Aion as it is in other games, but rather health is. To set the stage:
The above was simply just a quote from a scout I was playing with, and I found myself agreeing with him. I even remember thinking to myself "How do other classes manage to not die without having the trusty heals that I have?" It almost becomes the norm to expect to be very low on health at the end of a fight compared to games where (like WoW) priests have a shield that have them only loose about 180 health a fight, or like in Guild Wars where you have trusty enchantments that can help you grind off of twenty mobs at once for gold. It is also a new concept that many mobs will interrupt your skills if they have the chance.
With that being said, for the average cleric they begin with one or two nukes until the mob closes into melee range. Once within melee range you use the two or three melee skills that the cleric is given at lower levels. From then on it varies by player - if they would rather use a few more spells, a few more melee skills, or just auto-attack until the target is dead. But remember, it will not be rare that you must heal yourself during a fight.
When in a group - I've seen Cleric's "work" and "maneuver" many ways depending on their playstyle. Some cleric's will stand at the back fulfilling the typical generic healer's role, while I've seen others help attack the target and and actually get close to it and melee (and then stop to heal when others need it.) As far as heal range goes, almost all of the heals I've encountered allow the Cleric to be a moderate distance away from their target.
One thing you will however notice (and be grateful for) is that you rarely have to rest as the MP costs for skills is very low - and your MP bar will be going down much like your HP bar would in other games & your health bar will be going down like your MP bar did in other games. But - no worries - Cleric's do get several MP recharge skills for quick recharges in case you find yourself needing it.
Chapter 3: Skills and Equipment
To start with skills, I will begin by saying your most used skill is probably Smite (and its concurrent ranks) as well the chain skills that follow it. You will be using those so much - you may eventually get sick of them (: You will also use Hallow Swing followed by it's chain skill Sonic Eruption (there are other translations for these skills) a ton when things close in on you and are within melee range.
To mention your healing skills, you will receive two moderately large skills for the levels they are given at as well as two heal over time skills that are moderately weak but do help balance a fight if things are getting rough. All of the cleric skills mentioned have fairly short cast times and all get better seeing new ranks and names at higher levels - and many cleric skills are linked to skill chains that create pretty devastating effects.
One thing that I found very unique about Aion was the fact that immediately in-game within the first few levels your are already experiencing the ability to update your armor through nifty little things called Manastones. This devices give the players boosts such as:
- +20 MP
- +12 Parry
- +1 Attack
- +12 Spellpower
And many other things. These stones drop off of even the most minimal mobs and increase in power greatly at upper levels. Each item provides 1-2 sockets for these items lower levels so you can be upgrading your armor constantly (and only have a chance at failing this upgrade process when there is already one manastone on the item).
However, to deal more specifically with Cleric armor pieces, the pieces I found myself looking for most were things like + Spellpower boosts, +HP boosts, as well as +MP boosts (and for the no brainer, you should definitely use chain armor seeing as the cloth makes you noticeably more squishy even though the cloth may have greater caster stats.
About the gear, I believe it will be possible once more people reach the end-game to create strong spell DPS clerics. Through the manastones I mentioned, a cleric can have a huge amount of bonus damage (but at the cost of HP and MP). As far a melee DPS cleric goes -- I don't see it happening right now... but in the future, possibly.
And to finish off this section, a Cleric will also have to face the dilemma of choosing either a Staff or Mace+Shield combo. The Staff will provide you with greater magic bonuses for caster and a slightly higher DPS while the Mace and Shield will provide you with a greater defense, greater health, as well as a slightly safer solo-ing experience. I myself use a shield and mace combo but many other Cleric's favor the staff. Either way, it is very important to carry both so you can pull out a mace and shield when you are under heavy fire, or a staff if you need that helpful magic boost.
Chapter 4: Interesting Facts
Some fairly interesting things I found when playing as a Cleric are as follows:
- Your character will actually say the spells when you cast heals
- Clerics can take on things (almost easily) 2-3 levels above them
- The graphics are amazing to watch
I will add more interesting facts as I come across them...
Chapter 5: Testimony of other clerics
I have decided to add the testimony of other Clerics into this thread so players can just accordingly and get other appropriate view points. The first one contributed is by gerrykeen19:
I just want to mention for now the soloabilty and downtime etc.
Past 15 or so, you'll start to notice (if you fight mobs +2/3 levels higher you will run low on mp after 3-4 mobs) So you will need to recover more often ..... however.... At level 19 you can purchase a skill called meditate, it will increase your mp gradually while reducing your hp for 30 seconds, regaining a total of around 1/4 your total mp. Combined with resting, this will negate the hp loss and decrease downtime further. Iv been able to Solo elite mobs, which are in the tursin garrison / outpost. at 2 levels below me, these mobs take some small adaptation to kill them. They have huge hp pools, and do around 100-200 damage a normal swing, and their skills up to 600.
The safest technque is to make sure Condemnation is always in affect, so their attack speed is slowed, it will allow you to heal in the gap between their swings. and stay healthy. The stun rarely works against these kind of mobs, so dont rely on it. Always pre dot heal yourself before fighting, and use the Divine shield to pull the mob and get the first attack in, followed by the standard Smite > Thunder --- enter melee range and Condemntation > Stun. Heal when you can, and always heal during their charge up moves, because they will hurt and usually stun you. If things get difficult, and you are low on mp, use our bind (Restraint), it usually succeeds and has a short cooldown, bind run, and use a big cure to buy some time This part is risky, it requires you to be at least level 20 with Stigma slotted called Grace of Empyrion Lord. (Next 12 seconds spells cost no mp) If you are in dire need of mp, use bind, followed by heal if need be, cast meditation and the Stigma ability, and constantly cure / bind until your mp is at an acceptable level, because you arent using MP to cure, youll only be gaining MP and not losing it. Its a risky tactic as obviously it takes away your Hp while using it. The above can all be used while soling higher level mobs in general, but this is especially useful if you want to try soloing some Missions by yourself. or with templar / cleric duo.
Here is another testament from a fellow Cleric, Hoschi:
(sry, still afflicted with GW terminology). Abnormal mental and physical conditions - that's what Aion calls it. On the front, most of them don't really seem too bad, or do they ? If you actually work out the math on how many HP's the target would drop due to Poison, Burning and the like, then you quickly realize two things:
1. Dispell works wonders removing them. No cast time, almost no recharge.
2. Removing those conditions does cost less Mana than to heal away their effects
Make it a habit to remove those conditions. This is particularily important with Stuns. They need to go. And you always have the Mana and the Skill available, so there's no reason NOT to.
"Movement / Awareness"
I move around alot, sometimes to kite monsters - if that's possible at all, old habits die hard - sometimes to get a better view. Keeping an eye on the party window is nice, but please, watch the screen. That's where the action goes. Whoever has played GuildWars will be familiar with pre-protting. If you watch the screen, you see a monster running towards a buddy and attacking him. Knowing that this monster will most likely hit him and cause serious damage, you could already throw your 3s cast spell - by the time it's finished, the damage has hit your team mate.
Given that this is tricky and requires a good timing as well as knowing whether your team mate can actually dodge this or not, but it takes a whole lot of stress out of your job. You're still in control.
You also need to be aware of the battlefield around you. So, you need to split your eyes into 4 different directions *ew*
1. The main screen where the battle is to see who's getting the next chunk of damage
2. The compass to ensure you're not aggroing something since you're staying behind your group
3. The party window to see conditions and kick off big heals if you can't pick team members from the screen
4. Your own health- and skillbar (well, at some point you know the skills and don't need that anymore)
Alot to do
As was rightly said, keep the buffs on your party members but do not refresh them during a fight. A good paractise is to refresh them at start all at the same time, including your own. That way you get a nice countdown timer on your own buffs and know when they expire without having to hover over the indiviual buffs.
If you see that you're running low on the buff's timer, wait till the mob is cleared and then refresh them. They do not cost anything to maintain and are easily cast - even while running.
If you combine some of these points, you'll also make a habit of checking non-group players around you, seeing how they do and if you can throw them a heal. At least i do. It's a nice, doesn't cost you anything and helps other players. Also, throw them a buff if you see they're missing one.
About leaving a group that's nyerky/bossy... Well, you have the option, for sure, but i'd rather stick with them and finish the quest/mission/whatever. Don't get a reputation as a leaver. If you see an obvious mistake, do point it out ("Hey Tank, why the hell do you move around alot, the Sin can't get behind the monster to get more crits..." or "Wtf - don't leroy the mobs, pull them one by one"). If you really want to leave, just start to NOT pay attention to mana management, you'll soon run out, the group dies and leet nyerkes don't bring rezzes, ...
One last thing to add..
If you start playing a Cleric, be absolutely aware that you'll almost never get a 'well done healers' after a huge fight, but you will be nyerked at if people die. Just simlpy ignore it
Well, thats all I have for now. Request sections you may want to see - or post questions that I can later attach to the thread.
This post has been edited by Birdman: 27 August 2009 - 06:42 PM
Reason for edit: Automerged Doublepost