Forums » Pantheon Classes

Healing Team/Healing Meta

    • 187 posts
    February 24, 2017 2:42 PM PST

    Okay, this is going to be a long post, so I apologize in advance for that.  Putting this in quote brackets to make it readable:

    Renathras said:

    The point of this post (which may be lost so I'm saying this at the top and bottom) is to express the idea of how I like having a healing TEAM as part of the healing meta.  I like joining a party/zoning into a group and seeing a lot of different classes represented.  There's something about that that's just cool to me.  I guess I like diversity?  But I also like making meaningful contributions.  I want there to be some things that Druids can do that Clerics can't.  That Clerics can do that Shaman can't, etc.  Where having everyone there means we get to synergistically work together, covering each others' weaknesses and amplifying each others' strenghts.

    If you take nothing else from this post, please take that.  Maybe I'm the only one, or maybe not?  What do you guys think?


    I've been thinking about the healing meta/team/synergistic aspect some lately.  I love playing healers and I was thinking about healing in other MMOs I've played (chiefly WoW and FF14, as those are the ones I've actually experienced "end game" and big group/raid content with).  I kinda wish there were role forums so I could post this in a "general healing" forum, but, I guess this is general so it goes here?  If this should be in a different place, feel free to move it.  The only other place seemed to be the Cleric/Druid/Shaman class forums, but this is a more general idea, so not limited to any one of the healing classes.


    So, to start off with, I want to throw out World of Warcraft's healing system from before they broke it, in my mind.  Mainly because it's a useful model to explain what I mean about healing teams.  More specifically, the concept of niches.  Of course, at some point they "fixed" it, by which I mean they ruined it by mostly homogenizing the healer kits (all healers were given a small/medium/large direct heal + AE heal and then some weak flavor heals to retain some vestage of "class identity").

    That is to say, this is less me saying "Do it like X game did it" and more me saying "When I say niches or healing team, this is the OVERALL type of thing that I'm talking about, and why I think it's fun for healers.  Or, at least, for me."  I'm also obviously not saying "X game does this better than you!" because I'm talking about a game that did it the way I liked but THEN decided to break it and ruin it.  :(

    Sorry in advance for the long post:


    I liked the way WoW did it before they "improved" things.
    Before the dark times.
    Before the Cataclysm.

    At that time, while Discipline Priests were largely meaningless (until they got some buffs and tweaks which made them useful), all the other healing specs had a specific niche they fell into:

    Paladins were the premier tank healers.  They had only two main heals, Flash of Light and Holy Light (with Lay on Hands as an emergency, once per encounter cluch heal, and Holy Shock as an instant cast, emergency spot heal with a short CD and some procs associated with it), and that was kind of it.  In lore terms, the Paladin was a warrior trained in some basic Priestly healing ways.  So think of a combat medic.  In Wrath they gained Sacred Shield, which was like a reverse HoT (healed on taking damage) and could use a Glyph to make it where when you FoLed someone with SS, it gave them a HoT, but you could only have SS on one person at a time.  Still, this allowed them to "roll hots" (with two GCDs per person) for small party dungeon content.  But their definite niche was tank healer.  The Healadin spec prized Intellect over Spirit (the only healing class to do so) since it gave them a higher base mana pool and more spell critical hit chance.  They had a talent that refunded 60% of the mana cost of a heal whenever they got a critical hit with it, so combining these traits made them good longevity healers.  They also got a talent letting them place a Beacon of Light on a person (off tank) which would mirror their large, powerful heals onto that second person.  This made them the best tank healer in the game, able to last long into the fight while keeping two tanks up effortlessly, but being mostly a one-trick pony.  However, because their heals were efficient and powerful, they could manage small man content well enough using FoL on the DPS and HL on the tank, who also wold be the Beacon so that their spot healing of party members would also keep the tank topped off.  And, of course, their buffs like Blessing of Wisdom/Strength/Kings (intellect or mp5, I forget which/+melee damge/+overall stats, respectively) and their Judgement of Light/Wisdom (Judge a target so when allies strike the target, they get a bit of health/mana respectively).  Oh, and Auras (armor, reflect damage, more something to do with magic but I forget what exactly, spell resits for one of shadow/frost/fire schools of magic, and mounted movement speed increase +20% when mounted).  Paladins also had wipe recovery in the ability to Divine Intervention a healer, which would kill the Paladin but remove a target from combat and give then sancturary status.  They would ride out the wipe then cancel the buff and start resing the group/raid.  All healers also had the ability to dispell some flavor of negative status effect, and for Paladins this was the ability to cure diseases and poisons.

    Druids were the premier raid healer in the form of HoTs.  Except for their big, slow heal - which they almost never used - all of their heals had a HoT component on them.  They had an instant cast HoT they could put on any number of targets, a party HoT that would start with big ticks and then decrease to smaller ticks as it tapered off, a mid sized heal with a HoT tagged onto it, a HoT that could only be placed on one person but stacked three times and would give a burst heal if it was expired without being refreshed (obviously, this went on the tank), and their big raid CD was Tranquility, a MASSIVELY powerful area effect HoT.  They also had some utility buffs like Barkskin and Mark of the Wild, and CC like pacify animals, entangling roots, and cyclone.  They also had a great tool in Innervate, which massively boosted mana regen on the target (in Vanilla WoW, the job of the Resto Druid was almost exclusively to cast Innervate on the Priests, who were the "real healers", but they kept this utility even as they came into their own as healers in their own right).  Druids were also one of the more fun healers to play as they could roll HoTs on the party/raid AND THEN watch the fight, unlike other healers who would typically have their eyes glued to raid frames.  With their HoTs in particular, Druids were good in small group content which they could breeze through by slapping HoTs on the party and then just keeping ALL their HoTs on a tank, which would outheal basically any small group damage.  Druids were also the only class with an in-combat Res which could be used (long CD and reagent requirement) to restore a tank or downed healer.  (Unfortunately for them, they were also the only healing class WITHOUT a spamable out of combat heal until they were finally/eventually given one, meaning if they needed to res someone out of combat, they had to burn their 10 min CD + reagent heal to do so).  Druids' cure status was the ability to cure poisons, but they also had a buff they could place on party members that would periodically purify them of any new poisons that they were inflicted with, and they could also cure curses.  (*An historical odity was that Mages also could cure Curses - I never really understood why - while Priests could dispell Magic.  I've ALWAYS felt this was backwards...)

    Shaman were the premier group/party healers and raid buffers.  Their signiture move was Chain Heal, also known as "banana beam" due to its yellow/white color.  It would be cast on a target then bounce (with an energy beam, hence the colloquial name) to another target, then another, then another.  It was a "smart heal" as it would automatically pick the most critical/damaged target available for its next jump.  Shaman also brought Totems (buffs) to the party, being able to have four out at a time (one for each cardinal element: Air, Water, Earth, and Fire), that could do things from buffing attackers' speed to regenerating mana for the entire RAID to producing a pulsing Totem that would dispell harmful status effects.  Some of these were minimal, others passive, while some were powerful cluch utility/defense/heath regen/etc.  Finally, the Resto Shaman had the signature buff of the class, the powerful Bloodlust ("Lust") ability that would place a debuff on all raid members (so it couldn't be spammed), but would massively boost attack/heal/cast speed for a short time for burst phases or to finish off a low health boss before he wiped the raid.  Shaman had a self-res which could be used in combat (or for wipe recovery) in the form of Reincarnation.  Shaman could also cure diseases and curses, and they could cast offensive dispell magic to remove beneficial magic buffs that enemies used.

    Holy Priest was the overall healer of the game, and the only "real healer" of Vanilla.  While each of the other healers had a niche, the HPriest was basically second best in every category above, but also had some unique abilities to it.  It had the most efficient group heals in the game, and had a heal for basically every situation: small, medium, and large direct heals, a quick instant AE with a short CD, a more powerful castable and spammable AE heal, a single decently powerful HoT, Power Word: Shield as an instant cast buffer for a dangerously low health party member, Binding Heal to heal the target and the Priest, a weird little reactive heal that could be placed on a target, and would heal that target when it took damage, then jump to someone else in the raid and do the same thing over and over again, the powerful but somewhat difficult to use Lightwell for raid/AE healing (difficult to use in that you had to get the DPS to actually interact with it when they needed it), and the iconic restoration spirit ability - when the Priest died, they got 15 seconds as an angel form where they could cast healing spells for no mana cost and were immune to all damage.  This could help out in situations where the Priest died late in the fight and was able to carry through to downing that last 1% on the boss or where the healers were too busy with overall healing and the Priest died but could still spam Circle of Healing on the Raid for no mana cost and then be in-combat Resed by a Druid after the angel form wore off.  Holy Priests had a heal for every situation and were the best sustained/efficient group/raid healers in the game.  While the Druid's HoTs staved off damage and the Shaman's CH would save specific members close to death, the HPriest's overall raid healing was what kept the raid alive.

    Discipline was eventually improved to become a sort of triage healer, with the instant cast shields being buffed and having the baseline spot heals of the Priest class making them useful for sniping to save critical party members and able to mitigate damage with their shields.  This made them semi-effective tank healers and valuable mitigation healers.

    The meta of the five healers in a raid where you had all of them (25 man) basically boiled down as follows:

    Paladins - healed the tanks.  BOTH OF THEM.  Mana for daaaaaays.
    Druids - rolled HoTs on the raid to help moderate damage raidwide.
    Shamen - Chain Heal spam, to smart target players most in need of healing, situational buffing of the raid.
    Holy Priests - bulk AE healing to top off the raid, specialized heals for various situations.
    Disc Priests - mitigation/buffer healing for "tank buster" boss moves, spot triage healing of critical raid members.

    Because of the niches, it was largely a functional system where none of the healers were really stepping on each others' toes, and when you had all of them in a big raid, it just felt...GOOD.

    It felt like being part of a healing TEAM with each person having a valuable role to play.  Some of them were mindlessly easy (Healadin basically buffed the raid before the fight then placed Beacon on one tank and spammed Holy Light on the other for the duration of the fight with an occasional Judgement of Light to keep the free raid healing flowing on the DPS) while others were quite in depth and challenging (Holy Priests had a lot of macros and such to manage their mirriad healing abilities).  During this time period, I played a Holy Paladin and a Restoration Druid, so those are the roles I most remember (and, personally, I like simple mindless yet useful jobs.  :p  I will spam one button all day if it means I'm contributing to my team's success!  Though I have always loved HoTs as a form of healing playstyle - it lends to decision making like "Can I use an efficient HoT that will keep this person alive and slowly restore their health, or do they need a more expensive heal to get them out of danger status faster because of that upcoming boss move?")

    But each healer was functional in small group (5 man) content, while also having an important part to play in the raid content.  You could 5 man with ANY of the healers, and they would be functional/useful to the group.  Could you raid without one of the healers?  Mostly (Healadins were somewhat mandatory though a Disc Priest could, once they were buffed and rebalanced to be useful, step in as a functional tank healer).  But there was something magical about being a healer in a full raid group where you had at least one of each healer present (depending on the raid group/guild and the fights, people would run with 5-8 healers).  Just something interesting about being there, having your niche to fill, and seeing the other healers and working with them to make the overall raid a success.

    I've always liked this system, and was sad when WoW "fixed" it - which is to say they homogenized the hell out of the healers that MOSTLY sapped their identity and still didn't really balance them for all content (like Paladins got an AE heal and some other stuff, but they were still somewhat better at tank healing and not really functional in the AE healing role outside of specific situations).  They also tried to change the healing model from constant casting of large heals for spike/two-shot kill damage output from enemies to "triage healing", which was to be more efficient and more slow paced...but the encounter team didn't get that memo and the bosses were still putting out heavy damage which made the "new and improved" heals more like wet noodles that barely did the job.

    ...don't get me wrong, I would love a healing game where damage was more paced and it's the odd boss that DOES have spike damage (to kind of mix things up from time to time), allowing more methodical healing and more decision making to healers for most fights.  That part I was okay with.  The problem was they made the heals far too weak for the boss damage, which was still high and spikey.

    In any case, I've seen different healing models in games and I think that this is largely the best system I've seen.  It was certainly fun to play and the TEAM aspect when raiding was very enjoyable to me.  And I was sad to see it go.


    Finaly Fantasy 14 (before the Heavensward expansion) had two healers, the Scholar (SCH) which had heals that placed a mitigation shield on the target and White Mages (WHM) which had powerful direct heals and strong HoTs (a single taret that could be placed on as many people as you want one at a time for the cost of a GCD and an AE HoT), as well as a strong AE direct heal (SCH had an AE heal+AE shields, but it was weaker).  SCH also had the Sacred Soil ground effect that they could place to mitigate a % damage to all party/raid members standing in it for its duration.  WHMs also had some mana efficiency with casting Cure I having a chance to proc free Cure II casts, and Cure II having a chance to proc a reduced cost Cure III cast.

    In effect, the SCH was like a combination of the WoW Disc Priest and Resto Shaman while the WHM was a combination Holy Paladin (Healadin)+Holy Priest+Resto Druid.  They added the Astrologer (AST) in the expansion, but I haven't really played it.  It basically has more in-combat buffing abilities and can take on one of two stances, one has mitigation shields like the SCH while the other has HoTs like the WHM.  Oh, I should note WHM/AST HoTs stack while SCH shields do not, meaning having more than one SCH in the party is less useful than having more than one WHM or AST.  As the largest group in the game is 8 man though (raids are arranged as three parties of 8), you tend to shoot for having two healers in different classes, like SCH+AST or SCH+WHM, etc.  Also noted is some healers synergize well with different tanks.  For example, the SCH's mitigation based healing meshes well with the Paladin (PLD)'s naturally high defense and mitigation, while the WHM's large powerful heals mesh well with the WAR's high health pool.  This makes some parings naturall morey synergistic than others, but all of them are, in theory, functional.

    It should also be noted that SCH has a healing pet that consistently throws out heals at no mana cost to the SCH, making them pretty mana efficient healers for long fights thanks to the pet.  Well, unless the SCH goes down and has to be resed, that is, in which case they have to remember to resummon the pet to get that healing output back.


    I say ALL THIS to say that I'd like to see more healing classes in Pantheon over time (and more classes in general), but right now, we have three healers.

    While the Druid will likely be a healer with less healing potency and more utility (and HoTs!) and the Shaman will likely be a healer with less healing potency and more buff/debuff utility, they're still being designed as functional healers.

    I WOULD like to see a clothy Priest or something added in the future that is focused more on staying back at a distance while focusing on AE heals or overall group/raid heals as I think this would mesh well with having the Cleric as the more "melee healer/battlefield healer" with strong and powerful heals like the WoW Paladin.  The Cleric just seems to be more capable of wading into the frey and has always struck me as more of a healing focused Crusader as opposed to Priests as more of a squishy healer in a dress.  Granted, this may be what the PALADIN is in some respects in Pantheon, but I'm thinking the Pantheon Paladin is a tank with healing as part of its tank kit (like the FF14 PLD) rather than having spec options to go either tank build or healing built (though I would love to be wrong).  I would expect the Cleric heals to be more powerful in brute force while the Priests are more efficient and where the Priest would have more non-healing utility than the Cleric to do things like set up healing zones or mana refreshes, things like that.  But in the short term, while there IS no Priest class, these all seem to be well within the forte of the Cleric.

    ...I just have to remember with Pantheon to think of the Cleric and Druid like the ones in Baldur's Gate rather than the ones in WoW or other MMOs.  :)  Baldur's Gate Clerics, as I recall, DID wear plate...or at least scale mail?

    I'm not sure how EQ1/2/VG Shaman compare, but they seem to me focused on buffing the party/debuffing the enemies while having spot/triage heal potential for the party (their power is in mitigating damage and speeding the demise of the enemy, not out healing the enemy's natural damage output).  Druids here seem to me to be a combination of the HoT caster (think "regrowth" as their healing style, like how trees naturally grow over time - you know, nature-y) with utility like Bark/Stoneskin and Entangling Roots and Insect Swarm to reduce incoming damage so that their more gradual heals can restore the party.  Clerics, on the other hand, are the overall premier healers having strong heals and boons/buffs making them able to deal with most any situation and outheal the enemy's damage.


    ...but this also means possibly generating more healing agro and having less direct utility than their counterparts.  But hey, that's what that Plate is for, right!?

    But, like in the glory days of WoW, this would mean a raid team is at its best when they're bringing at least one of each healer into the fight.  That magical feel of being a member of a healing team with a specific job to do as your part of the greater healing effort.  Healing TEAM...

    I like that.  :)

    I, personally, am a more slight fellow, so healing in Plate isn't really my thing and I'll probably go Halfling Druid, but I would like to see a Priest clothy healer in the future, and in the short term want to see the other healers as synergistic members of my raid groups.

    I'd also like to see a Bloodmage (I've thought for ages that WoW should have given their Warlock class a healing spec that worked by draining life from enemies and transfering it to friends combined with their own lifetap ability to conver some of their health to mana and their ability to drain health from their pet).  It seems to me that Bloodmage would be a similar "outside of the box" healer, which I would personally love to see.

    Though the Disc Priest does have some of this, there's also the healer that "heals by doing damage to the enemy" model, which I think Rift's mage category of Souls had.  I don't remember the name of it, but that was the way it worked as well.

    (The absolute biggest tragedy, imo, of the WoW homogenization was they took "out of the box" healing options off the table.  If every healer has to have the same basic healing kit, this means that you don't get to have new and exciting takes on the healing role because they wouldn't fit in that standard kit model.)


    WoW eventually went down the road of homogenization of their healers, to great detriment of the healing game, imo.  While I get some people were bored with the older system (many Healadins), I feel it had more depth than the watered down system that it was replaced with.  And certainly more of a team dynamic than all the healers basically being interchangeable cogs.  Add that the heals felt too weak for the still high enemy damage and I pretty much just stopped healing in that game and haven't really looked back.

    FF14 has its issues, but I do like that their healers FEEL different to play and fill different niches, and fill them well.  I feel like the game could do with adding more healers (like glory day BC/Wrath WoW), splitting those niches out more than just "the shield healer" and "the throughput healer", and maybe they'll do it in time.  But I do like how they seem to have taken the opposite approach to what WoW did.  Instead of giving all healers the same basic kit (small/mid/large heal + AE heal) with some weak flavor heals on the side, they seem content to allow them to have niches as long as all the healer classes are reasonable welcome in a raid.


    I feel like Pantheon has the throuput (Cleric), HoT (Druid) niches well set up.  I'm not quite sure what Shaman is going to fit into, but as long as it has a niche/role as part of the healing team, I'll like it.  (I don't plan to play one, but I like it when everyone that does a role has a contribution such that it's cool when I see one in my raid and can feel like we're part of a team together.

    ...if it wasn't obvious, I like being part of a team.  :)  It's why I want this Pantheon project, with social/team gaming at its core, to be a success!)


    Renathras said:

    Anyway, the point of this post (which may be lost so I'm saying this at the top and bottom) is to express the idea of how I like having a healing TEAM as part of the healing meta.  I like joining a party/zoning into a group and seeing a lot of different classes represented.  There's something about that that's just cool to me.  I guess I like diversity?  But I also like making meaningful contributions.  I want there to be some things that Druids can do that Clerics can't.  That Clerics can do that Shaman can't, etc.  Where having everyone there means we get to synergistically work together, covering each others' weaknesses and amplifying each others' strenghts.

    If you take nothing else from this post, please take that.  Maybe I'm the only one, or maybe not?  What do you guys think?


    EDIT: Quote tags are hard...  XD

    This post was edited by Renathras at February 24, 2017 2:46 PM PST
    • 281 posts
    February 24, 2017 3:29 PM PST

    Very thoughtful post Renathras, you obviously gave it a lot of thought.  Having played an EQ Druid that did some raiding in the Early days, I can tell you that I was brought to raids mostly out of pity.  I didn't feel like I was contributing much at all, besides being a taxi.  Contrast that when I was on my Cleric and was part of the main tank heal chain and was asked to come.  I think it would be great if each healing class has their own flavor of healing, and they complement each other when in a raid situation.  Though we really don't know exactly how this will be done, I am confident that VR has a plan to make each class feel like part of the team.  I have always played a support/healing class, so I get where you are coming from :).

    • Moderator
    • 8874 posts
    February 24, 2017 5:23 PM PST

    That was a well thought out post Renathras, I have however moved it to Pantheon Classes as it is better suited to the class subforum as it discusses the healing mechanic. :)

    • 125 posts
    February 25, 2017 1:24 AM PST

    you didnt promise to much. it really was a LONG read, but a good one.

    i also made some thoughts, how to make each healer quite a unique as possible (so they dont really compete against eachother in raids). in a group envirement they should all be able to heal.


    Strenghs (why bring this class):

    -          Best single target heal

    -          Long term defense buffs (AC/HP)

    -          Stuns

    -          Short term def-buffs (bubble/barrier disc)

    -          High physical resist through heavy armor/shild


    -          Low mobility

    -          Vulnerable to magic

    -          Low damage

    -          Low AE-heal

    Unique spells/mechanics:

    -          Immovable barriers

    -          Rez

    -          Invis vs undead

    -          Fear undead


    Strenghs (why bring this class):

    -          strong debuffs

    -          strong buffs for allies

    -          medium sustain damage (dots)

    -          medium single and ae heal, even on the move

    -          medium mobility

    -          dispells / cures

    -          medium magic/physical def (chain armor)


    -          not so high healoutput as clerics

    Unique spells:

    -          sow

    -          lesser attack speed (npcs)

    -          increase attack speed (pcs)

    -          decrease magic (npcs)


    Strenghs (why bring this class):

    -          Best AE heal

    -          Best healer on the move

    -          High Mobility

    -          Medium damage

    -          Medium cc

    -          High magic def


    -          Low physic def (leather armor)

    -          Not the healoutput as a cleric (stationary)

    -          Low utility

    Unique spells:

    -          Root

    -          Wolfform

    -          Treeform (immobile, ae hp regen)

    -          Snake-stance, sacrifice healing power for more damage

    -          Snares

    -          Thorns

    -          Calm animal

    -          Portals


    just some thoughts how i could imagin the 3 healers be different/unique and still all be viable.



    • 187 posts
    February 25, 2017 4:50 PM PST

    Well, I'm glad I'm not the only one.  :)

    Though one thing I would note (maybe this is just me): I do believe all healers should have a Res, just that some should be more useful than others.  Mainly this is from me playing other games, but a healer without a Res isn't very useful in a lot of ways.  In WoW, for example, for a long long LONG time, Druids didn't have a Res except their in-combat one with a long CD.  This meant they COULD heal small group content...but they were often not preferred if any of the other healers could do so for that reason.  This is also true of games where some healers get a res early and others don't get it until much later.

    I believe the Cleric should have the BEST Res and be preferred for the job of Resing if they're available, but I feel like the other healers need this functionality.  Maybe this is just me not being EQ-y enough, but it's just the way I feel about it.  I feel that Resing IS one of the essential tools of a healer, such that a healer without a Res - again, to me - is like a healer without a heal.  Which is to say, not a healer at all.  Though I also think preserving the Cleric's mastery of that art is important as well.  I just think there's a balanced road that can be walked on that issue, especially with so few Clerics potentially around due to their class restrictions.


    But yeah, my overall point was:

    1) Being on a team where all the healers have a part to play just feels...GOOD.
    Hence why niches are GOOD.  Healers bringing unique things to the raid ensures that they're ALL desired for raids, not "lets just pile on more Clerics."

    2) At the same time, all healers should be functional as the main healer in small group/party play.
    So while they have their niches, small group play should be designed, and the healing class kits designed, so that they can all perform the role of party healer, just with their unique flair and way of doing it.  Not just the same spells with different names, but rather a Shaman can slow incoming damage or a Druid shield against incoming damage so that weaker heals can still get the job done.  That is, their specialization/tools/niches should do the job when you're fighting a band of brigands or a lesser cave troll just fine.  But when you're fighting be advised to have a full healing team, preferably with all healing classes represented.

    • 187 posts
    February 25, 2017 5:59 PM PST

    Oh!  Sorry for the double post, but there is ONE other thing I was thinking about:

    If Pantheon intends to have the launch classes (we'll say the 14 and pretend that everything dreamed is possible), and never add any more, then I hope they cover all the niches with the existing healer classes.

    However, if there is an intent to add more classes as time goes on, I hope they leave some room in the niches areas for said future classes to take on.  While I, personally, get VERY attached to my characters and couldn't change mains if my life depended on it, I know some people can, some people join games later on, and in both cases, seeing a more diverse healing team with their own wonderful niches develop over time is sweet, too.  Hence hoping that, in the case future healing classes ARE planned, they make sure to leave some room/niches for them.  :)