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galvia

Crusader Cleric Meta in 5.125

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Posted (edited)

Hey friends. I've been testing a ton of cleric over the past few months and I think this is a good opportunity to post some builds and concepts as we begin to approach beta. The game is close to completion and balance will be coming soon, but the changes in this most recent patch alter some fundamental aspects of buffs and how Cleric is played - so I think this is worth my time.

Here are the main changes affecting clerics and healing:

  • Every player, regardless of race and class, has 10 power slots now.
  • The last song or aura channeled cannot be interrupted.
  • Block now costs far less stamina.
  • 20m dodge races now only have 1 dodge charge, and every other race's dodges have been normalized to 10m/11s CD or 20m/22s CD.
  • Healing targeting feels a lot tighter. I can't prove this point, but other healers agree things feel better.


If you've got any questions about this, any feedback, or want to chat feel free to comment below or DM me on discord.

Guide Changelog:
Edited 08/01/2020
- Updated Guineacean Dodge
- Added new talent chart, dropping 30 SP for Anticrit and Resists.
Posted 07/31/2020
-----------------------

TL;DR
Don't want to read this massive rant of a guide? Here's the bare minimum you need to know as a returning cleric or someone new to the class:

  • All of the cleric races are pretty good. Go with Guinea, Centaur, or Stoneborn ideally.
  • Spec into all of your healing stats, grab some defensive stuff, and don't forget the auras.
  • SP > Healing Bonus > CHC = CHA > HP > Stam
  • Run Field Surgeon + 1 Disc. I recommend Pixie, but Bard, Friar, Naiad, and Dryad all have a place.
  • Spam Tend Wounds, cast Holy Symbol and get the buff before you press your other buttons unless it is an emergency.
  • Use your HP as a resource. You heal yourself almost as well as others.
  • It's not as boring as it once was because plate is sick.


Ok with all of that said let’s do this thing.

-----------------------

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Talent Build
  2. Stat Priority
  3. Gear
  4. Races
  5. Disciplines
  6. Playstyle
  7. Final thoughts

-----------------------

1. Talent Build
I'm going to start with what is the least controversial part - the build. Here is my current setup, and I would take this exact layout on every single cleric regardless of disc setup.

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This setup is cookie cutter and works in all situations. Here are some quick points of discussion for the experienced clerics out there:

  • I take Healing Hand, which buffs Hand of the Gods to also heal your team in the area as we have 10 power bar slots now, and the ability has been fixed to be more responsive. This talent is flexible, and could be exchanged for more survivability if you really wanted to.
  • I take the auras and the block skill. We have bar space for the auras now 100% of the time, and block is very strong if it fits your playstyle (even only some of the time!). If you hate blocking, skip this talent and grab some anti-crit or something at the bottom of the tree.

This tree gives you everything you need: it hits all the healing talents and picks up a lot of defensive value.

-----------------------

2. Stat Priority
Cleric is very simple for stat priorities.

  1. Support Power
  2. Healing Bonus
  3. Critical Healing Chance
  4. Critical Healing Amount
  5. HP
  6. Stamina

SP
Support power (SP) is the main driver of your throughput. This can be said for most classes, but cleric in particular needs SP to function well. Cleric struggles to find Healing Bonus outside of lucky wartribe drops or wearing mail in comparison to Earthkeeper or Icecaller, so you need to have a lot of raw SP to back up your good coefficient healing.

Healing Bonus
I'll talk about healing bonus in more detail in the gear section, but basically increasing this stat will give all of your healing a lot of value. You can find healing bonus on Mail or Leather armor, and by pumping your intelligence.

Crit Healing Chance (CHC) vs Crit Healing amount (CHA).
These stats are a bit weird for Cleric. Once you get Support Power to a relatively high value (1700~/2000 roughly) these stats start ramping your healing output significantly. Basically their order is dependent on your gear and passive training levels, and you want to balance how much you weight it around this talent:

Image

Because of this talent, you'll want to take a look at your stat sheet before crafting healing gear and decide what is more valuable to cap. A general rule is that it is more valuable to crit heal more often than it is to crit heal for a little more, but when you are at roughly 45% crit healing chance and nearing cap, you will likely see more value come from pumping crit healing amount.

As a general rule with stat allocation, spirit comes first and INT second. Any points in INT double dip on CHA as well as Healing Bonus, so on our gear I typically value CHC most of the time.

HP and Stamina
HP and Stam help you live, get more of it but not at the cost of healing.

-----------------------

3. Gear
Most of your gear choices are not interesting in Crowfall currently, so this section is mostly for the Mail vs Plate debate. Here's the TL;DR:

  • Get healing stats on your chest piece.
  • Get anti-meta resists on your secondary pieces (likely Slashing Res, Fire Res, or Lightning Res in this meta)
  • Get healing stats on your rings and necklaces. SPR > INT at early - mid passive training until you start nearing SP cap.


Mail vs Plate. What's the difference?
This choice is all about playstyle, and partially about race selection. The difference is simply 5% healing bonus from mail, or more mits from plate. At wartribe gear levels, you should likely choose mail as the Armor difference as of 5.125 is not significant (only a few percentage points of mits), but as we transition into crafted gear plate will pull away in Armor value. You can still use plate to good effect if you plan on being up front in early gear levels as well, but it's not as good.

To make the choice simple, if you are newer to Cleric or like to play upfront pick plate - it will give you the most Armor. If you are more passive in your playstyle and don't soak much damage (a mistake, in my opinion) you should 100% choose mail.

Ultimately this is a philosophy question and a group assignment question. If you are healing a frontline group of melee and are likely to get targeted you are going to want to be wearing plate, but if you are assigned to a ranged group and will not be taking the brunt of damage wearing mail is a good idea. Try both playstyles out and see what fits you best.

-----------------------

4. Races
There are a lot of good race choices for crusader cleric right now. Here's the breakdown.

Centaur
Pros:

  • Strength of the Legion Aura - passive 75 AP/SP for the group.
  • Horseshoe slot.
  • High racial CON - more HP.
  • 20m Dodge.
  • Bunny hopping.

Cons:

  • No healing base stat increases.
  • Large body. This makes you more likely to be targeted.

Really strong crusader race, brings a lot of team buffs and is tanky. Strong frontline cleric choice.

Elken
Pros:

  • Racial 10% CHA passive.
  • Elken Charge mobility.
  • Gestalt for anti-stealth.

Cons:

  • Bad healing stat spread outside of +CHA.
  • Doesn't lean into a particular play style or really provide value to the crusader cleric.

You should only pick Elken if you are trying to upset me.

Guinecean
Pros:

  • Excellent throughput base stats (+DEX and +INT)
  • Burrow
  • Bonus ring slot.
  • Small body.
  • 20m Dodge

Cons:

  • Lower HP and Stam
  • Is noisy as custard.

Excellent crusader race. This is a good choice if you prefer to play less on the frontline or be more difficult to hit.

Half Giant
Pros:

  • Makin' Me Mad passive - increased healing bonus when hit.
  • Blood of the Giant power - on demand barriers.
  • High racial CON - more HP.

Cons:

  • Large body.
  • No healing base stat increases.

This is likely a good crusader cleric race for a frontlining cleric, but it falls short in comparison to the Stoneborn. There is probably a place for this race in some playstyles, but sub-optimal for now.

Human
Pros:

  • Pain Tolerance passive - increased mits.
  • Extra minor disc slot.

Cons:

  • Outside of the minor disc, no significant racial bonuses.

Humans used to be the boring but stable crusader cleric choice, but now that everybody gets 10 power bar slots and capes are not in the game they are pretty bad. There are not many minors I would choose this race for, so pass for me.

Stoneborn
Pros:

  • Excellent healer base stats.
  • Blood of the Mountain passive: +15% PHM
  • I Get Knocked Down passive: +Healing Bonus after knockdown.

Cons:

  • No significant boosts to your team.

Stoneborn is a great race for front line healing, and a slightly more selfish playstyle. They have a lot of buffs for themselves but not much for the team. Choose this race if you want to be up front and tanking damage.

Conclusion on Races
Basically every cleric race is playable for crusader. I would put Centaur, Guinea, and Stoneborn as top tier picks but the others are playable at the very least. Pick Centaur if you want to buff the group, Guinea if you want to have high healing throughput, and Stoneborn if you want to tank and play aggressively.

-----------------------

5. Disciplines
Crusader Cleric has a lot of options currently for disciplines which will help determine your playstyle. I've linked to each disc if you'd like to dig into it yourself.

Let’s talk about the staple disc of this patch first.

Field Surgeon (FS)
FS is a required disc in the current 5.125 meta, and will likely remain that way. The key benefits of FS are Rescue, Purgative, and Noble Purpose. Rescue is a huge heal that prevents your target from dying. Purgative cleanses DoTs and heals, which is important with how popular aurora emitter is and bleeds in this patch. Noble Purpose gives you infinite mana essentially so long as you are healing.

This disc gives too much to pass up. If DoTs fall out of the meta you may not NEED to run this disc, but it is far too useful now in all situations to pass on.

Secondary Discs
There are a lot of secondary options for crusader cleric discs. I will list them out below in order of most flexible/direct benefit to more niche. Running any of these discs will work and help your team.

---

Pixie
Pixie is a very stable and impactful healing disc. With 10 bar slots pixie provides you with a ton of active powers that are high value that work in every single fight.

Pixie Dust is a great combo enabler, allowing you to save players and groups of people with huge increased on healing. Wee One is one of the best damage debuffs in the game and with the FG nerfs, -Damage Bonus will be valuable again. Soothing Winds is one of the best chain heals in the game and if used properly will be one of your top heals if not the top heal, and Pix Fix is a nice passive that synergizes with Soothing Winds and Holy Symbol.

Strongly recommend this disc as the cookie cutter quality healing disc.

---

Bard
If you've been away from the game for even a week you might be looking at this recommendation like I'm nuts. On the surface, you're probably right, but I think Bard has suddenly become an S tier disc and clerics are a great carrier for it

Before reading more about this disc, do NOT choose this disc if you are not interested in juggling spells and spamming your buttons. You need to press buttons CONSTANTLY with a twisting bard. If you run this disc, you AT LEAST need Sustaining Note and Song Twisting as minor discs, and song food is recommended. The base song duration is now 12 seconds, so as long as you have the minor or the food it won’t be terrible, but you really want both.

If you are still interested, let me catch you up. Otherwise skip.

Channeled songs/auras can no longer be interrupted and have had their cast speed increased, which puts Bard in a very interesting spot. Bard comes with a movement speed buff, a PDM buff, and an AP/SP buff that can all be maintained and spread across your group - providing a lot of damage, healing, and mitigation to the entire team. I've done significant testing on these buffs, and the delta between the mitigation and buffs you are providing with this disc and the healing you would get from another disc is not that large. You will AOE/Group heal worse, but the entire team will benefit. Breaking out the TI-83 is fine, but to put this simply, the more damage sources that are on a target the better PDM performs.

Bard provides:
20% move speed
10% PDM
100 AP/SP aura.

This is especially valuable on a centaur cleric who provides Strength of the Legion, and can also run Vengeful Aura providing a whopping +250 AP to your team, and a respectable 175 SP to your healers. The PDM is nothing to sniff at either, as the mitigation is always up and helps make your whole group more tanky. Another way to think of this is that these buffs are stronger, unconditional versions of very commonly run minor discs. These songs provide a better overwhelming odds, a better Matching/Uniform disc for your entire group, and the move speed is nice.

Maintenance on a blocking cleric is also a lot better. It takes roughly 3 seconds to refresh your buffs - and you can set them up ahead of a fight quickly too using shield clipping. Here's a demo showing you buff speed.

Since you can always channel your song without interruption the way you play this disc is to twist out your three buffs, drop the OOC Regen song and replace it with an ability you want to use, then rebuff your songs as needed. Make sure to always end on the song you want to prioritize staying up on the off chance you cannot rebuff properly again in the fight - that way you always provide that buff. Even the untwisted songs are still valuable, but to get the most you want to keep all three songs up and running.

This disc can be used while solo healing fairly well, but is better in a 2 healer group.

---

Friar
Friar is pretty good. Chain heal is strong for group maintenance and has been changed to allow moving while casting.Fortuitous blessing is also a nice buff. Pick this disc if you want straightforward AoE maintenance.

---

Naiad
Naiad is a strong utility disc for Clerics and other healers, providing you with two more AOE heals and a bonus root. This disc is great if you are dealing with a more stationary group or combat environment. I've never personally run this disc but it seems to have good output now that the bugs are fixed.

---

Dryad
Dryad is in a similar boat as Naiad, a very stable and good disc. Blast of leaves is the Gradishar special and provides excellent group throughput if you can stand still and spam the leafblower, and the group heal is good too.

I don't particularly value this disc as I find it very hard to stand still and get the full benefit from it. Cleric is a reactionary and mobile healer to me - but that is a playstyle choice. This disc is definitely quality.

---

All other disc choices are a meme and should be otherwise avoided. Feel free to argue with me about your sick underdog cleric build below.

---
Conclusions on Discs
Crusader disc selection is pretty varied overall with a lot of choice. I strongly recommend sticking with Pixie as a cookie cutter choice as it fits how clerics ultimately play, but the other choices are great. Personally I will likely be playing FS + Bard and still out heal you all.

-----------------------

6. Playstyle
Cleric is a class that is excellent for a beginner, but has a lot of opportunity for optimization in both straight healing and absorbing damage on the field. If you just spam all of your healing on cooldown you will keep your group alive fairly well, but if you use your brain a little and execute some basic concepts you will be a top healer, and in later gear levels I don't think Cleric can be touched.

Basically what people miss about Cleric is that it is actually a combo class, without the pips.

The TL;DR of this entire section is:
Cast holy symbol, step into it, spam your other spells, body block as much as you can, win. Prioritize your group first.
If you run Block, you can animation cancel long animation heals like Illuminate by tapping your Block button. The spell effect will still fire while you continue to do other stuff.

Alright now let’s nerd out.

Cleric Spells
Clerics only have a few simple spells, but they work really well together.

Tend wounds: Spammable single target HoT with good throughput. Maintenance heal.
Holy Symbol: Spammable AoE chain heal with good throughput. Maintenance heal, combo piece, group healing.
Illuminate: Large group heal + HoT + resource regen. Save and combo heal.
Rescue: Massive single target heal + 10s death prevention. A target can only cheat death from Rescue once every 2m30s, but can still receive the healing.
Miracle (Ultimate): Massive group heal + self barrier + resource regen. Your largest save and a combo heal.

Your discs will also provide more healing. I will only directly talk about Rescue, but the principles remain the same. Let’s talk about the core spell that brings the clerics kit together.

Holy Symbol Usage
This spell is what separates the mortals from gods. With the Blessed Symbol talent when we step into our own Holy Symbol we receive the Blessed Symbol buff that increases our Critical Healing Chance and Critical Healing Amount. This not only increases throughput but makes it more predictable. You will always want to cast heals with this buff up, but unless someone is going to die you should never cast a larger heal without having Blessed Symbol on yourself.

This spell creates a ton of combos that you need to be rotating through while healing and being mindful of.

Comboing your spells
At all times on a crusader you should be looking to chain your spells together as efficiently as possible. You should only be spamming Tend Wounds at all times, and otherwise looking to create combos. Here's a basic flow:

Is someone in YOUR GROUP in trouble?

  1. Cast holy symbol on you and your target. If you can’t do both, just you.
  2. Cast Illuminate now that you have the sick crit buff.

Are they still in trouble?

  1. Cast Rescue if it is a single player that you can target.
  2. Cast Miracle if multiple players are in trouble, or you can't target the endangered player.

The combos are basically the same when healing outside of your group. Just remember that Illuminate and Miracle only heal inside of your group.

Group Coordination
Try to coordinate miracle or other healing cooldowns with your partner healer in your group prior to combat. Who should ult first to save someone? Who is purging first? Who are you pocketing in your group, if at all? Working with your healing partner will make both of you more efficient and will keep your team alive a lot longer.

Positioning
This is where your combos and your personal skill can really shine. Since cleric was buffed to be able to equip plate you can do a lot of really excellent things with your positioning to otherwise mitigate damage. If you are playing a mail wearing cleric you can still apply these principles, but you should be far more conservative with your positioning overall.

Clerics benefit from the fact that almost all of their healing applies to them as effectively as it applies to their target. With that in mind, to be optimal in your cleric play you should be taking close to the same damage as you are dishing out in healing. This does not mean you should be making yourself an opportune focus target as you are very susceptible to sustained damage, but you should be trying to take a little heat off your friends.

Some practical applications of this concept are doing things like body blocking for your team. The easiest way to do that is to literally stand on top of the focus target of the enemy, making them miss hits on the focus target and instead hit you. The other way to do this is to put yourself in front of the enemy main damage dealer and just be annoying and block them. Any damage you mitigate this way and ultimately heal on yourself is damage you are preventing, while also annoying the enemy and making their job harder. The combination of putting your body on the line while also healing your team is what the crusader was built for, so go get it.

Experiment with your positioning and try to fight as much as you can so you can learn your limits and how to best play around the guild.

-----------------------

7. Final Thoughts

Cleric is sick.

Edited by galvia

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4 hours ago, galvia said:

...

Bard
...
Bard provides:
20% move speed
10% PDM
100 AP/SP aura.
...

Beautiful guide, well done!   A noteworthy service to newcomers and vets alike!  Thank you!

I remembered +15% to in-combat movement speed when twisted, so I just double checked and confirmed it on Test -- D'Orion's Accelerando.

Look forward to seeing you and W in Dregs!

Cheers!

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Crusader is really in a solid spot. I'd like to see Arbiter get some major love, and Radical maybe a tweak or two.

Great post, I agree with a huge portion of it, and the parts I disagree with would simply be debates over builds and powers and discs - the stuff where disagreements are good signs for design.


Mic MWH, Member of Mithril Warhammers since 2003,


Hammers High! http://www.mithrilwarhammers.com

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16 minutes ago, McTan said:

Great post, I agree with a huge portion of it, and the parts I disagree with would simply be debates over builds and powers and discs - the stuff where disagreements are good signs for design.

I totally agree!

Feel free to share any ideas you have in the thread. This is more of a "meta" post than a strict guide - so if you have something you'd like to share with the community feel free to add it here. I'm sure I'll be making updates as we get to actually test this stuff in the wild.

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4 hours ago, galvia said:

I totally agree!

Feel free to share any ideas you have in the thread. This is more of a "meta" post than a strict guide - so if you have something you'd like to share with the community feel free to add it here. I'm sure I'll be making updates as we get to actually test this stuff in the wild.

It's precisely for this reason that I do not have much to add. As a meta-guide, it's very solid. It'll be up to players to grow in the role and see how to flex it to their style and groups.


Mic MWH, Member of Mithril Warhammers since 2003,


Hammers High! http://www.mithrilwarhammers.com

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@yianni I no longer consider a 20m dodge a strict advantage since normalizing dodges to be 10m/11s recharge and 20m/22s recharge. It is a good option and will get you further but ultimately 10m dodges will, in most situations, get you as much distance or allow you to dodge more in a moment where you are getting focused. It's a wash, and perhaps worse in a situation where a knight is on your ass.

--- 

Posted an update with new talent trees after some discussion and feedback from some Cleric gamers. The TL;DR of the change loses 30sp in favor of 100 resists and 2% anticrit. It's a minor adjustment but significant. - 30 SP is not that significant (roughly 3 healing at the base of the formula) for the increase in overall survivability.

It was also brought to my attention that the max mana talent also has some value in non-field surgeon builds. Consider that talent if you are running a more icecaller heavy composition or even heavy cleric composition and don't feel like you need field surgeon. 5.125's meta will likely require field surgeon but use your experience and judgement as things progress.

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22 minutes ago, galvia said:

@yianni I no longer consider a 20m dodge a strict advantage since normalizing dodges to be 10m/11s recharge and 20m/22s recharge. It is a good option and will get you further but ultimately 10m dodges will, in most situations, get you as much distance or allow you to dodge more in a moment where you are getting focused. It's a wash, and perhaps worse in a situation where a knight is on your ass.

--- 

Posted an update with new talent trees after some discussion and feedback from some Cleric gamers. The TL;DR of the change loses 30sp in favor of 100 resists and 2% anticrit. It's a minor adjustment but significant. - 30 SP is not that significant (roughly 3 healing at the base of the formula) for the increase in overall survivability.

It was also brought to my attention that the max mana talent also has some value in non-field surgeon builds. Consider that talent if you are running a more icecaller heavy composition or even heavy cleric composition and don't feel like you need field surgeon. 5.125's meta will likely require field surgeon but use your experience and judgement as things progress.

Well you used it as a pro for centaur that's why I mentioned it

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Posted (edited)
1 minute ago, yianni said:

Well you used it as a pro for centaur that's why I mentioned it

Derp.

Adding it. I'm a guinea hater tbh.

Edited by galvia

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The TL;DR on Cleric should be: stand in your circle, if you don't have one, stand in your buddies.

Edited by Ble

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