Wisdom of the Elders: Clerics from top progression guilds talking about cleric changes in 1.7February 2, 2012
This guide is co-owned and first released on
Hello everyone, this is the 3rd installment of my interview series talking with clerics from top progression guilds about cleric issues. The focus of this interview will be on the 1.7 changes that went live on Feb 1. You can read about the previous two interviews on 1.6.1 DPS and tanking.
The idea of this interview series is to give you the opinions/perspectives of clerics who are currently in top progression guilds and are therefore fairly knowledgeable with their class/roles in a raid environment. Keep in mind that these opinions are that of their own and do not present the views of their guild.
Lets get this interview started!
We have 4 participants this time and 14 questions. The participants are:
- Ahov, cleric of <Maximation>
- Quietmode, cleric <Voodoo>
- Rantology, cleric of <Voodoo>, author of DoL guides
- Radak, also known as Alovnek, author of Justicar tanking guide
Note: Responses from Radak will be added in shortly.
1. Lets start with a fairly general question, what is your overall impression of cleric changes in 1.7 and what are your favorite changes?
Ahov: 1.7 will be very good for clerics. I like that they decided to buff shaman and make it the go-to DPS build for many fights. I like that inquisitor still has a role, at the very least being used as a debuffer with clinging spirit. I like the purifier changes; gathering of the ancestors is a very powerful shield against sporadic and/or poorly timed raid damage. It also adds a bit more mobility to the 51 purifier.
Quietmode: Cleric changes are fairly underwhelming in my opinion. Probably the best change i see is the removal of focus-less gear and the addition of Battle Resses across the 3 healing souls. Otherwise everything else was just minimal tuning, and not even really for the Trees that needed it the most. I know they promised to look into Druid and Justicar for 1.8 by they both need some loving.
Rantology: I think that 1.7 overall is a pretty good patch for clerics. Our DPS is going to be viable in both PvP and PvE, our pure healing souls got some love and now have more raid utility (probably my favorite changes) and our hybrid capability will still be in great shape. The only thing we’re really getting a bit nerfed on is our PvP survivability with the loss of 10% crit reduction, Detaunt and Overload, but every class’ PvP tree got utterly dumbed down/ destroyed so it’s not just us (and ultimately it’s going to make PvP easier to balance, so I won’t complain). And my one complaint about it would be that Justicar tanks are by far the worst of the 3 callings, and I really hope they get addressed before Infernal Dawn comes out.
2. One of the key changes for cleric itemization in 1.7 is the addition of focus to cleric pure healing gear. Many would call this a much needed change, what is your opinion on this? Will you be making any gearing changes based on this?
Ahov: I feel they could have gone about this differently. Slapping on 50 focus to every possible piece, without really changing which pieces have better stats, was a lazy way out. Mixing and matching pieces to get the perfect level of focus and maintaining higher SP was interesting, but did need to be removed in order to maintain fair loot tables/equal drop chances for all callings. I proposed a simple fix to this issue before Zinbik confirmed itemization was being worked on: Offer a buff that reduces focus, but increases spell power by a flat percent. If they implemented such a buff, gave focus to non-focus items, and then nerfed those items to the level that focus gear already had, I feel there would be a nice balance with all items, and future content. As for me making any gearing changes based on this: no, not really. It’s going to depend on what procs they add to Akylios relics. The ones without focus seem to be getting healing procs so far, and the focus weapons have/are getting DPS procs. My other gear should remain the same.
Quietmode: I think it is a much needed change, you really dont need more then one pure healer at a time so alot of it was wasted gear much like tanking gear. The only problem is they dont seem to be handling the stat values very well on some items, i’ve heard. I dont have first hand experience with this but it sounds like some items gained focus and then items that already had focus didnt get buffed to match the stat allocations of the items.
Rantology: I think this was a pretty necessary change. Focus-less healing gear was just a drag for most guilds, most raid compositions only use 1 pure healer (if any at all). It’s going to help a lot with the extreme over-abundance of cleric gear dropping. As it stands, there are 4 classes. Mages get 1 set of gear (12.5%), warriors and rogues get 2 sets (25% each), and clerics get 3 sets (37.5%!). It’s particularly annoying when you think about it- say mages get 5 spots in a raid and healing/tank clerics get 2 spots generally. So you have 2 raid spots that can use 25% of the loot that drops, and 5 raid spots trying to get after only 12.5% of the drops. On top of that, healing clerics need to be diverse in their ability to be able to switch roles if they aren’t needed on a particular fight. As it stands it’s a pain to do this because you need 2 separate sets of gear and that can be harsh on progression when all you get is scraps, so this change will make it so the one guy that got stuck being a pure healer in your raid isn’t pigeon-holed into it because of gear.
3. All three healing souls will receive a combat rez with 1.7 and have their cooldowns reduced to 5 minutes. What do you think of their placement (44 points for warden/purifier)? Will this make raid content easier as now you can afford more mistakes?
Ahov: Any buff whatsoever is an indirect nerf to content. I don’t think an extra brez (or, a shorter brez in most cases) will trivialize ID. The placement is fine, but it does confuse me. It seems they wanted to avoid 2-brez specs aside from senticar. They could have been looking at it from a tank healing perspective. Raid healers get 2 while tank healers get 1? Who knows?
Quietmode: I don’t mind them being at 44pts versus 32 points. At least they didnt decide to make Sentinel 44pt as well (LOL 44-51pt Sentinel). 44+ Purifier and Warden are actually useful as it, this forces us to make interesting decisions regarding point placement choices. If each Soul had a Bres at 32pts, you would have to be pretty stupid to be a healer and not accidently get a battle res (22/22/22 anyone?!). Personally, I am a big supporter of WoWs "X amount of Battle resses" per fight. I’ve seen raids stack 2 Full cleric heals, 2 chloros, and 2 senticars and then a justicar, bringing a grand total of 9 reses to the part (and then use 7+ of them in a fight). Overall, I don’t think it will affect much, raid-difficulty-wise.
Rantology: It’s not going to affect the number of battle-rez’ in a particular composition at all (unless a guild already runs a deep Warden or Sentinel..then you would gain one) as all 3 of the pure healing tree rezzes share a cooldown and on top of that they are deep enough that it’s impossible to get 2, so if you want 2 rezzes you’re still going to want a senticar. Instead pure healing clerics now have the option to be much more diverse- to not be forced 32 into Sentinel just so they can get that b-rez. That pure-cleric healer is still only going to have 1 b-rez, but they can now choose to play whichever pure healing tree they want.
4. Purifiers received an AoE shield @38 points – are deep purifiers going to be a permanent addition to most raid forces? What about double deep purifiers?
Ahov: People like to ignore mechanics, so yes, I think many guilds are going to run at least one 51 puri on many fights. In some cases, two. They have a legitimate use in the sense they can help prevent deaths caused by sporadic/RNG raid damage. Some guilds will use them for situations such as the Grugonim knockback. I’m sure there will be uses in ID as well (hopefully not to completely ignore and/or trivialize mechanics)
Quietmode: I think it’s going to be pretty hit or miss depending on playstyle. I would LOVE to be able to use a 38/28 spec for raids to get the AoE Shield and Serendipity but considering we only bring 1 cleric healer to most fights along with one chloromancer, it wouldnt be very beneficial to lose half of our Battle resses. I could see our dedicated healer having a 51puri spec and a 34/32 spec as well. Some fights that have consistent aoe damage (think sicaron) will just offer far to much spell pushback for a 51puris Restorative Flame.
I definitely see a Puri of some sort being required, since I expect large amounts of tank damage in the new Tier of raiding, The situation will just dictate on if it needs huge shields+cooldowns, or quicker RFs with serendipity. The AoE shield isnt absolutely necesary, but i think i would really prefer to have one just because Effective Health is king in raids.
Rantology: I think 51 Purifier is going to be a pretty popular build, but not because of the AoE shield. It’s a nice perk but given the cooldown which is 30 seconds and the fact that it only shields half your raid, it’s not going to be a hallmark of the soul. Most guilds will only run 1 tank healer as well, so running 2 puri’s isn’t going to be all that common either. 51 Puri is better known for it’s superior tank healing than it’s raid cooldowns- but it’s nice to have the utility.
5. Some effort has being made to increase sentinel/warden’s AoE healing capability via increasing their healing radius and decreasing their mana cost. Are these changes significant? What more can be done? Are they a necessary change or should we continually rely on DoL?
Ahov: These changes are good for those who still run sent/warden, but DoL will remain the go-to aoe heal in any situation I can think of. It’s just far too powerful. As for what can be done, we need to look at a far greater threat to balance than DoL vs. Healing Communion. That is, health pools do not scale with gear as well as healing scales with gear. We are healing for so much more in full HK gear versus GSB/RoS gear, yet the health of everyone has only increased by a small amount. This is a major issue when it comes to designing future raids. If nothing in this regard changes by the time ID is released, you will see 1-2 -icars performing all necessary raid heals. Add into the encounter any more raid damage than that, and you get to a point where the damage is too great that people are dying during your GCD and RNG plays too large a role. As a temporary band-aid fix, Trion can at least add healing/shielding debuffs for the entire raid, while keeping raid damage similar to some HK fights (Molinar, Estrode during exciting souls, Dark Tide at higher stacks, etc.). Otherwise, the HP scaling needs to be addressed and/or our heals need direct nerfs.
Quietmode: I still see the reliance on DoL being carried over into the next raid just because of the bursty healing it provides. 51warden or Sent/warden might see some love if the raid damage conditions are right but we will have to see on a boss to boss basis. Being a justicar tank, I’m pretty biased towards healing with DoL but i would like to see Sentinel and warden AoE be utilized more often. We wont know how the mana changes will effect this until we get some practical experience with it.
Rantology: Pure cleric healers are never going to be used for AoE healing in a raid environment at this point- simply put hybrids and chloros can do just as well (if not better) as a pure healing cleric but without mana issues and on top of that contributing a fair amount of DPS to the raid. The simple fact that a pure healing cleric does 0 DPS is the main reason, though. I think these changes have more implications on the PvP side of the game than PvE, and even though they won’t bring pure healing clerics into the competitive light with hybrids/chloros in terms of raid healing, it’s still a welcomed change and a step in the right direction.
6. The shaman soul finally got a leg up in 1.7. Do you like where shaman DPS stands in relation to inquisitor? Should melee DPS always do more DPS to compensate for certain raid mechanics that are unfavorable to melee players?
Ahov: I feel melee DPS should generally be on top. I’m quite satisfied with shaman dps vs. Inquisitor, as they each have a role in raids now. Inquisitor provides clinging spirit, while Shaman, if viable for a particular encounter, offers superior direct dps.
Rantology: I love the fact that some of our feedback was taken into account with shaman being 1-button….now we get 2 But in all seriousness, I do like the changes, on the matter of range vs melee and where their DPS should stand- I honestly don’t think one should do more than the other. Raiding in this game often has just as many hazards at range as it does melee, and I don’t really have a stance on which "should" do the most DPS. If anything, I believe that the builds with the highest skill cap (the most complex rotations) should reward players with the most DPS.
7. While it is hard to judge right now several other classes are still “buggy” on the PTS but what do you predict cleric DPS will rank in relation to others in a raid setting?
Ahov: If the bug fixes go through, and no other buffs are handed out, clerics will be highly competitive for top overall dps in 51 shaman.
Rantology: We’ll still be last… but the gap will not be as big as it has been in the past.
8. While we won’t see any big changes to the druid soul until 1.8, what do you think of the 1.7 changes? Do they matter at all?
Ahov: They do not matter whatsoever. No one will be running Druid because of these changes.
Rantology: No. It’s still obsolete in every setting unfortunately and I’m really looking forward to seeing where they decide to take it in 1.8.
9. The cleric dev has said that the druid soul won’t be a full support soul, what role do you think it should fill?
Ahov: With 1.7 Inquisitor will be viewed as the "support" soul, applying clinging spirit and performing worse than Shaman on many fights. I would be against Druid becoming a support soul as well, because that would pidgeonhole us further into support roles instead of DPSing. Every raid would want a druid and an inquisitor on top of however many clerics are healing. It’s already incredibly easy to solo as a cleric, so I wouldn’t suggest turning it into a "protection pet" type soul. We now have a viable and competitive melee dps soul in shaman, so it’d be a bit off-track to focus it as a dps soul. Honestly, I don’t know what to do with Druid to make it successful or wanted. Some hybrids could be encouraged if the far-too-powerful passives were removed and tactically re-applied. Keeping 51pt builds viable while also encouraging powerful hybrids is a daunting task when searching for balance.
Rantology: Well, if it’s not going to be a support soul then it’s a DPS soul. I’m not sure what exact niche it will have, but it would be nice if they gave it more synergy with the other souls (like Shaman or Justicar).
10. Justicars/cleric tanks did not receive much change this update and won’t see any major changes until 1.8. What are the problems HK geared cleric facing at the moment? Parry cap? Avoidance issues?
Quietmode: I think the role that warrior tanks are filling right now is perfect. They are the consistant damage tank. They block often and have high pure mitigation. It seems like Justicars are on the other side as an Avoidance tank, except Trion isnt giving us the tools to properly play this role. In my perfect world an avoidance tank has High Avoidance and a High HP pool. Druid tanks in Wrath played this role for example by having the highest HP pools and High Dodge ratings while the warriors and paladins had block with lower hp and avoidance.
The Parry cap severely hurts this ideology (especially when our gear has +parry), as well as us having the lowest HP. In raids our warrior has me beat by about 3.5k HP and the rogue is maybe 500 HP ahead. It’s kind of sad that the Highest mitigation tank has the highest HP value as well which is entirely backwards.
Just pulling numbers out of the air I picture warriors with 15% avoidance 80% mitigation and 20k HP. Then clerics would have about 40% avoidance, 70% mitigation (This is 50% more damage then the warrior) and 25-30k HP. Rogues would be in the middle with about 30% avoidance, 75% mitigation and ~25k HP.
11. While we are behind warriors in terms of main tanking ability, we seem to be decent offtanks since the fix to our AoE threat. Are you satisfied with this role?
Quietmode: Our threat is a lot like the old Spotter’s Order spam that warriors relied on for the first 9months of the game. It’s actually kind of overpowered but i still find it unreliable on rare occasions if i havent hit the mob normally. We have all this amazing threat though but nothing to stop the damage.
I am perfectly fine in utilizing myself as an offtank but there are rarely boss mechanics that dictate a required offtank. By offtank though, I dont mean "You go tank the weak adds that spawn and keep them busy" I mean encounters like Hylas where you Tank Tank Tank, and then Heal Heal Heal, and go back to Tanking at the end. I want to be able to utilize MoH (and maybe even MoA?!) to its fullest. I briefly did this during our first Akylios Kills where I would only Tank Lashers in p3/p4 and other sit in MoH with darkling skull and heal my heart out, and it was a blast doing that. Most encounters in Rift are tank swap encounters, which is perfectly fine if the tanks are on equal footing.
12. The change to Healer’s Creed has some cleric cry out in anger. While this change is not as significant anymore due to the additional mana reduction to DoL, will this change affect our AoE threat?
Quietmode: It will most likely not affect our AoE threat. As long as a justicar tank is tanking something, the mana return from blocks, plus purpose, is plenty to keep their mana return up. The only downside i see from this is if a full Justicar tank pops into MoH during a fight. With an already miniscule mana pool size, they will be very hardpressed to sustain heals for a long time.
13. Do you have any suggestions on how the cleric tanking ability can be “fixed” to be just viable as warrior tanks?
Quietmode: Personally, I would love to see the parry cap removed, as I’m not really sure why it is there in the first place, and why dodge doesnt have one at the same value. If they are aiming for some sort of avoidance tank, we cant have the HP values that we currently do. We either need to have our HP bumped above current warrior values or gain probably 10% mitigation from talents somewhere.
14. Lastly, do you have any new specs you are dying to try out once 1.7 goes live?
Ahov: 51puri, 51 shaman…….I also want to test my PvP senticar (29sent/26just/11inq) and see how viable it remains with increase in DoL cost. On Live I don’t have any mana issues at all, with heroic mana tonics+aggressive renewal+the opportunistic Purpose.
Quietmode: Druidicar! 51druid/11justicar/4sent. Haha, DoL spam and Faerie heal spam! I remember trying to make a Druid+sent+justicar spec way back before HK came out. I wanted to use the faerie to heal the tank with spot heals from Healing breath and then have DoL for me to top off the party. I really wanted to be able to macro the Faerie heals into my Druid spam macro with an @tank(I know thats not the command =p) macro, but the faerie just interrupts herself, so she was pretty inconsistent as a tank healer.
Rantology: There’s a few PvP builds I look forward to trying out.. the PvE builds are going to be very straight forward though.