An Introduction to Clerics
Clerics are by far the most useful and versatile healing class in the game. I'm going to start off this introduction by telling you that, in nearly every conceivable way, Clerics are better than Shamans. Their heals are twice as strong assuming the correct build, they have an AOE cleanse in Purifying Wind (this itself gives it more utility over Shamans), and their perceived lack of cast speed in comparison to Shamans is completely moot now (if you can't achieve 70% cast speed or higher, then you're doing something wrong). To put it simply, if you're healing for anything, be it trials or Territory Wars, and you're not a Cleric, then you shouldn't be healing.
There are six factors that affects the potential of a heal, but only five of the six factors are in a Cleric's control: Skill Level, Wisdom, G-Healing, M-CRIT Rate and M-CRIT DMG. Healing skills should all be leveled as soon as possible, something I hope all healers out there should realize by now.
Wisdom and G-Healing
These two traits directly affect the potential of your heals. At this point in the game, one Wisdom gives one G-Healing and one P-Healing (affects only the recipient of heals). Each G-Heal or P-Heal point gives one extra point towards the potential of heals. Definitely not a number that jumps out to you at first, but they add up in large amounts, and the various multipliers in this game make that a very decent ratio. However, Wisdom is a primary attribute, whereas G-Healing is a secondary attribute, which makes Wisdom a much more worthwhile attribute to strive for. My reasoning behind this statement is due to the way multiplier work in this game.
For example, assume multipliers of Wisdom at 1.5 (50% more Wisdom) and G-Healing at 1.4 (40% more G-Heal)
+10 Wisdom: 10 Wisdom x 1.5 (multiplier) = 15 Wisdom > 15 G-Healing x 1.4 (Multiplier) = 21 G-Healing
+10 G-Healing: 10 G-Healing x 1.4 = 14 G-Healing
Accumulating as much Wisdom or G-Healing as possible is very beneficial to Clerics and the potential of their heals. The main reason Clerics are much better healers than Shamans is because they have much more access to equipments and accessories that give a substantial boost to either of the two attributes.
M-CRIT Rate and M-CRIT DMG
Yes, there are such things are critical heals. Much like how criticals affect the DPS output of DPS classes, they affect the healing potential of Clerics in a similar manner. However, acquiring a dependable amount of M-CRIT Rate for Clerics that want to focus on healing is a slightly more daunting task than that of a Magician's. It was not a very plausible idea until the release of the Halfkin and Ursun race and their associated racial abilities that made acquiring M-CRIT Rate such an easy task. Now, with the Halfkin Cleric passive of 20% M-CRIT Rate, 90-100% M-CRIT Rate can be easily achieved with a decent amount of funding (even other races can achieve 100% M-CRIT Rate without the Halfkin passive as long as they have enough funding).
But what makes critical heals so effective is the multiplier that M-CRIT DMG applies on heals. If a Cleric is able to achieve 3.00 M-CRIT DMG (which is easily doable nowadays) the potential of his heals are multiplied by three in critical heals. That means the effectiveness of Wisdom and G-Healing is multiplied by three* (something to keep in mind when stacking/balancing the amount of Wisdom and M-CRIT Rate for your Cleric). Normal heals that heal for 4000 points suddenly become 12,000 points. Yes, the importance of M-CRIT Rate and DMG for Clerics could not be understated.
*Keep in mind, that multiplier also affects the given healing potential even from the Skill Levels (+1,400 HP Healed becomes 4,200 HP Healed, even disregarding the amount of Wisdom a Cleric has).
***Cast Speed is completely non-essential for Clerics to focus on. You can attain 41% cast speed passively, and the remaining 29% needed to achieve 70% cast speed should come easily from the Healer/Cast Speed armor sets, bonus sets, and from the extra cast speed given from trophy enchantments and accessories.
Different Cleric Builds and their Uses
Now that you understand what essentially affects a Cleric's healing potential (which, in the end, a Cleric should focus on as a Healer class), I can introduce to you the various builds and uses of Clerics, showing essentially just how versatile the class is and the critical functions they serve.
When it comes to healing potential, M-CRIT Rate, DMG, and Wisdom are essentially the most important attributes that affect a Cleric's heals. It should be apparent to readers by now that when stacking and building a Cleric with heals as its priority, one should acquire as much of these three attributes as possible. What makes M-CRIT/WIS Clerics viable is a dependable amount of M-CRIT Rate (depending on the amount of similarly built Clerics in the same party, this number can range from 70-100% M-CRIT Rate), while still having a good enough amount of Wisdom to ensure that the critical heals make enough of an impact to offset any incoming damage. Of course, 3.00 M-CRIT DMG should be strived for (and is easily obtained).
Potential: 8k-20k Heals depending on Wisdom and Wisdom procs assuming critical heals.
Usage: Solo healing any trials, out-healing incoming damage in Territory Wars.
Wisdom Clerics or Wisdom/Cast Speed Clerics
Wisdom Clerics or Wisdom/Cast Speed clerics serve the same purpose as M-CRIT/Wis Clerics, just not as effectively. Clerics that stack for Wisdom or Wisdom and cast speed will have more Wisdom (duh), but will not heal as effectively as Clerics with a dependable rate of M-CRIT Rate. This style of Clericking was prevalent in previous patches due to how hard it was to attain M-CRIT Rate at the time. The healing potential of this type of Cleric is second rate, and should be delegated to cleansing duties (the higher cast speed makes it optimal for timely Purifying Winds).
Potential: 5k-8k Heals depending on Wisdom procs
Usage: Still capable of solo healing any trials if geared, Purifying Wind spam (assuming an M-CRIT Rate cleric in the party)
For the sake of simplicity, I'll refer to these Clerics as "BRW" Clerics. If built properly, such a cleric can serve the utility of being a "pusher" Cleric, pushing front-lines in order for opposing forces in Territory Wars to make progress when facing defensive lines in unfriendly conditions (ie. warping into Ocean Star, Defenders warping into camped areas, etc.). The Block-Rate and Resist can be easily capped off (50%, 50 Resist) without sacrificing much Wisdom (which without M-CRIT Rate would not make much of a dent).
Potential: 4.5k-7.5k Heals depending on Wisdom procs, self-sustaining in Territory Wars and Trial Dungeons
Usage: Capable of solo healing any trials with added edge of survivability, group pushing in Territory Wars, Purifying Wind spam (assuming an M-CRIT Rate cleric in the party)
**Because this has not really been attempted yet, obviously there will be skeptics on the usefulness of this build. So I'll dedicate a portion of this guide towards describing the various uses and advantages of such a build through scenarios.
Scenario 1: Ocean Star is being camped heavily by defenders. Three BRW Clerics walk in with HoT's (Cleric + Bard HoT + Sleep Immunity) and walk back, spamming heals on themselves when out of majority AOE range. They then spam Purifying Wind + Heals for incoming M-CRIT/Wis Cleric, enabling for main DPSers to be able to come in (and survive).
*Of course, timing is key, depending on the Templars' ability to disrupt.
Scenario 2: The warp points for the Defending team is being camped. Two BRW Clerics walk in with HoT's (Cleric+Bard HoT + Sleep Immunity) and start spamming AOE heals + Purifying Wind. Opens up for M-CRIT/WIS Cleric followed by main AOEers. Frees up spawn point for additional parties to come in through spawn point.
*Again, timing is key, with a heavy reliance on AOEers to be able to kill off campers.
The purpose of this Cleric is to use its survivability to is advantage, and to lay the foundation for groups in Territory Wars with its sustainability. Though perhaps not that useful without large numbers (two to three in a party) for this purpose, it's utility will be magnified immensely with the release of Sages in the 70 cap (wherein the usefulness of disrupters especially in Territory Wars will be fully recognized).
Gearing Your Cleric
Just as Clerics are very flexible with their builds and uses, the accessories and trophies they equip also accentuate that. Though there is no variance on what armor they equip (there's only ever one healer set for any level gradient), the usable accessories that Cleric's can benefit from are much more numerous than any other class, and fit many usages and scenarios.
- Immortal Art: The Beginning/End: Any Cleric would be wise to equip at least one of these maces, the +247 Wisdom proc is invaluable. Dual wielding the combination of these shields should only ever be done by M-CRIT Rate Clerics.
- Horror Avenger: More survivability, decent Wisdom proc, and more movespeed (do not underestimate movespeed's utility as a healer, especially in Territory Wars, you will find the constant need to shift positions). Best left for Clerics that are delegated to cleansing duties, as part of their job description is to always be Purifying Wind spamming (which you won't if you are CC'd).
- False Pain: Though it gives less Wisdom than either a second mace or the Horror Avenger, it gives more elemental resistance. Key for BRW Clerics.
- True Symphony Ring/MVR: Level 60 version of healer rings, plain and simple.
- True Ocean Ring/GJR: Level 50 version of healer rings. The extra move speed given is best used for Clerics delegated to cleansing duties.
- Hurricane Ring (Lv57): Upgraded PSR/FDR. Best used for BRW Clerics when trying to form a foundation.
- Indigo Eye Necklace: Level 50 version of healer necklace. Best left for Clerics delegated to cleansing duties.
- Silver Dragon Necklace/GTN: Level 60 version of healer necklace. The added resistances are very helpful for BRW Clerics in achieving 50 resistance across the board.
- Eternal Memory Cape/Love Blessing: It's the only healer cape.
- Valmar's Dark Pearl: 5% BR, essential for BRW Clerics.
- Chieftan's Bloodtooth Bugle: +83 M-CRIT Rate, essential for M-CRIT/WIS Clerics.
- Juan's Demon Stone: +77 M-CRIT Rate, 15% cleanse, essential for M-CRIT/WIS Clerics.
- Tuka Tufa's Ice Breath: +42 WIS, +197 G-Healing proc, an amazing trophy usable by any Cleric
- Macdougal's Portable Bugle: WIS +42 and G-Heal +164, again, an amazing trophy usable by any Cleric
*Many Clerics like to use Kasin's/Kedar's trophy's for the extra cast speed. As long as you can animation cancel, 70% cast speed is enough, and you do not need either of these trophies to achieve that.
Lv3 Luck Elimination Gems are probably the most critical part of gearing for M-CRIT/WIS Clerics as most of the M-CRIT Rate will come from the gems. If you're making an M-CRIT/WIS Cleric, these are the gems to use.
Lv3 STR Iron Shield Gems are critical for BRW Clerics as you'll have to get as much STR and block rate as you can to reach 50% block rate.
This guide is only an introduction to Cleric builds and various usages. Because the there are so many ways to utilize Clerics, I will focus three separate guides that will focus on: Healing Clerics, DPS Clerics and Resistance Clerics, how to build them and how to use them. The purpose of this introductory was to give readers some preliminary knowledge.