Clerics in GW2

Mar 11

Written by:
3/11/2014 10:39 PM 

 


The aim of this article is to present an attempt at creating a GW2 character which will resemble, to the greatest possible degree, a typical MMO Cleric. My experience with the game so far tells me that the two most suitable professions for this purpose are the Guardian and the Elementalist. I shall start with the former since it's the profession of my main character and I reckon I know it best :-)

In order to 'build' my Cleric I took into account some variables that I consider of vital importance:

  1. he/she should have many healing skills and options, both in instant healing and HoT
  2. the healing effect of above skills must be maximized, both through suitable gear and right traits (which increase the boon duration and healing power attributes actually)
  3. to remain alive throughout the fighting, because a dead Cleric is not particularly useful!

The following assumptions have been made:

a. level 80 character
b. 1 stack of regeneration = 3s duration (with 0% boon duration)
c. independent of racial skills

Please note that (b) is an assumption based on the mean duration of respective skills, since each healing skill has its own duration in the regeneration it produces.

Finally, the following formulae are used, taken from the official wiki pages:

    • rejuvenation = 5+(1,5625*[level])+(0,125*[HP])    [1]
    • regeneration = 4+[level]+(0,06*[HP])    [2]
    • ‘Healing Breeze’ (heal skill) heals:
                self for 6525+1,00*[HP]    [3]
             others for 1725+1,00*[HP]    [4]


where:
- [level] is the level of character who causes the healing
- [HP] is the value of the Healing Power attribute of said character
- HoT is the abbreviation of ‘Healing over Time’
- regeneration is a buff that causes an increase of a character's hitpoints (hp) - i.e. their health
- rejuvenation is a buff available only to Guardians (through their Virtue of Resolve), which increases their hp periodically

Last but not least before I begin with the presentation of various builds, I must point out the following:

    • should a Guardian select trait ‘Battle Presence’ under the 'Honor' discipline, then players around him/her (“nearby allies”, up to 5) become recipients of the healing effect of his/her ‘Virtue of Resolve’! This is a unique situation where this Virtue can bring about ΗοΤ due to ‘Rejuvenation’ to someone other than its owner/originator.
    • ‘Rejuvenation’ is unaffected by the value in boon duration, in contrast to other boons! The reason is that its duration is constant and only ceases when the Guardian activates his/her Virtue of Resolve. In that case ‘Rejuvenation’ ceases to apply on the Guardian until the cooldown of Virtue ends –something directly affected by the respective trait line (Virtues).
    • the value of [level] used in the calculations is always the 'active' level and not the actual one!
    • the value for [HP] (Healing Power) used in the calculations is that of the character that casts the healing skill or the creator of the ‘regeneration’ boon, respectively.
I shall begin with the 'standard' choices, i.e. those that relate to skills (weapon & utility) & Traits. Armor and Trinkets will be added eventually.



WEAPON SKILLS

Mace+Focus / Staff
Mace: #1 strike-3 causes healing, #2 creates a Symbol giving regeneration, #3 is a shield
Focus: #4 removes 1 condition and gives regeneration, #5 is a personal shield
Staff: #2 causes healing, #3 & #4 produce buffs with #4 also causing some healing, #5 creates an impenetrable wall (crowd control)





HEALING SKILL

#6 – Healing Breeze: "Heal yourself and allies in a cone in front of you".
Alternatively, ‘Signet of Resolve’: "Passive: Cures a condition every 10sec. Active: heal yourself".

Note: In this article I have chosen ‘Healing Breeze’.



UTILITY SKILLS


#7 – Signet of Mercy : [HP]+2*(10+[level]) = +180 to [ΗΡ] & "activate to Revive".
#8 – “Hold the Line!”: "grant protection and regeneration to allies".
#9 – “Save Yourselves!”: "draw conditions from nearby allies to yourself. Gain multiple boons for a short period".



ELITE SKILL


Tome of Courage : 3 powerful healing skills and 2 CC (crowd control), make this the optimum choice!
Alternatively, ‘Renewed Focus’ : "Focus, making yourself invulnerable and recharging your virtues", to be able to spam our Virtues more often.





TRAITS


  • Valor (4) – Toughness, Crit. Damage, blocking, meditations, certain weapons (e.g. focus)
T+200 / Crit. Damage+20%
Strength in numbers [IV]
Mace of Justice [VII]

  • Honor (6) – Vitality, Healing Power, dodging, symbols, shouts
VIT+300 / HP+300
Superior Aria [II]
Writ of the Merciful [X]
Battle Presence [XII]

  • Virtues (4) – Boon duration, Virtue recharge rate, concecrations, virtues
Boon Duration +20% / Virtue Recharge Rate +20%
Retaliatory Subconscious [IV]
Absolute Resolution [IX]

The choices described in this last section produce the following results (image created with the aid of the tool-site gw2skills.net):



In the next section I will select various armor sets and rune combinations to study their effects on our Guardian Cleric's healing abilities.
 


VARIOUS BUILDS


  • BUILD#1
[Link]

[Soldier’s stats with 2x Superior Runes of Water + 2x Runes of the Monk + 2x Superior Runes of the Traveler]

Power 1241
2188
Attack
Precision
 926 4%
Crit. Chance
Toughness
1350 2561 Armor
Vitality
1450 16145 hitpoints
Cond. Damage
10 0% Cond. Duration
Boon Duration
65% 790 Healing Power
Crit. Damage
22% 20% Virtue Rech. Rate
Magic Find
0% 0 Agony Resistance


  • BUILD#2
[Link]

[Soldier’s stats w/ 3x Superior Runes of Water + 3x Superior Runes of the Monk]

Power 1231
2178
Attack
Precision
 916 4%
Crit. Chance
Toughness
1340 2551 Armor
Vitality
1440 16045 hitpoints
Cond. Damage
0 0% Cond. Duration
Boon Duration
50% 880 Healing Power
Crit. Damage
20% 20% Virtue Rech. Rate
Magic Find
0% 0 Agony Resistance


  • BUILD#3
[Link]

[Cleric’s stats w/ 6x Superior Runes of Dwayna]

Power 1140
2087
Attack
Precision
 916 4%
Crit. Chance
Toughness
1340 2551 Armor
Vitality
1216 13805 hitpoints
Cond. Damage
0 0% Cond. Duration
Boon Duration
20% 1210 Healing Power
Crit. Damage
20% 20% Virtue Rech. Rate
Magic Find
0% 0 Agony Resistance

Let's see how these 3 builds compare in healing matters:

Build#
Stats Self-heal
(per sec & total)
HoT others
(per sec & total)
Single-skill heal
(self & others)
 #1 HP=790
Boon Dur=65%

 236 & 1168
 131 & 650
 7315 & 2515
 #2  HP=880
Boon Dur=50%
 247 & 1112
 137 & 616
 7405 & 2605
 #3  HP=1210
Boon Dur=20%
 288 & 1038
 157 & 564
 7735 & 2935

Table 1 – Stats & respective healing, for 1 stack of regeneration

where:

  • 1 stack equals 3s+[boon duration] (see assumption (b))
  • Self heal (total) = rejuvenation effect (Virtue of Resolve) at the end of each 1 second
  • HoT others (total) = regeneration effect at the end of 1 stack
  • Heal others (single skill) = instant heal caused by the example healing skill (‘Healing Breeze’)

We can see that the increase of the ‘Healing Power’ [HP] attribute (Build #3) leads to a higher rate of life replenishing, something exceptionally useful when dealing with conditions. At the same time, the effectiveness of our Cleric's instant heals increases!

Respectively, the higher the ‘Boon Duration’ attribute (Builds #1 & #2) the more hp we will gain at the end of the regeneration boon's duration. This doesn't seem like a big deal at first glance, compared to a high rate of hp replenishing. But think about this: a character will very rarely find his/herself under the beneficial influence of just one stack of regeneration - particularly during large group fights. Given that this boon stacks in duration, see how the statistics above translate depending on the number of applied stacks:

Build#
Stats 1 stack
3 stacks 5 stacks
 #1 HP=790
Boon Dur=65%

self-heal total: 1168
HoT others total: 650
self-heal total: 3504
HoT others total: 1951
self-heal total: 5840
HoT others total: 3252
 #2  HP=880
Boon Dur=50%
self-heal total: 1112
HoT others total: 616
self-heal total: 3337
HoT others total: 1847
self-heal total: 5562
HoT others total: 3078
 #3  HP=1210
Boon Dur=20%
self-heal total: 1038
HoT others total: 564
self-heal total: 3115
HoT others total: 1691
self-heal total: 5192
HoT others total: 2819

Table 2 – Stats & respective healing, for 1-3-5 stack(s) of regeneration

One can easily see that a character who is capable of avoiding getting hit (dodge/block) and at the same time position him/herself inside the regeneration boon's AoE will be able to withstand extended combats, ultimately replenishing large amounts of their health, thanks to the added stacks of the boon's duration.

Which is more important for our Cleric then? To be capable of performing 'big' heals (something that demands a high ΗΡ – Build #3) or to survive through long battles - hence more hits (Builds #1 & #2)? The golden section is achieved via the selection of the right Accessories to complement our gear. Depending on our playstyle but mainly on the situations we usually find our character in (e.g. dungeons involve a lot of condition damage, while in PvP/WvW one finds direct damage to be a more immediate threat), we will make these final decisions: Vitality vs. Toughness and Healing Power vs. Boon Duration. However I strongly believe that, as a general rule, in GW2 a Cleric build is not viable in PvP/WvW and his/her part is significantly limited.

Now, if we look closely at the remaining stats of our character for these 3 builds -it would be a grievous mistake not to!- we can see that build #3 has the best instant and per second healing of the three candidates, but at the same time it dooms our character with the lowest Vitality of the bunch -subsequently with the lowest hp: 2350 units lower than the first build! This is something that we will have to amend by selecting the right upgrade components.

Just before I commence with my suggestions about gear-accessory combinations, I want to underline something which is a matter of principle in MMOs. In general, Clerics wear either light (cloth) or in the most favored cases mid-weight (chain) armors. The lower that armor class though, the more powerful their (self-)healing ability is to be able to compensate for it. We can observe a similar balancing mechanism here, in GW2, as well: Build #3 offers the lowest hp and the highest self-heal, while Build#1 is exactly the opposite. What's more, standing as an exception to the general rule, in Guild Wars 2 the Guardian is equipped with a heavy armor - and this is balanced by their (relatively) low hp, when compared to the other seven professions.

Time has come to equip my Guardian with 3 different sets of Accessories (aka 'Trinkets') and examine how they can affect the bigger picture. Note that they are all based on Build #3 above.


  • BUILD#3a
[Link]

[Cleric’s stats με full Dwayna (6)]
& Shaman’s (V/CD/HP) Exotic Accessories (5) w/ Exquisite Snowflake (T/BD/HP)
& Soldier’s (PVT) Exotic Back item w/ Exquisite Snowflake (T/BD/HP)


Power 1162
2109 Attack
Precision
 916 4%
Crit. Chance
Toughness
1506 2717 Armor
Vitality
1568 17325 hitpoints
Cond. Damage
240 0% Cond. Duration
Boon Duration
26% 1540 Healing Power
Crit. Damage
20% 20% Virtue Rech. Rate
Magic Find
0% 0 Agony Resistance


Build#
Stats Self-heal
(per sec & total)
HoT others
(per sec & total)
Single-skill heal
(self & others)
 #3a HP=1540
Boon Dur=26%

330 & 1246
176 & 667
8065 & 3565


Build#
Stats 1 stack
3 stacks 5 stacks
 #3a HP=1540
Boon Dur=26%

self-heal total: 1246
HoT others total: 667
self-heal total: 3739
HoT others total: 2000
self-heal total: 6231
HoT others total: 3334



  • BUILD#3b
[Link]

[Cleric’s stats με full Dwayna (6)]
& Shaman’s (V/CD/HP) Exotic Accessories (5) w/ Platinum Doubloon (5)
& Soldier’s (PVT) Exotic Back item w/ Exquisite Snowflake (T/BD/HP)


Power 1162
2109 Attack
Precision
 916 4%
Crit. Chance
Toughness
1381 2592 Armor
Vitality
1568 17325 hitpoints
Cond. Damage
240 0% Cond. Duration
Boon Duration
41% 1465 Healing Power
Crit. Damage
20% 20% Virtue Rech. Rate
Magic Find
0% 0 Agony Resistance


Build#
Stats Self-heal
(per sec & total)
HoT others
(per sec & total)
Single-skill heal
(self & others)
 #3b HP=1465
Boon Dur=41%

320 & 1355
172 & 727
7990 & 3190


Build#
Stats 1 stack
3 stacks 5 stacks
 #3b HP=1465
Boon Dur=41%

self-heal total: 1355
HoT others total: 727
self-heal total: 4065
HoT others total: 2181
self-heal total: 6775
HoT others total: 3636


  • BUILD#3c
[Link]

[Cleric’s stats με full Dwayna (6)]
& Cleric's (V/CD/HP) Exotic Accessories (5) w/ Platinum Doubloon (5)
& Soldier’s (PVT) Exotic Back item w/ Exquisite Snowflake (T/BD/HP)


Power 1402
2349 Attack
Precision
 916 4%
Crit. Chance
Toughness
1621 2832 Armor
Vitality
1232 13965 hitpoints
Cond. Damage
240 0% Cond. Duration
Boon Duration
41% 1561 Healing Power
Crit. Damage
20% 20% Virtue Rech. Rate
Magic Find
0% 0 Agony Resistance


Build#
Stats Self-heal
(per sec & total)
HoT others
(per sec & total)
Single-skill heal
(self & others)
 #3c HP=1561
Boon Dur=41%

332 & 1406
178 & 752
8086 & 3286


Build#
Stats 1 stack
3 stacks 5 stacks
 #3c HP=1561
Boon Dur=41%

self-heal total: 1406
HoT others total: 752
self-heal total: 4217
HoT others total: 2255
self-heal total: 7029
HoT others total: 3758





PERSONAL CHOICES


Personally I went with Build#3b for my Guardian Cleric. I sacrificed Power (damage), Toughness (Armor) as well as Healing Power -compared to #3c- in order to gain Vitality (hitpoints) which in most fights I find myself in, due to heavy condition damage, is of vital importance -literally! This is particularly essential for me as I had to let go of my treasured cleansing utility skills, such as ‘Contemplation of Purity’ & ‘Purging Flames’. So far, I have put this build to test both inside dungeons (Ascalonian Catacombs-explorable & Arah-explorable) as well as in open world & boss fights (Lion’s Arch under attack & Cursed Shore farming) and found it admirably viable. My character is more than just a mean yard dog and tough nut to crack; she also does noticeable heals - something that was our primary goal to begin with! On the other hand the price is that in order to down a Veteran mob she needs marginally less time than it would take for the mob to die of old age eventually. But, I am certainly not at risk to die before it!

Incidentally, what's the mean life expectancy for a female norn these days?




~TheValliant

2 comment(s) so far...


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Re: Clerics in GW2

Very nice and informative research there! Perfect time to create my new human Guardian :D

By DimitrisNeil on   3/12/2014 6:01 AM
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Re: Clerics in GW2

I love this guide. Very informative, and it's very helpful that you've outlined multiple options to suit different players. Especially in Guild Wars 2, there is never just one answer, as the very construct of the game is based upon encouraging players to explore different builds — just as your guide does here.

Traditionally, I've played a cleric in other mmos, so this guide is really interesting to me! Myself, I'm looking forward to the elementalist guide! I have done my best to transform my elementalist into a support character for dungeons, but I am always re-working her build, and would love to read your thoughts!

Thanks for creating this!

By Ashley on   9/8/2014 8:47 PM

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