Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Warhammer Online: Warrior-Priest

I gave the Warrior Priest in Warhammer Online a whirl. This class is awesome! If the class plays at endgame like it does now, Blizzard is going to lose paladins to WAR. (At least, if there are any old-school hybrid paladins left.)

About a year ago, I posted that the basic nature--the essence--of a paladin was that the paladin heals her allies, and smites her enemies with a giant hammer. Both Retribution and Holy have failed miserably at this.

The warrior priest completely nails this in so many different ways. You need to hit the enemy in order to build up Righteous Fury, which you use to cast your healing spells. So far, my healing spells are a straight HoT, a direct heal + HoT (like Regrowth) and an attack that whales on an enemy and does 250% of the damage as healing to your defensive target.

There's also a lot of smaller touches, like a Righteous Fury-generating attack that does lower damage, but heals your entire party for a little bit. There's an attack which increases the Strength of your defensive target for 20 seconds.

The biggest thing about the Warrior Priest is that you have to attack, indeed you are rewarded for attacking, and attacking does not hurt your healing. Being able to maintain both an offensive and defensive target is what really makes this class work.

The only thing about the warrior priest is that it is definitely a healer, not a tank. It's not really a "knightly" archetype, the way the Warcraft paladin (theoretically) is. It wears medium armor, and is very cleric-like in appearance. I suppose that's irony, that WAR's cleric plays like a knight, while Warcraft's shining knight plays like a cleric.

You can't use shields. And you are expected to heal. But you get to run to the front lines and hit people with a giant hammer. Kind of honestly, that's really all I've ever wanted from my paladin. Though this does mean you get focus-fired a fair amount. As well, juggling both an offensive and defensive target is challenging, as is balancing generating and spending Righteous Fury.

I'm really enjoying playing the warrior priest. Of course, I haven't hit endgame, I'm only Rank 9 (of 40), and we did not see the over-specialization of the paladin until the endgame in WoW. But still, I have to give kudos to Mythic for designing an amazingly fun melee-healer.

(If you play Destruction, the equivalent class is the Disciple of Khaine, with similar mechanics. But evil elves are so 1990s. Plus, as Order you get instant scenario queues!)


  1. Sounds like a blast. I'm curious how well the healing and damage ae integrated. Do the heals reset your swing timer? Is time to live a major mechanic like in WoW? If so, that would make the hybridy healing very risky, since you need time for damage to heal, but if your teammate isn't getting heals fast enough, he dies. My fear is that, just like in WoW (and EQ so long ago), some min-maxer will figure out the 'best' way to play (always healing) and then that will be the new standard, completely ruining the class for years.

  2. The class is a healer class, so reducing damage for healing isn't an issue. Essentially, it's all about earning and spending Righteous Fury.

    For example, the basic HoT costs 30 RF. The best Strike I have generates 30 RF. The attacks with other bonuses give slightly less RF. Therefore, I have to use 1 Strike for every 1 HoT I need to cast.

    Direct Heal + HoT costs 55 RF. 2 Strikes in order to cast 1 of these.

    The really good healing attack (largest direct heal I have so far - contingent on damage dealt) costs 75 RF. So I need to use 3 Strikes to build up enough RF for that heal.

    It's not so much about the damage I'm doing. That's sort of a byproduct of healing. There's a minimum number of GCDs which must be spent attacking in order to be able to heal at all.

  3. Great game, it is a breath of fresh air tbh, nothing like WoW at all, it is not a grind, it does not try and keep you on the game for as long as possible doing seemingly tedious things (like flying for 30-40mins, farming endlessly for drops etc etc), it is really fun to play, has numerous avenues for gear on varying levels, everything you do contributes to a greater cause in every way. I'm thoroughly enjoying it and with a few ingame patch tweaks this really will be a superb ongoing game.

  4. I've been playing a WP aswell, absolutely loving it

    Although I hope that they change the itemisation a little on the epic gear later on. As at present all of the set items seem to spread the ipoints across too many stats, which I assume is so that each of the items cater for all specs

    It's the same mistake which they made in WoW, and I just hope that they don't repeat it in WAR.

    Each of the WP specs needs a different itemisation, and so I hope that they modify the gear accordingly at lvl 40 where the specialisation is more important. As at present, it's better to use greens and non set blues rather than the set items which are available (Except perhaps if you had a full set so that you could get the full set bonus)

  5. I have a level 9 Chosen, and it has been alot of fun. My biggest problem is that it seems to run too slow on my system. I probably going to have to give it a rest until I get a new computer.

  6. I just started a Warrior-Priest yesterday night and ended up playing a whole extra hour more then I should have. The class is ridiculously fun, a nice combination of healing and melee attack, the best of both worlds. What's even more awesome is that the very starting healing spell is a direct heal with extra HoT, so I don't have to waste time constantly rehealing guys.

    You're dead on that this class rewards people for attacking too. That's the beauty of it. No backlining anymore, you have to be up there at the front. This keeps you extremely busy, buffing, healing your allies and focusing on attacking all at once. I love it.

  7. It's impossible to always heal because of the RF/SE mechanic.

    The most effective way to build RF/SE is through doing damage, otherwise you have to spend 5 of every 10 seconds standing still to regenerate a little more than half of your RF/SE pool.

    Also, swing timer? That's WoW-speak. Your auto attack isn't worth worrying about, it's mostly just there so you can still attack when you are out of AP and RF/SE.

  8. The most effective way to build RF/SE is through doing damage, otherwise you have to spend 5 of every 10 seconds standing still to regenerate a little more than half of your RF/SE pool.

    To be fair, it takes 7.5s to generate the same amount of RF via Divine Strike (5 strikes x 1.5s GCD).

    This may turn out to be a weakness in the Warrior Priest. If RF-generation through Supplication is more efficient, then the Warrior Priest might become a healbot.

  9. That seems like a balance between warrior and priest, what I originally wanted was 75% warrior 25% prirest, honestly I don't care if I could heal anyone else, as long as I could heal myself. And some AOE. . .so yeah, looks like Wow prot to me. Although I will say there was a class from AoC that was like an AOE warrior that sounded interesting. . .

  10. Doing the T1/T2 scenarios was a blast. In T3 I die so fast in the front line that I've just been sitting in the back casting Soul Infusion (DoK's 30SE HoT) and Blood Offering to regain SE. If the fight is getting close to me I'll Soul Lash (the 40ft cone AE) and Rampaging Siphon (if it's up) then back away again.

    The only time I'll ever actually engage an enemy is if one of them breaks off from the pack to attack someone (or if a single players comes up behind us and tries to gank another healer.) If someone comes for me I snare them, HoT myself, and flee :(.

    I'm hoping it gets better later. I'm trying to focus a bit more on Toughness instead of Wounds for now so heals on me are more effective.

    The only real benefit is I've never seen a DoK called out for not healing. Zealots and Shaman have been, but not a DoK.

  11. "To be fair, it takes 7.5s to generate the same amount of RF via Divine Strike (5 strikes x 1.5s GCD).

    This may turn out to be a weakness in the Warrior Priest. If RF-generation through Supplication is more efficient, then the Warrior Priest might become a healbot."

    I'm not familiar with the names of the WP stuff because I play a DOK, but you are doing some WoW-like min maxing there.

    Consider the ability that heals people within 10 ft, does damage, and generates 30 SE for my DOK compared to the channeled ability that converts AP->SE.

    Yeah, it takes 7.5 seconds to create the same amount of SE but in those 7.5 seconds you are mobile, doing damage, and healing. If you use the channeled ability you are standing still doing nothing else for 5 seconds, and if you get hit then you don't complete the whole five seconds.

    Mobility, especially in open field fights, is a huge issue. I cannot count the number of times that I was running behind the pack with no one to hit trying to heal my team in Stone Troll Crossing. If I stopped to hit the channeled ability, I was 5 seconds behind everyone else and out of range or line of sight. If I didn't hit it then I was with the pack, but with 5 SE.

    There are variables at play outside the numbers.

  12. "To be fair, it takes 7.5s to generate the same amount of RF via Divine Strike (5 strikes x 1.5s GCD).

    This may turn out to be a weakness in the Warrior Priest. If RF-generation through Supplication is more efficient, then the Warrior Priest might become a healbot."
    I actually thought about this too, but actively meleeing (thankfully) does more than just building RF. If you use Divine Strike, for example, that's extra healing that you wouldn't have if Supplicating. It's not just healing either, there are buffs/debuffs.

    I probably use Supplication more than others, but right now I don't see Supplication time efficiency causing us to be healbots. If anything, I'm more scared of healing debuffs that will show up later causing our (PvP) frontline survivability to nosedive. (I've heard that melee heals like Divine Strike are immune to these debuffs. Not high enough to test/confirm myself, though.)

  13. PS. There are times the channeled ability will be better. For example, I use it almost exclusively in keep defense because I can stand in the back (and can't reach the other group outside the gates anyway) and use a couple group heals, hit the channeled ability, and then heal again. In fact, I hit it every time the timer is up even if I can't complete the 5 seconds just because it bumps up the SE.

  14. I'm rank 11 at the moment and I also love the way the warrior priest plays. I'm usually able to keep a defensive target alive by simply using divine strike and my 5 hit combo attack. Switching between defensive targets not in your group is tricky, but I'm sure some UI mods will be out soon to fix that issue.

    The only other problem I've run into is trying to fight our opposite on the Destruction side. It's almost always a stalemate that lasts forever.

  15. This sounds like a bunch of fun! I won't be getting in on it anytime soon (with school, work, and a baby, I only have time for one MMO atm) but maybe over the winter I will pick it up. I have been interested in the WP since I saw the teaser video for WAR. Even though the WP got owned, I still thought it looked like my type of character. Anyway, the new Pally stuff should keep me entertained for the time being, but this WP review has really piqued my interest in WAR.

  16. "...and an attack that whales on an enemy..."

    I believe the word is "wail's", though "whales" does conjure some funny images.

  17. We are mainly healers with melee capabilities.

    We cant be in the frontlines because as healers, simply we are top in the "to kill" charts.

    Fighting as WP is like taking a very very cold shower, you enter for a few secs then you get out, and so on.

    About RF generation, the most efficient way to do it is the COA strike, all others abilities have a 1:1 ratio of AP spent and RF generated, the COA has the same 1:1 ratio, but generates an extra amount if for anything hit, in groups, you hit a lot of them.

    I usually go to the big battle throw the COA, get out heal some, then go in throw again etc etc.

    Problem comes if there is no front line, as in not enough tanks and the enemy just pours in and overruns you.

    I do melee however if i see a stranded caster or healer that i want to kill/chase off. or a melee DPS flanks the frontline and wants to do damage in the backlines (here the 250% damage healed combo works great) as MDPS usually goes for casters so they give me their backs and they dont ahve a lot of armor, so i hit for a lot and heal for a lot.

  18. Interestingly as a lvl 11 WP, i'm find that it can be hard work (but fun) in senarios and RvR healing others and staying alive on the frontline.

    However 1 on 1 PVP a warrior priest is virtually unbeatable. The ammount of HoT's you can plonk on yourself means you will get them in the end (despite your low melee DPS and lack of signifcant ranged attacks).

  19. My warrior priest is lvl 21, i find he performs best when bee lining for the enemy spell casters and melee dps, their lower toughness means you do more damage which means more healing for your defensive target.

    Ive never played a healer in any rpg so im not used to the extra responsibility. Ive built my wp so he does most of his healing while attacking the enemy, a perfect melee healer if you ask me.

    Focus is on strength since this increases the damage you do which increases the healing.

  20. Ok, so I'm a Warrior Priest, lvl 20, just got there tonight... getting ready for Heavy metal and all that good stuff. Well, I find the class wonderful in many ways. Ok first... defining the class is as simple as this: first you are a healer, second you are a buffer, and third you are a debuff/DPS warrior. So throw on your Prayers for your party, pick a warrior partner(perferably a tank with guard) get that guard on you, and you buff him, debuff his target, and buff all the other warriors around you if possible, I find I can cycle through 4-6 warriors giving them all buffs before the first runs out and I have to start again. However, put it this way all those warriors now have +55 to str and toughness, because Of my Grace mastery. I also buff myself with it, it makes me last longer and deal more damage, also with the mastery tatic I have, on top of buffing toughness as well as str, it also lowers my offencive targets same stats by the same amount for 10 seconds. Which is a long time when you're passing out buffs every 3-4 seconds waiting on that cool down... and then I deduct a wopping 30+ crit reduction stat, making my target primmed for heavy warrior DPS, with more crits and damage. Basicly it's one of my favorite classes so far. I was going for Black Guard, but I decided to play an Order main for now, and I tried out just about all the classes and got them to lvl 8-10 before switching. So I got a general taste of everything. I think the best partner for a WP is a Sword Master, simply because they tank, and wield two handers, which means your buff will help them more than others.

  21. Level 35 WP here, and co-leader of the guild Dead Reckoning on the AUS Ironclaw server. I play my WP as Wrath spec, merely because of the plethora of Salvation/Grace Priests there are around. Plus like you said, what's better than smacking someone with a big hammer. People can say what they want about this class being a healer first, but the fact of the matter is, the class is very capable at melee dps. I love to brag to my guildies about doing +100k damage in scenarios. The comments from the Rank 40 Shadow Warriors, Witch Hunters, and White Lions are just awesome.
    -Kojak Healsthyself
    R35 RR34 Warrior Priest
    Dead Reckoning

  22. I stopped leveling a Ret Pally (he was about 64) when WAR released and fell into the WP.

    Holy Crap is all I have to say. If you enjoy your WoW Pally in PvP, seriously consider a month on WAR as a WP.

    They're similar enough to have an idea before you get there, but it feels so much less patched.

    As I said I played a ret pally b/c I feel more on the "smiting" side than the healing side. With the WP, regardless of which path you go, you'll be doing both and you'll be rewarded more for doing as much as both as possible rather than just focusing on heals or dmg.

  23. I also play a WP, on the Azazel server, Band of the Hawks guild. All I have to say is that I love it. It's the perfect character for my playstyle as I like to both help others as well as get in the thick of things.

    As far as this being primarily a healer class, I have a few things to say. First: in T1 you are nearly unstoppable after you get to level 8. Divine Assault is ridiculous, especially after it got an upgrade (much needed). In T1 there really isn't any speccing so you just go in and beat on things. In T2 you see a lot of the classes starting to outpace you in both damage and healing. In T3 you get your butt whooped whenever you go up to the front lines, at least for the most part. In high T4 you have options.

    I have toyed with the different builds and have found one that I like, based on the advice of another WP. The two basic builds that are becoming more common are: 1H hammer + book, Salvation spec super healer - for those that like to hang back and keep everyone alive. (I've seen a WP top 500k healing in a scenario in T4 like this!) And the 2H Sledge Grace/Wrath spec melee killer of doom. (guess which one I am...)

    I'm Grace/Wrath in case you didn't guess. In T4 the WP really becomes a powerhouse. The guy I got advice from, and that I'm currently emulating, says that as long as he is swinging he doesn't die. Tactics he uses are Fanaticism, Greave of Sigmar, Leading the prayer, and Divine Fury. He has said that he can crit on Divine Strike (the attack that heals your def. target and everyone w/in 10ft for the damage dealt) for 1200 sometimes. Even if you only crit for 800, that's TONS of healing for you and allies.

    Since I've been going this route (I was formerly Salvation/Grace) I've noticed a huge increase in damage output and success in RVR. And I still heal tons in Scenarios and keep raids. Divine strike is almost the only attack I use until I or someone else needs some major emergency healing, and then I use Divine assault and they are full in no time...even tanks.

    I think they are starting to call me a Sorcerer killer to tell the truth... :)