I’ve played this game for more than two years now, but I often still feel like a noob. Sometimes it frustrates me. When that happens, though, my surefire way of getting back on track is to remember when I really WAS a noob – a totally clueless silly noob with absolutely no idea what she was doing, except that she thought it was fun to kill stuff.
When I rolled up my cleric, Jalliria, I knew NOTHING about healing. Not “almost nothing.” Not “next to nothing.” Just NOTHING – nada, zip, zilch. I took the battle cleric default path (back in the day, ALL my toons started on a default path – told you I was a real noob). I didn’t know about PrEs. I had no idea what “devotion” was. So I had this cleric who ran around swinging her khopesh at bad guys – and using a cleric hireling.
Back then, the OMG-thank-heaven-he’s-now-an-EX-boyfriend and I joined a small family-run guild along with the ex’s son and nephew. We ran a lot of stuff with the husband-and-wife team who led the guild and their teenage son. They all knew WAY more than I did, but if there weren’t enough of us on to make up a full party, we made up the difference with cleric hires, even if some of us were already on our clerics. I never knew this wasn’t the usual way of doing things. I just liked beating up mobs with Jall’s big ol’ nasty khops.
It wasn’t until after the ex and I broke up and I joined another guild that I realized… Jall kinda sucked. By that time I’d been running with Baz and a friend of his for a while. Baz will probably tell you otherwise, but he’s just being kind – Jall REALLY sucked. I had not the faintest clue how a healer SHOULD be played, and now that she was running higher-level stuff in a guild that did a lot of high-level stuff, it showed.
I worked on her, to a point. I remember back then being criticized because I melee’d with her; now healers get ripped if they DON’T melee. I got criticized because I preferred using mana rather than scrolls to heal, and was actually told that no one should EVER use mana for healing, just scrolls. *shrug* I didn’t mind drinking pots and I never asked to be reimbursed for them, so I don’t know why anyone cared. But I got her to the point where she could go into Shroud or ToD and not totally embarrass herself (she even solo healed a really ugly Shroud once when the other cleric, who was drunk as hell, passed out at the start of Phase 1 and never came back).
But I never felt really confident in her. I stuck to guildies and friends, avoiding PuGs like the plague because I didn’t want to get ripped up again for not fitting someone else’s idea of what a healer should be. I couldn’t wait to get her to 20 just so I could TR her and try to right all the wrongs I’d made the first time around.
My friend Purp put together her new build for me, partly because the character planner and my computer have never gotten along, but mostly because he knew a hell of a lot more about it than I did. He made me promise to stop calling her the Amazing Gimp-O-Cleric, even though he did tease me that no one should ever play a Drow cleric unless it’s just a roleplay character. I TRed her. I scrimped and saved to get her tomes and beef up her gear and build up a rather impressive stash of mana pots – in her first life, and for most of the heroic level part of her second one, she was a serious mnemonoholic.
But I still had a hard time being confident playing her. It wasn’t her stats or her enhancements or her armor or her spell list. It was ME – there’s something about playing a healer that just doesn’t come naturally to me. And I WANTED to play a healer. A REAL healer – you egolitists can scoff at me if you want (and I know at least one of you who does, but whatever), but I wanted to play a character that was, first and foremost, a healbot, or at least put healing far above ALL else. I have melee toons and specialist toons and casters. I didn’t want to turn Jall into, say, another Even but with mass cures.
Getting to 20 again was more than a bit of a grind, even though I used an XP stone on her, just because I had this fear of what I called “taking her out in public.” Even after she hit 20 and embarked on Exalted Angel as her first epic destiny, I tended to go for Acanthia or Even or even Vic when I saw a nice juicy epic LFM.
I’m not sure exactly when or how it happened, but sometime during the process of flagging Jall for CitW I realized… she’s just fine. Oh, she’s no superstar “I can do everything you can do and do it better” type of healer. She just gets the job done, quietly and without fanfare. I could post screenies of her stats and kill counts and all that, but why? I leave that stuff for the people who are conceited enough to need their bragging rights… although I do get a kick out of Baz and Slvr teasing Jall about being a “battle cleric” when her kill count is reasonably close to what they get on their rangers.
It was a really pleasant surprise for me to take her into level 24 High Road when she was level 22 (she’s up to 24 now) and find that somehow she’s become more survivable than I ever thought possible. I figured she was too squishy to keep herself alive without blowing through a ton of spell points, and I expected her to have to stand back away from the mobs to avoid getting hammered. I was wrong on both counts. With her aura going and her con-op necklace, she can jump right in the middle of a couple of bears, melee them to death, and come out at full health and a very respectable amount left on her blue bar. On one trip through High Road, her con-op proc’ed so often that I ended up switching from her HP trinket back to her SP one because her blue bar completely refilled.
For me, though, her HP and SP aren’t the numbers I’m most happy about. It’s her healing numbers – remember, I WANT to play her as a healer. When Jall’s aura hits herself for 60 – and she doesn’t have a ton of healing amp – I’m happy. When she throws a mass cure light and hits Slvr’s very non-heal-amped bard for 200+ points on a NON-crit, I’m really happy. When Baz tells me her aura’s hitting him for a good 10 points more than any other cleric he’s run with, I’m happier still.
So happy, in fact, that I saw an elite ToD LFM up Wednesday night and, instead of getting someone else, joined on Jall. Aside from a former guildie, I didn’t know ANYONE in the group. A few months ago, I’d never have had the guts to jump into an elite raid full of strangers on Jall, but she came through for me in her own little quiet Jall way. We had one guy die when a shadow got onto the platform in Part 2, but the Cure Serious Jall tried to toss him (unfortunately just a BIT too late ’cause he was blocked the first time she tried) was the only time she used any mana for healing at all. She nearly emptied her blue bar in Part 3, but that was all Divine Punishment and Holy Smite and other offensive spells (along with buffs, because the other healer accidentally clicked the portal instead of the shrine, and a fair number of Remove Curse spells during the Sully fight because curse pots were being glitchy for a lot of people).
Later that night she got her first level in Unyielding Sentinel – I REALLY like Exalted Angel, but I can already tell I’m going to love US on her as well. Makes a nice change from Even and Acanthia, both of whom hate their second (and in Acanthia’s case, third) EDs. Poor Acanthia may be stuck in Shiradi forever because I just can’t stand to use it and keep switching her back to GMoF. LOL (Nothing against Shiradi, it’s just not Acanthia’s style – I can’t wait to get Char capped and start her on it.)
And I really hope nobody clicked this post thinking you were going to read all about some uber elite healer, ’cause if you did, you’re TOTALLY in the wrong place. This is just my little story about my very non-uber, non-elite cleric and why I love her. If you just want to brag about YOUR cleric, please do so elsewhere and let me have my little moment. Thanks. 🙂