If this was any other game, our discussion of the healers of Order would be pretty darn borning. Most MMOs portray healers as nancy boys in dresses or effete tea-sipping high society ladies, content to stand in the back and give a good "here, here!" every once in a while. Sure, they cast a lot of spells and they're always appreciated but ... isn't there something just a bit suspicious about someone who is always in the back row?
That's not a complaint you could possibly level against the men and women who heal for Order in Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. These stalwart soldiers of the faith, bastions of runic power, and masters of the arcane arts are front-line fighters all. They might not do as much damage as their DPS comrades, but they're certainly not all 'hanging out' near the back either. Join us for a stroll with the healing heavyweights of Order: The Archmage, The Rune Priest, and the head-cracking Warrior Priest.
High Elf Archmage
The Elves have a reputation for being on the hoity-toity side, but you'll know if you've been following our Elves of WAR series that they've actually got a lot of spine. Our earlier look at the Archmage's first five levels should give you the basic idea of what they're all about. They have a unique relationship with arcane energies, focusing it to flow along two unique paths: one intended to heal (called Tranquility) and the other intended to destroy (called Force). Together these elements combine to create Archmage High Magic, and all of their abilities and mastery paths are all built around this yin/yang mechanic.
Casting healing spells adds a point of Tranquility to your High Magic bar. Each of those points improves the casting time of the other type of magic by 20%, or improves the potency of instant cast spells by 5% per point. That is, after casting five Tranquility spells, the next Force spell cast will be an instant cast (100% improvement) or would be 25% more potent if it was already an instant-cast spell.
This is fundamentally similar to the mechanics of the Goblin Shaman, but with a veneer of Elven refinement. Most crucial, whether you're healing or deep in the fray you're not going to be relegated to the back row: your fellow pointy-ears are going to want you up-front blasting away with that cannon of a staff!
Archmage Mastery Paths
The Path of Isha: A path focused on healing and restorative powers.
The Path of Asuryan: A path focused on offensive and damaging powers.
The Path of Vaul: A path focused on hindering and weakening foes.
Dwarven Rune Priest
While all of the Order healers have a bit of the rough and tumble to them, the Rune Priest fills the most 'traditional' healing role in the faction. His arcane energies are focused entirely on creating those magnificent dwarven runes, be they for healing or hurtin'. His mastery paths clearly illustrate his role as a support class, with the player able to decide what range the Priest is best suited to heal. The Rune Priest (and his mechanical buddy the Zealot) is the most 'pure healer' of all the healing classes in the game. The designers point him out as the class aimed at folks who want to be the very best at healing their faction.
Even so, in combat the Priest is far from a back-row participant. He's got a number of major blasts to add to any fray with the greenskins, and players of all stripes are sure to love his ability to add short-term offensive and defensive powers to their skillbars.
The stuntie lineup is three strong, and the Rune Priest plays a powerful role in the center of that triad. Watching them rush into the fray alongside their Ironbreaker and Engineer comrades is inspiring; with the Black Orc towering above the diminutive healers it can be something of an effort for the dwarven lineup to press into the Greenskin ranks. Watch a high level Rune Priest demo his powers in the video below:
Rune Priest Mastery Paths
The Path of Grungni: A path focused on immediate, direct effects.
The Path of Valaya: A path focused on longer-duration effects.
The Path of Grimnir: A path focused on wide-area effects.
While the Archmage is a glass cannon and the Rune Priest is a solid wall to set your back against, the Warrior Priest is a blunt instrument. He solves all problems with a basic "hammer to the face" approach. For the Warrior Priest, faith is just as much a hammer as the actual mace they wield, just another tool in their arsenal against heretics and demons. These headcrackers are far out in front when Empire forces go into battle, and all of their powers support that type of gameplay. Most of their basic abilities tend towards the "melee-with-bonuses" variety, with each smash and spell fueling a Righteous Fury inside the caster.
When enough Fury is built up, the Priest can blast out healing and more powerful destructive spells on a massive scale. Sigmar is his watchword, and in battle the warpriest is something to behold. Along with his mechanical doppelganger, the Disciple of Khaine, this holy roller is probably one of the biggest departures Warhammer Online takes from 'normal' healing mechanics.
Standing at the back and healing simply won't work for this guy at all, and taking one into the fray will prove the old D&D addage: Priest are overpowered.
Warrior Priest Mastery Paths
The Path of Salvation: A path focused on healing and restorative powers.
The Path of Grace: A path focused on melee attacks and protective effects.
The Path of Wrath: A path focused on melee attacks and weakening effects.