While class builds can change during the course of leveling, it is never too soon to think about what endgame build you want. This can help save some grief later in the game when you realize that you sold/trashed the one silly stigma you needed for a build because you thought it was worthless! Been there, done that. Worse is socketing a set of gear with the wrong manastones as most of the ones needed by clerics run for at least a million kinah each; factor in how many you use per item when multiple manastones break (therefore losing all in the piece) and it can really add up fast. Picking out your preferred build ahead of time will definitely save money.
A Cleric under level 45 has some variety in the realm of stigmas. However, once you reach level 45 you start opening up the world of the greater stigma. Although you don't need to actually socket each greater stigma in succession, it certainly helps to already have all the prerequisites on hand and slotted. Sadly, not all prerequisites are skills that are desired or oft used, but you have to equip them anyways before you can equip other more beneficial stigmas. No matter what your build, the most essential stigmas for a Cleric are Flash of Recovery (fast heal) and Splendor of Recovery (group heal). Blind is also very popular and Splendor of Purification (a group dispel) is very beneficial, as is Earth's Wrath (DoT = damage).
At level 45, a Cleric should already have an idea which branch of greater stigmas s/he wants to follow; although many clerics do buy both eventually, the AP
cost is a factor in pursuing one line at a time. Each branch is referred to by the final stigma: Benevolence and Call Lightning. For Clerics who wish to maximize their healing, the Benevolence line is best; Clerics who prefer to blast opponents into little bits are better off following the Call Lightning line. Sadly, as is the case for all classes, there are some really great skills in both stigma branches, leading some to just mix-and-match. However, doing this cripples a Cleric in the long run; there are only five greater stigma slots and each one must be filled by a specific stigma in order to meet the requirements for the final stigma.
Do not despair if you choose one and then change your mind, or you simply want to switch back and forth -- after buying all the stones it is just a matter of visiting the stigma master and having enough stigma shards.
While grinding through the lower levels, Clerics use either hit point (HP) manastones, magic boost (MB) manastones, or a combination of the two. Group-oriented Clerics may find more use for increased HP, but MB really adds a boost of DPS that makes quite a difference when soloing
. My advice is to use all white manastones in lower-level armor and weapons and save all green manastones for fabled (gold) gear
. Although this will cost a few points, it will save much kinah. Besides, lower-level gear is outgrown so fast some Daevas must upgrade faster than Mist gear
Before you start getting endgame gear is the time to decide which spec you want to follow with manastones; socketing most of a set with one type then switching is extremely expensive. Also, certain armor sets actually work best with certain specs due to the inherent stats and set bonuses (which will be discussed in a moment).
At endgame, the different specs for clerics are HP, MB, MR (magic resist), and block. While the HP and MB can again be slotted together, many Clerics find it better to devote one type to one set and just get multiple sets. Block and MR should never be mixed with other manastones as both take full socketing to get enough benefit to make any worthwhile difference. Each build has advantages: HP increases longevity through hit points; MB adds more damage; MR helps against casters; and block guards against melee.
Although Empyrean Calling
introduced a new manastone (healing boost), I haven't delved into this build in detail because the manastones are not very common yet and sell for excessive amounts (they can only be acquired from manastone bundles dropped during the bonus round of stage two in the Crucible). However, a Cleric that wants to completely maximize his healing ability will begin collecting these for a set.
So now you may have decided to try different sets; you wouldn't be alone, many Clerics do. The question is which set of armor is best to socket with which manastone.
A main factor for determining which manastones go best with which armor is the group of bonus stats for a partial or complete set. Which set is best depends on what a Cleric wants out of his/her experience. The one main exception to sets of armor is casting speed gloves: Clerics would be advised to have a pair -- either crafted or from Udas Temple -- on hand for certain situations (such as Stormwing).
Many Daevas who focus on PvP
aim for the level 40 or level 55 elite Abyss set, as the level 50 set bonus is geared more towards chanters. It is not unusual to use a lower-level PvP set and simply enchant it to +10 or +15 to make up for some lost stats available on higher-end armor. The benefit of this route is that it costs much less in Abyss points as well as medals, making obtaining the set that much easier. Also, the enchantment stones needed to enchant the armor are lower level, so the kinah savings is significant- -- especially when you consider that each failed enchantment breaks not only the current stone but loses an entire enchantment level. For PvP armor, the favored build is MR since the 40 elite has that bonus.
If you want a MB set, you can actually choose a cloth set (either Abyss or Jotun sets) as the MB bonuses are high. However, if you feel naked without chain, the best set is the full Miragent/Fenris
. Barring that (maybe you can't bear to face the grind
or crafting your hot heart of magic
), a full Jotun set from Udas Temple works well. Just avoid wasting MB on any set without a good MB bonus.
The class-specific gold armor from Beshmundir Temple
is a good set for adding HP if you want a set. The Stormwing eternal set has the best bonus available for MR. However, if, like me, you already made your Miragent set MR (because you thought there was no way in Hades you would ever get a SW set), never fear -- it is good as well. If you want a block set, just about any that you don't have socketed with something else will do; no chain sets have any bonus for block.
The newest armor introduced in the Crucible works well with MR and HP. I have a friend who will be socketing his set with healing boost due to the significant healing boost bonus. The only other set with significant healing boost is the Inggison armor set you obtain by completing numerous repeatable quests.
If you already think your cube is full of various armor sets, now we move into weapons. Some Clerics maintain a weapon and shield set for every armor set. However, when it comes to hammers/maces and shields, the "best" choice for socketing gets a bit more murky. For the most part, there aren't many real definites, but rather more personal preferences. The one exception to this is for block: The eternal-grade Tac Officer's Divine Shield from the Empyrean Crucible has the best bonus. Keep in mind, however, that this shield is missing concentration, so you might have to sacrifice one thing for the other.
As for MB, the gold vorpal or the eternal SW from Beshmundir or the Siel's weapons all work well. Ideally though, MB is used on a staff to maximize damage output. For a Cleric, the only real staff choices are the pacification staff or the Balic staff -- everything else has stats for a chanter. Combine either of these two with an elder staff and you have the best Cleric staff.
MR can go on just about any weapon because you are only trying to increase resistance and are not focused on hitting. Block can be treated the same way. Some clerics tend to mix-and-match on these more, keeping in mind that a full block set or full MR set is benefited when the weapon and shield are taken into account as well.
Of course, this guide is not all encompassing; there are other opinions and even some very unique build configurations. The best build is the one you enjoy playing. Which path do you follow? Share your insights and advice to budding Clerics in the comments below.
Soaring through the Aionosphere, MJ Guthrie touches down weekly to bring you Wings Over Atreia. Featuring tips, guides, and general snippets of life in Aion, the column is better than Tutty-on-a-stick, ackackackackackack! Have a suggestion to share? No need to bribe a Shugo -- just send mail to email@example.com.