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Adventures From the Back Row: the Specialist and her tools

Michael Zenke

Given that Tabula Rasa is still so new, I'm going to focus for the time being on getting my fellow healbots up to speed. Unlike other games that have dedicated class systems, the tiered system in TR requires that you 'want it'; you have to choose the right class and specifically allocate skill points in order to keep your fellow soldiers on their feet.

Today we'll start slow, by going over the basics of the Specialist class. We'll talk about her tools of the trade, and begin running down some of the particular challenges of being a healer in Tabula Rasa. If you're an AFS healer, speak up in the comments, because I want to know: how the heck do you keep your teammates targetted?

That's an issue we'll get to in more depth in a second, but let's start with the basics. In order to focus on healing in Tabula Rasa, you're going to need to choose the correct character class. At level 5 you get to make your Tier 2 class choice, and for the dedicated healer you're going to want to pick 'the Specialist'.

As an upgrade from the basic Recruit class, the Specialist offers several different options. You'll gain the possibility to train in a new Logos ability (Decay), assuming you have the right symbols. You'll gain access to training for the Hazmat armor set, as well as training for the aptly-named Leech Gun. Most important for our purposes, though, is the training option called simply 'Tools'.

This simply-named class feature is the key to low-level healing. Players looking to dedicate themselves are going to want to max out this ability as quickly as possible, as it offers a number of benefits. At the Rank I level, 'Tools' allows the use of the repair tool, the cipher Tool, and the all-important healing disc. Improving your ranks in this ability increases the effectiveness of all three of these tools.

Most dramatically, upon reaching Rank III with the 'Tools' ability you gain access to Resuscitation. This ability is focused through the healing disc, a handy tool that does exactly what it sounds like. Healing discs come in three varieties (as do Repair tools). Direct tools heal a significant amount to one target. Conical tools heal less damage, but can be applied to a number of targets adjacent to each other. Radial tools are the least effective, but apply an area-of-effect heal to every character around you.

Just as with weapons, Healing tools can be found in various combinations and powers on your adventures against the Bane. The most basic types can be purchased from vendors, but better options are available out in the wilds and from quests.

The repair tool operates in much the same way, but restores functionality to the armor of your comrades. The repair tool operates slightly differently from the healing tool in one respect, though. The healing disc will allow you to 'overheal' to your heart's content. The disc uses Pharmaceuticals, an 'ammo-like' resource, and Pharms will be expended when you use it whether anyone in range of your disc is injured or not. The repair tool, on the other hand, only consumes Power Cells when you are targeting or AOEing onto a character with damaged armor.

Specialists seem, for better or worse, to be in low demand in these early weeks of the game. Low-level play in Tabula Rasa is so hectic and fast-moving that a need for a dedicated healer just doesn't appear to be there. Some 'dungeons' are challenging enough to need a bit of strategy, but the solo-friendly play style of the game makes for few lengthy calls for a Specialist in the public channels.

That's not the case, though, for the next tier of healer in the game: the Biotechnician. Come back next week for a discussion of that class, and the first of our Logos-based healing abilities.

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