Guide to Everything Cleric: What you need to know/have to solo heal everything PvE by unspecifiederror
Edit: All of this is based on PRE-PATCH gameplay. The ‘balance’ updates coming on the 20th of June may change some, all, or none of this. Until I’ve had an opportunity to really test the changes, and the changes actually happen, take everything written here with a grain of salt.
This guide is not a build, rather it is my opinion on everything to do with the cleric. Before getting to feats, powers, stats, and gear I think it’s important to go over some basics about what it’s like to be a cleric in PvE dungeons and what your job is as a cleric.
Since some people seem to care about credentials, search my post history. I have solo healed everything including Castle Never. My last Castle Never run was me on my cleric, a CW, and 3 TRs. We cleared it without problem. I also have a CW alt which I have cleared most T2s (haven’t tried them all) and cleared CN as the only CW with a solo Cleric, a GF, and 2 TRs (as well as other group comps).
You are NOT a traditional MMO healer who stands in the back whacking green bars. If you try to be that type of healer things will go badly for you. You will find a lot more success if you think of yourself as a buffer/off-tank hybrid who happens to heal people on the side. Healing is important but if you focus on it to the detriment of everything else you will only make your life harder than it needs to be.
In any dungeon you have 3 primary jobs to do:
- Maintain a BLUE Astral Shield 100% of the time in the correct place. The correct place is where your group needs it to be to stand inside your Astral Shield and do their jobs.
- Don’t die. If you go down then your Astral Shield goes down immediately with you and when you get back up it still might be on CD.
- Keep Hallowed Ground up as much as possible. 100% up-time on HG is possible in many situations but it’s not always possible. Just do your best to put it up and keep it up.
The groups I run with really don’t ‘need’ anything else from me. If I do those 3 things then it’s almost guaranteed we’ll be fine and clear the run without wipes or much problem. Before moving on to secondary tasks I want to go over what you should have to make these 3 things possible/easier.
33%+ Recharge Speed Increase. At 33% Astral Shield has a 15 second cool down. It lasts 15 seconds on the ground. You need at least 33% to keep it up 100% of the time. A little more is good because of cast time and sometimes you can’t recast immediately on CD. The AS buff does last about 1-2 seconds after it goes down but having a bit more than 33% RSI can help give a bit of a buffer.
2,000+ Defense. If you find yourself dying a lot in dungeons and you have less than 2,000 defense then this should be the first thing you fix. It really does make a HUGE difference. After 2k defense diminishing returns starts to reduce it’s value a bit.
Sun Burst. This ability is our single best ability after Astral Shield. It builds Divinity and Action Points like crazy. It also does decent damage and healing without the need to aim it. Use it to fuel Astral Shield and Hallowed Ground. It doesn’t require aiming so just cast it on CD. Never cast it in divine mode (CWs will rage) unless you have a spare Divinity Pip after casting it AND you are throwing something off an edge.
Foresight. If this isn’t on your bar you are failing yourself and your group. With Benefit of Foresight it’s an 11% damage reduction to yourself and everyone you heal (100% up-time on everyone is easy). This will keep you and everyone else alive better than any other Class Feature we have, period.
You may be asking yourself “Why is there a section devoted to CONTROL Wizards in a thread about clerics?” The answer is because it’s a very big deal.
The simple truth is that if you are doing everything discussed up to this point in the guide and your runs are still a chaotic mess and you, and other people, are constantly dying then it’s not your fault. The fault actually lies with the DPS Wizard who doesn’t understand he’s a CONTROL Wizard and not a rogue in a dress who forgot his daggers at home. (This assumes people are standing in the Astral Shield, aren’t over-pulling and aren’t standing in red stuff of course.)
If you’ve ever played a healer or a tank in a more traditional MMO then you probably know how interdependent the tank and healer are. It doesn’t matter how good the healer is if the tank is garbage and it doesn’t matter how good the tank is if the healer is garbage. The Tank/Healer combo also makes or breaks a dungeon run in other MMOs. If they are good the run will usually succeed. If they are bad then things will likely fail, or at least be way harder than it should be.
In Neverwinter it’s the Cleric and CONTROL Wizard that have that interdependent relationship and can make or break a run. All you really need for any dungeon, including CN, is a good Cleric and a good CONTROL Wizard and then 3 other people (Note: Temple of the Spider is an exception since you need high DPS for the last boss a TR is almost mandatory). When you run with a good CONTROL Wizard you’ll know it and should do everything you can to become his best friend. A Wizard who thinks he’s DPS is about as useful as another TR and doesn’t count as a CONTROL Wizard.
The most important thing to know is You WILL get 90% of the aggro, deal with it. I know it’s not what a lot of you want to hear, but it’s the truth. The only Class that can save you from getting mobbed to death is a good CONTROL Wizard. GFs, TRs, and possibly GWFs (never any around to run with) can do some small things to help but the CW is the only one who can really save you.
The good news is if you have everything listed above, 100% Blue Astral Shield, Foresight + Benefit of Foresight, 2k+ Defense, Hallowed Ground up most of the time, and especially the good CONTROL Wizard, you will survive and things won’t be that bad. You are going to have to learn to kite and what red stuff to dodge and what to stand in but that’s the life of a cleric in Neverwinter.
Individual dungeons, boss fights, your job in each and what to expect will be described in the Dungeons section a few posts down.
I’m grouping these together because I believe they are inextricably linked together. You simply have to consider Best in Slot (BiS) gear when creating a character and thinking about stats in general. The reason for this is that stats all have hard diminishing returns that start around 2,000 in a stat and hit really hard after 3,000. The only exceptions are Power and +Health. As an example 2,500 Recovery is 20% recharge speed, the next 2,500 Recovery will only get you another 8% recharge speed, 28% total, and another 2,500 will get you another 3% recharge speed, 31% total.
Before getting to character creation let’s take a look a what kind of stats you will have with some of your BiS gear.
I’m just going to give totals for the stats given by this gear/sets because it’s what is important for this discussion.
Miracle Healer’s Set
I know the set bonus is broken but it’s the best we’ve got.
- Power: 1,047
- Critical Strike: 1,322
- Recovery: 1,772 (set bonus included)
- Defense: 1,010
Socketed Shirt and Pants
- Power: 154
- Critical Strike: 154
- Recovery: 184
- Defense: 108
Ancient Royal Set
- Power: 2318 (set bonus included)
- Critical Strike: 372
- Recovery: 462
- Power: 3,519
- Critical Strike: 1,848
- Recovery: 2,368
- Defense: 1,118
That still leaves your rings, amulet, belt, all sockets, and your Cat/Ion Stone to play with.
- Recharge Speed Increase: +19%
- Action Point Gain: +19%
- Critical Chance: +13% (roughly)
These numbers are why I wanted to get this out of the way before Character Creation. We’re also a little over halfway to the goal of 2k+ Defense.
Doesn’t really matter. I know that answer won’t satisfy 99% of people but it’s true. Now for the min-maxers out there, the answer is Human (+3 feat points and +2 to a stat). Tiefling, Drow (Founder’s Pack), and Half-Elf make reasonable choices as well but over-all it just doesn’t matter than much. Clerics are the only class that can’t get +2 to 2 of our primary/secondary stats and because of stat roll combos it doesn’t actually matter which stat you get the +2 in just try to get +2 to Strength, Charisma, or Wisdom.
Character Stats and Starting Rolls
Here is a list of all possible starting rolls for your character. If you look you will see that the stat total for Wisdom, Strength, and Charisma can be 42, 43, or 44. We want one of the combos that is 44.
While leveling you will have 4 opportunities to put +1 in two stats of your choosing (levels 10, 20, 40, and 50) and you will get +1 to all stats at levels 30 and 60. This means you can increase any stat by up to +6 and all stats will increase by +2 by the time you hit 60. Of course you can also increase 3 stats by +4.
The question is, of course, which set of numbers do you want? This is why I put BiS gear stats first. First we’ll talk about Charisma and Recharge Speed Increase (RSI), then we’ll talk Strength and Crit, finally we’ll talk Wisdom.
Recall we need 33% recharge speed and from the BiS gear we only have 19%. So we still need another 14% recharge speed that can be achieved through gear or through Charisma and/or Intelligence (never put optional points in Int while leveling). Here’s your choices for getting 33%:
Cha + Int Recharge % at 60 = Total Recovery Required to get 33% (roughly)
- 5% = 5,500 Recovery
- 6% = 4,500
- 7% = 4,120
- 8% = 3,750
- 9% = 3,505
- 10% = 3,300
- 11% = 2,900
- 12% = 2,750
- 13% = 2,532
- 14% = 2,368 (The amount given by BiS gear mentioned above)
As a result of the above I would strongly suggest getting a stat distribution with 44 total primary/secondary stats and 10 or 11 intelligence. Choices are:
- 17/14/13/10/10/10 (8% minimum RSI)
- 16/16/12/10/10/10 (10% minimum RSI)
- 16/15/13/11/11/9 (10% minimum RSI, what I’d choose on reroll)
- 16/14/14/11/10/10 (9% minimum RSI, what I have on my cleric)
The purpose of Strength is Critical Chance. Before we get to talking about how high Crit should be let’s look back at our BiS gear and a few other +%’s:
- BiS Gear = 13%
- Base Crit = 5%
- Weapon Mastery Feat = 3%
- Base Strength = 4% to 6% (at 60 with no optional points)
That means we have 13 + 5 + 3 + (2 to 4) = 25% to 27% critical chance without any special +crit gear or adding optional points to strength. At this point you have to ask yourself how much more crit you want. Personally I like to have closer to 33% crit but I don’t want to invest heavily with my gear so I put 4 optional points here. Crit is really nice because of Repurpose Soul and Divinity Building through the Righteous Rage of Tempus feat.
It’s good. All optional points you aren’t spending elsewhere should go here. There’s really nothing special to say about it.
Power: Doesn’t have diminishing returns but also doesn’t have great return on investment. 25 power = +1 attack/healing (effectively adds to weapon damage). Power makes a great offensive dump stat, it’s where you put spare stats after you have other things.
Critical Strike: You will get a lot of this without trying since it’s on almost all cleric gear. Going much past 2,500 is probably not wise though Deistik has a build that is based on crit that seems to work for him. It’s good to have some of this for sure.
Recovery: Anything more than what gets you between 33% and 37% RSI is a waste. See This Thread for why.
Armor Penetration: Useless stat for clerics. You are NOT DPS (unless you have a static group that says it’s okay).
Defense: 2,000+ just do it. Much more than 2,000-2,500 is probably excessive though.
Deflect: I wouldn’t bother focusing on it. You will get some along the way trying to get defense most likely but unless you really stack it it’s not going to save you.
Regeneration: I love it but others don’t seem so fond of it. You have to really try to get it to a decent level (around 1,000-1,400) before it’s good for much and you have to do some unconventional things to get it (like putting a 55 blue rogue ring on your pet).
Life Steal: We attack slowly and don’t do much damage. It’s not worth it in my opinion but maybe someone can make it work for them.
Movement: You will get it from utility slots, otherwise don’t bother.
There’s really only 2 good companion choices for a cleric, Cat and Ion Stone of Allure. You really want the extra stats these two provide and other companions tend to just die, get in the way, and or their damage is terrible. The Cat/Stone give you a base amount of stats (slightly raised by Charisma), and then 100% of ALL the gear, runestones, and enchantments you put on them. Adding an Eldritch Runestone in the defense slot will give you an additional 8.5% (Rank 7 stone) of the stats they are already giving you, including all the gear, as a second buff called “Augment.” The Eldritch will not change the numbers on the companion page but you do get the +8.5% stats.
Cat Costs 960,000 Astral Diamonds from the Companion Vendor inside the Grand Emporium. Has a Ring, Amulet, and Belt slot. Gives a base bonus to Crit and Recovery (235 each with 20 Charisma).
Ion Stone of Allure 2,000 Zen from the Zen store. Use the Astral Diamond Exchange and it generally costs less than the cat (696,000 AD on Beholder server at time of this writing, 348 AD per Zen). Has a Ring, Amulet, and Icon slot. Gives a base bonus to Power, Crit, and Recovery (170 each with 20 Charisma).
For general use the Ion Stone is superior because of the Icon slot over the Belt slot. Belts almost all have +health which simply doesn’t transfer from the pet so it’s wasted stat potential. The only exception is if you are trying to stack specific stats (e.g. Regeneration) then the Cat might be the better choice. The other big difference of note is that Belts have a defense slot (few exceptions, and all blue) whereas Icons all have offense slots (Nightmare Icon being the only exception). I use a Cat because I stacked Regeneration but outside of that I would be running with my Ion Stone.
Note: Companions don’t follow you into PvP so any stats you get from your Cat/Stone will be PvE only.
Belts, Rings, Amulets, and Sockets
These are what you use to balance out your stats the way you want them. If you don’t have 33% recovery yet that should be Priority 1. After that I would focus on getting defense up to 2,000. Both those goals should be easily achievable with the right gear/stones. After that it’s really about what you want. I chose to stack regeneration and +Health I find it works well for me but you may feel you’d rather have +Power or more Crit, or maybe you want even more defense. Feel it out as you play and when something doesn’t go well in a dungeon ask yourself “What would have made that easier?” Then boost that, or if things always go smooth just dump stats into Power for more damage to make it go faster.
You have the most flexibility with rings and sockets so save those for after you’ve settled on your amulet and belt.
Soulforged – It’s really the only great armor enchantment. 2/3/4 seconds may not seem like much but it’s really quite huge. I have a greater and that 4 seconds of immunity combine with Holy Resolve, Regeneration, Astral Shield, a Potion, and any other healing I may put out and I’m usually up over 75% health again before I can take more damage.
Vorpal – This is the only weapon enchantment that can improve your healing in any way. Though it actually does it through bigger crits for Repurpose Soul AND bigger Crit Heals. It’s just the best we’ve got. Also, currently any sort of debuffing enchantment can proc on allies through Sacred Flame and possibly Repurpose Soul. So I wouldn’t recommend wasting money on something that might kill your allies, they probably won’t appreciate it much. Holy Avenger is ruined by the 60 second ICD.
PowersWe actually have very few really wonderful Powers. I didn’t realize this until I play a CW and found myself wanting literally every single power on my bar for various reasons. I’m still going to go through every single power and give my opinion on them as well as how many points I think should be in a particular power. The format will look like this:
Name of Power *** – Opinion and uses (star indicate number of points I feel a power deserves).
Astral Seal *** – This is our single best At-Will power. It should almost always be on your bar. Whether spamming it is good is debatable but you should at least use it to mark up enemies. You can use it as your spam At-Will in conjunction with Brand of The Sun and it works fairly well. You do sacrifice some damage and divinity gain from spamming Sacred Flame but you gain passive divinity gain from BotS and you guarantee Astral Seal is always up.
Lance of Faith * – You have to have 1 point in it but there’s no reason to ever choose to put points in LoF. It does do slightly more damage per hit than Sacred Flame but it only attacks once per second whereas Sacred Flame attacks 3 times per 2 seconds. LoF may actually do marginally more DPS in spite of Sacred Flame casting 33% faster but since you’re a cleric that doesn’t matter and it’s better to cast faster so you can move again faster. Sacred Flame also has the temp hit points as a ward which just makes it the better choice all the time.
Sacred Flame *** – If you need a spell to spam this should be your go-to spell. Unless you are running Brand of the Sun and Astral Seal you should be running Scared Flame and Astral Seal. The temporary hitpoints are nice and the DPS is solid. Mostly you will spam it for divinity gaining purposes though and everything else is just a bonus.
Brand of the Sun *** – This is a solid spell for PvP and added DPS. Using Brand of the Sun with Astral Seal does make a nice combo for passively gaining divinity while on the move. 3 casts of BotS will fill a divinity pip with 5/5 in Bountiful Fortune by the time they expire. Obviously 3 casts on 3 targets since it doesn’t stack on a single target. If those targets are also tagged by Astral Seal you will get a nice little bit of healing steadily coming in too.
Healer’s Lore *** – You’ve got to put points somewhere and Healer’s Lore is a solid option while leveling. It’s not very useful at end-game but that’s because you always have something better to slot in your bar. The fact is +15% healing just isn’t as good as +11% damage reduction or being able to cast Hallowed Ground more often.
Divine Fortune *** – This is a very situational Class Feature but when you need it you’ll be glad to have it. It’s not as useful as Holy Fervor most of the time but on kite-heavy fights Divine Fortune + Healing Word will keep you in Divinity and give you some extra regen while you run in circles. Outside of a select few fights it’s not that useful though.
Sooth – I don’t feel sooth is good for anything. I’ve tried running with it and without and I just found I still had most of the aggro so why bother, an entire Class Feature to have maybe 3 less mobs on me didn’t seem worth it. Some people seem to think it’s great, though I’m not sure how much is placebo versus how much it actually does. Either way I don’t use and I don’t miss it or wish I had it.
Holy Fervor *** – This is on my bar 99% of the time. I only ever swap it out for Divine Fortune in select boss fights. +15% AP gain makes a big difference when you want to put Hallowed Ground up as much as possible. It’s my second favourite Class Feature.
Foresight *** – This is the single best Class Feature we have. It should NEVER leave your bar under any circumstance, no excuses. 6% damage reduction, 11% with Benefit of Foresight, will keep you, and your group, alive better than anything else you could ever use in a Class Feature slot. Just use it.
Terrifying Insight – Oh if only I had this on my CW. This is just a useless ability for a cleric. We aren’t DPS. I suppose if you have a static group that lets you be DPS this would be amazing but for a healer it has less than no value. Using it would require you to not be using something good so it’s detrimental to you and your group.
Prophetic Action – Even if this works exactly as described it’s still garbage (I’ve seen talk that it procs less than once every 60 seconds). Blocking one attack every 40 seconds when you get hit 40+ times in 40 seconds has no value at all. It’s also very likely to block some pathetic little 200 damage hit instead of that big 15k hit you wish it would block. Just not worth wasting points on, never mind actually slotting it.
Sun Burst *** – This never leaves my bar, ever. It is the best ability we have build Divinity and Action Points. It also heals, does decent damage, procs Repurpose Soul, and doesn’t require aiming. You should never cast it in divinity mode unless you are throwing something in a pit or over an edge. Control Wizards will get really mad at you for scattering things, with good reason, and you have better things to do with your divinity most of the time. Also if you cast it in Divinity mode you’re losing divinity by casting your divinity builder. This does create ridiculous amounts of threat though, GFs only wish they had this kind of AoE threat generation.
Healing Word *** – Healing Taunt… err.. Healing Word is not useful in most situations but, as mentioned above, when combined with Divine Fortune it is very useful on kite-heavy boss fights. I also refer to Healing Word as Healing Taunt because if a mob is attacking someone and you throw Healing Word on them that mob will turn and run at you 99% of the time. It’s almost as good as a hard taunt.
Searing Light *** – I’ve recently changed my mind about this spell and I now love it. I still think it’s terrible for leveling/soloing and for a lot of T1 and T2 dungeons. Castle Never is where this shines, and any other place where there is a ridiculous number of adds and you don’t need extra healing. What makes it so good is that all our other DPS abilities can only hit 5 targets, Searing Light can hit up to 30 times when cast in Divine Mode. If you wait on a Singularity from a CW and cast Searing Light in Divine Mode you will hit 5 targets which will each produce a small AoE for 50% of the damage they were hit for that can hit another 5 targets. This just wrecks large groups of enemies. If there’s only 5 enemies and/or they aren’t clustered up nicely by a CW then Daunting Light is a better option.
Chains of Blazing Light * – It’s nice for leveling with but in the big picture of T2s and CN it has no use. You just always have something better to slot. Trapping 5 enemies over there while the rest move around isn’t useful and the CW is supposed to be controlling the mobs, not you.
Daunting Light *** – This is our staple DPS ability for leveling, soloing, and most dungeons where extra healing isn’t needed. Not much else to say about it, it’s good at what it does.
Forgemaster’s Flame *** – As strange as it sounds, this is our BEST HEAL. You should always cast in divine mode for the heal which is roughly double the damage it does in an AoE around the target. The AoE heal is roughly the size of an Astral Shield circle centered on the mob you target. Dropping FF on bosses for Rogues often produces very happy rogues. It also builds a fair amount of divinity when cast normally if extra healing isn’t needed or you need divinity to fuel an Astral Shield NOW. This should be used in situations where you need more healing than Astral Shield + Sun Burst provides.
Prophecy of Doom – Good on paper, bad in practice. Apart from the fact the debuff seems to be bugged currently, even if it worked as described it just doesn’t ever warrant a place on my bar. Its only potential use is AP generation but in far too many situations it just isn’t the optimal choice. The only time that extra AP is going to make a significant difference are a few hard boss fights but a lot of those fights things aren’t dying frequently enough, or possibly even not dying at all. If you can make it work for you then all the power to you but I found the mechanics of it to be terrible and trying to use it was often more detrimental than just using something else.
Bastion of Health – The base cooldown of 25 seconds kills it dead in its tracks. A single cast of it is good but the fact that a realistic CD for it is 18 seconds just makes it a horrible choice for your bar. Even with a 56.5% RSI it still has a 16 second CD (and that level of RSI requires using a Terrible Build) I still actually have 3 points here because I thought maybe I’d find a use for it, I didn’t, or maybe they’ll reduce the CD by around 50% and make it useful, they haven’t yet.
Break the Spirit *** – This only gets 3 points because it’s good for PvP. I tried spamming this on a boss once with a GF in the party. I had aggro whenever his taunt fell off. This didn’t help one bit. Not to mention the fact that our aggro problems are from swarms of adds, not just one target. I don’t feel this has any place in PvE currently.
Divine Glow – Currently buggy and in divine mode it will actually reduce the damage you do to mobs. Don’t ever use it. I still have 3 points here because I’m hoping they’ll fix it. If/When this gets fixed to work as described in the tool-tip it will be an amazing spell for damage and (de)buffing.
Astral Shield **************** – I know you can only put 3 points here, but I wanted to make a point. This is our single best ability. If this isn’t on your bar, you fail. If you cast it outside divine mode, you fail. It should ALWAYS BE BLUE and ALWAYS ON THE GROUND. Casting a yellow AS is just pissing away the spell, don’t do it. Yes it happens by accident sometimes but you should not cast it if you don’t have divinity, though you should never use your last Pip unless it’s for Astral Shield. I always tell my guild mates you can tell the quality of a Cleric by the color of their shield, how often it’s down, and where it’s down. It should be Blue 100% of the time and where the melee needs it to be (some bosses are exceptions to the location rule).
Guardian of Faith * – No choice regarding the point here, totally useless daily though. Drop it as soon as you can.
Flame Strike *** – Our best daily for soloing/leveling. It’s also useful in dungeon runs where your group doesn’t need Hallowed Ground for trash. There are some rare circumstances in dungeons where Flame Strike is a better choice than Hallowed Ground. Mostly it’s when there’s a large amount of mobs around and casting Flame Strike will KILL a good chunk of them NOW. Don’t use it to just weaken enemies but if you can KILL something that is a problem it might be better than Hallowed Ground at that moment.
Hallowed Ground ******* – Just like Astral Shield, making a point. This is our single best Daily power. When in doubt, this is what you cast. You want HG up as close to 100% of the time as possible, unless the above mentioned Flame Strike exception comes up. The only other time you may not run this is if there are 2 clerics in your group. HG doesn’t stack and if one of you can get HG up near 100% of the time then someone should switch to Divine Armor.
Divine Armor *** – A solid alternate to HG when running with a second Cleric. Not generally a better choice than HG otherwise but good to have points here if/when you need it.
Hammer of Fate – Kind of fun in PvP but only does marginally more damage than Flame Strike and has no place in PvE. I don’t waste points here because Flame Strike does what I need it to in PvP as well.
I’m going to start with heroic feats then move on to each tree one at a time. The format I’ll be using is:
Name of Feat X/Y – Opinion and thoughts on the feat. (X/Y is number of points I have in it for my current build. Note my cleric is not human but I’ll note where I would put the 3 extra points.)
Healing Action 0/5– This feat is broken, buggy, ambiguous, garbage, or some combination of those. It might only apply to Healing Word and Bastion of Health or it might apply to those plus Sun Burst and Astral Shield or maybe all abilities that heal. Regardless I wouldn’t suggest bothering with it for now because there’s better stuff in the first tier.
Greater Fortune 3/3 – 1/2/3% more healing power from wisdom is just a good solid use for 3 feat points in the first tier. It’s nothing fancy, it’s just good and that’s all there is to it really.
Toughness 3/3 – 3/6/9% more max health is just good. You really can’t go wrong with max health on a Cleric. Between Soulforged, Miracle Healers, Invigorated Healing, Moontouched, Holy Resolve, and Regeneration there’s so much benefit to having more max health. If you really just want to get to the next tier 2/3 is a fine choice and you may want to put that point elsewhere.
Holy Resolve 3/3 – This feat can really save your bacon, especially combined with a Soulforged enchantment. I strongly recommend considering putting some points here. I would cap out Toughness before Holy Resolve but you will likely want to put points here to move up to Tier 3 feats.
Domain Synergy 0/5 – I can’t honestly recommend every putting points in this, diminishing returns wrecks it’s viability almost completely. Considering you will have 2,368 recovery without trying let’s take that number as an example:
2,368 * 1.05 = 2,468 – 2,368 = 118 recovery or a roughly +0.75% Recharge Speed Increase.
or with a bigger number:
4,000 * 1.05 = 4,200 – 4,000 = 200 recovery or a roughly +0.5% RSI
It actually gets LESS useful as you get more recovery. Don’t waste feat points on it.
Weapon Master 3/3 – This is the best, or second best after Greater Fortune, feat we have in the first 2 tiers. 1/2/3% more crit chance is just plain good. Again it’s nothing fancy, it’s just good and you should put 3 points here.
Initiate of Faith 0/5 – This feat is just BAD. Pure a simple, it’s bad. Even at 5/5 it’s 1% of your power to Critical Strike. Suppose you have 5,000 Power (that’s a lot) then you would get a whole 50 Crit… that’s it, just 50. Add that to the 1,848 you are going to have from BiS gear and you gain about 0.15 Crit chance. As I said, it’s bad.
Repurpose Soul 3/3 – This is arguably our Best Heroic Feat. It doesn’t work with all our abilities (e.g. Daunting Light) but it does work with At-Wills and at least Sun Burst. Either way, it’s free healing on Crits. Since you are going to have a 25%+ Crit chance anyway you might as well make your crits heal.
Battlewise 0/3 – Threat is broken and this won’t fix it. Clerics have a massive AoE Taunt without a target cap called Healing and you will always aggro everything before others do. I’ve never run this and people have no problem peeling mobs off me when they try but the thing is they have to try and they can’t peel ALL the mobs because they have limits on number of targets they can generate threat on and I don’t.
Cleanse 1/3 – There aren’t actually a huge number of dangerous DoTs in the game worth cleansing. Astral Seal and Astral Shield also keep Cleanse proccing pretty often even with a low 10% chance. I used to run 3/3 and if you are a human I probably would cap this out with 2 of the 3 bonus feats.
Templar’s Domain 0/5 – 30% more Armor Penetration… 0 * 1.3 = 0. Unless you are running a DPS spec with a static that’s okay with it there’s no good reason to have any Armor Penetration so giving yourself 30% more nothing is just silly.
Bountiful Fortune 4/5 – It increases Divinity Gain, that’s makes it awesome. Period. If I was a human I’d cap this out at 5/5 without question. One of the biggest challenges you will face is divinity management and this makes it easier. Everything is better with divinity.
I’ve never played much with the Virtuous Feats because they are all very DPS focused. I am considering respeccing my other cleric (the too much recovery one) into a DPS spec in the near future so my opinion on these may change slightly. Overall I don’t like this tree at all for a healer cleric but I will try to assess these from a DPS cleric perspective.
Desperate Renewal 0/5 – Soothing Light is terrible. 25% more terrible waste of Divinity on someone who is about to die doesn’t make it a good use of divinity. I just couldn’t ever justify spending a single feat point on this. If Soothing Light wasn’t so terrible this might be worth taking but as it stands right now it’s not.
Rising Hope 2/5 – Rising Hope is a decent feat but it doesn’t work as described. It adds 15% of your power stat to recovery and 15% of recovery to power. I’m not really sure if that’s better or worse than 15% more power and 15% more recovery, either way it’s still good. I put 2 points here because in my own testing, mass AoE farming around Hotenow divine casting 2 spells on CD, I found 2 points was required to get close to 100% up-time on it. 1 point just wasn’t enough. Unless you want to get farther into the Virtuous tree I wouldn’t ever put more than 2 points here.
Power of the Sun 0/5 – If I was running a full DPS spec I’d probably take this. 5% less damage and 5% less crit chance on mobs is a very solid debuff to apply, especially on Brand of the Sun which is solid for a DPS spec. It just doesn’t fit in a healer spec though.
Second Sight 0/5 – This feat just confuses me. You don’t want Prophecy of Doom to ever end and do damage if you are actually running it. Generally you want it to do as little damage as possible so you can recast and get more AP as fast as possible. This means the heal would be small and a waste of feat points. Not to mention I’ve seen some suggestion it may not work, but even if it did I wouldn’t ever run it.
Nimbus of Light 0/5 – It’s always made me sad this is so far in the Virtuous tree because I want it. It’s a solid debuff added to, arguably, our best DPS ability. If I was to go full DPS on a cleric I would want this. The point investment to get it makes it a bad choice for a healer though.
Focused Poise 0/5 – 5% more damage on non-crits might make Lance of Faith a better option than Sacred Flame or DPS but I’m not really sure it would. If that 5% doesn’t translate to crits at all and you are running a very high crit rate on a DPS spec with a Vorpal then you want more crits more often which Sacred Flame would be better for. I don’t think I’d waste points here even for a DPS spec, but experimentation is needed to say for sure.
Disciple of Divine Lore 0/5 – This is another weird feat. Although for a DPS Cleric you’ve got Terrifying Insight and then room for a second Class Feature. I’m not sure I’d be willing to give up Foresight even on a DPS Cleric but if I did this would be why I would. I have no idea what the up-time on the damage bonus is though and it would have to be pretty high, 75%-100% high, to justify this in my mind. Definitely worth consideration for DPS.
Strength of the Gods 0/5 – I would give this some serious consideration for a DPS Cleric. If you’re running a DPS Cleric there is obviously a healer cleric in your group and Hallowed Ground doesn’t stack so you shouldn’t be running Hallowed Ground. The boost to Divine Armor could make it a viable second Daily to go with Flame Strike (not a fan of Hammer of Fate). It really depends if you are even running Divine Armor though. Guardian of Faith isn’t even worth it with this fear buffing it.
Cycle of Change 0/1 – This is an interesting feat. If you’re running a DPS Cleric you don’t exactly have a lot of crit heals flying around but you would probably have lots of crit. You could simply use Astral Seal to fuel this though you’d have to give up Brand of the Sun to do it. I would have to really play around to see if this can be fueled well enough as a DPS Cleric to make it worth even the 1 point.
I love this tree!
Deepstone Blessing 0/5 – This feat sounds good on paper until you realize the incredibly low up-time of temporary hit points. Generally if someone has temp HP they don’t need healing if they don’t have temp HP they do. Clerics actually have very little ability to put up and maintain temp HP which makes this not so great. If you happen to run with a static and every other class takes everything they can to pop temp HP on themselves and others it might be good, but that requires every other class to gimp themselves just so you can heal a little bit more. Enduring Relief is just the better option.
Enduring Relief 5/5 – This is currently bugged and procs of Astral Seal, meaning you can get 100% up-time easily. It also stacks if you have 1 from Astral Seal and then cast Astral Shield, or any other heal (like FF), from divine mode. It’s still not a ‘great’ feat but I take it to get deeper in the tree where the good stuff is.
Benefit of Foresight 5/5 – This is probably the single best non-divinity related feat we have. You should ALWAYS be running Foresight and this just makes it better. Giving your group 11% damage reduction is one of the best things you can do as a Cleric, it’s right behind a BLUE Astral Shield. This should be a part of any healer build.
Linked Spirit 0/5 – I used to run this as a part of my build but I’ve moved away from it because it’s up-time is terrible and the diminishing returns problem. 5% more of your stats isn’t actually a huge amount. None of your stats should ever be over 3k, except maybe power, so at best you’re giving +100-150 of various stats. It also procs if and only if the initial cast of a healing ability heals 2+ people and it has to HEAL, over healing doesn’t count. It just doesn’t amount to much and there’s better uses for 5 feat points.
Invigorated Healing 5/5 – This is a wonderful feat. The delayed heal may go to waste on occasion but since I always run Sun Burst and Astral Shield there’s a lot of 2.5% max health heals popping all over. The other nice thing is that it’s a self-heal that gets around Righteousness (*insert rant about Righteousness*).
Power of Life 0/5 – I don’t like this feat because the heal from Astral Seal and the Temp HP from Sacred Flame are both really low. 10% more doesn’t make it much bigger. The main purpose of Astral Seal is proccing buffs, not healing. Sacred Flame is for building Divinity, not temp HP. If I had 5 spare feat points I might consider this, but I just have better uses for my feats.
Mark of Mending 0/5 – I used to run with this but I don’t even use Healer’s Lore anymore so it doesn’t make sense to put points here. There’s also the issue that recovery should probably not be over 3k and 150 power isn’t really that significant. Mostly it’s just that I prefer Holy Fervor for the increased AP gain and more Hallowed Ground that keeps Healer’s Lore off my bar (the other spot is Foresight and nothing will remove that from my bar).
Moon Touched 5/5 – I’ve gone back and forth on Moon Touched a lot. HG lasts 15 seconds so it will tick 5 times for 5% max health each time, so it’s a 25% max health heal over 15 seconds. It’s definitely good but it requires HG usage and when I run with another cleric and I’m using Divine Armor instead or I cast Flame Strike occasionally I feel like I’m wasting points here. It’s best when your group is struggling a bit more with content and you really need HG up a lot. I’m also not entirely sure where I would want to move the points. Either way this is a solid choice for a healer.
Greater Divine Power 0/1 – Personally I don’t like this feat at all. It does nothing to help me generate Divinity and since I constantly use divinity before I even reach 3 full pips why do I want another empty pip sitting around? It just feels like a wasted point to me. Some people I know who play clerics love it though. I just prefer to put the point somewhere else.
Divine Advantage 0/5 – In theory this feat is wonderful. Unfortunately it doesn’t proc off much of anything. Healing Word, Soothing Light, and Bastion of Health are the only abilities I have ever seen proc Divine Advantage and I don’t use any of those (Healing Taunt is an exception as mentioned above). I’ve seen some claim it procs on every except you when using Sun Burst but that doesn’t make it any better. I’m the one getting mobbed and hit by combat advantage. If I can’t easily put this on myself with my good abilities why the heck would I want it?
Righteous Rage of Tempus 5/5 – More divinity on crits? YES! Since you will likely have 25%+ crit rate anyway more divinity when you crit is great. More divinity is great, period. Also it gets you to the next tier which is what really matters here.
Ethereal Boon 4/5 – This is an amazing feat, it gives you 2/4/6/8/10% of a divinity bar when something comes off CD. It also lets you build divinity outside of combat by spamming abilities at nothing and waiting on CD. I often consider pulling that 2nd point out of Rising hope and putting it here to get 5/5 but then I also don’t have many divinity problems anymore. If you don’t have this and you have divinity problems this will go a long way to fixing them.
Restoration Master 0/5 – You can actually get this up near 100% of the time on people through Astral Seal and a high enough crit chance. The problem is it adds 5% to their Defense stat, which means it might reduce damage by 2% at best and suffers from the diminishing returns problem. It just doesn’t really pull it’s weight for 5 feat points.
Warding Shield 0/5 – You have to use Bastion of Health, and that is a non-starter for me. The CD on Bastion of Health is just too long and with the 6 second up-time you’ll only have the damage reduction up 33% of the time at best. Maybe if BoH had something closer to a 9 second CD this would be good but you can’t get the CD on BoH that low.
Power of Oppression 0/5 – I’ve never actually used this but it’s always there saying “Hey, look at me! I’m good!” I just don’t have the feats to put in it. I saw someone say this stacks, which would be amazing. Even if it doesn’t 5% less damage from enemies is great. You do have to be good at tagging enemies with Astral Seal and keeping it up on large numbers of enemies though. I have considered pulling 5/5 from Moon Touched and getting this on more than one occasion, but I never have.
Healing Step 0/5 – I’ve never used this or even really heard anything about it. 5% temp HP when crit once every 20 seconds doesn’t appeal to me. The 100% Stamina Regen for 10 seconds does sound nice, but I don’t usually find I need to dodge more than I do as long as I don’t waste dodges on things I can get hit by and walk out of things I can walk out of. It’s just another one of those feats that doesn’t quite make the final cut and earn 5 of my 31 feat points.
Righteous Flames 0/5 – This feat seems like it’s in the wrong place. I’d probably like this on a DPS/CC Cleric build but if I did that I’d be going in the Virtuous Tree not 20 into Righteous. In spite of that a 0.5 second stun isn’t really that significant, especially when a well placed Flame Strike already knocks your primary targets prone for longer than that. I also generally time my Flame Strike just after a Singularity so it has already hit max targets and the 0.5 second stun would be wasted on enemies that are laying down.
Sovereign Justice 0/1 – This feat sounds really good but I have no idea how much it heals for and I’ve never wanted to spend 20 feat points to get it. There just isn’t enough good stuff on the way to it. With the way the game is now you could basically guarantee it would proc every 15 seconds. Although unless it heals at least 3 times as much as Invigorated Healing it’s not worth giving up IH for Sovereign Justice since you should be spamming Sun Burst which has about the same radius and can be cast twice in 18 seconds, plus an Astral Shield in there. I just can’t imagine giving up 3 Invigorated heals (7.5% of someone’s max health) for a single heal I have less control over.