I’ve been maining the Devoted Cleric character since I joined Neverwinter, and I’ve been through some serious re-evaluations of the PvP setup for good performance. So, treat this post as a guide formed by observations gathered through PvP experience as a PuG rather than structured PvP where everything is easier.
Also, considering that resources are not unlimited and that people don’t always want to spend millions of AD in order to get to rank 10/perfect enchants, I will keep this as low-AD-spending as possible. The idea is to discuss gameplay rather than showcase amazing enchants and fully legendary artifacts. So, if you are a Devoted Cleric, and a PvPer at heart then I hope that you’ll have a good read.
Stats and Race selection (and why)
Since GCTRL thought out of the box and identified that DC PvP requires a tanky setup (since it gets focused a lot) then running as a cleric in Domination maps became synonymous with running a tank in PvE. You need to survive and be able to help your party survive as well. Neverwinter is not shaped around healers kiting and spamming hp-giving spells, but it requires two difficults things to do:
a) Understanding the fight at hand and identify who is getting focused
b) Keep mobile and learn what to dodge and when
In order to be there for the team you need to survive. So, it’s clear that you will need to boost your defensive stats. The obvious stat to increase is Constitution since a high health pool is needed for many of your abilities and Regeneration to work better while you also get some indirect damage reduction through Dexterity. So the path most taken is going Halfling and getting the highest DEX/CON combination that you can get, while putting points only on those stats along the way.
However, there is a different path, since DEX is only giving you Deflect chance, and although you can climb to some good values without speccing for it, you will certainly need to enchant for it, in order to be viable. You can climb to somewhat 20-25% of deflection chance. The bad thing about deflection is that it’s random, so it always works in funny ways…meaning that you need to get lucky in order to deflect THAT attack instead of a ping from a Cloud of Steel. Of course it’s a passive stat and it’s always on, but really going DEX and enchanting for an almost 5-10% damage reduction isn’t too hot.
The different path came up to me when I kept coming to the conclusion that the worst enemy of the DC is getting crowed controlled. During this time you can’t kite, can’t cast and of course you can’t Shift, making you a defenseless dummy against an angry mob. Going full WISDOM can give CCers a run for their money, since in really high numbers you get to be as resilient as 19-20% CC resistance, not counting Halfling’s inherent bonus. So, although I liked DEX increase and it obviously works, I ran with my dwarf at 27 WIS, putting points at CON and WIS and never looked back. My toon is really tanky, and the CC resistance is so good that I can say that it has saved my hide much more than Deflection had. Anyway, you can choose both according to your gameplay style and whethere you are able to get high level Silvery Enchants (rank 8+) for defense slots.
Bottomline, Halflings and Dwarves seem to be the most fitting classes for PvP healers, but I always said that you should run whatever makes you happy to play. Regardless, I would suggest either going CON/DEX or CON/WIS and check what you like most.
Paragon paths and feats
I’ve given sometime to Anointed Champion, but it didn’t make the cut for me. It’s a different playstyle and it felt a bit clankier than Divine Oracle. Exaltation was awesome when it worked, but apart from that, I missed Sunburst and I missed Foresight for a reason. Also, I felt that Sacred Flame/Astral Seal was too good to pass…thus I quickly respecced back to Divine Oracle.
Now, before writing it off…I would like to hear some thoughts on the new paragon path from someone that used it a lot (preferably on PuG PvP) but I always felt that Sunburst/Healing Word/Astral Shield are too good to pass. So,
I am going for Divine Oracle and this is what I am going to discuss here. An Anointed Champion section can be added later on, but I would ask someone more experienced than me to step forward.
The only powers I’ve been using so far are:
- Astral Seal
- Healing Word
- Sacred Flame
- Astral Shield
- Divine Fortune
- Guardian of Faith
- Divine Armor
- Hallowed Ground (for PvE mostly)
- Hammer of Fate (solo PvE)
- Flame Strike (solo PvE)
- Divine Glow (solo PvE)
- Chains of Blazing Light (solo PvE)
Those are the powers that you’ll need to get 3/3 while leveling up and frankly the only powers you will need in the endgame DC. Of course if you want to go more in depth with PvE, don’t forget to tick on other relevant abilities like Bastion of Health or whatever you feel like.
My PvP setup is quite obvious and it’s
- Sacred Flame/Astral Seal
- Sunburst/ Healing Word / Astral Shield
- Foresight / Divine Fortune
- Guardian of Faith / Divine Armor
Here’s the reasoning behind it all.
Astral seal, is an amazing tool for healing people while you kite around and at the same time reducing the target’s damage and critical chance. Have it, love it and spam it around.
Sacred Flame is the best Divine Power generation along with temporary HP generation on the third hit. It’s very good especially if you find yourself the time to cast 3 in a row (rare, but happens if you manage to pass the initial onslaught focusing)
Sunburst is one of the best tools we have. Low cd, healing, damaging, distance creating, AP generation. Amazing…but needs to be used wisely. Most of the times you’ll need this on Divine mode if you are focused since the pushback is quite good and the flying time gives the breathing space for some regen ticks from Healing word/Regeneration which usually makes the difference between staying there or going back to the campfire. It’s also amazing to peel off that GWF that is chasing poor CWs or as we’ll discuss later popping the Ranger away before unleashing the Fox Shift burst.
Healing Word is the bread and butter ability. Use it whenever it’s off cooldown and always try to give it to someone else that is around (i.e. don’t self cast it if there is no reason). The regen comes back to you regardless if you are targeting yourself or not so put it out open-handedly. The Divine version of this spell is a good straight heal and also gives regeneration ticks. The good thing about the divine version is that it doesn’t consume a charge, so whenever you got Divine power pips you can Healing Word for some ‘burst healing’. Experience says that it’s the last priority divine spell that I will throw out, but judge according to the situation. Some times when the target is down and Astral shield is on CD, a Divine Healing Word followed by Channeling Divinity is enough to get the target back on its feet. Also…Healing word is the reason we run Divine Fortune. If you put it on many targets, then the Divinity keeps pouring in.
Astral Shield, besides being the trademark of DC it’s one of the best defensive abilities in PvP. Literally, it doubles the lifespan of anyone sitting on it. It provides damage mitigation by itself, it heals-ticks per second, and in turn the heals proc Foresight on the target (won’t even mention Cleanse procs). It’s your best ability and while you have it up, you are in super-tank mode. So learn to use it in 100% of its potential. More tips are in later chapters, but let’s say a bit earlier that although it’s better to use it on divine mode, sometimes even non-divine mode will do. Most of the times, this is done if you have only one pip of Divinity and you really need it to get a divine sunburst on. Example: a Ranger just used Forest Ghost and gets near you.
Foresight, is simple and amazing. 11% Damage reduction. Heal someone, share it with him/her. Amazing passive, reason to go Divine Oracle and part of the reason why people love good DCs in PvP.
Divine Fortune is all about Divine power management that works with our ‘spammable’ ability, being Healing Word. Other than that it provides nothing more. Seems like the next best choice after Foresight. If you run without it you will notice a huge difference in your divine power gain.
Guardian of Faith, is a much more reliable prone than Hammer of fate, which is putting the target in place for your team-mates to feast upon, unlike Hammer that pushes him away. It’s also a one-frame Daily rather than a three frame daily, although Hammer is much much more damage. Guardian is also coupled with some healing when the prone ends, so it’s quite nice. On Hammer’s defense, you get immunity during the casting time…so depending on what you like most, choose which one to slot.
Divine Armor is your ‘oh-$hit’ button. It grands defense boost and temporary hit points to the targeted area allies for a good time interval. Capable of saving near death experiences and turning battles around. It’s a must have daily and it’s the reason why you need Recovery in order to generate more AP from your damaging/healing abilities.
It’s the Righteous tree with all the PvP goodness and specced Foresight from Faithful. I got one point out of Foresight, to feed my Recovery by putting one point on the Virtuous tree. If your Recovery is high enough, neglect this and go 5/5 Foresight. Never leave home without Healing Step.
Gearing up and attributes
Up to module 2, there was no tier 2 epic set for the DCs that was worth the shot as far as survivability was concerned. Module 2 didn’t change anything gear-wise but introduced Artifacts and Dread Ring boons that boosted the Regeneration stat by 500-550 just by getting the Bloodskull artifact (24,000 glory points) and getting the Phantasmal Regeneration boon from the Dread ring campaign. Since the most obvious defensive stat that was missing from a Cleric set was Regeneration, the new module offsets the need to stack it through blue gear by a bit, allowing some funky gearing up with your favorite epic set, being Miracle healer. However, I chose to still rely on blues to get my Defesne, Regeneration and Recovery up, relying on the Exemplar gear (of youth) for anything but the chest piece. For the chest piece I went for Grand Templar’s stats boosting my Recovery to very good numbers allowing me to get the Astral Shield cooldown as low as possible (4 seconds without Astral Shield).
So my suggestion, for gearing:
Head: Exemplar’s Helmet of Youth (really cheap from AH, blue drop)
Chest: Grand Templar’s Armor (T2 chest drop, Temple of the Spider, quite high on AH)
Arms: Exemplar’s Gloves of Youth or if you have good Recovery Angelic Gauntlets. (Both from AH, however Angelic Gauntlets are quite high on price since they got popular from GCTRL’s guide).
Main Weapon and Off-hand: Ancient Royal Priest’s set is one of the best (if not the best) you can get. They drop from Castle Never runs or you can get them from AH. Since module 2, the prices went REALLY high, so if you search for an alternative aim for the ones with the highest Recovery.
Feet: Exemplar’s Graves of Youth (really cheap in AH, blue drop).
Neck: Ancient Brawler’s Necklace of Guts, simply due to the fact that it’s the most defensive neck piece you can find. I got it for 40k in the AH, but it can drop from Castle Never, just like every other ancient gear.
Rings: Ancient Priest’s Ring of Burning Light. Again, we are looking for the most defensive set of stats along with defensive enchant slots. They come with an HP boost, so they are a perfect match.
Belt: Thickgristle’s Sturdy Belt. One of the best value for money belts out there. It drops from the omonymous boss in Pirate Lair or you can get it for just 7-8k AD in AH. It’s a very nice piece of defensive equipment.
From your artifact recovery quest, grab Waters of Elah’zad. It’s obvious since it boosts your recovery and defense.
Then get your hand dirty and gather 24k glory points for the best PvP artifact around. Get the Bloodskull and assign it to your primary artifact slot. This along with Soulforged enchantment, will be your ‘get-out-of-jail’ card.
For the third artifact, get any defensive oriented one. Personally I haven’t seen anyone floating around my PvE runs or Dread Ring coffers, so I wouldn’t worry if I run without a 3rd artifact. Especially, if your only means of getting it is through the AH. The prices are very high still, so just focus on your other two artifacts and get them as high rank as you can. Especially Bloodskull.
Defensive slots: Radiant enchantments. The higher rank the better.
Offensive Slots: Silvery Enchantments. And yeah higher rank is better (duh)
Armor enchantment: Soulforged. Don’t even look to Barkshield. The new artifact makes Soulforged a must-have.
Weapon enchantment: I like Holy Avenger. Other people like Feytouched. You don’t have too many options when you search for a defensive weapon enchantment that matters, so choose between those two. Just remember that Feytouched requires good use of Sunburst, while Holy Avenger is fire and forget until it procs.
So,in a nutshell. Get as high in defense as possible (aim for a 35-40% Damage Reduction before Foresight is applied…remember that it doesn’t show on your character sheet), get to 1300ish Regeneration which is translated to 10% missing health back (maximum 50% health) and then get your Recovery as close to 3000 as possible. Don’t forget to keep a healthy critical chance (mine is somewhere around 24%). Also, the HP pool which is really important should be near 30k-33k. The Metagame
This section is dedicated to who is in the top of the food chain right now in PvP, and what you should be aware of, when you are facing other classes. I will emphasize on module 2 metagame, which is the time that I am writing this.
Great Weapon Fighter’s Era
Right now they are everywhere. People play them because they are the most tanky class with access to unstoppable to virtually stop damage while they are healing up with Regeneration. You are going to see a lot, and that’s good since from all damaging classes, they are the least effective on bursting you down. Emphasis should be given to the Sentinel specced ones, since they are much more common than their damaging counterparts in PvP.
Most of the times GWFs go in PvP with Roar,Takedown and Indomitable Battle strike. The first two are means to control and the last one is their most damaging encounter. Obviously you have to worry about the first two. In 1v1 situations it’s highly unlikely that he will be able to drop you to 50% hp. When people are zerging you, then Takedown/Roar becomes a killer so keep your dodge ready for those. Send in an Astral Seal when you see them and remember to Divine Sunburst while they are in normal mode. They are not a difficult opponent, and you may even be asked to face tank a Sentinel GWF in order to prevent him from claiming a node. If you play it right (and it’s not tough to learn the ropes of the fight), GWFs won’t be able to kill you without any major external help.
Probably the most popular class in the entire game. The choice of most ‘pro’ Damage dealers, due to the fact that they got all the cool toys to nuke and escape. Plus they look cool and ninja-like, which is a teenager’s wet dream all combined in a NW class. So, you are going to face a lot of them so better learn what you expect.
There are two major paths that are followed in TR PvP. The ones that swear to Bilethorn, and the ones that swear to Vorpal. Although the current metagame works better for the Bilethorn ones, you have to worry about the Vorpal users more. The reasoning behind this, is that Greater and Perfect Vorpal users are capable of high spikes of damage capable of sending you to Shocking Execution range. The Bilethorn ones are bugging GFs, GWFs and other TRs but they are not THAT good against DCs, since their damage comes in two parts (encounters and 4 secs afterwards poison dots).
The idea behind facing rogues is to understand where their damage is coming from. The Vorpal kind of TRs will probably go with Lashing Blade/Impossible to Catch and Impact Shot. They rely on Lashing blade to get big numbers from their enchant so…your best defense is to be mobile and know when to dodge. It’s not that tough to get awareness of what they are about to do, provided that you know they are around. Divine Sunburst when you know they are near, or dodge on the correct timing when you see them going into stealth. Keep running around and stay in your Astral Shield and you are going to be okay.
The Bilethorn ones will probably come with Shadow Strike/ Impossible to Catch and either Impact Shot or Path of the Blade. They are much easier to counter since they don’t have the burst damage.
Really important note, is to learn how to move away from the 3rd frame of Duelist Flurry. This is why it’s so important to move all the time, even if the rogue is in stealth. Best rogues around go in stealth, and start jumping around during the first 2 frames of Flurry, in order to land the 3rd frame in front of you. Learn how it works and counter it. Keep mobile, move away, dodge around, keep track of timing between their flurries.
Module 2, allows them to boost their offensive stats while they keep their Regeneration and Defense up high. An example I have from my own GF is that I got to 3100 Def, 1400 Defl, 1200 Regen, with 6000 power (Conqueror), 21% Critical chance and 2100 ArmPen with 20 Dex (meaning 33% of DR ignore). And imagine that I am not BiS geared, so don’t think that they hit like wet noodles, but treat them as a threat. However, they are not as bursty as the TRs/HRs or CWs…but they come with the Prone-package which is fearsome. GF’s only way to burst you down without using Knight’s Challenge is to get you in a prone chain which starts from Frontline Surge, gets to Bull Charge and ends up with Indomitable Strength. If he is properly specced he can get you dangerously low or kill you if you weren’t in 100% health. Your defense apart from random CC resistance, is knowing what you have to dodge and be mobile in order for Frontline surge to not hit you easily. You ONLY have to dodge Bull Charge. If they miss Bull Charge, there is no way to control you. Remember that most GFs that you have to worry about, have Bull Charge on a 9-10 sec CD, so keep track of your Dodges.
It goes without saying that Tank specced GFs, won’t be able to even hurt you.
The natural predators to DCs. They have burst damage and Crowd Control to keep you at place while they are bursting you down. Their main ability to kill you is Icy Knife, since the rest of their encounters can be healed around. The most usual way to die against a CW, is having them free casting at your head. You can withstand major damage from them, but if they manage to Entangling Force->Eye of the Stormed Icy Knife you are pretty much toast. Good CWs go for High Vizier set, which also draws some DEF away (-1350 Def if you get struck by 3 encounters). There is not much to be said about them, since CWs that know how to use Shard can multi stun you while dealing damage, making them your worst enemies. Your best bet is to learn their encounter animations/sounds and learn to dodge what you need to dodge. Dodge Icy Knife at all costs and try to get behind pillars/walls in order to stop their free casting on your head. A strategy I found very effective is placing an Astral Shield near a pillar/wall and play with their Line of Sight while you are healing up.
Fortunately, the current meta is not kind to our main adversaries, since GWFs and TRs are quite a counter to them. So guide your team-mates accordingly, i.e. tell them to focus CWs first while you are keeping them alive and know when to kite or when to stay in your circle. Also, know that most HV builds are gaining AP very fast, so expect an Icy Knife quite often. Learn to distinquish it by the characteristic casting animation and the ‘cha-chank’-like sound. J
New kids on the block, who fortunately if they are not specced in Combat they can be ignored forever – (damage-wise). The thing that they bring along, are roots that some of their encounters apply to you. The roots work in a very peculiar way, since they keep drawing you back to the place you got hit by the root. If they are weak roots (e.g. like the ones applied from Hindering Shot’s ranged ability), they will push you back gently, while strong roots (e.g. applied from Hindering Strike’s melee ability) keep pushing you backwards violently for a brief time interval. So potentially it can be very bad for you, if you have set your Astral Shield somewhere and you need to kite a bit around. Other than that the Archery tree has nothing more to offer.
Combat is a different story. They are currently able to burst down anything if they go with a P.Vorpal and lots of Armor Penetration…which is easy to come across. The burst comes from the interaction of Forest Ghost (daily) with Stormstep Action (passive). The HR will activate Ghost (bushes appear around him) go stealth and will be able to Fox Shift more than one time since the CD will be resetting during the Ghost duration. 2 Fox Shifts from a P.Vorpal Combat HR is enough to get anything from 100 to 0. The counters to this are quite easy, but they demand you to be prepared and understand what the HR is doing. The trick is to use Divine Sunburst when the HR activates Ghost. This will throw him away and will be enough for you to move away for the remaining seconds of Ghost’s activity (it lasts 5 seconds). Another good trick is to keep hitting the HR with Sacred Flame since incoming damage stops Forest Ghost Activation.
The DPS counterparts, can’t kill you if you are half decent at what you are doing.
Tips on PvP
- Always go for the mid node first. The way domination maps are right now, the main battle happens first, at node 2. If you decide to go in any other base you are wasting your capability to hold the main node.
- Before joining Domination PvP, hit some dummies in order to get your Divinity to 3 pips. It won’t reset upon joining the map.
- You can’t kill anyone half decent. Never fight on your own, but get someone along to help you. 1 DC with a decent damage dealer can even kill 3 enemies.
- It takes two good damage dealers to burst you down if you are out in the open and out of tricks. Know this and plan accordingly. Don’t charge in the enemy like you are a 17k gs Sentinel GWF, but keep your tricks up your sleeve to survive and help other survive.
- Always keep close to your team-mates, even if this means that you are next to their toons. This screw up the targeting of the opposing Damage dealers.
- Keep a good stock of the PvP pots. They are good for when taking damage and start falling under 50%
- Always keep Bloodskull for Soulforged resurrection in case the $hIt hits the fan.
- Learn the kiting paths. In Hotenow domination, node 2 has 4 rocks where you can play with Line of Sight (in the edge of the platforms), while node 1 and 3 have the pillars near the stairs. In Rivenscar ruins, avoid nodes 1 and 3, and keep close to the wall in node 2 (this will make you less vulnerable to snipers that go on the bridge.
- Remember to put AS on strategic spots if you are the one that is getting focused. For instance the places described above are amazing ,since you can hide and regenerate at the same time.
- If you have excess Divinity, remember that Channeling it to damage people on mounts will take 2 seconds to drop down anyone. Free stuns=good (although it won’t work on good players).
- Remember to keep Astral Seal on targets.
- Don’t lose hope until you learn how to play. Some PuG PvP matches will be very difficult since sometimes your team will be less competent than the opponents, so your role will be tough.