Hero Building: Magical Medics
Because every game has a need for healers
For those who wish to heal in Champions Online there was previously primarily the recourse to the Telepathy powerset (Mind Archetype) and magical healing (the Grimoure Archetype). Recently, the Radiant Archetype was added, using celestial magic to heal allies. This also included a new light-based powerset for people who are able to build FreeForms, with the interesting concept of abilities that will heal allies, but can be used to harm your enemies if you use it on them instead.
This Lens is about the intricacies of building a Freeform healer using mostly Celestial and mystic powersets which (while capable of running basic content on its own) is completely focused on group content such as Alerts and Adventure Packs.
Step 1: Superstats and Travel Powers
As with all Heroes created in Champions Online, your choice in Superstats determines your character's effectiveness and relative power. It is one of the first decisions to make, but is (in the case of a Healer) a lot simpler that it would appear.
For a character in the healer role, Presence is really the most important stat, since it increases the power of your healing. When taken as a superstat, it also increases your damage done and gives and additional bonus to healing on top.
Ego makes for a fine secondary superstat, because it improves your damage. In almost all cases, a healer's damage will be ranged in nature. It also affects the efficiency of ranged Holds and Incapacitates, which will make it easier to deal with stronger enemies.
For your third superstat I'd recommend Recovery (for improved Energy gains and health regeneration) or Intelligence (for reduced power costs, stealth detection and an increase in pet damage).
Presence (Superstat), Ego, Recovery
Presence (Superstat), Ego, Intelligence
Step 2: Powers by level
Below is a list of powers (per level) which will give you a good Healer character by level 40. I have tried as much as possible to ensure that you get a little more damage ability when things get tougher in the game, but as you approach the higher levels your toolkit is quite large already. The downside of this toolkit is that you spend a bit of time buffing yourself up before a big fight, and after you died. But then again, if you are a competent healer, you are likely to avoid this fate quite often!
Level 1: Radiance (energy builder)
Level 1: Rebuke (Damage/Heal)
Level 6: Seraphim (Slotted Support Passive)
Level 6: Teleport
Level 8: Force Shield (Block replacer)
Level 11: Illumination (Buff/Debuff)
Level 14: Compassion (Form)
Level 17: Ascension (Healing Active Power)
Level 20: Vengeance (AoE damage)
Level 23: Iniquity (Healing without Energy cost)
Level 26: Redemption (Resurrection)
Level 29: Mindful Reinforcement (Shield + Heal)
Level 32: Ritual of Radiant Summoning (Pet)
Level 35: Circle of Ebon Wrath (Damage Buff)
Level 35: Fire Flight (or any other travel power you'd like)
Level 38: Planar Fracture (AoE damage and debuffs)
Step 3: Talents and Specializations
As with most builds, you can simply select whatever talents give you +8 on your Superstats, or +5 to two of them. There's little need to go out of the box on this one, as you really have to prioritize Presence for healing and Ego for ranged damage. This may seem restrictive, but considering there's a lot of effort involved in making a good build work, it pays to have some areas where the best choice is no choice.
Your first branch (level 10-20) is determined by your primary superstat. The other two branches (level 20-30 and level 30-40) you can select for yourself. See my recommendations below.
Here the first step in the tree will be based on your Superstat - Presence. The key talents here that will make your life easier as a healer are:
* Selfless Ally - you are healed for a portion of your heals on others
* Brilliance - Critical heals now leave a Heal-over-time effect
* Moment of Glory - Secondary superstats now increase crit chance
The synergy here is that you can heal others while not minding your own health too much (a common problem because healing others makes the enemies hate you and come to attack you) and a large chance to score a critical heal also means leaving a heal-over-time, taking away some of the stress of "babysitting" someone's health bar.
Recommended second tree: Sentinel
The Sentinel branch gives primarily healing tools, with a few bonuses primarily assisting in recovering allies and the power of your healing abilities. Key choices here are:
* Eternal Spring - Another heal-over-time effect put on targets (other than you) which you critically heal
* Caregiver - increases heals and shields you cast on others
* Sentinel Aura - heals you and your allies nearby for a little bit continuously
* Rejuvenated - you gain energy when you leave a heal-over-time effect
* Genesis - heals, holds and shields are now cheaper to cast
The key here is that between Eternal Spring and Brilliance you will leave plenty of HoTs - and each will give you energy back. This ensures you have powerful heals, a chance to drop HoTs, and almost limitless energy to heal with.
Third tree: choice between Commander and Overseer
The third branch gives us a few options to choose from. Commander is a pet-related tree, giving you more powerful pets that heal for more. In the standard build as I describe it, this tree isn't worth it since you will have only one pet. However, if you gave up some damage or support abilities from summonings, then this tree becomes worth it.
For a pure healer with minor ranged ability, I'd recommend Overseer, which has the following key talents:
* Overseer Aura - increased ranged damage done by you and allies
* Administer - increases power of heals and shields
* Ruthless - increase crit severity (the amount of extra healing or damage on a crit)
* Honor - buff to your damage after healing or shielding an ally
Key for this branch is increasing your damage as well as healing. Ruthless increases the amount of damage and healing you do on a crit, and with the benefits from the previous two trees, that's plenty of it. Honor allows you to ocasionally shield or heal allies, and make up for the lost "damage time" by giving you a damage buff.
At level 40, you can choose one ability from three. Which three abilities you have available depends on the trees you selected for your specializations. With Presence, Sentinel and Overseer, these are your choices:
Presence Mastery: Direct Heals cause a Shield for 6 seconds with Health equal to 10% of Heal and Shields increases Heal Received on that target by 10%
Sentinel Mastery: For up to 8 seconds after attempting to Mez a foe(s), anyone attacking that target Heals 2% of Max Health, 1 second Cooldown between Heals
Overseer Mastery: If target is below 20%, increase Base Heal or Base Damage by 10%
You can only choose one of these; my personal preference would be Presence Mastery, which is a good all-round ability. If you have several Incapacitate/Stun/Sleep effects, Sentinel Mastery might be worth it, if you have a lot of fast damage-dealers in your team. Overseer Mastery is so-so; while good for doing ranged damage, if you are a healer and your allies are below 20% you're in big, big trouble.
Step 4: Advantages
After selecting your powers, you get to spend advantage points (36 points at level 40) to improve the individual and specific functioning of powers. You can use them to increase a power's rank (making them more powerful) or give them specific benefits. I am not going to specify exactly how to spend these points, as this depends a lot on your playstyle, but I will mark some advantages as "mandatory" (generally you really want to take these) or "recommended" (good but not game-breaking).
Force Sheath on Force Shield - after blocking attacks with Shift, the protection stays a little after releasing the button
Light Everlasting on Vala's Light - if you fully charge the heal, it leaves a HoT behind
Justice on Iniquity - makes this heal a Cone shape AoE
Brilliance on Illumination - affect up to five targets, whether friends or foes
Judgement on Ascension - consumes all illumination stacks from friends (healing them) and foes (damaging them)
Salvation on Redemption - you can now resurrect up to 4 team members
Unbound Ritual on Circle of Radiant Summoning - your pet can now leave the circle it is summoned in.
Redemption denied on Vengeance - this ability now paralyzes and stuns targets when fully charged.
Admonish on Rebuke - Stuns foes near your target.
There are several good variants you can use to tailor the list above. Since the actual healing part of your build actually doesn't take up all that much space, you can easily make some variants that can knock the socks off of powerful mobs or provide more than expected crowd control and buffs.
Angel of Wrath
If you want to focus more on fiery destruction, or run with a lot of Elemental-based teams, you may want to replace Radiant Summoning with Fire Snake and Expulse with Skarn's Bane. These two provide good (sometimes great) damage, with the Fire Snake also debuffinf enemies to be weaker against fire.
More Heals, less kills
If you want to focus even more on healing teams and less on damage, remove Vengeance and Expulse and replace them with Palliate (with the Reverence advantage so that it wipes threat) and Protection Field (from the Force power set) for an additional shield that provides energy when your team members are hit.
Mixing up the Celestial and Shadow powersets can be surprisingly fun. More suited for solo play, you could remove the Expulse, Vengeance Iniquity and Redemption powers, replacing them with Shadow Shroud (Defensive cooldown), Ebon Rift (Which sucks enemies closer in and damages them), Summon Shadows and Void Horror. This makes you a master of many pets, which will allow you to clear large enemies of lesser mobs, while taking down the more powerful ones yourself.
Do note that as a purely damage-dealing or adventure-soloing character this build is simply not suited, as it is primarily a Healer. See another lens to come regarding using Darkness and Sorcery powersets for a survivable hero that excels at that role.
How to heal your way to people's hearts
The basics for both healing and damaging are the same, considering the Celestial powerset has the unique feature of attacks being healing abilities as well. Illumination with the Brilliance advantage can debuff a single group of foes at once - or buff a group of allies. You can use Ego Sleep, Rebuke with Admonish and Vengeance with Redemption Denied advantages to stun and paralyze groups of enemies - after which you can pick off the ones you want to kill one by one.
As for healing, Illumination on your allies is usually not needed - place it on your enemies and they will heal themselves by hitting their foes. Mindful Reinforcement is your main show-stopper, giving a solid shield on an ally while providing a heal later on.
Use your Ritual of Radiant Summoning to have your little pet angel provide spot healing, while hiding in your Circle of Ebon Wrath. Because it Fears nearby foes, it will reduce any damage you might be taking because of threat on the enemies.
If you are really in a bind, use Ascension to boost your healing, and if you run out of Energy and still need more healing, you can sacrifice your health to heal allies with Iniquity, trusting on your angel pet to heal you up partially.
If an ally does perish, don't panic! Simply use heals and shields to ensure the others are safe, and bring him back to life with Redemption. If you buy the Salvation advantage, you can essentially bring your whole team back in the fight at once.