Warrior Priests and Disciples of Khaine have been nemeses since launch, trading blows but never retreating. Mythic has made attempts at bringing the two careers closer together balance-wise, and has succeeded in some aspects. But with the current push in the melee healer community towards nerfing ranged healing and boosting melee healing, I can’t help but feel that one side is getting the short end of the stick. So I’ve set out to examine and compare both careers, especially in the melee department.
Originally, Order was supposed to be based around defense while Destruction around offense. In this aspect, DoKs should do more damage while WPs are supposed to excel at healing. Let’s see if this holds any water.
Please note that this is pure theorycrafting as my DoK is only in T2. If you think I got anything wrong, feel free to try to correct me.
Ranged Healing or “Thank you Mr. WP!”
First, let’s look at the ranged healing capabilities of both careers. If you claim that the healing output they can pump out, together with the survivability they can achieve while doing so, doesn’t put them on the FOTM end of the overpowered spectre, you must be fooling yourself. A nerf is in order. But that’s not the focus of this post, so forget about the OP-ness for a moment.
WPs had an upper hand over DoKs in ranged healing and survivability for a while after launch. Until DoKs put their armored fists down (probably smashing the table in the process), and said they want buffs. Dev’s responded (after three months, blaming the smashed planning table for their lack of patches) and delivered a patch that made ranged healing more viable for the career. Most of it was mirrored from the WPs, which is fine and dandy, since the Dev’s said they want to bring the careers closer to mirrors, as they don’t want the discrepancies to be too big.
So they got an AoE detaunt, their PBAoE now built mechanic points even when it didn’t hit any targets and they got a tactic that gave them Soul Essence (SE) when hit. Those are pretty major buffs right there.
Now the DoKs have some goodies for ranged healing, support and survivability of their own. A very good defensive morale 4 (WPs don’t have a viable one, so much for the Order being defensive theory), along with a nice tactic to make it easier to reach, a tactic for a shield proc on heal and a tactic that heals them on heal crit, both help survivability and an AoE stun morale 3. The only thing that was mirrored was morale 3, shortly after it got nerfed into a stagger. But that’s fine, we don’t want the careers to be complete mirrors, and WPs have their own pile of goodies (AP tactic, cleanse tactic, 20% more healing on avoided attack, PBAoE scaling Righteous Fury with the amount of targets hit).
Then there’s also the wounds party buff WPs can spec for, which is supposedly as strong as the DoK morale 4. The trick here is that the wounds buff is in the melee healing tree, which boosts none of the ranged healing abilities values. So in order for a WP to counter those rampant AoE wound debuffs destro has a monopoly on (going by the large amount of Chosen and dps BGs against the small amount of twohanded KotBS), they have to spec in a tree that decreases their healing output, while a DoK will boost his by speccing for the morale 4.
Nevertheless, WPs are still considered to be the better ranged healer of the two careers because of the synergy that their tactics provide. It has to be said though, DoKs aren’t trailing behind by much.
Melee Damage or “See you later sucker!”
I don’t think anyone can really try to argue the fact that DoKs are ahead in this department. Just examining their mechanic, tactics and abilities will reveal that if WPs are kings of healing, DoKs are kings of melee.
First of all DoKs unlike WPs wield two weapons, which means they’ll attack more often for less damage. Their crits will be smaller but will occur more often. Couple that with the fact that they have a few nice proc tactics, along with two auras that are damage procs, and you can see what I mean with synergy. Not to mention the fact that the frequency of the application of said procs and the amount of available dots will make it impossible for a healer to cleanse the important ones (heal debuff).
Second of all, DoKs get a baseline tactic that further increases their damage at the expense of casted heals. They basically get a free 10% crit and 10% parry, which has no drawback for melee healers really. Why hasn’t this been mirrored is mind-boggling. Do WPs get a tactic for 10% more healing crit and 10% disrupt/parry/dodge (well they do get a 10% disrupt tactic) at the expense of damage done, in lieu with their faction being more defensive? Would this be considered overpowered unless mirrored? Exactly.
- Murderous Intent: Crit and parry at an expense you can most definitely afford.
- Khaine’s Imbuement: A dot proc that synergises with the fast attack speed. Great for pure damage builds.
- Potent Covenants: Again, fast attack speed will result in auras proccing more consistently and this tactic will increase the proc. Useful to increase the damage when bombing aswell.
A digression on auras: When designing and brain storming the devs figured they’ll put in an armor aura, a proc damage aura and a proc healing aura. But then they thought that wasn’t cool enough for a DoK, so they just merged the damage and healing one into one aura and added another proc damage and snare aura (!). Even if the movement speed reduction is only 20%, it’s completely beyond me why this hasn’t been mirrored yet, as it allows the DoK to deal with kiters so much easier and improve the area melee healers are weak on, keeping up with their targets. Please mirror Prayer of Righteousness with Covenant of Celerity, as Endless Guilt is not a substitute for a ranged snare.
- Sanguinary Extension: I don’t know how useful this is, but it sounds as an improved Flail/Castigation and I see DoKs using it.
- Fell Sacrifice: It can be compared to Soulfire and seems better in that regard. Its duration is insane and only has a 1 sec cast time. I don’t see the need to have this mirrored as Soulfire fits a similar role, even if it’s not as useful for a ranged healer.
- Wracking Agony: Already a mirrored with Hammer of Sigmar.
- Bloodthirst: Probably not as useful as it was before the nerf. As said above, Endless Guilt in this position can not substitute a ranged snare.
- Bleed Out: Good synergy and possible viability for a dot build? WPs don’t have that many dots though. Fanaticism for WPs doesn’t have as much of a value as people seem to think. Because crit is easy enough to get most high RR melee WPs won’t even bother with this.
- Curse of Khaine: I can not stress enough how big of a deal this 50% heal debuff is. It enables DoKs to wear down healers even if they can’t burst them down, and to absolutely demolish healers when at higher gear levels. WPs get Absence of Faith which is only a 25% heal debuff, takes AP, a gcd, deals no damage and can not have a 100% uptime. While Guilty Soul in this position is nice (would be much better for a DoK), WPs really need a viable heal debuff. Either mirror this, or change Absence of Faith into a 50% heal debuff that deals moderate damage (higher than Bludgeon).
Melee Healing or “Where did all these WPs come fro… *urgh*”
It’s well-known that melee healing isn’t nearly as viable as ranged healing. This stems from the fact that melee healers have no way of dealing with high armor values (weaponskill stacking is quite hard to achieve), the myriad of absorb shields, avoidance, damage debuffs or CC. The healing produced isn’t reliable and melee healers usually don’t have enough survivability to survive the frontlines. It might be semi-viable in smaller scale combat, but the career and mastery design will need a lot of work and changes before it can be used outside of solo and small-scale environment.
It seems that the playstyle these specs support differ slightly for both careers. Grace for WPs seem to be focused more on buffing allies and increasing their survivability, while Sacrifice for DoKs seems to be focused on hindering enemies and increasing the damage output of allies.
- Transferred Focus: Defensive target receives more heals (including melee heals) after you crit. Quite awesome for melee healing.
- Life’s End (rank 1 morale): Heals everyone in 100 feet for 50% of the damage you deal for 10 sec, I’d say that immensely helps a melee healing DoK when his group is in trouble. Though when it comes to morales, I have to admit that Divine Replenishment (morale 2) is as good as melee healer morales get, even if WPs don’t get one that helps them keep their group up.
- Warding Strike: Great ability, as it decreases your opponents chance to parry, thus increasing the likelihood of hitting with your melee heals. WPs get Sigmar’s Vision, which does the opposite, it increases your allies’ parry. While this may seem to fit the defensive Order/offensive Destro theory, what it really does is just compensate for the career’s shortcomings. Dual Wield grants an inherent 10% parry, while twohanded weapons grant 10% block strikethrough. One thing to note though, is that parry is much easier to get than parry strikethrough, thus parry isn’t as valuable as parry strikethrough.
- Devour Essence: Here’s where the DoK gains an upper hand in melee healing. When comparing this ability with Sigmar’s Shield, WP mirror ability, you’ll notice that healing from the DoK version scales with damage done and doesn’t require the targets to do anything besides standing there, while WP version scales only with mastery points and requires attackers. Additionally, it doesn’t have an internal cooldown, which means that you’ll most likely get drained of all RF in a matter of seconds with very little healing to show for it. Please mirror it, or change Sigmar’s Shield to scale with strength.
- Pillage Essence: This ability seems somewhat lackluster and in comparison with Sigmar’s Grace, although out-of-place, isn’t worth the mastery points. The only use for it I could think of is building an AP drain build, something DoKs have the means for. I don’t think the wounds buff needs to be mirrored, as wounds debuff aren’t as prevalent when fighting Order as they are when fighting Destro.
- Horrifying Offering: Only useful for an AP drain build and as such too situational. Greave of Sigmar is much better in comparison. Possible mirror candidate.
- Gift of Khaine: While somewhat situational it is useful when running with a career that is AP starved. Unfortunately, WPs and DoKs are usually AP starved themselves. The “won’t work on yourself” restriction should be removed and the tactic mirrored. While Leading the Prayer can add some survivability it’s too situational and doesn’t do anything for the career’s melee healing.
- Empowered Transfer: Already mirrored with Grace of Sigmar.
Through careful examination (orly?) I have come to a conclusion. Let me explain it in graphical terms.
Ranged healing WP >> healing DoK
Melee healing DoK > melee healing WP
Melee dps DoK >>> melee dps WP
No seriously. While a WP might have more group utility over a DoK, the solo viability and the killing power of a melee DoK is much bigger than that of a melee WP. And thanks to The Shield (it can’t be Sigmar’s cause it’s too crappy) they can even melee heal better. Is not having to rely on your team mates a good or a bad thing?
If you are pushing for nerfs on ranged healing of WPs and DoKs and a buff to melee healing, please remember that WPs are getting screwed in the end. Take this into account: if WPs are better healers then a nerf to ranged healing will hit them harder than DoKs, therefore being a bigger nerf for them. If the DoKs are better melee healers/dps, then a buff to those areas will benefit them more, while leaving the WPs (who will receive less of a buff) behind.
Before you DoKs start thinking about making melee healing viable, please think of your neglected enemies. Think of everything we’ve done for you, and help us/wait for us get that melee buff we deserve. We’ll gladly join you in pushing for more viability on melee healing after. ;)