You could be the absolute best damage build in existence. You could kill thousands of opponents. Your bombs could generate enough ultimate from Combat Frenzy that you could chain them back to back and keep killing forever. The only problem is, you have a finite amount of health, and you won’t be able to do any of this if you’re dead. Too many bombers and damage dealing players seem to think that they are the be-all and end-all of PvP. Many don’t realize that they wouldn’t be able to accomplish very much without the healers and support roles that keep them alive, keep them moving, keep them purged, and keep them buffed with a myriad of benefits.
Raid healing may seem simple, and I’ve heard many people say things like “get a set of Seducer and just spam heals”. In reality, raid healing takes more awareness, predictive assessment, reaction times, exceptional positioning, and a higher degree of coordination than most damage roles. A group leader will call for ultimates or some damage skills, but rarely will a raid leader make healing related calls other than “big heals” or some variant thereof. Raid healers will need to coordinate their gear, positioning, movement, skills, timing, ultimates, and may not be able to take advantage of voice communications to do so (the purview of the group leader making calls).
In this guide / post, my intent is to give an overview of what different gear, skills, and styles should exist for raid healers so that your group can better plan and optimize (min/max) how you’re going to keep your raid alive. If you’re a solo player or a small group player, while the information here might be interesting it won’t apply significantly to your play style. Note that while the focus here is on Templars and Necromancers (the two raid healing classes I play regularly as of 2021/Q3), other classes can be viable raid healers as well. The information presented here is also focused on the premise that the healers in group will be coordinated and will want to min/max as a group rather than as individuals.
Individual healers playing in a group (as opposed to the aforementioned coordinated healers) or in non-CP campaigns will often want to use a higher regen or sustain set rather than one that will complement the group (such as Shroud of the Lich or Alteration Mastery).
As a main 5-set, most Templars will be very happy using Kagrenac’s Hope. This set has been a staple for many years, and gives a bit of everything: health, magicka, magicka regen, spell damage and the always important speed resurrection. This set pairs very well with The Master’s Resto as you can keep a Kagrenac’s resto staff, dual wield swords or sword & shield on one bar (depending on your build), and use The Master’s Resto for Illustrious Healing to apply the resource regeneration buff on your back bar.
Through 2021, most of the higher end raiding groups have all of their players supplying their own Major Evasion buff to mitigate the enormous area damage from bombs. The two main options on how to maintain good uptime on this buff are the Spectre’s Eye set, or using the Quick Cloak skill with dual wield. Every group strategist (or healer) needs to determine how their group will play best, and while using Quick Cloak takes up a slot on bars and limits the Resto staff skills to one bar (many like to put Radiating Regeneration on one and Illustrious Healing on the other), maintaining one more cast in poor performance conditions with high lag and latency can be very challenging.
For a second 5-set (or choice of two if you’re a healing Night Blade who gets Major Evasion from one of the Blur morphs), there are a few options as listed below. While this is not an exhaustive list of all the good possibilities, and there are a lot of niche builds for small man that are very different, these are the main sets that raid healers should be running:
|Transmutation:||Increase critical resistance.|
|Curse-Eater||When you heal yourself or an ally with a direct heal ability, remove up to 3 negative effects from them and restore magicka.|
|Combat Physician||When you critically heal yourself or an ally, you grant your target a damage shield. This effect can occur once every 6 seconds per player.|
|Spell Power Cure||Major Courage for 10 seconds.|
|Worm’s Raiment||More magicka regeneration for the team!|
There are a few other sets that could be of value to a group, though they tend to be more situational and depend on the conditions in which you’re playing. Only healers can apply heal proc set effects, so these should be prioritized. Note that I have not listed the sets that synergize best with cleanse roles (usually Sorcerers and occasionally Wardens) as those belong in a different guide.
The monster 2-set completing the healer’s gear list could be Bogdan the Nightflame, Earthgore, Symphony, Troll King, or others that provide value to the group – rather than damage. Many healers in 5 light armour prefer Blood Spawn for the added defence stats (during proc) and ultimate return. Earthgore may seem like the best choice for its ability to remove ground effects (including ultimates), but keep in mind that multiple Earthgore procs at the same time won’t give much benefit. Two or three Earthgores in the group is usually enough.
On the topic of armour, most (if not all) healers should use 5 light armour, one medium, and one heavy. If the sets you’re using support it (Kagrenac’s Hope does as it’s a crafted set), the chest piece should be heavy (as it gives the most armour) and one of the head, pants, boots or shoulders should be medium. Note that the belt gives the least armour so should always be light, and the gloves give second to least armour (so in 5 heavy builds the belt should be light and gloves medium to min/max defensive stats). The value that a group build gets from the light armour passives far outweighs the defensive stats that heavy brings. You may be 1-shot ganked, but remember that your build and group comp is meant to fight other groups, not live through one or two gankers or tower humpers targeting you when you’re alone or caught out.
If you feel that you need more survivability, then I suggest using a defensive set as your jewelry/weapons rather than changing to 5 heavy armour. You can enchant and transmute your jewelry and maintain the levels of regen, cost reduction, or spell damage that you need while gaining some survivability and keeping one of the group healing sets discussed earlier.
I’m a firm believer in all pieces having tri-stat enchants. If you’re low on gold, then put tri-stat enchants on your major pieces (head / chest / legs), and the trait that you need most (probably magicka) on your minor pieces. Your goal for resources between gear set bonuses, enchants, and character points should be about 32k health, at least 30k magicka, and 16k stamina. My preference for stamina is to have enough to break free, dodge roll, sprint for 2 seconds (to be back in your position in the group), and be able to break free again just in case. Considering that magicka Templars tend to have low stamina regen (but they do have Repentance), about 16k is the right amount to cover this.
The jewelry enchants that will probably be best for most healers are two magicka regen and one magicka cost reduction, though there are some builds where three magicka regen are best, and others where one magicka regen, one magicka cost reduction, and one spell damage are best. As a healer, you need to know how each of the skills and proc sets that you use are affected by your spell damage vs maximum magicka (how much more healing or damage they do), and get a feel for how your group requires healing. If you tend to continuously spam spells, cost reduction is advantageous. If you have some delay in between casts and you have more casting down time then regen is likely best. There is no one true way, and each player needs to determine what is most efficient for their role and responsibilities. If you’re the type who doesn’t want to think about it and just wants to run something “good”, then go two regen and one cost reduction is the way to go.
The trait on at least two of your jewelry should be Swift. You need to manage your positioning so that you’re not hit by a negate on the rest of your group, while still being able to catch up should they move in the opposite direction. The third piece of jewelry will likely be Arcane for a greater magicka pool. The current (as of 2021/Q3) state of the game has area and bomb damage so high that running a larger health pool has become standard, so any source of extra magicka to offset the changed character points is of value.
One of your bars will need to be a resto staff. As to which resto staff you should run, the most likely options to synergize with your builds are as follows:
- A resto staff that completes a 5-set bonus.
- Master’s resto staff will restore resources to those in your Illustrious Healing. There should be a few healers with The Master’s resto staff as the buff will stack from multiple sources. Even though a second cast removes the first cast’s ground effect and its respective ongoing healing, you may still cast the skill repeatedly in some situations to keep the regen buff.
- Maelstrom resto staff will help restore some magicka. This is more often utilized for smaller groups or for cleanse builds, and not for large raid healing builds.
- Asylum resto staff that will reduce the cost of other heals when you use blessing of protection or combat prayer. This could be good in a niche build, often for Night Blade healers when they alternate blessing and cleanse, but is not likely to be used often in a large group.
Your other bar may be a sword and shield, two swords, a destro staff (probably lightning), or a second resto staff. Here’s the comparison:
|Two Swords, Daggers, or Axes||1H & Shield||Destro Staff||Second Resto|
|Dual Wield passive for more healing, crit, or crit healing.
Second weapon gives you more spell damage.
Quick Cloak provides Major Evasion.
You look really bad-ass.
|You can block when stationary or moving slowly.
You can block more damage at less cost.
You can role play being a knight with a big shield.
You also look really bad-ass.
|You can run Blockade to provide the “off ballance” debuff with lightning or slows with ice.
If you feel the need to block, you can do so with ice and keep your stamina for breaking free or rolling.
|You can adjust your bars for Radiating Regen and Illustrious Healing on different bars.
You can light attack to proc different poisons from ranged on both bars.
Most healers should be running powered weapons in most groups. Precise for critical strike chance could work for some niche builds.
Rounding out stats on your healer will be your Mundus stone. My preference is The Atronach for magicka recovery (letting me change a ring’s regen enchant which are more easily swapped as needed during a raid). The Ritual for increased healing is likely the most efficient if your build and play style has sufficient magicka management. The Mage for maximum magicka is viable, though unlikely to be used in most large group builds.
Once you’ve worked out which sets you’re going to use, gotten your equipment, gotten the right traits on everything (Impenetrable on armour with few exceptions and Powered on weapons with few exceptions), you will need to determine which skills to use. Depending on how many healers you have in group, you should be able to determine if you’re going to need to spend most of your time spamming healing, or if you’ll be able to cast many other skills as well.
If we’re in combat, I am always casting something. Here is the logic behind what I cast and prioritize for standard Cyrodiil large group scenarios on both Templar and Necromancer. The lower the number of the line, the higher priority, so for every cast you could start at the first option, if that’s not needed, consider the second, if that’s not needed consider the third, etc.
Templar Casting Priorities
- Remembrance or Barrier. Is there an emergency, is the group being bombed, or are a lot of people missing enough health to warrant it? Note that you may interrupt Remembrance once the group is almost out of range (or topped off) so that you don’t get stuck catching up.
- Repentance. If you’re not at full Stamina or someone in range is missing health, Repentance if available.
- Ritual of Rebirth. Are medium sized heals needed immediately within 10 meters on multiple players? I tend to look at Ritual of Rebirth being the best choice if three or more players are missing 25% of their health. Hasty Prayer is also viable if your group doesn’t have a stamina speeder, though should be the exception and not the norm.
- Breath of Life. If one person is out of range and is missing 25% of their health, face their direction and cast one of these.
- Race Against Time. If speed is needed or snares are irritating, this will GYTFO.
- Channeled Focus. Ensure that you have Channeled Focus up for the armour/resist and the magicka regeneration.
- Energy Orb. Cast Energy Orb in the direction the group is moving so that it hits the most people for the resource Synergy every 20 seconds.
- Quick Cloak. Ensure that you have Quick Cloak up (if in dual wield swords build) for Major Evasion (unless the group has external coverage from enough Gossamer, or you’re running Spectre’s Eye).
- Extended Ritual. Keep an Extended Ritual down. If the entire group has moved out or past it, recast.
- Illustrious Healing. Keep an Illustrious Healing down every 10-12 seconds. This may be higher priority for applying The Master’s Resto resource regeneration buff.
- Radiating Regeneration. Ensure that you have at least two Radiating Regeneration cast every ten seconds.
- A Dawn’s Wrath skill is needed by one Templar in group in order to provide Minor Sorcery every 20 seconds. The ultimate regen is nice too.
- Mage Light is a good choice if you have a free slot. It gives 10% spell crit, and you can detect stealthed players when they try to escape. Every group should have one Radiant Magelight to prevent the stun from stealth attacks. All others should use the Inner Light morph for a larger magicka pool.
Necromancer Casting Priorities
- Renewing Undeath. If there’s a corpse under someone in your group, and they are either missing health, have a negative effect on them, or are likely to take damage or have a negative effect applied in the next few seconds, Renewing Undeath. This applies a free purge when you consume a corpse, applies a heal over time, and is a nice sized medium heal. Even if there’s no corpse to consume, if multiple players are missing health this is not a bad choice to cast.
- Keep your healing ghost up. If it’s down, or if will go down in the next few seconds and you have a spare cycle, renew the ghost. In many situations you will want to ensure that the ghost leaves a corpse to proc Renewing Undeath – especially while on siege or a ram, so work out your timing as best you can.
- Graveyard. Yes, you are a healer, and you should be healing. A good group composition should be able to support having its one or two Necromancers cast a few graveyards while bombing opponents. See below for an example of how to cast during an engagement.
- Illustrious Healing needs to be kept down under the most players possible. Keep that Master’s Resto buff up, and benefit from added area heals when your group is stacked tightly.
- Radiating Regeneration should be cast in any spare cycle. With server performance being abysmal (2021/Q3), many of your skills may not show as having gone off, and spamming a button may do more harm than good. Alternating other skills with Radiating Regeneration can help ensure that they go off, and that you keep this extra HoT uptime high. Necromancers should target above 90% uptime on Radiating Regeneration.
- Fear Totem. If you have a spare cycle, drop one. If your damage dealers are converging somewhere to bomb, drop one there to help fear newcomers after your group leader (or designated disruptor) stops casting fear. If your group is getting out after a bomb, drop one so that opponents will be feared on their way to bomb. If your group is being chased, drop one. If your group is running around upstairs or in a choke, drop one. More cc always helps.
- There are other skills that you’ll use, though the above are the priorities.
Here’s an example of how I tend to cast during engagements:
- Healing Ghost – always needs to be up for regen and mitigation.
- Radiating Regeneration – cast multiple times until the group starts moving, try to keep at least three of them up.
- Healing Ghost – if you have the cast cycle, renew the ghost so you are sure to have it up for the engagement.
- Illustrious – cast where the group will bomb well ahead of time so the heal over time will be on the ground for at least a few seconds.
- Graveyard – more damage for the damage dealers to synergize with their harmony builds.
- Totem – fear other opponents as they move in on your damage dealers. Try to cast it just off of your group between them and whatever the biggest threat is.
- Graveyard #2 – more damage for the damage dealers to synergize with their harmony builds.
- Renewing Undeath – by now there should be at least one opponent corpse under your damage dealers. Use this to heal, give them a heal over time, and get a free purge on anyone who needs it while the damage dealers spread off the bomb location.
- Radiating Regeneration – Renewing Undeath is one of those skills that may or may not fire in lag. Alternating with Radiating Regeneration during this phase of an engagement keeps the extra HoT up, and gives you a very clear indicator of where you are in the casting cycle / global cool down between casts. Some people with very low latency playing in very low (or no) lag conditions won’t need this, though consider that RR has very high value and should be kept up as much as possible. Illustrious is another viable option if performance allows it, as you’ll be giving your group the Master’s Resto buff with added regeneration. After the bomb, your damage dealers will likely be low on resources, and may be counter-bombed, so one more area heal may have value.
- Keep casting Renewing Undeath until there are no more corpses under your group and/or there’s no more healing to be done.
Your champion point setup may be different depending on your role and your group composition. As of 2021/Q3, the common champion point slottables that most healers will use are:
Red Tree: Health, Armour, Regen, Automatic break free (Slippery)
Green Tree: Movement speed (out of combat), Mounted movement speed, and increase the duration of food/drink.
Blue Tree: Mitigate area damage (most of the damage that kills you will be area damage), and one of the increase healing by 10% options (look at what you do most, be it single target, area, or healing over time and choose the most appropriate one) will likely be most appropriate on all healers. For the remaining two, Necromancers or healers using Curse Eater should use Salve (apply an area heal when you remove a negative effect), Templars and Night Blades should use From the Brink (apply a shield when healing low health targets), one healer in each group should use Enlivening (increase regeneration on players you overheal), and if you have an extra slot then decide between mitigate critical damage for a defensive option, or increase another type of healing by 10%.
On my Necromancer I tend to use Mitigate area damage, Salve, From the Brink, and increase area healing.
On my Templar, I tend to use Mitigate area damage, From the Brink, Enlivening, and increase direct/single healing.