I was wondering whether you thought a captain could main heal the grand stairs? If so, what does it require other than a skilled captain? is there a certain party makeup that’s needed to support it (eg. burg for green FMs, LM for spot healing)?
I’m asking because I was putting together a PUG the other day and I asked the captain (L61) whether he was comfortable main healing it and the group laughed at me and said I was a noob for even asking the question – “A L58 character should know that a captain can’t main heal GS” etc. However I could have sworn in the CSTM podcast you and/or others on the cast said that properly traited and skilled captains could main heal most 6-mans and I thought GS was specifically mentioned as one they could main heal.
Was I stupid for asking that question? Can captains main heal GS?
This is a great question and you’re right, it was said that captains (as a class, individual results may vary) can successfully main heal many, if not all of the 6-man content the game currently has to offer. But I can’t simply leave it at that.. I’m going to tell you the whats, hows and whys of it…
What a Main-Healing Captain Needs
Key Class Traits:
- Fear No Darkness- This class trait will increase the morale restored by a captain’s Words of Courage. WoC is the captain’s “bread and butter” targeted heal so making it as potent as possible is important.
- Strength from Within- This class trait attaches a self heal to the captain’s fear removal skill, Muster Courage. If you die, your group is probably going down with you, therefore having an additional way to heal yourself is key.
- Strong Voice- This reduces the power cost of Words of Courage as well as your cries and shouts. Running out of power means you stop healing, therefore saving power is important.
- Now for Wrath- This restores power to you and your fellows when you use Rallying Cry. More power is always more better.
- Hands of Healing- This legendary trait improves all healing by 10% and converts Valiant Strike into a group-wide Heal over Time.
- Rallying Cry Cooldown- This legacy will drop your defeat response group-wide heal’s cooldown from 45 seconds down to 15 seconds.
- Vocal Skills Healing- This legacy will increase the healing from Words of Courage, Rallying Cry and the Muster Courage self-heal.
- Healing from Rallying Cry- This legacy will increase the healing from Rallying Cry, it also increases the power restored by Rallying Cry when Now for Wrath is traited.
- Healing from Strength of Will- This legacy will increase your Shield-brother’s incoming healing bonus from 5% to 20%.
These class traits and legacies (all of which are found on the Captain’s Emblem) are what I consider to be the most critical in a “main healing” role. Can you do without some of these and get the job done? Yes, but it’ll be more difficult and/or require a lot more experience and skill. Also, this is not a complete list of things than can help, it’s more of a “Best of” listing, especially since it’s neither practical nor possible to use every possible “helper” trait and legacy.
How a Main-Healing Captain Will “Get it done”
Tips for Main-healing as a Captain:
- Don’t Heal Right Away!: Don’t heal the tank immediately unless it’s dire, especially in multi-enemy scenarios, if you pull too many enemies onto yourself you’re going to be at an early disadvantage in the fight.
- Withdraw, know it and love it- Captains have a skill that will reduce their threat with all enemies withing a 10 meter radius. This skill does have a 5 minute cooldown so be careful about making yourself need it too often.
- Shield-Brother: Make sure you’re keeping shield brother and it’s corresponding skills, Strength of Will and Inspire on the character who is “Tanking” or taking the most damage. Maintaining these will make your job a lot easier
- Don’t Forget to Self-heal: As a captain it’s easy to forget to self-heal since our self heal capability is very limited. Use your muster courage self-heal (if you’ve traited “Strength from Within”) early and often and hit rallying cry when it’s available. Words of Courage will cost you morale as well as power to use so it’s important to maintain your own morale as high as possible.
- Don’t be Afraid to use In Harm’s Way- In harm’s way will transfer half the damage being done to players in your fellowship to you. If you’re smart about how you use it, you can use your own morale to get through a sticky spot. Think of it as trading morale on you to keep on them. If in using this you get into trouble you can always use Last Stand to weather the storm, I recommend perfecting using in harm’s way without needing last stand… it’s a valuable skill.
- Stay on Target and use “Skill Target Forwarding”: As a healing captain, it’s ok for you to do damage and cycle your normal melee skills especially when things are going well, however you don’t want to pull any aggro if you can help it, so make sure you’re staying on the tank’s target. If you don’t already know, what “skill target forwarding” does is it redirects damage to your target’s target (if your target isn’t a valid damage target) or it will redirect heals to your target’s target (if the target isn’t a valid heal target). In this way you can, for example target your tank, who in turn is targeting an orc, when you use, words of courage it will hit the guardian, when you use a melee damage skill, such as defensive strike, it will hit the orc. The same would work if you’re targeting the orc who’s targeting your guardian.
Why Main-Healing on a Captain Can and Does Work
A captain can pull off main-healing because of their ability to string together single target healing that is comparable to other healing classes and without the risk of interruptions (captain’s heal are all “instant-cast” (not to be confused with “immediate skills that fire as soon as they’re clicked), no inductions. Captain’s also have the advantage of having Medium-strong heals with medium-strong heal over time effects attached. Once everything is fully cycled, a captain’s potential on a single target is very very good.
The captain’s ability to heal an entire group is not to be overlooked either. Despite being largely dependent on the availability of defeat responses, rallying cry is an excellent group heal that, under the absolute optimum conditions, can be fired off every 6 seconds. To get that astounding condition a captain needs to have the rallying cry cooldown (mentioned above) maxed out and have 4 pieces of the level 65 helegrod set and then something needs to be dying every 6 seconds (or the captain can be getting critical hits on either Devastating Blow or Pressing Attack [pressing attack target legacy on the weapon can help with this] to fill the gaps ).
One final piece of the puzzle is met either with support healing or careful placement and damage avoidance. Support healing can come from Fellowship Maneuvers or a Loremaster or even a second captain (second captain arguably takes away the designation of “main healing”). Careful placement and damage avoidance refers to the group being away of frontal area effect attacks of the enemy and avoiding taking unnecessary damage in this way or in the way of staying out of various “Puddles” (aka “Don’t Stand in the Poop”).
This is another case where perception of what a class can and can’t do is just a matter of uneducated opinion. Ultimately, like I have in the past, I’d advise people to “Do What you Want” in these situations. It’s great to challenge one’s self or a group to doing things a bit different from the norm. All that aside, I can tell you from having healed every single six man instance in the game on the captain (save for Dark Delvings, haven’t yet tried healing that, nor do I much desire to) that it’s very possible and actually a lot easier than you’d think.
This article is part of the “Ask Elborigorn” series, where I encourage CSTM readers to send questions to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org . I then will answer the question either with an entire article or as part of a multi-question weekly article.