Definitive Guide to Healer Class
This guide is written with the assumption that you are playing in a premade team and using some sort of communication, no worries if that’s not the case though since the majority of the guide will still apply to you.
Also, this isn’t meant to be a “cookie cutter” guide to give you specific builds that you should be playing since the devs goal with this game is to make multiple builds and playstyles viable after all!
Everything related to builds is just a starting point / Suggestion. Builds can be heavily influenced by your own comp and playstyle!
Terms used in the guide
Term – Definition
- AoE – Area of Effect
- CC – Crowd Control
- CD – Cooldown
- DoT – Damage over Time
- HoT – Heal over Time
- DPS – Damage per Second
- GCD – Global Cooldown
- LoS – Line of Sight
Why Play Healer in AoK?
Healers are often sought out for since it’s usually the lesser played role out of the two (the other being DPS), which should allow you to find a group faster if you’re on your own as a small bonus!
Compared to some other PvP games out there, In addition to just healing, every class has viable options to contribute to a big (or minor) part of the damage and provide CC over all having a big impact in each match!
It might be a little hard to get into the role for a beginner but if you keep practising it can be such a fun and rewarding playstyle.
If you’re a player who enjoys playing the role of support while having a strong presence in the game that can potentially make or break each match, then healing in AoK is the thing for you!
Mechanics & Misc
Your role as a healer
Besides just healing, you should help contribute to pressure and DPS in various ways. Something useful to get used to is to always try and weave in your auto attacks (Spacebar) in between the healing and kiting that you’re doing. If you’re just waiting for your teammates’ health bars to drop or hiding/running away without a reason, in most cases you’re doing it wrong.
You should always try and be using your available GCD in a useful way, the priority is usually:
- Casting your CC or preventing it (cleanse) when it’s needed for setups or denying your opponents DPS attempts.
- Basic attacks or offensive Spells to keep or raise pressure.
- Potentially meditating to retrieve mana should the situation present itself.
If you find your team isn’t really under any pressure for the moment but unable to do much themselves it’s usually a great time to meditate to get quite a bit of mana back especially if your friendly ranged can stop their healer from doing the same.
Take note that DoT’s that are currently on you will interrupt meditate!
This list’s priority varies a little bit depending on your class, specific role in the comp that you’re playing and stage of the match but as long as you’re always proactively doing these things you’re good to go.
Just remember to always think about your positioning and the positioning of your opponents while doing these things to avoid being caught out, or eating up any unnecessary CC since that can snowball into a loss very quickly..
Positioning is one of the characteristics that separates good healers from the great ones and once you start taking it seriously, you’ll notice a huge difference in being able to keep your friends and yourself healthy more easily.
You should always try and use the environment to your advantage by staying near anything that you can use to LoS your enemies which will let you avoid things like CC, Damage or things like for example a Rangers ‘Aether Shot’ ability by simply moving a step behind some kind of pillar/stone/wall during their cast time.
You don’t ever need to stand on top of your team since the healing spells in AoK have insane range (most around 80~yards), so keeping your distance far enough to help you further avoid getting targeted while being away from the main damage to constantly interrupt or CC you will put less stress on you and let you focus on pumping heals, basic attacking (They are noticeable even as a healer) and setting up plays with your team.
Basically, being out in the open field with no cover doing stuff you could also be doing near LoS opportunities = out of position, which will most likely end up with you being either swapped on, getting CC’d and/or interrupted more easily and forcing you to use important CD’s and/or your trinket. The enemy team can start snowballing from there and you will fall behind quickly risking a lost match.
There are a few exceptions to this rule, like paladin having a different playstyle due to being melee, or a Mystic moving in to use their ‘Blackout’ ability to set up a play for their team.
If you are positioning smartly & always using the environment to your advantage while keeping your distance it will force your enemies to overextend themselves and most likely waste their gap closers/mobility skills while having to go through your team to get to you. Your team can easily take advantage of that and quickly swap to targets that are out of position and out of abilities, which they used to get to you, potentially securing a quick kill.
If your team doesn’t peel for you, simply use the tools that your class has to kite until you can regroup with your teammates or outlive the other healer in a 1v2+1v2 situation.
Using LoS against ranged classes will most likely make them quickly swap off of you due to either frustration or a big loss in DPS in those situations.
Dragging melee classes that are chasing you behind anything that will make them LoS their healer is a great way for your team to try and go for a quick kill as well. But in either case a single DPS shouldn’t be able to kill you within a few seconds unless you are all out of CD’s in which case just yell for a peel, Communication with your team is key!
So always use every advantage that you can when it comes to positioning and keep adapting to wherever your enemies are positioned or moving and it will give you and your team a big advantage.
So you’re being trained(hard focused) by a melee or ranged, what do you do? First of all, don’t panic and start wasting CD’s right away!
As long as you use smart movement and the environment to your advantage while correctly rotating your defensive CD’s & healing yourself, no single class should be able to kill you straight away.
Using smart movement correctly and forcing your enemy to chase you around corners etc. through kiting around pillars and between different LoS points will give you opportunities to cast heals on yourself or your teammates without the risk of being interrupted or CC’d.
It’s also worth noting that melees have the same speed as ranged/healers, potentially allowing you to endlessly loop them around pillars.
Being able to kite correctly also reduces the impact that any ranged class has that is trying to train you, forcing them to move around a lot instead of doing valuable DPS if you are abusing LoS. Being good at this will frustrate DPS players and make them either simply ignore you or risk making mistakes by over extending.
A big part of being able to kite correctly vs your enemy is to know their class and being able to read what kit they are using during the match so you know what they can do and what their limits are. This knowledge comes from simply playing the game and a good way to quickly learn what other classes are able to do is to duel them and test your own and their limits, learning burst windows, cds etc.
Having a cleanse in your kit as a healer is extremely beneficial and in my opinion mandatory against a lot of compositions your enemies might be running.
Each healer has a different type of cleanse but all of them heal if you successfully cleanse something off yourself or your teammate. Elders cleanse can for example heal for a maximum of 536(More with healing buffs) while potentially removing a big or multiple DoT’s saving a lot of health OR giving your teammate more movement through removing a Status Ailment which equals more DPS uptime, all for 200 mana.
Some Cleanses remove a random Debuff/Status Ailment through a HoT style and some remove them instantaneously, but they all have their purpose and are very useful if you use and time them correctly.
Timing your cleanse correctly also means using it on the most disruptive debuffs, there are spells that have higher priorities for example Wizards ‘sheepify’ or ‘Flash freeze’ over a simple slow so holding your cleanse instead of throwing it out at anything you see can be very beneficial and save some precious mana.
Fake casting is a very high risk, high reward technique. It’s cancelling a cast with the purpose of baiting out your enemies interrupt. Having cancelled your cast will not put it on a CD while your enemy wasted their interrupt (if successful) leaving you free to cast for about 10-14 seconds, depending on the class you’re facing.
Fake casting requires you to be able to read your enemies; Are they interrupting only on key/specific spells? Spamming it off CD?
Most players will definitely always try to interrupt when a heal is badly needed so it’s easier to predict it in those situations. Don’t start to fake cast when your enemy is using abilities during your cast and are stuck in their GCD (which is 1.2 seconds) and can’t use their interrupt.
Although compared to some other PvP games, getting interrupted is not as punishing in AoK (Depending on the current Meta and DPS/TTK amount) so it can be argued that simply spam casting is a better method than Fake casting especially when you are still in a healthy state.
Also, compared to other games where you can download addons to show/tell you, AoK gives you no info on if your enemy just used an interrupt so you need to learn the specific sound ques and animations for every class. Just like with kiting, this is just game knowledge and is more quickly learned while ‘duelling’ other classes.
Note: even if you successfully fake cast, don’t forget that your enemy still has access to things like stuns and fears to quickly interrupt you, potentially wasting your time and additionally getting you CC’d anyways.
Your trinket (usually bound to ‘T’) allows you to completely remove any CC on yourself while being CC’d yourself and will be your most important tool versus a lot of comps.
Due to the trinket having a very large CD, managing it and judging the right timing can change the outcome of the match because wasting it means your opponents will have a much easier time locking you down and securing a kill.
As a rule of a thumb; Don’t waste it on things like roots or when you get stunned while your party’s health is maxed out. The exception being your opponents are playing some sort of 100-0 setup comp.
Being able to read your opponents game plan and knowing comps/classes is essential to helping you figure out the essential timing for your trinket.
An important thing as well is to communicate your available CD’s with your team so you can prioritise your teammates’ defensive CD’s before having to use your trinket.