Alganon Class Interview #4 - The Healer

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Despite their complexities, hundreds of studios all across the world love taking shots at developing massively multiplayer online games. Even independent developers are willing to take the plunge, and thus the Quest Online team is preparing to unleash their upcoming fantasy-themed MMO Alganon to an awaiting public.

The game aims to be as feature rich and content deep as games like World of Warcraft. The developers working on Alganon have an addictive passion that's easily displayed in their candid answers to our interview questions. There are currently four classes being released at launch with additional classes making their appearance sometime afterward.

In the fourth class interview for Alganon, the Ten Ton Hammer staff explores the Healer class. While it may seem like a mild mannered health bestower at first, the Healer actually packs quite the punch in Alganon and should be some fun to play when you get the chance. Have a look

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Ten Ton Hammer: Where does the Healer fit into the lore of Alganon? Are these individuals trained to be Healers from the moment of their birth, or are they chosen by divine beings to aid the defenseless and heal the weak?

Hue Henry: A Healer is more than just a student of the healing arts. Chosen by the gods, these individuals were born with an innate control over the life energy that flows through all living things. Although they are free to worship any god they wish, the Healers of the Asheroth were chosen before birth, and gifted by Triasha, the goddess of Life, with the power to heal the weak and cure the sick. As children, they are trained by the various temples to use this talent to its utmost. However, with the power over life, they also gain the ability to remove that life. Healers can learn to master the spirits, and use their gifts to end life as well.

Kujix Healers, on the other hand, are chosen by Vakgarr, the god of Change, and granted the power to control the ultimate form of change - Death. These chosen ones hold the reigns of death in their hands, and can choose either to use this power to bring death, or to postpone it. Although their sources of power are very different, the end result is the same: A Healer, regardless of whether they are Asheroth or Kujix, holds control over life and death and wields these powers to exactly the same effect.

Ten Ton Hammer: The Healer has some very interesting traits, foremost of which is the "Trance" action. Do you worry that players might abuse the "Trance" trait and give them an unfair advantage over other players? How are you balancing the Healers who are more proficient with the Trace action?

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Henry: The Trance action makes a Healer a valuable single target Healer, capable of both small, rapid-fire heals, and powerful single-target heals that are many times more powerful than when not in the Trance state. However, these faster, more powerful heals come at a cost - they will draw large amounts of the Healer's focus.

Healers will want to go into the Trance state when they need to heal a single target against a powerful enemy - like when engaged in a boss encounter, or otherwise partnered with a tank that can protect them, and one or more DPS classes who can help to end the fight quickly.

If a Healer finds herself in a situation with many friends to heal, or is faced with a long battle where conservation of focus is necessary for survival, then she will want to avoid going into a Trance, as the excess focus cost may prove to be too much for her to handle (A Healer with no focus is no Healer at all!). The Trance state allows the same Healer to heal fights where big heals are needed and fights where focus conservation is the key to victory.

All Healers, no matter what specialization they choose, can enter the Trance state and provide the right type of healing needed to keep a tank alive during a raid boss encounter. However, if they wish to be most effective at healing large numbers of players at the same time - commonly known as raid healing - they will want to specialize in Divination.

Ten Ton Hammer: The Trance and the Deathwalk Traits seem very similar. What's the major difference between the two? Will players be able to use Deathwalk and Trance at the same time?

Henry: Deathwalk is the DPS stance for a Healer. By focusing their control over life on the taking thereof, the Healer is able to deal out large amounts of damage per second - equal to the damage output of the Magus. The majority of this damage is done via instant cast damage-over-time spells, which allow them the draw the life from multiple opponents at the same time.

It is not possible to Deathwalk and Trance at the same time - much like a Soldier's stances, they are mutually exclusive.

Ten Ton Hammer: How much more damage will a player be able to employ when using the Deathwalk?

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Henry: Deathwalk will generally be the DPS stance, when a player wants to cause as much damage as possible, they will need to enter this stance, and will want to specialize in Spirit Mastery, allowing them to better tear their enemies souls from their bodies.

Ten Ton Hammer: Looking at the specializations for the Healer, it seems like Divination and Channeling are more focused on healing while the Spirit Master specialization is targeted at damage dealing. Is this a correct assumption, or will all the specializations affect healing and damage?

Henry: All of the specializations will have some affect on healing and damage. All Healers, no matter how they specialize, can enter the Trance state and heal the tank in a group encounter.

Healers who specialize in Spirit Mastery will notice a large enough raise in their DPS while Deathwalking that they will often equal the Magus in ability to damage groups of enemies. Healers who specialize in Divination will find they are able to apply their healing to more than one target, allowing them to keep the group alive in situations where a flood of enemies has overrun the group. Healers who specialize in Channeling will find that their spells, both healing and harming, now carry additional effects that can boost the abilities of their party members and reduce the abilities of their enemies.

Ten Ton Hammer: What kind of items and equipment will Healers be able to use? Will we see armored Healers, or will they be forced to only wear robes?

Henry: The Healer class is a "squishy" Healer. Some of our later classes, which will arrive after launch, will be able to wear heavier armors, but the Healer will be restricted to light armor only. This was done to allow us to focus the Healer's abilities entirely on their roles of healing, DPS, and buffs/debuffs, and not be forced to reduce their abilities in order to balance for the survivability that comes from heavier armor.

(On a side note: In Alganon, armor comes in light, medium, and heavy flavors. We want to be able to make armor for our less-armored classes out of many different materials. Magic imbued metals allow blacksmiths to make lightweight gear for casters, enchanted cloth and leathers can be as tough as steel, allowing those crafters to make gear for heavily armored allies. Don't think that being a Healer requires you to be a tailor, or that all Soldiers need to be blacksmiths to be competitive!)

Ten Ton Hammer: Can you give us some examples of Words and Touches of Power? What kind of effects are we going to see? Mostly direct damage? Or maybe some DoTs thrown in as well?

Henry: Words of Power are actions with lasting effects, such as reinforcing buffs that the Healer can place on their party members or crippling curses they apply to their enemies. Touches, on the other hand, tend to have instant and direct effects. For example, Word of Hatred would be a DoT spell, while Touch of Hatred would cause damage in one powerful blow.

Although there are some spells which are only available in one style, most of the Healer's abilities can be cast as either Touches or Words. Healers will need to examine the situation and decide whether they wish to perform their actions with a Word or a Touch.

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Ten Ton Hammer: How often will there be Words of Power that prevent Healers from speaking other Word actions?

Henry: In the current design, most of the word spells share the same cooldown group. Players will want to choose their words wisely, as they will often need to wait for the cooldown to expire before they can choose a different word to apply.

Ten Ton Hammer: Is there a cosmetic change to the Healer when they go into a Trance or Deathwalk mode?

Henry: We plan to include major cosmetic changes with these states, however, we are looking to wait and see how much players enjoy these aspects before we create the art assets. Alganon is designed to keep growing and expanding forever - so every asset we make is a tradeoff. Do we use this time to create a new monster, more icons, a new instance, or use it for new appearances for Deathwalk and Trance?
Because of this, these effects will launch in a simplified version - such as a shift in opacity and some glowing particles. If Deathwalk turns out to be as much fun in practice as it is in theory, we plan for these states to result in a much grander transformation of the Healer's appearance.

Ten Ton Hammer: Anything else you can tell us about the Healer?

Henry: One of the most important aspects in how we are designing Alganon is that we consistently look for player input. We want the players of Alganon to realize that they are an important part of what makes Alganon great. I think Berek, our Community Manager, has hammered this into the community well by now.

Read all the articles here at Ten Ton Hammer - not just the ones about Alganon, but about other MMOs, too. Think about what you love most about these games. Then, stop by our Alganon forums and share this info with us and the rest of the community. We want to create a game that you love to play, and to do that, we need to hear from you!
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