Class Info

Aion Class Archetypes – The Priest

By Reuben Waters -
The Priest Archetype

Lord Sardu the Priest

The first nine levels as a Priest in Aion serve not only as an introduction to the game’s core mechanics, but offer a small sampling of the types of abilities the two subclass selections will ultimately focus on further down the road. The ascension quest itself will allow Priest characters to become either a Chanter or a Cleric; two classes that might share a common theme of aiding your allies in battle, yet are otherwise distinctly separate classes in many key areas. Before diving into what makes these two classes tick though, let’s take a brief look at the early leveling experience as a Priest.

Priests start their adventuring career with two core abilities; A direct heal called Healing Light I and a ranged damage spell, Smite I. Combat at this point is pretty straight forward, as two successive casts of Smite tends to be enough to finish off most even-level enemies, with a quick cast of Healing Light thrown in after every couple of fights to refresh any lost hitpoints.

Mana doesn’t tend to be much of an issue early on, and thanks to the Priest’s healing abilities it can be fairly easy to chain-pull mobs with very little downtime between fights. When your mana does start to run low however, opening up your skill book will reveal an ‘Actions’ tab which includes the Rest ability that can be added to your hotbar.

The first few levels should go by pretty quickly, and upon reaching level three you’ll automatically be given a quest to seek out your local Priest trainer. Once there you’ll find all the skill books you can purchase up to level nine. If you have the Kinah to do so, I’d suggest purchasing some of your skill books in advance which can save you a trip back to town considering the next two levels will no doubt go by nearly as quickly as the first few. If inventory space is a concern, the starting villages will also have a local Cube Artisan who will expand your cube (which, incidentally, starts out as a rectangle) by nine spaces for a small fee.

Your level three abilities include Blessing of Health I – a buff that increases your target’s HP by 10% - and Hallowed Strike I which is a melee attack the both debuffs the combat abilities of your target, and will eventually serve as the opener for your first combat chain. While your first two skills give you a taste of what core Cleric mechanics are all about, these two skills are likewise a small window into what life as a Chanter might be like should that be the path you choose at level nine. This is something to keep in the back of your mind as you make your way through your initial storyline quests that I’ll expand upon a bit later in the guide.

Priest in the Abyss

For now though, combat remains a fairly straight-forward affair involving pulling mobs with Smite and then smacking them over the head with your mace, keeping the debuff from Hallowed Strike active on your target as often as the skill is refreshed.  In between fights you may also find yourself obsessively casting your new Blessing of Health buff on other players in the area, or tossing them a quick heal if it looks like they’re running low on HP. Not only is checking the buffs and health bars of other players a good practice to get into as a healing class, but it’s an excellent way to meet people and potentially even get into your first groups.

Level five won’t necessarily alter combat mechanics as a Priest, though you do gain two more extremely useful skills. Blessing of Protection I increases the Physical Defense of your target by 10%, while Light of Renewal adds another important healing spell to your arsenal. Though weaker than Healing Light, Light of Renewal will be your first HoT (heal-over-time) spell.  Mobs around this level will start hitting a bit harder, but I’ve found that maintaining Light of Renewal throughout combat is typically enough to keep your health bar close to full and as an instant cast spell you won’t have to worry about it being interrupted in the meantime.

At level seven you’ll gain your first of a series of chained attack abilities. While you should already be pretty familiar with the chain opener, Hallowed Strike, the finisher is a new spell called Heaven’s Judgement I. Whenever you use Hallowed Strike, the icon will instantly be replaced by the next attack in the chain, which in this case is the direct damage spell Heaven’s Judgement which also has a short duration stun effect on your target. As the cooldown is 24 seconds on this new spell, I’ve found it’s best to hold off using it until later in each fight, as the stun affords you plenty of time to cast Healing Light if Light of Renewal isn’t providing enough health regeneration on its own.

As the ultimate goal of your early leveling experience will be to reach level nine and complete the ascension quest to earn your wings and become a Daeva, let’s take a brief look at what makes the two subclass selections for a Priest tick. This will hopefully give you some good insight into which side of the subclass fence your first few skills fall on so that as you advance through the initial storyline quests on your path to level nine you’ll have a better understanding of how they fit into the bigger picture.

The Chanter

When I first saw this class name it instantly brought to mind the classic role of a character that helps manage crowd control and otherwise aids in buffing their party’s offensive or defensive abilities. What I discovered is that this is only half right, as the Chanter is an interesting hybrid of classes you may be familiar with from other MMOs, yet stands on its own as a fairly unique class. If I were going to pin any specific names on the Chanter’s lapel as a point of reference, they might include some of the stronger elements of EverQuest’s Bard and Enchanter classes rolled into one neat package. What got left on the cutting room floor are the Enchanter’s lack of offensive abilities or decent armor and the Bard’s incessant need to whip out a drum and run in circles like a preschool kid hopped up on a gallon of Kool Aid.

Core Combat Mechanics

The Chanter is a rugged, in-your-face melee combatant in its own right, with many direct attacks that inflict a series of debuffs and stuns on your enemies.  While Priests are only able to wear leather armor through the first nine levels, the Chanter will gain the ability to wear chain armor at level 10 which greatly ups the survivability factor when solo, or can even help the Chanter serve as a viable off-tank in group situations when needed.

While you’ll still retain the ability to heal, the main focus for the Chanter shifts to a series of buffs that can either increase your group's attack power or defense. Many of these buffs, called Mantras, will be a self-targeted AoE (Area of Effect) spell and provide group-wide benefits for a limited radius, making Chanters a very desirable class for group situations. For example, Victory Mantra I (available at level 10) increases the Attack of group members within a 20m radius, or Shield Mantra I (available at level 13) Increases the Physical Defense, Block, Parry and Evasion of group members. To increase the effectiveness of Mantras while in flight, a passive Chanter ability doubles their radius.

While most of the available content during the preview weekends was easily soloable, I really wanted to push the Chanter to the limit to see just how tough the class truly is. In that spirit, I had the local Transporter send my level 10 Chanter off to Trader’s Berth, eventually making my way to an area called Gribade Crater Lake. Still wearing my level 7 leather armor, I managed to hold my own against first some level 16 Green Ribbits, and even a few level 17 Black Petragolems before opting to explore the area further.

The Cleric

Priest in Flight

Clerics in Aion are another blending of traditional class roles with some interesting new elements thrown into the mix. While the Chanter’s primarily focus is on debuffing enemies and buffing party members in the thick of melee combat, Clerics in Aion are much more inclined to hang with their Mage friends in the back lines doing what they do best; keeping everyone alive or, failing that, resurrecting them so they can jump back into battle. Rounding the class out is a series of ranged damage spells and attack chains, making Clerics much more than a simple heal-bot.

Core Combat Mechanics

Though Clerics are also able to wear chain armor, they’re very much a ranged class through and through. In combat, think of Clerics as being somewhat the polar opposite of Chanters, able to unleash a series of powerful damaging spells along with their impressive healing capabilities. Interestingly, at level 10 a short duration root spell called Restraint I is also thrown into the mix, allowing Clerics to keep their distance from their enemies. This can really save your bacon while solo, but also serves to get you out of tricky spots in groups should your healing draw too much agro away from the tanks.

The early leveling experience leading up to level nine does tend to fall a bit more in line with how Chanters function in combat, so be prepared to mix things up quite a bit should you choose to walk the path of the Cleric. While you can still stand toe to toe with your enemies, the most effective method for soloing comes down to rooting your enemy to gain distance or stunning them through attack combos which allows you to get some of your longer-casting nukes and heals off uninterrupted.

Some of the other abilities to look forward to as a Cleric include Summon Holy Servant I (available at level 16) which is a rooted pet that dishes out ranged damage at the cost of its own hitpoints, or Refresh Mind I (available at level 19) which slowly regenerates your mana at the cost of health for 30 seconds. In the meantime, Clerics also get a special passive ability at level 10 which increases the effectiveness of healing spells by 5%, giving them a slight edge in the healing department over their melee counterparts.

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