Aion In-Depth Class Interview - The Cleric
Over the last few months, Ten Ton Hammer has brought
you the in-depth details – straight from the mouths
of the developers at NCsoft – concerning the eight major
classes in Aion,
NCsoft’s upcoming fantasy-themed MMO. Today we continue our
interview series with the Cleric class! Again, we sat down
with Associate Producer Lani Blazier, and she gave us all the info we
desired regarding the playability of the Cleric in groups, solo, and
even some strategies on how to excel with this particular healer. Check
Ten Ton Hammer: The two Aion healer classes are the Cleric and the Chanter. Let’s talk a little about the Cleric today. Can you tell us where the Cleric’s divine powers originate from and how they wield those powers?
Lani Blazier: The Cleric’s divine powers ultimately originate from Aion itself—from the Aether that suffuses the world of Atreia. Asmodian clerics serve Marchuta, the Shedim Lord of Destiny, and Elyos clerics serve Yustiel, the Seraphim Lord of Life.
A Cleric wields power by taking the Aether stored within itself and radiating it outward—often to heal its compatriots or even resurrect the soul within the body of a fallen ally. As long as the Cleric’s stored energy remains intact, the Cleric’s allies can withstand even the most furious assault. Exhaust the Cleric, and the rest of the team becomes vulnerable.
Ten Ton Hammer: Healers often have varied roles: battle clerics, buffers, straight healers, and so on. What is the primary focus of Aion’s Cleric?
Lani: Clerics focus on primarily healing and buffing. They also enhance the abilities of party members and remove debuffs. They are the heart of a group—they keep everyone together (quite literally).
Ten Ton Hammer: Throughout various games, healers have been notoriously difficult to solo because their damage output tends to be low. How has Aion avoided this pitfall? Will the Cleric be a viable choice for soloing?
Lani: The Cleric is absolutely, unequivocably viable when soloing. In my opinion, it’s easy to solo with a Cleric. It just takes a little longer to down a monster because, yes, a Cleric’s damage per second is lower. However, if you are having a problem soloing with a Cleric, you have missed the most fundamental thing about your character being a Cleric—it can heal itself. Heal early and often! Is your character down 15% to 20%? Use a healing over time skill, like Light of Renewal or Light of Rejuvenation. Feeling a little pressure? Cast a direct heal on your character like Healing Light and top off with a heal over time skill while your character attacks an opponent with a ranged skill or use a Hallowed Strike that decreases the opponent’s attack speed and chains to a followup skill. Your Cleric can tear almost anything apart in just a few more seconds than other classes and then walk away from the dead corpse while brushing dust off its fully healed self. You just need to liberally pepper your character with heals in between attacking the opponent.
While it takes a little longer to kill a particular opponent, your character can take on monsters equal to its level (or one level higher than it is) either one-on-one, or once you are comfortable with your charater’s abilities, two-on-one, or even three-on-one. You just have to remain cool under fire, and watch your character’s mana points.
Clerics also shine during group play, of course! Join up with a tank or a damage-dealer (especially a melee damage-dealer), and your teammate and your Cleric can play and play and play. Group as the triumvirate of tank, damage-dealer, and Cleric, and nothing can stop you. Well, maybe not nothing, but between the buffs your charcter can add to itself and others and your Cleric’s ability to heal, your group’s longevity becomes amazing.
Ten Ton Hammer: How will Clerics do in PvP combat? What do these healers have in their bag of tricks that will give them a fighting chance amongst some of the more devastating classes?
Lani: Clerics can immobilize opponents with Restraint, and can summon an immobile spirit that can attack at range for a short time, giving them a breather while they heal themselves. They can clear quite a few debuffs, and have some accomplished ranged attack skills that have a damage over time component to eat up enemies. At level 37, they can pop a Prayer of Focus to boost their ability to not be interrupted by a damaging attack, allowing them to heal themselves and attack their enemy more effectively for 10 seconds. At level 40, they can cast an immediate Blessed Shield on them that absorbs some damage and boosts healing skills. The biggest threat for a Cleric is anything that makes it unable to cast—either to cast a damaging skill, or to heal itself. That’s also why mana conservation and consumption is something that Clerics monitor constantly.
Ten Ton Hammer: As you said, a Cleric’s primary role in the group is team healer, but occasionally they might be called to assist in other aspects of group support such as buffing, debuffing, and damage. Are these things that the Cleric will be able to do and can you give us examples of the abilities that they will have in order to accomplish off-focus group assistance?
Lani: Clerics primarily heal, true. As subclasses of the Priest, they give a 10% to health from Blessing of Health and a 10% increase to physical defense from Blessing of Rock. At level 25, Clerics can use Winged Blessing to boost Strength, Will, and flight speed. Also at level 25, Summer Circle increases fire defense and earth defense, or Winter Circle increases water defense or wind defense.
Dispelling is also an important role, and the prosaic Dispel skill clears any abnormal physical conditions of one single target within range, while the Cure Mind skill similarly clears abnormal mental conditions.
Clerics have numerous ranged attack skills, some that also deal additional damage over time component. Their damage is steady and not as fierce as, say, a Sorcerer, but will certain help take down monsters when they are called upon to do so.
Ten Ton Hammer: What sort of weapons and gear does a Cleric wear? Will the Cleric have an advantage over using a staff rather than a mace and shield combo?
Lani: Cleric’s can equip cloth, leather, and chain armor. They have the second highest defense stats after the Warrior class. We’ve seen players equip cloth or chain during group play and plate armor for solo play. Wearing cloth will boost a player’s MP, but it has a much lower defense compared to plate armor. Overall, the Cleric has very few skills that strengthen defenses and their duration is short, so it’s important to know what and when to wear the right armor. Also, it’s vital to keep your character buffed at all times. Clerics get some nice buffs as a Priest subclass. Use them! Don’t leave a 10% bonus to health on the floor by not buffing Blessing of Health.
As for weapons, the safe route is to equip a mace and a shield, although the staff has a higher magic-boosting power than a mace. I would recommend using the staff for long-range magic attacks or when you are in a group and the mace for close-combat melee/when you are soloing.
Ten Ton Hammer: As a Cleric, will a player want to hang back and deal in mostly spell damage and heals or will he want to stay in the action with melee as well?
Lani: If a Cleric is in a group, it will want to hang back, clearing conditions and healing, and throwing in some ranged skills. While soloing, a lot of the same strategies that one would use as a Sorcerer apply. Stay as far back as you can as long as you can, use Restraint to immobilize an opponent and then attack from range, remove negative conditions on your character as quickly as possible, and use your attacks that have a damage over time component to wear away at enemies. In addition, frequently use your healing skills to keep yourself healthy and able to continue casting skills.
Ten Ton Hammer: Will the Cleric be able to resurrect? If so, is this a high level skill? Will they be able to resurrect only one player at a time and will they be able to resurrect themselves?
Lani: Yes, Clerics can resurrect. They can resurrect themselves at level 22, resurrect one targeted player in your group at level 37, and resurrect all dead group members in range at level 40.
Ten Ton Hammer: Are resurrection spells usable while the Cleric is in combat, on the move, or in flight?
Lani: Resurrection spells are like any other spell - they can be used while the player is in combat or in flight, so long as the character isn’t moving, as that would interrupt their skill use; they can also be disrupted by an attack. Standing still while being attacked, or hovering while in flight are totally acceptable times for clerics to use their resurrection skill.
Ten Ton Hammer: With the use of potions and Stigmas by other classes, will the Cleric still find a place in casual groups and be needed? What is the advantage of bringing along a healer rather than relying on potions?
Lani: Clerics are always useful. Groups with a Cleric in them can dare more, cause more damage, and clear more monsters. A Cleric on the team makes any group able to clear an area more quickly and safely. Clerics don’t have a long cooldown time like potions do. Clerics can heal during combat extensively. Clerics can buff you, debuff your conditions, and heal. Clerics don’t cost you extra money from a vendor nor take up your inventory space. And Clerics make good company. Can you converse with your potion to try to figure out a quest, to strategize for a group encounter, or to help you quickly when an enemy Assassin tries to clean your clock? Thought not.