Continuing the overview — Archmage and Shaman
All caveats still apply – theorizing from external info, NOT from the game itself.
In the last post I said that if you wanted a pure healer the RPZ was probably your analog pairing of choice. This is and is not true, and this post’s subject – the AMSH pair – is the reason why.
The RPZ was going to be a healer regardless of spec. Our AMSH has a choice. It starts with the fact this career pair has a dual path of strenght – damage and healing. On paper, they’re just as good at either job – and can flip freely and without penalty from one to the other. I say on paper… lots of forum comments here that say that up to the point where you start the mastery (spec) work, this is absolutely true. And you’re a very strong DPSer and/or you’re a very strong healer. Which means that as an AMSH you stand a darn good chance of being embroiled in controversy. I’ve mentioned that controversy before – “healers should HEAL. If you want to be DPS, roll a [various classes]”. Here’s the deal, before we get to the special mechanism…
We can sorta compare our AMSH to the priest, and that’s not a little bit because of the mastery tracks. See, we’ve got one track that’s dedicated to healing. And then we’ve got two tracks that are damage tracks. One’s allegedly a direct damage track while the other is a DoT and Debuff focus, though both have each. In other words, it’d be as though the WoW priest had Holy, Shadow, and the warlock Affliction talent trees. If the AMSH specs the healing mastery, the player is a great complement to the RPZ, able to provide solid and near-continuous spike heals to mesh with the RPZ’s sustained heals. Doing so, however, means not taking the DPS tracks. And there… For the WoW player, particularly one who played prior to TBC, it’s a familiar experience. “Why are you Shadow? We need a healer, not a knock-off Warlock.” Even though fully specced and oriented the AMSH is a strong, powerful, and dangerous DPS player (who can provide backup heals in a pinch). That backup point brings us to the peculiar mechanism of the AMSH – the balance trick.
No, that’s not what it’s called, but since it’s different in each career it’ll work. Here’s the deal: each time you cast a spell of healing, you get a balance point for the pain. And the reverse applies. You can only have points of one or the other, not both, and they’re capped at five points. These points have an effect on THOSE spells if/when you cast them. They make them more powerful and/or faster. The latter is especially useful as they can… picture casting five SW:P, and your next Greater Heal becomes an instant. Yeah, that sort of useful. And that leads to some of the tactical options.
Logically, the AMSH does the most healing by only casting heal spells. As any WoW healer can tell you, however, healing is a matter of quality, not quantity. And so it might be a lot smarter to pop some small damage spells so when the Massive Spike hits I’m ready. Of course if I have to sustain, I can. And by the same token, if I’ve run lots of damage spells then my “OMG I’m Under Attack” spells (there is a lot of PVP, remember) are.. no, let me rephrase. I now have a lot more options to use as OMG spells – spells that would normally not be used due to time of cast.
The races are High Elf and greenskins (another goblin), for those who choose based upon race. Armor is… snicker, what armor? Well, robes, and we priests are more than aware of what THAT means in the long run. This is another strong healer, but this one CAN be offensive instead (at the risk of receiving a lot of LRN2PLY messages). Nobody will care how good a shadowpriest you are – you’re supposed to heal.
For me, another possibility as an alt. I’m tired, for now, of paper armor. Though I must admit the idea of a Warlock Priest is kind of fun…