The Archmage Abilities Review Redux

My focus here is not math, though you’ll infer math under the hood. (I do math at work. Other people can do math here.) This is really just a rundown of the abilities with my updated impressions and comments. Overall I have a general rule which I go by, and my entire review here is themed on it. Here it is:

We are healers.

If you “spec” to do DPS you will be a very weak, very disappointing glass pee-shooter (i.e. not a cannon). We do not win duels by huge scary burst damage. Slow and steady wins our races. Any target I confront I cover in DoTs, AP burn, and heal myself while they burn down. Our scariest opponents are melee dps (in particular witch elves, but Marauders must be handled cautiously too), and any other healer is a very steady, very long fight (if both you and they know what they’re doing). Keep HoTs on yourself and DoTs on them, and wait for your moment to strike with a hand-laser. If you can bring every duel you have to a stand-off, that’s fine…so long as its your back up that arrives first. <3 But your heals on you are the reason your DPS is allowed to be piddly. All of that sorceress’s mighty burst damage means squat when you bash away their AP,heal yourself back to full, and watch as your DoTs leech their life to zero. Your AP and your life comes back. Their AP comes back, but slowly since you’re nuking it. Don’t think “BOOM YER DEAD HAHA”. Instead think “slow, frustrating, inevitable death.” Slow and steady wins the race.

DoTs are nice for another reason. When a DoT is on a target, numbers pop over their head as they take damage. These numbers pop up regardless of LoS, so if you get a long-lived DoT on a sucka, you can follow them as they dash behind walls and the like. (They’ll probably fix this eventually, but for now, hey.)

Healing Energy. This is my bread and butter spam-heal spell. When I say “Stack HoTs” on a target, this is of course one of them, albeit a weak one. I never use Force on this, as doing this spell quickly is a waste: it’s already quick. I spam this on a target who’s near death to keep a flow of health in them and to build up Tranquility quickly, which I will likely blow on a Transfer Force spell.

Radiant Lance. This spell is a huge disappointment. It looks cool, but I just never use it. Ok, sometimes I do, but the circumstances under which I use it: 1. I’m bored and its an extremely low pressure situation, 2. all of my DoTs are on the target and Drain Magic, Searing Touch, and Rain Lord are on cool down (a VERY rare occurrence) AND I really really want to continue to do DPS on a single target instead of another target OR allowing my AP to regen a bit. Really if I do cast Radiant Lance it’s an extra second or two that I’d have to wait to cast something more useful (virtually anything else in my arsenal). I’d like to see this spell reworked, or removed entirely and replaced. How about an early-level AoE heal? =P

Law of Conductivity. First, let me say I love the look and sound of this spell. It’s a long-lived DoT without a cool-down, making it a fine way to build up Force while giving a number of Destruction healers something to worry about. Though really a single DoT on a target is seldom enough to break their stride, so I’ll often alternate this with Radiant Gaze. Really I feel it’s a waste of time to just throw DoTs everywhere…it’s a MUCH better idea to focus all you have on one target, and usually I make that target a healer if I have a choice. Or a witch elf. The little buggers. Since this DoT is long-lived, it’s my favorite to use to track a sucka (as mentioned above).

Lambent Aura. It’s our instant HoT, and it is by far the most common spell I support with Force. I throw this around liberally and its always an early spell I throw on someone who’s being focus fired (Saphery Shield, Lambent Aura, spam Healing Energy). Every little bit helps, and really the entire Archmage’s game revolves around “how many things can I stack on my target to more quickly reach my goal” which is either kill or save the target.

Radiant Gaze. Possibly my favorite spell, we affectionately call this one “EYE-LASERS LOL”. This spell is supported by many to be our best DPS spell in the game, so when I want raw hurting power, this is the spell I support with Tranquility. I more often spend Tranquility on Transfer Force, and occasionally Drain Magic (with the expectation/hope that they lose more AP when I do so).

Searing Touch. This is our burst damage. It’s channeled, but it doesn’t have to be; if you cast it on the run or immediately move after casting it, it is a cheaper-but-heavier shot than Radiant Lance, and it’s instant to boot. My most frequent use of this spell however is the icing on the DoT cake…once I have every DoT on you possible, I will hand-laser you until you die from it. I’m not opposed to breaking early to heal someone though: you shouldn’t be either. Remember you’re not regenerating AP when you’re channelling.

Transfer Force. This is not a DPS spell in my mind; it is a heal spell. When I’m DoTing a target to kill it, I will certainly throw this on them though, but I more often throw it on a tank if I just want extra heal-points going somewhere (often times myself). This is the only heal spell I can bolster with Tranquility (since it counts as a DoT in the game’s mind), and I’m very grateful for that. Since I cast my heal and damage spells in alternating bunches (that’s the nature of our class), this is often the first damage spell I cast in a set. Note that so far as I can tell, Transfer Forces on multiple hostile targets can channel life points to a common friendly: that is, if I put a max-Tranquility TF on my kill target, load myself up with HoTs, then burn another Tranquility-based TF on a different target, I have two streams of TF coming into me. Note that if I cast TF on the same target, I’m 100% confident that it simply wipes away the previous one and takes its place (for better or worse). It has a LONG duration too (24 seconds) so you can have quite a few of these flowing to yourself if you’re meticulous about it.

Dissipating Hatred. It’s our de-taunt. It has three uses:
1. During a duel, DoT the target up, de-taunt them, then proceed to heal yourself like crazy. Their damage is reduced by 50%, the DoTs don’t kill the de-taunt, and it makes the fight easier; esp. versus Witch Elves, where this is a required element to win.
2. If two or more suckas decide to take you on, one of them gets this (preferably a melee target) and the other gets the rough end of your DoT stick. Ignore the de-taunted one, burn the other one, heal yourself. Bonus points if you can DoT the de-taunt target before you de-taunt them.
3. In PvE, this spell saves my butt constantly. Even with Guard on me, I generate threat like crazy (because I DPS and heal at near-equal levels).

Prismatic Shield. It’s a nice big buff to our resistances; makes confronting casters that much easier. As Dastion says, “It is what it is.” Keep it on you and your party; while it’s nice for us, it’s fundamental for tanks, who have crappy resists.

Boon of Hysh. Here is our big-bang three second heal. At my current level of play it heals a bit over a third to one half of a life-bar, but I understand that later on it’s not nearly this effective. As it stands, I use this now with some Force to back it up, usually when they have enough life to stand up for 2~3 seconds while I cast. Later in the game I expect I’ll only use this when I have a significant amount of Force to reduce it’s cast time. I also use it on myself during Witch Elf duels when I’m about to die and happen to have full Force (an instant Boon followed by our morale heal is a great way to max your health out).

Drain Magic. I love this spell. I use it virtually every time its up, and I don’t mind blowing a few Tranquility points on it. AP burned is AP they can’t spend, which reduces the amount of burst damage they can put out. Worst case it means I’ll survive to heal myself and cast DM again. Best case I bottom them out and they get to sit and auto attack while I DoT them up like whoa. The only thing I wish this did was give me AP, which it doesn’t do until lv35 (with a tactic). I find that annoying, and I really wish they’d reconsider it. But it’s fine as is; I’m not complaining. I use it way too often to complain about it.

Gift of Life. Our res spell is a slow one at six seconds, but with an average amount of Force behind it, it takes the usual time to cast (it takes three seconds for a Rune Priest to pick someone back up). Usually if I see someone go down, I will DPS until I’m at max Force…by then either a Rune Priest will have resurrected them, OR I can do so instantly. If it was me rezzing them, it’d take that long anyway, but this way I don’t lose a step in my flow.

Walk Between Worlds. I echo Dastion in that I really feel this should have at least a slightly longer duration. As it stands, it is not a spell you blow and continue to face off with anybody. It is a OMG spell you blow when you are 1. surrounded by opposing players and want a chance to run away and put friendly players between you and said-crowd, 2. OMG I just agroed more than one mob, like say, a dozen mobs. Is there a limit to the number of mobs that can be affected? I don’t think so. I’d rather not experiment to find out. <3

Shield of Saphery. This is an instant extra hunk of HP. It’s saved my life more than a few times. I use this spell liberally, most often on myself in PvP. In PvE I throw this on the tank if it’s a Swordmaster OR if he/she is about to die. Putting it on an Ironbreaker probably nerfs their Grudge building? I don’t know, but usually by the time I throw this on them, they have max grudge anyway. I’d be curious to hear Grumble’s thoughts on this. Whether or not it’s worth Force to put in to this, I’m not sure; I’m still playing with it, and haven’t seen or done any math on it.

Balance Essence. This spell, frankly, looks useless, so I did not spec into it.

Cleansing Light. This spell is fine, but I have a pretty hard time determining what a “Hex” or “Ailment” is or is not, so I just cast it sometimes to see if it will stop something that’s on me and sucks. It puts out fires, I’ve noticed. Sometimes. I really want an add-on that tells me “YOU HAVE A HEX/AILMENT ON YOU” so I don’t waste time reading an error message.

Fury of Asuryan. I will be skipping this one, mostly because of Dastion’s write up, but also I don’t see it fitting into my current rotation. If we got it as a standard, OK. But as a point buy? I’m not impressed with it enough to put a point into it. Maybe I’m missing out?

Scatter the Winds. 50% reduced healing over 9 seconds could mean that every duel I have with a DoK or a Shaman might end a LOT sooner…9 seconds in a fight is a long time, especially when your health is low and you have a crap ton of DoTs on you. I’m Isha, primarily, but I might pick this up later.

Rain Lord. I just got this spell and haven’t actually used it in a fight. (I literally trained it after I dinged last night, after which I went to bed. At 2 AM.) I’ll have to play around with gear on myself to estimate how much of an effect it might have on a target, as well as us it in a few duels to see if it seems to help.

Funnel Essence. I don’t have this spell yet, but this is where I’m going with my points in Isha. Channeled healing means they’re getting points sooner than a huge burst, so I might use this as my stock big heal, only using Boon when I have a ton of Force and need a quick burst of HP *now*. Even still, I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out to be more effective to use that same Force with Funnel. A 13s cool-down is another reason it won’t completely replace Boon.

That is as far as I’ve gotten (as you might gleen from how loose it feels towards the end). Over all I still really love the class; it is by far my favorite caster in any game I’ve yet played. If you haven’t tried one, I recommend you do. <3

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~ by thade on September 29, 2008.

12 Responses to “The Archmage Abilities Review Redux”

  1. You missed out the group heal :)

  2. Yeah, Dastion told me. QQ

  3. I would say try Balance Essence. I read it =win. Or atleast its very useful.

  4. Nice little review. I played an AM in beta and really enjoyed it. I will definately be leveling one at some point. I play with my wife and she rolled a RP for her main, so I went IB- what an incredible combo! Once we’re at 40, she’ll probably start a BW or SW and I’ll roll my AM.

    Keep up the blogging. It really encourages me to reach 40 quickly so I can start mine.

  5. Oi, you keep mentioning Dastion and his writeup, but where’s the link? What’s da big idea?

  6. @Sam: Ironbreaker + Runepriest + Swordmaster + Archmage = a back-up door when a keep is breeched. I really love healer/tank combos in this game. Insane amounts of fun.

    @Boris: Dastion’s guide is linked at the right over there —>

    Under Archmage Info =)

  7. What, I’ve actually got to look at the sidebar?! I’m too lazy. What happened to instant gratification? It should be served on a platter!

    Oh, and BTW, thanks. :)

  8. […] Fortunately, that has already been done better than I could, so instead I will direct you to Archmagery to take a look at Thade’s article on the situation.  Go ahead and take a minute to read […]

  9. @Sam: What Thade says is true. An archmage backed tank makes an incredibly good backup door for a keep, especially with the ram still in existance. We can’t keep out a 30 man zerg, but we can slow them the hell down.

    Now throw a Swordmaster and Runepriest into the mix and you CAN actually hold the door against 20 people. The key is booting people out of the way and holding the sides of the ram. Tons of fun lemme tell ya.

    Ironbreaker 4 life

  10. Wait, what did I tell you? :p I say quite a bit :)

  11. Among many other things, you told me that Archmage AoE heal used to come VERY early in the tree (as in, lv5 or 6 or so).

  12. Oh right. That was nice, though leveling up to 18ish with nothing but Radiant Lance and Law of Conductivity was *hell*.

    Funnel Essence as a channeled Life Transfer was really fun though, sigh.. the good ole days :p

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