Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Scholar In-Depth Healing Guide

About Me:

Hi guys! My name is Chris "Xathra" Smith and I've been an avid theorycrafter and hardcore progression raider since World of Warcraft Vanilla. I've raided with one of the worlds' top guilds in World of Warcraft Vanilla and Burning Crusade. I then took a break and played casually through Mists of Pandria. I've also played RIFT and had server first Greenscale Blight clears as well as having the MOST influence on the current Mage Healing class the "Chloromancer". I'm currently raiding with the group Nocturnal Affairs and working on downing Twintania. I consistently stream at I've been playing Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn since Phase 3 Beta and enjoy every moment of it. The job I chose to main was Scholar as I liked the idea of a "proactive"  rather than a "reactive" healer. So far it has proved to be the most entertaining as well as the most rewarding.

Scholar Abilities:

Physick - The standard 400 potency heal. This should be cast when Adloquium shield is active or a DPS has taken damage that's not life-threatening and no other damage should be going out on that target for longer than 20 seconds. No cooldown and costs 133 MP.

Adloquium - Your GO-TO HEAL. Has a cure potency of 300 and applies a shield directly equivalent to the value healed. If this heal is a critical heal, the shield value is doubled. This shield should be maintained at all times on the tank currently tanking. This should also be the heal used on DPS if the DPS has taken damage that's not life-threatening and damage is expected to continue to go out on that player. No cooldown and costs 319 MP.

Lustrate - Your filler heal. Instantly heals 20% of your targets maximum HP and is not effected by healing increases and/or debuffs, such as Cleric Stance. This is the heal that allows Scholars to effectively tank heal on par, in terms of raw healing, of White Mages. This combined with shield mitigation make Scholars the superior tank healers. Lustrates should be focused onto the tank more-so than any other raid member, unless a case of emergency arises. No cooldown and costs 1 Aetherflow.

Succor - The "go-to" AoE heal. Has a cure potency of 150 and like Adloquium applies a shield to the players it heals for the value of the heal. Has a 15 yalm radius. Unlike Adloquium the shield does not double on critical heals. No cooldown and costs 399 MP.

Leeches - The standard dispell. Nothing else to say. No cooldown and costs 180 MP.

Aetherflow - Your mana management cooldown as well as an ability to provide resources for using your two spells Lustrate and Sacred Soil. For more information about managing this cooldown please check the Aetherflow Management section of this guide.

Sacred Soil - An AoE bubble that reduces the incoming damage by everyone inside the bubble by 10%. This ability is a targeted AoE that is placed on the ground. This ability has a 30 second cooldown and costs 1 Aetherflow. Lasts 15 seconds.

Virus - An applied debuff that reduces the damage output of a single target by 15%. It functions by reducing STR, DEX, MND, and INT by 15%. Lasts 10 seconds.

Eye for an Eye - An applied buff that has a 20% chance to reduce the damage output of multiple targets by 10% when the player who has the buff is struck.  Lasts 30 seconds. Damage reduction once applied lasts 20 seconds.

Sustain - A direct heal that heals your current pet for 8% of the pets HP over 10 seconds. Costs 10% of the players current HP. No cooldown.

Rouse - Increases the healing and damage potency of the currently active pet's abilities by 40%.  Also removes stuns, snares, slows, and any other crowd control on the pet. This ability has a 60 second cooldown.

Resurrection - Raises the current target to a Weakened State. Should be used in conjuction with Swiftcast. Prior to 2.05 you could use Succor in conjuction with Raise to remove the weakened state debuff, but this is no longer the case.

Energy Drain - An unaspected ability that deals 150 potency, and restores health and mana equal to 50% of the damage dealt. The Energy Siphon passive increases the amount of the MP gained to 100% of the damage dealt. This ability should RARELY be used as a Healing Scholar. More on this in the Aetherflow Management section.

Pet Abilities:

Embrace - A direct heal with a potency of 300 on a 3 second cooldown. No cost.

Whispering Dawn - An AoE healing over time heal with a potency of 100 that heals party members in a 15 yalm radius over 21 seconds. This ability has a 60 second cooldown and has no cost. More on this in the Pet Section.

Fey Illumination - A buff that increases magic healing potency of self and nearby party members by 20% for 20 seconds. Has a cooldown of 120 seconds and no cost. More on this in the Pet Section.

Fey Convenant - A buff that increases magic defense of self and nearby party members by 20% for 20 seconds. Has a cooldown of 120 seconds and no cost. More on this in the Pet Section.

Silent Dusk - A instant targeted Silence. Has a cooldown of 40 seconds and no cost. More on this in the Pet Section

Fey Glow - A buff that increases the spell speed of self and nearby party members by 30% for 30 seconds. Has a 60 second cooldown and no cost. More on this in the Pet Section.

Fey Light - A buff that increases the skill speed of self and nearby party members by 30% for 30 seconds. Has a 60 second cooldown and no cost. More on this in the Pet Section.

Cross Class Abilities:

Cure - A direct targeted heal that heals with a potency of 400. No sense in picking this up as we have Physick already. Not a viable option for cross class.

Aero - An instant cast Damage over Time ability that deals wind damage initially with a potency of 50 and a DoT with a potency of 25 over 18 seconds. This ability has no cooldown and costs 150 MP.
Essential for a DPS Scholar build. More on this in the DPS Scholar section.

Cleric Stance - A buff that when applied swaps the values of your MND and INT, while also increasing all damage dealt by 10% and reducing healing output by 20%. Essential for a DPS Scholar build. More on this in the DPS Scholar Section.

Thunder - A Damage over Time ability that deals initial lightning damage with a potency of 30 and a DoT with a potency of 40 over 12 seconds. Has no cooldown and costs 212 MP. Essential for a DPS Scholar build. More on this in the DPS Scholar section.

Protect - Applies a party wide buff that increases the Defense rating of all players by a value of _____. Not essential for any setup unless a White Mage is not present in your party, but is nice to have in any case.

Surecast - A buff that allows your next spell to be cast without interruption. Duration of 10 seconds. Currently there is no real use of this, but I can see it being used in content where interrupting could potentially be a problem.

Raise - Resurrects a target to a weakened state. Ignore this. We have Resurrection.

Swiftcast - ESSENTIAL FOR SCHOLAR. NO MATTER WHAT ROLE. This ability allows your next casted spell to be instantly cast. Keep in mind that the Swiftcast animation MUST FINISH before the spell will become instant. This should be saved and used in conjuction with Ressurection.

Stoneskin - Applies a buff to the target that absorbs 10% of the targets HP in damage. While this isn't a "go-to" ability for Scholars it is nice to have for those huge tank hits if your White Mage is unable to throw an 18% Stoneskin in fights such as Elevator Gauntlet or Twintania.

Healing Scholar Section:

Cross Class Abilites:
    1. Swiftcast
    2. Stoneskin
    3. Protect

Healing Scholar Stat Priorities:

    MND > Spell Critical > Determination > Spell Speed > PIE

Best in Slot Healing Scholar Pieces:

Weapon: Allagan Grimoire of Healing
Head: Vanya Hat of Healing (HQ)
Chest: Argute Gown
Gloves: Allagan Gloves of Healing
Belt: Hero's Belt of Healing
Pants: Argute Culottes
Boots: Spruce Pattens (HQ)
Neck: Hero's Necklace of Healing
Earrings: Rose Gold Earrings (HQ/VIT) or Hero's Earrings of Healing (MND)
Braclet: Astral Bracers (HQ)
Ring One: Astral Ring (HQ)
Ring Two: Hero's Ring of Healing

Debates on the Best in Slot Healing Scholar Pieces:

There has been a lot of debate recently about the Best in Slot Healing Scholar Pieces I have selected. The reason for the 50% crafted pieces vs Allagan/AF+1 purchasable pieces are as follows. The only two pieces that will have the biggest impact being ilvl 90 (the helm and the boots) have terrible secondary stats for the scholar. Spell speed is by far the lowest scaling stat a Scholar can get. Therefor, the less valued MND for a larger gain of CRIT and DET will be better overall. The accessory pieces ARE WEAKER than the purchasable and Allagan accessories but the reasoning for my choice of adding them into the BiS list is simply because the ability the stack that very much needed Vitality for Turn 5. Keep in mind that NONE of the Allagan or Mythology purchasable right side has ANY vitality on it. This increases the value of the crafted items substantially. Hopefully this ends some of the debate as to why I picked the choices I did for the Healing SCH BiS pieces.

Healing Scholar Rotation:

The Scholar Healing rotation is all about being proactive more than reactive. Due to this it is always good practice to keep shields, whether it be Adloquium or Succor, on all party and raid members. At ALL times the tank currently tanking should have an Adloquium shield active. This will ensure your tank won't instantly drop to a point where healing becomes unmanageable for yourself or your White Mage.

Tank Healing:

When tank healing you want to place Eos as close as possible to the tank you're currently healing so that it prioritizes the tank over anyone else. It's essential to keep Adloquium shields on the tank. I can't stress this enough. The ideal rotation for abilities would be one Adloquium and then one Physick. If your tank's gear and your gear is higher than the content level you can get by with one Adloquium and two Physicks. A common misconception about tank healing is to save Aetherflow stacks for "Oh shit" Lustrates. This is WRONG. Lustrates allow Scholars to sustain raw healing throughput and should never be used as an "Oh shit".  If properly played the tank will never spike down instantly unless you completely ignore him for more than 10 seconds. The ideal time to use Lustrate is when a tank reaches 50% of his HP pool. The reason for this is to maximize the potential healing throughput of the Lustrate and to account for Eos' Embrace if it goes off at the same time as the Lustrate hits. Doing this will provide the tank with the most healing efficiency, and you with the least amount of over-healing, and thus healing threat. During times of heavy tank damage it's also good practice to rotate through your cooldowns starting with Sacred Soil. As soon as Sacred Soil ends the next best bet is to Eye for an Eye, followed by Rouse (unless heavy AoE healing is needed during the next 60 seconds), then Virus, and back to Sacred Soil. Using this rotation a Scholar can solo heal a Paladin tank tanking double Dreadnaughts in Turn 4 without the tank using ANY cooldowns.

Raid Healing and Spot Healing:

When raid healing and spot healing it is essential to keep Succor shield up on the entire raid. If you have a player who is notorious for not dodging mechanics its best to keep an Adloquium shield on those players to mitigate as much damage as possible. Other than keeping Succor shields up it's more efficient to top players off with Physick, unless as stated earlier, they're notorious for taking damage to mechanics. If huge AoE damage comes out during this point, its best to Sacred Soil to hit as many players as possible and then use one Succor AFTER the AoE (keep in mind you should already have shields up on every player). This will allow for a quick 150 potency heal followed by a refreshed shield. During this AoE Whispering Dawn should also be used to top the players off from the AoE as the raw healing throughput of Succor is unbelievably low. If for some reason one or two players aren't topped off by the end of Whispering Dawn, feel free to throw a Physick out or just let Eos Embrace heal them. If the boss or mob you're currently fighting is DIRECTLY CASTING the AoE Virus would also be a good choice to use while Sacred Soil is on cooldown.

Managing MP, Aetherflow, and Aetherflow Stacks:

Aetherflow is the Scholar's BEST utility ability. It allows the Scholar to maintain a constant healthy mana pool and gives the Scholar resources to cast his or her signature abilities, such as Lustrate and Sacred Soil. The ideal management for Aetherflow is to cast it BEFORE the fight begins to have 3 Aetherflow stacks going into the fight. As soon as you hit 80% mana you need to blow through your remaining Aetherflow stacks and cast Aetherflow again. After this point you want to cast it on cooldown, as you will rarely ever be above 80% mana after this first initial Aetherflow. NEVER CAST AETHERFLOW WHILE YOU STILL HAVE AETHERFLOW STACKS. IT'S A WASTE OF UTILITY AND THROUGHPUT. If you have one remaining Aetherflow stack throw out a Sacred Soil on the tank, unless a time of heavy AoE damage is going out. If you're unable to blow your Aetherflow stacks on Sacred Soil, use Lustrate to top off tanks and/or other party and raid members. If everyone is topped off only THEN it is safe to blow your Aetherflow stacks on Energy Drain for extra DPS, and a slight mana gain.

To emphasize the importance of maintaining Aetherflow on cooldown for mana management I will be posting a video of me healing Garuda Hardmode and using only Adloquium and Succor. Pay close attention to the time at which Aetherflow was used each and every time and what I choose to use Aetherflow stacks on.

For more information about managing your mana, aetherflow, and aetherflow stacks please see the in-depth strategy video at the bottom of this guide.

Pet Section:

Eos vs Selene:

Eos is by and far the best pet to use in ANY situation on PROGRESSION content. The reason being is the survivability of Eos exceeds that of Selene. While the DPS increase of Selene for party members is nice, and helpful, the bonus healing provided by Eos (on command) and the AoE heal (on command) is invaluable on progression fights. On farmed content where fights and mechanics are known and people take less damage Selene will trump. However, there may still be exceptions where Eos is better due to the amount of damage going out (one that comes to mind is Hard Mode Titan).

Pet Micro'ing:

The ideal way to micro your pet is to hit the "Steady" button. This button will stop your Pet from using signature abilities until TOLD TO DO SO. Doing this will allow you to control when your pet uses its abilities. If using the "Steady" command, as soon as you activate a particular ability the pet gets immediately switched back to Guard, in the case of Eos she will immediately blow all of her abilities. Keep in mind that as soon as an ability is used by you, you need immediately hit "Steady" again to remain in control of your pet. For this reason, it's best to hotkey "Steady" and your other pet abilities.

Also involved with pet micro'ing is Pet Placement. This is one of the most important things in maximizing your pets healing throughput. Keep in mind, when placing your fairy you want to also be sure you maximize the number of players your fairy can hit while still prioritizing the tank. This will allow the fairy to buff your other healer (or in the case of Selene buff your DD) and keep Whispering Dawn up. If you don't place your pet properly she will stay at your side and A. Won't heal certain players out of range with Embrace and B. Might miss a couple players with buffs such as Fey Illumination and Whispering Dawn who may be out of range. You want to place your pet in a location that it may hit the majority of players and that will place it in the LEAST amount of danger.

In-Depth Video Strategies:

Solo Healing Titan Hardmode as a Scholar (no commentary)

Managing Mana, Aetherflow, and Aetherflow Stacks (with commentary)

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