The Disciple of Khaine is a very versatile class. In many class cases, being able to use the full aspect to anyone of your mastery trees is simply not possible. Either that tree was nerfed, it’s broken, not popular for PvP, or just weak. You can take the mirror to the DoK as an example, the Warrior Priest. By far a very formidable foe and friend. It’s a class that is built to heal a group like it was 2 healers in one and is tough enough to tank about most foes, even in numbers. Give him/her a great weapon however, and they become free renown speed bump to a destruction rapefest.
The Warrior Priest in Comparison
In the past, I’ve built 3 level 40 WPs. One to renown rank 72, one to 45 and another that never surpassed 20. I’ve done quite a bit of studying and experimentation with them. In the end, the WP has all of one great use, mass group heals. With some really high level gear and some pocket items, maybe more. But as for being able to follow another path other than Salvation (full cast heal spec) on a Warrior Priest before the RR70, is a likely way to be greatly appreciated renown to Destruction. In my frustration of not being able to have my Grace (melee heal and effect spec) I went and took some time to try to see if I could with the DoK.
The DoK alone is born with more strength and abilities to kill. As you rank up, knowing your Warrior Priest’s paths backwards by heart, you would notice the great differences. You have blessings that damage an opponent while healing your ally. You have tactics that bless you with amazing striking capability, but yet lack all the defensive tactics granted to the WP. The result is, the Disciple actually has the capability of specializing in anyone of the 3 paths, and probably excel in anyone of them. Ultimately, because of gear and groupings, the Disciple generally only has so many choices before RR80. However they tend to lean to certain focuses depending on the user and really the renown rank of course.
The Young Disciple
Before the DoK can develope into a mature center point, once achieving Tyrant or Warlord gear, the Disciple can feel almost as though it’s a teenager trying to figure out it’s role. Leaving T3, most characters are probably full Devastator. Unfortunately, this armor set gives most players the wrong idea in what they should play as. Up until T4, the melee DPSing fiend known in T3, the DoK was a nightmare for any opponent. A nice boost in strength with a 5% critical bonus, might have put a level 27 Slayer in his place, however even a rank 40 Runepriest can make short work out of a sub40 melee DoK. Despite what the armor may tell you, if the number at your name is under 40, you probably shouldn’t be holding 2 swords. The likelihood that you will get lucky and find other enemies under 40 alone, are slim to none. I personally tried it, just to see. The critics are correct, this setup in T4 is most definitely the notorious FailDoK.
Fortunately, the next armor set, Annihilator is a great example of a useful setup for a premature DoK, the HealDoK. By RR32 and even with unlucky rolls, any DoK can go buy the boots and gloves, get a nice Willpower buff, respec their renown, talismans and mastery into Willpower and Dark Rites. This will however still be a slight struggle, as this DoK is unable to make good use of any tactics. The shield proc tactic requires a heal crit, which most likely a sub40 DoK does not have. And a very useful …. tactic helps regenerate Soul Essence with incoming strikes but you have to atleast 37. Unfortunately, the premature time between RR31 and Rank 40 is a very difficult and unspecialized time for the DoK. Keep watering (grinding in LoTD) it will be short time in comparison to 80.
The HealDoK is what the masses want. You will be liked. You will be bored, but you will be liked. Spamming your group heal will definitely help and grant results. This path does get more useful, and with equipment and RR, the HealDoK is most likely to find the good premades for SCs. The struggle will be gear. For some reason the next two stepping stones for gear were imbalanced by Mythic. Conqueror is a DPS set, and then Invader is an even better DPS set. It’s Sentinel and Darkpromise that are the heal sets; both of which are only in Dungeons. In all actuality, Mythic should have made the Darkpromise the Invader, so that it was Devastator (DPS) > Annihilator (Heal) > Conqueror (DPS) > Invader (Heal [currently DPS]). And the same should have occurred for the PvE sets. It didn’t though. Thank you, afterthought brilliance. So the time from RR35 to RR 68, if you refuse to do PvE, you will be seriously hurting your improvement as a HealDoK. You will basically remain mediocre, until you finally can squeeze into Warlord, months and months from now. Don’t be too sad, the Warrior Priest has the same gear issue; I was lucky on both of my Priest, I was full Dark Promise within 5 runs (2 to 3 weeks). The point being is, if you see spam in IC, looking for a healer for BB or LV, take it. A shot at even getting 4 pieces (Willpower and Crit bonus at 4) is one you want to take. Warlord is a very far distance away, take what you can get.
Every so often you will run into a DPSDoK. He/she kills things and fast. They are also wearing full Invader/Sovereign/Tyrant. And have lots of nice talismans and then lots of renown points too. Some are able to run solo on the lakes like a Witch Hunter/Elf, and then some are just supported well by their groups. However, unless in a strong team that knows them, the DPSDoK quickly turns into a FailDoK again if in PuGs against intelligent enemies. Healers just naturally don’t heal other healers for some reason. And then same will be applied to you if you run to far out, despite your gear.
There is also the LOLDoK. The LOLDoK, can take many forms, but mostly is an arrangement of both trying to be melee and cast heals at the same time. Maybe it was the bonuses on the Conqueror set, maybe it is that it succeeded once, or maybe it was the paint chips, but every so often you will inspect a DoK that has two blades, a mixture of gear with both Strength and Willpower slotted. You can watch them run up to the enemy casting HoTs, smack a tank a couple of times, and then spam two sets of group heals, then smack the tank again. Most might think this is the FailDoK, but it is actually the LOLDoK. They will live a little bit longer, and provide about 7 seconds of laughter to any other DoK that witnesses it. Hence the LOLDoK.
In my current struggle, I have full Invader and am currently trying to pound out the Darkpromise to tide me over to Warlord. Even having Superior Wards, I still take every opportunity to run Blood and Bile for Sentinel. Finishing either PvE set can be fast if extremely lucky, but I have heard of nightmares of players never seeing a single piece in over 2 dozen runs. By then, you will be in Warlord, you might as well take a chance at having half Sentinel/Darkpromise if anything. And that is my goal. Until that time, since Renown rank 43, I have developed a new DoK formula I like to call the MehDoK. It is basically a complete combination of a DPS, Heal, LoL and Fail DoK all in one.
The Meh Disciple
Basically, what I found is that you live 3 lives in your pre-RR70 T4 mold. You need renown, and lots of it. So you are mostly doing Open RvR. As frustrating as it can be, Open RvR still provides the most renown when you can zone lock and be there for all the objective takes. The second part to your life is Dungeons. You want and need that heal gear to better advance those sets. The third is SCs. It probably won’t rule your life, but SC weapons are still nice. The Meh spec will let you do all 3, respectively.
If you specialize, you can’t really find a life doing whatever you want. If you go full heals, you can’t go run out in the lakes alone and score giant Renown on solo kills. If you go full DPS up the Torture tree, you can go solo, but your life in finding dungeon runs or premades will be most difficult.
You can start your MehDoK by the time you are RR45 and able to now fit in your Conqueror set. There are 4 things that you need to have to have a MehDoK:
Renown in Weapon Skill and Melee Crit
Mastery in (13 Points) Sacrifice with (10 to 13 Points) Dark Rites
Full Conqueror/Invader along with 3 Annihilator, Sentinel, or DarkPromise, Purple Chalice
Proper Tactics ready to go
The DPS Melee Heal Setup (Sacrifice)
The first setup you have for the MehDoK is the DPS Melee Heal Setup, you’re best specialization. This requires your full Conqueror or Invader setup, with 2 swords , and DPS cloak with DPS jewelry.
In my personal case, its full Invader, all in Weapon Skill/some Strength Talismans except for the boots that have Odjira and the gloves that have Kamenra. I use the LoTD Melee Cloak with matching ring. Then I also have 2 Onslaught Rings for an extra 4% crit. And to top it, I’ve been fortunate with picking up 2 Warlord Purple Bag Sword, not only providing an extra 100 strength and 60 WS, but then another 4% crit. I’ll admit, this was a really fortunate setup I have. Warlord purple weapons, friends that run ToVL that they just give me talis, I’m a privileged dude. Though you may not be able to get all the same, you should at least get what you can. The middle wing in BS will give you an amazing sword, it has 4% crit. Go grind it with some friends. And LOTD WC grinding will provide you decent jewelry along with making decent Talismans to replace Odjira and Kamenra. Make sure your renown is in WS, and then the melee crit. And also make sure you don’t forget to pick up some renown tactics as well. I particularly like SC and Skirmish myself with this setup.
Basically, the places where you will enjoy this setup is mostly in Open RvR. But specifically when on the Offensive. Keep takes, Objectives, and yes, Dungeons and even SCs (with good teams, rare though). I find the two biggest issues with any DPS DoK is: One, getting to your opponent on time since ranged are pounding you like a boxing bag with snares; or Two, the simple fact you just run out of AP if you are pounding on something recieving heals. The Invader set really helps with the AP issue, and the Kanemra is a great boost to just being able to be a Consume Essence spammer. If you can successfully reach your target (Odjira in your boots should fix that) and remembering that you can cleanse snares, you probably can heal through about what ever you want with Soul Rend and Consume Essense, not to mention any WE, Choppas or Tanks that led you in. Hopefully you didn’t run in first, and were at least smart enough to travel behind a more threatening foe.
The key to this setup is only 2 purchases of the Sacrifice tree: Pillage Essense (Ability – Hits hard, Steals 50 AP and gives you 50 SE) and Empowered Transfer (Tactic – Boost Consume Essence to 150% heal).
Empowered Transfer is what keeps you a healing beast and also allows you to basically go into a killing frenzy, yet will still heal those around you. Works wonderfully if trying to break Bomb BWs, saying that you can get the other melee and tanks to follow you. The BWs might be hitting you for 2K a second, but you’ll be healing you and everyone for just that much. The issue is they need to be near you.
The reason you want Pillage Essense is because with boosting your attacks, you won’t really have the life tap heals to save you in ‘oh shit’ moments. You’ll be relying on Soul Rend. Which under the Melee setup, can easily take you to full health instantly, or anyone else you defensively target. Your enemy in doing this all the time, is in keeping enough Soul Essence to do just that. This ability is not only your hardest hitting ability, but will help keep that SE capped, ready for the needed Soul Rend. When you die, it’s usually because you couldn’t Soul Rend, believe it or not, defensive barriers are likely to kill you. You can’t heal, if you can’t hit.
There are three tactic setups I like to have ready in when in Melee Heal. The first is the most used, it works for Keep takes, easy SCs and just rolling over open skirmishes.
Divine Fury (boost hits by 25%, but reduces direct heals by 20%)
Murderous Intent (boost all crits by 10% [melee, heal, ranged, magic] and parry by 10%, with a 20% penalty on direct heals)
Empowered Transfer (boost Consume Essence to 150%)
Transferred Focus (boost 20% better incoming heals to your defensive target every time you crit an enemy)
Keep in mind, it’s direct heals, not melee heals, that are getting reduced. Yes, your spam group heal is failing by 40% less, but melee heals are valued on your hit and now are getting heavily bolstered. They just mirror the value of your strike.
Now, why the Transfered Focus? With as much crit as you are now boasting (should be well over 20% if not 30% by now) you are proc’ing it every couple of seconds. If your Soul Rend wasn’t enough, a 20% bolster to all your self healing, even from melee heals will be to be self substaining against a bombardment, which will most likely happen if you start pounding on a Rune Priest.
Think about Consume Essense. It strikes for near 400 when you travel up that mastery tree. Most defenses will cancel out your strength and WS procs. But with Divine Fury, its now 500. You get a crit 1/4th of the time with Murderous Intent, its more like an average of 600 a hit. With Empowered Transfer, that is also a clean 900 heal to you and anyone near you. If you have the Transfered Focus proc on you (which you most certainly do), that 900 is now 1,080 to you or your defensive target. Keep in mind your group heal is a 2 second cast and with your willpower and mastery maxed, it hits for 1600. That’s only 800 a second and is considered Over Powered and can be at best spammed 4 times before you run out of SE. Don’t get me wrong, with Focused Mind, you can basically take an almost dead group to full health in 1.5 seconds. But that relies on a moral. The Melee Heal, simply relies on being awesome, no morals needed.
So take for example you are running solo, or have friendlies around you, but aren’t that reliable; you alone can not only be striking for well over 1K DPS, but your HPS could well heal over 2K on yourself. Put yourself at the door of keep in the oil, and you are doing well over 20K a second (repeat that to yourself 20K), as you are healing every melee and tank twat in there with you. Think about a defended keep; whats the hardest thing? Keeping people on the door with oil and BWs pounding the ram and everything near it.
By the way, melee heals can’t be Debuffed for Outgoing heals, they are still effected by Incoming though as an FYI.
For Dungeons, I like to have the tactics setup in which I just replace Murderous Intent with Subtelty. You don’t need parry anymore, and you have more than enough crit to proc what you need. Most to all Dungeons are centered around damage on the tank. Short of instances that have a Boss with group channels, your melee heals with Transfered Focus will basically keep the tank more than well covered. You’re dilemma will be in not pulling aggro. Make sure you don’t spam Consume Essense. Overheals seem to pull aggro, you want to avoid using heal melee when heals aren’t needed. Keep in mind also that your direct heals are only reduced by 20% now. Sometimes you just need to throw the Sorc some love, and now those heals will be somewhat worth it.
There are times when you don’t really need to heal that much, or at all. Maybe you are powerleveling some friends, grinding some mats, or just know there won’t be opposition in the lakes. At that point, you can go all out DPS, which is just a matter of 2 tactics. Switch out Transfered Focus and Empowered Transfer with Khaine’s Imbuement (Procs Spirit DoT 25% of hits for 9 seconds) and Potent Covenants (Boost the proc of your Covenants from 20% to 35%). You’ll basically add another 200 DPS to the mix with these two. All in Spirit Damage, sweet. Again, rarely used. How often do expect not to have opposition or have that many healers? I end up finding so many cases where there for some reason is just a complete lack of dps, this being ready has come in real handy. Also great for the horrible empty instances in the city. This can hurry that process.
The Heal Setup (Dark Rites)
You can’t have 2 swords all the time. Eventually you going to be one of 2 or 3 healers in an SC, and your melee heals are going to get everyone killed. As well, in Keep and City Defenses, melee heals are just hard to keep up, you’ll do better just being a normal healer. And then again, not too many premades are looking for melee heals, a chalice will get you in to the good. To counter this, I keep atleast 10 points in the Dark Rites path. Personally, I keep 12 points there. No abilities purchased; mainly because, the only ability you need is the Group Heal.
Basically, you’ll also need an entire Heal set of equipment in your bag, for quick adjustments. This can be a combination of Annihilator, Sentinel, and Dark Promise. But then you’ll aslo want the Heal Cloak and Jewelry from LOTD. And then of course atleast a Purple Chalice. The LOTD is the easiest one to find, plus it has 2 talisaman slots, can use LOTD talis and has a great 30 Willpower already in it’s base stats. I personally, also keep the Conqueror Insignia sword that grants 2% heal crit with some other healing abilities. The equipment should be slotted with a heavy focus on willpower and toughness/armor/wounds (depending on if you like PvP or PvE more). I personally keep 2 healing sets, an Annihilator/Sentinel setup with all Willpower slots for Dungeon running. And then another Annihilator/Conqueror setup with Willpower/HealCrit/Toughness talismans.
I keep two tactic setups ready to go for this. For PvP, I use the following:
Discipline (Boost in your Willpower – No brainer)
Fueled Actions (Generates SE when you get hit 25%)
Terrifying Aura (AoE spreads your detaunt)
Dark Blessings (Increases Incoming Heals by 10%)
With only 2 or 3 points not purchased under Dark Rights, and with only missing but just a couple of points in Willpower and Heal Crit missing from the renown trees, not too many will be able to tell you aren’t a full heal spec (You are only missing 2 or 3 points from Dark Rights, and some Renown Points). However you benefit greatly from the additional WS, you’ll find you parry quite a bit more than expected. Spam your Terrifying Detaunt every 15 seconds on possible attackers, and you’ll find that you can heal through just about anything. The key is to detaunt them, before they even hit you. I slot Dark Blessings, just because I like to play in close to the chest. I want Fueled Action procs on my SE pool. So basically run about just slightly behind Tanks, cycling HoTs, Group Heals, and Detaunts hoping to at least take on some fire.
The Fifth and final tactic setup you’ll want ready is for Dungeons. There are bosses and instance where you’ll need to be a backline healer. Not often, but they exist. ToVL is a good example of needing to be able to switch back and forth. For this I have these Tactics:
Discipline (Boost in your Willpower – No brainer)
Subtelty (25% less Hate)
Transferred Focus (boost 20% better incoming heals to your defensive target every time you crit an enemy)
Khaine’s Imbuement (25% chance to DoT for Spirit Damage)
Sometimes you need to stand back, and then other times you just need more group heals, but still need to hit. Hitting NPCs still generates SE, so you might as well make those hits worth it in between spamming group heals. Some may ask, if you unslotted your Melee Crit Armor, why have Transferred Focus back in the slots? Because you still have 6% from your Renown purchases. That’s a great deal, you’ll still spark the 20% heal bonus on the tank, and that’s always a big plus.
This is my Meh DoK in a nut shell. It has served me well so far. It’s versatile, it’s effective and most importantly it’s got the Meh seal of approval. Will this be my setup always? No, infact, while writing this article over the past week or so, I have respec’d 4 times, trying out full Dark Rites, full Sacrifice, Full Torture and another combination of Sacrifice and Torture. In the end, to be able to do any one the 3 (RvR, SCs, Dungeon) without respec’ing each time, I keep ending back at my Meh setup for convenience. Though that heal debuff tactic in Torture keeps me for minutes staring at the mastery trees thinking up new ideas.