When I first read about the Archmage and her casting mechanic that was designed to make it easy for her to switch between healing and damage dealing, I thought this might be the class for me. About a minute and a half after creating my first Archmage in beta, I knew I had found my main.
I’m a committed role switcher. I love my alts. And I love my classes that can fill more than one role in a group, even if it means respecs or hanging onto spare sets of gear. And I love my healers that can nuke/ or nukers that can heal. Its great if, like me, you also have friends who play healers. Because I can say, ‘Hey, no worries, you heal this one and I’ll nuke instead.’ Options are good, mkay?
I’m going to expand more on that later but first, check out the robe and staff? Granted, it isn’t punk but doesn’t she look great? (Arbitrary and Hawley will confirm that I uploaded loads of shots of my archmage looking various degrees of ultra-awesome and won’t stop talking about it!)
There is a downside to being a glorious glittery healer with very obvious spell animations. Can you guess what it– urrrgh *gets stormed by band of Chosen and Marauders* Yup, get ready to be public enemy numero uno whenever you zone into a scenario, and I must be some kind of sucker because I LOVE that. I am always drawn to powerful but flimsy support classes who are high priority PvP targets. Staying up, keeping out of harm’s way, and delivering awesome healing, dps, and debuffs to help my realm mates is a real challenge. Although being an easy kill, the Archmage is fairly well designed as a PvP healer. She has a good mix of instant cast HoTs and DoTs, and an instant shield which can all be cast on the run, and longer cast time more powerful spells for when there is a tank or tree to hide behind.
More on that mechanic …
So the idea is that every time you cast a heal, you build up a point of Tranquility to a maximum of 5 points, which will bolster your next dps spell (if it is an instant DoT then it will tick for more damage, if it is a slow cast, it will cast more quickly). And every time you cast a damage spell, you build up a point of Force which helps your next heal in the same way.
See, this is a screenshot after I’d just cast 2 HoTs on myself. On my hotbar you can see that the abilities that will benefit from the Tranquility are blazing with excitement, so you can’t miss them. As soon as you cast a spell, all the spells of the other type will light up and the flames blaze higher the more points of Force or Tranquility that you build up.
I love it. I hate seeing the fires blazing for too long without being used so it’s very natural to find ways to throw out a DoT after every few heals. And what’s even better? Some of those DoTs are also debuffs or lifedrains so even while doing damage you can still be doing some support.
So: healer who nukes or nuker who heals? I did a lot of healing regardless and the healing offered by an Archmage is great. She’s the best single target healer on the Order side, and has a group heal too. It’s not as good or as fancy as group heals that the Warrior Priest or Runepriest get but it does the job, and this is one of the things I love about the Archmage. Her healing is definitely good enough for any situation I was able to find. I tried a nuking spec too and loved that (there’s a very fun AE knockback in the Asuryan tree) — her strength here is in her DoTs, and the channelled single target damage. But the class is strongest when you do a bit of both and I find it fun to keep an eye on both my team and the enemy and figure out where I can help best.
More about lifetap
As an Archmage, you can spec for a variety of different spells (although not all at the same time). There’s a DoT which reduces healing received by the target by 50% that you can pretty much keep up the whole time (it lasts 9s and has a 10s cooldown). There’s a ranged AE nuke/knockback which is good fun. There’s an awesome looking AE buff/debuff at the top of the Vaul tree that I need to try sometime. And … a lifetap nuke.
Now everyone has some kind of spell that they just adore in every game. For me, it’s the lifedrain and manadrain. I love those spells that annoy the enemy and help me or my mates at the same time. And they work very very well with the offensive/defensive target system in Warhammer. You won’t outheal a zerg on your own using these lifetaps but they’re just a tool that I love having, even if it ain’t all that powerful. (I’d love to see Balance Essence get a boost of some kind, but it’s fun for me anyhow.)