*Update as at 4th April 2013
-Added Module 3 boons
-Reworked and extended section 6.3 after lots of testing and number crunching on how armor penetration, debuffs and damage resistance influence your damage output.
-Started adding Module 3 info for planning and gear where relevant
-Added section 7.3 Known issues, bugs etc with DC class
*Update as of 25th Mar 2013
-Added section on tenacity
-Removed some references of Linked Spirit from sunburst
-Major updates and revisions through skill, feat descriptions and minor modifications on build
-Revision and update of overall guide
-Updated PvP gear and advice with new changes
-Rewrote section 6.3 to discuss how debuffs stack with your abilities
*Updated as of 13th Feb 2014
-Some revisions/updates and loadout pics in section 6.
-Slightly expanded section 7.2 on PvP
-DC At will comparisons 220.127.116.11 and minor edits throughout.
-New ArP vs power discussions
-Calculated effectiveness of Power in healing/damage
-Updated build strat for 14k+ GS, updated opinion on WIS
-More info towards playing in high GS parties
-Fixed and updated links for nwcalc.com
This guide is a massive one stop shop for everything about Devoted Clerics, covering skill choices, feat discussion, gear analysis, recommended builds and practical tips. It is the result of reading almost every single guide there is, digestion of neverwinter mechanics and math backed with hours of gameplay in PUGs and in premade groups. Whatever stage you’re at with your Cleric, there should be something of use to you here.
As a resource, the guide aims firstly to inform and secondly to advise. You should not feel the need to commit to any particular build or gear sets 100% as the game is constantly evolving. Most of it is my opinion and experiences and my aim is to put the experience there so you can digest it, supplement it with your own testing and ultimately make your own decisions and know why you did it. You’re a Cleric after all, go make use of that high WIS!
This guide will be regularly updated to reflect new changes. As you can appreciate it is a significant effort to write and maintain with constant patch notes and evolution of the game, feel free to drop me a message here on the forums, in teamspeak or via in game mail about questions/ donations J.
As you can also appreciate I am human and am prone to errors, whether they be grammatical, factual or misunderstandings of game mechanics. A lot of Neverwinter's combat mechanics have been, for a lack of a better word, 'cryptic' and while I've tested as much as I can there's a whole lot that I've also just taken on faith based on others' research. I have usually included links and references in such situations, though in wanting to keep this easy to read I'm not going to cite every source 100%. I would welcome your helpful suggestions and clarifications- there's still much I'm learning about the game daily and by no means see myself as authoritative on every subject matter. Read it, share it, bounce ideas off and go eliminate the concept of 'bad clerics' in Neverwinter!
DISCLAIMER: **This guide, excluding sections where references have been linked is the intellectual property of Kaelac. You may retain a copy for personal use but you may not repost, plagiarise or make unauthorised copies in part or whole on websites and forums without the expressed written consent from the author.** By all means feel free to share the link to this guide with those who may find it helpful.
Table of Contents:
3.1 Introduction to Neverwinter Stats
3.2 Diminishing Returns
3.3 Building your Stats
4.1 Paragon Paths
4.2.1 At wills
4.2.2 Class Features
4.2.4 Daily Abilities
4.2.5 Heroic Feats
4.2.6 Paragon Feats
5.1 Comprehensive DC Gear Analysis
5.2 Dungeons and Gear
5.3 Auction house buying guide
5.4 Weapon and Armor Enhancements
5.6 Companion bonuses
5.7 Artifact bonuses
5.8 Zen Store Items
5.9 Gear set demonstrations
The Devoted Cleric is a Leader class in Neverwinter, and forms both a staple and backbone of any 5 man party. Contrary to popular opinion the Devoted Cleric is not a healer class, at least not exclusively. It is a Leader class, which means the DC has many abilities in his arsenal that help shape and enhance the party’s prowess, and abilities that can directly change and affect the outcome of battles. The Devoted Cleric also has a range of powerful healing abilities and tactical buffs and debuffs to help turn any difficult fight into a simpler encounter.
1.1 Should I roll a Cleric?
You should play a cleric if you enjoy playing a support/leader role, if you have a team oriented mentality, if you enjoy healing and protection, and if you enjoy experimenting with various strategies and being flexible with load outs and rotations.
Don’t get me wrong, the Devoted Cleric has very strong offensive arsenal, and when not forced to heal they can keep up in dungeon DPS with all the major DPS classes. However, because our value lies in our utility you need to be prepared to sacrifice personal DPS for group DPS, whether that means buffing your main DPS or keeping them safe and well healed through extended fights.
For those heavily into PvP the current meta is DCs are bastions who keep themselves and allies up via defensive abilities, mitigation and heals. With the right gear and playstyle the DC has a lot of staying power and can hold contested points in 1v1 or 1v many situations. You won’t often top the scoreboard in kills, but you are essential in fortifying nodes and capturing and keeping points.
1.2 Cleric Class Roles
The key to being a successful DC is versatility- identifying you party's strength and weaknesses and either boost the strength and/or cover the weakness. NW dungeons are designed somewhat to allow various party compositions to clear it successfully, and whilst DCs are more a must-have at lower GS, higher GS parties may well experiment coping without a DC, which is a good thing because the DC can start to go from healbot to buffs and debuffs.
DPS DCs shine at lvs 20-50 and at around 11-13k GS, but beyond that our target limit and cooldowns limit how much useful DPS we can realistically do. Searing light through singularity is nice but the mobs usually would be dead in follow up AoEs anyway. Daunting light crits hard, sunburst and chains do decent damage, but when CWs have 4 encounters and larger target limits, and GF/GWF/HR have powerful AoE at-wills you will struggle to keep up as pure DPS and often passed over for a GWF/CW. In such cases a hybrid buff/debuff/DPSer might fill the party niche better regardless of whether there is a healer DC or not.
Levelling- 7-10k average party gearscores:
In such groups the DC is there to dramatically increase the success rate of clearing dungeons by providing incoming damage mitigation and supplementary healing. DCs are essential in such parties primarily for healing to ensure the party survive and recover from encounters and boss fights.
10-13k average party gearscore:
In these groups most players have sufficient DPS, defense and capabilities to make encounters faster that extended healing may not be necessary. Here the DC again provides incoming damage mitigation, healing as well as buffs and debuffs to help fights go even faster and safer.
14k+ average party gearscore:
At this stage party members are very strong offensively and most will have significant amounts of lifesteal to lessen your healing load. A fair few of these parties will start running without a DC because bring more DPS often means clearing content faster and having less damage taken. However, DCs can contribute more to party DPS than a 5th DPSer by running buffs and debuffs. DCs in such groups should focus on incoming damage mitigation and buffs/debuffs to squeeze every bit of DPS from the party. Your damage buffs/debuffs will means party members hit even harder and thus get more self-healing from Lifesteal, so in a sense debuffs = more healing. Parties will start to pull entire sections of the dungeon or ignore/pile all the adds on boss for a high risk high reward playstyle, and you are there to help improve clearing speed and keep them safe. Hallowed ground and Astral shield (even yellow) becomes very important to reduce the incoming damage from multiple sources. Your HoT and debuffs will allow members to survive and lifesteal their health back to full. Don't lag behind your DPSers in such groups and shadow the GWFs especially when they pull.
2. Stats and Ability Scores
2.1 Ability scores
Your ability scores are rolled upon character creation from one of these sets. The sets are fixed, so just look through and roll until you get a combination you desire. Note that for now your ability score roll cannot be changed after character creation even after a respec, so choose carefully. The Class scores for Clerics are Wisdom, then Strength and Charisma. My preferred pick would be 16 WIS 16 STR 12 CHA for the highest starting strength. (Aim to max STR and WIS whatever you roll for best overall PvE bonuses)
As you level up you get 2 points at lv 10, 20, 40 and 50 (8 total, up to 4 in each one stat) to add to any of your ability scores. At lvs 30 and 60 you get a +1 bonus to all scores. When you ‘tag’ a campfire you get a short buff which gives +1 to all ability scores. There is also a Potion of Heroism that gives +1 to all ability scores for 1 hr. You can respect points you added with a retraining token.
For min/maxing you basically need to balance between maximising the total number of ability scores across ALL stats (72-77 points) vs maximising the total number of ability scores in CLASS stats only (42-44 points). You are not penalised for having low scores in any areas. For scores above 10 you will get a bonus for each point, with the bonus for each class shown here:
Ability scores matter to an extent, but not overly so that it would break your character because you can make up for it with gear stats. My approach is use ability scores to build up the stats that are useful to your build but are the hardest to stack.
Starting with non class scores, the most important non class score is CON, which gives 2% HP per point over 10. However as it's relatively easy to get HP it's not as important to stack CON unless you really prefer the extra HP (which does boost HP you get from gear/enchants). The next is DEX, which gives 0.5% deflect per point over 10%. INT is a nice +1% cooldown bonus but it’s also accessible via CHA so it’s safe to ignore it generally. In a majority of builds, unless you are particularly stacking HP or deflect for tanky builds (especially for PvP) you can ignore them all. There is no penalty in them being under 10.
Most clerics go either a balanced build or high STR vs high WIS build. At very high gearscores like 14k+ a high STR and high WIS build becomes viable.
STR gives a straight 1% crit per point. Given the harsh diminishing returns on crit (see next section), STR is the easiest way to build your crit chance and thus should be maxed. Crit is very important in any cleric build, and you should definitely aim to max STR and add attributes to it where you can. Having higher STR means you can get by stacking less crit stat and diversify. If your racial can be put in STR, add it in STR. Also stamina regen is very useful for more dodges. Dodges give your character 100% immunity for a few seconds, even when standing in red when timed correctly. Use it correctly and this will save your life. If you rather not gamble with crit and have a straight constant healing bonus, take WIS over STR. Some DC builds ignore it and it’s still fine, but I don’t recommend you ignore crit entirely, especially for my build because crits proc Repurpose Soul heals, which can account for 9-16% of overall outgoing heals.
Next is CHA, which gives 1% AP gain and 1% recharge speed per point. The companion bonus is applies only to the actual companion stats and not items/runes equipped so it’s a very small bonus anyway. Combat advantage bonus applies only to the additional combat advantage damage (base 15%) so it doesn’t matter too much in the scheme of things. For example, if you have 20 charisma you get a 10% combat advantage bonus, which is a whopping 1.5% extra combat advantage damage. To illustrate, lets say your attack does 1000 damage. Combat advantage will give you 150 bonus damage, and charisma bonus gives 10% of 150 that, ie 15 for a total of 1165 damage).
Having high CHA means you can stack less recovery or push it further after hitting DR. As a fresh lv 60 it is recommend to max CHA after STR. This is to maximise your encounters coming off cooldown and AP gain to get your daily up. Your encounters and dailys are powerful and should be used as often as possible. CHA helps with that. CHA is especially important when you are gearing up because you don’t have all the recovery yet from best in slot gear and boon/artifact bonuses. Once you do however, and at higher gearscores you may find you’ve heavily overstacked on recovery and in that case for min/maxing it is better to shuffle one or more points from CHA back into WIS for more damage.
WIS is our primary ability score (+1% damage and healing per point), but to me the other 2 are more important, at least until you get BIS in everything else. WIS directly contributes to your damage and healing capacity, so not to be underestimated. You can go up to like 26+ WIS for a straight 16% bonus to damage and healing, nothing to be scoffed at. You can stack power to achieve the same results, though it’s inefficient. When you have high enough recovery to not need the points in CHA, place them back into WIS as your base power is high enough that WIS bonus becomes the most significant, and you actually get more out of stacking recovery than power.
End game stats summary:
Excluding racial bonuses, if you start with my recommended 16 WIS 16 STR 12 CHA 10 INT 10 CON 10 DEX allocation, and put all points in STR and CHA you’ll end up with 18 WIS 22 STR 18 CHA 12 INT 12 CON 12 DEX which would be most ideal. You can reshuffle some points from CHA into WIS if you wish when you reach very high gearscores and cap your recharge speed/action point gain.
Since there is a lot more flexibility post module 2 for stacking stats, and with diminishing returns on stacking power, at 14k+ I suggest stop stacking power and instead overstack recovery to compensate for CHA and now put all ability points in STR and WIS to best improve your damage/healing potential. The stat distribution thus now becomes 22 WIS 22 STR 14 CHA. Why CHA and not STR? Recovery suffer less harsh diminishing returns compared to STR, so overstacking recovery still gives more benefit (see section 3), plus it's cheaper.
**If you care a lot about PvP and want to have a heavy deflect/tank build (current meta for DCs in PVP) you should ignore the above advice and get the highest DEX and CON possible, all the way.
2.2 Race Selection:
I would say most races offer something for the DC class. They usually only give a few % bonuses so play what you like. If you are into min maxing though I have a brief discussion below (when there’s a choice in stats I usually choose the one best for class). Look for STR and WIS bonuses where you can. Overall I recommend Sun Elf (fastest recharge), Half Orc (highest crits) and Half Elf (most HP and minor bonuses) as the preferred races with a slight personal bias towards Half Elf. Halfling deserves special mention as the go to tanky deflect build in PvP.
Sun Elf: +2 INT +2 CHA, +2% AP gain, increase resistance to CC by 10%. Excellent stats. The +2 int and 2% AP effectively mean you have +4 charisma extra total. Given CHA is a key cleric stat (though easily stacked via recovery) Sun Elf DCs are very viable. CC immunity is not as important but you will appreciate if you PvP a lot and manage to run away from singularities. Good for healing builds and even DPS as you can put less points in CHA and shuffle them to something else.
Half Orc: +2DEX +2STR, +5% crit severity. Very good stats with STR bonus (basically +2% crit), perfect for a crit build DC because crit severity matters in endgame (heals can crit too) and can only be increased with a vorpal or potions. The severity bonus is more noticeable when starting out and mid gear score. However when you have a perfect vorpal the actual DPS/healing increase from +5% severity works out to be around 1.2% average damage/healing increase at 35% crit. For the min maxers, comparing 37% crit (2% strength bonus) at +55% crit severity with 35% crit and 50% severity (another race) gives about 3% more damage/healing for the min maxers.
Half Elf: +3CON, +2 CHA or WIS, +1% deflect, crit severity and gold find. Excellent stats, the most stat and HP bonuses of all races. The 1% bonuses are not game changing but are useful, especially if you consider 1% deflect is like 2 extra DEX. Put your +2 bonus in WIS as you will have the most powerful heals/DPS compared to other races (up to 26).
Halfling: +2 DEX, +2 CHA, +3% deflect, +10% resist to CC. Stats are good, overall +3% deflect bonus is good especially for a tanky deflect build (arguably best niche build for PvP). Plus they are harder to target in PvP if you hide amongst allies because of smaller size.
Tiefling: +2 CHA, +2 CON or INT, 5% bonus damage to targets below half health, when hit 5% chance to lower attacker power by 10% for 5s. Good stats, basically a +2.5% damage bonus on average. In reality the 5% damage is more valuable as boss fights generally get harder towards the end, especially for DPSers, tho not so much DCs. Other bonuses can be nice for PvP but unnoticeable generally otherwise. Good for DPS builds but healing ones might prefer Sun Elf.
Human: +3 extra heroic feats, +2 in any ability score (recommend STR/WIS). +3% defense.
Humans are actually gimped for the DC class. Because DC's heroic feats are so bad there is nothing worthwhile to spend 3 extra heroic feats on. Basically you get 3% more divinity gain and 2 spare points that won't make any difference. You don’t miss anything featwise from not going human. 3% defense is off defense score, so if you have 3k defense you get 3090. Makes very little difference. That said, when I rolled my DC I rolled Human and still do fine, so differences are minimal really.
Moon Elf: trades 1% AP gain for 1% stamina regen. Sun elf is generally superior but not bad. 1% stamina is good but not enough to make a difference.
Drow: +2 DEX +2 CHA or WIS. Darkfire: 5% chance to debuff foe defense by 10% for 4s. Good stats, however be warned that currently dark fire seems to proc on your party members rather than enemies. If Darkfire stacks with high prophet set it will be is very useful for a buff/debuff cleric to increase party DPS but it is very short. Better than Menzoberranzan Renegade IMO.
Dwarf: +2 CON +2 STR, increase resist to knockback and repel and DOT effects. Stats are good for a tanky high HP build. However resists are broken and doesn’t work too well in PvE (works in PvP and can be a solid choice). I advise going something else like half orc and building HP via other means.
Wood Elf: +2 DEX, +2WIS, +1% Crit chance, 10% resist to slow. Stats are ok, but everything a wood elf can do a Half Elf can do better.
3. Stats, gearscores and which ones matter
3.1 Introduction to Neverwinter Stats
Neverwinter has nine base stats which then affect stat modifiers. These stats are increased via powers, feats, gear, companion bonuses, augment pets, artifacts and boons. Stat modifiers are given bonuses by ability scores, feats, companion bonuses, artifacts and boons.
Power -> Damage/healing bonus
AC/ Defense -> Damage Resistance (DR)
Critical Strike -> Critical Chance
Recovery -> Recharge speed increase, Action Point (AP) Gain
Armor Penetration (ArP) -> Resistance Ignored
Regeneration -> %Missing health regen
Lifesteal -> %Damage returned
Deflection -> Deflection chance
Movement -> Runspeed
Tenacity -> additional damage, crit and control resist (PvP only)
A plot of how the stats modifiers scale is shown here
Original formulae and discussion here: http://nw-forum.perf...hr...ir-effects
3.2 Diminishing Returns
As you can see, most stats have a diminishing return (DR) where investing higher and higher amounts of stats gives lesser and lesser return (ie less bang for buck). Most of your stats in the game (except power) follow a exponential curve, which means your return on point investment gives lesser and lesser return at high levels. In Neverwinter these DRs are ever present but hit really hard on most stats beyond 2.8-3.4k. Case in point- look at recovery. Recovery is a good stat because it shortens spell cooldowns. It would be good to get a lot of recovery so we can chain cast spells right? Here’s a scenario without looking at charisma and extra bonus (your actual recharge will be significantly higher):
At 1k recovery you get 8.5% recovery
At 2k recovery you get 16.8%
At 3k you get 22.2%
At 4k you get 25.6%
At 8k you get 31.5%
As you can see, when you get above 3k recovery you’re getting a very lackluster recharge speed bonus so those extra stats are ‘wasted’ and would serve you better being somewhere else.
Power and Hit points do not suffer from diminishing returns, +100 power equates to about +4 weapon damage.
Therefore the best allocation of stats is not to stack one or two highly, but to stack enough to get to a certain threshold then spread them around. When you evaluate gear therefore you should prioritise stats that you actually need over stats you have an overabundance of or never need. Once you get over the gearscore trap you’ll understand why the more experienced player sometimes wear blue rings/belt instead of purples, and why one ancient ring may be worth 10x more than the next because they’re offer particular stats combinations they need rather than one useful stat and 2 rubbish ones for example.
Note: You may hear some people saying there are soft and hard caps on stats, eg 3.2k softcap on recovery and crit. It’s not technically a correct term, it is arbitrary as it just means a more severe diminishing return. The only true caps to stats in the game are defense, which caps at 80% damage mitigated (you get 24% from astral shield); and armor penetration, where bosses have 24% damage reduction so you don’t need >24% (in PvE. In PvP ArPen has no hard cap as GFs, GWFs and DCs can stack very high damage resistance). Lifesteal and regen have very high DRs past 2k so you can never stack it highly (up to about 12-14%). Recharge speed and regeneration have ADDITIONAL diminishing return on their percentages (won’t elaborate for recharge speed, but for regen you can ever only gain up to half of the MISSING health displayed in tooltip).
Crit is the 3rd harshest diminishing return stat, followed by deflect. ArP has low gain below 800 points then very good almost linear gain up to about 2200 and starts experiencing DR. For PvE you generally won't need more than 2540 ArP for any class, and less if you class gives resistance ignored from ability scores (DEX for GF, CON for GWF, STR for HR). Recovery has moderate diminishing returns as does defense which has the highest ceiling. Power is not included on the graph but from testing it was reported by the community that 25 power is roughly equivalent to 1 point of weapon damage (both are used to calculate your damage/healing potential).
Weapon damage is the single most important attribute in determining your healing/skill potential and in most cases more important than the other stats of the weapon.
The other aspect to note for DCs compared to other classes when sorting stats is the feat Linked Spirit. If you have Linked Spirit feated when using certain encounters you can proc Linked Spirit to your party (or those around you) which is an increase of 5-25% to all your stats as well as a very substantial boost to party DPS and survivability. This is particularly useful for lower GS 60’s as you and the party are not hitting DR yet and get lots of mileage out of this feat. In combat uptime is limited currently depending on what you use to proc it. If fixed to work with Astral Shield you can expect at leas 50% uptime for that stat bonus. This also means that you don’t need to waste stat points going up to diminishing returns and it’s better to spread them around so everything gets boosted. Linked Spirit boosts recipient stats by a % of their own stats (your stats don't matter), so if you don't have deflection for example and linked with someone else who does you won't gain deflection but they will. Linked spirit works with your non-augment companion and ally NPCs if they are in range.
You’ve got to think like this- once your gearscore (GS) is above 10k how much beyond doesn’t really matter. You need to have the stats in the places you need, not the places where it just looks good. If you have an augment pet (Cat/Ioun stone of Allure, and you should get one) this is doubly more important, as they bump up your stats but don’t contribute to GS. If you want to min/max, you want every single gearscore doing something for your build, and preferably not hitting the diminishing return caps so they are wasted.
3.3 Building your stats:
As a cleric, you want typically a ‘base’ of recharge speed (via recovery) to >33%, then 1.5k defense for T1s and 2k+ for T2s. After that build crit chance to 33% (usually achievable around 2000-2500 of crit and recovery). After that it’s all about tinkering and shuffling stats to boost these and other stats that you value or want to work into the build. Again, bear in mind if you are going to use Linked Spirit all the time, your stat score will be boosted by anywhere from 5-25% most of the time so no need to stack very high scores on any stat.
Defense: A key cleric stat as you generally want to be the last party member to go down. You want 1-2K defense as soon as possible, then perhaps 2K-2.5K later for survivability (based on your playstyle and how squishy you’re comfortable being). Even if you are specced for DPS you still want 1-1.5k Def or you will go down very quickly due to aggro. Defense is not worth stacking much beyond 2.5k in PvE, as you could be boosting HP instead, and you will spend a lot of time in Astral Shield, which gives 24% damage reduction. Generally compared to healers in other MMOs, DCs are not a squishy class at lv 60 and you should not be afraid of off tanking or managing adds while your DPS works on them. Quite often you will be in a party with 1TR and 3 CW/HRs and you should be initiating, pulling and tanking particularly because you control where the battle takes place via Astral shield location.
I do not advocate at all a backline healer approach in NW, it is ineffective, divides party aggro, makes it very hard to target party members with heals, and your best skills, feats and buffs get the best mileage only when allies and enemies are in close proximity. Practice getting comfortable with face tanking, knowing which red you can stand and how to dodge, and you'll find your heals and defense are more than capable of keeping you and the party safe.
Apart from +defense gear, your survivability increases massively by slotting the Foresight passive, using Hallowed Ground and/or Divine Armor dailies, picking Toughness/Holy Resolve feats and eventually slotting a soulforged enchant. You can slot azure enchantments in defense slots to boost defense. The way I play I actually run in and facetank a lot of trash mobs/elites in melee range to grant TRs combat advantage and so I can boost them with Linked Spirit and take some of the damage due to my high defense.
For PvP builds most builds will have high defense anyway from the Exemplar’s blue armor items and stack for deflection instead.
Recovery: Depending on your CHA ability score, you want at least 33% recharge speed. Traditionally this was to get Astral Shield down to 15s cooldown. Post AS nerf high recovery is still worthwhile to minimise AS downtime as well as generate AP. Often I don’t wish my heals to heal for more, I just want them to go off cooldown faster. Typically stacking this to 2600 to 3000 is enough as you hit DR. Recovery is abundant on your T1 and T2 set. Having high recovery also allows higher Action Point (AP) gain for your daily to be up more often. In endgame dungeons, you want to be casting dailies a lot and you need high recovery for this. When you transition from 12-14k GS you will probably find your recovery going up quite high. At some point you want to shuffle CHA back to WIS for better return in damage/healing and thus should keep stacking recovery to compensate. It is more effective overall to max WIS and overstack recovery than keeping CHA high and stacking power. Many DCs overstack recovery sometimes to 4k and beyond- this is a personal choice based on how often you want your encounters to come off cooldown.
Critical strike: Crits are good, crits are underestimated and crits should be used by your clerics. Depending on your STR ability score, you want at least ~33% chance to crit, because your spells and heals can crit, and crits, in addition to large numbers can provide heals from Repurpose Soul as well as divine power from Righteous Rage of Tempest feats. This is achievable with 2-3.2K crit. Again, not worth stacking significantly more because of very high diminishing returns. Some builds don’t care about crit at all and ignore it. Those builds are ok, but in my opinion you’re depriving the class of its potential. You can slot azure enchantments in offense slots to boost crit initially, though probably unnecessary once you have your BiS gear. If you care about killing things and DPS you must build crit as that multiplies your damage significantly with a vorpal weapon enchant. I would not advocate stacking crit past 33 or 35% because power gives more return for investment.
Hit points (HP): A large HP pool is very important for survivability. The higher your HP, the more return from regen or Holy Resolve/Miracle Healers/Divine Armor/Hallowed Ground because those heals are based on %HP. No diminishing returns here. Stack as much as you like (you get a bonus with CON), but usually in competition with defense so it’s a balancing act. Usually once you get around 2-2.3k defense you should put the rest into HP or deflection. Keep in mind it’s spike damage that kills you in this game, so having a higher HP pool gives you more buffer and the difference between life and death when it comes to Dracolich type bosses. I feel for PvE endgame content you'd want at least 23-26k and ideally more. 30k+ HP makes you pretty much invincible in PvE and personally I'd say it's better than deflect. It also helps in PvP and you might go even higher, as more HP gives a lot more staying power and helps survive 1-shot burst damage as most DPS classes have enough ArP to mitigate a significant amount of defense.
Power: (the contribution of Power towards damage/healing will be reworked in module 3 and may change its relative importance to DCs and other classes, watch this space)
Power has no theoretical diminishing return and has linear gains. From other's tests you get +4 damage/healing per 100 points in power or 0.025 per point. Because it suffers no DR, most cleric guides and forum builds will tell you to put your spare points into power (also known as dump stat). If you only care about healing, building power is good.
With module 2 there are more ways to increase stats, and I do feel having a solid power score is beneficial for your base healing. If you can afford it (after crit/recovery are set), get 4-5k power, however I don't feel you necessarily need to stack it to 7-8k unless your defensive stats and survivability are solidly capped. At higher GS WIS gives more return to healing/damage than power, so if you still have points in CHA shuffle some power back in recovery to keep cooldowns low.
I must also mention- depending on the focus of your skills and playstyle power may not necessarily be that important. For buffing/debuffing, Astral shield mitigation, divine glow damage boost, exaltation clutching, Hallowed ground buffs and linked spirit procs are fixed and independent of power. At the high level endgame (15k+ GS parties) your healing amount is insignificant, and your DPS amount is also insignificant compared to what your major DPSers can do. You are there for mitigation, in combat healing, buffs and clutches. In that case power does nothing for you except extra healing when needed and slightly more DPS output. For such a build, recovery may become the dump stat, so you can buff more often and build AP faster, depending on how you decide what is worth stacking above diminishing returns.
How much does power give you?
I've decided to do some plots based on my weapon and power rating. You can see the results below. I looked at the Max tooltip damage for 3 skills- Healing Word, Sunburst and Daunting light, then adjusted and removed the WIS bonus to get the numbers presented.
You can see with further number crunching that with my weapon every 1000 points of power seems to boost damage/healing by ~3% consistently for each skill. I have not extrapolated to higher power than 5k but the trend will likely continue. It's not a huge difference but do add up little by little and hence offers the most return for point investment once your other stats have hit diminishing returns. *Note I do not know yet whether the same gains in power are translatable to other classes*.
In comparison with Crit, if you are at 33% crit chance, increase crit by 1000 gives about +2% crit chance, which translates to ~1.2% average damage increase without a vorpal and ~1.8% damage increase with a perfect vorpal. Going from 35% to 37% crit (roughly another 1000 crit) translates to another 1.2% w/o vorpal and 1.8% with perfect vorpal (rounded up from diminishing returns). Therefore power stacking is more effective than crit for overall average output.
In summary, for healing, power is great, because player HP is finite and linear gains are useful. For DPS, power is good, but only after everything else is at the right cutoffs. My recommendation for your offensive stat is get crit to 33-35%, ArP to 1200 or 12% resistance ignored, recovery to ~35% recharge speed increase and then dump all in power.
Armor Penetration (ArP):
Armor pen is hard to stack early on, so ignore it until you almost get all BiS (T2) equipment and Ioun Stone. DPS wise, you get the most return per point investment for ArP compared to any other stat (until you hit caps). At the state of the game most archer mobs have around 12% mitigation, trash around 14-16%, and brutes and bosses have 22 to 24% mitigation. Without armor penetration all your attacks will be reduced by their mitigation %. Fortunately, as we’re rarely on boss duty full time we don’t need 24% armor pen as we're only attacking bosses to place debuffs and gain divinity. IMO getting 12-14% is the sweet spot so you are at least dealing full damage to trash and minions. Note that armor pen has very limited return below 800 points then almost linear gain to 20%.
*Updated*: With the big boons to everyone's GS, massive increase in GWF deep gash bleeds and runaway CW damage I feel DCs can no longer keep up the DPS race against other DPS classes. We still hit harder than ever (have had 90k+ Daunting lights and 100k+ Flamestrikes) but other classes's gains have been exponential while ours remain linear. When you run with close to BiS CWs and GWFs there is lesser and lesser need and dependence for DC damage as most things die after 1-2 rotations. Therefore, DC DPS buffs and mitigation are now the key to even faster clears and maintaining DPS uptime. I no longer advocate stacking ArP beyond 16% mitigation (1550 ArP) and instead shuffle them back into power and recovery. Zero or low ArP builds are also perfectly valid as they always have been.
Furthermore, post module 2 Armor penetration is STILL not counting for a lot of DC encounters and abilities, including Flamestrike, Divine Glow, Divine Searing Light, Chains of Blazing Light, Prophecy of Doom, Forgemaster’s Flame DoT, Break the Spirit DoT and Brand of the Sun DoT. I have lost hope in developers ever getting time to fix these skills. The DC class has been neglected for a significant amount of time (except for nerfs when they feel we are too powerful) and the state of the game is suffering as the DC population continues to dwindle and play other classes. Some ArP (12-16%) is still very beneficial for soloing and when running with low-mid GS groups, but for endgame content you do need the boost in power and recovery for healing due to constant party wide damage. In my healing rotation Sacred Flame and Sunburst still works with ArP, so trade off still worth it IMO. Also Linked Spirit will boost ArP by a fair chunk so it's no great loss going from 20% mitigation back to 12-16%.
Quick comparison: Say you are at 3k power, 3k crit, 3k recovery. Where should you put 1200 points? 1200 ArP gives you a 12% DPS boost to everything you hit, while power gives +48 weapon damage (~3.6% more damage/healing), or 2.5% more crit (translates to ~1.8% DPS boost) or 4% more recharge speed/AP gain. A lot of DCs complain about not being able to kill anything, struggle with daily quests and have to group up for daily dungeons, whereas with some ArP I often get top or 2nd enemies killed in a lot of group content easily. Still not easy mode compared to my CW or GWF, but I get by rather painlessly.
It's up to you whether you want to stack 1200 ArP and rest in power or 1550. The extra 350 points in ArP boost your damage to tougher mobs by 4%, whereas 350 points in power is about 1.15% more damage/healing. (Linked spirit will boost both anyway).
In summary: 7-12K GS: Ignore ArP and only take it if it's already in your gear. 12k+ GS you may stack up to 12-16% mitigation to help clear trash fast and no more than that. If you can't be bothered with dark enchants, skip ArP entirely and get 7k power instead.
Armor Class (AC): This comes on your gear and Anointed Armor feat. Each point in AC is equivalent to 0.5% damage resistance, no diminishing returns and additive with damage resistance from defense. Don't really need to go looking for it.
Deflection: More useful for PvP than PvE because it’s not negated by armor penetration, however scales horribly at low values and hard to stack from set gear. Note that with deflection you take half damage, doesn’t mean you are immune to damage. Deflection does help with survivability but because it is so hard to stack (similar to crit) without significantly gimping your other stats I do not recommend a large investment, and I personally do not put points in it and just keep some deflect jewellery to swap in where survivability is warranted. That said, deflect is a staple of tanky cleric PvE and PvP builds. Many other put some points in deflect and like it. If you PvP heavily then you should stack heavily into deflection because it’s all about burst damage mitigation. My personal take is stack HP if you mainly PvE and dabble in PvP, where as if you tend to mainly PvP then you need all of them (HP, def, deflect).
Regeneration: Regen was popular in many old DC builds, then ditched largely because it's not needed, and now making a resurgence from regen artifacts and equipment. The free constant heals are very useful, but in my opinion it’s not as crucial as open beta days because you don’t have as much aggro anymore. In most cases its burst damage in the game that kills you, not stuff chipping away over time which you can heal away. Has hard caps (cannot heal for more than half of the tooltip) and very high diminishing returns beyond about 1.3k. Regen is good for solo foundries, PvP or Gauntlgrym PvE where you want to slot more offensive abilities rather than heals and have health restored between pulls. Also work with tanky builds for survivability in sustained fights. There are blue rings and Icons that give 110 regen each and are a lot more affordable than the purples. While regen is not at all necessary for T1 and T2 content, I feel for VT, CN and MC last bosses the constant damage over time needs to be countered by regen due to righteousness self heal nerf. For PvP it is very useful for staying power and a key reason most DCs stack Exemplar's gear of youth. With higher incoming damage from daily quests in module 3 regen can really help supplement your healing between fights and lessen potion use.
With module 2 it is much easier to stack regen thanks to artifacts and pets, and you should be able to get 1k regen if you wish. Can help top you up that little bit between pulls. I just swap my regen and defensive rings/belt in heavy boss fights or PvP to increase survivability rather than DPS.
How to build regen without hindering your other gear: Seal of Executioner (+487 (grandfathered) /384 regen, search AH) on cat + Thickgristle or new Mod 3 belt (+144/188 regen) x2 (you and cat) +Dread ring boon (250 regen) + PvP Raven artifact (+183 regen at purple/300 regen at orange) + Waters Artifact (+166 regen at purple/400 at orange) + purple Cleric companion (+300 regen) =1922 regen or ~6% of missing health restored per tick.
Movement: Movespeed is nice, but you won’t notice a few % much, just slot darks in utility slots as you have the AD. It does make a bit of a difference in kite heavy fights like Frozen Heart. I'm poor and went for fey blessing instead to get more enchants. Completely optional, and easier to manage now that you can swap enchants in and out as you wish.
Lifesteal (LS): I have reconsidered the uselessness of lifesteal. In module 2 you feel the bane of righteousness more than ever and for the endgame bosses your self heals are barely able to sustain yourself in addition to pots. Still not worth going out of the way to get it, especially because when you're running for your life there's little time to attack something, but from combat log parses LS can account for up to 10% of my incoming heals even at 2-3% damage returned. Much better for DPS characters. However in solo situations such as daily quests in Mod 2 and 3 having lifesteal helps you slot 3 DPS encounters to kill faster (or use Miracle Healer's set). The Dread legion set is pretty good for this.
Tenacity: Tenacity is introduced in Mar 2014 as a PvP only stat and only becomes active in PvP arenas or flagged for PvP. For PvE only players you can ignore it. Regardless of tenacity players will receive an inherent 10% damage resistance, crit resistance and control resistance. I am not sure at this stage whether it is additive or multiplicative to inherent damage resistance (from defense), but basically protects player from further damage. Incoming damage from crit hits are reduced by the crit resistance AND damage resistance amount. Control resistance reduce the % of control duration and stacks with resist from WIS/artifacts. I don't have many data points, but tenacity appears to be roughly linear (100 points = 1% resist) for the first 1000 points then faces rather sharp diminishing returns between 1000 and 2000. You will be quite significantly beefier with 1k tenacity or so. I've heard reports tenacity can be 'punched through' with multiple damages and DoTs in a short amount of time but haven't done any testing so far. Tenacity is currently not increased with Linked Spirit.
As part of campaign progress in Module 1 Fury of the Feywild and Module 2 Shadowmantle you can unlock up to 5 boons on your character. These boons can be powerful and should be considered in your build when min/maxing in combination with gear for the overall best bonuses.
Boons can be changed when you respec.
First boon- Dark Fey Warder +250 defense vs Dark Fey Hunter +250 power
I recommend defense. For convenience point of view power is probably more logical because you are probably at 2.2-2.5k defense, so you don’t need more and prefer dumping into power. However, from a min/max point of view, defense is harder to stack compared to power (5 defensive slots compared to 7 offensive slots). Taking 250 def means you have more gear flexibility to build other stats. If I take the 250 defense that means I can slot a radiant in a defense slot instead of azure for 880 more HP. Alternatively I can swap one of the Rings of Undeath for a ring with offensive slot and slot for more arpen/recovery/crit.
Second boon- Fey Elusiveness +250 deflect vs Fey Precision +250 crit
Either one can work. If you are already stacking deflect from neck/rings/belt it’s worth taking deflect to make you even tankier. If you don’t stack deflect then more crit always helps.
Third boon- Feywild Fortitude +700 HP vs Elven Haste +2% AP gain.
Can’t really go wrong either way. At 3.2k recovery you need about 250 extra recovery to get 2% AP. For HP a rank 7 radiant gives 740 HP while you need a rank 9 silvery for 250 recovery. If you’re not stacking exclusively for HP 2% AP is the way to go because it’s more bang for buck. 2% AP is multiplicative with your AP gain. Taking this also means you can drop some CHA back to WIS.
Fourth boon- Elven Tranquility when struck you have chance to heal self for 400 HP (actually more like 600-700 post module 3) vs Elven Ferocity when striking a foe you have a chance to deal 400 Arcane damage. I’ve tested and it’s 1 proc per minute, so useless either way, even more so as the damage is mitigated by enemy armor, and the heal is diminished by righteousness (gone after module 3).
Elven Resolve- Stamina/ guard meter regens 10% faster in combat
Fey Thistle- When you deflect you deal 400 damage to your attacker
Elvish Fury- When you kill a foe you gain 20 power for 45 seconds, stack up to 30 times
Redcap Brew- potions heal you for 10% more
I heavily recommend Elven Resolve. 10% more dodge in combat is very helpful because it gives you brief immunity- very helpful in seas of red and you almost have 3 dodges in a short space of time. Survivability trumps all as a dead cleric is probably a party wipe.
Dread Ring Boons
First boon- Reliquary Keeper’s Strength (125 power, 125 Movement) vs Conjurer’s Gambit (125 Crit, 125 Movement)
Depends on your gear- I’d recommend power if you already have close to 35% crit chance or more.
Second Boon- Evoker’s Thirst (250 Lifesteal) vs Illusory Regeneration (250 Regeneration)
Take Regen unless you’re heavily specced for DPS and stacking lifesteal.
Third Boon- Illusion Shimmer (3% Deflect Severity) vs Forbidden Piercing (250 Armor Penetration)
Deflect boon is currently broken and gives around 0.5% severity instead of 3%, go ArP no question even if you're deflect build until they fix it (if ever).
Fourth Boon- Enraged Regrowth (when taking damage chance for 1000 HoT, then +250 defense for 10s) vs Shadowtouch (when dealing damage for 1000 Necrotic DoT, then target lose 10% heal effectiveness for 10s)
Both have about 75s internal cooldown and very minimal overall. Take Shadowtouch, especially if you PvP so others can feel the pain of healing depression.
Augmented Thayan Bastion- when taking damage you have a chance to generate shield that absorbs 500 incoming damage and redirects it to nearby foe for 6s.
Thayan Bastion doesn't stack with Arpen. Internal cooldown seems to be 1 minute although others have mentioned multiple successive procs. Not recommended.
Rampaging Madness – when you deal damage you gain a stack of ‘madness’, at 50 stacks you gain 600 power, 300 lifesteal and 300 regen for 10s and stacks reset. Tootip says you may only gain one stack per second. In actual fact you get a stack every time you do damage and thus can get more than a stack per second. Sunburst and similar multitarget skills can give you multiple ticks. If you are using DoTs such as BoTS or a Plaguefire on multiple enemies you get a stack per tick and can build it very quickly.
Not a bad feat depending on where your stats are at, but 600 power is like 1.8% more damage healing and Lifesteal/regen may or may not be of benefit to a DC depending on what you already have. Haven't tested uptime on DC, I'm guessing it'll proc 2-3 times a minute during combat. GWFs can proc 3-4x with their bleeds for greater uptime. Take your pick between this (safe bet) or burning guidance (text spam and aggro magnet).
Endless Consumption -(chance for 3x Lifesteal effectiveness) No internal cooldown but limited benefit to DCs due to our lesser DPS uptime and low DPS output. Ok if you're DPS DC
Burning Guidance (Healing has chance for 120 radiant damage to mobs). Procs off every tick of Astral Shield, can proc off Astral Seal and even health regen/Lifesteal as a small AoE. Doesn't work with ArP, spams your screen with flying text but arguable the best of the lot if you're into DPS. You do become an aggro magnet and will get targeted a lot when the party do big pulls which may or may not work out well for you. From combat logs Burning Guidance does about 10-15% of my damage in T2 dungeons using support loadout (AS/SB/DG) with a standard party and up to 31% in high performing ones. Difference being that in a high performing party you pull more and kill faster, so less time spamming at wills/encounters while Burning Guidance's AoE hit them all. However doesn't work in solo, you need to heal someone else for it to proc so if you're a solo character get Rampaging Madness.
Overall recommend Burning Guidance (if you're tanky and want to be aggro magnet) = Rampaging Madness (suits everyone) > Endless Consumption > Augmented Thayan Bastion
Icewind Dale Boons
First boon- Weathering the Strom +250 AoE resist vs Encroaching Tactics +250 Combat Advantage
I recommend AoE resist for PvE/PvP. Limited combat advantage opportunities as DC class even if you play like a melee.
Second boon- Appreciation of Warmth +250 Incoming Healing vs Refreshing Chill +250 Stamina/Guard gain
Both are useful, pick what you feel you need more. Incoming healing makes heals more effective while stamina gain allows more dodges
Third boon- Rapid Thaw 250 Recovery vs Sleet Skills 2% crit severity
Again, both useful depending on what you need. If you are already happy about how much recovery you have then take crit severity because it's a lot harder to stack. However 2% crit severity isn't that big a deal.
Fourth boon- Cold Shoulder when damaged by a foe chance to proc cold shoulder which reduces their next attack by 200 vs Cool Resolve gain up to 500 power based on how much stamina/guard you are missing
Avalanche -chance to get a stack of Avalanche when damaged by a foe. At 20 stacks, upon taking damage the stack is cleared and deals 200 damage to nearby targets. I think this is really weak/underpowered.
Rousing Warmth -chance when Healed to gain 500 damage on next attack. Usefulness depends on proc rate and how it works with healing
Winter’s Bounty -chance to gain 10% bonus AP when killing a target. Probably best of the lot assuming there isn't a severe internal cooldown. I doubt it gives actual 10% AP though, perhaps just a 10% bonus AP on the killing ability
Shared Survival -Drinking Potions has a chance to heal nearby allies of 10% of that potion’s value. I don't think parties drink potions enough for this to give a decent return.
At this stage I recommend Winter's bounty > Rousing Warmth > Shared Survival > Avalanche