Flower Power – Warden healing guide (Dragonhold updated)
Welcome to my warden PvE healing guide :)! This build aims to be as general as possible, whether you are new to healing in ESO or you want to improve your healing game play, or just read different thoughts.
This build is designed to heal trials, but can be also used to heal 4-man content. It will be organized as follow (click on the links for quick travel) :
Make sure to hover your mouse pointer over the underlined sets and skills to see the tooltips :)!
While I will write down a fully detailed analysis of the race changes happening in Wrathstone, here is the short version:
- Breton has a really much better sustain than any of the other “standard” healing races, making it the better choice in any situation in my opinion as they can easily spec more into damage if needed and still have an amazing sustain. The +2k spell resistance is also a huge boost to your survivability, which is a key point for a healer! This is the race I always pick.
- High elves do not have any sustain passives anymore, but a nice spell damage one which enables them to spec a lot into magicka regen while keeping nice pools of offensive stats. Given that sustain is not as important as it used to be, high elves are a really good choice this patch.
- Argonians make good healers as they have a max magicka bonus, a healing done/received bonus and magicka recovery through the potion passive. The (effective) stamina recovery they get is also really nice for survivability. However, they are in my opinion a bit behind the other two as there is little to no content which requires, pure, raw healing, and Argonians don’t have any offensive passives.
I aim at getting at least 18k in health with food and gear on, unbuffed. Depending on your food and gear, you may want to adjust those, but with my setup I run 64 points in magicka as a breton.
This patch, I always use Max Magicka Max Health purple food (Arteum Pickled Fish Bowl). For some reason, it gives more resources than it’s blue food counterpart (Solitude Salmon-Millet Soup).
If you really want to boost your magicka recovery, you might want to use Clockwork Citrus Filet (Max Health, Max Magicka, Magicka recovery or Health recovery) or Witchmother’s Potent Brew if you can’t afford the filet.
As for potions, we are using Spell Power potions (Lady’s smock, Corn Flower, Water Hyacinth), to get major prophecy on both bars and major sorcery. Make sure to have three points in the alchemist passive “Medicinal use” to get 100% on those two buffs :)!
With the changes brought with the Scalebreaker patch, we no longer have to spam orbs as a healer. Therefore, we can invest much more in “offensive” stats. My favorite mundus to use now is the Thief, as it buffs your healing done by a lot as well as your damage done. While the Ritual gives you more raw healing, I find it very unnecessary. The Apprentice and the Mage both gives less healing/damaging power than the Thief.
This section is pretty much the same as in my templar healing guide. In order to avoid repeating the same thing over an over, I will trim this section to the essential and highlight the differences between templar and warden! If you want more detail about gear, I invite you to read my templar healing guide :).
Adjust your setup with your partner
Since staves now count as two pieces, it is now possible to have run 2 pieces from a monster set + 5 body pieces from set 1 + 3 jewels pieces and 2 staff pieces from set 2, and that on your restoration bar too. However, the Master’s restoration enables us to restore both magicka and stamina to our allies just by casting Illustrious Healing: we want to have it slotted as much as possible.
Therefore, try to arrange your sets with your partner so you can both have a set that can be only back barred ideally, and a Master’s restoration staff on your front bar.
I will organize this section as follow : first, we review the monster sets that are viable for a healer, then our main sets to use in addition with Olorime, then how to put them together. Finally I will discuss traits and enchantments.
Here is the list of the most promising ones aswell as the situations in which they will be useful.
This set has a chance to proc a cute lil dwemer spider whenever you heal someone, creating an AoE with a five-meter radius. Allies in this AoE will get a quite strong heal and as well as a stamina recovery. This set will be quite strong in instances where people can be stacked enough so everyone can enjoy the AoE. With the Scalebreaker update, the spider is no longer retardo which makes it even better.
Whenever you heal someone, you get a small chance to proc a totem that will create a five-meter-radius healing AoE. The healing it does is really strong, and this AoE can be up 100% of the time. While this will definitely not be useful in every situation, it can help in fights where you take an insane amount of damage. In particular, it is quite good during the execute of vCR, when Z’maja applies a healing debuff to your group. Note that the totem spawns on the person that “procced” the set.
When you heal an ally whose primary resource is under 50%, you grant them Meridia’s Favor, restoring a lot of resources to them for 6 seconds, with a 18 seconds cooldown. This newly introduced monster set seems to be really promising in fights where people can’t really be stacked to profit from Sentinel.
This set has a chance to spawn an eight-meter-radius AoE centered on your position that will give almost 4k spell and physical resistance to you and allies within it, whenever you take damage. While it is usually used by tanks, it could be useful in cases where the tanks can’t “cover” the entire group with its AoE, so maybe in some trash pulls.
Earthgore has been nerfed with Elseweyr and now heal only one target. It can still be useful in 4-man content, but is definitely “meh” in trials.
When none of the sets above are useful, Blood Spawn seems like an interesting option. It gives you a chance to regen ultimate (and gain some resistances) whenever you take damage. Of course, this should not be used in combat where healers take very little damage instances … :).
I like to use 1 heavy piece and 1 medium (with 5 light pieces from another set), but using 1 heavy and 1 light piece is definitely possible.
Having said all this, let us now review our healing “arsenal”.
First and foremost, our must-have sets as healer is Olorime. Whatever content we are running, one healer needs to run this set – either the perfected or non-perfected version.
Let’s review the rest of our sets. For each set, I will indicate if it can be worn only back bar or if it should be up on both bars :). I’ll start with the must-have sets, then talk about sets which are still essential, and mention later the one that are less useful.
- Drops in the Lair of Maarselok.
- Light attacking a target puts a 20s-debuff on it (note that it can be applied to multiple targets at the same time!). While the debuff is active, every single target dot you apply increases the damage taken by the target by 1%, up to 5%.
- Can be used only on our back bar (as long as you use the “debuffing” light attack on this bar, the target stays debuffed regarding the bar you are on).
- This set provides your group with a really strong debuff, and I recommend watching this video from Stileanima to learn how to use the set on a healer. This set doesn’t stack, so only one of it is needed in our group. It is one of the strongest damage boost you can get, so I recommend having it in your group as much as possible and practicing to get uptimes as high as possible.
- Drops in overland in Craglorn.
- Light attacking a target while your stamina is under 50% applies a 8% damage taken debuff to the target for 5s, with a 8s cooldown.
- While it can be used only on one bar, I recommend having it double barred for maximum uptimes.
- Martial Knowledge provides an average debuff just as strong as Z’en’s. However, the proccing condition requires you to pay attention to your stamina pool, and “waste” stamina if needed.
- Drops in Scalecaller Peak.
- Increases the duration of all your minor and major buffs, as well as the damage shields you apply, by 40%.
- You want to use this set mostly to increase the duration of the Major Force bonus from Aggressive Horn. It’s also a pretty nice completement to Olorime.
- Can be used only on your back bar as your horn should be on your back bar.
- Decreases weapon enchantment cooldown and increases potency by 30%.
- While this used to be mostly a tank set, this set is now very useful to have on a healer, as it allows your tank to run another set such as Claw of Yolnahkriin.
- You want to have it active on a bar on which you have an infused crusher enchantment, and keep that up.
- Note that back-barring Torug’s and proccing crusher with blockade does not work! This set needs to be double-barred.
- Drops in Crypt of Hearts I&II.
- Increases you and your teammates max health.
- Again, Ebon used to be a tank set. However, wearing it on a healer enables to free up a set on the tank.
- Wear it using the Ghastly eye bowl drink (max magicka, magicka recovery) to compensate for the loss of magicka recovery and the gain of max health. You need to wear it on two body pieces + three jewels, as Ebon on weapons is currently still bugged.
- Drops in Selene’s Web.
- Provides your group with a constant 4% stamina cost reduction.
- Must be used on both bars.
- This set is very useful if you have a group full of stamina DDs.
- Drops in Vault of Madness.
- Provides your group with a constant 4% magicka cost reduction.
- Must be used on both bars.
- Using (or not using) this set will depend on the number of magicka dds you have in your group and if they need or not the additional sustain. You need only one of this, so if your healing partner is wearing it, you should not.
- Drops in Moongrave Fane.
- Whenever you critically heal an ally or damage a target, you spawn an hemoglobine ball at that location, restoring a lot of magicka to allies in a 6-meter radius as well as providing minor vitality to those allies.
- Should be preferably used on both bars.
- This is very strong in magicka groups, and can be used on multiple healers.
- Drops in Sunspire.
- Whenever an ally activates one of your synergies, they get 12% cost reduction on all their (non-ultimate) abilities for 3s, with a 6s cooldown.
- Must be used on both bars.
- While this set is inferior to Hircine (or Worm Cult) if your team is full stamina (or magicka), it can be stacked with those sets to help the sustain of your group.
- Drops in Aetherian Archive.
- Provides a substantial damage mitigation when you use AoE heals (springs, ritual, prayer, etc) close to enemies (<10m). While the tooltip says “reduce weapon damage”, it actually reduces ALL the damage from the target. The reduction is equivalent to 10-15% damage mitigation on bosses, and 20-30% damage mitigation on trash pulls.
- Something that needs to be reminded imo is that the range of this debuff, 10m, is quite small! I recommend tracking the debuff (Healing Bane) – using, for example, Srendarr – to make sure you are applying it.
- Must be used on both bars.
- This set will be used if and when you need damage mitigation, and if you are able to apply the debuff (that is, in some boss fights, you will rarely or never be at a 10m range). Again, only one is needed, so if your healing partner is using it, you should not. You should however aim at using it only when necessary.
- Drops in The Banished Cells I&II.
- Increases your healing received by 12% for you and up to 11 group members within 10 meters of you.
- Must be used on both bars.
- While this additional healing is generally an overkill, it is actually helpful in the new Cloudrest trial, in particular in the execute, as your group receives a really strong healing debuff.
Traits, enchantments and weapons
Armor traits and enchants
- Using bistat food with the Thief mundus, we use infused on big pieces (head, chest, legs), and divines on small pieces (shoulders, gloves, boots, belt), with a magicka enchantment on everything.
Restoration staff trait and enchant
- You should have multiple staves depending on your group and the situation.
- Infused with a crusher/weakening glyph or a damaging glyph: if your tanks struggle with keeping one of those up and you’re not comfortable using those enchant only back bar, you can run them front.
- Powered with a weapon damage or absorb magicka or weakening glyph: the extra 9% healing is a really strong choice if you need raw healing. I like it a lot in CR in particular as there is a lot of incoming damage, or in SO on trash. However, it is overkill in a lot of situation.
- Charged (with any enchant listed above): if you wanna have a really high uptime on concussed, charged front bar with an infused shock enchant back bar (procced by lightning blockade) is the way to go. This is in particular really good on trash. It is also very good if you are using Z’en’s redress, as status effect such as burning or poison count as single target dots.
- Precise (with any enchant listed above): this buffs both your healing done and damage done. I really like it when powered seems overkill but I still want a bit of extra healing.
- Decisive (with any enchant listed above): decisive brings you extra ult regen, but as the amount is kinda negligible, I prefer usually to run the traits listed above.
Lightning staff trait and enchant
- You should have multiple staves that you will use depending on the situation.
- Infused with a weakening/crusher glyph: if your tanks can’t give good enough uptimes on those debuffs, you have to help them and wear it. Your staff MUST be infused, otherwise you risk overwriting the tanks’ enchantments.
- Infused with a shock glyph: if your group doesn’t have enough concussed, this will really help. This patch, I prefer infused to charged on the back bar for concussed, because this glyph will be procced on your front bar via blockade, and infused is actually carried to your front bar (meaning that it will keep on proccing the enchant every 2s when your blockade is up), while charged is not. Therefore, while charged would give a slightly better uptime if you were to spend all your time on your back bar, infused gives you twice as much chance of proccing concussed whenever you swap to your front bar.
- Decisive with a shock glyph : decisive brings you extra ult regen and the shock enchantment enables you to give some extra concussed. I use that staff if I don’t need the two other options under :).
Jewels traits and enchants
- We use Arcane jewels with as many spell damage enchants as possible, the rest being magicka recovery. There are no definite rule on how many magicka recovery enchants you should use, it depends on the content you are running, how comfortable you are with it, and on the sets you are using (do they give you magicka recovery or not).
- As a general rule of thumb, I start with a lot of magicka recovery, and add more and more spell damage if I feel comfortable enough with my sustain to do so.
- Infused magicka recovery jewels can be used in very sustain-intensive fights – for example, HoF 1st boss.
Keep in mind that green cps will also depend on your playstyle and on the content you are doing.
Shadow Ward 46
Spell erosion 23
Elemental expert 32
Staff expert 9
Note that depending on the content you are running, you can actually remove more points from Blessed to buff your damage done.
For this build, the following passives are essential :
- All Animal companions, Green Balance, Winter’s embrace passives.
- All Destruction Staff, Restoration Staff passives.
- Light Armor passives.
- Fighter’s guild : Intimidating Presence, Banish the wicked III.
- Mage’s guild : Magicka Controller II, Might of the guild II. Note that, on the skill bars below, I do not have inner light slotted, making these passives useless. However, it’s nice to have if you ever find yourself in a situation where you have a spot for inner light :).
- Undaunted : Undaunted Command II, Undaunted Mettle II.
- Support (Alliance war) : Magicka Aid II. (Go Go PvP :D!!!)
- All your racial passives.
- Alchemy : Medicinal Use III.
Vampire? Being a vampire stage two gives you 10% increase in magicka regen, which is always a nice bonus. The extra damage mitigation on stage 3 is also really nice.
As in my Templar guide, I will indicate with this teal color the flex spots in our bars.
Front bar: restoration staff
- Fetcher’s infection applies minor vulnerability to the target for 10s, which is an essential debuff. It also gives us 12% additional regen on our front bar for having it slotted.
- Enchanted growth is an instant, very strong heal in a cone in front of you. It also gives your allies a bit of extra regen.
- Illustrious Healing: this should be your most important healing source. It’s a strong AoE heal: make sure your dds are inside of it, and make sure to yell on them if they aren’t :D.
- Energy Orbs: these will give back resources to your dds and your tank, and produce insane healing. Try to always have one flying around, especially when there is incoming damage.
- Combat Prayer: one of your most important skills, buffs up to six allies with Minor Berserk (+8% damage) and also some resistances. Make sure to keep it up 100% 🙂 (see Healing Best Practices section).
- ULTIMATE: This ultimate is useful for the extra sustain and to protect our team from burst damage – e.g., against Lokkestiiz in Sunspire.
Back bar: lightning staff
- Lightning Blockade: as of this patch, it is preferable for all dds to wear fire blockade, so you should keep Lightning Blockade up for off balance. It’s also a great tool to proc your back bar enchantment (note that it doesn’t proc weapon damage enchantments, so make sure to weave on front bar!). As long as it is up on a target that is being drained, it will also proc minor magickasteal for you. If one dd is using it or if your tanks can keep up blockade, and if you really need the spot, can be unslotted. Note that the other morph – unstable wall of element, is really interesting if you want to have extra damage.
- Overflowing altar or Sanguine altar are really amazing ; minor lifesteal is a consistent HoT and the synergy is really useful. I prefer Sanguine altar in general cause it is easier to manage, but the overflowing morph is really strong in particular in Cloudrest. You should synchronize yourself with your healing partner so one of you uses drain and the other altar.
- Screaming Cliff Racer applies off-balance to our target if casted more than 7 meters away. This is useful if our group doesn’t have enough shock damage or cannot keep blockade up for off-balance.
- We use Corrupting Pollen pretty much only for the synergy. We want to center it on our main tank because the synergy goes to the three people closest to the center of the aoe. We choose this morph over Budding Seed, as it can be repositioned without losing a global cooldown, and “spammed” if we want to provide our group with more synergies. Budding seed is still useful if we want to provide our group with a HoT.
- Expensive Cloak is a nice buff to you and your group’s survivability. We now use this morph as it can be applied to our entire group. If you don’t need this buff, you can consider removing this skill.
- ULTIMATE : Aggressive Horn. Gives +10% max resources to your group for 30s as well as Major Force for 10s. You must keep it up in a rotation with your healing partner and the tanks.
The famous flex spots
With so many flex spots in the bars above, you may wonder what you would have to use! I will list these flex spots in a random order. Note however that this is by no means an exhaustive list!
- Efficient Purge: Purge is absolutely unavoidable in some fights (vMoL 2nd boss, vHoF 1st and 4th bosses). On vHoF 1st boss, I try to slot it front bar and to purge every other skill. On the other instances, having it back bar is enough. You want this morph because it reduces tremendously the cost of the skill.
- Circle of Protection: this skill provides your allies inside its AoE with minor endurance and minor protection. It is very nice to use whenever you want extra damage mitigation and/or extra sustain. I recommend not morphing this skill, as Ring of Protection only lasts 8s, and Turn Undead can screw up stacks by fearing enemies.
- Radiative Regeneration: in some instances, this skill provides with a really strong and useful HoT.
- Deceptive Predator: this skill gives us access to major expedition which is very useful in some trials (AS, CR for example) as well as minor evasion. We want to use it on our front bar, preferably.
- Soul Splitting Trap or Consuming Trap: these DoTs are useful to have if you are using Z’en’s redress. While the single target of consuming trap is a bit higher, soul splitting trap gives you more AoE damage.
- Degeneration: this DoT is useful to have if we are using Z’en’s redress. I choose this morph for the extra sustain.
- Scalding rune: this ability applies a DoT, which is again useful if we are using Z’en’s redress.
- Stalwart Guard: there are many situations where you can afford to guard a group member, giving you and said member Minor Force. You want to use that on a ranged dd, as stamina dds already have their own minor force. It also gives you 10% additional magicka recovery with the Magicka Aid passive, as it is a Support skill. It requires you and your bonded to stay close though: if you know the damage taken is very high, or if you know you may have to move a lot through a fight, don’t use guard. Note that in some fights, in particular in Sunspire, it can also be used on your tanks.
- Harness Magicka or Dampen Magic: having a shield can sometimes be useful, even for a healer. However, there are very rare cases where I recommend using one.
- Ward Ally or Healing Ward: provides a damage shield for an ally (and for yourself if you use Ward Ally). This can be vaguely useful in some cases, for example vHoF 2nd boss if your tank is not that experienced and get steamed often. It is also very nice to have in Sunspire to heal up the ice prisons when fighting Lokkestiiz.
- Bursting Vines: this skill is very useful again, to heal up the ice prisons when fighting Lokkestiiz in Sunspire.
ULTIMATE FLEX SPOT: Eternal Guardian. If we don’t have an animal companion ability on our front bar, and need the sustain, this skill can be used to get +12% magicka recovery through the flourish passive.
ULTIMATE FLEX SPOT: Shooting Star. This ability can be nice to have for the Mage’s Guild passive, when sustain is fine without barrier and we also want to have extra max magicka.
Once again, this is really similar to my templar healer guide. I will highlight the points which are different for wardens and trim it a bit. 🙂
As a healer, you have several responsibilities:
- Keeping yourself alive : a dead healer cannot heal and can be a pain to res.
- Keeping your teammates alive : that’s kind of obvious :D. Keep in mind that when a dd fucks up, he or she loses dps, when you fuck up, you lose a group member (no pressure). Still, do not overheal too much or you will most likely miss out on your other missions :).
- Buffing your group : one of the particularities of eso is that as a healer, you have access to more healing than needed (provided your group members are also trying to make your life easier). You will also have to provide buffs for them.
- Debuffing enemies will also be partly your role (along with tanks) with elemental drain, lightning blockade, quick siphon, mending, IA and crusher/weakening if you are using that. The more difficult the fight is, the harder it will be to keep these debuffs up but try your best :)!
- Providing resources to your group through synergies such as orbs or shards.
- Making sure everyone is in the right place : this is related to point 2, 3 and 5. An efficient healer do just enough healing to keep his group alive while buffing and providing as much synergies as possible. But for that to be possible, you need people to help you by standing in a way that makes it easier to heal and buff them. So imo, it is also your job to tell people that they are not in their correct position.
Here are some tips to perform these duties as well as possible :).
Buff and debuff tracking
First and foremost, make sure to use a buff and debuff tracker to get better uptimes. Check out my Questions&Answers page to see what add-ons I am using for that purpose.
Make sure to download Combat Metrics to check your uptimes afterwards and see where you can improve, or check esologs!
As a healer, knowing a fight is really important: casting preemptively AoE heals will ensure that your group members stay alive even through large incoming damage phases.
Your own positioning is equally important to make sure you get as much buffs as possible. Ideally, you want to be in a position where you can cast two prayers every 8s on two groups of ~6 people, to make sure everyone gets the Minor Berserk buff. Minor Berserk is a big deal for a damage dealer, so you should aim at 85%+ prayer. If you are using mending, your positioning must be changed so that you are always applying the debuff to the enemies.
Communication is key : do tell that ranged dd that he is constantly staying out of your springs. Make people form two groups if they are too stacked. On a warden, you have less reactive healing because no breath of life, so make sure your teammates and your healing partner are aware of that. You’d be surprise of the number of people who think wardens also have access to an omnidirectional burst heal. Otherwise, you will inevitably lose uptimes on your buffs and debuffs. With experience, you will learn when you can give buffs and synergies and when you have to focus on healing.
Keep your priorities
There is no “healing rotation”, just general rules. As I said above, I try to recast prayer twice in 8s to keep minor berserk up. Keep corrupting pollens up at all time on your tanks for the synergy. Illustrious Healing are one of your best heal when people are properly positioned.
Remember that your orbs provide a huge heal as well as a synergy: always have to have it flying through your group for healing and for resources.
If you are using a master’s restoration staff, make sure to spam Illustrious Healing once your other buffs/debuffs are applied, so you can provide your stamina dds with even more resources.
In eso, there are no fights where the damage incoming is constant: there will always be some short (or not) periods of time where you can heavy attack if necessary. With experience, as you learn to know the fight, you will learn when you can heavy attack safely. Make sure to heavy attack on your restoration staff for the +30% magicka restored with the Cycle of Life passive (and that 3s Major Mending with Essence Drain :D).
A healer without any magicka cannot heal, so make sure to monitor your resources regularly and act preemptively ! You don’t want to be out of magicka when huge damage is incoming. Try to keep your betty up as much as possible for sustain.
Finally, a short note on stamina. Having or not having stamina on a healer can be the difference between life and death. You need to block certain mechanics to avoid one hits, and you need to break free from others to keep on healing you and your teammates.
Avoid mechanics that can stun you if you can ; if you can’t avoid them, blocking is much cheaper than getting stunned and having to break free ; finally, do not block cast all the time as this will empty your stamina pool very fast. On a healer, weaving light attack is just as important as on a DD, you want to do it as much as possible to proc your enchantments and some potential debuffs. Learn to block only when it’s really needed, so that the rest of the time, you can get some stamina regen.
I hope this was helpful, as always please shoot me if you have questions ! 🙂