Physicians Toolkit: A Healing Class Comparison
by Project Pettanko
When starting in the world of Eorzea, there are many classes to choose from. Oftentimes, most people pick to go down the route of the mighty DPS, where the feeling of laying down the hurt is just too tempting to look away from. There are those who choose the path of the undying Tanks, to be there to take the damage and pave the way forward in dungeons. Finally, there are the unsung heroes, the group of people who do their best to make sure that the DPS can continue their rampage and the Tanks can continue to stand their ground. They are the Healers, the life-givers, and a steadfast lifeline no matter where you go. As a class, the main priority of a healer is to keep the group alive. To provide support to the team when and where it is most needed. In FFXIV, there are three different healers to achieve this. The White Mage, the classic and relatively well-known healing staple class of FFXIV. The Scholar, a healer with a small fairy to help boost their heals and provide raid wide utility. The last healer is the Astrologian, a versatile healing class that provides strong utility through an RNG card system. With these three healers, it can be kind of confusing deciding which healer to pick to learn!
When it comes to the world of Final Fantasy, the White Mage has always been the poster child of healing. The White Mage is a well known and safe, reliable pick. In Eorzea, the White Mage prides itself on having the strongest raw healing power of the three healer choices while being able to output decent damage as well. The White Mage can place many regens on the party, allowing a constant and steady supply of health when needed. White Mage is also host to three often considered mandatory cross class skills, being Cleric Stance, Stoneskin, and Protect.
Raw Healing Force
The White Mage is often brought along in most endgame content as a main healer due to having the most numerous options when it comes to healing. White Mages bring a staggering 10 different spells that are all dedicated to healing, the most of any healer. With amazing spells like Tetragrammaton and Benediction for single target and Assize and Cure III for party-wide heals, a White Mage is often capable of carrying an entire party on their back and solo healing an eight-man party.
This is the strongest single target healing spell in the game. It will heal a target to their current maximum health no matter what the situation is. While gated by a long cooldown of 300 seconds, Benediction gives White Mage a strong answer to most situations. The only downside to this powerful spell is the cast animation works as a pseudo cast time, so there is a bit of a minor delay despite it being an instant cast spell.
While there isn’t too much to say about Tetragrammaton, it still has the highest potency outside of Benediction for the White Mage. At 700 potency, this spell is made even better through the fact that it is an instant cast that isn’t on the global cooldown.
Before Heavensward, White Mages tended to suffer from MP issues during raids and the like. Assize was introduced and helped alleviate this problem. Assize is an extremely versatile spell as well. When used, it will deal 300 potency as unaspected damage, heal the party for 300 potency, and restore 10% of the WHM’s maximum MP. With no cast time, it can be used while in cleric stance to quickly wipe some lower health mobs while Holy spamming, or used for a quick burst of HP for the entire party. Due to it’s 90-second cooldown, it cannot be used at any given time so one must quickly decide whether or not they
wish to use it for damage or for healing. It’s still a reliable spell regardless.
Not much can be said about Cure III. However, it’s the strongest area of effect heal in the game but suffers from a ridiculously short range. Gather your party together and watch as their health shoots up with this wonderfully tasty spell.
A tidbit for White Mage:
If you are feeling confident enough, Assize makes great DPS too! Medica and Medica II are great AoE healing spells that can help cover the loss of healing from not using Assize. Use your best discretion when using this spell!
Final Notes -White Mage-
White Mage is a fairly simple and straightforward class. Because of this, it’s also one of the easiest classes to get into as a new healer. There isn’t much needed to be memorized in their kits besides their personal buffs. As the poster child for healers in the Final Fantasy Universe, throwing your team on your back and solo healing everything, the White Mage is a solid and safe choice in a healing class.
The Scholar was introduced as a new healer class in Final Fantasy XIV. As a healer, it focuses on damage mitigation through shields as well as additional utility from a summoned faerie pet. When compared to the other two healing classes, Scholar comes equipped with the highest potential of dealing damage, with extremely skilled scholars being able to even rival the damage upkeep of some DPS and Tanks.
The Faeries: Eos and Selene
As a branch class off of Arcanist, Scholar has the ability to summon a pet onto the battlefield to assist it during combat. The two options a Scholar has for its summons include the healing focused Eos and the utility focused Selene. Both faeries have four spells that they bring to the table, three of which are unique to the faerie and one of the spells being shared between the two.
Eos is the first of the two faeries that are available to the Scholar, replacing the Emerald Carbuncle from Arcanist. When summoned, Eos is the go to faerie if party survival is needed or when you’re running a low-level dungeon and you need to leave your keyboard to make a hot pocket. With a damage mitigation that applies to the entire party, the only healing over time Scholar can provide, and an increase to incoming healing for party members, Eos can provide much-needed healing power that Scholar’s general kit struggles with in comparison to the other healer classes.
This spell is the only healing over time that Scholar has, not much else to say. Reliable when you really need help in healing your party.
Increases the Magic Defense of all allies in range by 20% for the next 20 seconds. Take care in learning what type of damage you’re trying to block with this as you might just end up wasting this spell.
This increases healing by around 20% for 20 seconds on those that are affected by the spell. A better choice than Dissipation (explained in Aetherflow) but gated by the fact that only Eos has access to it.
Selene is the second faerie that is available to Scholars, replacing the Topaz Carbuncle from Arcanist. While Eos offers better survivability when compared to Selene, Selene provides much better party utility with a silence, an area-of-effect cleanse, and an attack speed buff (skill speed, spell speed and auto attack delay). Silent Dawn: Silences a single target for 1 second. Not much use from
Silences a single target for 1 second. Not much use from this spell and it cannot be used on an annoyingly significant amount of monsters that won’t shut up.
This spell increases the attack speed of all targets within range by 3% for the next 30 seconds. Attack speed includes Spell Speed, Skill Speed, and auto attack delay. This right here is the main reason why most Scholars opt to go for Selene in end game content in most cases. It is basically a pretty nice increase to your entire group’s DPS and nobody is going to complain when you put it up (provided the enemies can still be hit and aren’t going invulnerable and such).
Besides sounding like Selene’s giving you a sad handy, Fey Caress is an area of effect Cleanse. While it doesn’t get to see much use, the times when it is useful makes it an absolute godsend. It will save you and/or your co-healer so much MP and time. What is there to complain about with Fey Caress?
In the end, the biggest thing to remember is when to use what faerie for which situation. The micro management of the faeries, as well as ensuring that their spells be best put to use, is in big part what separates good Scholars from bad ones.
Galvanize and Stay Alive
White Mages bring powerful raw healing power, so what did Scholar offer the healing community when it came to healing? The answer was the powerful shields that Scholar brings to the table. With spells like Adloquium, Succor, and Deployment tactics, Scholars can mitigate ridiculous amounts of outgoing damage.
At first glance, Adloquium is a rather pathetic spell. With a high cost and only offering a 300 potency heal, this spell doesn’t seem very worth it at first. It’s the secondary effect of the spell, however, that makes a Scholar the mitigation machine that it is. When cast on a target, Adloquium will place a shield equal to the amount healed. The cherry on top of this is that if the spell crits, it will double the shield strength (ex. If you crit heal for 5000 hp, Adloquium will place a 10000 hit point shield on a target).
An area of effect heal, that works exactly the same as Adloquium. Not much else to say about this, except that you can get a free Succor sometimes after casting Sacred Soil (explained below)
Have you ever gotten into a raid and your team can’t ever just get this one mechanic right? Have no fear for Deployment Tactics is here. When activated it will spread the effect of Eye for an Eye (single target buff that when placed, if an enemy strikes the target there is a 20% chance that the enemy will now deal 10% less damage for 20 seconds) and Galvanize (the name of the shield Adloquium and Succor places). When spreading a crit Adloquium to your entire party with a 10,000 hit point shield (even more if you want to be cheeky with your Warrior buddy who has Convalescence and Defiance up) you can quite literally ignore mechanics with this spell. Not to be scoffed at and not to be ignored. When you place that incredibly fat shield on your entire party, there is little doubt that you will smile as you watch that super move from the boss do next to little, if any, damage.
Aetherflow, Bane, and Blessing
As a branch class from Arcanist, Scholar also has the ability to access the uniqueAetherflow mechanic that is shared with its brother class the Summoner. When a Scholar has Aetherflow stacks, it has access to spells Bane and Energy Drain from the Arcanist, but also has access to the most powerful healing spells that Scholar has to offer.
As a 600 potency heal, a single Lustrate alone can pack a punch. What makes this spell particularly powerful, though, is the fact that it is instant and has less than a second cooldown. It costs 1 Aetherflow stack per use, however, so it’s best-used with caution.
A 400 potency area of effect instant heal. A powerful heal that is gated by both cooldown and Aetherflow stacks, but the fact that it offers a strong potency heal instantaneously makes it a very desirable and useful spell.
This spell offers no healing whatsoever. What it does do for the party is that it lays down a massive area of effect 10% damage mitigation bubble. Combine this with the fact that there is a chance that this spell will trigger a proc that will grant a free Succor cast, or can be used in conjunction with an Adloquium Deployment tactic combo, Sacred Soil brings a lot of unseen mitigation. Again, it is sadly gated by a cooldown and will consume an Aetherflow stack.
Aetherflow is a tricky but powerful tool for Scholars to master. The spell itself grants a burst of MP, making constant use of it a necessity when trying not to run out of MP. This is made more troublesome by the difficult choice of deciding what to spend Aetherflow stacks on, especially since the Aetherflow spell has a 60-second cooldown. While the Dissipation spell will also grant 3 Aetherflow stacks, it is best not used unless under dire circumstances, as it will not grant a burst of MP and will sacrifice the faerie pet, which cannot be re-summoned until the effects of Dissipation wear out.
A tidbit for Scholar:
Scholar originates from the DPS class the Arcanist! Because of this, it can deal a surprising amount of damage. End game raiders usually expect their Scholars to contribute to DPS. With the addition of “Broil” in Heavensward, there is even more damage for Scholars to dish out.
Final Notes -Scholar-
The Scholar has been and will most likely continue to be a high skill cap but extremely rewarding choice when it comes to the healer family. With the need to micromanage the faeries, as well as the need to micromanage Aetherflow and where best to place shields, Scholars are easy to pick up but hard to master. Don’t let this dissuade you, though. As a healing choice, Scholars will bring smiles to you and your team as you place amazing shields and become big contributors to outgoing DPS.
The Astrologian is the 3rd and latest addition to the healer class. When brought into battle, the Astrologian lacks the raw healing strength of the White Mage and does not bring the damage or mechanic ignoring shields of the Scholar. So why pick an Astrologian? Of the three healers, Astrologian is the most versatile, with its ability to choose between Diurnal and Nocturnal Sect, as well as bringing the power of the Divining Deck.
The Sects are what allows Astrologians to fit in almost any team comp. The two sects, Nocturnal and Diurnal, each vary in giving Astrologian’s strength behind their spells. They will also alter two of Astrologian’s spells, Aspected Benefic and Aspected Helios.
The Sects are an important part of the Astrologian and knowing which one to use can be very important in dungeons. Keep in mind that once you pick a sect, it cannot be changed or removed during battle. However, when it comes to endgame content and raids, Astrologians tend to start specializing in one of the two sects. Finally, it’s important to note that Astrologians will need to change their sect according to what the other healer in the group is, picking sect that’s opposite to your co-healer. Pick Nocturnal when your with a White Mage and pick Diurnal when you’re with a Scholar. So pick a sect and wear it proudly!
The Divining Deck:
The Divining deck is what truly sets Astrologian aside from the White Mage and the Scholar. It is what allows Astrologian to have some of the strongest utility of the three healers, with 6 different cards that each provide their own effects. Cards can be either placed, spread, shuffled, or burned; placing them will provide the target with a beneficial buff, spreading the card will allow you to hold onto it indefinitely (or until you die), shuffling a card will put it back into the Divining Deck and a new/different one will be drawn, while burning will cause the card to be discarded, but provides a buff to the next card placed, whether it’s a freshly drawn card or a previously spread card.
The Bole: The Spear:
This card will provide a 20% increase in damage done on the target for 30seconds.
When burned it will provide Enhanced Royal Road.
This card will provide a 20% decrease in damage taken for 30 seconds.
When burned it will provideEnhanced Royal Road.
This card will provide a 20% decrease in recast times for any off global cooldown skills for the next 20 seconds.
When burned it will provide Extended Royal Road.
This card will increase the cast and recast speed of skills and spells by 10% for 30 seconds.
When burned it will provide Extended Royal Road.
This card will place a TP regen for 15 seconds.
When burned it will provide Expanded Royal Road.
This card will place a MP regen with 50 potency for 15 seconds.
When burned it will provide Expanded Royal Road.
So why pick Astrologian? It suffers from not having the raw strength of the White Mage and the shields can be lacking compared to those of the Scholars. It also suffers from having the weakest DPS output of the three Enhanced Royal Road increases the next card effect by 150% Extended Royal Road will double the next card effects duration Expanded Royal Road will apply the next card to all party members in range, but half the potency of the card. When damage is needed. Despite these downfalls, Astrologian brings the strongest raid utility out of the three healers. A well-placed card can quickly change the tide of any battle, be it with the damage mitigation of the Bole, the increase to raid DPS output of the Balance or the resource regeneration of the Spire or Ewer. With other powerful spells such as Disable and Synastry, an Astrologian can compete with the best of them. It’s almost guaranteed that there isn’t a raid group in existence that won’t appreciate a well placed Balance card.
The three healers all specialize in something and all are viable within the game’s current meta game. Be it the powerful raw heals of the White Mage, the mitigation and damage of the Scholar, or the utility provided by the Diving Deck of the Astrologian, there is no wrong choice. So pick a healer and become the lifeline of the party