The Devoted Cleric changes continued to be the hot topic in the Neverwinterverse in recent days. Opinions as always range between complete negative hyperbole to those that say nothing really happened. With a major assist of crizpynutz, rapo973, darthtzarr, putzboy78 and others that contributed to this article, we are trying to find answers. What was changed? What builds need to reinvent themselves? Was it even as bad of a nerf for the class as a whole?
AA, the nerf and difficulty of content
Almost all players we’ve talked to were quite moderate when it came to the nerf of Anointed Army. Some went from slightly concerned to unimpressed after a few runs, others didn’t think it’ll be an issue at all. And no one actually labeled the nerf “catastrophic”, although some expressed heavy disappointment with the direction the class is headed to.
From my own perspective of currently mainly running a CW and GF, stuff has barely changed. It is a nerf, but the endgame impact is not really there. If anyone is affected, then those groups and players that shouldn’t have been able to complete content in the first place and only relied on broken AA to put them over the top. For everyone else, the buff from the power was way more important and albeit also nerfed, is still intact. A bit of convenience was taken off runs, but it can be compensated with… brain.
Do Anointed Champions have to worry?
Which brings us to the Anointed Champion paragon path, which obviously has taken a considerable hit. One Cleric initially said they were likely to change, but the spec undoubtedly is still being requested a lot. And that’s not entirely because of people being slow to adjust, although seeing multiple ACs in one group is no longer the way to go. The power sharing combined with Hallowed Ground is still the best buff you’ll get out of any build though. Also most saw Anointed Army as being broken with all the CC immunity and such, so the “nerf” was more of a “fix” for them.
The same pretty much can be said about the removal of Actions Points from Divinity casts. Players that relied on this bug to spam dailies however will undoubtedly feel it. It is an impactful change and builds need to find other sources for AP generation. One interesting combo in the regard is the Artificer’s Persuasion Insignia Bonus and the equip power of the Griffon. The reactions to the new cooldown mechanic of HG were very mixed. One DC even labeled the change clunky and pointless.
The feat path conundrum
Unfortunately the feat paths remain a problem for the class after the change. It might even have gotten worse. As one player noted, the change to Hallowed Ground makes Righteous more viable because of its cooldown reduction. And since the game has moved away from the necessity to bring heal to a group anyway, the path was already the overwhelming favorite of endgame players. In the one-shotting world we’re living in, healing is covered with Life Steal already and groups only need mitigation and buffing. So currently the class is a one-way train in terms of feat paths, and the change added to this problem. Especially Virtuous remains largely underwhelming. Faithful might have a place in PVP and is decent at lower levels, but does not scale for endgame content.
Rise of the Divine Oracle
As we’ve learned the Anointed Champion is still very alive and thanks to the buffs, Divine Oracle is becoming more and more of a thing as well. With Terrifying Insight, you suddenly have a buff build for both paragon paths. Some players raised concerns about this particular rework of the power, and it indeed seems so strong that running two DCs as support will become increasingly interesting. Even before the change, some endgame groups switched to a AC/DO setup and it’s no coincidence that the current shortest run through FBI was done with two DCs. So whenever you complain about a “nerf”, just note that the meta will slowly move towards even more Clerics in a group.
Some players we’ve talked to expected this to be a more aggressive process, but there are still not many DOs around. So in case you are thinking about bringing a new character up, there’s your chance to get into groups easily. The Divine Oracle is also not as gear dependent and is endgame viable sooner than other builds and classes. Even a true DPS Cleric now is in the realm of possibilities with the paragon path.
The other class feature Prophetic Action also received a notable buff and multiple DOs are able to stack it, generating a sizeable shield not only for themselves, but for everyone in range. Not limited to the Divine Oracle is Divine Armor, which is also getting a lot of attention. Although probably rarely seen in endgame groups, it can be a life saver especially for tanks that need to survive the initial hits of their aggro pulls.
Master of Lame
The build most likely to suffer from the raise of the Divine Oracle is the Control Wizard buff build. The Master of Flames is a maestro in getting any group to the 200% debuff cap, but contributes little else. Since endgame groups most likely are able to hit the cap with two DCs as well, other damage increasing sources become more important. Anointed Champions have that big Power share, DOs can now bring Terrifying Insight, Guardian Fighters Into the Fray and Oathboaund Paladins Aura of Courage, among other things. With no comparable power, MoF CWs are the odd class out.
The good news however is that these are first world problems. Master of Flames still enhance 90% of random groups and have only been pushed off the endest of endgame metas.
Beware the bugs
With the rework some of the more annoying and longer standing issues have been fixed. Several powers like Flame Strike or Divine Glow now finally proc Weapon Enchantments, which is a major plus. It’s not all good however in DC land. Our relentless community has provided us with a flurry of ongoing bugs that are way too diversified to cover in depth. Please refer to this amazing list of user darthtzarr! There’s still some work to do here.
Don’t get fooled by the “AA nerf patch”. The AC has undoubtedly been nerfed, but the class as a whole is very much alive, if not stronger. The changes have not only not rendered the Anointed Champion useless, they have even emerged the Divine Oracle as viable replacement and combo. With the upcoming loadout system, DCs could even communicate paragon paths and switch accordingly.
Although not everything is fine and dandy, the DC is still in a very good place and keeps on rocking!
What’s your opinion on the DC changes? Do you disagree and feel more nerfed than empowered? Share your thought in the comments below or visit the corresponding thread on our message board!
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