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  Doctor Guide
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    PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 5:18 am 
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Joined: Sat Sep 27, 2008 9:41 am
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Doctor's are the primary healer in AO. They will continue to be the primary healer in AO for the foreseeable future, and, as such, there is a lot of responsibility that falls on the shoulders of doctors.

This guide will provide insight on several aspects of doctor game play that extend well beyond the "bread and butter" aspects critical to doctor game play - in fact, this guide will allow the reader to explore different avenues to provide much greater team support than the stock standard response to "heal me pls!"

Chapter 1: Getting Started

Early in game the doctors starting weapon set are pistols. Pistols are a reasonable choice for weapons, but really only start being a "good" choice after level 150.

In VERY early game, whichever weapon you choose will be fine, as long as you can target a mob and press q it will die. There's nothing else that needs to be said. As such, I won't go into any more detail.

At level 20, it'll be high time to start specializing in a weapon, and start building a plan for the next hundred or so levels.

There is only one excellent choice for doctors: Neleb nightmare Battlerod

Neleb Battlerod procs 60 nano heal twice EVERY hit. This proc makes this weapon highly valuable early in game when refilling nano pool can become a tiresome affair.

Other weapons may be useful in killing mobs, but no other weapon is nearly as effective for continuous play for so many levels, as the Neleb nightmare battlerod.

The neleb battlerod is effective (highly effective) at low levels to speed kill, even if it's 50% OE at level 20, right through to 150, at which point it'll be obvious that you really need an upgrade. For more active players, or those who want to upgrade sooner to stay more competitive, the first level that makes sense to do a big upgrade at, is level 110 when Genius opens up. I'll discuss this in more detail later.

From level 20 through to level 50 or so, a doctor really doesn't need to do more than fire a heal off once in a while, and keep whacking away at stuff.

The difference between a good doctor at level 20-50 and a bad doctor is almost negligible. A good doc might be able to do more damage and provide bigger heals, and heal a team through a tough encounter, but realistically, there are no tough encounters at this level and most people just breeze through anyway. A "good" doctor might have updated heals, and perhaps a max HP buff - but it's equally likely that half your team might not have the NCU to accept your buffs, so it's a bit of a wasted effort to be 'really good' at this level.

That said, if you intend to build a toon/twink for TOTW or another purpose, a doctor can provide a significant boost to a team since other members will likely be twinked up to some extent as well which means that you can start exploring your toolset.

Chapter 2: The Toolset

The early game toolset for doctors is basically the same as the endgame toolset with a couple of minor additions that occur in late game. The difference, of course is the potency of nano attacks and heals, and the rate at which healing occurs. A huge mistake, however, is assumption that a doctor's only role is healing. So lets be clear here, providing other members of the group are operating self sufficiently:

* an ineffective doctor can not heal his team
* a poor doctor can barely keep his team alive
* a ok doctor can mitigate damage and keep his team alive
* a good doctor can DPS, mitigate damage and keep his team alive
* an excellent doctor can do great DPS, mitigate a lot of damage, and keep his team prepared to take damage

You can see here, that most doctors operate somewhere between ok and good. Most docs will have OK-to-great heals, and will UBT mobs to slow down their damage, but most doc's don't do good DPS, and furthermore, making sure his team is prepped to TAKE damage means that the doc is not only proactive in healing, but means that he buys time - essentially buys insurance, so that when the shit hits the fan (if it hits the fan) that the doc isn't scrambling to keep his team alive.

Simply: A OK doc can keep his team alive. A good doc makes sure his team will never get to the point where "keeping people alive" is an objective.

So, lets take a look at what we've got to work with.

The doctor nano toolset is one of the strongest nano toolsets in game.

A doctor's nano tool set can be divided into six fields:

1. damage mitigation via init debuffs (offensive, debuffs)
2. long and short term max health buffs (friendly, Large NCU use)
3. short heal over times (HOTS) (friendly, small NCU use)
4. heal delta buffs (friendly, larger NCU use, only use at higher levels)
5. target and team heals (friendly, doesn't require NCU)
6. damage over time nanos (DOTS) and small nukes (offensive, damage dealing)

These six fields are all important and I've listed them in order of importance (I will explain).

I'll talk through two different scenarios to emphasize the importance of the doc toolset; note that there are other factors in play here, but this is merely a generalisation to emphasize a couple of key points.

Scenario 1: Chaos

Tank guy runs up to a mob and starts hitting it, half the team is 20m behind him, one guy is buffing still, the doctor didn't know the tank had started and by the time he looks at the team window the tank is half dead and the other part of the group has pulled a second mob because they didn't know where the tank had gone to and another mob was closer. The doctor is torn between healing the tank with a single heal and init debuffing the mob that was just pulled. the doctor opts to single heal the tank but the second group doesn't have a tank class and are all squishy. One team mate is lost in two hits because he opted for an irrelevant debuff that taunted the mob and now the three remaining members in the group are scrambling, the doc is in nano recharge, the tank is happy, but oblivious to the problems of the other group, and the other group will lose more members if the doc or tank doesn't do something to mitigate the shitstorm of damage about to be released on the next squishy in the straggler group. By the time the nano recharge is out, the tank has taken yet more damage and the other members of the group are starting to take more damage too, and it's looking like it might be a group wipe if someone doesn't do something quickly.

In a matter of 15s of fighting, the doctor is stressed out, cannot perform all the functions he needs to, and is having a hard time identifying the biggest threat. In this fight, the tank had taken over 1500 damage, a support member had taken 3400 damage and died, and 1000 heals had been provided to the tank. The outcome of the battle is unknown.

Scenario 2: organized destruction

PRE FIGHT: doctor communicates with the tank to assess NCU, it turns out the tank can only spare 30 NCU after maintaining sorb shields and mongo, doc opts for a short hot instead of a max HP buff since max HP buffs use a lot of NCU for relatively small gain in performance - plus, knowing that the tank is using absorbs means the doc has to do less target heals and can focus on other aspects of play - such as mitigation and DPSing.

The doc requests that the tank lead and the DPS/support stay close to the tank. The tank pre-buffs absorb shields and mongo. The doc, knowing that if the tank doesn't have extra NCU, doesn't ninja buff him to ensure that the tank has all his aggro/mitigation tools available.

On the first mob the tank uses a puller and gets a few good whacks in before it's in range of the team, the doc casts 'tired limbs' on the approach and by the time it gets in range of the tank it's down to 75% health. The tank takes 500 dmg on the first hit and 400 on the second. the Tank's HP is down to 80% but the short hot is kicking in as well as mongo heal, the mob lands one more hit on the tank at 25% HP and then dies.

The tank took a total of 1200 damage, 600 of which were healed in fight by hots and mongo, no team members were lost and 4000 damage were mitigated by absorb shields (1200), and init debuffs (2x1400 hits)

In this scenario, the doctor played an integral roll by communicating with the tank, not over buffing, and contributing to damage mitigation and healing in the most efficient way.

Broadly speaking, the doctor's primary roll, in the most successful team situation, such as this, is NOT healing. It's active damage mitigation and passive healing and DPSing if there is time.

In order of priority and ensuring success a doctor will do these things to assess the situation before an encounter begins:

1. broad scope capability assessment (does the tank equip make him look like a complete noob, or does it look like he understands basics- note that an instant giveaway is lack of a viral compiler on an enforcer.... an enforcer without a viral compiler isn't using nano absorbs and can be classified as 'uneducated'/'can't play properly')
2. what passive mitigation is available? what are other team mates contributing? (i.e. is the engineer using DVP AND reflects, or outdated reflects? does the enforcer ask for wolf (this means he wants to run big HP and might be shrewdly taking advantage of 100 evades), does the crat run a crit aura or a AAD aura?
3. Does the tank have NCU space for: Omni-med, life channeler, best hot, Continuous reconstruction?
4. What type of tank is it? HP tank (enforcer), an reflect tank (soldier), an evade tank (MA/Fixer/adv), a mixed mitigation tank (keeper) ?

Getting answers to these four questions will set the doctor up for a much higher chance of success, not only for the team but to minimise stress on the doctor himself.

Chapter 3: Midgame (TL3-6)

The history of doctor's in AO is interesting. If you look at which nanos are available to doctors you can very clearly see that Life giving elixir is by far and away the most used nano in the doctor toolset.

From a ripe young age, even in TL3, a well set up doc can be casting the top RK heal - Life giving Elixir (LGE) in combat without too much trouble. That nano will be the crux of self/target healing for the next 100 levels, which is roughly similar to UBT which is useful right into endgame.

What's interesting, is that because this nano heal (LGE) doesn't get any stronger for 100 levels, but the mobs and encounters do become more difficult, then we must realise that single target heals are NOT the mainstay of the doc toolset.

They aren't. While many people play that way, it doesn't mean it's the most effective.

Single target heals provide some healing, but they are not the be-all end-all of the doctor class.

Consider some other classes healing. Assuming the nano is cast instantaneously:
DOC - LGE is 216.67 HP/s
TRAD - PHH is 234.86 HP/s
ADV - Moonbeam is 192.09HP/s
MA - enlightened aura of healing is 96.02HP/s

There are obviously many more single target heals available, but the point here is that it's not a prof defining nano. Further, it's not even the fastest single target heal. While LGE plays a vital role for much of a doctor's developing life, it's not the defining nano.

So what is the defining nano?

Uncontrollable body tremors (UBT)

UBT is, simply, in the upper echelon of 'most OP items in game'. From about level 100 through to endgame, UBT can be used to mitigate buttloads of damage, from Ely tiigs to Ely hecks, to Ado hecks, to TNH and the Pandemonium Subjugator (Beast is hard to UBT, due to very high NR).

At mid levels, there is no better method to reduce damage taken (on self, tank or just the aggro choice of the mob) than to slow down the rate at which the potential hits arrive. Paired with a keeper to block an occasional attack or an enforcer to recast absorb shields between every hit, UBT (and malaise+red tapes) is at the forefront of the most effective mitigation strategies in game.

The only nano in game which is even close to as powerful as UBT is available via the DB quest for crats, and is only 71% as effective as UBT. (1452 init debuff vs 1034) remarkably, though, Doctor's UBT is available at around level 100, whereas malaise of zeal is clearly an endgame nano (215+).

With prudent pre-buffing of likely targets of choice, and liberal application of UBT, midgame encounters will range from:

* easy - tank is capable of mitigation strategies in tandem with primary mitigation (UBT) resulting in no target healing during the fight. [0 LGE casts per fight - doc focuses on DoT application]
* moderate - tank is somewhat capable of mitigation in tandem with primary mitigation [1-2 LGE casts per fight - doc focuses on maintenance of tank HP and perhaps can apply a dot between heals]
* difficult - tank is incapable of mitigating any damage by traditional means (no evades, doesn't know how to use absorbs effectively, lacks AC's) [LGE spam, 3+ casts per fight, doc is in constant recharge of LGE]
* downright retarded - tank (haha ya right asshole) fails to grasp basic concepts of aggro management, lacks damage, aggro tools, HP, evades, AC's and absorbs or reflects; cannot even tank 2-3 hits without looking like he needs a CH, Doc is hard pressed to outheal damage taken by LGE and HOTS, CH becomes only option and doc becomes tank by default, doc HP bounces wildly due to lack of proper tanking toolset and doc/tank/team wipes are common]

Note: from the above description how incredibly important mitigation is on the aggro target. If the aggro target is incapable of handling damage by mitigation or self healing, the doc will invariably end up tanking due to CH mechanics (In SL).

Note: up till now I have not mentioned CH. The reason for this is simple. CH, to a large extent is NOT NEEDED IN COMBAT for general levelling and general play. It can be used in some scenarios, but I highly, highly advocate using damage mitigation and pre-buffing to passively heal paired with strong secondary/tank mitigation to preserve HP as opposed to trying to recover lost HP. Any doc who thinks he can use CH as a "go-to" heal for levelling in ely, ado or inferno is badly, badly mistaken. Some docs are highly effective using it late in a fight when the tank has well established aggro, but it is risky even then due to rate of DPS decreases in late fights due to perks running out (i.e. DPS slows down often late in fights since specials/perks are used early on) paired with being put in nano recharge for a solid 8 seconds can easily result in a doc wipe. This situation only gets worse, WAY worse, if the tank happens to have aggro of two mobs.

Midgame Setups

At level 110 when genius perk becomes available, it's an ideal time to assess whether your weapon (neleb nightmare battlerod) is holding up.

It does still supply nano, but now at 110 you have a 1000 point nano heal available, and paired with higher than average first aid skill, the doctor really can produce some quite reasonable nano healing. As well, with higher NCU and more classes coming into their own with regards to mid game nanos, more nanocost buffs and nano recovery buffs are available. What this means is that it's a good time to assess if you want to be up close an personal with mobs. For some, it's good, and others don't like it.

The best support doctors have is in:
Pistol (best)
MA (so-so)
Ranged energy (so-so)
Heavy weapons (so-so)

At 110 there really aren't a lot of solid natural choices for doctors: MA is easy, easily implanted, but is a bit slow and doesn't really do a lot of damage.
Pistol is fast, can dual weild and if you choose pistols with only fling shot you get one special and isn't too heavy on IP
Ranged energy is ok, but due to having no RE in brain symbs (shiny), it's a bit weak and can result in a lot of missed hits.
Heavy weapons are ok at 150 and up, but there aren't a lot of good options.
One weapon choice that isn't well supported but feels ok to play with is assault rifle. Using a JAME with 175 min dmg 'feels' decent and isn't too IP intensive with fling/burst/ AR. I used a JAME on a doctor many levels.

An alternate choice might be nanoskill (or base skill adding weapons), just as the soft pepper pistol, or even a pair of 100ish O.E.T Jess (

Armour really isn't that important, but the best armour provides AC's, nanocost, nano init, first aid, HP, nanopool, nanoskills, heal eff % or some combination thereof. Some simple cheap choices for levelling TL3 - TL5 are:

Head: cure for baldness
Chest: elysian cuirass/Miy's nano chest
pants: miy's nano pants
arms: doc OFAB sleeves/miy's nano sleeves
Hands: miy's nano gloves
boots: OFAB boots/miy's nano boots

At level 150, a reactive armour set will greatly improve AC's and HP and boost your base stats a bit which can be handy. Wrists can be either nanopool/HP or add dmg arul saba's. It's beneficial on doctor to have a nice large nanopool and a high token count board will greatly improve function with a massive boost of HP and nano (not to mention AAO which really helps doctors do a bit more DD due to not being able to land many perks very easily).

For TL4, don't worry too much about high powered weaponry - there just isn't many choices - instead focus on getting UBT, LGE, CH (for emergencies), Life channeler, Omni-med enhancement, deathless blessing and the bronto burger quest nano team health plan.

Being able to cast these nanos without a MP/trader around is key. Getting your nano skill up early, paired with enough nanopool to cast the higher end nanos (UBT+LGE) in a fight without feeling the pinch is the key.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ____
" I Don't Like That Man. I Must Get To Know Him Better." -Abraham Lincoln

Last edited by noobas on Tue Sep 30, 2014 12:25 am, edited 2 times in total.

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  Re: Doctor Guide
    PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 5:20 am 
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Joined: Sat Sep 27, 2008 9:41 am
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Chapter 3: Prepping your team

There are a multitude of quotes about preparation, and how it affects your ability to capitalize on opportunities, and to a large extent that is true here.

There is a subtle difference for prepping a team for a difficult fight, and knowing that that preparation might buy you one errant boss hit, one second of stray aggro, one nuke you didn't see coming... and the team wiping or the team making it through.

The difference 920 HP makes at endgame might not be that much, but it might be enough. And that's the bottom line. We do what we can to prepare ourselves for the worst - and if the worst comes, we know we did what we could. The last thing you want is to sit there thinking after a team wipe: gee, I guess I should have buffed the team.

For doctor's however, it's not just peace of mind that proper preparation brings, it's insurance. When a tank is fully buffed, with hots running, and you're on your game debuffing mobs, the probability of success, and not only success, but the EASE of ACHEIVEMENT of success, is so much greater that the doctor can actually start doing something else: picking up clumps, picking up loot, keeping hots up on others, dotting... etc.

How do we prepare our team?

First off, as discussed above, a good doctor must evaluate what the tank's capability is. 50% of being a good doctor is having a good sense of the tank's capability. If the tank sucks, it's going to take most of your effort to keep him alive. But, if your tank is good, it's going to make your life a lot easier.

There are so many encounters in game, so its impossible to list all of them, but lets just say that the more you play with someone, the better you'll get to know them, and, the better you know them, the more understanding you'll have of their capability.

That said - some encounters at endgame do not rely on the skill of the tank - far from it. In fact the toughest encounters in game merely select against all other tanks because they simply do not have the HP needed to survive two consecutive hits. In 12man, for example, it's rare to ever see a group complete this instance without an enforcer tank - it just doesn't happen. With the Xan hitting for 10-12k per hit, there just are no other suitable tanks available for a drawn out fight.

The main things to look for when assessing the capability of the tank for the application you're facing, and how you can prepare him are:

1. What is the main method of mitigation (evades, reflects, absorbs, blockers+init debuffs, AC's)
2. Will hots matter?
3. will max HP buffs matter?
4. will HD buffs matter?
5. Does the mob you're fighting have innate init-debuff resistances?

Mitigation methods are one of the most important aspects of gameplay for all profs, and every prof is slightly different. Tanks at early game rely almost exclusively on AC's and absorbs, and to a much less extent on reflects. Tanks in midgame may rely on reflects, absorbs, evades but AC's often take a backseat to mitigation available via nanos which dominate in the TL4-5 range. In mid to late game, evades become much more prominent, and specific tanking rolls start to emerge which are based on specific classes becoming more or less suited to specific instances or encounters. In endgame, there are many "light" tanks, and enforcers, who can tank anything, while the "light" tanks are only capable in a small sub-set of circumstances.

In general, team prep for the tank is fairly straight forward: provide max HP buffs almost always, provide short max HP buffs if the tank has NCU for it (and especially if they are an evade tank), provide short hots to the tank if he is actively tanking and has higher HP (i.e. using absorbs or reflects, enforcer/soldier/keeper) but not usually to evade tanks, provide HD buffs only if the tank is atrox until about level 200 at which point all breeds are capable of getting a short enough tick that the HD will matter.

These general rules will help your team and tank prepare for a scenario without overloading them with buffs that likely won't be useful: for example, hot's are less useful on an evade tank since the majority of damage taken will be when his evade perks run out which will mean he's taking a lot of damage quickly: in that case the NCU is better used for max HP buffs to buy you the precious 1-2 seconds between the time he's low on HP and he's in reclaim where you can pop a single target heal/perk heal to keep him alive.

On enforcers who are absorb tanking, and soldiers, for example, it's much more useful to prep them with hots, since hots are lower NCU than max HP buffs, and in both cases it's unlikely that while defences are up that a mob will be able to do enough damage to make the max HP buffs useful (i.e. bring their selfed HP down to 0). It's far better in those cases to work at keeping the HP UP rather than providing more HP and using the vital NCU resource - this can not be emphasized enough at early-mid game with soldiers. If a soldier goes to pop TMS as his primary defence, and his NCU is full of ninja buffs, his rage will be loud and long.

In early game, the meta-healing game is significantly limited by NCU, and single target/team heals are all that is expected-if at all.

In late game, NCU becomes far less of a sticking point and whoever the designated tank will almost religiously take any 'tank' enabling buff available.

Preparation of non-tank team mates

This is primarily accomplished by team buffs. Omni-med enhancement (and lower variants) are the single most obvious tool for this, but is followed up at TL5 with the arrival of the team enhanced deathless blessing ( which is available from the penumbra quest.

If the tank has insufficient gear, lacks sufficient agro generation, or there is a 'wildcard' in the team who can dish serious DPS, you may find yourself doing less tank buffing and more spot healing, this can be dangerous for the wildcard. Often to be dishing significant damage, in many cases there is an inverse relationship between weapon/damage/offense twinking and tanky/defence/armour twinking.

The result is that you may find yourself scrambling to heal bouncy aggro. The only effective way to deal with this type of scenario is by appropriate max HP buffing, and hot buffing the main tank, applying init debuffs on the mobs to limit the damage done to squishy wildcards, then not doing any casting in the expectation that you'll need to pop a target heal on the wildcard at some point in the fight.

To keep track of where aggro is going, using the /macro assist /assist script is very useful. "assist" looks at the fighting target of the selected target. Lets say you are fighting a heckler. punch the assist and you target the tank who the heckler is fighting. you punch the assist button again and it swaps back to the heckler. A moment later you press it again, and this time you see that the heckler has swapped aggro to the squishy looking shade who just landed a 6000 point backstab. you keep the shade targeted for a bit to see if he takes damage. you press assist again, and the heckler is targeted. A second later, the tank has reclaimed aggro which you see by pressing the assist button once more.

That's the purpose of using /assist and it's highly useful to assess who has aggro.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ____
" I Don't Like That Man. I Must Get To Know Him Better." -Abraham Lincoln

Last edited by noobas on Tue Sep 30, 2014 12:39 am, edited 2 times in total.

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  Re: Doctor Guide
    PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 5:20 am 
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Joined: Sat Sep 27, 2008 9:41 am
Location: Brisbane, Qld, Australia
Chapter 4: Mitigation of damage

Damage mitigation, if we haven't learned yet, is what AO is all about. AO is not about healing huge empty spaces of black that used to be red... it's about STOPPING the huge chunks of red from disappearing into the abyss to start with.

Damage mitigation is one of four aspects of gameplay that are the basis of all success. The other three aspects are damage dealing, healing and CC. The keys to successful encounters, completed in a timely fashion is a balance between these four key areas.

healing <---------> damage mitigation
damage dealing <------------> CC

With exceptional damage mitigation, CC and DD, you might not even need to heal. Lets consider for a moment a 12m I was in a few months ago. I was triple logged with jetson (eng), poli (crat), and Grind (keeper). We had a doctor, and a solid group with some very beefy DPS.

In this instance I got the left hand debuffed quickly with malaise, 3 tapes and DVP, and the tank was using appropriate nano absorbs, watch ward, and IHM. With reduced AR via DVP (-AAO debuffs) the tank was evade tanking for most of the fight, paired with WW and init debuffs not one hit got through.

Right hand was LMN'd and Xan was on a rampage on the outskirts near the stage and didn't aggro until RH was down.

On xan the ranged profs held specials for the green /blue towers, and the tank easily breezed through using similar mitigation. The doc used both Astringent and Anatomic blight to slow down the xan occasionally even more than the debuffs.

The tank kept agg the whole fight, with no NCU wiped the Melee /pets and crat just kept pounding on him and the doctor did not have to cast 1 heal the entire fight.

Other overloads of this quadrant work as well: If you have exceptional DD/healing/dmg mitigation, you won't need to CC. (in fact, often you don't even need healing, in many cases DD/mitigation is sufficient). Similarly, with excellent dmg mitigation, healing and CC you can just tank /survive indefinitely. As well, if fights are perfectly well chosen, with exceptional damage mitigation and excellent DD, you may never need a heal (as discussed in the scenario above).

Doctors, despite having some of the strongest damage mitigation measures in game available early on, via UBT, do not get to enjoy free reign on this nano in late stages of game. Most bosses at endgame have very high UBT resistance, perhaps not 100%, but high enough that if you casted it 10x in a row you'd not likely land it. So that is when we need to start investigating other methods of mitigation, and this is when the doctor landscape starts to shift a bit.

Prior to 220, it was beneficial to have high nanoskills to land UBT and cast all the endgame nanos. But now it's clear you have the skills to cast Team life channeler and BI, but UBT doesn't land regardless of your nano skill. So how do we rectify this issue?

Well, Doctors have some very solid -init procs. But, to get these init procs to apply, we need to be landing a lot of hits in order to have a good chance to get them active. At 5% chance to land on a successful hit, and with a duration of 1 minute we can quickly figure out that we need to be getting at LEAST 40 hits per minute to be getting a 50% chance of the proc re-firing 30 seconds before the previous proc has expired.

Luckily, procs fire on fling shot, and fast attack, so we get a bit of leeway here, but basically what it comes down to is that you want to be using weapons that are dual wield, fast, and have fling shot or fast attack (at least). With fling shot capped at 6s for weapons with a 1/1 att/rech, you'll have a good chance of keeping procs up on mobs with sustained attacking/special spam. 1he/1hb weapons are also good, and the triple wield with dual tonfa's/1 tonfa+1shen stick is also effective.

To get down to 6s fling shot, you'll need 1000 fling shot skill for a 1/1 pistol, and it goes up by 100 points for each 0.1second of att time.

So, don't just stand there looking pretty, fire up those procs and get the bullet spam going!

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ____
" I Don't Like That Man. I Must Get To Know Him Better." -Abraham Lincoln

Last edited by noobas on Tue Sep 30, 2014 3:12 am, edited 3 times in total.

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  Re: Doctor Guide
    PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 5:21 am 
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Joined: Sat Sep 27, 2008 9:41 am
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Chapter 5: healing without healing

Healing without healing... Now, if UBT is the profession defining nano, healing without healing is the beauty to the UBT beast.

The only prof in game that has a better tool set for healing without healing is fixer. Fixers have a monumental 5 hots available at endgame, and in terms of regular gameplay, there is usually 3 hots ticking continuously which can deliver a lot of healing over a short period of time.

Well doctors don't have it that good, but what a doctor lacks in HoT's, a doctor makes up in insurance.

What is this "insurance" I keep talking about? Glad you asked. Insurance is the extra time bought by the doctor by having buffed the tank with max HP buffs, and HoT's and boosts to HD to offset the damage taken rate.

Lets make another scenario to discuss:

In depth mitigation methods to assess whether 'healing without healing' is sufficient to keep an enf alive.

An 80k HP enforcer fights beast. he has naturally occurring 200heal/2s heal delta
* Beast real damage output is 8000dmg/1.5 seconds.
* If 0 mitigation is available and provided no heals, the 80k HP enforcer will die in: 80000/8000/1.5s = 15s (HD over 15s only heals 1500 HP so it doesn't keep him alive any longer than his HP running out normally)
* Lets add PNH for 28% reflects, plus the enforcer has bio-coccoon 10 perked for 3% base reflects
80000/(8000*(1-0.31))/1.5s = 22s (the enforcer lives for 22s now)
* now lets add malaise and 3 red tapes we'll assume this slows the beast hit rate from 1.5s to 4.5s
80000/(8000*(1-0.31))/4.5s = 66s survival time
* next we'll add in doctor procs, these will further slow down the hit rate. We'll assume they are both equally effective and one applied for the duration of the fight continuously and it slows the hit rate down by a full 2s on average
80000/(8000*(1-0.31))/6.5s = 94s to live.
* now, lets add in misses. The team has an engineer who maintains DVP on the beast, as well, the crat is running IHM. The beast still has pretty good AR, but he actually misses 12% of his hits.
80000/(8000*(1-0.31)*(1-0.12))/6.5s= 107s to live
* Next we'll add in watch ward. Now this is a bit tougher to calculate because it's iterative with the duration of the fight, but we can guestimate that the since the refreshment rate is 2 blockers/30s that we can simply reduce the number of hits per each 6.5s by the fraction of hits blocked per 6.5s, so, 2/30*6.5=0.43 hits/6.5s, now... this is where things start getting interesting.

If you thought reflects were "good" mitigation, look at the effect of watch ward:
80000/(8000*(1-0.31)*(1-0.12)*(1-0.41))/6.5s = 181s (basically the enforcer will last 3 minutes now with all of these mitigation measures, and these are only from the team mates... we haven't yet considered actual active enforcer mitigation or ANY healing). Lets continue.

Lets now add active mitigation via absorb casting. These are significantly less effective vs large damage hits than against many small hits, but they still make a difference. If the enforcer is able to cast a new blocker ever 6.5s which is very easy to do, he will further reduce damage taken by 1371 on each hit after reflects are counted, which looks like this:

80000/[(8000*(1-0.31)-1371)*(1-0.12)*(1-0.41))/6.5s] = 241s (up to 4 minutes now)

And now... we add in the insurance: Omnimed buffs 920 HP, Team LC buffs 3025 for a total of 3955 HP

83955/[(8000*(1-0.31)-1371)*(1-0.12)*(1-0.41))/6.5s] = 253s

And finally healing... passive healing first:

With 200HD, an enforcer can heal, in 253s 200*253s/2s = 25333 HP
With CR (+65HD) an enforcer can heal, in 253s 265*253s/2s = 33522 HP
With imongo being chained (so refreshed when the healing portion terminates), the heal is 510/2s tick rate, over 253s 510*253s/2s=64515 HP

So, in this scenario, with just imongo being cast every 20s and superior fortify running for each hit, the enforcer can keep himself healed in perpetuity with 83955 HP, beast would take 253s to kill the enforcer, but with the healing available by imongo and CR and naturally available HD, the enforcer could heal for 33522+64515= 98037 HP over the same period.

That is the textbook example of why mitigation is so important, and in this case, the healing without healing by the doctor only took place using CR which boosts heal delta magnitude by 65 points. The doctor can also use HoT's, ideally team enhanced deathless blessing, which heals for:

292 - 347 30 hits, 5s delay which is on average (292+347)/2/5s = 64 HP/s (in the similar vein as prior calculations, maintaining this hot on the enforcer vs beast would provide an additional 64/s*253s =16167 HP over the duration of the fight, boosting the recovery rate on the enf.

What does all this mean? It means if your team knows how to mitigate damage, you may not need to cast BI the entire fight. Is it likely to happen? Hell no, but it's a useful exercise to see how much mitigation is actually possible.

I fought beast last week twice. Once while I was playing keeper, and once when I was playing doctor. Both teams were comparable for potential mitigation, but in the team when I played keeper:
* the enf used nano absorbs
* we had watch ward
* the tank had reasonable evasion skills
- overall, I think the doc casted about 10 BI's on the tank the whole fight.

When I played doc in the following round, we had an engineer instead of a soldier, no keeper, and the crat wasn't as thorough in keeping beast debuffed. In this situation:
* the enf wasn't using nano absorbs
* the enf had low evasion skills
* DVP was being cast, but because the enf didn't have sufficient evasion skills all hits were landing anyway
* the crat was slow on debuffs and,
* there was no keeper for watch ward
* And the beast did several crippling NCU wipes early on
- overall, as doc I probably cast BI 200-250 times over the course of the fight, no lie, I was chain casting BI for about 12 minutes through BOTH add waves, and only once beast was down to about 35% health did the damage stabilize long enough for me to start getting dots going.

So that is the difference between good mitigation and bad mitigation and the effect it has on doc functioning. In the second beast, we would have wiped, if I had made one slip up. I had 3/4 BG heals on recharge by the time beast was at about 30% and the enf couldn't keep agg off me either since I was healing so much (when the doc doesn't have to chain heal, there is far less aggro from adds). All in, the only reason why we beat the second beast was that I was going all out, and I got lucky. the enforcer was really poorly operated, and despite good DPS and good healing, it was a very tough round.

In the first round, ambient healing (healing without healing) was nearly sufficient for the team to cruise through the round without the doc needing to do anything more than maintain team buffs.

In the second round, damage mitigation was so poor that ambient healing (healing without healing) was only providing about 1/10th of what was actually needed to keep the enf alive; thus, the doctor need to use target heals to maintain the enforcer's health.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ____
" I Don't Like That Man. I Must Get To Know Him Better." -Abraham Lincoln

Last edited by noobas on Wed Oct 01, 2014 12:49 am, edited 3 times in total.

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  Re: Doctor Guide
    PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 5:22 am 
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Joined: Sat Sep 27, 2008 9:41 am
Location: Brisbane, Qld, Australia
Chapter 6: DPS

Oh DPS! How I love thee!

When you rolled your doctor, you thought to yourself, I love accidents. I love blood. I'm probably a vampire. No wait, hang on that was shade! No I mean, I love accidents, I love healing people! People always love doctors! Right? right? Well.. people do 'love' doctors, until they think they should have got healed when they actually got critted.

Anyway, whatever, most people think "doctor" is synonymous with "healing". And that's fine. Doctors are good healers. But what they don't know, or maybe what they hadn't thought of, is that Dot's don't have a damage range.

WTF does that even mean!?


Ok I agree, it's a weird thing to think about. But it's actually a really weird idiosyncrasy about doctors that very few people have ever really EVER thought about. But lets cut to the chase. Since you've read the guide up t here, you've got a good idea of what you're doing:

1. you're assessing tank capability
2. you're pre-buffing is spot on (max HP for evaders, Hots for absorbers/reflect/high HP), both if NCU is available, CR only for atroxes higher than level 150ish, etc. only team buffs for team mates
3. you're dedicated to UBTing anything that moves, and you know you should waste time attempting to UBT bosses (and bigass red spiders in inf hards)
4. you do PRE-HEALING instead of reactive healing (i.e. let the damage mitigation of enforcers/hots kick in before freaking out on the BI button)
5. you are spamming bullets to get your procs kicking in when UBTing isn't feasible
6. you now want to try adding to the DPS front and you understand the basics (doctors use dots and perks to boost dmg)

Ok, so lets talk about number 6 in some more detail.

First, DPSing is LESS important than prebuffing.
Second, it's LESS important than UBTing.
Third, it's LESS important than popping a heal on a squishy team mate and the tank has 50%+ HP remaining (and if its a soldier tank his AMS is not about to pop).

So, provided you've at least thought about these three things, it's time to start thinking about doing damage.

Doctors can do a LOT more damage than most people think. There. I've said it. Nobody believes me, but I've done 169k DPM in a inf mission. Do you know how much that is? that's a LOT.

Here is what DPS looks like:

MA vs RK mobs or aliens, with 95% crit rate and keeping perk spam going and keeping procs up and controlled dmg buffs up does around 300k DPM - mobs dying very quick, big chunks of HP just flying out the window, BIG thundering crits of 9800-10300 just gobbling up huge chunks of HP, Crits are just never ending, often watching the combat window you wonder if your crit rate is 100%.

Shade with suicide setup on RK, high crit, insane add dmg - around 350k DPM. Blue damage is never ending, with big fat numbers, dot procs, damage procs, perk spam, big, fat 5k+ crits with weapons big procs that proc off procs, add dmg perk buffs reapplied religiously, all chain perks executed perfectly, mobs HP just dropping like a rock, there is no saving you...

Engineer with properly buffed pets vs aliens, an all out damage setup - dog is hitting for 7k-9k crits, big 4k-6k normal, chicken is bocboccing and causing huge havoc with 4.5k regulars and 6k crits, engineer is chain spamming specials, perks and using medallion to put mobs AAD negative, making crit rate 100%, damage is unyielding, and maxing out around 325-350 DPM

Ok, you get the point. but now we take all these hyper dmg delivery dudes and put em in SL. Say... an inf hard mish - and just like that, vs high AC mobs, 120k DPM is gone: All hits do min damage, all procs do min damage, all perks do min dmg.

And...... What did we say about dots not having a damage range?

Hello, and welcome to your playground.

Inferno and Pande is where doctors gain the MOST RELATIVE DPM in the entire game. A doctor might be capable of doing 180k DPM on RK, but a doctor only loses about 20k DPM in the transition between RK and SL, where the big damage dealers are losing 120k; so doc's just went up the ladder comparatively. I'm not going to talk a lot about DPSing on RK - it's basically the same as SL only there's very little reason to stress over it since mobs will die so fast that you won't even get your dots loaded.

In inferno and Pande to some extent, shades, engies, crats and MA's are generally having a hard time breaking 225k DPM - hell, most won't ever break 200k, you need to be REALLY pushing it to break 225k DPM.

Now, if the top of the line DPS profs are only doing 200k DPM.... and with a bit of effort a doc can do 150k, that basically puts doc's in the middle of the pack for damage dealers.

The trick, of course, is understanding how the hell to do it.

First off, lets look at set ups. The setup I use on my doctor is this:

This is a support setup, with oodles of HP and nice boosts to nanoskills, and lacks AR. It's not a "DPS" build. Quite frankly, there's no reason to try to build a doctor for DPS since it's such a low overall priority. But, depending on how you play and what you want to do, there might be some applicability in swapping a few items and boosting some key stats in order to dish a bit better - obviously some additional buffs (DB2, 12M) RC, OS, soldier dmg and keeper dmg, TTS/Mop/Assassins focus will all help.

Being able to land your perks and dots, now this is where the balance starts to be important.

I usually run with this perk setup:

The weapon perks checking DR/Duck (quick shot, double shot, deadeye, collapse and implode) all have a significantly higher chance of landing than any of the NR perks (nano feast, bot confinement, mistreatment, viral combination (NR 90%), combust, thermal detonation, supernova and even dazzle with lights (NR 70%))

Now, obviously, if the majority of your perks aren't landing, you've got a problem.

In a inf easy, you won't have too many problems with most of these perks not landing. In a inf hard, however, you'll invariably run into some serious problems. Some things DO help:

Dead man walking (crat) - debuffs NR on mobs by 410NR
Improved heroic measures (crat) - buffs AR by 100 (also commanding presence boosts AR by 260)
Raid buffs - boosts AR by 75-100
Trader - boosts AR by up to 153

But, it's still a bit hit or miss - sometimes DMW hasn't landed on the mob you're fighting, sometimes the raidbuffs have worn off, etc. So, we need to plan around these issues.

There are yet more drawbacks - The starfall line perks - while they are decent damage, are VERY long to charge all, and very, very often the mob you're fighting will be dead by the time the final perks is firing, especially in a decent team.

So, here are a couple of potential options:

Option 1: Opt for more physical checking perks (this requires IP expenditure in RE) - such as this setup
The reason this setup is actually a really solid choice is that power up actually gives a fair bit of base add dmg (28 base), but also gives a 30s buff for another 130 dmg. This is actually pretty fantastic if you can afford IPing RE, since it provides an opportunity every 2 minutes to boost all damage for the next 30s quite significantly, plus, you'll have a better chance to land the physical checking perks than the NR checking perks (generally speaking) - but it will require IPing RE to make it feasible.

Option 2: choose which mobs to perk! Now, If you've got a inf hard full of those goddamn spider mobs, you'll probably blow a gasket, these mobs you just have to focus on keeping people alive... since they hit for 2500-4500 dmg and if you ever have the pleasure of fighting 2 at once and even another add, holy hell that there is no time for trying to UBT/dot/perk, it's all healing... BUT, not all missions are spider dens. So, here is how you plan your damage dealing:

Using the original perk setup I provided, here is how I do it.

Omni mobs - UBT/special spam/try for all dots/quick shot/double shot/collapse/implode - usually if you've launched all these perks you may not have time to get off deadeye, and, due to the damage on deadeye, you DON'T want to waste it on a dead mob. I'll play conservative and hold it for the next mob.

fire/icy mobs/coral rafters- (UBT)/special spam/dot up/ start launching starfall perks FIRST, before any weapon perks... If it is a lower QL fire/icy mob it may not last long, so don't start charging supernova unless it has more than 25% HP remaining, otherwise it's another wasted perk - it's very wise to save it, since all the other perks recharge in half the time of supernova anyway.

Hoalths/vortexoids/mortiiigs/dryad types - UBT first always, Starfall perks if you got them up still. Dot like hell at first to get the dots up then hold off casting to see if someone takes heavy damage.

Now, for the perks mistreatment and viral combination; mistreatment is not a big dmg perk and it's fast so just spam it on any non-Omni/non-spider mob, and viral combination, this is where a lot of damage gains come from. With only 20s to recharge, if you're playing full agg, you can get all dots rolling then PERK fast to make use of the perk 2x before the first dot expires.

To plan this, try to have a gap in your perks to allow you to fit in viral combination. With 3 dots rolling, it does about 3700 dmg, with 2 dots rolling it only does about 2500. With a 20s recharge you can boost your DPM by 10k JUST with this perk if used properly. In any situation, if the perk is up and the mob is almost dead, launch it anyway even if only 2 dots are going since it'll always be up by the time you get to the next mob and get all three dots loaded.

Now, That is what to do when you're fighting single mobs, but with good planning and a bit of balls, you can seriously boost your damage by triple dotting a second mob while you're still killing the first. This is where tabbing comes in, tab around for low NR mobs - icy/cold/vortex/mortig/hoalths/dryad etc, anyting but spiders/Omni mobs, and start loading them with dots. To be fair, if you're in a decent team many mobs you can kill without UBT. It keeps people moving quickly, and keeps them on their toes. If you're dragging around a team of gimps, ya sure, UBT, but you shouldn't be in an inf hard with gimps anyway. Keeping the dots going full time is the way to seriously boost your DPS.

First on the scene, first to leave. Get your UBT on the mob as fast as you can, get your dots loaded and if you've got perks up, get those going while spamming specials. The next trick is timing kill speed vs when your perks will come up - basically at ANY time you don't have perks up, assess how much longer your dots will be good for, and try to estimate how long the mob will stay alive for. If your dots will stay up till the mob dies, good, TIME TO GO! Go find the next mob! get your UBT up and dots going ASAP. now you're doubling the damage your dots are doing for two mobs. If you think the mob will outlast your dots, reapply them before hunting your next victim. The best DPS'ers in game are EXTREMELY aggressive. You have to be if you want to be at the top, doctors are no different, but because we can set DoT's that will sit there and do dmg for 30s after we disengage, we're in a prime position to disengage before the rest of the crew. If you want to play like a squishy NM and stay in the back to heal - do it, because it'll be better if you don't slow your team down by dying... but once you get you're in reasonable setup with some decent tank, if you're hanging out in the back of the group just popping heals, that's as bad as leaching in my book. Get out there and challenge the assumptions!

That's it. The TL;DR is as follows:

1. choose low NR mobs to perk with your NR perks, load starfall perks early
2. alternately choose PU which requires IP in RE to land perks but you may be able to do more DPS overall due to higher selection of mobs to perk
3. load dots on all mobs - I usually start with Bone eater dot since it's fastest to cast, once it lands go for the slower ones scythe omega virus and mutagenic pestilence; as soon as all dots are ticking launch your viral combination perk for maximum damage
4. UBT all mobs if you're playing defensively,
5. watch out for spiders....
6. Don't worry too much about tailoring your setup for DPSing - you'll end up tanking a lot so a support setup is far more utilitarian (note that since add dmg doesn't apply to dots, it makes far less of a difference if you go balls out offence - the lack of survivability, however will be noticed).
7. Always keep your priorities straight (prebuffs, mitigation if needed, DPS last... but you are a DPS machine in SL and you can do a hell of a lot more relatively than other profs... use DoT's to your advantage!)

That's it!

Thanks for reading!

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ____
" I Don't Like That Man. I Must Get To Know Him Better." -Abraham Lincoln

Last edited by noobas on Wed Oct 01, 2014 4:21 am, edited 3 times in total.

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  Re: Doctor Guide
    PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 8:30 am 
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Posts: 18964
Joined: Wed Apr 19, 2006 1:08 pm
It looks like another awesome guide in the making, grats Noobas. :)

But I couldn't read it yet so maybe what i'm going to say is either there or planned:

Don't forget to mention the "assist enemy" setup to pick automatically the "right" healing target:

See here and this will send to the great guide made by Doctorhyde years ago viewtopic.php?f=17&t=680

Hyde's post, in a long guide thread about assisting: viewtopic.php?p=4858#p4858



  Re: Doctor Guide
    PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 9:41 pm 
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Posts: 4965
Joined: Sat Sep 27, 2008 9:41 am
Location: Brisbane, Qld, Australia
good, thanks Chris, the assist is important, but with the raid interface it's much less important than it's been in the past.

Furthermore, the purpose of this guide is to show that doctors AREN'T reliant on single target heals as much as people think they are.

In fact, that's the single biggest myth I'm trying to disprove here.

/assist heals, while useful, are not needed in a good team who are prepared to take damage, operating in coordination - what is much more important, is prepping the team to take damage, and start mitigating damage before the damage occurs.

Doctors have an extremely potent toolset - MOST players only use a small portion of the toolset, and it's my opinion that general game play can be greatly enhanced if people only understand that proactive gameplay opens far more possibilities than reactive gameplay. This guide discusses the philosophy of proactive play and proactive damage mitigation, as opposed to reactive play and scramble healing.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ____
" I Don't Like That Man. I Must Get To Know Him Better." -Abraham Lincoln

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