Neverwinter Cleric DPS Hybrid Guide

Neverwinter Cleric DPS Hybrid Guide by wintersmercy


The purpose of this build/post is to provide a DPS-focused build for the Devoted Cleric with the Divine Oracle paragon path (the only one available, at time of writing). I say “DPS focused” but, boasting aside, this build provides good DPS but your chances of coming top of the DPS charts are very low, unless you’re grouped with a terrible rogue, a poor wizard, or a mediocre Great Weapon Fighter (perhaps in that order). Not that the DPS hybrid cleric should aim to come top: your role is to do decent damage, whilst also providing support and flexibility to a group. You can solo heal a Tier 2 dungeon (I haven’t tried Castle Never), but you’ll be happier if another cleric is the dedicated healer. That frees you up to tailor your encounter powers exactly how you want them, without being tied down to just a select few. A lot of other cleric posts and videos go through powers in a lot of detail, I’m not going to do that – check out the other cleric builds in the Master List for links.

Instead, I’m going to focus on the different roles you can play, and how you support this with powers and feats. There are a few separate notes on feats and powers (especially see Divine Glow).

But why not go Faithful?

The Faithful spec is fantastic, but some of us just don’t enjoy healing in PVE that much and want to try something different. The Virtuous path lacks the powerful buff to Hallowed Ground, and some damage mitigation from the Foresight buff. But in exchange, you get a very active playstyle that lets you do large amounts of AE damage, build up to dailies very fast, and contribute to your team. Crucially, you can main-heal a lot of content (possibly all of it) but be a very solid DPS and add-manager if there’s another priest in the group. You’re a jack of all trades, which means you’re a master of none, but you can always bring something to the party (how many mixed metaphors?).

There are currently five excellent Faithful-path healer cleric builds up on the forum, with a lot of discussion and information attached. The Virtuous cleric doesn’t have that, but hopefully I can provide a little education here. In game I spend more time playing with the Foundry or roleplaying than I do in PVP or PVE, but I’ve had a decent amount of experience in both (almost 3-manned epic Trayven Blackdagger with a TR and CW, until a running-out-of-potions problem). This build is great for grinding, soloing, and Foundry quests. In PVP it tends to die fast to groups (such is the Cleric’s lot), but that’s probably an artefact of the way I’ve geared up … but then again, a rogue stacking Armour Penetration (or Smoke Bomb … ) can probably slice through most clerics builds.


Previous attempts to include a link to my build from an online character calculator have failed for some reason, so I attach screenshots. My character was rolled up as Human with 16 STR, 16 WIS, and 12 CHA. I put my discretionary +2 in STR. This is because my build relies on critical hits to build Divinity fast, and STR determines crits for clerics (for more information, see the official Wiki page on clerics. This also gives me +3 Heroic Feat points, but they’re not essential (although it has to be said, they’re very nice).

At my current gearscore (9.1 k), I’m sitting at 32.5% to crit, 36% faster cooldowns, and 35% action point bonuses. I had better bonuses than this with worse gear, but I had to switch out ++Recovery, +Critical gear simply to get access to later level zones. Gearing priority is +Recovery, then +Critical Strike, then +hit points. Utility enchants are Movement. I don’t have a Cat pet yet, so I can’t advise – I’m too busy trying to train up the many other pets I have.

STR – 16 (+2 racial bonus)
DEX – 10
CON – 10
INT – 10
WIS – 16
CHA – 12

STR and CHA raised during levelling.



Notes on Powers

Rule of Five: Most area effect powers only hit 5 mobs at once.
Synchronous Criticals: If you’re in Divinity mode, many area effect spells seem to crit EVERY target if you crit at all (that or my Flame Strike and Daunting Light are probability-bustingly lucky). This means you can burst hard. Annoyingly this isn’t always the case (I’ve had Divine Glow crit 4 out of 5 targets). (Note that Hammer of Fate only hits one target and hits it multiple times, so each hit may or may not be a critical regardless of whether other hits are criticals or not). I don’t know if this is some weird thing going on with the RNG in combat.
My Big Assumption: you see two numbers in your damage log when you attack something. I assume the first number is the damage you do, and the second number is the damage you would do if the enemy had no defence or mitigation whatsoever.

Searing Light: this is an exception to the rule of five. With Divinity, Searing Light will hit 5 mobs if they are all in a line. This will cause one explosion to each mob in the line, and each explosion can hit 5 targets for half damage. So you get a maximum of 5 mobs for full damage, and 25 mobs for half damage. This is great, in the incredibly unlikely situation that you have five lined up mobs each of which is surrounded by another five mobs. In practice, I’ve got this to hit 23 mobs (so 25 is an assumption, but it seems logical). If you’re one of those people who likes to spend all day in a Foundry quest where there are 50 mobs sat in a pit that can’t get to your, then maybe put this up to three points and don’t take anything in Prophecy of Doom or Healer’s Lore.

Divine Glow: it is my belief that this power is bugged. Over a series of casts (n=30) WITHOUT the Divine Glow buff, I did an average of 912 damage (non-crit) with Lance of Faith, and 1463 (crit) against orcs. Over n=30 casts WITH Divine Glow, I did an average of 780 damage (non-crit) with Lance of Faith, and 1273 (crit) against orcs. The difference here is 15%. I believe (and this may be wrong, if I had time/inclination to do more tests it may be discounted) that Cryptic intended the Divine Glow buff to increase damage output by 15%, but instead made it decrease damage output by 15%. Oops! Not to mention, if you are under the effects of Divine Glow, your potential damage (given in brackets in the log) ends up lower than your actual damage. Maybe it would buff my teammates but I haven’t found anyone to do tests, and I’d be surprised if it reduced my damage to increase theirs. I suspect that people who claim it “hugely increases” damage output haven’t so much done tests as fallen foul of Confirmation Bias. However, it still does good damage over a wide area – so I use it and try to avoid “buffing” myself/my party with it.

Daunting Light: this is a great power for damage, and made even better by the Nimbus of Light feat.
Forgemaster’s Flame: DOT lasts for 3 ticks, this is a good heal that can crit.
Chains of Blazing Light: damage from this is not actually split amongst mobs. It’s reduced by between 15 and 20% per mob that it hits, I’d say 20% is probably accurate.
Break the Spirit: seems to reduce mob damage by 30%. DOT that lasts for 5 ticks, stun seems incredibly brief, threat reduction is unknown.
Hammer of Faith: repeated multiple hits and pushback. Great at sniping low health people in PVP, because either by lag or design, the Hammer follows your targets.

Heroic Feats

Healing Action: at first glance, Toughness is better for a DPS build. However, I think (haven’t tested) that divine Astral Shield counts for this (due to the green text). I also know that, if I want to heal, I want to be generating more Action Points. Hallowed Ground going down is where, in some boss fights, you get time to build up Divinity for the next Astral Shield, let your potion cooldowns tick over, and make sure your positioning is good.
Domain Synergy: Recovery is key to this build – it’s no good getting lots of Divinity if your Encounters are on cooldown.
Weapon Mastery: 3% Critical is great.
Holy Resolve: not dying is also great.
Repurpose Soul: you will crit a lot, this provides some nice topup healing.
Bountiful Fortune: if you’re kiting (especially), every bit of Divinity gain helps.

Of those feats, Holy Resolve and Repurpose Soul are probably the best to drop if you’re not human/want a different Heroic feat.

Alternate Heroic Feats:
Templar’s Domain: if you only do PVP, and you’re planning to socket for Armour Penetration (there’s precious little on our gear), this *may* be worth it. PVP is the environment where spiky damage is vital, and this is spiky damage.
Cleanse: most dedicated healer clerics have this. Unless debuffs have a huge spike in impact past Tier 2, I don’t think it’s essential so much as “nice”. However, you may have a particular reason to want it.

Notes on Paragon Feats
Rising Hope: Power is a stat that scales badly (I’ve not done the maths myself, but I’m happy to believe this). Recovery is a stat that scales well, and it’s a stat this build pumps as high as possible at high levels. Therefore the chance to get 15% more of it for 2.5 minutes is excellent. I’m not sure what the proc rate is precisely, but it is noticeable.
Power of the Sun: Brand of the Sun is a fantastic ability. High divinity generation, decent AP generation, ongoing damage. This makes it even better. If nothing else, you can keep it up on a boss and reduce your team’s incoming damage. Sadly, testing (n=12) indicates that it doesn’t lower mob damage.
Nimbus of Light: Using Daunting Light against level 60 ‘tough’ mobs, it changes their mitigation from Lance of Faith from about 8.5% to about 0.3%. I’ve not been able to do controlled tests in PVP, but if it translates into PVP at the same level, it would make this a must-have.
Focused Poise: I don’t like the design of a feat that gets worse as your gear improves (the more criticals you do, the less this is useful). In fact, this feat is only here as filler to get to Cycle of Change.
Cycle of Change: on paper, this is okay. If you’re doing dedicated healing, then this may pop. But I haven’t seen a buff pop from Forgemaster’s Flame, and I haven’t seen it proc from Astral Shield, and I haven’t seen it proc from Astral Seal. If I were to respec, I’d ditch this until it’s fixed or someone can explain which powers it works from that this build is likely to use.

Alternate Paragon Feats If I was to respec, I would take these alternate feats
Dropping Focused Poise and Cycle of Change gets us 6 points. Luckily, these are easy to spend.
Power of Oppression: debuffs target of Astral Seal for -5% damage. Stacked with Power and Brand of the Sun, this is either -10% damage (two lots of -5%), -5% crit; or -9.75% damage (mob at 95% damage, then at 95% damage of that), and -5% crit. That’s some potent debuffing and removal of damage spikes.
Healing Step: 1% hit points isn’t impressive (220 for me). But the extra stamina regen isn’t bad, although not great. However …
Righteous Flames: some mobs aren’t lifted up by Flamestrike, but a 0.1 second stun interrupts their spell casts.

Potential Roles

Bread and butter – grinding/Foundry/trash as DPS:
At Will – Lance of Faith
At Will – Brand of the Sun
Encounter – Divine Glow
Encounter – Daunting Light
Encounter – Astral Shield
Daily – Flame Strike
Daily – Hammer of Fate
Class – Holy Fervour
Class – Terrifying Insight

This is all about doing as much damage as possible to clear out the trash mobs, so you can sit in Astral Shield and DPS down the big mobs. Very simple, very fast. You use Divine Glow to pull them in (large area) which will make them cluster around you, then you use Daunting Light (ideally with Divinity) to damage them. Then you use Astral Shield (definitely with Divinity) to mitigate damage and start healing yourself. Once you’re left with a few tough mobs, you can Lance of Faith them to death very quickly. Flame Strike is good at killing multiples (and if it crits, everything will crit). Holy Fervour and Terrifying Insight fill up your Inspiration inbox.

Tier One – trash (as healer)
At Will – Lance of Faith
At Will – Astral Seal
Encounter – Daunting Light
Encounter – Forgemaster’s Flame
Encounter – Astral Shield
Daily – Flame Strike
Daily – Hammer of Fate
Class – Holy Fervour
Class – Terrifying Insight

Similar to the grinding loadout, but with Astral Seal and Forgemaster’s Flame for extra healing. Daunting Light is in, because we don’t want to nerf our own damage as with Divine Glow, and in most dungeon groups, you won’t to pull with Divine Glow because someone else will already be there. Plus, Daunting Light does great damage and a defence debuff.

Tier One – bosses (as DPS)
At Will – Brand of the Sun
At Will – Astral Seal
Encounter – Break the Spirit (Searing Light if you have a Control Wizard who you can coordinate spells with, who has Arcane Singularity slotted, and if there are vast amounts of mobs)
Encounter – Daunting Light
Encounter – Forgemaster’s Flame (Astral Shield if the group needs more help with healing)
Daily – Hallowed Ground
Daily – Hammer of Fate
Class – Holy Fervour
Class – Terrifying Insight

As a DPS, you can still serve your party by debuffing and healing. It helps that Break the Spirit and Forgemaster’s do good single target damage (albeit over time). Brand lets you dot up multiple mobs whilst reducing their damage output, and Astral Seal helps put you up the healing meters – whether or not you need healing. Between the two of them, they generate divinity fast.

Tier One – bosses (as healer)
At Will – Brand of the Sun
At Will – Astral Seal
Encounter – Break the Spirit
Encounter – Forgemaster’s Flame
Encounter – Astral Shield
Daily – Hallowed Grounds
Daily – Hammer of Fate (Flame Strike if adds will cause you an issue)
Class – Holy Fervour (Divine Fortune, if adds are killing you fast)
Class – Terrifying Insight (Foresight, if adds are killing you fast)

Break the Spirit gets a look-in here, debuffing the boss – if the 30% figure is correct, this is a great talent. Hammer of Fate is in instead of Flame Strike because Flame Strike does rather poor damage to single targets (if you’re going to be killing adds, then you can keep Flame Strike in). Hammer of Fate lets you stand still and take minimal damage from many boss attacks, which helps with stamina management and for building Divinity. Also I’ve had crits of over 34k with it, which is nice. Brand of the Sun and Astral Seal combine to give you high Divinity gaining attacks.

Tier One – bosses (as kiter)
At Will – Brand of the Sun
At Will – Astral Seal
Encounter – Chains of Blazing Light
Encounter – Sunburst
Encounter – Astral Shield
Daily – Hallowed Grounds
Daily – Flame Strike if adds will cause you an issue
Class – Divine Fortune
Class – Foresight

Kiting is a hassle, but occasionally it is what your group wants. Luckily, the way healing aggro works is your friend. You can stick down an Astral Shield with divinity and the mobs that spawn continuously, will chase you. Chains and Sunburst are both capped at five targets, but with good timing that works out to ten mobs that won’t be hitting you at any one point. In addition, Sunburst heals your team as well as knocking away mobs.

At Will – Lance of Faith (Astral Seal if you took the recommended, alternate build).
At Will – Brand of the Sun
Encounter – Break the Spirit
Encounter – Forgemaster’s Flame
Encounter – Astral Shield
Daily – Flame Strike
Daily – Hammer of Fate
Class – Holy Fervour
Class – Terrifying Insight

All about Divinity management. All of the encounters benefit from Divinity, Astral Shield is the priority here, the other two are situational. I haven’t tested if the Breaking the Spirit debuff affects players, but assuming it does, this is great – a powerful, short-duration DOT that can couple with a second short-duration DOT.

PVP video – link . This isn’t intended to demonstrate skill, it’s to show that Astral Shield is an excellent thing in PVP and makes the cleric very worthwhile. The ability to solo other players (unless they’re rogues who silence-lock you until you die) is very helpful as well.

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7 Responses

  1. asian says:

    what are u playing on because those are nit the feats i see on mine and im a devoted cleric divine oricale sun elf

  2. Asura says:

    Hellboy, He chose as Human. Human get extra 3 heroic point

  3. Hellboy says:

    Hi, how did u spend 23 heroic points ? after my 20th eroic point I can choose only paragon talent, in practice I can no longer take weapon mastery (3% crit), I did something wrong? pls answer

  4. aris says:

    you never included prophecy of doom should i replace it with bastion of health?

  5. krokz says:

    Could you do a full PvP DPS/support build up.. With video perhaps :)

  6. Bubba says:

    Hey what type of gear?! Awesome guide tho!

  7. Dubbs says:

    Maybe I missed it, but what about feats? Good guide/build.

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