With patch 1.3 this might be irrelevant as there will be heavy modifications on single-target-stuff vs. AoE-stuff, but I wanted to write something about my experiences with different Runepriest specs.
Runepriests have the paths of Grungni, Valaya and Grimnir to choose from. I’ve added the specs I thought were quiet useful for testing..
A Mastery path focused on immediate, direct effects.
Sounds simple.. Direct effects, e.g. the large single heal Rune of Restoration and immediate effects, e.g. Protection of the Ancestors. This combined with some damage-boosts and heal-by-dealing-damage type of effects sounds like a good spec for smale scale fights and 1vs1.
My experience was that you are subpar on every term. In large scale fights you have no time or line of sight for the big heals. In small scale fights you still do not do any damage and the healing is weak and susceptible to crowd control, so that you easily die on every enemy. I had some fun when running around with an ironbreaker and/or using Rune of Binding. Such a 3s stun can be really handy ;)
Resume: Fun spec due to the combination of dealing damage and healing by it, but both are too weak to make any impact. Not good for 1vs1 or zerg vs. zerg. The spec shines when it’s 2-6 vs 2-6.
A Mastery path focused on longer-duration effects.
Dots and Hots. I really like Valaya from a RP ..erm.. not Runepriest, I mean roleplaying this time.. point of view. It’s a good spec for leveling up as it supports both dots and hots. Especially helpful is the Rune of Burning as it delivers a nice amount of damage. It’s channeled, but you have hots to keep you alive. The Valaya-tree hosts the only mastery-line moral4 that’s useful in my opinion. Even if the healing is not needed..the AP’s from that moral are helpful.
In 1vs1 situations a Valaya Priest can defend himself… Like I say in Teamspeak to my guildmates.. I eat tanks for breakfast. Tanks are no real danger for a Valaya Priest. With some luck you can kill ranged dps, too. Melee DPS just slices through you, but that’s ok. It’s really hard to beat them as a Runepriest and I think that the Valaya spec gives you the best chance to do it. Downside on the spec is that it supports only 5 skills and for some reason the hot is being taken away from Valaya and has got a career ability (I have not noticed when this happened), so the only healing spell Valaya supports is actually the worst one from all healing spells a Runepriest has. It’s Rune of Mending. I don’t count the shield spell as a healing spell, which is actually ok, not hurray but ok ;)
In large scale fights this spec is ok. Expect to throw out less healing in scenarios than AoE specced, but I think that Valaya is ok for doing the job. For a bit of flexibility I specced a little bit into Grimnir to the the Master Rune there. This is a trend I try to get at the moment. The possibility to have two Master Runes and decide what is better suited for the current fight.
Resume: Really fun spec were you trade off some healing for damage.. Don’t expect to be the hero of the day. Tricky to master, but that’s for me the fun in this spec.
A Mastery path focused on wide-area effects.
This is the.. I don’t need a brain-spec. It’s all about AoE and it’s not only the easiest spec, but also the one that heals by far the most. The healing one individual gets with the AoE-heal is not less than with the big single heal and it doesn’t not have restrictions such as line of sight.. In scenarios you heal around twice as much (same eq, same player, same teams) compared to the other specs, taking mean values. This comes not only from the fact, that you are AoE-healing, but that you are able to hide and heal from there, so that the enemy doesn’t see you. Every second you are longer alive increases your healing ;)
It’s the spec I’m currently using as the other trees just can’t compete with this one healing-wise. In every situation (with more than one target) the Grimnir stuff is by far better than the single-target stuff from the other trees. The only trade off? Forget 1vs1 .. At least I couldn’t kill a fly even if you’d strapped it to the floor so that it can’t move .
One should note that Grimnir also only supports 5 abilities. Only Grungni supports 6.. strange but true.
Resume: A spec with very few nuances, but with the best result in healing.
All three trees are fun as all support damage and healing, not pushing you too much into any direction other than your career is intended and viewed by others. You always remain flexible and can adopt to many situations (1vs1, small scale and large scale fights), though the damage you deal is not really high, but I think it’s ok.
As in the whole game, the Grimnir (AoE)-spec seems to be the strongest spec from all and it’s the easiest to play. My personal favorite is the Valaya mastery path, but I’m not sure what I will go for after patch 1.3. Let’s see if Grungni gets competitive.