I don’t heal anymore. I just don’t. I can do it if pressed, but it’s a job I’d much rather foist on an unsuspecting hero. However, I still haven’t completely lost my lust for support (my antics as a carnage-crazed sword-wielding Mesmer maniac to the contrary).
And that’s where Protection comes in.
Protection and Healing go hand in hand. As a Protection Monk, it’s my job to make the healer’s job easier. In essence, I’m supporting the support. I can’t even operate on my own. In a pinch, a healer can run her energy dry by propping up the crumbling tower that is her teammates, but as Prot I have no recourse to recover my team from heavy damage. I can soften the blows, mitigate the damage, even take pressure off the healer by strategic use of Heavan’s Delight and Divine Healing, but once that large hurt has happened, to one target, I’m not very useful.
Why, oh why, then, would I want to play like this? One word: Lag, both biological and electrical.
My reaction times have never been my strongest feature. When I used to heal I always felt frantic, like I was bailing a leaky boat and always trying to catch up. Protection isn’t at all like that. Let’s take a look at basic play styles.
Reactive. You must watch your party’s health bars and refill them when they drop. Sometimes you use delayed heals and heal over time skills to anticipate damage. You need to make sure you stay well back because you squish easily and, as a result, it’s easy to be out-run by the front line.
Proactive. You must watch your party’s health bars a little, mostly for conditions or hexes. You must watch the mini-map for applying skills like Aegis and your weak group heals. To ensure everyone benefits from area-of-effect protections, you must often be in the mid-line. You are more vulnerable than an elementalist, but not so vulnerable as an assassin. You also have protection skills to make yourself a little more difficult to squish.
It’s where my attention ends up being focused and my activity level that marks the greatest difference for me as a Protection Monk. As a prot, I’m watching the mini-map far more often than actual health bars. Three of my skills are area of effect, two are direct-target ports, one is condition removal (If you’re hexed you’re SoL with me), one is energy management, and one is Unyielding Aura. That’s half my active skills being area of effect, three-fifths if you discount the condition removal (which has a decent heal attached which is, incidentally, the best way for me to prop up a fading melee by way of extra Divine Favor heals).
Because I’m so hyper-aware of where I am in relation to my whole group, I’m almost never left behind. When we encounter monsters I’m immediately casting Glyph of Lesser Energy and leading straight into Aegis, followed by a Protective Spirit on whoever I think is going to be getting it in the face (Assassin) then it’s just a matter of rolling around protections, meting out condition removal, and topping up the group as a whole with Heavan’s Delight and Divine Healing.
Very little of what I do is time sensitive. As long as I’m keeping up a steady rhythm, if I don’t get a protection out right this instant, my party isn’t going to instantly die. As opposed to if I were healing and someone took a big hit I would then need to immediately heal them or they’ll be eating dust. As a prot if I ever let it get to that point I’ve already lost.
Which is why protection is particularly good for when I’m lagging. Even if everyone on screen is skipping about like epileptic humming birds, I can still sit myself down in the middle of everything and steadily toss out protections. I can be useful without compromising my group, and it feels fantastic.
The other night I did a bunch of disparate runs with Hamstorm Nation [PIG] . They hooked me up with a baby black moa in record time, showered me with brotherhood cloths, and even hauled me through a dungeon. I think it all took only 3 hours. I got to do a little bit of smiting but, towards the end, I gravitated back to my familiar role of
letting the Assassin die Protection. Those folks are a blast.