Guide:WHM Ability Guide by Urthdigger
Strategies and information in guides may not work for everyone.
Welcome to my guide for Conjurer/White Mage. Unlike other guides, this won't be focused on endgame. Rather, I will be going through each ability level by level covering the uses they have, and where to fit them into your rotation. This guide is based on 5.0 data and I will try to update it accordingly. Likewise, I do not claim to be the best healer ever, and I am always open to constructive criticism on how I can better use these abilities.
- 1 Healer Gameplay
- 2 A Realm Reborn
- 2.1 Level 1: Stone
- 2.2 Level 2: Cure
- 2.3 Level 4: Aero
- 2.4 Level 8: Repose
- 2.5 Level 10: Medica
- 2.6 Level 10: Esuna
- 2.7 Level 12: Raise
- 2.8 Level 15: Fluid Aura
- 2.9 Level 18: Stone II
- 2.10 Level 18: Swiftcast
- 2.11 Level 24: Lucid Dreaming
- 2.12 Level 30: Cure II
- 2.13 Level 30: Presence of Mind
- 2.14 Level 35: Regen
- 2.15 Level 40: Cure III
- 2.16 Level 44: Surecast
- 2.17 Level 45: Holy
- 2.18 Level 46: Aero II
- 2.19 Level 48: Rescue
- 2.20 Level 50: Medica II
- 2.21 Level 50: Benediction
- 3 Heavensward
- 4 Stormblood
- 5 Shadowbringers
Playing a healer is more than just knowing what your actions do, moreso than any other role you have to react and adjust (haha, memes I know) to changes on the battlefield. You'll be expected to both keep the party up and help deal damage when nobody is hurt. Knowing when to do each is vital to playing a healer.
Your first and foremost goal is to keep the party healed, that's why you're called a healer. Do not take that to mean that everyone must be at 100% HP the whole time however: Many of your heals are quite potent, and there's little sense in healing someone who's at 90% HP when you could toss a heal at 60% and still top them off then. When you should heal will vary depending on your stats and how hard an enemy hits: Even if you can top off someone with a single heal, you do not want them one unlucky crit away from death.
Your second goal is preventative care. This means regens and shields. These are things you can put on players now to deal with damage that will come later. Proper preventative care is vital for creating downtime.
Your final goal is DPS. A lot of players think that healers should heal and only heal, but doing so means that you're either doing nothing for a fair portion of the fight or playing inefficiently (Or your party refuses to avoid standing in AoEs, but there's nothing you can do to fix that). DPS can also play a role in helping keep the party up, as the faster something dies the faster it is no longer dealing damage (Especially useful on heavy hitting targets that need to be focused down) and on boss fights you can shorten troublesome phases or even skip some entirely if the party deals sufficient damage. A skilled healer can output about half as much damage as an additional DPS while keeping people healed, so it is not something to be ignored!
So, with those priorities out of the way, here's the basics: You want to use your abilities effectively to free up as many GCDs as possible for damage purposes without putting your party at risk. Mostly this involves using preventative options to increase how long the tank can last before needing heals, and using your oGCD heals like Tetragrammaton when they do need healing. If the tank drops into the threshold where you won't massively overheal and you don't have an oGCD heal to do the job, then spend a GCD on healing. Until then, keep hitting things.
Treading the balance between healing and DPS is something that does take practice and confidence. When in doubt, err on the side of healing, but you should always be looking for ways to keep your party up more efficiently, and once you have sufficient downtime, practice throwing at least some DoTs out, before graduating to full on ability-weaving DPS healer.
A Realm Reborn
Level 1: Stone
Your basic bread and butter attack, this may be your lowest priority option, but your most used spell. It's a paradox, I know.
Level 2: Cure
Your very first heal. This will serve you well going forward, being your first "direct heal", meaning something that just restores HP and little else. Even as you get more powerful options, this is a more MP-efficient option than others.
Level 4: Aero
Your first DoT. Like most DoTs, this is hands down your highest DPS option *IF* it lasts long enough. This does a whopping 230 potency for a single GCD, but this requires that the full 18 seconds go before you apply it again. Once the party is healed, keeping Aero up will be your first priority unless the monster is about to die. Also of note, this spell is instant cast: This makes it possible to cast while moving, to weave abilities when you have them, or for certain fights where you just need SOME damage but it's not important how much.
Level 8: Repose
Your first role Ability. Every healer has these. Unfortunately, this spell is practically worthless. It can put a target to sleep for 30 seconds, but it will wake up the moment any damage is done to it. This can be useful when solo if multiple monsters attack you, and in rare circumstances where the party is exclusively attacking a single target this can help remove the damage from other monsters. In most cases however, players in parties will use AoEs, which will immediately wake it up. One side note: Damage from DoTs will not wake it up, so you can apply Aero and then put it to sleep to have it keep taking damage without being able to retaliate.
Level 10: Medica
Your first Area of Effect (AoE) heal. This is useful after AoE attacks from bosses, especially unavoidable ones, but use it with caution: It's less potency than cure, while costing over twice as much. Try to avoid using this if only one person really needs healing.
Level 10: Esuna
Another role action, this removes debuffs from players. Not all debuffs can be removed, the ones you can will have a white line on them to indicate as such. In general, you'll want to remove debuffs whenever you can unless they have a very short duration.
Level 12: Raise
This will raise someone from KO, giving them a bit of health. In an ideal situation you'll never use this. In practice, put it somewhere you can easily reach. There are numerous downsides to this spell: It has a very long cast time of 8 seconds, it's your single most expensive spell by far, and it leaves the target with the Weakened status that reduces their damage dealt for a while (Stacking up to 3 times if they keep dying.) Thankfully, players who've just been raised have a few seconds of mercy invulnerability to keep them from dying again, though it ends short if they are ever healed or use an action, so toss them a cure instead of a regen. Oh, also some attacks are so tied to mechanics that they ignore all forms of invulnerability, this included.
Level 15: Fluid Aura
Your first oGCD ability, and it's terrible. This binds a target for 6 seconds. Bind is a lot like sleep, except the target can still act if it's a ranged unit or you're still next to it. It still gets broken out the moment anyone deals damage to it. There may be some niche uses for it here or there, but for the most part you'll never use this.
Level 18: Stone II
Stone now does 60 more potency. That's it. Still used in the same places as the old one.
Level 18: Swiftcast
Your third role action, this will become your best friend. Its primary use is to remove the massive 8 second cast time for raise, but if you're confident you won't have to use it anytime soon you can use swiftcast to toss out a heal while moving to dodge mechanics.
Level 24: Lucid Dreaming
Aaaand 6 levels later you have a new role action best friend. This will restore your MP, giving you more leeway to use your more expensive tools. Do NOT save this for an emergency however: It takes time to restore, and it also has a low recast time so the earlier you use it, the faster it'll be up again for even more MP. So, generally you'll want to cast until you're a little ways down, maybe down to 8k MP or so, then use this.
Level 30: Cure II
I hope you're ready to never cast regular Cure again. This is a bit less MP efficient than Cure, costing over twice as much while restoring a little under twice, but if you're on top of using Lucid Dreaming and don't have to use raise too often the increased MP cost won't be too bad, allowing you to save on GCDs you can use for DPS instead.
Essentially you'll now have to keep two tank HP breakpoints in your head: When you can use Cure II without overheals for when you're good on MP, and when you can use Cure without overheals for when your MP is running low. Ideally you never have to use Cure, but should accidents happen and several raises are needed, you may need to stretch your MP out until it can recover to a safe level. On the note of MP efficiency, in a couple levels you will get a trait that gives Cure a 15% chance to make your next Cure II free, so even when trying to conserve MP it's useful to know where you can use Cure II efficiently.
Level 30: Presence of Mind
This oGCD ability makes your spells 20% faster for 15 seconds. You likely won't ever need this for healing purposes, but it can be used to get Raise off faster when Swiftcast is down, or for increasing your DPS. Try to use it whenever it's up.
Level 35: Regen
Perhaps the most defining trait of White Mage, and one of their most useful abilities, this uses a single GCD to toss out a whopping 1200 potency over the course of 18 seconds, for scarcely more than Cure. For many fights this can effectively take care of auto-attack damage entirely on it's own, meaning you'll only need your other heals for boss abilities. Try to keep this up on the tank at all times. It's also useful to toss onto a DPS who's taken some damage if you're confident they won't be hit again for a while.
Level 40: Cure III
Cure III is... weird. Despite being part of the Cure line, this is ACTUALLY an AoE heal. Unlike most AoE heals however, you CAN target a player to have it centered on them instead of yourself, but in practice you'll use this when everyone is stacked anyway so it's not a huge advantage. It's the highest potency of any direct healing AoE, enough that it's often overkill for all but the meanest AoEs. It's unfortunately hampered by a hefty MP cost, and an incredibly small 6 yalm range, barely more than melee range. Use this for stack mechanics, but otherwise your other heals will serve you better.
Level 44: Surecast
This allows spells to be cast without interruption for 6 seconds, though that rarely becomes an issue (Basically only if you're soloing things tougher than you.) The bigger use is the ability to nullify most knock-back and draw-in moves. There are plenty of mechanics that can be effectively ignored using this. Though, at a 2 minute recast, you won't necessarily be able to use it for ALL of them...
Level 45: Holy
If Regen is WHM's defining healing spell, this is their defining DPS spell. This is centered on yourself, so you'll need to be in melee range of a pack of monsters, but it puts out an impressive amount of damage and stuns the monsters, effectively preventing damage as well. Any time the tank does a large pull in a dungeon, you should toss up some regens on them, top them off, and then start the lightshow. Of note, this is a better use than even Aero once there are at least 3 monsters.
Level 46: Aero II
Aero now does 10 more potency on initial hit, and the DoT damage has been doubled. All the more reason to make keeping it up your first priority when DPSing. On 3 monsters this will equal Holy damage-wise at a cheaper cost, but at any more you'll want to use Holy instead.
Level 48: Rescue
Your final role ability, this is a difficult one to use correctly. It's mostly used as a way to troll party members, but it's intended for pulling players to a safe spot. Unfortunately, in most cases by the time you've moved yourself someplace safe it's too late for the other player, so chances to use it are far and few between. There are a few niche uses where you can plan beforehand to yank someone who has to go away from the party for one reason or another once it's safe to do so.
Level 50: Medica II
This is an AoE regen, and it's as powerful as that sounds. This is your most effective tool for patching up the entire party, but there's two small caveats to it: First, its initial potency is less than Medica, so if they need to be topped off ASAP go with that or Cure III. Secondly, it is an expensive AoE spell, so just because you CAN keep this regen on players all the time doesn't mean you SHOULD. This is more "patching up people who won't be hit any time soon" rather than the preventative care that Regen is.
Level 50: Benediction
This oGCD ability will immediately refill all of a target's HP. It's useful for emergencies, but shouldn't necessarily be saved for them, especially on easier content. However, do keep in mind server latency. This ability is notorious for failing to save a target from imminent death due to players using this at the last possible moment: By the time the game server registers that you've hit the button, it's already sent out that last hit to the tank. So try to use it before the second to last hit.
One of the most useful situations to use Benediction is in conjunction with the tank invulnerabilty moves Holmgang, Living Dead, and Superbolide. In one way or another, all of these abilties benefit from an immediate full heal to cover their weaknesses.
Level 52: Afflatus Solace
You now have access to the Lily gauge! Every 30 seconds in combat, a lily will bloom allowing you to use this. It's the same potency as Cure II, but it's free and instant cast. While there are the occasional situation where you may want to save it for use while moving, for the most part you'll want to use this instead of Cure II whenever possible.
Level 52: Asylum
This is what I like to call the friend bubble. It's an oGCD that creates a field that heals anyone inside of it, you can use it either as a cheap Medica II or to supplement Regen on a tank. Just... get used to yelling at your party members for standing just outside of the bubble where it doesn't help them. Friend bubble is your friend. Get in the bubble.
Level 54: Stone III
Another 40 potency to Stone. Yawn.
Level 56: Assize
This oGCD is a 400 potency heal to your party, a 400 potency AoE attack, and restores MP. All on a 45 second timer. Do NOT save this for emergencies, if saving it for a few seconds will help cover an AoE, sure, but outside of this you'll want to have this on cooldown almost constantly. This is one of your best abilities, and with such a recast timer you should abuse it as best you can.
Level 58: Thin Air
This oGCD will make all spells free for 12 seconds, and at this point your MP worries should basically be gone. It's useful paired with Raise to remove the hefty MP cost, or with Presence of Mind to offset the additional MP drain of casting faster (though I wouldn't hold onto it just for that). Even if you're just DPSing however, you can still view it as a free 1600 MP, so try to use it often rather than holding onto it.
Level 60: Tetragrammaton
Ever wanted to cast Cure II without using a GCD? Now you can, once a minute. Whenever possible, use this instead of Cure II or Afflatus Solace, and spend that GCD you saved on other things instead.
Level 64: Stone IV
You know the drill by now. 40 more potency. Woo. Still used precisely the same as it was before.
Level 66: Divine Benison
Finally, at long last, you have a shield ability. There's two uses for this: On certain extreme or savage difficulty fights this may be required to allow someone to live through something that would otherwise hit for more than their max HP. Outside of this, you want to put this on the tank whenever it's up: Assuming the target is constantly under attack, you can view this as an oGCD 500 potency heal, effectively.
Level 70: Plenary Indulgence
Not gonna lie, I really wish this was still the version we had at the end of Stormblood. That was actually useful. Instead, we have this oGCD that will make the next AoE heal you do within the next 10 seconds do 200 more potency. It can be useful for attacks that bring most of the party down to critical HP, but for most AoEs your AoEs will do fine without the buff.
Level 72: Dia
It's like Aero II, but the intial potency has been doubled and the DoT duration has almost doubled. Hooray.
Level 72: Glare
It's like Stone IV, but with 20 more potency. Hooray.
Level 74: Afflatus Misery
The culmination of your lily gauge, this requires you to use Afflatus Solace or Afflatus Rapture (More on that later) 3 times before you can use this, effectively giving it a 90 second recast timer and a whopping 4 GCD cost. At 900 AoE potency (albeit with some falloff on extra targets), it's awfully tempting, but this damage is not as much as simply spamming Glare on a single target. Rather, one can view it as a damage rebate on spending GCDs to heal earlier: You'll still want to use your oGCD heals over your GCD ones, but now when you have to, you'll essentially get most of the damage you would have gotten from DPSing back in one massive nuke.
...oh, and it goes without saying that on large packs of monsters, go nuts with this. Spend those lilies even if you don't have to, even on two targets that's some sick damage.
Level 76: Afflatus Rapture
Take what Afflatus Solace did for Cure II, and apply it to Medica. It's "free" and instant cast. And now you have more reason than ever to use it.
Level 78: Enhanced Asylum
Your friend bubble is now friendlier than ever, increase HP recovered by healing actions by 10% to people inside of it. If this is anything like previous healing buff actions in prior expansions, it will only work on actual spells and not abilties: That means Cure, Medica, and Afflatus spells rather than your oGCD moves. Still, every little bit helps, especially on large pulls.
Level 80: Temperance
Players from before the expansion may remember we had an ability called Largesse that increased our healing potency. Or Divine Seal before that. I'm gonna be honest, I am not happy that we now have to wait until level 80 now, but at least we still have it. On the plus side, it now reduces damage taken by the party.
All salt aside, you'll largely want to use this ability in preparation of heavy hitting attacks. Pop it, take the reduced damage, and used buffed heals to patch them back up. Boom.