After running last night raid with Witty's group (team 2) I had some thoughts about the state of healing in the game currently. I played World of Warcraft for 5 years and raided for three. I played a Tree Druid and a Discipline Priest (when called for) and in Rift I healed as either a Warden or a Chloromancer (my preference since dps also healed and mana was near infinite), whereas Warden was a mana hog and running out of pots was normal (no matter how many I brought), not to mention hugely expensive for me to craft. I spent the majority of my game time running around gathering mats for each night's raids and I quickly grew tired of it.
There are some issues when it comes to healing that Arenanet needs to address and so far little has been done but in all fairness the game wasn't designed for dedicated healers and so it will take time for things to be adjusted .
Last night I ran my Elementalist, (switched to Ventari Rev later on for testing) along with another Ele and a Druid and we did just fine, through chat revealed some issues.
I will post some links below from the official forums and GW2 Reddit which bear out these issues.
Firstly though my own opinion and some thoughts on what each profession brings.
When I first heard about Druid healing I thought it would be awesome and it is, but it seems to me that it's not meant to be a main healer, but rather something for an emergency and this is for one main reason.
In order to actually heal, a Druid must first build their power with the Staff or a Longbow (shortbow is meh) and then they can slip into Celestial Avatar.
Elementalists and Ventari Revenants don't have this issue. It's full time healing on their part, though not as bursty as the Druid. There is another issue though. Druid Spirits at the moment don't seem to be working as intended as this link directly below bears out: I would suggest going to the GW2 Forums and reading what others have said as there are too many discussions for me to link here, but there is certainly a lot of hate directed towards Arenanet (not surprised by some players attitudes) and towards the Druid profession in general.
Here is a discussion on the damage to heals aspect of the Druid and some discussion of the other Professions.
So basically read what is written and make your own decisions. I'm not advocating one Profession over the other except to say as a person who has played a Healer for many years, the Druid plays somewhat like the Chloromancer from Rift, though not as well and after some thought I don't see myself using it as a Raid healer until Arenanet fixes some issue with this Profession.
Here is a discussion on GW2 Reddit concerning people's opinion on the current state of Healing in GW2 (there is mild profanity, because it's Reddit).
Now onto Revenants. My particular preferences are Ventari /Glint for the moveable tablet and buffs, condi cleanse, dome barrier for people to run into if needed, the knock away of the red orbs and if people are spread out, the tablet can be exploded leaving healing shards for players to pick up.
Also because the healing comes from the tablet and not the toon, the Revenant would take far less damage than a Healer forced by necessity to face tank the boss and get in the way of his AoE fields or the teleport. Also Revenants heal at 1500 range, which means they could techiically dps one boss while healing players on another which I myself did do something similar too in one of the videos I linked in another post. I was able to push my tablet from one side of the arena to the other to throw out some extra heals for the players on the remaining boss. Though not having done so myself yet, I've heard that Revenant is far superior to other classes in WvW when it comes to heals, due to the high mobility, though the cd on moving the tablet is annoying. I think the Rev healer needs to let the group know when and where he's moving the tablet or the tank should make suggestions for placement so the boss and the group will get the heals they need without running around everywhere. The Healer should be the most mobile member of the group, the dps slightly less and the tank should barely move at all unless he/she absolutely has to.
Staff seems to be the preferred weapon for Ventari because it has a blind, block, regen and knockback, though the knockback is melee ranged and can be missed if the timing is slightly off (which I discovered).
An offhand shield also has a group protection buff and an unblockable self regen on skill 5, which means the Rev essentially has 3 self heals (two in one Legendary and one when you switch), which means more heals for everyone else since they are shared via traits.
Ventari coupled with Glint also means that there almost permanent Might, Fury, Swiftness, Regen on the group at all times, and when switching to Ventari, the group buff is still available to the Revenant to use if needed, so long as Energy is managed correctly. Energy management is the Revenant's Achilles heal. They play very similar to Thieves with their Initiative and when that energy depletes, you're stuck with auto attacks only until it replenishes. Switching Legendaries often seems to keep this at bay, use four skills then switch and over and over. I'll need to do more testing to see how viable this is. I suspect Arenanet did this on purpose to make Healing more engaging because in games like WoW, the Tree Druid could and often did go afk because the healing could be faceroll easy. No such animal in this game, you're constantly on your toes.
I won't bother getting into the armor, trinkets etc. I would suggest using a build creator to get an idea of what does and doesn't work before buying or crafting anything.
One such can be found here:
It has most of the new armor sets though the Jeweler recipes are missing in some instances. Be sure to select PvE in the upper right corner.
Here is an in depth guide from Dulfy.net about the whole raid experience and their opinion on how to prepare. I will say I disagree with the opinion of using only ONE healer, because people get dc/ed, make mistakes (die) or there are Reasons. So most every raid in WoW or Rift there were TWO Healers and sometimes Three for the different types of heals as no one Profession can do it all. Personally I would rather have a backup healer who heals well than a dps who offheals and heals poorly.
I simply used the guide found in this video and it works great.
I thought it was an interesting choice on the Armor Runes, note especially Skill (6) as it removes 1 condition from a max of 5 players when a shout is used. Aura Tempest has 5 available shouts to choose from.
My dps might be low but my heals are awesome. I've actually face-tanked two Legendaries in the SilverWastes (and defeated them) and kept an entire Vine Wrath group healed with no deaths and the Bee Boss died within 30 seconds.
One thought though and I realized this last night after the raid. It's just my opinion so take it as just that. a Tempest Aura Healer shouldn't use a staff.
Staff skills take longer to cast than say a dagger, warhorn or anything else non-ranged. Because of the long cast time, there is more of a chance to be interrupted and then no heals. Also staff uses AoE fields and unless players are notified of incoming water fields they can easily step out of them. Also there are no overloads in Staff since this is a Warhorn specific trait.
The slower cat time explains why Thieves have such a high dps. They have less cast times and can often use a weapon skill (with the same stat damage as a staff) at least 3 times as fast as it takes an Staff wielder to cast one spell. Hence the higher dps, despite stats being the same.
So Dagger/Warhorn (for Overloads) seem to be the way to go, though Scepter/Warhorn could be just as viable for the Chill effects.
Why did Arenanet put Toughness on gear with Healing stats?
Even the new Minstrels gear has toughness. The problem with TOUGHNESS is it's what determines who the Boss Aggros on. This was an issue in the early days of Fractals with Necromancers in the party. The information was available on the GW2 Wiki page but no one bothered to look there until Necromancers became a huge liability in dungeons and Fractals and a little research revealed why. In my opinion, TOUGHNESS has no place on healing sets as a Healer can easily pull aggro off the Tank and cause a raid wipe because without a Healer, there is no Tank and no Tank means no aggro management to keep the Boss away from everyone else.
I'm actively researching other gear sets and Trinkets combinations to figure out this issue. Carrion gear might be a solution with Magi, Apothecary (condi damage and Healing) Trinkets and Amulet.
Lastly Guardians. It seems Guardians have been left out in the cold by most of the playerbase. Guardians bring buffs, damage modifier, protection, barrier, placeable domes (like the Ventari Tablet) and are a all around great spec to play. They can tank, heal or range with only a quick weapon swap. Dragon Hunter Tank is awesome. I suspect a DH in Nomad's gear would be OP.
Here's an older discussion of DragonHunter from the last Beta.
Here's a few links to the GW2 Wiki that you might find helpful.