The Rune Priest is the most vanilla healer class. It special mechanic is giving you a buff that also lets you fire an attack once/minute. Other than that, it has all the standard healer abilities with names that start with “Rune of.”
Very early on, you realize why these things are buggers to kill in RvR. They get an insta-cast burst heal at level 1, while most classes have HoTs and/or casting times. Level 3 brings an insta-cast HoT, 8 brings the big slow heal, and 10 gives you the combo burst with HoT. The insta-cast HoT is the best except for the fact that it takes 15 seconds to give that massive amount of healing. The level 1 insta-heal is nice for RvR panic healmenowomg, but it is not efficient at all. The same 30 action points and 0 casting time gets you more than 5 times as much HoT. Again, “oT.” You also get a bubble at level 6, which is great even if it does not do much against RvR focus fire. It can give you enough time to stack your other heals on the target.
Damage seems low. It could be great for all I know, since I spent half the levels in RvR, focused on healing. The standard bolt (great range, 2 second casting time) is supplemented by an insta-cast with almost as much damage (5 second cooldown), the standard insta-DoT, and a PBAE (2 second casting time). For me, that mostly means using the insta-cast when damage is not coming in quickly, or tabbing through them with the DoT when they are coming over the hill. If I have enough around me to use that PBAE blast, someone on the team needs healing NOW. It is nice for PvE fights against multiple targets (and that bubble keeps me from being interrupted if I am solo-tanking them).
In the earliest levels, the healer tanks because taunt abilities are not up to snuff. Oh well. You go to the PQ, you tank two champions, you die in a few seconds, you run back. In RvR, you are immortal against one target, long-lasting against two, and get pasted by three to five people when your team stands back on the bridge in Nordenwatch instead of trying to capture the flag. I got used to lasting five seconds as I hit that point with a fellow CoW tank, then watched the enemy run past the tank and crush me while the team was piled up on the bridge. I am getting better about that detaunt ability. It is fun to ignore single attackers in RvR: detaunt, HoT, keep healing the rest of the team.
The many insta-cast abilities are great for RvR. No induction means no delay/interrupt. I can heal and attack on the run, losing almost none of my good abilities. After setting up camp as an Engineer, this is a nice change.
The many insta-cast abilities eat my action points quickly, especially if I spam the tiny insta-heal to keep someone up. I will be doing that less now that I have more healing options. Try not to get so low that I need to dump all my AP into tiny insta-heals, when I could use that mana to keep multiple people going. My favorite way to conserve is tossing the insta-HoT on everyone who is taking any damage. It costs the same as the tiny heal, but it keeps going and keeps most targets from getting anywhere that I would worry about them.
The “special” buff mechanic is not a major thing yet. Through level 8, you give teammates a strength/intelligence (poor archers/Engineers) buff with a 1/minute nuke. At level 9, you also have the option of a resist buff with a 1/minute PBAE nuke. The bonus attack is nice, since it costs nothing to use, but 1/minute will not change your life.
Oh, and you get a rez at 10. Since I am at 10, I have used it once. Yep, he stands back up. Probably more useful outside scenarios.
Most disappointing thing on the character? Rune of Regeneration, my favorite heal, is not part of any mastery path. I cannot make it Die Uberheal. Oh well, I will bring the others up to parity. See, the worst thing is the anticipation of something less great than I would have hoped. With no masteries yet, it just stands as the unrivaled power in Rune Priest healing.
The character is cute. She has huge shoes and a dress. She looks happy, like she is playing in dressup in Mom’s closet. And then she summons lightning to smite her foes.