Without any armour and about as many hit points as an Archer, the Healer is not destined to be part of your front line forces. What he is great at is preserving the lives of your most expensive and highly valued units, with his unique ability to restore a troop’s hit points. Unlike the Slave Driver, this ability does not have an area of effect. Instead it is used on individual units, either automatically as nearby troops receive damage or on the Healer’s preferred unit.
A troop type that can heal other units is completely new to the Stronghold series. As such we have taken measures to ensure that the Healer’s introduction does not unbalance the classic Crusader gameplay. Taking time to properly playtest the Healer has been a priority for us in recent weeks, tweaking the duration, cooldown and healing power of his special ability. We want Crusader 2 to feel like a new game but at the same time we don’t want any one of our new units to be so overpowered that their introduction disrupts the gameplay, instead of enriching it as they are supposed to.
The Healer’s contribution to an army is heavily dependent on a player’s ability to use him correctly. Although the new unit can and will automatically heal nearby troops, this is just one way to use him as part of an attacking or indeed defensive force. Throw a couple of Healers into a pack of swordsmen and you will obviously have a more powerful squad, assuming you can keep the Healer alive! Similarly a handful of Healers placed behind a line or Archers or within a large attacking force can prove to be the edge you need in battle. This is particularly true when fighting against an opposing force of a similar size or any situation where you are relying on attrition to win. As a support for small squads and larger armies the Healer works great, however he is arguably at his most efficient when supporting a single powerful unit.
Another function of the Healer is his ability to prioritise an individual unit for protection and focus on them entirely until they are fully healed and out of harms way. This could be a VIP unit such as your Lord, a unit you paid a high amount of gold to recruit and feel strangely attached to or a tank unit like the Templar Knight. The uses for preserving your Lord are clear and may be enough to convince you to dedicate multiple Healers to the task, but things get particularly interesting when he is combined with a tank. Expensive units like the Templar are effective enough on their own, but combine them with a Healer they can hold their own against multiple adversaries. Scale this up to a squad with multiple tanks and Healers and you have an attacking force that can punch through enemy lines and tip the balance of power in your favour.
He also has a mean kick so watch out!