I love Alani. She is, by far, my favorite character by an incredibly wide margin. She’s also very different from pretty much any support character you will ever play.
First things first, the biggest difference between Alani and the other support characters is that she must be played aggressively to be played effectively. If you aren’t in the thick of it, dishing out almost as much damage as you are healing, you’re under-serving your allies. Because Torrent hits are how she stacks Osmosis, the more Alani hits, the more she’s able to heal. On top of that, all of Alani’s other healing is attached to abilities that also deal damage. She is, quite literally, designed to heal and dealing damage and work best when doing both.
Secondly, you cannot focus on a single aspect of Alani and succeed. If you focus on her healing like you would Miko, you’re going to have worse healing and terrible damage. If you focus on her control like you would Kelvin, you’re going to have worse control. If you focus on her damage like you would any attacker, you’re going to have worse control and terrible healing. Alani is a generalist that gets better at each of her roles when you’re doing all of them simultaneously. Each of her functions synergizes with the others.
Alani’s greatest weaknesses are her slow movement speed (not as bad as it used to be, but she’s still on the slow end) and her low hp. The only character with a shorter TTK than her is, I believe, Mellka. And Mellka is ridiculously mobile so she’s harder to hit. Alani goes squish very easily. Thankfully, you can still be pretty durable since she can heal herself with Wellspring.
For her abilities, things people probably don’t realize or should know from the start.
Alani’s basic attack. It’s fast, hits pretty hard considering its speed and her role(s), doesn’t reload, and, very importantly, has no recoil or reduced accuracy. If you line up your reticle on a target’s crit spot, you can just leave it there and continually crit. It’s ranged, but only mid-range so you’re going to have to be reasonably close to the action. Also, the projectile speed isn’t stellar so you’ll have to lead a bit on shots at the far end of your range.
Her passive. Has 3 charges max, each of which require 3 hit with Torrent. Hits against invulnerable targets and immune locations on enemies (like Brute/Beastmaster shield) still generate Osmosis stacks even though they don’t deal damage. All that matters is that you hit the target, not that you deal damage.
Her alt-attack. Can be used with no Osmosis stacks whatsoever for an absolute pittance (50-70 depending upon level, which is a joke when you consider that it’s not a continuous effect like Miko’s heals). Should really only be used at max Osmosis because that’s when it’s truly efficient and effective (660-800). If you do 9 attacks then use Wellspring, you’ll actually have better healing/sec than if you just spam Wellspring (which aligns with what I said earlier about attacking making you a better healer). If you don’t have a target, it heals Alani for half as much as it normally would and gives her the benefits of anything that Wellspring normally provides the target. Very importantly, it does not have the same range as Torrent and is, in fact, shorter.
Skill 1. Does a bit of damage, pushes back enemies a little bit (not that much; you’ll barely notice it on players, especially if they’re running at you), and leaves a puddle that speeds up you and your allies. The duration of the puddle begins when it’s first created so the full size puddle you see doesn’t last as long as you think it will. Also, the puddle starts beneath your feet so, unless you’re using it while moving backwards, it will automatically give you the move speed buff.
Skill 2. Used to be amazing; now it’s crap. The bind only applies to enemy players so, in PvE, it’s basically a knock up. The damage is pathetic and the size is pretty insignificant. It also has about a 2 second delay from when you place it and when it activates.
Ultimate. Alani’s only pure damage ability. Throws a great big water snake; wherever or whoever (it can hit both allies or enemies) it hits gets a little mark and, a few seconds after marking, a water snake explodes up to deal initial damage and leaves a great big puddle that continues to deal damage. When you’re throwing the snake, it’s a big, slow, and heavy projectile that follows a ballistic arc; if you have melee friends or people are about to run past you, it will often mark them instead of who you actually wanted to, so make sure you’re clear before using it.
[details=Level 1: Soothing Mist v. Splash Zone]
Both of them make your skills heal. Both of them are legitimate choices. Soothing Mist gives your already very useful and most often used skill a bit more; the value of this gets better when you get your level 9 helix too. Splash Zone makes Geyser not suck so much and provides more healing in a burstier way; it can make Geyser useful in PvE and help out when a melee jumps you in PvP.[/details]
[details=Level 2: Pressure Gradient v. Surface Tension]
Recommendation: Surface Tension (but only barely, and both of them suck)
This is a wasted level. Both of these helices require a bound target to do anything, which means they both do absolutely nothing in PvE. Pressure Gradient does nothing unless you’ve got 2 target bound, and Surface Tension requires there be enemies near a target that you have bound; both of which are pretty useless since the bind only lasts 1 second. Take Surface Tension because that will at least allow your allies to get a bit of AoE benefit when they attack your bound target.[/details]
[details=Level 3: Pressure Wash v. Kinetic Diffusion v. Overflow]
Pressure Wash increases the range of your Torrent, which is very nice, though not as nice as you might think because all of Alani’s skills are mid-range so, with this, your Torrent ends up extending further than your skills do, which can be bad. It’s decent in PvP when you’re trying to engage a melee as far away as possible to get as much time attacking them as you can before they start on you or when you’re trying to take care of a runner.
Kinetic Diffusion makes you way faster. Probably one of the fastest characters in the game (based just off of movement speed), but only when you’re at max Osmosis. So you’re either quick like a bunny or using your heal. If you’re good about attacking, you’re going to be at max Osmosis most of the time anyway, but it’s still something to consider.
Overflow makes your Wellspring stronger. Even though it says it increases the minimum healing amount of Wellspring, it really just increases your Wellspring overall. Boring but effective.
All 3 of these are very legitimate choices and highly useful; this is, quite possibly, the most balanced helix level in the game. Pressure Wash is for universally better offense; Kinetic Diffusion is for conditionally better avoidance and/or gap closing; Overflow is for straight up healing.[/details]
[details=Level 4: Wet Blanket v. Wave Shock v. Ride the Wave]
Recommendation: (PvP) Wet Blanket or Wave Shock; (PvE) Wave Shock
Let me start by saying that Ride the Wave is terrible. It gives you a bit more mobility, but the fact that it’s forced mobility with really weird and unreliable collision detection means that you’re liable to end up using Riptide less efficiently and less often or putting yourself in danger every time you use it. Take it once just to goof around (it looks really cool) but never touch it again.
Choosing between Wet Blanket and Wave Shock is a decision between damage and control. Personally, I side with Wave Shock because it’s really good damage (that only gets better at level 9): awesome in PvE and does great wave clear in PvP (especially if you take Soothing Mist as well, which will heal your minions while killing theirs). Wet Blanket is purely for PvP (since slows in PvE are kinda worthless and enemies are liable to stand in your puddle the entire time) and is what you want when fighting players because players aren’t liable to stay in your little doom puddle for long; it’s not as good since they nerfed slow to no longer affect attack speed.[/details]
[details=Level 5: Karakafruit Express v. Extremophile v. Full Saturation]
Recommendation: Full Saturation
Karakafruit Express is total junk since you’re liable to spend most of your time either trying to get full Osmosis stacks to heal (at which point you don’t really care about damage) or at full Osmosis (at which point KE does nothing).
Extremophile is irrelevant compared to Full Saturation because of math. First off, both of them are only really useful at full Osmosis; in fact, at low Osmosis, Full Saturation is actually better, but that’s kind of irrelevant. Secondly, in combat, when you really need to heal someone because they might die, Full Saturation is way better: 30% DR means that the target’s TTK is increased by ~43% for 3 seconds (which is fast enough for you to get another full stack of Osmosis if you’re quick and they’re still in danger); 43% > 33% so FS wins on that count. Furthermore, Full Saturation doesn’t waste anything on overheal: if they’ve only taken 600 damage and your Wellspring would heal them for 900, Extremophile would beef that up to 1200 and waste even more while FS would just make them take less damage. 30% DR is always useful if the target is in combat (since, if you’re out of combat, you can just spam your crappy non-Osmosis Wellspring until they’re topped off).
The only reason to take Extremophile instead of Full Saturation is if you’re trying to finish off Alani’s Wellspring lore. Once that’s complete, it’s always Full Saturation.[/details]
[details=Level 6: Channeling v. Refresher]
Channeling requires you hit an enemy with Geyser so you have to be in combat and you have to be accurate. Also, Geyser is on a longer CD.
Riptide can be used out of combat for healing/buffing so you don’t need to be in combat to benefit from Refresher. Refresher provides 1.5 stacks of Osmosis when you initially get it. At level 9, you’ll be able to get all 3.[/details]
[details=Level 7: Whitewater v. Go With The Flow]
Let me start this by saying that, personally, I go for Whitewater every time, but it’s not because it’s outright better than GwtF; it’s because that’s how I prioritize Alani’s capabilities.
Whitewater makes you Torrent faster, which means more single target damage (since a majority of Alani’s ST damage is through Torrent now) and more healing (since a majority of Alani’s healing is through Wellspring). GwtF gives you skills back faster (super fast, in fact), which means more control and better AoE damage. Both are truly excellent choices.[/details]
[details=Level 8: Aquifer v. Pressure Valve v. Ol’ Trustworthy]
Recommendation: Aquifer or Ol’ Trustworthy
Pressure Valve is a joke. No one uses Geyser for damage because the damage it deals is pitiful.
Aquifer means that you don’t wait as long for the knockup to happen, so players have less time to notice it and you don’t have to lead/predict as much. Ol’ Trustworthy means that you don’t have to aim as precisely and can get more targets. Take it based on how you use Geyser. Neither is particularly game changing though so, if you can’t decide, don’t worry: it won’t matter much.[/details]
[details=Level 9: Stagnant Pools v. Water Proof]
Recommendation: Stagnant Pools
Water Proof barely changes anything. Unless you’re fighting at really long ranges or underestimate distance a lot, it’s not going to do anything. Stagnant Pools, on the other hand, makes every aspect of Riptide better: you have longer to speed up your allies (and slow your enemies with Wet Blanket), Wave Shock will do twice as much damage, Soothing Mist will heal twice as much, and Refresher provides twice as much Osmosis. There’s no question here.[/details]
[details=Level 10: Undertow v. Transpiration v. Deepsong]
This is going to be kind of controversial. Many people will say that Transpiration is the automatic and only choice to make here. I don’t see much use in it because Alani is way less skill based than she used to be and her skills are now much more conditional than they used to be so you’re not liable to need them back to back, but some people swear by it and I can see their argument. Personally, I do Undertow for screwing with enemy players (Incursion/Capture) and Transpiration for PvE and Meltdown (the healing is significant on minions and can give them a nice 4 second window of drastically increased survival since it’s healing over time).
Undertow and Deepsong are both legitimately useful. The area for Emergence is really big. Undertow means you can slow down a bunch of players and keep them in Emergence’s damage patch for longer (and make them easier to hit and harder for them to run away). Transpiration heals a lot of people for lot of hp: 150/sec is 600, and it is extremely easy for your entire party to be in it.[/details]
Alani is an attacking healer so it behooves you to have both offensive and support stats. She’s also super squishy, so she gets a lot of benefit from certain defensive stats and negligible from others. I’ll go over all of those here, based on how I personally categorize them, with a guideline for prioritization, and then bring up some specific legendaries and loadouts.
(Attack Speed>Attack Damage=Skill Damage>Critical Hit>Cooldown>Shield Pen>Recoil=Reload)
Because attack speed makes Alani both a better attacker, better supporter, and, with GwtF, better controller, attack speed is the absolutely best stat for Alani to stack. This should be your #1 priority for any traditional loadout.
Attack damage is valuable as well, but not as much as attack speed, because a vast majority of Alani’s damage comes from Torrent.
Skill Damage is interesting. I recently learned that, in addition to augmenting the damage of Alani’s skills, it also (counterintuitively) increases the strength of Alani’s heals, both Wellspring and through her attacks. As an offensive stat, skill damage is meh because Alani’s damage is so heavily loaded on Torrent but the fact that it does double duty as heal power and skill damage pushes up its utility.
Crit damage is almost as good as attack power because the values got beefed up so that, if you’re really good about getting crits (which is very easy since Alani has no recoil), crit damage will contribute more.
If you take GwtF, cooldown is next to worthless but, if you use Ww, cooldown has some worth. Still, not much.
Shield pen is utter rubbish. It’s only useful in PvP because most enemies in PvE don’t have shields (and no bosses have them; Rendain’s shield doesn’t care about shield pen). Still, it actually does something unlike recoil and reload. Recoil and reload are only useful as penalties to take on gear since they do absolutely nothing to her.[/details]
(Max Health<Max Shield<Healing Received<Damage Reduction<Shield Recharge=Shield Regen=Health Regen<CC duration)
Max health is the empress of Alani’s defensive stats because she has so little hp that, unlike everything else here, it has an extremely noticeable impact on her TTK. Max shield is a close second and has its advantages and disadvantages: while shield is up, you cannot be crit (though you can’t really stack enough shield to make it withstand more than a couple blows); max shield values are way lower than max health values so they don’t add to TTK as much and the fact that they regenerate is irrelevant considering Alani can self heal and has natural regen.
Healing received is worse than either of the true TTK improvements because it only works when she’s healing herself. However, because she can heal herself easily and for impressive amounts, it’s still very good.
Just like for every other non-tank, damage reduction is terrible for Alani. For DR to be worth it, you need to have an extremely large hp + shield. Alani does not. Even if you assume that she’ll self heal, she doesn’t have enough.
Shield recharge and rate are only useful to Alani if she’s got other gear with max shield on it. You’ve pretty much got to be building for shield for it to be useful, it’s more of a gimmick stat to take. If you don’t have shield, these are complete and total junk stats that you can ignore.
Health regen is on par with the shield support stats because Alani already has health regen (thanks to being an Eldrid) and can self-heal extremely well. Health regen is also absolutely tiny, so you’ll never really notice it in combat (and, when out of combat, non-Osmosis Wellspring spam is going to give you more than you could ever get with gear).
CC duration is functionally worthless. CCs don’t last that long so the minute values of CC duration on gear basically mean nothing.[/details]
(Heal Power=Attack Speed>Skill Damage>Cooldown)
Alani’s primary and most useful support is as a healer, so heal power is awesome; attack speed is basically on par, however, because attack speed equates to healing more often, which is better given that Alani has really big heals by default so you’re liable to end up wasting some on overheal.
Skill power increases the size of your heals as much as attack speed increases the speed of your Wellspring; speed wins out over potency though for previously mentioned reasons.
Cooldown time will give you a bit better support but not that much. If you really want to help by spamming abilities, take GwtF and a bunch of attack speed gear.[/details]
(Move speed>Sprint speed>CC duration)
Move speed is useful in combat and out of combat and is increased by sprint speed. Sprint speed is only really useful outside of combat. CC duration reduces the duration of slows and stuns but is still absolutely terrible.[/details]
Getting shards helps you buy gear as well as construct buildables. Buildable reduction makes them way cheaper, however. Something to consider is that I only find these stats remotely useful in PvP. PvE gives you shards like candy; unless you’ve got someone who bogarts all of the shards, every mission should provide a surplus of shards even if you have a triple legendary loadout (like I do for pretty much everyone). In PvP, however, these are absolutely amazing and can actually be the foundation of an effective strategy.[/details]
Legendaries of Note:
[details=Med Kits (heal power)]
Emulan Tincture (lore), Solar Sustainer (jennerit)
Emulan Tincture is probably the best med kit for Alani since it makes her a better healer (heal power and a HoT on Wellspring), not to mention it also has the best of all stats: attack speed. Solar Sustainer is excellent as well, though, because heal power, attack damage (good, but not as much as attack speed), and allies who stand in your Riptide heal puddle gets you both a nice little damage boost.[/details]
[details=Gloves (attack damage)]
Symbiotic Gauntlet (sentinel), Pacifier (algorithm)
Attack damage beefs up Torrent, which is good. Both of them also contribute to your survivability with her best defensive stats. SG is great because it’s pretty trivial to keep her at max health and double that attack damage increase while Pacifier gives a nice little attack damage debuff whenever she damages an enemy, which she should be doing all the time. Personally, I err on the side of Symbiotic Gauntlet because I like hp more than shield and the attack damage debuff is kind of weak (only 10%).
Vow of Vengeance should probably be mentioned because it’s one of the most popular legendaries out there. Do not use it on Alani. The stacks only apply with her quick melee and the stacks fall off very quickly (matter of seconds). VoV is for melee, and, while Alani likes to get close, she is not a melee character.[/details]
[details=Swords (attack speed)]
Stolen Edge of Arcvynorr (sentinel), Vow of Zealous Fury (heliophage), Orbital Tracking Spike (llc)
VoZF is the gold standard of attack speed legendaries: the stacks last an extremely long time and are easy to acquire, and it provides an excellent stat in addition to the attack speed. It’s kind of a to get, though, because Rendain drops it. And Rendain sucks (longest mission in the game and he’s the very last boss). SEoA is much easier to get and is almost as good: the stacks can be stacked faster if you’re in combat and quick about it; move speed is, in my book, worse than crit damage though, but that’s personal preference.[/details]
[details=Pins (skill damage)]
Bola’s Target Finder (experiment)
The gold standard of skill damage legendaries. Attack speed (amazing) in addition to skill damage and a bonus effect that makes enemies take more damage after being damaged by your skills.[/details]
[details= Goggles (crit damage)]
Vigilant Power Scouter (sentinel), Poor “M-Pulse” Controller (algorithm)
VPS gives you a lot of hp in addition to that crit damage and gives you a big bonus to your next attack’s damage when you do crit. If you chain crits, it’s a truly impressive increase to damage. PMC gives you move speed (nice but not stellar) and turns crit kills into explosions. It’s amusing but not that effective since the critsplosion is pretty mediocre. Does make her a bit more AoE viable with her basic attack (which is the only attack she has that can crit).[/details]
[details= Watches (cooldown)]
Chrono Key (sentinel), Firmware Update (algorithm)
Chrono key has good stats and used to be absolutely amazing before they increased the 500 damage to 2000 damage, but, while Alani has good damage, she doesn’t have nearly enough for this to make a huge impact; heal power is nice though so, if you’re going for a pure heal power loadout, this could have a place. Firmware Update is decent and, if you take GwtF, you might actually be spamming your skills enough for this to have an impact, especially if you want to use Emergence a lot (good way to minion clear in PvP).[/details]
[details= Chest Pieces (max hp)]
Vigilance Link (sentinel), Vampiric Vestment (jennerit)
Vigilance Link gives you 2 excellent survivability stats and makes your team more durable as well. Excellent for team players and more support minded people. Vampiric vestments will give you hp, more hp when you kill things, and more attack damage so that it’s easier to kill things. However, because you lose them when you die, I wouldn’t recommend VV for PvP since dying is relatively common (and Alani is a popular focus target).[/details]
[details= Batteries (max shield)]
Modernista (saboteur), Voxis Core (jennerit)
Modernista is a good anti-ranged shield with a decent secondary stat. A good way to discourage snipers in PvP since you can avoid the first crit and hurt them in the process. Voxis Core is amazing for dealing skill damage since it makes AoEs deal 15% more damage, in effect, and skill damage is a secondary stat.[/details]
Emulan Tincture, Symbiotic Gauntlet, Vow of Zealous Fury
A nice blend of everything. Lots of attack speed and attack damage, a bit of +hp and +healing.[/details]
[details=Pure Healing PvE]
Emulan Tincture, Chrono Key, Mossire’s Mukluks
Lore legendary with the only 2 really good heal power legendaries that aren’t med kits. You might even replace the mukluks with VoZF to get more attack speed.[/details]
[details=Pure Damage PvE]
Bola’s Targeting Finder, Symbiotic Gauntlet, Vow of Zealous Fury
Replace that pansy healing power with skill damage and additional damage taken upon dealing damage with a skill. You’ll still be healing well because Alani is like that, but you’re gonna be pretty beastly on damage.[/details]
Erratic Shard Extractor (-reload), Emulan Tincture, Vow of Zealous Fury
Free shard extractor so that you can afford the legendaries. Could probably replace the VoZF with a blue sword if you want to reduce the price a bit.[/details]
[details=Fast Leveling PvP]
Erratic Shard Extractor (-reload), Erratic Tempestian Cred-Stick (-reload), Emulan Tincture
Build as much as possible to get easy xp and level up as quickly as possible. Make sure you stick around the fights as well so that you’re not sacrificing minion xp for build xp. Emulan Tincture is there for when you hit level 10 and don’t need to build for xp any more.[/details]