This build should put points into the following:
- Holy Bolt 20
- Prayer 20
- Cleansing 1-20 or Meditation 1-20 (depending on the player's gameplay)
- Fist of the Heavens 20
- Salvation 20
A Cleric is purely a defensive character and is not meant to go into the frontlines of combat. The Cleric's abilities help greatly with groups with one such skill being Cleansing, allowing the Cleric to have a mana-free Prayer and giving the whole party reduced time in poisoned or cursed states. Another useful aura that also is a mana-free Prayer is Meditation, which gives a boost to mana regeneration. The Holy Bolt skill can also be used to heal other party members, including Hirelings, or can be used to damage monsters of the Undead subtype. Salvation is a skill which is used when the monsters have the elemental attacks of Fire, Cold, or Lightning (but not Poison) to raise one's resistances against them.
Clerics have trouble with solo play and greatly rely on the hireling that accompanies the player. The hireling provides the role of tank and also will be doing the most of the fighting for the Cleric. An Act 2 mercenary is the most effective, as it also gives the addition of another aura to the Cleric. A thorns aura from a hireling found in Act 2 on Nightmare is effective when combined with the constant healing of the Paladin. Unless facing Champions with Extra Strong and/or Extra Fast (where a possibility of being overwhelmed exists), the hireling will slowly whittle the numbers down while the Cleric heals his hireling (and in the case of Undead, can also damage the enemy). Another spell which can damage the enemy is Fist of the Heavens, though the holy bolts that come from Fist of the Heavens do not possess the healing effect.
Keep in mind that sometimes the monsters will, instead of attacking the hireling, attack the Cleric instead. This requires the Cleric to be aware of his surroundings.
The Cleric is not a build meant for Player versus player as, for one, the Cleric is purely a defensive build, not an offensive build. For two, the build relies on having other people doing the damage and not the Cleric himself. Lastly, the hireling is very easily killed by other players, which is the Cleric's only means of offense.