rift speculatory specification

Okay, so I find myself needing to apologize. It has been an unacceptably long time since I’ve written anything. I also apologize for the unfocused and unusually verbose braindump you are about to witness. I’m just too out of practice. My RL excuses for this are: a period of unemployment and job hunting finally leading to a new job, a new baby, major repairs around the house (I built a fence!), two moves across state lines, burst pipes rendering my house uninhabitable, and a successful game open beta launch. But meh, that’s just excuses.

In that time period, I wrote 5 articles that haven’t made it here. Hopefully the time will present itself to re-evaluate 2 or 3 of them in the next month.

But for now, something more current 😉

RIFT is gearing up for what feels to me like it might be the most successful western-style fantasy mmorpg release in 5 years. I am going to play it. And I am going to write a lot about it.

I find this humorous because the game practically blindsided me. I hadn’t read a thing about it until a friend had informed me that she’d pre-ordered it. One does not pre-order something like this lightly and I respect her opinions so… I decided to take a look.

What I found was a lot of incomprehensible nonsense 😛 The verbiage around the game’s setting and systems was about as thick as FF13’s at first glance. I tried three or four times to puzzle things out and finally gave up.

Then, more friends started talking about the beta and I tried to read things again – and people had improved wiki’s in the interim. So with the faintest grasp that I might actually be interested in the class system, I signed up for the beta. And didn’t get into that wave.

But the next one I did 😉

And my jaw dropped in a vain attempt to carry the sheer weight of the class system into words. Or some other better metaphor. I like it. But boy is it thick.

rift classes 101

See, the class system is the bog standard skill point allocation tree setup that (to the best of my knowledge) Blizzard pioneered about 10 years ago in Diablo 2 – except it is both simpler and more complex than that.

RIFT subscribes to my favorite school of thought when it comes to character classes. There are really only four classes: fighter, thief, cleric, mage. One of my unfinished drafts is actually on this subject…

At character creation, you select one of these four core archetypes for your new avatar. And other than race, gender, name, and appearance… that’s it. You get into the game and start walking around.

They then use the in-game lore to slowly explain their system of subclasses. Every class has about 8 of these available right now, and it would be easy to add more in the future. By about level 6 or so, the player is gradually given the opportunity to select a total of three subclasses (or “souls” as the lore would have it). These are effectively your skill trees.

In WoW parlance, this translates roughly to RIFT Clerics being able to construct their ability set from any three of: resto druid, beast hunter, enhancement shaman, holy priest, disc priest, shadow priest, prot paladin, ret paladin. It’s like a candy store. Way more options than you can comfortably eat at once, but in a good way.

The game’s level cap is 50, and you receive slightly more than one skill point every level. Abilities are unlocked in two ways. First, there are the abilities you choose to place your skill points in. These are mostly stat bonuses and upgrades to other abilities, but there also a good number of abilities that you have to actively opt into by spending a point directly. Second, you are given access to new abilities based on the number of skill points you put in a given tree, regardless of their individual allocation. These are the class’s core abilities (everyone gets them) and are most liable to be modified by specific talents.

Players aren’t locked into the 3 souls they choose during newbiedom. It is a simple enough manner to unlock access to each of the others – you do this by way of a number of quick quests that available in the capital city starting at level 13. And then, once you’ve got a variety of builds you want to try, buying a second spec slot is downright inexpensive from the skill trainer. A third spec is cheap enough that I anticipate many level 20’s will have them (the cap is 50).

The one thing, however, that isn’t immediately clear is just precisely WHAT the different subclasses can do. I mean really, what can they do? When you’ve got 8 colors of mage, they can’t all just be nukromancers, can they? Well, RIFT made sure that they aren’t. The differences between the souls are sufficient as to stretch the boundaries of what might be expected of given classes in a fantasy rpg.

An oversimplified breakdown in subclass roles looks kind of like this:

Melee DPS Ranged DPS Heals Tank Control Pet
Warrior 3 4 1
Rogue 3 2 1 1 1
Cleric 1 2 3 1 1
Mage 3 1 2 2

Of course, this is an entirely inaccurate and unfair comparison of the classes because everyone has -some- degree of damage output capability (as near as I can tell, only one of the subclasses really suffers in this respect where most of the others are at least mix of support and dps). Every class has various degrees of crowd control, group buffing, and other utility. Because they are so complex, I am planning on doing separate write-ups discussing the actual details on the individual souls. There are some real gems in the mix.

But I’m rambling.

When this game launches, I am going to play a cleric because that is what I do. Specifically, I want to play a cleric who walks up and hits things with a hammer until they fall down, because it has been about 17 years since I’ve done so in any serious way.

So without further sidetracking, I will hereby investigate the Justicar soul and explain my plans for advancement with it.

soul analysis: justicar

The justicar is the cleric’s tank soul. Their basic operating procedure is the combination of four things:

  1. a stance wherein they generate 4x threat and double their hp and armor
  2. big plusses to shield use to push avoidance
  3. an ability that causes all of their attacks to heal them for a percentage of damage done
  4. extra bonus abilities (primarily instant cast heals) that are charged by hitting stuff

I played a Justicar/Purifier/Druid for about half of my time in the beta and really enjoyed it. Even with a tanking spec, I could contribute some healing to the group if I wanted by switching stances and through the use of one ability that makes my melee attacks radiate small aoe heals to the whole group and another that transfers my all of my self overhealing over to a designated target.

My second class for that build was Purifier – the big single target heal class with lots and lots of shields. Shields are good, they let my slow passive heals catch up and they give me a chance to overheal and keep the group topped off. However, Purifier wound up being otherwise useless to this build as I leveled up. I believe they are the worst DPS class in the game and didn’t have much that was really suitable for use in melee outside of their basic shield (which is earned at 0 skill points). So, the Purifier has to go. I’ll visit them later when I want to hand out some dedicated heals.

My third class for much of beta was Druid – a melee class with a pet faerie that I thought would be a good mix. And it was, but not quiiite good enough. The faerie provided me with some nice passive heals and could occasionally offtank an annoying add for me if I returned the favor and was in a hurry to drop something for a quest (not that I actually needed an offtank, I could still solo handle about 3 mobs at once quite comfortably). The best thing that the Druid provided was actually a second shield spell (separate cooldown, shared buff slot) that meant I could be invulnerable twice as often… except the druid shield only protects against physical damage, and there is a preponderance of elemental damaging melee attacks in this game.

When I finally decided that something needed shaking up in the build, I tried throwing out purifier entirely in favor of Cabalist – the death magic aoe cleric subtype. Unfortunately, this wound up completely clashing with Justicar MO. First and most obviously, the Cabalist abilities are death magic while the Justicar’s are life, and some basic abilities depend on my doing a continuous stream of life damage to fuel them. Second and more importantly, the Cabalist abilities have casting times while the Justicar’s are primarily instant. This meant less spells per GCD meant less procs for my self healing meant much hairier experiences as I watched my health drop in the absence of the Purifier shield button. The faerie got the bulk of her tanking experience here.

NB: The Druid’s faerie pet is NOT intended as a tank. It generates miserable aggro and is squishy like grape. However, it is a regenerating sack of HP and is able to absorb a few hits while in single-targetted down my primary opponent. The management cannot take any responsibility for terrible horrible faerie dismemberment that may occur by following my example.

My wishlist for leveling and soloing as a cleric tank are thus:

  1. instant cast heals
  2. a shield spell
  3. ways to improve my melee dps

For the job of instant heals, the choice was clear. Wardens are water-themed healing clerics who specialize in heals over time. This meshes well with my Justicar’s natural gradual heals, and their ability to help keep myself topped off without taking my attention away from killing things and holding aggro is a big win. They also have some instant cast ranged attacks and other niceties that should prove convenient.

The other two jobs are both hopefully solved by the Shaman. Shamans are frost-themed melee dps types who get a lot of defensive bonuses early on – including a better shield than Druids. This one requires 6 points in the tree but works against all damage types and reflects a bit of damage to attackers – great for tanking.

With all of this baggage in tow, I planned my spec in 3 phases: where I want to be at levels 9, 17, and 50. Level 9 because it is just a bit after newbiedom and is when the content starts requiring a bit of consideration. Level 17 because it is the minimum requirement for entry into the game’s first group instance, and I want to give that a whirl.

level 9 justicar/shaman/warden (6/6/0)

http://rift.zam.com/en/stc.html?t=00rne.Vo.Mcz

So this layout earns me the foundation of the build. I have all of my most important pieces for soloing.

First, the easy bit. Zero points in warden. This is one of the things I love about the class system. It is possible to cherry pick the starter abilities from a soul if you’re spending all of your skill points elsewhere – and these abilities rank up with levels as long as you visit the trainer, just like anything else.

Wardens start with a dead cheap instant cast heal over time and an equally inexpensive instant cast water nuke. The nuke doesn’t hit hard (not hard at all), but it can tap a mob to get its attention, and I want the ability to do that on the run and without having to wait for the 8s cooldown on my taunt.

thick skinned and glacial shield

Shaman zero point abilities give me a weak melee attack that doesn’t hit as hard as my Justicar zero point attack and doesn’t synergize with my other abilities… and they give me a weapon enchant that adds water damage to all of my melee attacks, which thing I will not actually complain about 😉

The other zero point ability Shamans provide is called Faith in Action and is actually also provided for zero points in both Justicar and Druid – the other melee types. It is a passive buff that translates caster stats (spell power, spell crit, and spell focus) into their physical counterparts (attack power, physical crit, melee hit) at a 1:1 rate so you can wear caster gear and still hit clobber things with authority.

My first tier points in Shaman are going to be allocated thusly:

  • 3/3 – Thick Skinned – Reduces the damage you receive by 3%
  • 2/5 – Unyielding – Increases your Melee Critical Hit chance by 2%

The Thick Skinned is a no-brainer. So even while it doesn’t do anything meaningful now, I’ll always have that on this character and may as well get used to leaving it on. The two points in unyielding are largely there to make way for my 6th point:

  • Glacial Shield – Summons a shield of ice around the cleric that absorbs the next 160 damage in addition to dealing 7 water damage to attackers when hit. Lasts 30 seconds.

This gets me the shield I would otherwise have had to taken Purifier for – and it has the reactive damage component which I adore.

My reasons for choosing Unyielding for the two dump points is dead simple. My alternative was 2 points to increase my physical damage dealt by 2%. So when small numbers are involved, 2% crit is always better than 2% damage. Why? Well, when I’m hitting for 30 damage, what is 102% of 30 damage? 30.6. Which they might be kind enough to round up to 31. Against a mob with 100 hp, this… doesn’t make a difference at all. I still have to hit it 4 times to kill it.

OR I can crit one more time out of 50 attacks, dealing enough extra damage that it will make a difference and probably save me an entire attack. So that one fight where I do crit, I drop the 4 hit mob in 3 swings and can move on.

Of course, the most important point is simply that my only consistent source of “physical” damage is actually my autoattack. And I am going to use the slowest hammer I can find for now. My real damage is all light elemental (or water from the warden pull), and doesn’t depend on my big slow hammer that doesn’t autoattack but once a minute.

These Shaman points unlock the following abilities:

  • Courage of the Jaguar – +5 dex to the whole party/raid
  • Lightning Hammer – Physical attack that procs an air (lightning) damage over time effect for 6 seconds, which is conveniently the ability’s cooldown.
  • Fated Blow – Guaranteed physical attack activated after an attack has been dodged or parried. No GCD. 6s cooldown.

I’m not going to turn my nose up at free stats. The lightning attack is nice because Justicar doesn’t have any DoT’s and anything else to break up my attack rotation is nice. The free attack is a free attack, but I have no idea how useful it will be in PvE and don’t really plan on it making a difference.

life’s devotion and bolt of radiance

Tier one of Justicar talents is kind of a similar choice to Shaman. I can either spend 5 points to increase my melee ability damage by 5%, which suffers from the math I just discussed; or, I can increase my armor value by 15%. This isn’t going to make my chainmail sparkle like plate. But it is a 1/6 improvement in my basic mitigation and is another ability I’ll have for the life of the character.

My sixth Justicar point is going into:

  • 1/3 – Life’s Devotion – Increases the chance of your Salvation healing you by 20%. Increases your Salvation’s healing by 5% of the damage done using Justicar abilities, 2% using other abilities.

That’s a mouthful, especially since I’ve not explained what Salvation is yet… Salvation is one of the Justicar’s zero point abilities and is one of the aforementioned bread and butter components. It reads:

Salvation
Infuses the Cleric’s weapon with healing light, causing their damaging abilities to have a 40% chance of healing the Cleric. Justicar abilities heal for 10% of the damage done, all other abilities heal for 5% of the damage done. Lasts 1 hour.

Anything and everything I can do to feed this ability keeps me going longer and eventually feeds my overheal spillover. And, I suspect as a side effect, the self-healing has to add at least some aggro.

Justicar’s other zero point ability is just the spammable melee life damage attack that will be used to feed Salvation every free GCD.

The other abilities unlocked by these points are:

  • Cavalier – All life-based attacks grant a ‘Conviction’ for 30s.
  • Bolt of Radiance – Ranged life attack. In tanking mode, this becomes an actual taunt (forces the target to attack me). 8s cooldown.
  • Doctrine of Loyalty – Burn one ‘Conviction’ to heal party for 51 damage.

Conviction is a buff that stacks to 4 and doesn’t do anything but go away after 30 seconds unless you proc another one to reset the timer. Doctrines are abilities that consume convictions as part of their casting cost. There shouldn’t be much need for this doctrine while soloing (since it is much less mana efficient than the HoT I am already packing) but it will be convenient in groups and mana efficiency isn’t really much of a concern at this point – I won’t be able to burn it quite fast enough to run out yet.

Bolt of radiance is awesome and acted for my primary pull and as a major part of my attack rotation in beta. I was, however, frequently staggered when it was still on cooldown at the end of a fight so I am going to enjoy the water pull (which I don’t really plan on integrating into the rotation).

level 17 justicar/shaman/warden (12/6/4)

http://rift.zam.com/en/stc.html?t=00rne.Vuko.Mcz.m

Okay, ten more points to allocate. First off, nothing changes in Shaman. I needed the shield and I got it asap. At this point, actual tanking is going to be more important since I plan on trying it out in the level 17 instance.

nothing to see here

Four points will go into Warden and give me three things:

  • 4/5 – Destructive Tide – +8% instant cast spell damage
  • Healing Current – 2s cast direct heal + 14s hot component
  • Crushing Wave – instant cast water nuke + knockback, 15s cooldown

The knockback gives me a bit of a panic button in case I need it and the heal lets me attempt to save someone in a pinch faster than my little HoT can manage. I can’t depend on my doctrine for this sort of thing because it only works if I have been in combat for a while recently and if the target is in my party, and besides, it doesn’t heal as much anyway.

I am hoping that my melee abilities count as “instant cast spells” but won’t hold my breath if they don’t. Regardless, my taunt had better count as a spell and making it just that much stickier will be nice.

My alternative here was to spend points to increase my max mana, but my experience tanking rift events didn’t seem to stress my mana, so I’m not concerned about it yet. Besides, I get a better fix for this in the Justicar tree.

precept of refuge and mien of leadership

First priority in finishing out tier two of Justicar talents is Life’s Devotion. Two more points mean my Salvation now has a 100% chance to proc and heals for 25% of my justicar damage and 11% of my warden/shaman damage. That’s way nice.

Second priority is Doctrine of Bliss, which burns a conviction to heal me. This is what I spent the vast majority of my convictions on in beta – spamming self-heals as I ran away from a hairy situation 😉

This leaves one point left that I spend to drop the mana cost of doctrines by 15%. They’re the most expensive thing I have yet, so this can only help.

These four points also unlock two new abilities:

  • Censure – Melee attack, increases magic damage taken by the enemy by 3% for 15s
  • Mien of Honor – Healing stance, decreases threat generation by 50% and increases healing done by justicar abilities by 50%

Censure is the new start to my rotation, and since it both hits harder than Strike of Judgment (the zero point attack) and debuffs the enemy, it is win-win.

Mien of Honor is interesting. It lets me switch into healing mode if a group needs that more than my tankly awesomeness. I used it two or three times during rift events in beta (when a warrior larger than me was there to tank) and felt like it did actually have a meaningful impact.

Tier three is made out of love. This is where the Justicar really starts to shine.

  • 1/1 – Reparation – Attacks heal nearby party/raid members for 25% of justicar damage done and 10% of other damage done.
  • 1/1 – Precept of Refuge – Shield bash, burns a conviction. Deals nice (physical) damage and increases my block chance by 15% for 8s. Always hits.

These are amazing. Reparation basically means my Salvation effect now affects up to 10 other party members every time it procs – which is every GCD in combat 😉

Precept of Refuge starts making my attack rotation more interesting. I need to swing it once every 8 seconds to maintain 15% damage avoidance. I can do that. I don’t blame them for making it deal physical damage since that avoids the issue of costing a conviction and then generating it right back. I also applaud the silly name (precept == doctrine).

These two points unlock the two remaining pieces to the lowbie justicar tanking magic.

  • Mien of Leadership – Tank mode. +300% threat generation. +90% endurance. +100% armour + 1% per point spent in justicar (so 112% minimum). -40% healing and damage from non-justicar abilities.
  • Purpose – Mana regen button. All melee attacks for 10s restore 10% mana. No GCD. 1m cooldown.

Purpose pretty much equals free mana potions and Mien of Leadership is what it’s all about. The downside is that it nerfs non-justicar abilities so heavily. But honestly, I’m not going to be depending on them actively for health and dps while tanking, and it’s a small price to pay for upgrading my chain to plate and doubling my hp pool.

level 50 justicar/warden/shaman (39/16/11)

http://rift.zam.com/en/stc.html?t=00rne.Vuksqee0oo.mcdz.Vgbzo

Ahaha! See what I did there? Shaman tops off its usefulness to me pretty early on, but Warden has some cool stuff deeper in. I would really like to drop two more points into it from somewhere, but don’t know where I’ll find it just yet.

I’m going to go a bit quicker here and only pick out the highlights of each tree now because you’re already bored and I’d like to go to bed tonight myself.

vengeance of the frozen earth and favored of the valnir

First, let’s discuss the 5 more points that I’m dumping into Shaman.

  • 2/2 – Favored of the Valnir – +10% incoming healing
  • 1/5 – Unyielding – (1 more point) for a new total of +4% melee crit chance

The reason for the first point in unyielding is to unlock tier 3, where I pick up:

  • 1/1 – Vengeance of the Frozen Earth – All melee attacks now proc a 50% snare for 6s

An automatic snare that’s always on to prevent runners or to control things better when the mage drops a string of crits and steals something enormous from me? Yes please.

This unlocks two more abilities in the roots of the Shaman tree:

  • Massive Blow – Melee attack, 15s cooldown
  • Courage of the Bear – +5 strength to entire raid/party

Shamans can upgrade Massive Blow to give it +30% crit chance and make the target bleed, so it rules for them… but it is largely useless in this build. There’s already no room in my single target rotation for it without the long cooldown and damage type mismatch.

Courage of the Bear is great. I can always use another buff.

It is worth noting that one more point in Shaman would unlock a high efficiency self-heal that is activated after receiving a critical blow. However, we actually pick up an automatic version of this later on in the Justicar tree.

restorative tide and orbs of the stream

My remaining points in Warden are similarly focused on unlocking tier 3 and then grabbing the tier 4 ability after that. The lower tier points:

  • 5/5 – Destructive Tide – (1 more point) for a total of +10% instant cast damage
  • 5/5 – Surging Rapids – +15% to instant cast heals
  • 2/5 – Fluidity – +4% heal over time

Surging Rapids can only help since my main heals are all going to be instant. Fluidity isn’t as important but it’s better than the alternatives and can’t hurt.

The three abilities that I am digging this deep into Warden for are:

  • 1/1 – Dissolution – Break snare/root effects, immune for 8s
  • 2/2 – Restorative Tide – When you are Critically Hit, you heal 150% of your Wisdom over 12 seconds
  • 1/1 – Orbs of the Stream – Buff with 3 charges. When the target takes damage, orb pops and heals them

This gives me critical mobility on the battlefield in case I need to save my healer from being eaten by a dragon and I’ve got my foot in a trap. It also gives me two more sources of passive healing that I don’t have to think very much about.

These 12 points unlock several new abilities:

  • Tidal Surge – +50% to next heal spell
  • Cleansing Waters – Remove curse/disease/poison from target
  • Healing Flood – Proc a HoT on the entire group
  • Deluge – Big direct heal that gains bonuses with active HoTs
  • Drown – Water DoT + silence

The only one I’m not really excited about is Deluge. While amazing as a dedicated healer, it is useless while tanking and isn’t that spectacular while doing the Justicar aoe melee healing thing – Healing Flood plays much better into that and probably will be used aggressively in those cases.

Two more points in Warden would have unlocked two more excellent abilities, and if I have to, I will steal two points from Shaman in order to get them – water breathing and a basic rez spell. However, by stealing those points, I would have to lose the snare enchant and the strength aura… so I’m sticking with this plan.

so many toys…

And now to the pudding of the matter. Twenty seven more points in Justicar. Every soul’s skill tree has exactly 51 slots, and particularly large abilities become available starting at 31. I am putting enough into the tree for the 38 point ability (which I really want) and for one more to acquire all of the extra happy abilities remaining in the point allocation matrix portion.

Allocated points:

  • 3/3 – Stalwart Citadel – Increases Block Rating by 30% of Spell Power
  • 5/5 – Shield of Faith – -15% damage taken
  • 5/5 – Safe Haven – +5% block from Precept of Refuge
  • 1/1 – Doctrine of Valiance – Melee attack, burns all convictions, heals cleric for 200% of damage dealt
  • 3/3 – Vengeful Justice – Even Justice (see below) hits 3 additional targets
  • 5/5 – Commitment – Regain 5% mana when you Block
  • 3/3 – Devout Deflection – Increases Parry Rating by 195% of Spell Power
  • 1/1 – Reprieve – Heals the cleric and the target of Righteous Mandate (below) for >2k
  • 1/1 – Absolution – Combat rez

The only talents that I did not pick up are a snare+root and a stun, and the 5 points in tier 1 to increase melee damage by 5%. The snare is already handled more effectively by the Shaman’s Vengeance buff and a stun is nice… but I am guessing that it won’t really be vital considering I will have an interrupt (below) and a silence (above).

Shield of Faith, Safe Haven, Stalwart Citadel and Devout Deflection are kind of no-brainers. They provide flat % damage mitigation and give me a massive increase in avoidance.

Commitment means I can keep ignoring my mana bar while tanking. Vengeful Justice means I can hold aggro on multiple targets more easily. Doctrine of Valiance and Reprieve are good self heals.

Absolution, the 31 point talent, is without contest the best combat rez in the game. There are a handful of others available but none of them heal the target to full and some of them have longer cooldowns. It would be criminally irresponsible of me not to pick this one up – especially since I am kind of ignoring the Warden’s non-combat rez ability in this build.

The 27 points also unlock 7 new root abilities:

  • Righteous Mandate – Buff a target. Salvation overheals are transferred to them.
  • Doctrine of Righteousness – Heal the target of Righteous Mandate, costs 1 conviction.
  • Even Justice – Melee life damage to up to 2 enemies (5 with the talent above).
  • Sovereignty – Ranged life damage, 20s cooldown.
  • Righteous Imperative – AoE taunt.
  • Interdict – AoE interrupt, no GCD.
  • Just Defense – Shield for 1840 damage for 10 seconds.

Righteous Mandate is a great way to help keep the healer alive, I think. And in healing mode, it’s a way to help the tank – everybody wins. Mostly I used it in beta to keep my faerie alive while I let skeletons chew on it, but I did use it on a real player once when he took over tanking crazy invasion bosses that I couldn’t hit – I ran around beating up adds 😉

Even Justice is the Justicar’s first answer to group tanking. It does not have a cooldown and doesn’t look too heinously expensive and has the nice side effect of potentially healing the user for quite a bit of damage.

Sovereignty is the aforementioned stun that I am not turning into a stun. As it stands, it is just a big instant-cast life nuke with a long cooldown, so I’m not sure if i’ll be using it at all.

Righteous Imperative. Nothing to say here, AoE taunt is the other answer to group tanking. Interdict will also help.

Just Defense is the panic button and extra bubble I’ve been waiting for. It’s also the primary reason I’m spending 38 points in Justicar instead of stopping at 32 and taking the other 6-7 points to another tree perhaps.

insufficient bang coefficient

The two Justicar root abilities that I did not pick up are the 44 and 51 point monsters. It could be that I decide that I really need to move 12 points out of my other trees to get these… but for now I don’t expect I will.

The 44 point Justicar ability, Resplendent Embrace, is a panic button for when your healer just isn’t keeping up with the pain. It increases his ability to do his job for 10 seconds every 2 minutes. This is the kind of thing that I suspect needs coordination to make really worthwhile… especially considering that Just Defense arrives 6 levels sooner and can be used twice as often. Besides, if you have a good healer that you can coordinate this sort of cooldown with, I imagine that he won’t really need this kind of help to keep your group standing. And hey, even if he dies, you can always combat rez him 😉

Doctrine of Authority is the 51 point Justicar ability and is really quite sweet as far as 51 point abilities go. Some are downright disappointing. But this one… is just too expensive for now. It is an attack on a 15s cooldown that burns a conviction to heal 5 party members for 300% of the damage done. This would make Mien of Honor much more appealing as a viable group healing solution but if you’re going to that much trouble to heal a party, why not just respec Sentinel and be done with it?

checklist

If this build can’t tank casual instance content, then I will be quite surprised and even more disappointed.

Passive bonuses include:

  • -18% damage taken
  • +10% healing received
  • +15% armour (before mien of tankitude)
  • 30% of spell power to block rating, and 195% to parry rating
  • +4% melee crit chance
  • +10% instant cast damage
  • +15% instant cast healing, +4% healing over time
  • +5 dex or +5 str to raid

Healing options includes:

  • all attacks heal cleric and nearby raid members for 25% of damage done with justicar abilities and for 11/10% of damage done with other abilities
  • overheals from attacks transfer over to a designated party member
  • two different bubbles help guarantee some degree of overhealing occurs regularly
  • critical hits received heal cleric for 150% of wisdom over 12s
  • two buttons to heal righteous mandate target
  • mien of honor
  • a short cooldown to increase the next heal cast
  • remove one curse/disease/poison
  • two combat self heals, and one combat party heal
  • one single-target hot, one single-target heal + hot, one party aoe hot, one big single target heal that scales off of hots
  • the best combat rez in the game

Mana management options include:

  • regen mode once a minute to regen 10% of mana per melee ability attack over 10s (probably translates to 50% of a mana bar)
  • blocking regains 5% mana
  • -15% casting cost of doctrines

Crowd control options include:

  • knockback
  • silence
  • interrupt
  • snare

Tanking options include:

  • mien of leadership (+300% threat, +90% endurance, +139% armour)
  • precept of refuge (+20% block)
  • break snare/root
  • taunt
  • aoe taunt
  • aoe melee

And there you have it. This class system is deep and full of interesting synergies that will take a lot of getting used to. I can’t wait to slog my way through crowded newbie zones with the rest of the preorders as I put this to the test… and as I find out what rugs they have pulled out from under me since last weekend 😉

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