I’m itching to do a write-up on some of RIFT’s rogue class options, but figured it was more appropriate that I did something else before launching into a full discussion of another class.
I’d like to take a moment and outline the salient points that make each of the game’s 30-odd subclasses unique and interesting, because I’ve yet to find anything of the sort anywhere. Most wikis just quote the same garbage promotional text that talks about how Champions have “legendary strength” and move with “startling speed” and other such uselessness. My information is from the skill tree itself. I am reporting the trends in abilities, some of which might not fully manifest unless one spends over 30 points in the class, but there you are.
Warriors can wear heavy armour and use all weapon types afaik. Their basic mechanic is an energy/power bar that regenerates rapidly.
Additionally, most attack abilities generate ‘attack points’, or points for short. Attack points stack to 3 and do not decay out of combat. A number of abilities use points and will consume all of them at once. Attack points are not a buff and they are not associated with the victim that generated them. They’re designated by three very obvious icons on the UI.
This is the pet warrior. They get cats and bigger cats. It is possible to set the cat into either dps or tank mode (as neither of which are the default). Most of their abilities are focused on the pet and improving its abilities.
They get a variety of self buffs and can spend points to turn them into party auras instead. They receive increased stealth detection and can put enemies to sleep.
Otherwise, they have a comparatively poor selection of melee dps options. Their primary combat mechanic (apart from the pet’s damage itself) is a variety of bleed effects – which the pet then capitalizes on.
Champions are the two-handed melee dps specialists and have abilities specializing in single target focused damage. They also have a lot of crit enhancing abilities and a lot of abilities that synergize with this.
Champions get an inexpensive execute attack usable when the enemy drops below 30% health. They also have charge, interrupt, snare, knockback, and intimidation mechanics.
Despite the focus on large hits against single targets, they do get one spammable aoe, but it’s not all that good. Champions do, however, get three aoe attack point consuming abilities that look worthwhile.
Paladins are not healers. They are sword and board anti-physical/melee tanks. Emphasis on the board. Lots and lots of shield abilities. This is their primary weapon. They deal primary physical damage but some of their abilities also inflict light damage.
One mechanic that all warrior tank subtypes share is increased maximum health from points spent in that tree. You only have to sink a couple to start gaining the benefit.
Most of a paladin’s attacks have increased threat generation components. Now, this is common among the tank subclasses, but paladins felt a bit more so in my opinion. They even go so far as to gain a flat +20% to threat generation very early on.
While paladins aren’t healers, they can heal themselves. They get a big self heal to full ability on a 10 minute cooldown from very early on. They also have abilities that heal them when they block with their shield or use a counterattack style melee ability.
They also get a non-combat rez ability at 16 points. At higher levels, they get a few ways to heal party members but these guys are tanks, nothing else.
Paragons are the dual wield melee dps varietal. They get bonuses to parrying including some short term parry buffs and abilities that proc off of successful parries.
Their primary combat mechanic is one of follow-up attacks. Certain abilities are only usable after performing another ability that generates attack points but is not itself a follow-up attack. These attacks get some nice buffs and there are a lot of them.
Paragons can also sprint, reflect attacks, get cheap armor penetration and have have what can only be described as a Vulcan neck pinch attack…
Reavers are tanks that specialize in dealing aoe death damage over time. Many of their attacks also debilitate the target in some way.
They get lots of DoTs. These can spread to nearby targets, can heal the warrior from damage dealt, and can be popped all at once for big damage.
Reavers take reduced damage when close to death and self heal for 9% after every kill. They can break fear, polymorph, incapacitation, and mez effects – and get a fear of their own.
Reavers get the standard warrior tank care package: one single target taunt, one aoe taunt, various other methods of increased threat generation, and +0.46% max hp per point spent in the tree.
In addition to this, however, they also get an extra aoe taunt that does not share its cooldown with those of any other class.
Riftblades are elemental melee dps with a lot of +crit synergy. Their single target attacks tend toward fire damage and their spammable aoe attacks tend toward air damage.
They get increased movement speed and can teleport directly to enemies.
Riftblades also get a flat -50% to their threat generation, can guarantee that the next attack directed at them misses, can reflect inbound critical hits as fire damage, and can shock enemies who parry or dodge one of their attacks.
One of their more unique abilities (among warriors) is their set of ranged attacks. Riftblades get three different elemental spear attacks that can burn or root or silence targets and can be upgraded to hit more than one at a time.
Void knights are tanks, so they get all of those toys. But almost more importantly, they are mage killers. They have a 25% chance per attack of draining mana from their target and absorb up to 20% of all inbound magical damage.
Attacks absorbed in this way are converted into what they call pacts. Pacts can also be generated by being healed or as the result of numerous attack abilities. When a void knight gains a pact, he can also heal and gain a very large stacking buff to armor and strength.
These charges are then used to either improve or fuel other abilities, such as self healing or bubbling an ally.
The sheer number of mage killing abilities at their disposal is kind of obscene. They get mana drain and mana burn abilities. They get an interrupt and an aoe silence. They can reflect spells or slow a target’s casting speed. They can remove buffs from targets and curses from friends.
Void knights also have some subtle synergies with Riftblade abilities and can become “immune to negative magical effects”, whatever that means.
Warlords are the final tanking warrior archetype. I can only describe them as raid offtanks 😉 While they get an impressive variety of tankish abilities – including the ability to ignore being killed… they’re kind of all over the map, and are probably a good second tanking soul for any of the other three.
Warlords are also heavy support types. They get a plethora (I love that word) of aoe buffs and debuffs in the form of auras and short duration abilities. They reduce damage taken and threat generated by the party and have a few ways to increase their damage and healing output.
I’d want one in my raid, but am not sure I’d want him standing directly in front of the dragon – I get the impression that a dedicated warlord is worth way more to the group in a support role than as a meatshield.
Rogues wear leather and typically dual wield light weapons. Half of rogue subtypes are melee and half are ranged, so work bows in there somewhere as well 😉
Rogues have an energy meter like warriors. They have two kinds of attacks, those that generate combo points on their target and those that consume them. Combo points stack up to 5 and are lost if the rogue changes targets. Just like warriors, a rogue’s combo finishers consume all generated points at once.
Yes, they have energy mechanics just like WoW rogues. There’s nothing wrong with that. Moving on.
Assassins are traditional rogues. They can poison their weapons four different ways, get a lot of ways of making targets bleed, and get bonuses when stabbing things in the back.
Assassins have the best stealth in the game, with several different bonuses including the ability to remove the time limit – normally stealth has a 30s limited duration. From stealth, they have good incapacitate (sap) abilities and can make very large attacks while leaving stealth.
Assassins get good stun options and at 31 points can vanish from combat for a couple of seconds.
The most interesting ability they get is a weird self heal that poisons them in exchange, resulting in an interesting sort of diminishing return.
Bards are the genetic opposite of assassins. They are ranged healers and buffbots. All of their abilities are naturally music themed and as such tend to have large areas of effect.
Cadence, the bard’s main combo point builder is a channeled ranged attack where they strum a lute at the enemy and generate combo points ridiculous fast. It can be upgraded to heal the entire raid for the damage dealt.
Aside from two separate pools of raid-wide buffs that bards can maintain, they also have what are called motifs. These are inexpensive party buffs with a 15-30 second duration and come in like 6 different flavours.
In addition to the steady flow of healing from strumming cadence, the bard has a number of more traditional heals but they still tend toward aoe.
The biggest gap in their healing arsenal is a rez. I find this almost insulting for some reason. It’s not just that I expect bards to rez from Everquest… or that I expect any self respecting healing class to pack at least a really really bad rez… or that there are non-healers in this game with rez spells. No, I am insulted because the whole story of a musician bringing someone back from the underworld kind of predates THE INVENTION OF WRITING. Anyhow.
Bards rule, they just can’t rez. Their dps doesn’t seem too shabby either. Oh, and they can mez. Maybe someone just misread the memo? Except I kind of expect this of any self respecting bard too…
This is your standard issue toe-to-toe knife fighter. Think WoW’s combat rogue spec if you must.
Bladedancers have a heavy focus on energy efficiency and regeneration, get large bonuses and synergies with dodge, and get an aoe incapacitate ability. They can also sprint, disarm, root, and stun.
One of their primary class-defining mechanics is their set of rhythmic actions, which are short duration buffs that cause the rogue to become exhausted for a time (presumably preventing further rhythmic actions).
Their other big mechanic is chained attacks. There are a few abilities that must be executed in sequence in a similar manner to the Paragon’s follow-up attacks but with a much smaller set of skills and no specific keyword.
Nightblades do fire and death melee dps and get to throw knives all over the place. They can also enchant their weapons (similarly to an Assassin’s poisons).
They get stealth and some crowd control. They also get a spammable silence attack and two big panic button cooldowns. But mostly, they spin in circles throwing knives and lighting things on fire.
Marksman is the archer class. They specialize in mobility and avoiding melee by any means necessary. This is the first archer class in any mmorpg that I feel confident could teach me to enjoy kiting.
While spamming their basic combo they stack a bonus to run speed that grows to 30%. Whenever a marksman is attacked, he gains stacks of another buff worth up to 20% move speed. And of course, there’s the sprint cooldown and the abilities that can be activated on the run.
Marksmen also get knockback attacks, snares, and roots. They get lots of armor penetration, do bonus air damage, and have longer range than other rogues.
Rangers are assistant pigkeepers with bows. Like the Beastmaster, their individual abilities feel kind of weak when compared to the rest of the class.
Rangers don’t just get pet pigs (tank), they also get wolves (dps), and a blood raptor (blood raptor). Unfortunately, only one pet may be used at a time.
What rangers do get are some abilities that look interesting when combined with one of the other ranged subtypes, including free autoshots, bonuses to ranged finishers, and a good selection of ranged aoe options.
Riftstalker is the rogue tank spec. They intrigue me, and I’ve done a lot of staring at their numbers. It feels like an interesting set of mechanics, and they really do look like they should be able to tank small group content.
When a riftstalker has all of his abilities spinning at the same time, he generates +140% threat with his abilities that already do extra threat. He is also getting good armour boosts (+100%, plus an extra +10% from equipment).
Riftstalkers get a flat -6% to damage taken and can maintain a shield that absorbs a solid percentage of all damage received as well. They also have a large number of panic buttons for when they do actually take damage. I suspect that a lot of the Bladedancer’s defensive bonuses will be picked up by serious Riftstalker tanks.
One of their most interesting mechanics is the ability to plane shift all over the place. The whole shift mechanic can be upgraded and exploited in any number of interesting ways – both in tank mode and in dps mode.
Riftstalkers are teleporting maniacs who don’t tank like Colossus. They tank like Nightcrawler.
Saboteurs make me giggle. Bombs and traps and bombs!
The saboteur’s cp builder is one of my favorite concepts in this game. They are light charges that do no damage initially – and can actually be upgraded not to generate any threat at all. Then, when sufficient (max 5) charges have been placed, they press the big red detonate button and set off all charges at once for happy kaboom times. Charges come in all flavours and varieties, so there is a lot of fun to be had with them.
Their traps are of the sort one would suspect. Root, damage, and debuff. They take 1s to cast and last for one minute. All traps have a shared cooldown and only one trap can be placed at a time. Standard stuff here. At 31 points they get land mines, which drop four at a time and blow the enemy into the air as well as doing damage.
Saboteurs also get a vast assortment of bomb attacks that either target an area (like their glue trap that procs a snare or choking gas trap that procs silence in the area), or target an enemy and affect them and any other nearby enemies.
As if all of this wasn’t enough, saboteurs also get Incriminate, a threat transfer ability which I suspect does miraculous things in combination with a big detonation or two 😉
Clerics wear chainmail and can use shields. They wield maces (both 1h and 2h) and staves.
Clerics have a bog standard mana bar as one would expect. They also have the widest variety of class mechanics available – providing at least one viable option for everything.
Physical clerics all get a passive ability called Faith in Action that adds their spell dps stats to their physical ones (making the physical stats redundant and the spell stats that much more awesome).
Cabalists are the AoE death nuke clerics, and are the cleric subtype that I have the least experience with. They have very little in the way of single-target damage ability and are kind of dangerous for that reason – their abilities like to hit nearby targets. My suggestion is to throw in a little Inquisitor to temper this and you should be fine.
Their class mechanic is a Lurking Decay buff that stacks up to 3 times when casting certain spells. They can then consume the stack of decay to deal damage. Additionally, they have no-cost/no-gcd self-buffs called Sigils that are consumed along with Lurking Decay stacks to augment the effect. Most of them cause some sort of cc or debuff but one Sigil procs mana regen for the caster and one heals the caster’s health.
Other than that, they have a lot of passive bonuses to damage output that synergize well with other ranged dps. Their more interesting abilities include a ward against silence/interruption, a panic button to teleport randomly, and an effect that I call gravity well and can’t recall seeing in any other fantasy mmo: suck enemies near the target into a clump to make them an easier target for aoe death and destruction.
Druids are the pet class, and as with all other pet classes so far, are kind of meh in my opinion. They do physical melee damage and as such get a pet faerie. The faerie has a weak heal over time spell and an even weaker ranged attack, and is sufficiently squishy that you need your own heals to keep her alive if she starts taking direct damage.
They do physical damage and get a strong bubble versus physical damage (stronger than the other cleric shield spells, but useless against magic damage). They can enchant their weapon to do earth damage and have a ranged earth nuke that can be upgraded to also snare the target. They have a few CC abilities and spammable melee aoe.
At 31 points, they can get a pet satyr, which buffs the party’s attack power and is probably a pretty decent dps pet, but I’ve not seen one yet to know for sure how useful he is.
Inquisitor is the dedicated single-target ranged dps cleric option. They do both life and death damage and have some vampiric attacks. Early on, they get a quick snare and the ability to remove buffs from opponents. Later on, they get an enormous threat dump.
They both get a fear ward and can drop an aoe fear, as well as some other cc. They get a lot of passive bonuses to spell damage and get a few self-buff armor spells that are useful for anyone. Their most interesting ability is actually their aoe bomb. It is sort of a death chain lightning effect that cascades off of its initial targets to hit a second set after the first one 😉
I am currently playing with an inquisitor in my alternate spec.
I’ve talked about justicars in depth already so will be brief here. They are the cleric tank class.
They do life damage in melee and heal themselves and their party when they hit stuff. Justicars build up charges of Conviction to fuel some of their abilities (mostly instant heals or attacks that proc a heal).
They have both a tank mode (12 points) and a healer mode (10 points). Healer mode decreases aggro generation from attacks and increases the healing generated as a result. Also, Justicars get the best combat rez in the game 😉
My main spec is the Justicar build I discussed and I have played it to 17 as discussed. So far, I am pleased, but it is becoming more and more obvious that while I am incredibly resilient and have nice heal buttons, I don’t hit very hard and am lacking any sort of rapid aoe threat generation so far. In other words, I am a mid-level tank and dps hits harder than me, which is as it should be. I can’t wait to get my melee aoe attack (18 points). It will be soon…
Purifiers are fire-themed healer types. They have the least dps options of any class in the game and would quite possibly make for a miserable single-class solo experience. They specialize in keeping single targets alive by dropping big fast direct heals and shielding their targets. They get a lot of shields.
Their zero point heal is actually a self-bubble, a very effective shield for soloing or for surviving boss aoe. I think they go well with any other caster class but their lack of instant heals probably makes them less suited for combining with a melee type.
They get a non-combat rez at 10 points.
Sentinels are light-themed healers. They actually have a mix of healing and damaging abilities and are probably the closest thing to the mmo stereotypical priest type that Rift offers. Their zero point heal is instant.
They specialize in aoe heals. Their single target heals aren’t as big as a purifier’s and they don’t have nearly as much in the way of damage prevention. They have some heal over time effects and can aoe remove curse/disease/poison.
They get a non-combat rez at 10 and a combat rez at 32 points.
Shamans are frost-themed melee dps. They do water and air and physical damage and have a lot of crit synergy. They get several self-buffs and also get raid auras to increase dex, str, or wis.
Shamans get spammable melee aoe and have some nice defensive abilities as well. And while they lack any sort of reliable healing abilities, they receive bonus healing from other targets and provide passive bonuses to healing generated.
Wardens are water-themed healers. They specialize in heals over time and get a plethora of single-target and group heals. They also have a few decent attacks. Their single-target healing tends to be in the form of hots stacked on the target and a big direct heal that scales bigger with the more hots in place.
They can reflect spells and get a silence. They can also grant water breathing and get reactive heal buffs that heal the target after they take a hit.
Wardens go well with any other cleric subtype as they get useful abilities early on and their instant heals work well in melee or at range. Their attacks also fill a niche between other classes and their passives play well with several other souls.
They don’t get their non-combat rez until 18 points.
Mages are squishy, as is custom. In addition to their mana bars they have an additional charge bar that fills up as they perform attacks (similar to rage mechanics in other games). Charge can then be burnt in the form of toggled or channeled special abilities that do a variety of things from sustained fire damage to healing the caster or activating some sort of buff or another.
Archons are control mages. They steal stats from enemies and buff their party. They do earth and fire damage and most of their abilities have a secondary buff or debuff component. They regenerate mana on crits and can heal mana.
I don’t know if archon is viable as a single solo class, but it should work well as a secondary to anything.
Chloromancers are the worst name ever devised for an rpg class, but what can you do? I mean, they are plant mages. This is the mage healer subtype. They don’t get much in the way of reliable healing early on, but at higher levels, their heals really do start to look nice. They are mages too, of course, so chloro do decent life damage.
They get both combat and non-combat rez abilities at 20 – but their combat rez says it restores the target with 0% health, so ymmv.
My most recent experience with chloro is that one wasn’t enough when my justicar heals failed, but he filled the gap very nicely whenever the sentinel in our group went oom during a long fight.
Dominators are the other mage control spec. They do air and death damage and get a bucket of crowd control, which they synergize off of. Their zero point spell is one of the more desirable available to mages – they can turn enemies into squirrels. They also have a lot of PvP application at higher levels.
They get a number of spells that penalize the enemy for moving or acting and have a threat wipe. Their most interesting looking ability summons mirror images of themselves to cast minor nukes.
Elementalists are summoners, and are the first pet class in this list that doesn’t hit like a little kid. They get nukes of all four elemental types and get three types of pets: earth, air, water. My experience is that the earth elemental is able to hold aggro well but isn’t durable enough for sustained combat without healing.
Elementalists also get a number of useful charge dump abilities. Most classes just get a buff to damage from charge. Elementalists can convert it back into mana or buff their spells to do extra damage of a random elemental type or just dump it all into a big sustained flamethrower attack.
They get an ability to break all CC and remove themselves and their pet from combat and at 51 points can summon a swarm of uncontrollable fire elementals 😉
Necromancers are the other mage pet spec and has the widest variety of pets in the game. Where Elementalists strike me as a bit more passive and defensive, necros kill things. Their first pet cannot hold aggro, but he does increased damage as the necro nukes his target. Necros get 4 different pets by 27 points.
They can drain life from their pet to heal their own mana and can make their pet explode when it dies. They get a feign death ability and can drop a dot that grows if the victim is healed. At 31 points, they get lich form, which lasts for 30 seconds and is an all around happy self+pet buff.
Necromancers can dump charge into a spell that summons a swarm of 5 shambling corpses and at 51 they can summon two big uncontrolled pets for a short time.
Pyromancers are everything you expect. They drop a lot of damage. Single target and area, direct and over time. They get an intelligence buff and a blink spell. Pyro’s also get bonuses to mana regeneration and have a few crowd control abilities.
They can dump charge after combat into a buff that reduces the cost of their next 1-8 fire spells and get a set of spells that buff the ground beneath them to provide a couple of interesting bonuses.
Stormcallers are water/air mages. They are heavy on the aoe and stack debuffs on their targets which they then exploit further. Because of the whole air == electricity thing that you have to remember in this game, there are a lot of fun rotations to be had here. Stormcaller water nukes like to play off of their electrified debuff 😉
Warlocks are highly durable damage over time dps with life drain options. Warlocks get a reflective damage armor, an endurance buff, and can drop fear.
They also get bonuses to charge generation that could be useful for any other class. Warlocks themselves have two great dumps for charge. First they can just channel it into their hp, then at 51 points they can dump charge into a buff that provides +75% to their damage output.
Their 31 point bonus is great panic button – reducing incoming damage by 80% for 7 seconds.
The game is in a constant flux, and much of this information was gathered during beta and the first day of head start. Some of the classes changed as I was writing about them, but whether some individual abilities come or go, I can’t imagine that their overall flavours will be changing any time soon.
I just wish they had a better name for Chloromancer. Yeesh. Phytomancer? No. Herbalist? Nah. Earth Warden? Too confusing. Healomancer? Heh…