I’ve got five articles left in my draft folder plus a new one that I started yesterday and hope to finish this weekend. But before I look at any of those, I want to engage in some wild speculation on the upcoming Rift expansion.
Apart from the whole 3x world size and the obligatory level cap increase, the big news is that each of the callings will receive a new soul. This interests me a great deal.
I’ve got some ideas on where they might go with each of the souls. Mage is the only class without a tank spec – and mage tanking is FUN. Warriors are the only class without a viable support spec. Rogues have good support but can’t actually straight up heal, so that might be fun. But clerics… Clerics can do everything, sort of.
Cleric ranged dps is a bit weak, so improving that would be nice. Their “support” abilities (as distinguished from healing) are a bit weak and scattered compared to the other classes, so consolidating that would be nice. Their crowd control is … well, in the same state as most modern MMO crowd control.
However, their tanking is perfect – I adore justicar and dread any changes there. With three options for healing and the current nature of game balance, adding a fourth healing soul would only muddy the waters – so no point in doing that to anyone. Their melee dps is solid and interesting.
So what do you give a class that has everything?
I think the most interesting and useful class that clerics could be given is a ranged support/synergy pet class (as opposed to druid, the melee dps pet class).
My experiences with inquisitor and cabalist are not terribly positive. Cabalist is just sort of weird and unreliable in my experience, and inquisitor is either too slow at single target dps or too good as a secondary/tertiary spec to bother diving very deep.
Giving clerics some sort of zookeeping build with a tanky pet would make soloing as a ranged spec more tenable. Giving a number of support abilities to the class could help buff the pet AND give group utility not currently possible with a cleric in the group. Rounding things off with some ranged dps would make the spec mix well with everything but druid 😉
While my first thought on divine spellcasting zookeeper is to give them a walking forest… the existing cleric pets are all life plane themed fae. A nice mate for that would be in death plane themed ghosts or something – but that’s necromancer territory.
The only damage type that clerics really lack is fire, and the way I used to play tabletop rpg’s, that was one of the first sorts of direct damage that a cleric might ever expect to cast. And while fire is well represented thematically in the purifier soul, their only offense actually does life damage. I like the idea of making the pets fire based.
And while that steps lightly on the toes of the elementalist… it is only lightly. Mages already have permanent pets from death, earth, air, and water. The only things left are light and fire – and clerics already have light. So whatever 😛 Even if elementalists get permanent fire elementals at level 60 (which would be awesome, btw), I think there’s room for both of them.
Assuming fire elemental pets, let’s go ahead and give clerics some fire elemental nukes to go along with it. Not a full direct offensive soul’s worth, but enough to make a simple fire-only nuke rotation. Possibly add some small radius AoE – but nothing major, that’s not what this spec is about.
So what are the pets? Not raw fire elementals, and I’m hesitant to suggest that they be somehow demonic (though it still fits with the class). Similarly, “dragons” kind of a have a bad rep in this mythology. I think some sort of angelic host would be most appropriate – even though something so potentially connected with the Vigil is likely to be mistrusted by the Defiants… and while I can’t help but admit that Vigilant is an awesome name for a cleric subclass… I think I like Chorister (one who leads a choir). This also helps reinforce the idea that they’re kind of like clerical bards, sort of.
A few abilities of the sort I’d love to see:
- Ignite – instant cast, no cooldown, weak 6 second fire dot
- Ethereal Protector – summon a basic defensive spirit with high hp and armor but zero damage output, medium-range attacks only generate threat.
- Benevolent Protector – summon a defensive spirit attuned to the plane of life. Medium hp and high magic resistance. Continually deals very low life damage in a small radius around self and heals self and party/raid members in a medium radius during combat.
- Hymn of Fervor – aura buff that increases ally attack speed by up to 10%
- Hymn of Faith – aura buff that reduces damage taken by allies by 3%
- Generic medium-strength single-target fire nuke.
- When a new protective spirit is summoned, 10/20/30/40/50% of the caster’s threat is transferred to the pet. Does not affect resonance clones.
- Inferno Charm – ally buff, adds fire damage to all attacks, only one charm per target per chorister
- Recovery Charm – ally buff, procs a light HoT effect for 4 seconds after taking damage
- Passive effect, cleric may now target abilities as if originating from his active pet (at a 50% penalty). Thus, a spell that could normally be cast 30 meters from the caster may now be cast at a target up to 15 meters from the caster’s pet.
- Duet – the cleric may maintain two different hymn effects at once, normally only one hymn buff may be active at a time
- Radiant Protector – summon a defensive spirit attuned to the plane of fire. Medium hp and high armor/resist. Attacks with a flaming sword for medium single-target dps and high threat.
- Greater Protectors – Upgrade the three protector spirits to “greater” versions. Ethereal gains a true taunt and adds an AoE component to its existing special attack. Benevolent’s healing aura is upgraded to apply a small shield to affected friendlies once every 45 seconds. Radiant gains a low radius fire damage aura during combat.
- Harmony – any previously summoned pet will remain summoned for 8 seconds after a new protective spirit is summoned. The player loses all control of the orphaned pet, who will revert to a defensive behavior (if previously set to passive or aggressive) and continue fighting its current opponents until it vanishes.
- Encore – combat rez
- Hymn of Balance – aura buff that increases resistance or immunity to knockback and movement impairing effects
- Oblivion Charm – ally buff, grants chance to all attacks to remove a positive debuff, may proc a maximum of once every 6 seconds
- Resonance – any protective spirit that dies or fades as a result of Harmony will be briefly resummoned for 4 seconds as if affected by Harmony (howbeit having lost any accumulated aggro). This ability may occur once every 30 seconds.