rift soul breakdown – cleric – tier 1, healing

I’ll admit it. Healing in Rift can be stressful. The healing classes are vastly different and lend themselves heavily to different play styles and situations. They are, however, all amazing. And the improvements they’ve seen in recent updates make me so happy to play a cleric.

Purifier

Each point spent in Purifier increases healing by 1% and absorption by 1%.

Purifier has always been my favorite healing tree, not only because it is thematically more interesting than sentinel or warden (FIRE!), but because it relies heavily on damage prevention in the form of numerous bubbles. They are supposed to be the best single-target healers in the game, and when I am tanking 5 man content I’d have to agree that I’d rather have a purifier healing me than a sentinel or warden.

At zero points, you get Symbol of the Torch, a straight bubble with no cooldown that you can cast on other players. It isn’t as big as other bubbles, but it sees a lot of synergy from the rest of the tree did I mention that it doesn’t have a cooldown? Okay, well, I lied. It sort of has a cooldown. Whenever you hit a target with any Symbol spell, they receive a Burnout debuff that lasts for 20 seconds. Still, because the cooldown is tied to the target, you can bubble multiple people this way. Later on in the tree, there are talents that further mitigate Burnout, making this ability not quite spammable but something very close.

Originally, all cleric bubbles shared a 30s internal cooldown which was infuriating and actively discouraged you from picking up more than one… but if you can stack this on top of other shields, that’s massive.

Tier 1 Talents

  • 5 points – +5% crit chance of heals and bubbles
  • 5 points – +10% wisdom

NB: Critical bubbles rule.

2 points in the root unlocks Sign of Wrath, a 1 hour buff that makes your single-target heals and bubbles apply a 15 second thorn affect to the target, which makes for that much stickier of a tank. And even if you don’t dive any deeper into purifier, the ability applies to all of your single target heals and bubbles. I’m having funny visions of double thorns on the shaman bubble… 🙂

4 points in the root unlocks Healing Flare, the purifier’s first direct heal spell. It is instant cast and spammable like almost everything purifiers get. It’s not a big spell, but it’s easily the most hp/s from a spammable heal at this level.

Sentinel

Each point spent in Sentinel increases healing by 1% and absorption by 1%.

Sentinel is the classic heal spec. They have lots of single target heals with different casting times and mana efficiencies and also do a good bit of AoE healing. According to their official blurb, they are supposed to excel at group healing, but I always thought that wardens were better for that sort of thing – and looking at the abilities in the tree, there are a lot more mentions of “single target heals” than aoe. Think of sentinel as the generalist healer. It’s what I use primarily for my current healing role.

Zero points in sentinel gives you Healing Breath, a large instant cast heal with an 8 second cooldown. It’s better with talents, but that 8 second cooldown prevents it from being terribly useful as a zero point button. Still, it probably does more hp/s than a warden’s Healing Spray at zero points if you can live with the restriction.

At tier 1, you can spend 5 points to increase your healing and absorption by 5%, 5 points to increase your spell power by 10%, or 2 points to stop taking pushback when casting heals.

Tier 1 Talents

  • 5 points – +5% healing and absorption
  • 5 points – +10% spell power
  • 2 points – eliminate pushback while casting heals

It is worth reiterating that the Sentinel is the only healing class for whom the majority of heals have a casting time, so this talent is not as useful when combined with other souls as it might otherwise be.

2 points in the root gets you Subtle Invocation, a basic heal with a 2 second cast time. It is the first of your “invocation” heals and gets a lot better with talents that improve all of your invocation heals.

4 points in the root gets you Heroic Resolve, a 1 hour raid endurance buff. Again, we’re talking classic mmorpg cleric here 🙂

Warden

Each point spent in Warden increases healing by 1%, absorption by 1%, and damage by 0.5%.

Wardens are water themed and specialize in high mana efficiency heals over time. They also pack a number of offensive abilities and a wide array of group heals. I am currently playing around with a warden support build that operates similar to a justicar healer by passively healing the party as I spam nukes. It worked well for the hour or so I played with it last night, but will need to queue with it and see how it behaves.

At zero points, you get Healing Spray, a spammable single target HoT. It’s slow, but scales well. Additionally, you get a spammable instant cast ranged nuke. While the other healing classes all give ranged nukes at zero points, those have 2 second cast times.

At tier 1, you can spend 5 points to increase your healing and absorption by 5% or 5 points to increase your damage by 5%.

Tier 1 Talents

  • 5 points – +5% healing and absorption
  • 5 points – +5% damage

2 points in the root gets you Overflowing Renewal, a 2 second cast heal that spreads overflow damage out to up to 2 raid members. This looks like it could go well with either sentinel or purifier builds for helping keep the group topped off while focusing on the tank. I’ve never really used the ability, so I can’t be certain how it behaves in the real world, but I am intrigued.

4 points in the root gives you Dehydrate, a standard water damage DoT.

Defiler

Each point spent in Defiler damage by 1%, healing by 0.5%, and absorption by 0.5%.

Defiler is the Storm Legion cleric soul and is the most offense-oriented of the healing souls. They are death themed and do a lot of things on a delay. I… don’t know how these delays may play with stress levels for the tank having never had a defiler heal me – but I’ve not had problems keeping up when healing small groups as one myself. Part of the reason for this is that defilers have some very significant damage mitigation in the form of links that redirect a percentage of damage to the caster.

At zero points, you get Rage Blight, a reactive self buff that increases your damage by up to 5% when you take damage. This would be strange for anyone but a defiler to take, but I could see it sort of working for a justicar… sort of. Blights are not meant to be triggered directly, but by small amounts of intercepted damage received over links.

Tier 1 Talents

  • 5 points – +5% damage
  • 5 points – +10% wisdom

2 points in the root gives you one of my favorite nukes in the game, Marrow Harvest. This is an instant cast death nuke that causes no up front threat and triggers after 6 seconds. It also hits like a truck. Early on in the tree, you can improve this spell further to make it increase non-physical damage taken by the victim for 30 seconds. Because of the spell’s mechanics, you can safely put it on top of a macro and not worry about wasted castings despite the lack of an explicit cooldown.

4 points in the root gives you your first link spell, Link of Distress. It only absorbs 5% of damage, but hey, that’s 5% flat damage mitigation to your target. When your first get this spell, you will actually take increased damage from the link – to the tune of 115% of the damage intercepted, but talents quickly reduce and eventually absorb link damage for you.

4 points in the root also gives you Blighted Greed, which is an alternative way of triggering your Blight buff without actually intercepting damage from a target. This ability allows you to buff one player and proc your Blight off of any damage they take – with the caveat that you can only use it on one ally at a time and cannot use it in conjunction with links.

Yup, links, plural. Defilers eventually get four link spells of increasing efficiency – that’s one per party member for those keeping count at home. The 58 point link intercepts a whopping 30% of damage from your now immortal tank.

And there we have it, the tier 1 cleric healing options. Next time is going to be brief, with only Justicar left to talk about, but as it is my main class, I have… opinions 🙂

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