rift soul breakdown – cleric – tier 1, offense

As my wife and I have started playing Rift actively again, I’ve gotten back into the old numberchasing habits. It doesn’t help that my subscription history entitles me with I two or three bonus role slots per character.

I finally dinged 60 on my main the other day, and recorded the final hour of the process. I hope to edit the video down into something watchable soon. In the mean time, I’ve been thinking about other classes. My highest warrior is in the low 40’s, and my highest level rogue is in the high 30’s. I don’t know if I’ve ever broken 30 with a mage.

So I am very interested in the low tier abilities of each soul… because they are the most relevant to me πŸ™‚

I am going to attempt to address every soul in the game over the course of numerous shortish posts, starting at tier 1 and working all the way up to their 41 point branch abilities and 61 point root abilities. Since I know clerics best, that’s what I will be starting with, but I will cycle through all 9 souls in each class… hopefully before 3.0 drops and all of this is invalidated.

Clerics have 4 healing souls, 3 melee souls (1 tank), and 2 ranged dps souls. Defiler is interesting for being a healing soul capable of significantly augmenting general dps, and I almost grouped it together with the ranged DPS, which would have given me 3 neat sets of 3. But meh.

Cabalist

Each point spent in Cabalist increases damage by 1%.

As far as I can tell, this is the least popular cleric soul. Cabalist focuses on AoE ranged damage but is generally difficult to fully exploit – often leaving players using area nukes from other more flexible classes. It didn’t help that they launched with some rather confusing mechanics that made it even more difficult to enjoy the class. But times have changed, and I’ve enjoyed some of the new and improved cabalist features.

As a zero point class, they provide a spammable instant cast ranged aoe nuke that hits up to 8 targets. This is huge. Originally, their basic nuke would split itself between up to 3 enemies, making it unpredictable at worst and underpowered at best. They changed the standard nuke into a standard nuke and dropped Bound Fate from costing a few points to free. Additionally, you get the standard single-target death damage nuke (2 second cast time, etc…). Nothing fancy here.

Tier 1 Talents

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

2 points in the root gives you Curse of Discord, a solid 15 second death damage dot.

4 points in the root gives you Tyranny of Death, one of your bread and butter abilities. This instant cast debuff sits on the affected enemy for 10 seconds, then explodes for aoe death damage. You can trigger the spell early by either killing the target – or by triggering another Tyranny of Death explosion nearby. This chain reaction can be amazing. And if it isn’t amazing, it is at least very fun.

Druid

Each point spent in Druid increases damage by 1%, pet damage by 3%, and pet healing by 2%.

Druid is my soloing soul of choice, but it adds a lot of group support options – making it even better in duo situations. As far as I can tell, it has the highest single-target dps potential of any cleric soul if you get your rotation going right. On the downside, it is also the cleric pet class and those pets are worthless past level 30 unless you are able to afford at least 21 points in the soul to unlock a higher level pet.

As a zero point class, druids provide two summons, a healer and a tank. The faerie is all the heals you need to while soloing at low levels and the protector could be nice for ranged builds. For 21 points in the branch, you can eventually replace the protector with a scaling version capable of AoE tanking several mobs at once very handily. For 24 points in the root, you can replace the healer with a scaling version worth trying to squeeze into almost any solo/healing/tanking build (if you can justify the steep cost).

Tier 1 Talents

  • 5 points – +5% damage, +5% pet damage
  • 5 points – +10% wisdom, 5% pet damage mitigation

2 points in the root gives you Shield of Oak, a 30 second bubble that soaks 25% of the damage you take and applies a 5% speed buff. The porous nature of the shield is forgivable when you realize you either have passive healing from a faerie or a pocket tank to share the damage with. It is also one of the larger bubbles in the game and is quite likely to last its entire 30 second duration if you’re not being pounded on.

4 points in the root gives you Combined Effort. This is a powerful (physical) melee attack with a 15 second cooldown that increases subsequent damage you (and your pet) deal to the target by 5% for the next 5 seconds. 5 seconds usually translates to 2 or 3 more attacks from each of you – so if you can land this right before an even bigger hit, it really adds up.

Inquisitor

Each point spent in Inquisitor increases damage by 1%.

Inquisitor is the ranged single target dps soul but provides a ton of general utility to other builds. The soul doesn’t seem to lend itself very well to use as a zero point choice, but is remarkably valuable with just a few points spent – I have 14 points of inquisitor in my tanking build.

As a zero point class, inquisitor provides a dirt cheap instant cast death dot. Without investing in it, Vex doesn’t do a huge amount of damage, but it has one of the cheapest casting costs in the game, which means you can afford to spam it. It also upgrades very nicely with several branch talents down the line to the point where it does much more damage and heals you. Additionally, you get Bolt of Judgment, an unimpressive single-target life damage nuke that also needs upgrades to become really worthwhile.

Tier 1 Talents

  • 5 points – +10% spell power
  • 5 points – 25% reduced cost and casting time for Bolt of Judgment (and Bolt of Retribution, the 41 point branch ability)
  • 2 points – eliminate pushback from taking damage while casitng damaging spells and increase the range of all damaging spells by 5m (from a standard base range of 30m)

The second talent suddenly makes Bolt of Judgment a much more attractive ability – where it is fairly mediocre by itself.

2 points in the root gives you Armor of Devotion, a 1 hour self buff that increases your crit chance with damaging abilities by 5%. This ability doesn’t stack with other armor self buffs.

4 points in the root gives you Bolt of Depravity, a big slow death damage nuke that really really needs synergy with branch abilities before it is worth using as anything but an opener. Eventually, the ability becomes less expensive to use, can be cast instantly with a reduced GCD, causes the target to take more damage from subsequent attacks, procs a nice dot, and makes your follow-up life nukes faster to cast… but by itself it’s kind of horrible πŸ™‚

Shaman

Each point spent in shaman increases damage by 1%.

Shamans are straightforward melee DPS. They’re storm themed and generally what you’d expect. I used to enjoy shaman a lot more before druids were buffed and now shaman feels kind of lackluster by comparison now. Still, maybe this analysis will change my mind.

As a zero point class, shamans provide a buff that adds water damage to all of your weapon attacks. It is not a ton of damage on its own, but my justicar and druid builds both use it.

Tier 1 Talents

  • 5 points – +5% damage
  • 5 points – 5% damage mitigation

The latter talent alone is enough to warrant dipping into shaman for a justicar build if you don’t have something else in mind for that slot.

2 points in the root gives you Lightning Hammer, a decent instant ranged attack that does a little under half of its damage up front and the rest over time. It hits harder than Dark Water and the dot ticks faster (9 seconds base instead of 15), but the dot doesn’t stack, so you can’t spam it. The damage from the dot also increases as it ticks, and there are talents later on that improve the ability further – making it a very reliable tool that I don’t use nearly enough.

4 points in the root gives you Ride the Lightning, a charge ability that breaks snares and roots on the caster and damages the enemy upon arrival. This is the other big reason to spend a couple of points in shaman on your justicar or druid build. Now, this ability is a charge and not a teleport, so there is a slight delay before you arrive, but it is still an amazing ability that might go well on the top of a melee spam macro.

And there you have it, four dps souls and already so much variety and so many interesting toys. What have I committed myself to? Oh well, I guess it’s time to look at the core healing souls next time. There is no schedule for these, but I hope to do about one a day until I finish… heh. We’ll see πŸ™‚

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