That Third Soul

February 18, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Posted in General | 4 Comments
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Wotcha everyone,

Have I mentioned that I like the soul system in Rift?

Have I mentioned that I *really* like the soul system in Rift?

I just like the flexibility of it.  I love the fact that every class is a hybrid, yet can specialise as much as the player wants.  Or diversify.  I love the fact that, apart from internet-hotness sages, no-one will be able to definitively state which build is best.  I love that personal choice is once again a viable character creation option.

I also love the fact that so many of the various souls on offer seem so cool, too.

Yes, some of them have names we’ve encountered before.  Well, thankfully there’s no copyright on names like “Shaman”, or “Paladin”.  Or is it trademark?  Ah, whatever it is, they’re names that have been used before, and can be used again.  Does using them show a lack of originality?  Well, I’ll reference the whole originality thing later.

And yes, some of the skills and spec choices hiding under those names are evocative of classes in MMOs we’ve all played before.

Here is where I get to discuss that “Originality” thing that I promised I would earlier.

I’m of the opinion that there is nothing new under the sun.  Everything has a precursor, everything has been seen in some shape or form previously.  And that includes MMOs.  World of Warcraft didn’t just pop into existance from out of a void, and neither did Rift.  It’s just a product of the environment that spawned it.

Besides, if the dev team was desperate to be different and not copy, they could have come up with original names for their classes.  But compare “Phlookertum” with “Paladin”.  Paladin conjures up images of heavy armour and healing, whereas Phlookertum just makes me wonder if the person behind the name just needs to sit in a darkened room with no caffeine for a while.

Yes, I probably should.  But I won’t.

Besides, there’s no point going to all that effort to come up with a fancy new title if everyone just looks at the skills and realises; “Oh, a Phlookertum is just a Paladin”.

I think there are also quite valid reasons for heavy armour wearing tanks, and rogues with stabby things, and clerics that heal and mages that blow stuff up; they are understandable concepts that we can get our heads around when starting off.  They are a great way to tell a new player what their role will be, without needing to spend a while on the specifics.

Look at any class in any MMO and you’ll see skillsets.  It’s the skillsets that define the role that class will fulfill in general play.  Rift allows a surprising amount of customisation, but not to the level where individual skills and talents can be cherry-picked.

No, Rift allows the choice to be through the combination of three different packages, called souls.  Those packages mean that we can’t put together the exact class of our dreams, but we can probably get closer than most fantasy games have let us in the past.

Now, due to the vagaries of how my headbrain works, I’ve been able to reliably decide, in most situations, on two souls that I would really like to use to create some initial characters, for largely each class type.

Yet it’s that third soul that I’ve found to be extremely tricky, but in a good way.

Let me expl- um, ramble further.  Illustrated in words with the class of Cleric.

I would like to play a healing cleric.  I’ve enjoyed the hot Rift action I’ve engaged in; it’s crazy like PvP, but without the in-built desire by the other side to pound healers into the dirt first.  In exemplu: me.  Looking through the healing souls, Warden and Sentinel seem most fun.  Heals over time from the Warden, group heals from the Sentinal.  Done, dusted, sorted.

But wait; three is the magic number here.  That third soul.  I could go for yet more healing, but I don’t fancy the Purifier as there’s some crossover with the Sentinal, and I thought it would be nice to have some offensive power for those times where healing isn’t necessary.

I tested a few of the other souls during the beta; I have created five clerics so far, all because I have been doing science! with them.  I think this is largely due to the fact that so many souls just seem really, really cool.  I played around with Druid for some time (those fairies are surprisingly cool) but I wanted ranged power.  Shaman and Justicar were likewise nice ideas, but a little too hitty-stick-based for my liking.

In the end, I looked at Inquisitor and Cabalist.

Both of them made me feel like putting on a “Now I have a machine gun too.  Ho ho ho” t-shirt, they really did.  And not in a dead-in-a-lift-with-my-angry-henchman-criminal-brother-going-burko sort of way, but in a look-at-me-I-deadly sort of way.

I could see that one seemed more single-target damage, and the other more aoe/multi-target, but I couldn’t decide which was more cool, so in the end decided to play the naughty card (when in doubt, go naughty), and went for Cabalist.

Even now, I might change my mind.

It’s quite crazy, really.  I would have thought it would be easy to find three souls out of eight that I’d want to use for each character, but I’m finding that whilst it’s relatively painless to find two that stand above the rest for the skillsets I want, I find that the third is often far more elusive.

Because all of those third souls are just so cool.




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  1. Say, Hawley, you know that once you get to level 13, you can do a quick quest to get another soul? You can go grab them all, in fact. (Well, all the cleric ones.) Instead of rerolling you can buy another spec at your trainer & go nuts with the switcheroo. Up to five or six specs I think, but they do get quite expensive. Point is, one cleric will do.

    (Unless you’re a raging altoholic like I am. Shhh.)

    • Wotcha Monkey,
      I am aware we get to pick up more souls, but to me that doesn’t change the fundamental problem of choosing the soul, it just means I don’t get punished for accidentally choosing a third soul I find doesn’t work, or I just don’t like (which I really appreciate).
      I am also really appreciative of the fact that there are multiple specs; I love the fact that it’s a helpful system, rather than one that restricts.
      Of course, I still have the need to find that perfect-fit third soul. 😉

  2. I still can’t decide on 3 souls. Argh. But will do as Monkey suggests above.

  3. Thirteen or so Beta characters later and I understand this plight (though I have to say my own hesitation has often started at “Soul One”).

    What I will add to this is that the Third Soul does not matter for awhile – sure you get to pick it at Level 5 now (assuming Live matches Beta) but will you spend any points in it before Level 20, 30 or even 40?

    If you are not spending points then often the Third Soul is mere lip-service to another Class. Unless of course you pick a Pet Class in that slot and then for no “investment” immediately gain a furry/arcane companion!

    Now, I wonder if I can somehow create the ubiquitous Fighter/Magic User/Thief…

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