Could Try Harder

March 21, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Posted in General | 1 Comment
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Wotcha everyone,

Some, and now heading towards Many, players have levelled characters up to level 50 in Rift.

I am not one of them.

There are many reasons for this, but I think the first and foremost reason is that I really haven’t been looking to level at speed.  Having learned my lesson with ‘Clysm, I’m desperately doing my best not to burn myself out during the levelling process.

I am also sharing my time between four alts.  Oh yes, I have one of each of the four major food groups thoughtfully provided by Trion.

And right now, I’m finding that I’m really enjoying one or more aspect to each of the classes.

What I like most is that all of the souls I’ve encountered seem cool.  Bear in mind that this is largely due to the way *I* play, but I’ve yet to come across one and have “Bah humbug!” thoughts.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that I’m the sort of player who gets pathetically grateful when in groups, so always goes for utility over the personal satisfaction of damage.  That and it’s hard to see when someone’s slacking with a utility role.  Sue me.

These are the classes and soul constructs I’ve been using most:

Cleric: Mostly Sentinal, some Warden, less Inquisitor.

I am DOT boy.  See me DOT.  It’s surprisingly survivable having two healing souls, and having three instant DOTs and a two-second cast on the fourth DOT means taking on multiple mobs is easier than I imagined.  There are also a plethora of heals, with a scarily expensive group heal, a few single hit heals, and a few HOTs.  The Inquisitor also brings a few extra punchy options, for the times when I need a mob dead *soon as*.

It’s a good instance healing build.  There is only one fight so far where I’ve found mana an issue, and that’s the end of Deepstrike Mine which is long and almost raid-like.  For straight healing output it’s fine, but sometimes a backup healer really helps with those damage-spike moments; lacking shields makes it difficult to deal with a nasty crit.

Rifts are also fun.  I can heal when it’s a small group, switching to damage when there’s enough people there, and it’s all fun.  I’ve heard that healing contributions are much less than damage contributions, but to be perfectly honest I don’t care; I have more fun healing rifts with my cleric than chucking damage, and fun is what I play for.

Mage:  Mostly Dominator, some Archon, some Chloromancer

I set out to create a Loremaster from Lord of the Rings Online, just without the annoying animal slaves, and I’m pretty happy with this combination.  The Dominator soul means I can turn things into a squirrel (and being threatened by a squirrel makes me girly-giggle every time it happens) but not much else because the character is going through that difficult teen period, but it should soon open out.  Archon has some useful buff-debuff action, and I like the fact that most of them will debuff a mob *and* buff the party as part of the same spell.  Nice.

Chloromancer was added as I wanted more utility over straight damage potential, but it’s combination of damage-to-heal abilities means it’s quite nice and punchy.

I’m looking forward to getting to higher levels with the mage; whilst breaky, it does have a rather splendid “toolkit” set up, rather than just spamming three or so buttons to win fights.

Warrior:  Mostly Warlord and Reaver, some Paladin.

I’m surprised by how much I’m enjoying the Reaver.  I took it as “the third soul”, but it’s now a joint primary with Warlord.  It reminds me of World of Warcraft’s Death Knight, but with an understandable mechanic as opposed to something that seemed wilfully obtuse and unworkable (yes, I just clicked on skills as they became available, rather than actually intending to do anything).  Warlord’s group utility should mean some fun off-tanking as well as tanking support, and that seems like fun enough for me.

Rogue:  Mostly Saboteur, some Riftstalker, some Marksman.

Now this *has* surprised me most.  I started the Rogue because I had one of everything else, so decided to go for a full set.  I’d spent a little time with one or two ideas in the beta, but without thinking much of it.  I’d spent all of half an hour with Saboteur, and decided it was bobbins.  Utter, unadulterated bobbins (for those unaware of the terminology, “Bobbins” is not a positive term.  Guess who’s trying to swear less?).

Yet for some reason, I decided to give it another go; after all, as the unwanted runt of the litter, who was to care if Rogue-boy was better known as Limpy the Rogue?The surprise was on me.  Charges are hilarious fun.  The fact that they do nothing but add combo points until detonated means that a fight goes something like this:

No damage.  No damage.  No damage.  Still no damage.  No damage.  BOOM!  You’re dead!

Add in charges that do other things than *just* damage, and it’s hilarious fun.  I’ve even found that you can get all five charges on a Squirrel’d enemy, and it won’t break the Squirrel until detonated.  Now *that* is a lovely synergy.  It makes me feel all Mad Harry, really it does.

Riftstalker just gives a little tankiness, and marksman gives me an immediate-damage ranged ability, for those times when a little preparation isn’t necessary.

All in all, I’m more than happy with my character options.  The ability to go and get the other souls has meant I can collect them at my leisure, and when I fancy a change just set up my alternate spec and have a lookee.  Yes, I am poor as a result, but I like that freedom.

Of course, it also means that I’m not levelling as fast as I could be.  I should try harder.



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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