Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rift Re-Trial At 40

I made good use of the Rift Re-trial week, advancing my Cleric from 36 to 40 with most of the quests of Moonshade Highlands as well as the portions of the world event I could get at.  Overall, it was a good experience that leaves me reasonably convinced that I could enjoy another month or more in Telara... but not in a huge hurry to take that trip right this minute. 

Soul Survival
At Magson's suggestion, I respeced the Cabalist build I'd been experimenting with into the famous AOE-grinding Inquisitor/Justicar.  I agree that the Inquisitor is obviously more powerful and effective - I pulled multiple mobs, somehow failed to Vex enough, died, ran back, and still leveled way faster in this build than any other I've tried because the build literally kills four mobs as fast as it kills one.  I actually had a lot more fun playing the less powerful Cabalist, perhaps precisely because it felt weaker.  This is the downside to the highly flexible soul system - some builds will simply be objectively better than others, leaving the player to choose between interesting and effective. 

Aside: part of the increased leveling speed may have been due to the encouragement to kill more mobs just because I could.  At my level, a mob kill with rested exp was awarding around 800 XP, while a quest completion was worth upper 3000's.  Where I previously tried to pull carefully to minimize time spent in combat with extraneous mobs, with this build they were simply free exp and cash. 

I did finally pick up the cash to purchase my fourth role slot, which means that I can now tank, heal, nuke-DPS or stab-DPS on the same single character, if I ever wanted to.  I don't know that I'll ever want to tank, but I suppose it's good to have the option.  My guess is that my four specs after my next round of respecs will end up being:
- Nuke: Cabalist/12 Justicar/ remainder Sentinel
- Melee: Druid/12 Justicar/remainder Shaman (or possibly 31+ Druid/12 Justicar/14+ Shaman)
- Healer: 31+ Purifier/12 Inquisitor/Warden (amount of Warden TBD, I like to have either 12 Inq or 8 Cab for mana regen abilities, and the other stuff I get for Inq feels more interesting)
- Tank: Full Justicar, most off-tree points to Shaman, undecided on a third soul

Unfortunately, the soul system has left me feeling that I'd happily trade in eight reasonably well implemented, versatile and effective options that I'm not that excited about for one option that I really get excited to play, as I have in LOTRO, WoW (twice over), ROM, and EQ2.  If Rift's 32 souls were instead 32 classes and I had to pick just one, it likely would not be any of the eight Cleric souls.  Because I chose a calling, rather than a class, I've ended up in an odd situation in which the healer is probably the most interesting of my four roles; not the best fit when my schedule keeps me primarily confined to solo play, with only the occasional zone invasion where it is actually useful to switch over from a hybrid DPS role that can off-heal into a real healer. 

Four Roles: I can has them.
Roads Diverge
The challenge for Trion is that it's a crowded marketplace.  The month of WoW I picked up to finish the proto-drake and my second level 85 lasts for another day or so.  I've got some more Vanguard trial time, which will likely determine whether I sub up for EQ2 alone or pay for the Station upgrade to juggle both games.  I'm in no huge hurry to LOTRO right now, but there is an expansion arriving at some point in the fall, and there are other games that I'm also not paying a sub for. 

Then there's Rift, a high quality, well-polished game that's quietly getting better with more features almost every month, but somehow always seems to come up number 2 or 3 in my queue.  Ironically, the steady stream of patches encourages me to wait - if I'm going to pay for just one more month of Rift this year, it might as well be December when they've added the most updates, such as the possibly ill-advised AA system

That said, I am reasonably impressed with what I'm seeing.  The world event seems well implemented, and I was able to celebrate my new level with an epic level 40 necklace that has passive water-breathing as a side perk - this souvenir will probably stay in my bags for the life of the character to deal with those pesky swimming quests.  I got to hang out with Ferrel and Iniquity for a few days, and I got to see some pretty sights.  One of these days, I'll be in the mood for more Rift, and I don't expect to be disappointed when that day comes. 
A crossroads for now, and a quick peek at the next zone on my tour wishlist.


Magson said...

Glad to hear you're enjoying your re-trial.

Cabalist just got some major changes pushed to the test server, so come 1.4 it may be a lot more viable as an AOE focused class. Time will tell. . . .

For myself, current builds are:

Leveling/Support/Ranged DPS - 38 Inquisitor / 16 Justicar / 12 Sentinel. This is my own take on the "inquisicar." Typically it's 44/11/11, but I like the AE healing that doesn't require Conviction from 12 points in Sentinel, plus Righteous Mandate and the "heal your RM target" abilities as a support healer. Makes it so if the MH dies, I can step in in a pinch if I have to -- saved us from a wipe vs a T1 boss on my last run (tank still lost health -- I couldn't top him up, but he lost it slowly enough that the boss died before he did), and was completely successful at healing vs bosses in regular AP and CC at level 48.

Melee DPS -- 31 Druid / 24 Shaman / 11 Inquisitor (this is a cookie cutter build from the forums, yes). The damage is the highest that a cleric can do in this build. I tried to level wit hthis and it did melt mobs really fast, but get an add or 2 and it got really dicey.

Healing -- 33 Purifier / 33 Sentinel / 0 Templar (Templar for the "break free" -- it's a big help on certain bosses). I like this build a lot -- battle-rez, AE cleanse, passive AE heals from overhealing the tank, and massive ST heals for keeping the tank healed up. It just works well for me.

Tank -- 51 Justicar / 9 Shaman / 6 Inquisitor. I may swap this one around a bit and grab some Cabalist for better AE aggro, but I'm waiting for 1.4 before making any drastic changes.

I've not posted links to the exact builds I use simply becuz I think if you look at these as anything it shold only be as guidelines -- you can put your own points wherever you want, these are just what works for me right now.

Bronte said...

How often do they have these free events. I played the beta a little bit, but not enough to convince me to spend my hard-earned doubloons on it!

Damage said...

Just wondering, I played a Cabalist up to 40 and never had a problem aoeing 4 mobs down at all. In fact, I pretty much grinded mobs this way while doing quests. I always hated when I would have to do a single mob and always tried to do 4 at a time. Might I ask what kind of build you wnet with that couldn't take on 4 mobs?

Stubborn said...

While it isn't Rift related, I found the same true of Rogues in WoW. I vastly preferred playing the subtlety build over the much-more-efficient combat build while leveling. I liked the rogueishness of it all, popping behind mobs, sneaking around more effectively, planning out pulls using strategy instead of popping a CD and mowing them all down.

I think that having fun while leveling is so important for a game to survive, and the efficiency-driven communities sometimes forget that. I play to have fun, and while I know that others do not, I'm not asking them to change. Play what you want while leveling and have fun. You can sweat the efficiency stuff later.