Wednesday, October 26, 2011

50/50/50 ROM Class Updates

Earlier this week, I hit 50 on my two "secondary" classes in Runes of Magic, Warden and Rogue.  Combined with my Druid levels (53), this means that I can finally have all of the 50/50 dual class elite skills for all three combinations.  (These previously required a lengthy group quest, but are now awarded by easy repeatable quest certificates as part of the game's accelerated catch-up zone.)  Here's what the six pairings do:
  1. Druid/Rogue (D/R): My original class pairing, this one is a DPS caster that uses the Rogue energy bar for spells.  This leaves your mana bar free for self-heals (slightly debuffed by your shadow damage form) and utility.  I really like how this class plays, finding this combination was a big part of what got me to stick around in ROM.
  2. Druid/Warden (D/Wd): This class is a hybrid-ish healer that also has some buff abilities, including a highly coveted buff to base magic damage levels.  Unfortunately, this pairing is nigh unusable because most of my skill points on my Druid are sunk into DPS abilities (in particular D/R elites, which I can't even use as D/Wd).
  3. Rogue/Druid (R/D): This was the pairing I had to take originally in order to be allowed to play D/R, because you had to get the Rogue levels somehow.  It's great at low levels when mobs die quickly and then you can heal the damage from a mana bar you don't use in combat.  Unfortunately, at higher levels mobs live longer and deal more damage.  Though Rogues do get to wear leather armor, the Druid casters actually feel more durable with cloth plus a shield and self-heals.  Because the R/D wants melee stats, the self-heals aren't going to be impressive enough to increase survivability or offset the reduced DPS for not having a more offensive secondary.
  4. Rogue/Warden (R/Wd): This build is a bit of a glass cannon of melee DPS, but it's a ton of fun.  Rogue energy regen is balanced assuming that you will be able to supplement your damage from your subclass (which the R/D cannot, since their general and elite skills are heals and buffs).  The Warden fits the bill perfectly, with a full blue mana bar to power additional melee attacks.  The 50/50 elite skill actually spawns a pair of Warden pets to do extra DPS for 15 seconds.  Unfortunately, there is very little in the way of survival, which hurts in a game that still boasts a healthy exp penalty on death.
  5. Warden/Rogue (Wd/R): This is an offensive Warden pairing that can burn mana very quickly for major damage, or throttle back and rely on the Rogue energy bar for more sustained DPS.  This was definitely the way to go for levels 1-32, as the Rogue secondary allows you to dual wield.  After level 32, Wardens can use 2H weapons, and their abilities are a bit more geared towards that approach. 
  6. Warden/Druid (Wd/D): This is a more hybrid approach to the Warden.  At low levels, the class is borderline painful to play because Wardens already burn through mana very quickly, and adding Druid spells only exacerbates this weakness.  Once you hit the mid-30's, things turn around very quickly. 

    To compensate for not being able to spam attacks, Wd/D's get a buff at 30/30 that turns their already impressive 2H autoattacks into massive magic-assisted strikes at no ongoing mana cost.  At 35/35, a newly revised elite skill turns one of the general purpose Warden melee attacks into a substantial AOE heal.  This allows me to choose the most offense-oriented pet/buff combinations (generally sacrificing the support Nature Crystal for more crit and then letting the Rogue-like Oak Walker add to my DPS), knowing that I still have my general purpose Druid heal available if needed.  The Nature Crystal, which provides buffs and cannot aggro (or be killed by) mobs is also a good choice in groups. 
Overall, the two pairings I enjoy the most are the D/R and the Wd/D.  I may or may not continue to level the Rogue, but I don't feel a ton of pressure to do so since I'm not planning to do much with the Wd/R and additional Rogue levels aren't going to upgrade skills I actually use on the D/R pairing.  The big issue is gear. 

My three classes span three of ROM's four armor types, and theoretically the Druid could use separate armor for DPS or healing (if I were playing D/Wd, which I'm not planning to thanks to the skill and gearing issues).  They also all want different weapons, which are the single slot (or slots) that has the biggest effect on DPS/healing levels.  Some gear can be shared, but the game supposedly gets increasingly gear dependent at higher levels (which I am going to hit very shortly). 

One one level, I do respect the idea of having players spend effort to specialize their characters.  I also think that the new third class option is still a huge improvement, since it gives more options to avoid a specific pairing that you do not enjoy (like the R/D).  Unfortunately, this all may mean that I'm going from six choices, half of which I enjoy, to maybe one that remains playable in a few levels.  It would be nice if there were some more middle ground. 


Yeebo said...

ROM is not covered in the parts of the blogosphere I follow nearly as well as I think it deserves to be. It's a popular and profitable MMO. It also features a number of mechanical innovations that I find fascinating.

For example, every single class/ subclass combination opens up unique skills. FFXI allowed you to mix and match classes and sub classes. But it did not enable unique skills depending on what combinations you picked. No MMO I am aware of has so much depth in such a simple character development system.

Adding a third class option on top of what ROM currently has seems almost insane. But it does jive well with what seems to be their basic design goal. Mechanical depth hidden behind systems and a UI that is incredibly easy to grasp.

flosch said...

I wanted to get around and try it ever single time I've read posts about ROM in the last month or two. I even installed it already, and lived through the godawful updater. Who came up with the idea to make the windows always-on-top?

The icon has been collecting dust on my desktop. Maybe I'll have time over the weekend to finally, finally decide what class combination I would like to play.