Trion’s new MMORPG, RIFT has two fun features for those looking for something new and exciting in online gaming. The rifts themselves are random tears in the fabric of reality that allow otherworldly monsters to pour into the land of Telara. Players can join a public raid group on the fly and seal the rift by destroying everything coming through it. The other unique feature is the class system. It sounds a little overwhelming at first, but once you understand the concept, the possibilities of tailoring your class to be exactly what you want makes it almost a mini-game within itself.
The short version is that there are four archetypes to choose from: Warrior, Mage, Rogue and Cleric. Each one has eight different class trees called souls and you can choose three of them, then invest points into those three souls for the exact combination of skills you want. Like to roll as a badass archer with a vicious pet by his side who can also tank in a pinch? There’s a soul combo for that. A fire-throwing Mage that can back-up heal? How about a Cleric that can carpet bomb the incoming hordes with destructive magicks? It’s all doable with the RIFT class system. Read on for popular and interesting combos to try in the land of Telara.
Tank souls come in two flavor: offensive and defensive. The four defensive souls are standard tank soul, the Warlord, holy power-infused Paladin, the disease-spreading anti-Paladin, the Reaver and the Void Knight, bane of spell casting creatures. Warlord, Paladin and Reaver all fill the main tank role so choose one depending on your style of play. Void Knight is good as a secondary soul or for a completely different load out for when you are facing a primarily spell-casting boss. If you want to increase your dps while tanking, choose one of the offensive Warrior souls listed below, but don’t put too many points in them, save those for your main defensive soul.
The offensive tank souls include the two-handed specialist Champion, the Beastmaster with his pet by his side granting him power, the dual-wielding Paragon and the Riftblade who infuses his attacks with the elements. Many people choose an offensive pairing based on the style of weapon they enjoy. Picking a main offensive soul, throwing in Beastmaster for the pet and a tanking soul for added survivability will have you soloing happily to the level cap.
Pyromancers are a favorite with their straight forward high-damage nuking. Many people will pair this with Dominators for the early ability to crowd control by turning their opponent into a squirrel. Throw in Archon buffs, debuffs and mana efficiency for fire-throwing fun from dusk til dawn. The other popular flavor of skirt wearers, er, I mean Mages represent those who do damage through their familiars. In other words, Mages are the pet classes.
Elementalists summon pets from rock, wind and water who guard them while they nuke. Necromancers specialize more in damage over time and debuffs as their skeletal minions keep the attention of the monsters off of them. Warlocks make popular secondary souls with their damage over time as well as health and mana transfer abilities. Chloromancers are also a popular choice given their abilities to heal the group, yet still maintaining their Mage role of damage dealers.
What flavor do you like your stabby stabby? Nightblades, Assassins and Blade Dancers are slightly different variations of quick death-dealing from the shadows. Any one of them by themselves are excellent dps. All three as a combination are powerhouse lawnmowers of death. Marksman and Rangers are ranged dps with Rangers getting a pet that can tank for them. Marksman have higher dps, but Rangers get survivability with their boar companion. Saboteurs use traps and bombs to do their thing, specializing in area of effect damage. Many players use Rangers as a second soul just for the tanking pet which can be used without putting too many points in the tree. Later, when you outlevel the pet, you can switch out the soul for something else via quest.
Two other souls in the Rogue archetype are different than the dps machines above. Riftstalkers are Rogues that can tank. Yes, main tank. Pair it with a Bard soul for healing, buffs and avoidance, Blade Dancer for extra avoidance abilities or Ranger for more health and pet for utility. Bards are the Rogue support class. Through damaging songs, they can heal the group, cast impressive buffs, even crowd control just like the old school EverQuest bard. Other souls that pair well with Bard are Riftstalker for extra hardiness, Nightblade for extra close combat damage or the ranged Rogue souls Marksman or Ranger.
The healing archetypes aren’t as straightforward as you’d think. There is the healer souls that do exactly as the class implies: Purifiers with their single target heals, Sentinels with their powerful group heals and Wardens with water-based, heal-over-time spells. But there’s also many offensive souls for the Clerics to draw from. Cabalists specialize in area of effect damage spells while Inquisitors do damage over time. Druids are a healing and damaging pet class, Shaman are a healing melee class and Justicars are Paladin-like tanking Clerics.
Grouping similar Cleric souls together make for very powerful combinations. Purifier/Sentinel/Warden covers single target healing, group healing and healing over time. Druid/Shaman/Justicars are melee healing powerhouses for those who like to heal on the front lines and take a few hits themselves. Cabalist/Inquisitors paired with a healing soul for improved survivability is a great way to solo a priest or pour on the dps when there is another healer in the group. It never seems that sexy to be a cleric (that image the left notwithstanding), but a good cleric will always be able to find themselves a spot in a party.
Putting It All Together
There’s a lot of room for experimentation in the game. You can access more than three souls as the game goes on and purchase new loadouts to place them in. So if you group doesn’t need your Cleric’s heals, you can swap out to a damage-based soul configuration on the fly. You have to stay in your archetype, but within that, you can mix and match based on what souls you have acquired and how many skill points you have to invest. Also, resetting your skill point allocation is quick and cheap, allowing you to fix any mistakes you may have made.
I recommend choosing offensive souls at the beginning of the game. You won’t be grouping until your late teens at the earliest and at that point you can purchase another loadout anyway. Having phenomenal healing or tanking prowess isn’t going to do you much good as you solo your way through the first 20 levels or so. Once you do start grouping or PvPing, then you may want to choose a loadout that makes you very good in your speciality. As with any other class based MMO, healers and tanks are always in demand.