Choose My Adventure: Warrior time and a more classical Cleric in RIFT


This week, I traded my shepherd’s cane for a big honkin’ sword in RIFT and found that… well, there’s not too much different here, really. Just a matter of looking at a boss at distance or looking at its knees, really.

[AL:Rift]The reason I feel this way is because, just like my NecroCleric, my forgotten Warrior character was following a pre-determined path as well, which kind of leads me to believe that I must have played this game at some point when it was doing the guided Soul Tree thing. I genuinely can’t recall for the life of me when I’ve done that, though. I guess the mind is the first thing to go as you age.

Or maybe it’s just that RIFT’s combat is kind of routine. As my Defiant swordswinger swung her sword around a bunch of times, I started to recall how playing LOTRO or DDO felt – a sort of weird, stiff jankiness that lacked impact. Still, it was fine. This is fine.

What was a little bit less fine, however, was that the Intrepid Adventure that I was queuing up for was precisely the same as I’d experienced before: several runs through locations at Hammerknell. I assume, really, it’s because I haven’t really gotten out of the 20s quite yet (I’m close, though!), but right now I seem to be locked in this one instance over and over and over again.

After a few runs and a few levels on my warrior, I elected to put her back on the shelf and dig in to making my own Cleric class as instructed by the polls. This, unsurprisingly, was a lot of fun: As people probably learned from my Stick and Rudder post, I really do enjoy theorycrafting, and I had a great time digging into a Soul Tree calculator, reading tooltips, and sniffing out synergies. Which, I admit, doesn’t really sound like a lot of fun on paper, but I live for this stuff.

After some investigation and a desire to make a Cleric that spoke to the “mace and heals and attrition winning” playstyle that I was looking for in my previous RIFT experience, I settled on a build that mostly focuses on the Justicar Soul, feeding it points until I got to a part of the tree where I unlocked a tank stance. I’ve primarily paired it with a Sentinel Soul for some on-demand healing if things get hairy, and kind of tacked on the Oracle Soul as a sort of throwaway third choice and to simply get a boon that ramps up my damage and crit chance when I open up with a ranged single-target skill. There’s probably a better third choice there, but I wanted to get to that boosting attack skill as well as a few points’ worth of Spell Power.

Unfortunately, in order to make this build work, I had to hop into the in-game store and use some of my gems to purchase a one-handed mace and a shield. I’m pretty sure there were better ways to find at least a reasonably simple set of weapons, but my time being a bit too limited sort of forced my hand. And even though I had enough funny money to do it, I really dislike this part of the cash shop.

Still, taking this build into Hammerknell felt pretty good overall, I have to say. When I was able to take point and tank the bosses in the IA, it turned out to be a soak tank, doing a good job of healing through damage and utilizing block for some damage absorption. About the only times I died was when I was fighting against a monster that felt like it had a one-shot mechanic. Or I just wasn’t paying attention to where the fire was. Even so, I think I’ve put together the Cleric of my… well, not my dreams, exactly, but of my desires. I like tanking, basically.

I’m pretty sure this is not a novel build, I contend. I bet there’s even a pre-built build just like it in the list as well. But even so, this build is my build, and for the purposes of this ride, it works.

With all of this said, I have to admit that the well of things to do in RIFT is beginning to run dry, especially since the only IA that gives me the kind of experience I want is Hammerknell. Still, there’s at least one more poll I can get out of this game before I begin considering where to go next. Once again, this is about gameplay focus, but it does provide a couple of different choices here, so I’ll be curious how people feel.

How should I close out this trip through RIFT?

  • Grind the IAs. Just close out with another couple of levels. (3%, 2 Votes)
  • Go into random dungeon queue. See what happens. (48%, 31 Votes)
  • A little bit of both. Why not? (48%, 31 Votes)

Total Voters: 64

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Like usual, polling closes up at 1:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, April 16th. Until then, I think it’s time once more for this game to be put on a backburner. For a couple of days anyway. We’ll see.

Welcome to Choose My Adventure, the column in which you join Chris each week as he journeys through mystical lands on fantastic adventures – and you get to decide his fate. Which is good because he can often be a pretty indecisive person unless he’s ordering a burger.
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