We’re getting pretty deep into the progression of Rift and I’m starting to see the various synergies of the classes. We’re also looking at some balance changes with the release of patch 1.2. One of the aspects I find interesting is that as of today Zinbik, the cleric lead, has made only one post ever. I’m certainly hoping that our class representative isn’t going to be one of those tight lipped absentee sort of developers. We’ll see how things pan out but for now I felt like I’d talk about what irks me when it comes to my cleric.
I want to be clear before I get started that I’m actually happier with the Rift cleric than I have been with any healer for a long time. I am not suggesting in any way that the cleric cannot do the job of healer effectively. I want to be sure everyone knows that the class is both useful and strong! Groups are not ignoring clerics for healers. I also want to point out that I won’t be talking about DPS and tanking roles today. This is strictly based on healing in groups.
In all ways the main competition for the healing cleric is the chloromancer. These healing mages really have the hearts and minds of groups at this time. In a stand up, toe to toe fight a chloromancer is going to heal about equally to similarly geared clerics. Most groups seem to prefer them as a primary healer. That doesn’t mean a cleric won’t do of course! It just means we’re not a priority. This doesn’t actually bother me that much. My cleric is more survivable but there are other aspects that make the chloromancer more attractive.
One of the strengths (and weaknesses if they’re under-geared) of the chloromancer is that they actually put out pretty decent damage when acting as a healer. Clerics, on the other hand, put out little to no DPS when healing. I’m not sure I feel the extra survivability is worth the amount of damage that is lost. I don’t want to do damage, to be honest, but I would like something that the group views as a viable trade off for not putting out that damage.
The chloromancer also has another curiosity that I don’t follow. The mage receives a combat resurrection spell that cycles every five minutes. They also receive that spell earlier in their soul. Having access to a combat resurrection takes more points and a limited soul selection for clerics. You either have to go 32 points into sentinel for a ten minute recycle resurrection or 31 points into justicar for the five minute spell. In comparison the chloromancer has to spend a mere 20 points. This does not jive with me at all. I really feel the healing cleric should at least be equal in this regard, especially if they have to spend more points. Those are my only two real healing clerics versus chloromancer gripes. I don’t want my mage friends to be nerfed. I just want the cleric to come up a bit.
Cleric souls that focus on healing currently have extremely limited and easily replaceable buffs. Numerous classes can overwrite our buffs and they don’t offer a lot to a group. They’re simply statistic bonuses and are weak even compared to the buffs of our DPS souls. It would be really nice for each of the three primary souls to have some sort of semi-unique and attractive buff. My suggestion would be a damage reduction, a regenerating ward, or something that fits each of the healing souls unique feel.
Mana is a big concern for healing clerics. Chloromancers and other classes don’t seem to have as tough a time keeping their blue bars full as healing clerics. I last most fights but I’ve been known to pop a mana potion or two. It would be nice to see some sort of relaxing of the strict mana pipeline. This isn’t too big of a deal on the whole but I felt it was worth mentioning.
Grouping healing just doesn’t quite feel right on clerics right now. If you’re not a warden you simply cannot sustain group heals for long and so many expert fights are designed around the group taking damage. Again we do alright here. I’m not suggesting otherwise, but sustaining a solid group healing ability is pretty tough.
We’re in decent shape
As I said at the onset of this gripe I feel like healing clerics aren’t doing all that bad. I feel very comfortable in groups and solo heal the vast majority of expert fights. I’m capable of doing my job and excel with group curing. I think a few minor tweaks are necessary but I still recommend the cleric to anyone who wants to be a healer. It is a viable alternative to the chloromancer. Of course things could be a little better. After all, Rift still fails my primary test! Clerics wear plate!