There is a lot of work that needs to be done balancing Rift’s cleric souls. For the most part the class has been completely neglected. We’ve seen a few changes here or there but we’ve never gotten the overhaul that the others have. More importantly the purifier, sentinel, and warden have been virtually ignored. The healing souls need love but whenever you talk about it on the forums people foam at the mouth and yell about how our DPS is not comparable to other classes and must be raised! That is all anyone focuses on so let’s look at that shall we? What is the problem with our DPS?
The main issue at hand is that as other DPS classes scale up the cleric does not. Our damage may be comparable in the tier two grouping area and even in the tier one raiding but the higher you go the more other classes pull away. That has clerics a bit hot under the collar as they feel we should at least be able to hang with our DPS peers. In all honesty I agree. Rift does not distinguish damage output by class like EQ did. It distinguishes by soul so a DPS cleric soul should be comparable to a DPS rogue soul. The difference comes in what else they bring to the table. That can swing who does more or less raw damage. Scaling currently isn’t that great for a cleric and I get why that upsets folks.
A Sloppy Fix
I completely agree that the Mein of Aggression change was necessary but a mere stop gap on Trion’s part. Instead of looking at each soul they throw a 25% damage increase buff at most of the DPS trees. I really dislike this kind of design as it breaks the uniqueness of the souls and really shows a lack of caring. We can’t be bothered to create unique versions of this buff that match the soul. Here, take this thing that really relates to the justicar tree because we don’t really want to fix what is broken.
The Justicar is Broken
It is time to just come right out and say it: Trion made a bit of a mistake with the justicar tree. This tree was intended as our tank tree and somehow turned out to be the best group healer, a decent damage soul, and all around amazing. Four a mere eleven points you can group heal like an insane person while still putting out decent damage. This is exactly why we got the sloppy fix and clerics remain low in the DPS ranks. Justicars put out healing with damage. The more damage the more healing. When you’re already healing at a level higher than you should you can’t really increase damage. So what needs to happen?
The honest truth is that it is time for Trion to pop the reset button and fix the justicar soul. Yes, I know it is going to piss people off for me to say it, but it is time to nerf it. The justicar must die a little so that everyone else can get better! It wouldn’t even take that drastic of a change to set things right. The first thing I would do is move Reparation up one tier. That turns it from a eleven point buy into a sixteen point one. That, in turn, requires a further commitment to the tree and would slightly reduce DPS of any -icar build. The real nerf comes with Doctrine of Loyalty. For a mere six points in the tree you get an amazing AoE heal. I would move this to twenty-four points. By making those two changes you really force someone to commit a bit to the tree and make it impossible to go fifty-one points into another soul. It will still be amazing for a heal build but someone will think twice about using it in a pure DPS role.
Change the DPS souls
Nerfing the justicar is part of the plan to bring other souls’ DPS up. The other is to drop Mein of Aggression and actually do something that is flavorful and makes sense with these souls. Starting at the twenty-eight point mark there should be some serious improvements that noticeably increase DPS and scale with gear. The passive abilities that are intended to drastically improve cleric DPS should move down to thirty-four points and offer some sort of gear scaling as well. By being that deep in the soul tree players will not be able to double dip and will have to give up some versatility to specialize.
Unrelated but I just wanted to point out that the purifier gimmick (Blessings) are terrible. This soul needs a redesign!
Arm Chair Quarterback
It is easy for me to sit here and say what will absolutely fix the game. I don’t have to do the work! That said, I think we all know that for the cleric souls to thrive the justicar must suffer a bit. I’m tired of waiting Trion! Rip that band-aid off and move forwards.