There is actually one little big issue with Rift that I believe could have been dealt with in a different way. The problem is that the soul system is shoved in player’s faces in full. Of the 4 classes (warrior, rogue, cleric, and mage) each has 7-9 souls, and for the first 13 levels, players will be locked in to their three first choices. The soul tree system makes it a little easier because players aren’t really given the ability to choose bad skills, but initial soul selection is meaningful.
Now, I say this is a small issue in one light because no matter which three souls are chosen, players will get to the point where they can freely build from all the souls without much difficulty. However, it can be frustrating to choose a soul that is more oriented towards heavy group content or PvP without even realizing it because the player didn’t spend a good hour looking at the various soul trees. The game gives some guidance with a brief description and a note on which other two souls have the most synergy with the chosen soul. Still, I think with a little more narrowed path, players will have a lot more fun playing a “good” build right away.
I found this really nice Soul Selection Guide on YouTube, which I take absolutely no credit for. I wanted to re-create it in print form here, but if you found this guide helpful, go thank Chris. I followed his guide for the Mage, when I re-rolled on the Guardian side. My first Mage was a Pyromancer/Archon/Chloromancer, which got me to level 20 just fine, but when I tried his suggested build for the Mage, I was blown away at how much better it was playing. Chris suggests:
Rogue: #1 Ranger, #2 Marksman, #3 Riftstalker
He says the Ranger with the pet will get players up to level 13 just fine, but the added damage of the Marksman gives the Ranger soul a little more power. The Riftstalker 0-point ability Shadow Shift helps for a needed quick escape.
Cleric: #1 Shaman, #2 Justicar, #3 Druid or #1 Cabalist, #2 Inquisitor, #3 Warden
The first Cleric build is a melee-type Cleric where the Shaman provides the baseline, the Justicar gives a nice self-heal, and the Druid gives a 0-point pet that also has a heal. If a ranged Cleric build is preferred the Cabalist and Inquisitor have a ton of synergy, and the Warden gives two nice 0-point abilities, one for damage and one for healing.
Mage: #1 Elementalist, #2 Stormcaller, #3 Chloromancer
Like the Rogue, the Mage’s preferred starter build gives a nice aggro-holding pet, and the Stormcaller synergizes very well with the Elementalist to give a decent boost in damage. The Chloromancer rounds the starting build out with a nice o-point conditional heal placed as a debuff on an enemy that can heal a whole group of people.
Warrior: #1 Reaver, #2 Paragon, #3 Riftblade
Chris warns that the Warrior is the hardest class to level in the opening levels. He suggests that players group where they can for this class. The first three souls are Reaver, which gives a small heal, followed by Paragon, which opens up dual-wielding for some more damage output. The Riftblade gives a nice little buff that will help the Warrior take down mobs a little faster.
Hopefully this guide will help players get through the starting areas a little faster and get them to the point where the soul system opens up to let them make a plethora of builds without being locked in.