[Rift] Starting Soul Guide

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.


14 thoughts on “[Rift] Starting Soul Guide”

  1. I played both rogue and warrior. While I think the rogue was ridiculously overpowered (using the same build as above), I never had any issues solo with the warrior (I forget which souls I used, but I played it since one of the early betas, when you only got 2 souls up front). However, I _DO_ think that the mentality is different; I played more cautious with the rogue then I did with the warrior, and consequently I ended up throwing the warrior into circumstances he had no business being in.

    I’ve seen a lot of people talking about how they’re favoring one or two souls and ignoring the others, point wise. I suppose this is an option early on, but I’d like to see how it plays out at higher levels.

  2. This is the start of the process that invalidates having a lot of choices. Everyone is so excited about having all the souls to choose from but in reality, these guides get posted and pretty soon about 80% of the player base is using these builds and the remainder are seen as gimped, even if they used their knowledge and imagination to build something that for them is better.

    I know it happens in every game, but this is why I am always skeptical when these new systems come out touting “choice”. In reality, that isn’t what happened, and now they are left to try to balance something a lot more complicated than it needs to be vs. how it is being used in reality.

  3. Well 1-18 is pretty simple stuff. No instances until then, so don’t need to orry about specs. Went full Paragon and it worked fine. Have a Pally/Champ spec that is great for tanking IT. I found the tradeoff between the damage absorption the shield gives you vs the damage output dual wielding gives you sort of cancel out any real advantage.

  4. The upside to Rift’s system is that with 4 saved builds per character and no opportunity cost to switch (you can swap any time you’re out of combat, including in the middle of a dungeon), so it’s easy to go back and forth between the build that works and the build some idiot is demanding for a PuG spot. I’m hoping that things don’t degenerate as far as they did in GW, in terms of effectively being forced to play certain builds if you want to group; only time will tell, though.

    More generally, though, I think there’s a difference between “Here are some thoughts on builds and what’s worked for me on the basis of personal experience” and “this is t3h ub4r bild u due it nao nub!”, especially because discussions of the first case will vary a lot – I was making some suggestions to a somewhat-lost friend about builds to get his feet wet with, and my list didn’t have a lot of overlap with Ravious’ (for the record: Bard/Ranger/Nightblade or Riftstalker; Justicar/Druid/Purifier or Sentinel; Inquisitor/Warden/Purifier; Necromancer/Warlock/Archon; Paladin/Riftblade/Warlord – which has some meta-similarity, I guess, suggesting ideas that mix some tankiness/healing with some DPS).

  5. To Genda’s point, that’s what happens when you add the “player element”. And, like he said, it’s going to happen for every game. Players are going to come up with the best ways to play the game. But I guess that depends on what your definition of “best” is.

    To tell the truth…of the nearly 10 characters I built and ran to level 8…it didn’t take me long to figure out those four (five) builds listed in the OP were among the best for PvE and questing. I actually disagree with the warrior build, but ehn.

    However, the real choices and detail of the game will come when you ultimately decide what you will devote your time to in the game. Digging deeper, I learned the expanse of the soul system and realized the developers took RIFT/Invasion builds and PvP builds into account. It’s more of an argument to be the best you can be under certain circumstances.

    Since I’ve figured out what style of character I want to play and what I will devote most of my time to, I now know the exact main build that is right for me. But I also know that changing every now and then won’t be that huge of a deal.

    What I like about the system is you can maintain the essance of your character for PvE/questing, Rift/Invasions, and PvP. But you can tweak your build to be better in each circumstance.

  6. After playing many rogues, I suggest Ranger/Bard/Assassin for a rogue build. Start with Ranger for pet but save your point for enabling heals off Cadence at level 8 or respect at 8. Zero points in Assassin gives you one poison proc and 8 points will give you a second. At 30 you respect 24 points into Ranger to upgrade the pet.

    For warriors, I started with Champion/Paragon/Beastmaster which was fun but squishy. I swapped in Riftblade for the runspeed boost and found it better but now I’m playing with Riftblade/Paladin and like it a lot.

  7. RIFT does offer recommendations for each soul if you mouse over the icons in the quest description, so you can stick with those if you don’t want to spend an hour comparing each skill tree.

    However, the user doesn’t get any information on how to unlock the other souls, so he either has to bumble through the quest hubs until he reaches his capital city (at around level 15) or know ahead of time via chat or playing other alts.

    The other problem I have with the soul system is that you need the appropriate equipment to go with each soul build. I already have problems with bag space, especially when you throw rift drops into the mix. Sure, you can swap on-the-fly, but you’ll probably have to go to town anyway to pick up your off-spec equipment from the bank.

    Or maybe I’m missing something and the game already handles this (I haven’t messed with saved builds yet).

  8. If I end up playing Rift as much as I played EQ, EQ2 or Vanguard I will play anything from a dozen to thirty or forty characters at least to the mid-levels. In a game I like I generally end up trying most the races, most of the classes and many of them several times in different combinations.

    In Rift this can stretch out into a vast variety of soul combos, and if some of those are really hard to level in the early stages, that’s actually quite an attractive prospect. One thing I definitely won’t be doing is looking up any recommended builds. Or rather, if I do find myself doing that it will be a strong indicator that Rift isn’t a game I’ll end up sticking with long-term.

    1. There’s not a lot of point making thirty or forty alts. You can switch an alt’s Soul around very flexibly.

      I started as a Necro, took a second soul as Chloro, got a second spec as Pyro then respecced my Necro to Chloro.

      You can play so many different sub-classes on the one character that making more than one of each archtype is almost redundant unless you want to for RP reasons or some such.

      Also I suspect that the gameplay will become far more fluid than in previous games. It takes about 2 seconds to change and I’m sure we’ll see things like dps turning themselves into healers mid-fight after the healer dies etc. So maybe you won’t be Bhagpuss the Druid you might be Bhagpuss the swiss army knife who is tanking at the moment but will heal when Bobbo is back from lunch.

      1. Your point’s generally right but you’ll never see a cleric tanking, except in an emergency, past level 15. And you’ll never see a warrior healing at all.

        The game’s very flexible, but in addition to keeping the holy trinity, it obeys the forms for the most part. We’ll see whether the exceptions, like dodging rogue tanks, hold up at 50. I’m pretty sure the mage healer, the chloromancer, can heal competently all the way up.

  9. I had Archon/Warlock/Chloromancer as my mage build and found that I could setup as a buffer/debuffer/healer nicely, when I wanted some more damage and self healing I put more points into warlock.

    I tried a Rogue with Assassin, Rift stalker, bladedancer.

    My current healer build (still low level though), is Shaman/warden/purifier. Shaman for melee, warden so i can throw in heals over time while i bash away at the mobs and 0 point purifier gives a nice ward, combined with the ward from warden makes me able to take a few beatings.

    I’m thinking warden/purifer/sentinel for pure heal spec once i get another soul choice.

  10. I’ve been trying the beta for a few days, maybe I’ll post my impressions later this week.

    While on the subject, what’s a good calling/souls combination for doing rifts and invasions almost exclusively? I thought about making a character to do that as an experiment, since rifts apparently give out an assload of xp, but I’m kinda at a loss.

    I imagine anything specced for group pve would do, but I’m not too learned in the details yet.

  11. I love the flexibility offered by the multiple roles. I only really played a mage the past 2 betas, but with all 8 souls in her repertoire and having bought 3 of the possible 4 roles (last one is 30 plat I think — money comes pretty easy, but 3 roles has been plenty so far) well.. I’ve got my soloing role (Elementalist/Stormcaller), my healing role (Chloromancer/Warlock), and my dps role (Pyromancer/Elementalist).

    Or so I had planned when I built them. I actually found myself taking elementalist as the 3rd soul in the healer role and simply healing the pet. Typically the 1st role would be fine, but if I got too many adds then the pet would go down and I’d take a dirt nap. In the 2nd role I’d kill slower, but I could handle adds, even if 2 were beating on me and could even solo even-con elite mobs if needed.

    Did the 3rd role in a dungeon the other day until the healer could’t keep up on the tank, so I swapped to Chloro for the 2nd half. Did less dps, but the tank never dropped below 80% health after that. TBH, I think the cleric might have swapped to a dps role after I went Chloro in there. . . . Chloro’s are surprisingly excellent group healers.

  12. I agree on the flexibility – I got a rogue up to 31 in the beta and found two different specs I really enjoyed.

    #1 was Marksman/Ranger like you say, though I think at higher levels I’ll use Saboteur for the third soul since with 13 points in Sab you get to attach explosive charges to your target from range *without aggroing* until you hit the detonate button and take half its health.

    #2 was a tank build – Riftstalker primary, with Bladedancer for extra DPS and evade, and 0-point Assassin for the poison buff. It didn’t kill as fast as #1, but the durability and self-heals are worth it in tough situations. And yes, a good Riftstalker can totally tank an instance.

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