Tuesday 22 March 2011

Rift: the PvP Purifier

An interesting week in the blogosphere with a number of WoW blogs getting very antsy about Rift. The game must be doing something right!

Today I'd like to talk about one of the most fun Souls to play in pvp if you're into denial. Not De Nile, which is much wetter than Purifiers like it, but denial, frustrating people.

As a Purifier you'll be really good but in a non-obvious way. You won't be top on Healing Done or any other warfront stats. This is because a lot of your healing is actually shielding which the meter doesn't record. Interestingly in EQ2 where shielding is recorded routinely by combat parsers the shielding healers are considered by far the strongest and routinely "win" the meters.

Let's look first then at shielding mechanics and why it's such a powerful mechanism, in fact clearly the best mechanism.

Your friend has 1000 life. You shield him for 500. He gets hit for 1400 and lives, left on 100 life.

A Sentinel's friend has 1000 life. He gets hit for 1400 and dies. The Sentinel is poised to cast his big 1000 point heal but it's too late.

A Warden's friend has 1000 life. He gets hit for 700. The Warden casts a heal over time that will heal 100 per second for the next 12 seconds. He gets hit again for 700 and dies, the hot having ticked just once.

You see, this is why those other guys do better on the meters. They need to be powered up because their healing style is innately weaker for single target healing.

Behind every hero there's someone who knows a lot about shields.

Also those healers do AOE healing. Now AOE healing is good but you need both and EVERYONE can do AOE healing while no one else can single target heal as well as a Purifier.

Consider this healing:
6 people lose 20% of their life, one of them is the Fang Carrier who loses an additional 50% of his life because he's being focused. A Sentinel heals everyone for 20%. A Purifier gets the Fang Carrier up the remaining 50%.

Healing done: Sentinel 20% of people's life * 6 = 120% of a standard player's life
Purifier 50% of a standard player's life.

Now the meter will tell you that in that circumstance the Sentinel is better than twice as good a healer as the Purifier. However with 2 Sentinels instead of a Sentinel and a Purifier you would have lost the Fang.

Now actually I think Purifier healing is balanced a little too high. I'm usually about 60% of a good aoe healer. I suspect that if shields were included on the meters I'd be about even with those guys. That's too strong given all the other Purifier strengths.

Some other things are good about shields:

- they can be pre-cast.

- they augment a player's life total as does Searing Transfusion. This really frustrates the opposition's capacity to burst a player down.

- they are not reduced by healing reduction abilities (eg by Champions).

- damage done to a shielded player does not interrupt picking up the Fang or Stone.

- Shields are reported to prevent Rogue incapacitates.

Next, a comment on pug warfront player populations. There are a LOT of AOE healers. Sentinels, Bards, Wardens and Chloromancers are all better at AOE healing than at single target healing. Purifiers are the only single target healer and not many people play them.

Now if you were the only healer on the team it might be better if you were an AOE healer simply to get the numbers out. But tbh if you're the only healer in a pug you've likely lost anyway so no point building a character to mitigate losses. The Purifier complements the typical Warfront pug which has a couple of AOE healers already much better than another AOE healer would.

The playstyle

Never stop moving!


Restorative Flame, the Purifier's main pve healing spell is useless in pvp. As a pvp healer you have two modes: static and mobile. Static healers are the ones the enemy Warriors take note of and kill.

The Purifier is excellent at mobile healing.

Make these macros:

Heal Other
#show Healing Breath
use [name of trinket, if activated]
cast Healing Breath (if you took Sentinel as a secondary Soul)
cast Ward of the Ancestors
cast Caregiver's Blessing
cast Searing Transfusion
cast Flashover
cast Sterilize
cast Fiery Blessing
cast Rite of the Ancestors
cast Healing Flare

Heal Self

#show Healing Breath
use [name of trinket, if activated]
cast Healing Breath (if you took Sentinel as a secondary Soul)
cast Shield of the Ancestors
cast Healing Blessing
cast Searing Transfusion
cast Flashover
cast Sterilize
cast Fiery Blessing
cast Rite of the Ancestors
cast Healing Flare

You just run around casting your macro on the guy they are trying to kill. Now healing flare is, admittedly, a bit of a poxy heal but you're firing off so many cooldowns that the overall effect is really powerful. Sterilize is in there because it only works if there's something to decurse and you nearly always want to decurse when you can (think Saboteurs). I didn't put Cauterize in because it only removes one effect but Sterilize gets the whole lot which makes it wonderful. I don't always notice when I'm being heavily dotted up. A better player than me would have it outside the macro and do it manually.

I also like to make a hotbar, not for the purpose of pressing any keys but just to line up all those spells on so I can look at my macro list hotbar and see at a glance what's ready. I may not want to go deep into the macro to burn up the long duration cooldowns but it's always worth casting Healing Breath.

In static situations where your target isn't moving much and no one is targeting you you can just spam Healing Flame, adding Healing Breath into the mix when available. I know I said keep moving but sometimes you know you're safe and this is better mana efficiency if you can get away with it.

You can macro it:

Standing still healing
#show Healing Breath
cast Healing Breath
cast Healing Flame

If things are really static then you can use Restorative Flame, especially if you are following a Blessing of the Flame or Enflamed Rejuvenation proc.

Don't be too static at any time - you always want to keep your teammates between you and your opponents. You are a long range healer who can use a full healing rotation without ever stopping. Always be moving somewhere better than where you currently are unless you're healing people up after destroying a mob of them. Ideally you want to have moved to a position that is unattractive to them before you notice you're being hit.

You may find it helps to hum the Benny Hill music to yourself while you play.

The spec

A couple of notes:
- Surging Flames is really good, try to get this onto the person you're likely to be healing heavily (eg Fang Carrier)
- Flame Ward is pants. Even if it weren't conditional 2 talent points for 6% armour isn't very good and as it stands it won't be up all the time anyway. Mobility is your defence, not tanking. 2 more points of being better at healing will usually beat this talent.
- Latent Blaze can be cast once every 45 seconds, just keep finding new targets who don't already have it or its debuff.
- the Templar soul adds more to your survivability than extra healing power from Sentinel talents.

The spec at 18

The spec at 28

The spec at 38

The spec at 48

Can I use this in dungeons?

No, go read this excellent guide at RiftClerics.net.

Tuesday 15 March 2011

Rift: An advertisement on behalf of the Guardian faction on pvp servers


Thinking about making a new character? Just started and not sure of if you've made the right choice.

In a game where most people choose Defiant I'd like to invite you to join the Guardian faction instead.

Now I know what you're thinking. You're thinking I'm going to appeal to your altruism, "join the underdogs and make things balanced because it's good for the community."

Sod that.

Join the Guardians because it's good for YOU.


Joining the Guardians gives you instant warfront queues. We may sometimes have to queue to get into the game but by our gods we don't have to queue to go kick butt.

Instant warfront queues have several subtle effects that improve life as someone doing these fights.

- not only do you get more fun for your time.

- you finish a match and queue and guess what? so does everyone else on your team. And they get right back in with you. Playing with the same group of people all afternoon means you learn the names and the roles. We know the guys who lead the charge into the enemy mob, we know our healers, we know our stone-carriers. This leads to more wins, your pug morphs into a premade organically without anyone doing anything special, just simply because the same people turn up match after match.

- higher turnover of matches means we, as a collective, get more pvp gear than Defiants. If win loss is 50-50 and we get 10 matches per hour while they get 5 per hour we get more gear and more rep. Everyone on our faction who plays warfronts gears up faster than everyone on the other side. Pretty soon it's no longer 50-50 win-loss because we outgear them.

It's good to be on top.

World pvp

World pvp is awesome as the underdog. We have a target-rich environment and a culture of cooperation in the face of adversity. Where the other side gets complacent fat and lazy we carve through our objectives like a katana. Sure, we get chased off when they gradually get their whole zerg together and then what happens? We melt away like mist.

We get to chose when where and who. We get to crush their wardstones and hear the wails and lamentations of their lowbies. They get to drag their high levels across 3 zones just in time to eat our dust.

We paid Defiant leveling area the Stonefield a visit on Sunday. This picture was taken just after we'd killed a raid that was attempting a zone invasion boss. No purplez for you!


The tough nature of life as a Guardian produces a more cooperative skillful player than the facerollers over there. In raids you have a limited number of spots. Do you want your 19 closest colleagues to be people who picked their faction for a challenge or people who rolled flavour of the month so they would have lots of people to hide behind?


Let's consider what it takes to be a Defiant? Moody? Check. Rebellious? Check. Sheep mentality? Check.

They're frikkin TEENAGERS!

Do you really really want to join the faction full of teenagers (or grown-ups who act like teenagers)?

Of course no one listens to anyone in raids and nerd rages all the time. Hormones, darling.

Ah Mum! Getting the Fang is BORING!

Even if you're a teenager, why oh why would you want to play your game with a bunch of other teenagers?

Give the Guardians a spin. You'll never look back.

Sunday 13 March 2011

Rift: Your faction needs you! (EU Bloodiron, Guardian)

Serenity are pleased to announce an invasion of those heretical rapscallions known as the Defiants that will commence on the day of our Lord(s) (and Ladies) Sunday the Thirteenth of March at 3pm GMT.

Further details will be announced in the 1-9 chat channel closer to the start of the operation. Destination: classified.

Enquiries to Holystabs, Stabsy or Waz.

Rift: the purest of pleasures

I've been having a lot of fun with Cleric. My Rogue (which I adore) has been shelved in favour of Cleric.

If Benny Hill played Rift he would have picked a Purifier.

Firstly, Purifier with some basic pvp nounce is utterly broken in warfronts. I have macroed all my cooldowns on top of a healing flare, one macro for me, one for other people. I can run across entire maps, vaulting walls and U-turning while spamming heals without ever stopping (until I eventually run out of mana). The guy I play with and I did some Whitefront(?) Plains maps today and we lost 2, won 5 with him scoring at least twice in every win. Our wins were all 3-0 despite some people on the Rift forums already insisting the only viable strat is to score once then turtle. Also we were 32 in a 30-39 battlegroup.

People are really bad at snaring, I don't think anyone mana drained me, people don't even move well so turning 90 degrees is enough to shut down the keyboard turning Champion chasing me.

And the heals really over power damage unless we're massively out-numbered. Quite a few people don't seem to be able to hurt a moving target anyway, I guess relying on slow cast spells. It's really easy to neuter Sabs and dotting classes because unlike WoW the decurse button lights up if there's something to decurse. So it's Pavlovian - button lit? if yes, press button.

Much to their surprise, Saboteurs are unable to one-shot me.

Also people don't know where the power-ups are, one time we went through a 5 v 4 fight at the base entrance, ran past the 3 guarding the stone. I shielded him so their attacks failed to interrupt, then he grabbed the stone, grabbed the nearby speed boost, ran to the middle for the next speed boost. They left him to score while wailing on me 3 vs 1 but I just tanked them and ran across the map. Eventually they gave up for easier targets. I mounted up and rode across the map eventually catching my partner at the turn-in point.

In pve instances things are tougher. I find it rather hard to solo heal. I can just about do it but I really miss a heal my tank + heal the dps too. Because my best heal is a 3 second cast if I am casting on the tank and a dps spikes low I can't really do much. I'm committed to the big heal, throwing a 3 second cast on a dps then going back to the tank means a 6 second hiatus which I'm not always willing to do. One poor guildie died to all 4 bosses in FC. (In my defence he was a little under-level, the impregnate from the spider practically one-shot him).

It all becomes cake if I have support. A bard or a second healer makes life so smooth.

So anyway if you pvp definitely recommend Purifier, having an utter blast with mine.

Wednesday 9 March 2011

Rift: Kill the dude with the thing

It seems appropriate to resurrect a classic post by Fargo:


This explains concisely everything you need to know about Black Garden and Whitefall Steppes.

Here's some other information that might be helpful:

Quick guide to opponents:

Dude with the thing: priority target. Even if he is being healed still the priority target, cc healers if poss.

otherwise look at the bars.

Green + yellow = warrior, probably riftblade. Liable to run into the middle of 5 of you which is a good time to kill him. Do not attempt to solo.

Green + mauve = rogue. Squishy unless Bards. Bards have hundreds of feminine looking buffs on their buff bar and fart out musical notes. Nuke with extreme prejudice if it's not a bard, ignore unless you have 3+ if Bard.

Green + blue in girly dress - mage. Provided by Trion to give people who think they're cleverer than everyone else a chance to theorycraft. Collect your free kill.

Green + blue in armour. Cleric. Go fight somewhere else unless it's the dude with the thing.

Monday 7 March 2011

Rift: announcing a new guild

I've been so hooked on Rift over the last week that, somewhat to my surprise, I realised I really wanted to make a guild.

The guild is called Serenity and we're on Bloodiron EU PvP server. Everyone is welcome to join, just ask Stabsy, Holystabs, Waz or Nurk in game. We're up to about 30 members now after a couple of days. Our highest member is 32.

One thing that makes being in a guild really great fun is guild quests. These are communal quests, shared among everyone in the guild.

Our first one was to win 25 matches in the Black Garden warfront. It took us a couple of days but finally Slaisa got the last win (and got promoted for her trouble). Promotion from the starting rank (Yakuza) to the senior member rank (Samurai) allows people to hand in guild quests on the guild's behalf, a fun perk for people who are completing them anyway for us.

Then we got one to close 50 rifts and kill 500 rift mobs. We did the whole thing in just under a day which was tremendous. It's very fun to see quests advance because someone out there is working to help the guild.

We're now on what I think is the last one for this week: to kill 25 bosses in the 4 lowest level instances. The quest text actually doesn't say all the eligible instances. We've been doing them in Realm of the Fae which isn't in fact mentioned.

The quests award a token amount of cash and guild exp. Guild exp levels your guild (we'll ding when we finish these rifts) and levels mean you can purchase more guild perks.

We currently have four guild perk points spent in three different perks:

- a passive 3% buff to cash dropped from mobs
- a passive 3% buff to rewards from rifts and invasions (I'd be fascinated to know how that affects the chance to get epic or blue stones)
- an activated buff that lasts one hour and gives +20 resist all. It costs 1 planar charge to cast but at this stage of the game there's not much else to spend your charge on.

Do come join us if you like - Serenity on EU Bloodiron, Guardian side. We're the minority on a pvp server so it's not for the faint of heart.

Wednesday 2 March 2011

Rift: greater than the sum of its parts

My blog list is comprised of MMO bloggers who are generalists, or who are very expert in a specific game such as Eve. Almost my entire list is talking about Rift.

The major issue with pre-launch has been that the game is so damn popular that people are having to queue for the fuller servers. They're opening 30 more servers for launch bringing the total to 96. According to a Trion employee who posts on the Something Awful boards that's "being conservative".

Rift has gone viral, will go more viral still and in a genre where WoW has held 90% of market share in NA and EU for a long time there will henceforth be two major players.

The evil Hag cannot withstand our swarm of turtles in Gloamwood

Very few people have quite put a finger on why Rift is doing so well. On the face of it WoW clones have been done before and polish shouldn't be enough to send a MMO launch viral, should it? However, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

The secret of Rift is that it is really really fun. It achieves this in a number of ways

- everyone feels over-powered. There are so many options but also so many measuring sticks that people can very easily find something to admire about their character. I did a load of Warfronts today with a friend. He was pretty imba in the Healing Done column. I was doing really well in the Damage Done column until I realised that looking at the Killing Blows would be even more egotastic and switched my sort order to that. I'm usually top; in one battle I had 5 times as many kills as the person who came next. Purr, purr.

- there's a ton of stuff to do all the time. Rifts pop almost non-stop and they have significant variety. One turned half the raid into werewolves for some random reason. Another involved chasing all over a zone to kill bosses before nuking down the big boss. Even in a big city like Gloamwood Pines there's a real chance that a huge army of baddies will come in and kill anyone out in the street. Hiding in the pub because there's an army of werewolves outside is a lot more fun than moving to the pub to gain a % boost to your Rest exp. Crafting is accessible, interesting and immersive. Daily crafting and warfront quests are really good and encourage you to do them. They have taken the shinies mechanic from EQ2, one of that game's most adored features and improved on it. The dungeons are great. And the Soul system has so much depth that theorycrafting is part of the fun and can absorb players for hours.

- it's a pretty friendly community. That's just game age paired with the what the hell is going on factor. I had an incident today where someone called me a noob (for not boosting his low level bum through an instance) and thought woo, that's the first person I've met behaving like a WoW lfd player. (I then promptly met two more). It's great to do a dungeon and know that most people will help you figure it out, will stay if you wipe and will appreciate your hard work and skill. I think the friendliness is helped by Trion's attitude, the friendliness on the boards, the engagement with the community in various podcasts and the flippant server message. They just announced downtime with "it will be down for about 15 minutes. Go get a snack."

I really do think Rift will see remarkable retention rates after the first three months. People are already starting to say that after playing Rift they can't imagine going back to WoW. I never heard anyone say that in any of the previous competitors.

Woot! Top on kills again! (5th column along, the sword icon)