Posts Tagged ‘interview’

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Wisdom of the Elders: Clerics from top progression guilds talking about cleric changes in 1.7

February 2, 2012

This guide is co-owned and first released on

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Hello everyone, this is the 3rd installment of my interview series talking with clerics from top progression guilds about cleric issues. The focus of this interview will be on the 1.7 changes that went live on Feb 1. You can read about the previous two interviews on 1.6.1 DPS and tanking.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Wisdom of the Elders: Clerics from top progression guilds talking about cleric tanking in 1.6

December 13, 2011

This guide is co-owned and first released on

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Hello everyone, this is the 2nd installment of my interview series talking with clerics from top progression guilds about cleric issues. In our first installment, we talked about cleric DPS in a raid setting. You can see that interview here or here.  Shortly after,  we received a 25% boost to our single target DPS through the usage of Mien of Aggression. The push for more cleric single target DPS was a collective effort by the cleric community and some clerics were so passionate about the issue that they ended up being temporarily suspended on the forums for a few days.

The idea of this interview series, like the previous one, was to give you an idea of tanking issues from the perspectives of clerics from the top progression guild.  Keep in mind that these opinions are that of their own and do not represent the opinions of their guild.  I am also hoping that I could get the developers at Trion to read it, in case they are confused about what the key issues the clerics are facing due to the amount of differing feedback they get everyday.

There are two clerics tanking changes you need to keep in mind. The first was a rather big change to the Justicars with patch 1.6. Essentially, we had one of our abilities, Shield of Faith, which reduces the amount of damage we receive, nerfed from 15% damage reduction to 10% damage reduction with 5/5 point allocation. To counter the nerf, there was also a change to Thorvin’s Law, essentially rewarding heavy investments in Justicar soul in return for more magical and physical mitigation.  Interestingly, 1.6 also introduced significant overhealing threat generation with Mien of Leadership to solve our aggro issues. However, this was rather buggy and did not work as expected. Thankfully, with 1.6.1 patch, we finally received a fix to this issue and now overhealing is working as intended for aggro generation.

Anyways, lets get to the interview!

Like last time, there are 10 questions and 3 participants. There are:

Quietmode, cleric tank from <Voodoo>

Radak, also known as Alovnek, author of the famous Justicar tanking guides.

Xitan, cleric tank from <Maximation>, also hosts a streaming channel here (justin.tv)

1. Can you give us a little background about yourself as a cleric tank?

Quietmode: My gaming history begins in 1999 but my Tanking history doesnt start until World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade. I was a Paladin tank originally in wow and tanked for my last 4-5years of WoW before joining rift. When i first read about Justicar tanks, i immediately fell in love. A healing based tank was always what i wanted my paladin to be. I played my paladin tank using my healing support as much as possible, utilizing any and all heals possible under specific cirumstances.

I started Pre-release as a Cleric with the intention of tanking and bought my 2nd role as soon as possible to be my justicar role. I accomplished server first runs as the tank for almost every normal dungeon while leveling up. I successfully tanked most T1/T2 in the first weeks of 50 even though i felt inferior to warrior tanks. (Greg in DSM T2 was near impossible without 2 healers on a cleric tank). I was really excited to hop into Tanking for GSB when we got a group together, but we were pushed behind rogues and warriors on tanking because of the high magic damage on many fights. I was fine with being pushed back because clerics were top 3 dps in most fights with the 31/11/24 spec. I still was the 3rd tanking option on most fights requiring tanks (Herald, hylas, Alsbeth). Tanking in HK went fine since we had our little niche in physical tanking.

Radak: Lets see here I originally started tanking on my dual wielding Death Knight alt in World of Warcraft and tanked most raids there (only on normal since I would join alt raids). The idea of a alternate tank was something that I liked and after I became bored of wow and found rift, this was something I wanted to continue.

I started tanking on my cleric around beta 5 at which time tanking as a cleric was a whole lot different and Convictions felt much more like combo points and you would have to juggle them around. During beta 6 and 7 I continued tanking on my cleric and I was able to tank all instances at that time (max level at end of beta 7 was 42). At that time cleric tanking was a whole lot more challenging then it is now and this is kind of a disappointment for me.

When the game released I leveled my cleric from 0 to 50 fully using a tank build and since I was one of the fastest levelers I was one of the few tanks around. As a result when people where looking for tanks in general chat I would almost always be taken. When I reached 50 there we only 2 others in my guild that had reached level 50 yet. As a result I started raiding with a different guild where me and another cleric tank where the 2 main tanks for the first 3 raids (after that the other cleric tank dissapeared and was replaced by a warrior). At the same time I joined that guild as still not anyone else had reached level 50 in my original guild.

Xitan: Hi my name is Xitan, I’ve been playing online games for roughly 12 years. I am a competitive person by nature and have a specific draw to MMO’s. In general I try to stay out of the spotlight and low key because I have a hard time communicating my theories and opinions. Unfortunately my ambition to stay out of the spotlight doesn’t stop me from getting noticed, such as when I got banned in AoC, just search “xitan age of conan” and you can see why.

My style of play is attrition which is part of the reason I enjoy healing classes. I’ve been playing healing classes for as long as I can remember, and really enjoy treating MMO’s as a second job. I take pride in my theory crafting and thinking outside of the box, often I go against the grain and common practice to find a way to make things work best for me.

Within the first two weeks of Rift I had the urge to do more then the normal healing role I typically play. One of the Clerics I did not get along very well with told me I could never tank as a Cleric in Rift. From then on out I became intrigued with the idea and started my research and path to become the mainspec Tank role I have today. Here is a launch week pic of me tanking an infinite spawn of mobs in Droughtlands, take a peek at the size of my character model. http://imgur.com/a/zFxQS#0

Shortly after the first week of Rifts release I was healing and tanking for T1 and T2 instances. The buddies I started with did not have as much interest in the game as I did so I ended up changed guilds and applied to a starter raiding guild. The shortness of tanks helped me practice and gear up very quickly. Upon the disbanding of the guild I sought out Maximation and applied as my most geared role, Tank.

2. With the release of 1.6, is 51 justicar the only viable tanking spec now for raids? (Quickmode’s calculations that has the best physical and magical mitigation). Is it a concern that we have to spend 51 points into our tanking soul?

Quietmode: I wouldnt say 51 justicar is the only viable tanking spec, but for a tank in a high progression min/max guild it should be the only spec considered, especially for magic fights. I wouldn’t recommend going below 44pt justicar purely because of the loss of Magic mitigation. Dropping to 44pts is probably only neccesary for precision roles such as getting purge or going for more of a offhealing role

Radak: No other specs are still viable. However 51 point builds are something I would advice for any fight that has some for of non-physical tank damage simple because of the superior mitigation. But when there is no or only a low amount of magic damage any 44+ build is more then capable of tanking the fight (in some cases even 38+ will do fine).

As for it being a problem that we have to spend 51 points into our tank soul. I don’t really see it as a problem for almost any fight. The only problem I see is that 51 builds don’t have any actual access to a purge without going below 51 or having to drop some points from shaman. This is currently not that much of a problem as the fights where a purge is needed aren’t really magic heavy. But when there comes a boss with high magic damage plus requiring purging this could become a problem and I would like to see this fixed in some way. Either by having our reliance or shaman being removes (by moving the talents to just in some way) or by giving justicar it’s own purge.

Xitan: Well this is kind of a loaded question. The viability of our tanking really depends on what your opinion of tanking is. If tanking means to you, the ability to hold aggro on a boss and survive without changing too much of the raid composition to do so. Then no, the gains you get from going 51 Justicar vs 38 Justicar are minuscule compared to the difference between a tank speced Warrior vs a tank speced Cleric.

I will however agree that 51 Justicar provides a significant magic mitigation boost compared to a competitive 38 Justicar. So if you need that extra magic mitigation you should be speced 51 points into Justicar. On the flip side 51 Justicar provides very minimal gains when it comes to physical damage mitigation. In my current gear (full set of HK gear, 5 of them relic set peices) I take 4% more physical damage in a 38 point Justicar spec.

I have had plenty of debates, even within Maximation, as to what is better for tanking. In my opinion there are many factors involved with tanking. I wont argue that taking less damage isn’t our up-most priority but I am a firm believer that it is important to bring as much as you can for the raid as possible, no matter what class/role you are. Rift allows each player to be very dynamic in their specific setup. In my case I may take a measly 4% extra physical damage, but I also bring a slew of other tools, most notable is a much more powerful Doctrine of Loyalty. These extra tools are important for progression pushes, if you determine you really need that 4% extra physical mitigation to tank a boss then by all means go 51.

3. Numbers wise, it looks like cleric tanks are behind in both mitigation and hp compared to other callings. Is this difference actually noticeable on raid settings? Can our heals compensate for this?

Quietmode: I have noticed a significant difference in damage taken between me and our warrior tank though i do not have any numbers handy to prove this. I seemed much squishier on any Dual MT fight and on trash he would hardly lost health tanking entire packs. In my earlier post on war vs cleric i pointed out the kind of support that a warrior tank brings in comparison to our heals/brez. In my opinion the unique abilities the warrior brings (5% dmg, 5% less armor, 5% less hit) in addition to the ones that they can buff versus a dps doing completely counters our heals. They also have the bonus of those abilities always being needed while our heals are marginal at best in some fights

Radak: Yes it currently does look like cleric tanks are behind a bit in both mitigation and hp however at the moment this isn’t really a problem and cleric tanks are more then capable of tanking any boss at the moment. It can become a problem if Trion will balance future raid content on the mitigation and HP levels of warrior tanks because in that case cleric tanks will have a serious problem. As for our heals they won’t really compensate for this problem because they hardly scale and as a result they don’t heal that much.

Xitan: Pre 1.6 Cleric tanks took more physical damage per swing then Warriors. Fortunately for us we had much higher hp pools, better incoming heals / self heals and better avoidance stats to boot. These extra tank stats allowed us to mimic Warriors and their ability to tank, from a healers perspective (the thing that counts most) we we’re very close in terms of tanking ability in 1.5. Essentially Warrior tanks where the Mitigation tanks, and Cleric tanks where the Avoidance tanks. Some fights lended themselves to Cleric tanks because of our ability to do close to the same as Warriors plus we added some extra AoE heals to the mix. Fights like Inquisitor Garau, magic damage heavy, were still the Warriors forte as they have always had much higher magic mitigation then Cleric tank counterparts.

In 1.6 all tanks got a buff. Often you will see that comment made, so if you are only concerned with tanking GSB/RoS/HK forever then yes Cleric tanks got some sweet buffs. In short Cleric tanks had their cooldowns buffed, magic mitigation increased and had a small 5% physical mitigation reduction (doesn’t come out to 5 full %). Warriors took a clear lead in amount of changes and received much bigger buff in comparison.

It is very easy to see that the new 1.6 Warriors make it considerably easier to tank the current content compared to 1.5. Now you can see guilds who are still progressing through HK effectively down encounters because their Warriors take much less damage then before, which allows them to sac healers to meet enrage timers or simply not get gibed as much as before. Maximation has made significant changes to our HK tanking with the release of 1.6. As one example, we can now solo tank Sicaron with one dedicated healer in the raid and everyone else as pure dps or some sort of hybrid.

Personally I am all about progression pushes where the skills, reliability and theory crafting really shine. If nothing is changed between now and then, and we assume the content is difficult, a Warrior tank will make the next tier of content significantly easier.

TL;DR Its not about the ability of a specific tanking class to preform its role, its about the relativity of that tanking class compared to the other two. Warriors have a significant leg up in the tanking department with 1.6.

4. With the recent buff to warrior tanks, it seems like warriors are better main tanks for most raid content and using warriors seems to trivialize some of the raid encounters. As a cleric tank, how do you feel about this? Are you content with being the offtank?

Quietmode: Personally, I love being a “Off-tank”. But by offtank i mean a role when i can have the opportunity to switch between mein of leadership and mein of honor and actually help on Heals, much like i do on my akylios kills where i switch weapons and heal more.

Radak: Like I said in the previous question I currently don’t see much of a problem with it. However I am kind of worried about what the future might hold. I myself wouldn’t be satisfied with just a offtank job while I have been able to main tank 90+% of the content up to now. And I can only hope Trion will do something to fix the differences between cleric, rogue and warrior tanks so they are all viable for all fights within a decent margin. One of the tanks being slightly better then the other on some fights is no problem as long as it’s not for every single fight and the difference should never be so big that the other tanks are simple incapable of tanking the encounter (like inquisitor before patch 1.6).

Xitan: Here is the way I look at it: I feel like the runt of the tanking classes that was shunned for even thinking he could tank pre-HK (mostly due to magic fights). Then when HK released suddenly I was the go-to-guy for making progression pushes easier. I was a super-star and a savior. Now that HK progression is over I have been put back into my place as the class that simply can tank but only if you already have the gear and there is no Warrior around to do the heavy lifting.

Contrary to popular believe, I am fine with this. The only issues I have with the changes is that they have been so dramatic. Trion has a history of things going from really effective, to not effective at all or visa-versa. On top of the fact that they do not give us a clear road map for what they want out of each class. Rift simply becomes a guessing game as to what you will be doing after the next patch.

I would love to be the stable offtank role over anything else. This would make it more acceptable to keep my more healing heavy hybrid tank spec so that I could support the raid more while offtanking. My only gripe is that they need to design encounters that promote offtanking. For example a perfect offtank mob in this game is the large golem add that spawns every time Herald Gaurath lands in RoS. The main tank cannot tank this mob because it puts a debuff on whoever it hits that makes the Gaurath’s breath hit for waaay more.

5. With regards to off-tanking, it has being mentioned that some of the raid content right now are not really designed MT and OT but rather two MTs, swapping back and forth. Do you agree with this? Is there even a place for cleric offtanks at all in raids?

Quietmode: I do agree that most fights are MT/MT. Really only Matron and Zilas has an OT role. The only problem with clerics as an offtnak, is that all of their offtank support is healing which isnt always neccesary or strained from the normal healers. If we were to be label more as a offtank/support tank we would need some similar debuffs/buffs as warriors offer.

Radak: I have to agree with this currently most fights require tanks to be equal a few easy examples are Warmaster Galenir, Murdantix, Matron, Sicaron and Darktide (to some degree). Currently there are very few fight that require true offtanks. So there wouldn’t be a real spot for cleric offtanks in the current situation. And in my opinion I wouldn’t like it if they designed fights for offtanks. I always thought are a bit of a let down. As a offtank it always seems like the devs needed to find a way to keep you busy. For example you might be tanking some adds half the time but the other half of the time you are just being bored and doing 200dps. So I much prefer encounters where there is either a tank swap or there is always something to tank for every tank required for the fight.

Xitan: I made a comment on the forums about this before. Tank swapping (MT and MT) seems to be a very common theme between most of Trion’s encounters. If all tanks where equal in terms of their tanking ability (mitigation or avoidance) I would be very happy with this. I honestly think that a majority of the community and the developers feel that Warriors should be better tanks, hands down. If all tanks are equal then MT and MT would be fine for me, if all tanks are not equal then they should make most of the fights have a true offtank role.

Since Warriors are so much better at taking hits with 1.6, MT and MT fights would mean you should bring two Warriors on progression. I’m not saying its not possible but you will need that extra healer, cooldown or have to adjust your raid to make the non-Warrior tank work. I do not like the idea of requiring additional help and having someone holding my hand because I have aggro.

If I was in charge of designing the tank balance I would have all tanks be vastly different. Warriors could take both physical and magical hits very well at the same time. Rogues could take magic hits just as good as a Warrior but have very crappy physical mitigation. Clerics could take physical hits just as good as a Warrior but have very crappy magic mitigation. Then, and most importantly, I would design each encounter so that they required three tanks. Warriors would take the MT role such that they would mitigate the heavy hits and debuffing the boss, Rogues would be the movement tank required to either kite through blinking or simply have to get somewhere fast and possibly absorb some magic hits, Clerics would excel at holding aggro on a group of trivial mobs that would have some mechanic to it (such that they MT could not possibly hold them when tanking the boss) and they could assist with AoE healing.

6. One issue cleric tanks seem to have is AoE threat. What is your personal experience with this matter? (note this issue was largely fixed with 1.6.1 with the fix to overhealing threat)

Quietmode: Our threat in general is fine versus DPS, but its a joke versus the Rogues planar vortex and warrior aoe threat. So its not really that our aoe threat is bad, its just that rogues and warriors have a tremendous lead over us.

Radak: Cleric AoE threat might be a bit lacking at the moment (possible because of a bug with overhealing threat). However I hardly every have problems keeping AoE threat from the dps since this patch. I think a lot of people are focussing to much on trying to keep aggro by healing. However most seem to have forgotten that every justicar ability now causes increased threat, including Even Justic, and by using a combination of tab targeting even justice spam smart use of DoA it’s easily possible to keep threat from more then 5 targets. However during raids you are hardly tanking more then 5 targets on your own and you have your fellow tanks that are also tanking. The only exception is Matron however in this case they simple inherit boss threat the moment they spawn so as long as your on top off the threat table they will instant target you and run to you and threat isn’t a problem on them because of the 130% threat treshold (this is also the reason why some people are reporting dps dieing when the adds spawn as they inherit actual threat, not the target of matron, so if the dps is at 110% of the tank matron won’t switch but when the adds spawn they do target the dps).

Xitan: Since initial release Clerics have had a tough time with AoE snap threat. Sustained AoE threat wasn’t too much of an issue if their was players to heal. During Maximation’s alpha testing of HK we where encuraged to give feedback on any aspects of the game (this was when MoL overhealing was 300%). I wrote a letter to the developers asking to implement overhealing threat (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1B8TfjVcJ9lCyJlaXojHqhe82iy_XrmaL9fVF-AfXUnQ/edit), I do not take credit for this change whatsoever but I would like to note that it took some time to get through the pipeline. 1.6 introduced overhealing threat but it did not work. 1.6.1 fixed overhealing threat and as far as I can tell, so their isn’t much of an issue here.

7. One of the big things from 1.6 is generating agro from overhealing. Many clerics have reported their frustration with this and Zinbik has posted his comments. Is this mechanism working for you? How are you using this? (note this issue was largely fixed with 1.6.1 with the fix to overhealing threat)

Quietmode: I havent seen much success from Using DoL or other overhealing mechanics having the effect they should. When i use a Call to entrench or Call to battle on my 50 warrior it almost feels like i taunted all the mobs from the snap aggro it gives. Same thing from my rogue tanks Planar vortex. The snap aggro these two classes offer is phenominal in my experience. I have tried running into mobs, and DoL’ing, but i still cant get aggro. I have given up using DoL has a main aoe threat gain and just use it when there is actually something to heal.

Radak: It indeed appears to be a bit malfunctioning at the moment when I really tried to use it. And as a result I now simple ignore it and noticed that the threat from our new ability modifier is more then enough to be able to keep aggro until it gets fixed. However even after it gets fixed I will most likely still continue using the default ability’s unless there is a advantange of using healing threat somewhere in the fight (like adds spawning very far away that need to be picked up ASAP).

Xitan: One of the most concerning thing for me is the fact that Zinbik was in much denial that 1.6 overhealing threat was not working. It took a lot of effort by the community to convince him that it was in fact broken. I saw plenty of threads on our forums with video links disproving what he thought was working. It took me a few minutes of testing to realize it was not working. So how much of the other changes are actually not working as they intended that we do not know about, for every patch?

Since the start of my tanking career I haven’t relied much on heals as part of my threat. 1.6.1 will help me on my AoE threat issues and I will be able to spam more heals and not worry too about losing threat if I get a lot of overhealing. I havn’t had much of an issue with single target threat so I wont need to use it for single target fights.

8. In general, how do cleric tanks compare with rogue tanks?

Quietmode: I’m not really sure, I havent really been tanking while he is tanking. Its normally me and the Warrior or the warrior and the rogue.

Radak: We don’t really use a rogue tank that often but at the moment I think rogue tanks have a slight edge over cleric tanks at the moment mainly because of there larger hp pool. But I think rogue and cleric tanks are currently fairly balanced. But like I said I haven’t looked that much into rogue tanking so I don’t have to much to compare.

Xitan: I feel bad that Rogues had the shaft in HK, its not that they could not tank the content, it just required much more work on the raid to make them work as effectively as a Warrior or Cleric. Unfortunately Maximation has not had a Rogue tank in quite some time so I cannot give any good comments about this. As far as I understand they are not up to par with Warriors. I feel they need a better niche then simply having teleports since Clerics have healing. As a plug, Maximation really really needs a quality Rogue tank we would much rather recruit one then have one of our current Rogues do the part.

9. Do you have anything you like to add about cleric tanking or anything you would like to ask Zinbik?

Quietmode: Not at the moment. I feel like it needs some sort of gameplay adjustments, but i dont have any ideas or suggestions.

Radak: There are a couple of questions/requests I would like to ask zinbik.

1: Removing our reliance of shaman by moving the mitigation and increased healing taken somewhere into the justicar soul. This will allow more variations in possible builds as we go from 58 fixed talent points to only 51 (still not actually fixed as you can go lower but oke). I think this will help a bit in getting more choose in different tanking builds. It also free’s up some talents for shaman for more dps oriented talents.

2: Move a purge somewhere into the justicar soul even though it’s available at only 10 points into inquisitor this is currently impossible to pick up in a 51 point build because of the reliance on shaman. Doing number 1 can help with this but this is another option.

3: Try to balance the 3 tanks a bit more to avoid one of the tanks becoming un-viable in future content. If new content would be balanced around the current warrior tanks cleric will have a very very hard time tanking that content.

4: Take a look at the threat issue again and please make wisdom superior.

5: I like that we might be avoidance tanks with over 40% dodge+parry however in this case our hp needs a boost to be able to survive 2 hits in future content.

6: Scaling will appear to be a problem for cleric tanks in the future. Parry is already hard capped and block is already over the soft cap. And because wisdom doesn’t provide much avoidance we are forced into str/dex for higher avoidance stats. However these don’t appear on our gear so there is a definite cap on how much we can get of these stats. As a result our scaling will be much slower in future content and might put us further behind warrior tanks then we already are in the future. (I can only hope Zinbik will contact me so I might be able to discuss the future of cleric tanks with him in regards to balance and scaling)

7: One of my most wanted things: Take a look at the old style cleric tanking from beta, I really liked the way convictions worked at that time. Currently they are just something that you can ignore 90% of the time because we only use it for DoA and PoR. The few exceptions are when heavy healing is required and we use DoL. But I would like to see convictions be used for more tank oriented ability’s.

Xitan: Overall I am torn with Cleric tanking, I feel like I am in limbo after 1.6, some players tell me Warriors will get nerfed but I am constantly reminded how Rogues where left out for all of HK. I do not feel like I am a go to tank on any boss encounters right now and honestly the only reason I am expected to tank is because I have gear or because a Warrior can do more dps then me if I tank.

I have a few tanking questions for Zinbik:

What is the direction of all three tanking classes, how are Rogues, Warriors and Clerics supposed to work relative to one another?

Are the dungeon teams planning on designing more offtank roles in their boss encounters?

Doctrine of Loyalty is known as a very powerful heal compared to all of the other Cleric heals. Is it intended that hybrid Clerics are to have access to this one-button healing answer?

10. Finally, what do you enjoy the most as a cleric tank?

Quietmode: Being able to support the raid with heals, effectively assisting as two roles in the raid.

Radak: I mostly like the fact that it’s a bit of a alternate tank with the ability to heal. However I think this concept should be taken a lot further and self healing should become a more important aspect (maybe combine this with the tank balance and the convictions idea).

Xitan: Simply put I enjoy being able to heal and tank at the same time. If I was unable to use any heals while tanking I probably would not be in the position I’m in today.

Thanks again to Quietmode, Radak, and Xitan for answering those questions!

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Wisdom from the Elder: Clerics in top progression guilds talking about 1.6 Cleric DPS

November 25, 2011

This article is co-owned and first released on

mmosite148x59133

Hello everyone, recently I had a chance to interview a couple clerics from some of the top progression guilds in the game and get their feedback & opinions about cleric DPS in 1.6.

Shortly after that interview was conducted, we saw a flurry of posts from Zinbik, the class dev lead. Here are some of the changes he proposed!

Clerics

  • Mien of Aggression: Now available at 21 points in Cabalist, Druid, Inquisitor, or Shaman. Increases the single target damage of the Cleric and their pet by 20%. Reduces healing by 20%. Does not affect the healing from Balm of the Woods, Contempt, Glory of the Chosen, Harsh Discipline, or Ravaging Darkness.
  • Mien of Aggression, Mien of Honor, Mien of Leadership: Increased their individual and the shared cooldown for Miens to 15 seconds.

Cabalist

  • Curse of Discord: Now lasts 15 seconds as indicated in the tooltip.
  • Symbol of the Ancient: Reduced the bonus per point spent in the Cabalist soul to 2%.

Inquisitor

  • Armor of Awakening: Increased the spell damage bonus to 10%.
  • Clinging Spirit: Now lasts 30 seconds.
  • Shroud of Agony: AE now hits 10 enemies.

Justicar

  • Doctrine of Authority: No longer uses projectiles.
  • Mien of Leadership: Will no longer cause immune messages under certain unusual circumstances.

Our ultimate goal was to increase DPS without changing existing playstyles or increasing the power of -icars. We currently intend to release these changes prior to 1.7, so we would really appreciate as much testing and feedback as we can get as soon as possible.

Anyways, here is the content of that inteview, hope you enjoy and remember that their opinions do not in anyway represent that of their guild.

Ahov – Cleric from <Maximation>

Rantology – Cleric from <Voodoo> and author of DoL Hybrid Healing Guides

jMerliN – Cleric from <Addiction>

1. What role(s) you play on raids as a cleric?

Ahov – I usually play a full-healing role as puri/sent, but on some encounters I run a hybrid healing spec such as senticar or inquisicar.

Rantology – On fights where AoE heals aren’t required I usually play full DPS as either Inquisitor or Cabalist (most of the bottom floor of HK). On fights like Grug, Molinar, Inquisitor, Darktide and Akylios I run DoL hybrid healer (inquisicar). I MT heal as sent/puri on Matron and run 51 warden for Estrode.

jMerliN – I play a lot of different roles depending on the fight and our composition. As we start to outgear content, though, I settle into mainly tank/raid healing in 51W or W/S in P8 gear or falling back on inquisicar for raid heals + DPS with the inquisitor 4pc. If we need more ST DPS, I’ll run either a 51 sham or 51 inquis depending on the fight, if we need AoE damage for killing turtles on Garau, I’ll go cab, etc. I don’t ever really tank, though.

2. As of 1.6, clerics are reporting that they are 30-35% behind in dps compared to other callings; is this what you observe in your raid as well? Would running a pure cleric DPS hinder the raid?

Ahov – Clearly stating the math (and understanding it) is very important when discussing balance. The top Sicaron parse in the world is right at 4200, while the top cleric parse is at 3100. That means clerics are 26% behind the top parse. However, to match that level of dps we would need a 35% flat dps increase. Running a pure cleric dps would technically be less beneficial than running a dps mage, and to an extent my guild has balanced around minimizing the number of clerics. We run four clerics in our raids, and I honestly consider more than three as suboptimal for most fights. All of this being said, you can complete any encounter in Hammerknell with excess clerics.

Rantology – As a pure DPS, the reports are true. At the moment I can do 3-3.1k on sicaron and about 2.3-2.4k on Murdantix as a 66 point DPS. On our raid this week I was 27% behind the top Sicaron DPS and 30% behind the top Murdantix DPS (10th on DPs and 8th on DPS respectively), anywhere from 15-30% behind the top 5. I don’t think the 35%+ figures are accurate but we are definitely 20-30% behind other callings in equal gear.

jMerliN – I’d say that’s pretty accurate looking at just single-target damage. Our AoE is fairly competitive and doesn’t need much change. It’s hard to get a really accurate number because every fight is different, some have AoE parts, others have movement or mechanics that make the DPS from parses unreliable. Around 30% lower than others in an optimal setting for everyone (like Sicaron with no contracts, no purges) is roughly what I’m seeing from clerics in comparable gear, though.

I wouldn’t say running pure DPS from a cleric would hinder a raid. It might if the raid is just starting HK when not everyone is even fully geared in raid tier 1 gear. The DPS requirements for most fights in HK are pretty low, so unless you’re running a significant number of undergeared clerics, you won’t have much trouble with a solid 20 man downing bosses. It’s far more important that the DPSers are aware and know when and where to put their DPS than it is that you have so much DPS that coordination doesn’t matter. In general, unless you’re hitting an enrage, you have plenty of DPS.

3. In your opinion, should a full dps spec’ed cleric ever come close to the DPS of other callings? If not, how much behind you think its reasonable?

Ahov – I believe clerics should offer the worst dps of any calling. However, they should still not be so much of a liability as they are now. A rough 20% increase would balance things in my eyes. I understand my opinion is not very popular among clerics, but I am against homogenization. I feel that everyone having the exact same dps removes any noticeable differences between callings aside from which few buttons you spam.

Rantology – I do think clerics should be able to be competitive. The RIFT soul system was something unique to me, with certain soul combinations you could gain great utility or specialize in a certain area. Trion obviously wanted clerics to be able to fill a damage roll, we have 4 souls dedicated to nothing but damage. It’s Trion’s choice on how they want to balance the various callings and souls, and there are plenty of ideas put forth by the community as to how to go about making the cleric unique, fun and competitive to play as a DPS, I would hope they’d step up and try to take a stab at it. It’s definitely possible.

jMerliN – Absolutely. A cleric in a build and in gear solely meant to DPS should be competitive with other callings. The reasonable difference would be up to the normal ups and downs of changes to souls, not a steadily increasing gap over months of patches as clerics have seen.

4. Even after the 1.6 druid “minor” fix, its dps still does not come close to that of shaman and inquisitor souls. Its that a problem that needs to be looked at? If so, how do you propose the devs should approach this?

Ahov – Alongside dps increases to shaman and inquisitor, druid should gain a few powerful support buffs that make it viable, as opposed to a flat dps increase. We need more variety and viable options as opposed to another dps build that will offer nothing special.

Rantology – I think it’s a problem that could be solved in a number of ways. Right now the Druids DPS is poor in part because the pets scale so poorly. You can either homogenize pets so that all of their abilities are based on player gear, buffs, consumables (as if the player themselves are attacking, but those attacks come from the pets) or you could increase and/or expand the pet scaling. Currently pets do not gain any benefit from player consumables, talents (+5% SP or +5% crit etc etc) or self-buffs (such as Armor of Devetion)… I think it’s damaging to the soul as a whole, the Satyr will do about 40% of a clerics DPS as a 51 Druid, and if that pet isn’t able to benefit from self buffs and consumables then it puts it at an immediate disadvantage in a raid setting simply due to scaling. Zinbik stated the reason for this was so the pet wouldn’t "double dip" from raid buffs, but this makes it so player-only buffs, consumables and talents are wasted on it as well and I definitely think that aspect of pet scaling needs to be revisited. It’s still very crippled at the moment and even if they buffed the Satyr damage to be competitive, unless they address the pet scaling the other DPS souls would quickly out-scale it as gear progresses.

jMerliN – I don’t often play druid but from my understanding the scaling on most of its abilities are absolutely horrendous. This is pretty common among most of our DPS souls but the other 3 souls bring heavy hitting abilities and with 30+ points (resulting in a 51 point build) increase the scaling in a few others to bring their DPS up quite a bit (ST for sham & inquisitor and AoE for cabs). A huge problem for druid is that the 36 point passive only scales pet damage/healing. The way to fix this is the same that should be done for all of our souls: make base ability scaling more potent and remove the dependence on 36 point passives to achieve "good DPS." This shouldn’t make sub-50 clerics too strong but would allow us to keep scaling with other callings as we gear up.

5. A common concern among other callings is that increasing cleric DPS would also increase cleric’s healing ability via the Justicar soul abilities, making clerics “overpowered”. Is this concern valid? If it is, how could we address it?

Ahov – The amount of self-healing is trivial, and only really helps in solo environments or, to a certain extent pvp. If it becomes an issue, Trion has been known to balance pvp separately from PvE. Therefore, self-healing against players could be decreased proportionally to the dps increase.

Rantology – I don’t think this would be an immediate concern. 11 point Justicar healing is already pretty weak in PvP and offers little Survivability in reality. The heals cost GCDs and putting 11 points into justi is a big deal when most of our viable PvP DPS builds are 51 point builds, you lose a lot of DPS and burst that you could have otherwise gotten from crit modifier talents and instant-cast modifiers via Sentinel and Warden. You can dump more points into Justi to gain a bit more survivability via being more tanky (esp geared toward being anti-melee) but you won’t actually kill anything or offer much effective healing in a group PvP situation. In PvE I don’t believe it would unbalance anything. Chloro’s are actually capable of outputting a fair amount more raid healing and have much more utility than a hybrid cleric. If we were to gain more personal DPS I think it would actually help solidify our unique role of being higher DPS raid healers who specialize in countering continuous raid burst damage, as opposed to Chloros who can offer more sustained HPS and utility via tank heals and brezzes.

jMerliN – This concern is just unreasonable, at best. People seem to equate justicar to chloromancer. This is a completely invalid comparison. Chloromancers heal primarily through damage. Justicar hybrids heal primarily through casting DoL. Yes, if the ST DPS of a chloromancer were significantly buffed, it would be outrageously overpowered. However, reparation is a tiny percentage of the healing we can do with a justicar build. Further, maximum healing as a justicar hybrid implies managing convictions just for healing and spending most GCDs on healing. We have almost no DPS to be seen and we heal competitively with W/S, 51W, and chloro for raid healing. To top it off, the very act of investing 11 points into justicar lowers our DPS by close to 15% and provides less valuable reparation heals as a result. So these builds remain a balance: they can’t DPS as well as a pure DPSer and they can’t heal quite as well as a pure healer. The beauty of them is that they allow you to dial in the healing to exactly what is needed while DPSing competently otherwise. This reduces overhealing and this is their primary utility.

In short: buffing our ST damage won’t cause these builds to become too powerful. They will be better (in terms of available DPS), but they won’t suddenly be solo healing Sicaron nor Akylios, nor will they be mowing down teams of warriors & rogues in PvP, as many feel they would. Buffing our AoE damage absolutely could have the potential to break justicar hybrid builds, though. Reparation heals from AoE damage are significant.

6. With the recent 1.6 tank changes, how do cleric tanks stand now against warriors and rogues? It looks like stats wise we are a bit worse off? Are we still having threat issues? Stats aside, how is the cleric tank actual survival compared to others? Are we hurting a lot from the 5% damage mitigation nerf?

Ahov – When it comes down to picking a tank, you have to ask several questions:

a. Does the tank stay up? Is the tank healer overly stressing to keep them alive?
b. Can the tank generate sufficient threat to hold aggro against DPSers with similar gear?
c. What utility does the tank offer?

Our cleric tank noticed the new Mein of Leadership ability is not properly generating threat when overhealing the raid. This becomes an issue as they go back to their higher-threat 38 justicar build, losing mitigation. Once this is fixed, threat will be highly competitive and mitigation won’t be as much of a concern. It mostly comes down to utility, and looking forward to the future. Cleric tanks offer more utility than rogue tanks (except on Grugonim, where Physical Wellness is a handy raid buff for the knockbacks), but arguably less than a warrior. Warriors can keep up leader’s mark, allowing other DPSers to avoid going out of their way to throw on the armor debuff. Properly-specced warriors also bring Cutting Distraction, a 5% armor debuff. Cutting Distraction alone probably isn’t enough to warrant bringing a warrior over a cleric, since the true difference in damage is nowhere near 5%. However, when you combine this with their superior mitigation and threat generation, warriors are the go-to tanks for any min-maxing guild.

All of this being said, clerics are the best off-tanks. They are able to provide additional raid healing when not actively tanking. The problem with this assertion is that most encounters are not designed around having off-tanks. They are designed around having two of your best mitigation tanks. Any encounter that is not too heavy-hitting in magic damage, and requires two tanks, a cleric is your next best choice after the warrior. This actually applies to almost every HK fight involving two tanks. However, into the future the differences in mitigation may become much more noticeable, especially if content is balanced around the stronger mitigation tanks.

Rantology – Being as I don’t tank in raid scenarios any more I cannot really comment on this with any great amount of depth. I do think warriors have been over-tuned to the point of trivializing (or to a lesser extent making some fights a little easier) tanking in some of the content in PvE at the moment.

jMerliN – I don’t really tank, but from what I’ve seen in my own guild and from the concerns of other skilled cleric tanks, we’re definitely behind warriors and rogues in every department. The only benefit a cleric tank has is their ability to stance dance and heal, which is an important one to be sure, but not so much that a cleric should have difficulty keeping threat. I’m not so worried at the moment with clerics not being able to mitigate as much damage as warriors and rogues (that being said as a person who heals tanks), but I do have a real problem with threat still being an issue. We’ve been told by developers that threat should never be an issue for tanks. I don’t feel like it is for rogues and warriors (depending on the build). It still seems shaky for clerics, even with overhealing threat.

It may also be the case that cleric mitigation is a tad bit too far behind. After 1.6, our cleric tank was taking significantly more damage on phase 4 of Akylios. It was noticeable, but it didn’t cause us to wipe (for instance, in the video I posted, we did most of phase 4 with 2 tanks). It’s uncomfortable, to say the least. In my opinion, though, tanking is probably the most balanced archetype in this game.

7. It seems like a lot of our viable builds are 51 builds. Is that a concern? Should hybrids just be as effective?

Ahov – In a perfect world, yes. In a world where the mage dev had no clue how a Building Storm rotation would work and how effective it would be, it just goes to show that players will develop new builds quite often, that devs had not even considered. The end goal of Trion should be to balance different builds for dps, but I’m more concerned with them having unique utility and buffs to provide the raid.

Rantology – If they could be balanced in such a way. I’m skeptical that they could make hybrid builds competitive to 51 point builds in PvE but I do think there could be room for PvP hybrids to have some success.

jMerliN – It is a concern. We have far fewer options in terms of builds when we are forced to spec 51 points to be effective. This problem is entirely centered around most of our scaling coming from 36 point passives. There are only a few places where hybrids are still effective (W/S, P/S, and justicar healers mainly). I feel that from how this game was sold and what the developers have said throughout its lifetime that it is incredibly important that hybrids be effective. If we’re forced to spec into 51 point builds, we lose out on the very basis for Rift. I do think that 51 point builds should have something unique to offer (an incentive for going 51 points, perhaps), but they should not trump every other build hands down because of it. That goes for every calling, not just clerics.

8. Do you think our versatility as clerics is making us into “Jacks of all trades, master of none?” (other than healing of course).

Ahov – This is an interesting question, and it mostly depends on what Trion’s intentions are. A recent dev quote would suggest their goal is balancing all callings to perform similarly with DPS, healing, and tanking. Is this an admirable goal? I’m not sure. I’m afraid of homogenization, and feel it may ruin any immersion this game offered before. I chose my cleric to heal, not to be Superman. This does not mean I’m against having multiple roles. It just means I’m against everyone being equally effective at them.

Rantology – I think that term is just a way to describe poor class balancing.. no class should have a "muddy" feel. Honestly if they can’t balance cleric DPS they should give us more tank trees or more healing trees to make us more successful or have more options in those respective fields. Healing in PvP and PvE is "ok" at the moment but I think a lot could be done with the trees to give us more options on playstyle. Or even give us a support soul. But to leave our DPS souls in their current "muddy" and "not particularly useful" (aka jack of all trades, master of none 😉 ) state is just not acceptable.

jMerliN – I think a lot of people want this to be the case, but that it is contradictory to both the design goals of the game and with the developers stated intents for Rift. Every class in this game is, to an extent, a jack of many trades. We have no true support soul, so we can’t really be a "jack of all trades," so why should every other class be a jack of many trades, master of them all when we can’t? I primarily see this argument from various trolls and primarily people who feel threatened by any move to make clerics competitive, and by the fundamental concepts of Rift (that it should be the player that matters, not their class). The reason it really doesn’t apply to Rift is because nobody can really do multiple things at the same time and do them all well. You don’t see Warrior or Rogue tanks doing competitive DPS, for instance.

9. Is there anything specific that you would like Zinbik to take a look at/fix?

Ahov – The larger issue with Doctrine of Loyalty, even than the fact that it’s located in a tank tree, is that it has a base 35-meter range. This is far too much compared to healing communion or any other aoe spell. Healing Communion+most other aoe heals need to be increased to 35 meters, and Doctrine of Loyalty’s range reduced to 20.

Rantology – The Druid tree is the one that concerns me the most in it’s future in PvP and PvE. Other than that, (unrelated, but) I think if they would get rid of focus-less cleric gear and put talents in the healing trees to make focus useful for healing (high up in the trees, maybe converts 1 focus into .5 sp? idk) so that raid healing clerics were not confined in their role and versatility (essentially punished for being the 1 MT healer a raid needs on some fights) because of gear.

jMerliN – I want Zinbik to take a more active role in fixing our DPS souls. It wouldn’t hurt for him to try to be more open and active in the community, either. I’ve recently heard that his primary role at Trion is not as a class lead, which would make sense. Though this is purely speculation as I’ve not seen any proof of it, I think this is a fundamental reason why clerics are so upset with the game right now. We don’t truly have someone who has it as a priority to work on balancing our souls, or at least it doesn’t seem that way. It feels like someone else is going to have to step in and do this, and I don’t know how much more patience regarding the matter the cleric community has to offer.

10. Finally, kinda unrelated, what you enjoy most about clerics?

Ahov – As a healer, the decisions you make in a raid may drastically affect the outcome. Otherwise, I can’t imagine my black dwarf with a pink afro being anything but a cleric.

Rantology – I enjoy hybrid healing and the versatility we bring. Especially in the early GSB/RoS days when our DPS was decent, it felt really cool to be the monkey wrench in a raid and it’s very fun to learn and be able to utilize several very different builds over the course of a single raid. Being able to DPS on the fights that needed it, and to hybrid on others, etc.

jMerliN – I enjoy being able to heal and to DPS. When I started playing Rift, I carefully read all of the class and soul descriptions to find what I thought would suit me the best. I was left with deciding between a mage or a cleric. I tried both in beta 4, and preferred to play a cleric. I found it really awesome that I could DPS as well as others but switch to healing if we needed it, and the souls felt a lot more coherent to me than did the mage souls, and at the time, chloro healing was not what it is today (nor was it at launch). Recently though, I think our gear (HK gear and P6 gear) looks pretty awesome, too.