Stepping away from [pick one] RIFT enthusiasm/hype/speculation/fanboi gushing, today I wanted to comment a little bit on the soul system in the game.
One of the aspects I’ve struggled with is the lack of a unique class; after all, when anyone you meet is one of just four archetypes, you’re bound to bump into a few clones. I thought that playing a Bard would be kind of a unique choice, but lo and behold, a lot of folks I know are Barding it up like no tomorrow. Does that mean I can’t play the class? No, but it does take a bit of mental readjustment to accepting the fact that others can and will switch to the same build and role I’m doing on the fly.
It’s RIFT’s compromise: sacrifice locked-in classes with unique selling points for a much more flexible build that everyone has access to. It’s only a bad thing if you usually enjoy playing the class less traveled in MMOs (like I do), but I figure that there will still be little-played builds that can fill this role.
Anyway, yesterday I purchased my second role and decided to build a Riftstalker tank with my Rogue for situations where I needed to brute force through a difficult quest. By the way? I totally love that Trion changed the soul points distribution so that you’re forced to spread your points out a bit (I think you can’t have more points in any one soul than you have levels). This means that splash souls are suddenly very important, particularly those which have tier 1 and 2 talents that synergize well with your main soul.
So for the Riftstalker, I wanted to pump her health up as much as possible, so I added the Bard as a secondary for the tier 1 +5% health bump. It turns out that the Riftstalker is an absolute blast to play — a tank who teleports, uses shields, and even has a bit of self-healing going on. I’ve often said that one of my end game regrets is just how locked we get into one class and one role, and I often wish I could switch classes without having to level up again — now I can!
I’m already thinking about my third soul, perhaps the tried-and-true Ranger/Marksman combo that uses a pet and ranged weapons for some of that ol’ WoW hunter action. Honestly, I want to try everything, and that’s a good sign for my continued interest in this character.