Rift’s Holy Trinity

20 Jun

Back In My Day, You Whippersnappers

I’m an old-school MMO gamer. I cut my teeth on Everquest 1 and spent several glorious years in the early days of WoW.

My husband and I play together, and we met a third like-minded gamer early on in our Warcraft adventures.

The three of us mowed down all but end-game raid content in vanilla WoW, and we OWNED Burning Crusade. By the end, our little group had grown past three, but we never forgot our roots. The three of us could do almost anything, and our strong history of under-manning instances and heroics led to a raiding guild that wasn’t afraid to try something with less than the game-prescribed number of people.

In warcraft, our holy trinity was obvious : Warrior, Rogue, Priest. With that group makeup, even gods shuddered at our approach.


Along came Rift. We re-forged our group in that new environment.

  • Warrior tank, with the strongest tank spec.
  • Cleric healer, with the strongest healing spec.
  • Warrior dps, with the strongest dps spec (I know, I know, Rogue seems more obvious, but it was clear early on in Rift that Rogue dps wasn’t quite as good as the right warrior spec)

We failed, miserably. Sure, we could handle normal questing, but that stuff can be solo’d. Major rifts, invasion bosses, and instances were all beyond our capabilities. (In particular, the spider boss within the Darkening Deeps — aka Derpening Derps — was a hurdle for us, if you’re familiar with the layout).

The tank could survive and had to work to keep threat off the dps … but as soon as the healer ran out of mana, the fight was over. We were done. With only one dps, the cleric just couldn’t keep up. We even added a second dpser, and STILL ran into healing issues, both with throughput and with splash damage. We respecc’d the cleric, not once but TWICE (water/fire/light? fire/water/light? ARG!), and still couldn’t quite make it work.

Was it … us?

The New Group

We called a meeting of the braintrust. This group wasn’t going to work for us. We went all the way back to the drawing board and came up with an entirely different group makeup:

  • Cleric tank, with the strongest tank spec.
  • Mage healer, with the strongest healing spec (Chloromancer).
  • Rogue dps, alternating between a ranged dps spec and a healing spec (Bard).

Hallelujah! We were BACK. Not only did the Chloromancer do steady damage, the healing was much much MUCH more regular. Emergency moments could be handled by the cleric tank’s panic buttons as well as the chloromancer’s limited direct heal arsenal. Tough fights (the first time we needed it was the spider boss, again), the rogue would swap to Bard and strum buffs, debuffs, and heals on her lute.

We started mowing through instances not only undermanned, but also underleveled. Orange-con bosses? Psssht. Give us a challenge!

Why It Worked

The previous group failed because the healer was unable to heal everyone steadily and because they ran out of mana too easily. The heal-specc’d cleric couldn’t contribute to dps because they’d have to cast spells which (you guessed it) cost more mana.

The new group succeeded because everyone could contribute healing, and chloromancers have infinite mana. Much like the Warcraft warlocks, they could “bite themselves” for mana. They heal by damaging mobs – everyone who attacks the mob gets more heals, as well. As long as they kept dpsing, they poured forth a neverending stream of low-level healing to everyone, with extra healing going to whoever receives their blessing (we called it the “immortality buff”)

The tank could contribute to healing as well, and had absolutely no problems holding aggro or staying alive.

The flexible dpser cranked out a lot of dps, both single target and AOE. The ability to swap to a bard spec allowed for fights where mechanics took the normal healer out of the equation (like a web-wrapped healer during the spider boss – did I mention we hate that spider boss? Because we hate that spider boss.).

EVERYONE had infinite mana/energy/ability to continue doing their job.

Also? Bard/Ranger and Chloromancer are hella fun to play. That helped, too.


Everything we saw online said that clerics were supposed to be the best healers. In our experience, that was not even remotely true. Perhaps in end-game raiding, spike damage is so high that the padding of a bard and chloromancer would not be enough to handle it, but when it came to every encounter we faced (including difficult invasion bosses) the Chloromancer far outshone its cleric counterpart.


To my mind, this means that the classes still need balancing. I imagine the chloro can be significantly nerfed before they stop being top dog healer.

Cleric mana management will need a full-on overhaul if Trion wants them to be the best healers – not to mention looking at the throughput of spike-damage on the main tank while splatter damage hits the group.

The chloromancer doesn’t need to choose who lives and who dies – everyone lives. The cleric had time to cast one spell, and a gentle aoe was going to get everyone facedown in a pool of their own heartsblood.

Live In The Moment

For now, though, if you’ve got a small group of friends playing Rift and you want to be able to do anything, go with the current Holy Trinity:

  • Cleric Tank
  • Mage Healer
  • Rogue dps/offheal
Now, everyone go have fun and go forth to kill themselves some internet dragons! And if you’re lucky, get Courage the Corgi to join in your adventures.

3 Responses to “Rift’s Holy Trinity”

  1. Steve – Kestrel's Aerie June 20, 2011 at 11:44 am #

    I have a friend from my Shadows of Yserbius days (yes, an OLD friend *grin*) who is loving Rift, and desperately wants me to play. There’s this one small issue: No Mac client. *sigh*

    And while WoW plays beautifully on both my iMac and MacBook Pro, doing so with Windows running in VMWare Fusion virtual machine is impossible. So, I’m not even going to try to get Rift running in a Windows VM.

    OS X’s market share continues to climb (mostly in the laptop arena), but game share doesn’t. Pity.

    • Tami June 21, 2011 at 7:20 am #

      I play using bootcamp, but honestly it’s hacky and I only get a tiny fraction of the computing power my mac is capable of using. I have to play on low (although not lowest) graphics settings, which is ridiculous given how amazing the video card and processor is for the laptop.

      They really need to fix that, especially if games are going to continue to ignore the mac marketshare.


  1. Links To Elsewhere | Tami Moore - July 1, 2011

    […] Rift’s Holy Trinity – In which I talk about my experiences with Rift (also posted at SevenDeadlyDivas) […]

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