The launch of a new MMORPG is always exciting for fans of the genre. Each new game is effectively a new world to explore, and although there are often similarities between games in the genre, the differences are often less subtle than they first appear.
Rift is the latest combatant to enter this competitive arena, and one of its unique features is its class system. There are only four classes in the Rift class system, but each has multiple souls. You can obtain all the souls, but you can only use them in combinations of three. Sound a bit confusing? It is, but this guide will help you understand.
What’s A Soul?
If you’ve played any recent MMORPG you’re likely familiar with the concept of the talent tree, a branching series of options that improves your characters and unlocks new abilities. In Rift, a Soul is essentially an individual talent tree. When you obtain a soul, you obtain that talent tree and the ability to put points into it. The talents are tiered, which means you have to put at least 5 points into first tier talents to access the second tier, at least five more into the second tier to access the third, and so on.
The talent trees tied to a soul in Rift, however, also have roots. As you put more points into the talent tree, you can access new root abilities that aren’t tied to any particular talent. Let’s say, for example, you decide to play a Cleric and you choose Inquisitor as one of your souls. If you put 20 points in the Inquisitor soul’s talent tree you will gain an ability called Excommunicate, which damages an opponent and throws them back. It doesn’t matter what talents you take – if you point 20 points anywhere in the Inquisitor talent tree, you gain Excommunicate.
Think You Have Soul? I’ve Got Three!
If you were only able to pick one soul at a time, the Rift class system wouldn’t be much different from MMORPGs like World of Warcraft and Lord of the Rings Online. What makes Rift unique, and a bit confusing, is the ability to pick any three souls available from your class and put points into them however you choose.
Let’s return to our Cleric example. Let’s say I want to smite my foes with holy vengeance, so I stick with Inquisitor because it has a lot of damage dealing abilities and talents. However, I also want to heal my allies, so I pick a second soul called Sentinel. And I also want to have a pet, so I pick Druid as my final soul because it offers a little fairy that follows me around and heals me.
Now I have three talent trees, and I can put points into them as I choose. Obviously, this gives me a lot of options! But you’re also given a lot of points to spend – 66 by the level cap of 50, in fact. You can only spend 51 points in any single tree, so you’ll be dabbling a little bit in other souls even if you choose to grab every single talent available in one particular soul’s talent tee.
Pick a Role, Any Role!
While you can have just three active souls at any one time, each class has access to nine souls in total. If you’re a veteran MMORPG player, you might at this point be asking – what’s the point? Sure, you can mix and match between nine souls with each class, but wouldn’t you be missing out on a lot of potential combinations?
Rift answers this concern by making Roles available. Every character in Rift can have up to four roles (you start with one, but can purchase more). Each role is a combination of three souls that you’ve selected with it’s own allocation of talent points. A Cleric, for example, could have a role for healing groups, a role for solo questing, a role for tanking and a role for dealing damage in groups. You can switch between roles at any time when you are out of combat.
Since changing roles is so easy in Rift, there’s rarely any reason to deal with a combination of souls that’s not best for a given task. You can take on the role of a relatively defenseless healer in dungeons, but when you’re soloing you can transform into a nasty spellcaster or melee combatant with no penalty. This means there is absolutely no reason to worry about leveling slowly due to a role you want to fill in a group.
Hopefully, this guide has helped you understand the Rift class system. It is a bit more complex than simply picking a single talent tree and being done with it, which is what some MMORPGs ask players to do. The flexibility of Rift’s class system is one of the game’s main selling points, so if you’re a bit tired of games that strap you down into a particular specialization, Rift may be the breath of fresh air you need.