When I first heard about this game having 9 soul trees for each class I was stunned. The first thing that came to my mind was, "I must play this game.", my second thought was "They are going to have a hell of a time balancing the classes." Anyways I came to the Rift forums and eventually found a soul calculator and started making builds before even playing the game. At first I was a little overwhelmed, what calling should I play? what souls does each calling have? what does each soul do best? Ahh! That's what I want to help people with. Especially with open beta coming up in a few days when better to make a post about classes/souls and how to make your own build.
First there are 4 callings, Warrior, Rogue, Cleric, and Mage. These are pretty generic and if you have ever played an mmo before you should know what each calling is generally like and good for. While the callings are generic the souls aren't. Each class has 9 soul trees, while each class has 9 soul trees, only 3 can be used at the same time. You can swap them out anytime at a trainer by reseting your roles. (Your roles are your 3 soul trees you have picked.) You can purchase multiple roles to equip at anytime as long as you are not in combat but you may only have one role equipped at a time. (3 trees = 1 role.) Now each tree has branches and roots. You are probably confused right about now, because when I first looked at the game I was like "whaaat????" but once you see it, it's really not that bad. In each tree you have branches and roots. You spend points you get from leveling up on the branches (for example +1% chance to critical hit when attacking.) when you spend enough points on the branches you will get root skills. The bigger you make your tree the bigger the roots get to support the tree. Root skills are skills that you get that are based off of the tree you put your points into.
Now you are probably more confused then when you came here right? That's why I'll be explaining the classes/the souls and how to make a decent role (With screenshots!) using the soul calculator.
When leveling through the starting zone you will eventually get to pick your three starting trees. You can pick from any of the trees and once you have picked them you cannot unlock the other 6 until later in the game. 5 can be unlocked by doing soul quests in your main cities once you hit level 13 or higher and the last one through pvp. Once you have more souls, you can change your tree's around in your role by going to your calling's trainer and selecting reset my role.
In my guide I wont be explaining the PVP soul that each class gets, eventually I will make a PVP post and will explain about them then but for now they can't be gained until later on by doing PVP (getting enough favor to buy the soul.) and even so, you can't put points in the soul past the first row until you get level 50 and do more PVP.
For each soul I will list if it is either a defensive soul, offensive soul, support soul or a healing soul.
The warrior class souls: Offensive/Defensive
Beastmaster - Offensive Soul, Uses a pet and pet based skills.
Champion - Offensive Soul, Uses Two-Handed weapons.
Paladin - Defensive Soul, Uses shields and Life based attacks.
Paragon - Offensive Soul, Uses 2, One-Handed weapons.
Reaver - Defensive Soul, Uses Death Based attacks.
Riftblade - Offensive Soul, Uses elemental skills, they have a decent amount of ranged and melee skills.
Void Knight - Defensive Soul, Uses Pacts, strong against magic.
Warlord - Defensive Soul, Uses buffs and support based skills to help the group.
The rogue class souls: Offensive/Defensive/Support
Assassin - Offensive Soul, Uses poisons.
Bard - Support Soul, Uses sound to buff the group, heal the group and deal damage at the same time.
Bladedancer - Offensive Soul, Uses Rhythmic actions to buff themselves.
Marksman - Offensive Soul, Uses ranged attacks.
Nightblade - Offensive Soul, Uses fire and death attacks.
Ranger - Offensive Soul, Uses a pet and ranged based attacks.
Riftstalker - Defensive Soul, Uses plane shifts to catch enemies off guard.
Saboteur - Offensive Soul, Uses bombs and explosions while attacking.
The mage class souls: Offensive/Support/Healing
Archon - Support Soul, Uses buffs and debuffs to strengthen the group and weaken enemies.
Choloromancer - Healing Soul, Uses healing and life based abilities to heal the group while attacking.
Dominator - Support Soul, Uses debuffs to control fights and weaken enemies.
Elemental Summoner - Offensive Soul, Uses different elemental pets.
Necromancer - Offensive Soul, Uses death damage and a skeletal pet.
Pyromancer - Offensive Soul, Uses fire spells.
Stormcaller - Offensive Soul, Uses air and water spells.
Warlock - Offensive Soul, Uses death spells to deal damage to enemies while healing yourself.
The cleric class souls: Offensive/Defensive/Healing
Cabalist - Offensive Soul, Uses death spells.
Druid - Offensive Soul, Uses life damage and pets. Has ranged,melee and healing based skills.
Inquisitor - Offensive Soul, Uses both life and death spells.
Justicar - Defensive Soul, Uses a shield and life based attacks.
Purifier - Healing Soul, Uses shields to protect others and long casting heal spells.
Sentinel - Healing Soul, Uses life based attacks and uses big heals to heal multiple people.
Shaman - Offensive Soul, Uses melee based attacks.
Warden - Healing Soul, Uses water based attacks and healing spells that heal people over time.
*Phew* That should give you an idea as to which callings and which souls do what, but how do we use this information to make a build for you to use? Open up zam's soul calculator. http://rift.zam.com/en/stc.html From there pick the calling that you wish to use. For this guide purpose I will be clicking rogue. You should then have 3 tree's and 3 little boxes. Click one of the boxes and now is where the fun begins. What soul should we pick first? A good option when making any build is to almost always pick your three souls with, a main soul in mind, a soul to mix together with the main soul, and a soul to dump a few points into and get a few extra nice bonuses. For now just choose your main soul though, the one you want to play and the one you want to base everything else around. For the guide I am going to pick Assassin.
From there whenever you put points into your branches into certain skills, you will get root abilities based off of the number of points you have spent on the branches of that soul. See how each root has a number on it? If it has a number 2 on it then it requires 2 points to be spent into the branches of that soul to get that skill. Simple right?
Now what should we pick? Well we picked Assassin which is an offensive soul so we should be getting offensive abilities. When choosing talents look at your roots and see which ability is and does. Try to think about which moves you will be using most often and pick your branches based off of that. Also look to see if you can find any branches/roots that work together.
There, you have spent 26 points into the Assassin tree and are focused around poisons and critical hits. You can tell what level you need to be up in the top corner for this to work.
Now we should decide how far you want to go into this tree. Each tree has an added up number of 51 points that can be spent into each branch. Most of the time it is not beneficial to put all 51 points into the tree because you are wasting points that would be more helpful spent into another tree. Right now the only other roots we will get that work with poisons or critical hits are at 38 points and 51 points. Lets try to get the 38 point root but ignore the 51 point one. Now you need to pick 12 more points to put into your branches, we picked all of the stuff that had to deal with critical hits and poisons so now try to take abilities that will help those out as well. For example we could put 2 points into getting 4% more physical damage. That will make you do even more damage when you do critical hit. Or 15% more damage when attacking from behind with Savage strike and Final blow, two of your main roots that you will be using to do attacks with.
Once you have spent your points now we have to pick a second soul. Try to find a soul that also has a lot of critical hit branches/roots or poisons branches/roots to try to merge the two. A while back I had someone helped me to find out that branches DO stack. If you have one branch that says 5% more crit and another one in another tree that says 5% more crit also, that is 10% crit.
For this guide I picked Nightblade. As you can tell after compairing them all most souls don't mix very well together. Nightblade has some crit talents but also has some talents that increase non-physcial damage. Your poisons are non-physical damage since they deal water damage. I spent about 22 points into Nightblade branches getting the ones that seemed to increase or help my Assassin abilities but also ones that would be increasing the damage of some of my new Nightblade abilities that I was going to be using along side my assassin moves.
That left me at level 45, but we still have a 3rd soul tree. We can only get to level 50, so we dont have many points left to spend. Some builds will be able to mix 3 soul trees together really well while others may have a hard time mixing a 3rd soul tree in. Since we only have about 6 points left you should look for one tree that has a branch with 5 points in the first row that are going to help in some way. For this guide I picked ranger. It will not only give you a pet to increase your damage and help you while leveling but it has a first row branch where you can increase your critical hit chance by 5%. Now we have 1 point to spend where ever.
At this point you can really pick anything. I picked foul play in the assassin tree because it never hurts to be able to stun someone or something for 4 seconds. Here is a screenshot of what my build looked like when I finished!
There you go! Hopefully this guide can help all of you guys make your own interesting builds that you love to play and hopefully there will be less "cookie-cutter" builds out there if everyone is off making their own! Remember that you are able to purchase 4 roles. You dont have to have that many at the start, for now I'd sugguest just making one good one that you really like, but eventually you will probably have to have 4 separate roles so don't be afraid to try new things out and have fun with making your builds, if you aren't sure if something will work or not go test it! You can always pay to have your role/roles reset by going to your calling's trainer.
You can also get the link to your build so that you can save it for later by clicking link to this build.
Hopefully this helps some people, especially those people with Riftdrawls. Go make some builds and have fun with it. Beta is still six days away, ugh, beta 7 will be starting up February 15th and remember everyone it will be open beta which means we may see tons of people logging on just to try the game or just to complain or bug people. It might be a good experience but it could also be a bad one so just watch out and possibly ignore your chat until launch!