Wednesday, June 29, 2016

3.7 Summer Solstice Preview: Druid and Elementalist

Druids and Elementalists gain major upgrades in Update 3.7 Summer Solstice! Find out how and why these two venerable Souls are getting even better!

With a very versatile selection of abilities, Druid has always been one of the most popular Cleric Souls for leveling and Instant Adventure. That same versatility always carried a price tag however, as Druid tended to be less effective than other specialist Souls when facing the most difficult content in RIFT, such as dungeons and raids. People love playing Druids, and have long requested that the Soul be adjusted to enable competitive status at the highest levels of play.

In addition, we’ve felt for a while that Clerics were a little light on the number of high Damage Souls suitable for Raid and Dungeon environments. These things together made the Druid an obvious pick. The Cleric community really rallied around these efforts too, providing lots of excellent feedback and suggestions through our class forums.

With the upcoming changes, the new druid has a much more active playstyle than before. Several passive buttons or hour-long buffs were replaced with active abilities that reward precise management of several related stacks of debuffs on the target to maximize damage per second. In addition, Druids can now use the ability Conduit of Nature to gain one of four very powerful buffs. This allows Druids to get full benefit from their pet’s presence even in raid or PvP situations that might otherwise make the pet ineffective. One nice thing about this approach is that where the pet is already fully effective (for example, using the Faerie Healer pet in Instant Adventures), that option still exists – using the Conduit of Nature ability is entirely optional.

Up-and-coming Druids should strongly consider investing a bit in the Shaman Soul tree as well; for most Druids, the Shaman ability Massive Blow adds a considerable amount of damage to their repertoire.

The RIFT Elementalist shared similar issues as the Druid: it was a great soul for leveling but fell off in high end play. We love Souls that utilize pets, like Elementalist and Druid, but making the pets perform appropriately and intelligently in all environments is a major challenge. We wanted to tackle this in a slightly different manner with the Elementalist than we did with Druids.

In difficult situations, the Elementalist will now be able to tap into the raw power of the planes through their pet, rendering it powerless for combat but providing massive benefit to its master. The specific power granted will depend on the elemental nature of the pet, anything from dramatically increasing the caster’s resistance to damage via Earth pets, to making spells from the Elementalist school instantaneous through Fire pets. Picking the right pet and utilizing its elemental nature effectively can turn the tide of previously difficult encounters!

Anyone who played Elementalist previously will see an increase in power from these changes, and a number of interesting combinations exist with other Souls when they invest just enough to get the 58 point Conduit of Power talent. We can’t wait to see what fantastic combinations you come up with when RIFT Update 3.7 Summer Solstice goes live!


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