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My cleric is now level 30 and I have played 3 souls so far: Healer (Purifier/Warden/Sentinel), Caster DPS (Cabalist/Inquisitor/Purifier) and Melee DPS (Shaman/Druid/Purifier). Of these three roles, I’m really diggin the Warden’s HoT-style healing for rifts, the Purifier’s direct healing for well.. direct healing, and melee DPS with Druid as the main soul focus. This post will focus on the melee DPS setup with the Druid taking center stage.
Clerics & the Druid Soul
Clerics are a versatile calling — Healer, Ranged DPS, Melee DPS and even a Tank soul. This calling contains the three active, direct healing souls: Warden (HoT-based), Purifier (Direct & Bubble heals), Sentinel (Group heals); and one indirect healing soul, Justicar (AoE heals produced through melee damage by the cleric).
Today’s topic, the Druid, is a chain-wearing, 2-handed hammer-wielding nature loving face-smasher. The Druid deals out damage in melee combat and relies on it’s faerie pet as an integral part of it’s overall damage output. As a versatile soul, the Druid provides added utility when combined with other souls as the faerie pet that can both do damage and heal the player and party/raid.
After spending four soul points in the Druid tree, players access the Summon: Faerie ability. A small, delicate-looking fae appears at the player’s side with two abilities: Fae Blast (a ranged damage spell) and Faerie’s Favor (a HoT). She looks like this:
After spending 30 points in the Druid soul, players access the Summon: Greater Faerie ability. This faerie is a bit bigger than the first one and brings a direct heal, Faerie Healing, in addition to the Fae Blast and Faerie’s Favor abilities.
After spending 31 points in the Druid soul, players access the Summon: Satyr ability. This pet has three abilities: Enraged Assault (direct damage), Satyr Sweep (direct damage AoE), and Fury of the Fae (30-sec buff for +Attack Power and +Spell Power).
The primary stat for Druid clerics is Wisdom, which increases Spell Power and mana regeneration (known in Rift as mp10) . As a DPS cleric, Spell Power is practically mandatory. Also, because Druids fight in melee combat, they tend to run out of mana (hence the inclusion of Fae Hammer as a mana-return), the mana regen aspect of Wisdom is essential.
But why not Dexterity (+ Attack Power, + Physical Crit) or Strength (+ Attack Power)? Simply put: Druids gain a passive ability, Faith in Action, that converts all of the “caster” stats into usable stats. Also: 1) the pet’s stats are based on the player’s stats (the faerie is a caster & provides a good chunk of the Druid’s total damage; the satyr relies on +Crit and the +Attack Power bonuses from higher-tree soul points); and 2) No Intelligence, No Wisdom = No mana!
Primary Stat List:
- 1 Wisdom = +0.5 Spell Power; +1.5 Mana Regen
- 1 Intelligence = +0.5 Spell Power; + 0.5 Spell Crit; +10 Max Mana
- 1 Spell Power = +0.2 Spell Damage
- 1 Spell Crit = +0.04% Spell Crit Chance
- 1 Endurance = +9 Health Points
All Clerics have the ability to wear three armor types: Cloth, Leather and Chain. From my experience so far, it seems that most Chain armor comes with the stat itemization Druid clerics want: more Wisdom than Intelligence. I have also had no trouble finding Chain armor from random monster drops and quests, so I’ve never had to wear any cloth or leather armor.
My advice is to leave the Cloth to the Mages and the Leather to the Rogues.
Rift is pretty innovative in its implementation of the soul system. Sure, it’s familiar in use, but the ability to combine any three souls is pretty cool. There are countless ways to build and play your Druid — There really isn’t a wrong way (outside of not actually picking the Druid soul ;D).
I’ve chosen Shaman and Purifier as my second and third souls. The Shaman soul pairs well with the Druid soul as both are melee combat souls and share stat itemization. The Shaman soul also brings some very nice buffs (Courage of the Jaguar, Courage of the Bear), stackable weapon imbues (Vengence of the Winter Storm, Vengence of the Frozen Earth), and +physical damage coefficients. The Purifier soul is a healing soul that provides a +Wisdom increase and access to shields — important for melee DPS.
For the sake of this post, I’ll share the spec I’m currently using: http://rift.zam.com/en/stc.html?t=00naG.VLz.Vq0qfoVk. My end-goal spec will be http://rift.zam.com/en/stc.html?t=00naG.ExzzzMc.Vq0qAoVqz.V. See this list of Abilities Granted and Passive Abilities Granted by this level 50 build.
I’ll preface this next section with a disclaimer: I suck. Okay, maybe I don’t suck, but I’m not the best player. I use my abilities the way I do because it works for me; I see big numbers flying across the screen and things die pretty quickly. Am I using the most optimal rotation? Probably not. But I don’t really care either. I read the tooltips and know which abilities are playing off others. So, without further ado:
My action bar setup:
My spell rotation is:
- Bombard to tag the enemy (Action bar button #4 above)
- Trickster’s Spirit
- Eruption of Life (two DoTs ticking now)
- Lightning Hammer (Shaman ability gained after spending 4 points in that soul)
- Combined Effort
- Fervent Strike until a DoT needs to be reapplied (If there are 3 or less enemies, I will also weave in Wild Strike.)