The Diversity of the Rogue – Part 1

March 19, 2011 - 1:12 pm No Comments

The Diversity of the Rogue

The Soul Tree in RIFT is possibly the deepest, most customizable, and most confusing character development system ever released in an MMO. With eight PVE souls to choose from for each calling, it is quite easy to fill the six character slots on a single account each with a very unique character. With 66 points to play with and a possible four roles to build, just a single character can be exceptionally diverse. While clerics hold the crown of multi-role enjoyment (they can pull off the trifecta of tank, healer, and dps), rogues can handily fill the role of tank or dps and can also fill in as a support healer.

None of the callings have as diverse a dps repertoire as the rogue. The rogue can fill any dps role and each soul brings a unique approach – from assassin’s stealth and poison attacks to the bladedancer’s rapid flash of steel and the ranger’s awesome pets to the marksman’s death by arrow. By incorporating the riftstalker’s tanking trees, the rogue can even excel as a group’s tank or even take on huge groups of enemies alone. Click through the cut for more on the diversity of the rogue.

Tanking in Leather Armor

Many will scoff at the idea of a Rogue tanking, but they will all be awed after experiencing one. The Riftstalker soul is a defensive soul with the purpose of tanking. Most Riftstalkers will sub-spec with a Blade Dancer for the additional defensive capabilities the soul brings. The third soul has several options, the best being Ranger or Bard for additional health and damage reduction. This is my Riftstalker tanking build.

I won’t go too much into Riftstalker tanking because Nanduan here at Tank Telara has already written a great guide on the subject. Briefly, the Riftstalker tank relies on several short duration buffs to stay survivable. By keeping Guarded Steel, Rift Guard, and Phantom Blow up at all times, the Riftstalker can take an intense beating. However, without these abilities ticking, they are quite fragile. To counter this, a Riftstalker has a host of “Phase Shifts” that, when combined with the Rift Barrier talent, will apply a defensive shield when used. The trick is to shift into the fight, quickly build three stacks of Phantom Blow, pop Guarded Steel, then begin a regular rotation of keeping them up while spotting the healer some help with Rift Guard.

The Many Faces of Rogue Ranged DPS

This is the category in which the Rogue truly shines. There are obviously only two types of dps – melee and ranged – but the Rogue calling has many different approaches to each. We begin with ranged dps.

Marksman Focus

The Marksman allocates all its strength into the arrow and will take talents in the other souls with which to enhance this damage. To this end, the Marksman and Ranger souls are clearly complimentary. This is my build. The third soul, depending on how you allocate your points, can be shuffled. Five points in Saboteur can be taken simply for the 25% bonus in dexterity. The Nightblade option I took can be further enhanced by taking three points in Fire and Death Attunement. Assassin can also be taken for the physical damage bonuses from Ruthlessness, Murderous Intent, and Cruel Vengeance, but many points will have to be sacrificed from the other souls.

The trick to Marksman dps is to understand which talents to use and when. When combined with the Ranger abilities, there is some overlap. In a movement heavy environment, Ranger abilities will shine. While being stationary, Marksman abilities will clearly be the choice. The Marksman achieves the best damage when standing still, in the pedestal, carefully planning shots with channeled timers.

Ranger Focus

The Ranger focuses his talent points on pet abilities. In my build, I focused on pet strength for soloing. A good alternative to the Nightblade in my build is Bard for extra support and health. As a Ranger, primary damage still comes from the bow and arrow, but the pet plays a large role in enhancing that damage. Keeping a bleed on the target for Blood Rage and weaving in Head Shots to maintain Bestial Fury are key. Keeping the pet alive becomes important due to Prey on the Weak. Hasten Call is vital to take in those moments when pets take large burst damage or you forget to heal. One thing I have noticed is during invasion boss fights, the pet can die quite easily. I am hoping Trion can build in some more pet AoE defense to counter this, but until then, place your pet on an add away from the main target to increase survivability.

One thing to note, I have not had much experience with the Blood Raptor. I am told in order to make a ranger pet-focus build truly viable in the end game, the Blood Raptor is important due to it having much better dps than the wolf, especially with Master Huntsman talented.

Saboteur and Bard

I have not played around with either of these particular specs yet. What I have heard is that Saboteur is pure awesome in PvP, especially when coupled with the PvP soul Infiltrator. Bards can fill all sorts of different roles and they are fully capable of being ranged DPS monsters. Unlike the Rangers and Marksmen, Saboteurs and Bards are equally effective whether the enemy is close or at a distance.

Saboteurs are masters of burst dps, setting their opponents up with charges and then blowing them to pieces in seconds. By coupling Saboteur and Nightblade or Assassin, Sabos can move in on enemies in stealth, incapacitate an enemy, apply charges, blow it to smithereens, and slip back into the shadows. While this won’t be the usual situation, it is a possibility unique to the Saboteur.

Bards can build up very nice damage numbers when taking the proper talents in the Bard tree. Enhancing Codas is the key – Deafening Music is a must. The soloing benefit of the Bard is in its healing; like other ranged classes it can deal a ton of damage while the enemy is approaching, and heal on the fly should the odds become stacked against.

Melee DPS and Support Roles

Next time I will discuss the various styles of melee combat the Rogue can adopt as well as the support roles that can be tinkered from the various souls – including a unique movement build. See you next time!

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