I have been a huge advocate of Trion’s MMORPG RIFT on my blog (including two in-depth class guides), on the official forums, in social media, and as a host on GAMEBREAKERTV’s weekly RIFT show The Sanctum.
I have supported the game through the many pendulum balance swings from Patch 1.0 to 1.4, because I thought the degree of balance changes were reasonable for a new game, and I was willing to be patient.
That being said, Patch 1.5 has been a huge turnoff. Trion wanted to buff Rogues in Patch 1.5 to make them stronger. I totally agree with that sentiment. But what Trion delivered was over-the-top and they’ve created a new OP class.
Trion not only buffed Rogue damage and Energy regeneration (both good changes IMO), they also implemented the following huge changes:
- Not only moving Fell Blades (FB) from 32 to 16 points in the root but also making FB siphon a portion of the heal from the debuffed target. Let’s say you heal a FB-debuffed target and the normal heal would be 1200. The debuffed heal amount is 600, and the Rogue is healed 300. Rogues who are beating on a debuffed target who is receiving healing are essentially healing themselves. Vampiric Munitions was introduced as an 18-pt ability in the Marksman tree and it has the same mechanics as FB. So any Rogue can easily reach either FB or VM in a PVP DPS spec
- Providing Rogues with multiple effective healing abilities: Leeching Poison (ticks for 240+ at R8), Enduring Brew (2k heal at R8 on 1-min cooldown). And there is at least one other big-heal cooldown ability available
What’s the big issue with FB and VM? They’re passive procs. Yes, they can be cleansed, but that requires a GCD on the part of the healer, and within a few GCDs the FB or VM debuff will be back on the target again. Competent Rogues have already figured this out, and they’ve been using enemy healers as an HP-battery while burning them down. Most Rogues know that the changes are OP but are trying to keep quiet about it.
Passive procs that both debuff healing received and siphon healing from the debuffed target is as bad an idea as what we saw in 1.1 with Ground of Power providing 100% CC immunity coupled with high burst damage + range for Pyros. That is, this is skill-less PVP all over again.
I was talking to a highly-skilled PVP player that I’ve known since WAR named Telena, and he summed it up perfectly:
Trion has a habit of implementing passive-based procs that have a very powerful effect (e.g. Lingering Wounds, Fell Blades, and Vampiric Munitions), instead of having the procs replaced by abilities with cooldowns that require thought and timing on the part of the player.
Speaking of healing received debuffs, Trion failed to learn what Blizzard finally learned after 4.5 years of PVP and Arena: -50% healing debuffs are bad PVP design. IMO healing debuffs should be no more than -25%, and healing should also be reduced accordingly. The problem with -50% healing debuffs is they force players to spec in particular ways, and when you have DPS with those debuffs healing is hard but when you have DPS without those debuffs then healing is easy.
Remember when WoW Warriors had to spec Arms for PVP or be considered useless? That finally was addressed by Blizzard in Cataclysm when Mortal Strike was reduced from 50% to a fraction of that, healing was balanced accordingly, and for the first time ever, there was a much wider array of viable specs for classes in battlegrounds and Arena. I know, I was there for 2k Arena in Cataclysm in 2v2 and 3v3.
I don’t say all these things because I play a main healer in RIFT PVP. In most games, I’ve either played a DPS (e.g. RIFT Warrior, WAR Bright Wizard, LOTRO Orc Reaver), tank (e.g. WAR Swordmaster, WoW Prot Pally), or off-healer (e.g. LOTRO Captain, Allods Melee Cleric, Aion Chanter). RIFT is the first game where I’ve played a main healer class at endgame. So my perspective is based on what is good for PVP, not based on what is good for my RIFT Cleric.
Here’s a trip down memory lane for RIFT PVP:
- Patch 1.0: Champion-spec’d Warriors were overpowered with Titan’s Strike, Riftblade Warriors did too much ranged damage, Saboteurs did way too much AOE damage. I could tolerate this, the game just launched.
- Patch 1.1: the Dawn of the Pyromancer. Pyros had high ranged burst damage coupled with complete CC immunity. I could tolerate this, the game just launched.
- Patch 1.2: CC DR system was introduced, with a 24-second window for CC immunity for control effects and for movement effects. This proved to be too long, making it very difficult to CC-burst healers and for MDPS to stay within melee range of targets. I could tolerate this, CC immunity was needed and was sure to be tweaked.
- Patch 1.3: CC DR window was reduced to 15 seconds, which made sense. Warrior trees were changed so that the damage-increasing talents were more flexible and stacked. Healing was still too powerful. With the buffs to Warriors, Rogues fell behind. It seemed to me like RIFT was turning the corner with PVP balance and playability.
- Patch 1.4: instant-cast healing was nerfed, which was a great change IMO. Previously it was too easy for healers to bail-out heal. The Warrior damage-increasing talents were capped, which made sense given the magnitude of Warrior burst. And Trion implemented a hugely positive change: Valor Normalization, which removed the unnecessary mitigation advantage that R8 players enjoyed on top of having superior stats and weapons. Finally, PVP was getting to a reasonable state in terms of balance. Rogues still needed work but PVP overall was competitive across classes.
- Patch 1.5: Rogues were buffed to the point of enabling skill-less play. Egad.
It’s such a shame, RIFT had started to turn the corner in terms of PVP balance and playability with Patch 1.4. The new patch has taken PVP in the wrong direction, at a time IMO when Trion call ill-afford to have missteps given the impending launch of multiple big-name games over the next quarter.