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Rift Soul Building Guide: A Newbie's Beginning

Introduction

When you first start playing Rift: Planes of Telara, you are given the choice of a class and then a soul build. This is your default build that you can either use or adapt, but it also affects your beginning items (although they are not that important since you will be getting new ones even at the lower levels). Through this guide I want to look at the Rift soul building system and how you can maximize its effectiveness and better understand how things work. This should help you with building your own roles, granting more effectiveness and flexibility in your gaming.

Default Roles

While I am not really against the default roles, I usually try to avoid them. They do have their benefits for new players that are not as adept at building their own, and they definitely do a great job at showing how the soul system works, but they also have some flaws.

The first major flaw is that when a new update is added to the game, the default roles are not all evaluated again to see how they can be improved. Every one of them as of right now can be improved upon to make it more efficient. Were they to be consistently updated they would be much more viable but as it is now, they are not.

The second major flaw is that they force you to allocate soul points in a specific order. In the vast majority of cases, the order the system chooses is far from efficient. For example, it may prioritize an active skill that is rarely used over passive ones that boost your damage output by a decent amount, like 5 or 10%. When the system makes choices like this, you are better off splitting off on your own. The problem with this is that once you allocate a soul point in to a slot that is different than what the builder wants right then, you will break out of it and you will no longer get the system's tutorial on where to place each one.

The way the system should work is by showing where all the points go, but allow you to deviate from its plan as long as you are still allocating them in the same slots. For example, it should not matter if you are placing them in Skill A, then Skill B instead of Skill B and then Skill A. In both of these cases you still get the same benefit, you just get one a bit quicker than the other. The automatic soul builder should be able to realize this and allow you to prioritize your own additions should you feel the need to do so. Not to mention this would also help teach more about how the system works (rather than being like a lot of players and just hitting the fill souls button).

The other issue with this system is that it does not actually teach you how to use each build. While it does get them set up for you in terms of soul point allocation, that is all it does. If you are not used to the build (as you are new) and you use this automated system, you have a much lower chance of taking the time to learn what everything does and how to maximize its efficiency. This is just another area where the pre built souls could use some enhancements. Even a textual tutorial that pops up each time a new skill is learned to tell you how to use it would go a long way!

Custom Roles

When it comes to dealing with custom roles, they can be a bit hard to get used to at the beginning. There are multiple different souls and there are so many different combinations that it can be overwhelming. To help out with better understanding how it all works, we are going to look at now how to make a specific build, but how to go about creating and maintaining your own. This should help in the long run, as it also helps you with being able to adapt the builds you make as new patches come out that change them around.

Soul Point Earning

The first thing you need to understand is how soul points are earned. It works as follows:

  • You earn one point for each level gained
  • You earn two points per every third level, prior to level fifty

You therefore have two soul points at level two and four at level three (1+1+2). It will continue counting up like this until you get to fifty, after which you will always earn a single point per level. Your total will be 66 at level fifty and 76 at level sixty.

Soul Point Allocation

You are able to allocate soul points in to three separate souls at once. The only rule here is that you can only fill up a single soul to the same point of your current level until you are sixty. For example, you are level six right now so you have eight soul points. In your souls you could not have any more than six in a single one, and the other two would have to go to different ones. You can still utilize all eight, but only six can go in to one soul at this point. After you level up, you could then have up to seven in one soul. This continues going up until sixty, where you are able to allocate enough to fill an entire soul up.

Types of Skills and Soul Point Blocks

There are two types of skills you can learn: passive and active. Active skills are those that you use in combat, where you actually have to hit one of your keys to get the action started. An example of this would be an attack or healing spell. Passive skills are those that are always active no matter what. For example, boosts to your attack power can be passive. If you have to use a buff to get the benefit, that would be active.

Within the soul trees themselves, you will see two separations: at the top is where you can actually allocate your soul points, and at the bottom is where you can see the different skills you will learn as you add more points in to that specific soul. The bottom is based solely on how many points there are allocated, whereas the top is based only on whether or not you put a soul point in to that box. In essence, while you are filling the top listing you will see that you are also unlocking the bottom skills. This can lead to a bit of confusion when creating your own builds because you have to pay attention to both of these groups so you can see everything that is happening and what your possible benefits are.

Where to Find Builds

If you look at Rift's official forums or ask people in the game, you will find more than enough information on tried and true builds for every class and role type. People will usually take the time to help you better understand why the roles are designed the way they are, and many will even go with you to help you work on your rotation. After all, the more each individual player can pull their weight, the more everyone else benefits as well (in raids, rifts, zone events and all other types of group content). If you are in a raiding guild, you should be able to find more than enough help.

On the official forums you will want to go to the class section. Here you will go in to the forums for your specific class and look for different builds. A lot of the time you will be able to find them up to date for the current patch. If you can not, look for the ones that are at least close (maybe a few patches behind). Each one brings about new class changes that can change a build drastically, so the more up to date the information is the better off you will be.

If you end up using an out of date build, you may find that some things have changed. If you are willing to take a little bit of time to figure out what those changes are (compare what you see in the game to what you see in the build you are reading about), you should be able to update the build yourself with minimal effort. It is not too often that a couple patches will make a massive difference, though you will want to pay close attention just in case.

The down side to picking out builds from the forums or other sites is that they are almost always catered to those that are at the maximum level (at this point level sixty). Because of this, the guides are of limited use if you are still leveling up, as the majority of the good skills and rotations that are discussed through out the builds are not going to be in your possession until later on in the game. I may start releasing some great up to date builds for various level brackets, although I have not quite decided whether or not I am going to do so. If I do, you will be able to find them on my user page.

Building Your Own

The best way to learn the game inside out is to make up your own build. It is easiest to do at lower levels than it is at higher ones because then you get to grow up with your build and learn through it, as opposed to having everything thrown at you at once. The other good thing about experimenting at lower levels is that the groups are not counting on you to be squeezing every ounce of damage out of it you can, so you are able to better adapt to situations.

When you are ready to get going, the first thing you want to do is read over every soul that is available. Start out by reading the descriptions, and pick three that fit the play style you want to go with. For example, if you want a pet, choose one with a pet. If you want to tank, go with the tanking ones. Once you have picked out your three souls, you are ready for the somewhat difficult part: actually building them out.

At this point what I do is look at each soul from afar. I scan them from the lowest level to the highest, and start making mental notes of things that are great about each one. For example, you may find that one soul has a lot of low level passives for boosting damage. This would be considered as a “support” soul, where you would put your extra points in to it for the bonuses. You ideally want to find one of the souls where the highest level skill is one that is beneficial to you. This will be your “all” soul, where you will put everything you have in to it. At this point you are ready to rock and roll with the two supports, separating your soul points in them based on what skills you want next.

The important thing here is that you have chosen a soul in which you will allocate the maximum number of points. This is something you need to do because there are benefits that you can get in most skills based on how many soul points are allocated, and the highest level skills are almost always useful. There are very few cases in which you want to go with a build that does not rely on at least one full soul to get by. It is not a big deal which soul you work on filling up first, so long as you max out one by the time you hit level sixty.

Testing Out Builds

As you explore with different builds, getting some testing done is imperative. If you are not testing out your changes, you will not know how the build works in the real world; just your theory of how it should work. In a lot of cases, the builds will be worse or better than you originally planned, and this information helps to adapt them and refine them a bit more. There are basically two ways to test out the builds (or three, if you are going for PvP builds as well). Please note that all of these revolve around damage parsers as well, although you can sort of guess how well you are doing by watching the damage numbers (damage parsers are much, much more efficient though and are highly recommended for this).

  • Testing solo mobs
  • Testing the dummies (in the major cities)
  • Testing in PvP matches

These three areas will give you a wide variety of different testing scenarios. For example, you could have very high damage against mobs but find that it is not working so well against players. You could have great damage against players but find that you are lacking against elite mobs and raids. It is best to test your build in all three scenarios to ensure you are getting a nice round example of what you are capable of doing. Along with this, you will want to do your tests multiple times and for decent lengths of time. I generally do each test five times, each lasting for at least three minutes. This takes a little while to get done, but it helps factor out lucky or unlucky streaks with critical attacks and ensures that the damage or healing is sustainable over long periods (which is a necessity for raids). If you do not do this, you could find yourself as a big liability during raids where you could be in battle for ten minutes or more. This is a sure way to get yourself kicked from the groups!

Refining Your Builds

You will often have to deal with a bit of experimenting with attack rotations. Sometimes you will find that you can increase your damage or healing output by a hundred percent or more, which makes a massive difference! As you are attacking different things, try out various rotations until you find one that appears to be producing results that are above and beyond the rest. This is the one you want to lock in on and use as your primary baseline.

With your baseline set, you are ready for altering soul points. Look at the souls you are not using any skills from and evaluate whether or not you can replace those with souls with either better buffs or better passive skills. If you can, do this swap and you will see your effectiveness go up even more. If you find that something ended up getting messed up and you are getting worse results after altering your build, you can always return to it again later.

Multiple Builds

As of right now you can have many different builds on your character. I am not completely sure about the maximum you can have, but some people have said up to a hundred. That is more than enough to cover every build you could want and more. Why is this important? Because you can not only keep different builds, but you can easily adapt and test them as well.

The best plan for doing build alterations is to create the same one two or three times. In each version, alter it slightly and then go to the target dummies to give it a go. Then swap over to the other builds and test those out. As you do this, you will find the one that is most efficient. Then you can adapt that one (overwriting the two less efficient ones) to keep strengthening it. This takes quite a bit of time and effort, but it is a sure fire way to ensure you are using the most perfect build you can.

Since you can also reset your soul points, there is no limit to how many times you can repeat this process. It will cost a bit over time, but if you are raiding or doing other end game content you should have no problems with recouping the funds.

Conclusion

Soul building in Rift can be a tough task when you first get started. It is pretty overwhelming because of the amount of information there is to know, and looking up guides on the forums and other places does not do a lot of good in the beginning. If you really want to learn the game and fully understand how the builds work, you will need to create them from the ground up. This will actually lead to another great benefit as well: you will learn how to adapt your own new builds once updates come out, rather than having to sit around waiting for someone else to do it for you. This is especially important on the more major updates, although hot fixes will sometimes bring about some changes you need to account for as well.

Through this guide you should have a better understanding as to how everything works and the thought process behind creating a new build. You will still need quite a bit of hands on experience in order to fully comprehend how it all fits together, but this should be a great starting point!

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