It’s not long now until head start hits, and that means its time to start thinking about how you’re going to level. The cleric is an incredibly flexible class that can fill a lot of different roles, but some of those roles can be painful to level up. Trying to level a deep Justicar character reminds me of World of Warcraft’s launch, when Paladins were considered nigh invulnerable but took about 5 hours to kill a housecat.
Fortunately, this is where Rift’s soul system shines. You can have roles that are bests for groups (like tanking or healing) but also keep another role with a combination of souls that is specifically targeted towards solo leveling. Builds focusing on solo leveling tend to be self-sufficient DPS builds that trade some firepower for the ability to engage in combat almost constantly. But I also think cleric leveling builds that orient themselves towards utility can have merit if you’re doing a lot of invasions and rifting. So, let’s start this cleric leveling guide.
Cleric Leveling Build #1: The Inquisitor
Easy, deadly DPS with lots of survival options. What more could you ask for?
Even at this early level it is possible to pick up a lot of skills that are going to important to level as a cleric. This build has the ability to do sustained damage, a HOT and an instant-cast heal for survivability, a snare, and a knockback. What more can you ask for? If you’d like, you can put the 4 points of Warden into Destructive Tide instead.
We’ve dropped Sentinel at this point because it is now possible to put some love into Cabalist, which gives us straight damage adds to all of our spells. Although the instant-cast heal will be missed, it’s loss is forgiven due to the inclusion of the Inquisitor’s talent Contempt, which heals you for 90% of the damage done by Vex. You still have your Warden HOT to help keep you alive when things get tough.
Welcome back, Sentinel! We’ve missed you! At this level we’ve reintroduced the Sentinel soul because the knockback ability from the Inquisitor is now available. Although two knockbacks would be nice, it’s no longer worth spending 4 points on. Also, Sentinel has passive damage enhancement talents that we now actually have enough points to grab.
Not a lot has changed here, honestly. We’ve put a few more points into Inquisitor and now have the PBAOE fear, which is another score for survivability. But overall, most of what we’ve done is simply increased the consistence killing potential of the Inquisitor. This means more points into passive buffs like Entropy, which increases the damage of DOTs and channeled spells.
In summary, this is a basic solo build for leveling. It will prove capable of sustained damage, it has a lot of survivability options that are great against NPCs, and it has two mana rejuvenation options as of level 30 (Sigil of Power from the Cabalist and Aggressive Renewal from the Inquisitor).
Cleric Leveling Build #2: The Shieldman to Druid Transformation
This build is based off my Shieldman build that I wrote about in beta, but it switches over to Druid at level 31, when the Satyr DPS pet becomes available.
At this point the shieldman isn’t really a shieldman at all, because he only has the Shaman shield. There really isn’t a lot going on here – we picked up Warden and Sentinel purely to use their 0-point instant cast heals. We haven’t gone with Purifier yet because honestly, you don’t need to pick up any extra shields at this level.
Hey! Now we’re talking. All three shields are available and the Purifier shield is fully talented, creating what I call a Shieldman build. Because we’ve picked up all the shields and talented into Purifier so early, your damage will be lower than some other builds. But, you are basically invulnerable at this stage of the game – absorption shields seem particularly great between levels 20 and 30.
At this point we’re done nothing but invest into additional Shaman talents in order to increase damage-dealing potential. We still don’t have Rage of the North and we are missing a few other nice extras, but we’re about to switch gears anyway.
Hey! See what we did there? The change from Shieldman to Druid for leveling requires that we shuffle our talents from a Shaman focus to a Druid focus. We’re specifically going for the Satyr pet, which is fabulous for leveling. It not only does reasonable damage, but also acts as a damage sponge in multiple-mob fights, since the Satyr often aggros a few of the opponents on your butt. Survivability has diminished considerably, but is still “good enough” thanks to the fact that we still have the Druid and Shaman shields and we now have the Sentinel and Druid instant-cast heals.
At this point we’re just spreading around the love, but at the core nothing has changed, and there is in fact a lot of flexibility here depending on if you’d rather focus on sustained damage (in which case you’d got for +spellpower and +crit chance) or burst damage (which requires a focus on +crit damage). Either way, this remains a strong leveling build that should easily take you up to 50.
This is the leveling build you should go for if you have no desire to engage in ranged spellcasting. To be frank, I suspect the first build is actually better. When you combined the ability to attack from range with the ability to snare, knockback and fear opponents, you end up with something that is very efficient. But not every build fits every style of play, so consider this path an alternative.
Cleric Leveling Build #3: The Rifter
Questing solo is a decent way to gain levels, but rifts and invasions also give a lot of experience. When it comes to earning credit in these events, however, simply dealing damage isn’t always your best bet.
Yep, this starts out the same as the first build. Why? Because you don’t even get to do rifts until the end of level 6, and the first few rifts you do before level 10 are usually mobbed with people and extremely easy to complete. Your best bet, then, is to focus on a build that lets you do the quests and get out into the wider world, where you’ll encounter more rifts.
Now we’re starting to get into what this build is all about – the ability to heal a random public group AND do damage when the healing is not necessary. At this level the Inquisitor is plenty capable of dealing out respectable DPS just by spamming Bolt of Judgement, and can keep allies healed by using the Warden HOTs and the Sentinel healing. We’ve also picked up Light Concentration, which reduces the mana cost of healing spells, and 4 points of Aquatic Affinity, which increases total mana by 8%. Why? Because running out of mana in the middle of a rift is a big no-no.
At this point the Inquisitor talent tree is about as fleshed out as we’ll ever need it. We have all of the passive talent buffs and we have the chance to proc a instant-cast Bolt of Depravity. We haven’t picked up Contempt because, as cool as it is, we shouldn’t be taking enough damage to warrant its use. Sentinel has also managed to pick up Healing Communion, a bread-and-butter AOE heal with a 2 second cast time.
At this point Sentinel is starting to overtake Inquisitor as our primary focus. We’ve put a few more free points into Warden so we can have access to the AOE instant-cast heal, as it now has a great synergy with the talents we’ve received from Sentinel. You should now have no problem at all keeping groups and even raids alive in rift and invasion events.
The basis of this build is simple; healing is usually the best way to rank highly in a rift or invasion event and gain the rewards that come with it, but you can’t heal all of the time, so you’ll need to also need the ability to switch to the offense quickly.