Yesterday, RIFT’s third official live stream aired, which was co-hosted on MMORPG.com’s TwitchTV page. It featured Dahanese, Elrar, Kervik, who is RIFT’s Lead Mage Designer, and Gersh, Producer of Trion. The team jumped right away into the good stuff, and showed us Storm Legion’s new Mage soul– the Harbinger.
The Harbinger soul is a melee single-target DPS soul that synergies well with a number of Mage souls, enabling the soul to teleport right into the enemy’s face, transform their staff or one-hander into a powerful two-handed weapon that smashes and slashes, toss around powerful instant-cast spells, boost their own survivability, and with the right balance of support souls– even serve as an off-healer.
Sound impressive? That’s because it kind of, well, is. For those that missed the live stream, here it is:
Trion also released an updated page on the Harbinger on Storm Legion’s official site.
Yesterday’s live stream was packed with some excellent information. First off, let’s dive into more info about the Harbinger:
- Showcased in the video is the interior of Empyrean Core, one of the dungeons on Brevane, deep below the Tower of Dawn.
- The Harbinger is a battle Mage, bridging the gap between melee combat and fearsome magic. The soul is based off an ability called Eldritch Armor, which builds charges and can be used to unleash instant-cast spells that otherwise have a cast time. This allows the Mage to cast while meleeing. This mechanic seems like the WoW Enhancement Shaman spec, but more flexible and mobile.
- One popular soul combination so far is Harbinger and Pyromancer. This combo is said to work well for leveling and PvP, with a high amount of survivability and burst damage.
- Harbinger also synergizes well with a number of other Mage souls, including Stormcaller and Chloromancer.
- Weapon transformations work as self-buffs. The Mage’s actual weapon remains the same, as does all their itemization values, and with a cast of the scythe weapon buff, for example (shown above), their weapon instantly is transformed into a scythe.
- Each weapon buff has a specific focus, and there are three to choose from that mirror the image to the right. The scythe focuses on a mixture between damage and self-healing/survivability, the two-handed axe focuses on healing and survivability, which makes it a perfect match for support or hybrid/off-healing builds, and the two-handed sword focuses on straight DPS. They can’t be stacked.
- Storm Legion Harbinger itemization will remain the same as current Mage itemization. Mages won’t be able to equip actual two-handed weapons or heavier armor. Survivability is instead granted through the Harbinger soul. There are talents and buffs for additional armor, dodge, and parry. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean the soul is a tank soul (although Trion may add a tank soul in the future).
- The Harbinger soul has a wide array of cool mobility and utility moves, including a gap closer, a teleportion ability that instantly blinks the Mage backwards, a 10-second stealth ability, and a cooldown that gives the Mage the ability to temporarily use melee abilities from ranged.
- The soul also has an air-focused self-healing move called Tempest Winds.
- Harbinger uses air and life magic, which is part of the reason the soul synergizes well with Chloromancer. From the sounds of it, this combo might create an off-healing soul capable of a role similar to a Cleric -icar spec.
Here is a preview of the new Mage soul tree (click for full size version):
Shown is the Harbinger/Stormcaller spec. Stormcaller and Harbinger are a natural pair since both are air-based. The Stormcaller is currently undergoing some significant changes to help boost the pairing. This spec seems to add a little AoE damage to the normally single target-focused Harbinger soul. Elrar’s build as shown is 44 points into Harbinger and 32 in Stormcaller. His full Harbinger build included 61 points in Harbinger (which will be the new maximum), 15 in Pyromancer, and 0 in Chloromancer.
The soul trees are definitely a work in progress still (new art icons are incoming). Each class, once maxed, will gain 10 new soul points, 2 new additional tiers in the soul tree, and new root abilities (looks like 3). Trion is making significant changes to all current souls based on the last two years of player feedback.
We’re going to be seeing lots of changes to underlying mechanics, ensuring balance rests in a better place and gear scales equally. Some of the mid-tier abilities may have to be adjusted and shifted in order to keep specs balanced. There will also be work to each and every ability that will affect players of all levels. Better synergy and more soul combinations are the goals.
Here are some other important Mage goodies we found out about during the live stream:
- Warlock changes: Warlocks will be getting a spell that can be casted on an enemy that forces them to become silenced and take damage when they try and cleanse the Warlock’s DoT abilities.
- Dominator changes: Dominators will become more self-sufficient, yet still remain control-oriented. Also getting more AoE damage abilities.
- Chloromancer changes: The soul currently has issues in PvP because of valor reducing damage, thus reducing healing. In SL, the soul will be divorcing the direct damage/healing components of veils. Instead of basing the healing off damage, it’ll be based off the cast time of the ability. Players will need to create new rotations, but the heals should remain more balanced.
- Currently in alpha, there are 2-3 additional uses for charges– these may or may not stay.
- Trion’s taking a look at the crowd control system, but is waiting for a later stage in alpha/beta before coming to any conclusion.
- Pet changes: There is work being done to Necro/Elementalist pets, including significant scaling changes. All pet talents will work for all pets, meaning it’s possible to become a “pet specialist”. We’ll also see the Mage pet graphic improvements finally! New lesser air elemental shown to the right.
Finally, here is some of the non-Mage-specific information we found out about:
- Trion is trying to make cooldowns more situational instead of merely buffs that increase DPS and can be plugged easily into a macro. The Harbinger’s cooldowns seem to be an example of this.
- Elrar showed us a boss named “C1-0N3″ that appears to be a mechanical enemy who’s not in Empyrean Core. She clones herself as shown to the right.
- Storm Legion will be more melee friendly– it’s one of Trion’s big goals, and in fact, during testing, the team has been playing with melee-exclusive groups.
- Another goal is to make sure support roles have more of a use during dungeons/raids. This might be achieved by ensuring it isn’t possible to simply heal through every mechanic that would normally favor the aid of a support role.
- More role slots might be coming our way. The team’s still deciding, but definitely sees it as a request.
- No further word on a weapon wardrobe slot, although it is high on Trion’s list.
- Will there be quests for new souls? The team isn’t sure, but doubts it. Their guess is that the souls will grant immediate access at any level, but the lore for the new souls (for Harbinger, for example), may not show up until Storm Legion’s content, largely because the new souls are focused around the lore of the new areas.
- When asked about class/soul balance during raids, the team said that not every soul is going to be ideal for every situation– that’s kind of the point of RIFT’s flexible soul system. The design goal, however, is to make sure that the souls all shine in their own, unique ways.
- Trion has just began to develop endgame raids, etc. for Storm Legion.
- Significant changes will be happening to some of the less-popular souls. Warlord’s one of them! More details in the coming months.
During the first moments of the live steam, Elrar showed us a new, spiffy mount, shown to the left. He called it “Mr. Landslide,” and assured us that more details about how to obtain him will be revealed within the next week.
Oh, and yes, there was some RIFT-related info on the whiteboard behind Dahanese during the live stream. The writing seemed to be about the cloaks coming to Storm Legion. Three shapes are listed: short, long, and tattered. Three textures (I think) are listed, the first of which being “simple”, and after that, I believe the header says “Themed” with three subheadings listed that end in “faction”. “Planar faction” is one, and we’ve already seen an image with planar faction cloak designs). Someone out there with sharper eyes than mine might have some more hints for us regarding that whiteboard.
Whew. Now we know about some of the Mage goodies headed our way. So what’s next on the live stream reveal list? We don’t know for sure, yet, but we do know we’ll have to wait until a couple weeks after PAX Prime to find out. We will, however, be finding out some cool information during PAX Prime and Gamescom. In the meantime… yep, definitely tempted to level that Mage now…