Some of us have already seen a bit of the Defiler– the expansion’s new Cleric soul– in action on Storm Legion’s beta server, but for those who haven’t, here is all the information and highlights from Friday’s Cleric reveal live stream, which will most likely be viewable on Trion’s TwitchTV page shortly. For now, if you’d like to watch it, it can be found on Youtube.
The Defiler soul’s slightly different from the other new Storm Legion souls thematically. The team referred to the soul as “tragically misunderstood.” It is a ranged healing soul, capable of both AoE healing and tank healing, as well as putting out decent damage. Defilers are unique in that they balance both life and death within their fingertips. The soul does require some fairly in-depth strategy to play to its full potential, which may be why it’s somewhat misunderstood thus far.
The Defiler, of course, deals in death-type magic. Their spells largely consist of reflective damage and burst healing. Defilers can take a portion of the brunt of an ally’s attack themselves with a special ability called a Link. Links allow the Defiler to intercept a portion of the damage from the ally at a reduced rate, making the soul ideally useful for raids. Links are off-GCD, and the damage reduction occurs after mitigation, but before absorption, meaning all types of damage reduction will still be important.
There are four different Links total, and one can only be placed on a player at a time, meaning a full Defiler will have a couple links on different players in a raid. The most powerful, a 25% intercept, can be placed on the tank, and the lesser Links, such as 20%, etc., will be on another player that’s likely to take damage at some point. Linked players also receive extra healing from certain Defiler healing abilities.
Defiler heals are delayed in nature and stack. Strategy is needed for throwing heals out, and the Cleric can keep the stacks rolling and save them for a huge spike heal, or activate them early for more of a HoT-style heal flow. The healing style ends up being reactionary and re-directive, and the burst healing that’s possible is very controlled.
Due to the redirection of damage from Links, Defiler healers will need to remember to keep themselves healed as well. There are ways to help the Cleric absorb some of this kickback damage. Again, this seems like quite a strategical way to heal that should prove enjoyable for players who are searching for a little more from their healing character than simple button spam.
The Defiler also gets Bonds that can be placed on the enemy, which have different effects. One of which heals the Cleric every time the enemy does damage. At 61 points in the soul, Defilers have an ability to temporarily transform into an abomination, which acts like a survivability cooldown.
The soul gets a special type of stationary pet (that isn’t a real pet– it can’t be named, but it can’t stack with another type of pet, either), known as a Beacon, which can be useful for soloing and tanking damage. Beacons aren’t offensive, and act more like targeting dummies that distract enemies than anything. They look like weird eyeball totems, pictured to the right. The Cleric’s aggro gets automatically transferred to the Beacon when used.
Defilers should be pretty interesting in PvP, but will definitely take some smart strategy. The good news is that the Defiler is a little more mobile than say, a Purifier, which will be a benefit.
Damage-wise, Defilers play fairly strategically as well. Certain abilities proc off the targets of the player’s Links, meaning that if the group is clumped up together in a pile of mobs, the Cleric will be able to do respectable AoE damage. That said, damage is definitely a second role for the Defiler, as it is primarily a healing soul. It still does decently solo as a standalone soul, but it also synergizes well with other souls.
And yes, that brings me to one of the hugest changes as far as Clerics go in Storm Legion– our group healing -icar specs are not as effective due to the changes to the Justicar tree. Zinbik stated that Doctrine of Loyalty will not be the go-to AoE healing spell this time around, and that wasn’t the original intention to begin with. Instead, Clerics are encouraged to use hybrid Defiler specs (or Warden) in order to fulfill a hybrid healer/DPS role or come up with a solid leveling spec. And yes, -icar specs still technically work, but they aren’t intended to allow players to become super-powerful raid healers as we saw in the past.
One of the specs showcased during the live stream was a Druid/Defiler hybrid. Druids are getting quite a few changes (yay!) in Storm Legion, including a new ranged DPS pet, a new tanking Satyr pet, and some better self-healing and utility options. Druid DPS will now be optimal when attacking from behind the enemy, and interestedly enough, some of the best Cleric DPS specs tested last beta were centered around Druid.
Early Defiler is probably where some of the best synergy talents lie. Links and Bonds come in extremely handy for leveling, and the 0-point Defiler buff is quite useful for soloing. Another strong contender should be Inquisitor with a bit of Defiler, which makes Inquisitor a little more survivable, and gives the Cleric some interesting group utility options through Links and AoE healing. Additionally, Justicar may get some decent damage with early Defiler, and this combination may work well for an off-tanking spec.
Shaman is a lot less centered around random burst damage. The new rotation is much more solid, and takes some practice to utilize well. The rotation revolves around alternating between magical damage attacks and physical damage attacks, which is an interesting change, and makes for a much more engaging rotation.
Warden has received some large changes as well, and is shifting into a more hybrid healing/ranged DPS class. Warden will also be the primary AoE healing soul. The basic idea for the new Warden– throw up HoTs, throw up AoE HoTs, and damage if you have time to do so. This may make Warden decent for soloing and group hybrid play. Warden and Defiler should also work decently together, providing a mixture of heal types.
During the live stream, some interesting raid progression questions were brought up. One player questioned how healing will progress in Storm Legion, since in vanilla (or chocolate– whichever is yummier) RIFT, healing scaled up extremely quickly, leaving a large portion of our content to be easily healed through. Zinbik said that yes, Storm Legion content will definitely scale better and has been planned better as far as DPS and HPS growth.