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A Guide to Rift's Mage Souls
The Mage is one of the four class archetypes in Rift, but like all of the archetypes available in the game, the Mage has a number of souls that players can mix-and-match to obtain the skills they'd like. Some of these souls are fairly typical - like the face-melting Pyromancer - but others like the Chloromancer are less typical.
This guide will bring you up to speed on what each soul offers and will conclude with a few recommendation soul combinations that new players will love.
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We start off this guide with Archmage, the Mage PvP soul. Unlike other souls, players can only spend 21 points in Archmage and can only obtain the soul by purchasing it with favor earned in PvP combat.
While not all of the abilities and talents in Archmage are only applicable to PvP combat, most of them are. The tier-one talent Planar Attunement, for example, increases the damage of your spells by 15% when they're used on enemy players.
Using Archmage is not a requirement for PvP combat, but it does offer unique tools that are particularly well suited for warfront battles. You'll have to earn the soul first, however, and each tier of talents in the Archmage is locked until you've reached the approriate level of presitege.
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You don't have to spend much time looking at the Archon soul's talent tree to understand that this soul is all about debuffing enemies and buffing allies. The top-teir talent Waning Power, for example, drains the attack and spell power of an opponent by 5% and increases the Archon's correpsonding stats by 10%. Other Archon abilities apply stacking buffs, and these can often be shared with party members.
Archons really shine in group settings where their party-wide buffs and their ability to weaken tough foes shine. The Archon can also be very useful in PvP as part of a dedicated team that is organized and using each player's abilities to strength the party. As a solo soul, however, the Archon is fairly weak. Its raw offensive might is lackluster and the buffs, while useful, simply don't shine when questing.
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The Chloromancer is the mage's only healing soul. Unlike most other healers in Rift and in most other MMOs, the Chloromancer doesn't heal simply by casting simple heal spells. Instead the Chloromancer heals by attacking opponents, or placing debuffs on opponents that heal attackers.
Since the Chloromancer is an offensively minded healer, players who enjoy taking a very active role in a group will likely love this soul. This soul isn't a weak healer, either - in the hands of a competent player they're capable of being the main healer for groups doing normal mode dungeons, and some Chloromancers claim to have served as the main healer in raids and expert dungeons.
Because this is the only healing soul the Mage has, your reasons for choosing this will be obvious. If you want to heal, pick this. If you don't care about healing, pick something else.
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Commonly known as the "screw you" soul, Dominator has a reputation for its ability to cause trouble in PvP combat, particularly group combat. This is not because of the Dominator's offensive firepower but rather because of its many tools for messing with opponents. Dominators can turn foes into harmless animals, drain enemy clerics and mages of mana, and cast mass confusion spells.
As you might expect, these traits also make the Dominator one of the game's best crowd-control souls for PvE dungeons, so groups looking to do raids or expert dungeons will often want to bring along a Dominator.
However, the Dominator has the same weakness as the Archon. For all its strengths, it's not a great solo soul. Most other souls offer more offensive power.
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One of two Mage pet classes, the Elementalist focuses on heavy-hitting pets that follow the expected elemental themes. You begin life with the ability to summon a burly rock-monster, but can later learn how to summon Air and Water elementals as well.
Of all the classes in Rift, the Mage is probably the most dependent on its pets and, therefor, has the strongest pets. As is often the case, this makes the Elementalist a pretty good soloer, as you'll also have a buddy with you to deal with enemies.
The Elementalist is weak alone, however. They're not a great PvP class because players will usually ignore your pet and go straight for you. Rogues and Warriors are particularly nasty, since both can lock you do and dispatch you quickly, before your pet even has much chance to help.
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The other Mage pet class, the Necromancer specailizes in harnessing the forces of death and decay for their own ends. Necromancers have a wide variety of skeletal pets they can call upon including rogue-type and mage-type pets.
As you'd might expect, Necromancers also receive some abilities that deal with manipulating and transfering life. The 8-point root ability Reclaim Power, for example, converts pet health into mana for the Necromancer. The 10-point root ability Essence Link heals the Necromancer when his pet does damage.
Although the Necromancer is also a bit weak with no pet active, they're generally not as vulnerable as the Elementalist, making them far more viable in PvP. Necromancers are also currently considered the best soul for soloing because of the strong pets and tools available for managing health and mana.
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Many people who roll a Mage just want to melt faces, and if that's what you came to do, the Pyromancer is likely to be your favorite soul. As the name implies, the Pyromancer harnesses the power of fire to inflict incredible damage against opponents.
Pyromancers are capable of both area-effect and single-target damage. They're not particularly mobile due to the cast time of their spells, and they also have a few abilities call "Grounds" that let the Pyromancer enchant a specific location. When standing there they gain bonuses such as additional damage or a chance to stun opponents.
Although offensively devastating, Pyromancers are not tough. They can be strong solo, but only when paired with another soul that can offer some survivability, like Chloromancer or Warlock. Pyromancers are most deadly in groups and group PvP where other players can take the a majority of the hits.
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Another offensive specialist, the Stormcaller uses the force of the plane of air to strike at opponents with deadly lightening. Although the Stormcaller is able to do a great deal of damage, they're not just about straight DPS. Stormcallers also specialize in restricting the movement of opponents. They have a number of ways to hit opponents with spells that knockback, snare or stun.
Because of their ability to effect how enemies move, they're one of the stronger PvP souls. They're just as weak as a Pyromancer when an enemy gets in the Stormcaller's face, but they have many ways of making sure that never occurs. Spells with knockback and snare affects are also great for keeping opponents away from an objective. Hitting enemies chasing a friendly sourcestone carrier on Whitefall Steppes with a snare can save the day.
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Warlock is the most survivable Mage soul that currently exists. Warlocks have access to damage over time spells that heal the Warlock on each tick, and the Warlock also has talents that directly increase the Warlock's health pool. In exchange for these capabilities, the Warlock lose some offensive power - but they're not exactly weak in that area.
Warlock makes for a strong primary soul and is considered by many to be the strongest secondary soul available to Mages. For just 15 talent points a Mage can obtain a very stronge DoT that returns life to the Mage, a 10% health bonus, a 10% chance to make your next spell instant-cast, the ability to convert Charge into health, a fear spell and a snare spell. That's a lot of utility for just 15 points!
Going 20 points in provides a 5% critical hit chance increase and a very strong group endurance buff. And finally, going 26 points in provides a 10% bonus to all spell damage, a 3-minute cooldown spell that increases the Warlock's health by 50%, and a buff that heals the Warlock whenever he or she takes damage.
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Recommended Soul Combinations
Now you know about Mage souls. But what combinations should you pick? Here are some suggestions.
Dominator/Archon/Warlock - A great support build with a lot of options. If you play with a group of friends and you want to be able to support them in ways besides healing, this is a good choice.
Necromancer/Warlock/X - Considered by many to be THE solo build, this provides you with a pet, decent damage and the ability to survive a reasonably large amount of incoming damage. This combination is also fairly powerful in PvP combat, particularly warfronts like Codex and Black Garden.
Pyromancer/Warlock/X - Want to laugh as your enemies burn? Well, here you go. Invest heavily into Pyromancer and put all of your leftover points into Warlock. You'll end up with an offensive caster with incredible firepower that can also survive a few return shots.