Yes, we’re back here again. I can’t help it if I love this game and enjoy talking about it, there is a lot I can say and pull from the world of  Telara at large. So anyway, Support. This is a new addition to the ‘purity’ of the trinity that’s made up gaming for awhile now: Tank, Healer, and Damage Dealer. Rift introduces the role of Support, rewarding players who might want to spec into a more hybrid type build. I know some people who like to have both damage and healing talents to make leveling up easier. Yeah, you will never heal or deal as much damage as a more pure build will, but unlike those builds, the hybrids have versatility. So today I will be going over what, exactly, makes a Support character, and why having one is good for the group. At the end, I’ll do a break down of each class and tell you how Support usually works for them.

What is a Support? Support is the new role in Rift that allows players to take on various sub-roles in parties. Generally speaking, there is no one thing a support has to do. If your groups damage is lacking, deal damage. If your healer is struggling, help heal. If something breaks off from the tank, try and grab it before a squishy gets pounded. Buff allies, debuff enemies. Support exists to do everything it can to make everyone’s lives easier. I’ll give an example of how I play support, just to give you an idea:

Saboteur/Bard/Ranger – 31/25/0

This is, in my personal opinion, the most fun way to play a rogue support. With the Bard soul in place, I am able to buff my allies significantly, heal a bit to keep pressure off the main healer, and even toss a debuff or two onto the monster we are fighting. Saboteur brings even more fun to the table. Along with a great amount of area-of-effect damage, the Saboteur also has.. bombs that can bleed a target, bombs that reduce armor by a massive amount, bombs that increase non-physical damage taken, and an AoE bomb on a small cooldown that gives a short stun. Saboteur/Bard brings an absurd number of buffs and debuffs to a group while allowing the ability to damage or heal as needed. And that’s just the way I play! I’ve seen people pair Bard up will all number of Souls to bring different buffs or debuffs. If your wondering why Ranger is up there with 0 points, mostly just so I always attack with my bow instead of daggers. I like playing support at range. So, now that I have a ‘what is support’ out of the way, time to move on to the other point, queing as one.

How to que as Support: Generally speaking, you have to have the designated ‘support soul’ before quing up as a Support. For Rogues, this is the bard. Mages have Chloromancers and Dominators, and Clerics have Justicar. Warriors, sadly, are cheated out of the Support role because they lack any reliable healing ability. But don’t let that get you down! I’ll explain soon. As long as you have one of these souls with a decent about of points (If you are unsure, make it your main tree until you get a bit higher in level, then swap it to the secondary spot), you will be able to que as a Support character for a dungeon run. It’s that simple! And now, the breakdown of class goals;

Rogue – Bard Soul
Low level Bards are mostly about buffing your allies and getting a debuff or two out. As your Bard grows in levels, you will gain access to more healing spells, allowing the Bard to fill in for an off-healer in times of need. Load up with another good soul for support to truly shine. As I said before, Saboteur brings a great number of debuffs for the enemy while providing damage, or perhaps Assassin to bring a little more crowd control and a crit buff to your group.

Mage – Chloromancer or Dominator Soul
Mage is the lucky duck with 2 souls made to give out support, but keep this in mind: Chloromancer is the healer soul. Do not assume that a mage can not heal if they are a main Chloromancer. Likewise, subbing in Chloro is a wonderful way to improve your support abilities. Mage support is either healing allies or debuffing and controlling enemies, or both if you have both the souls. Pairing them works for good support, but don’t forget the other souls. Archon has quite a few nasty debuffs for enemies as well.

Cleric – Justicar
Clerics are the melting pot of Support. Depending on what their sub tree is, Clerics can do just about anything as support. They can off-heal, off-tank if the main tank is disabled, melee or ranged dps, buff, and even have a debuff or two thrown into the mix. If you are unsure, ask your Cleric what their specialty is for support. Just because a Cleric can potentially do everything doesn’t mean he or she should.

Now, as far as I’m aware, Warriors can not que as support. Don’t let this get you down though! There are still plenty of chances for an off-tank/off-dps to do their job. Rift events rarely have a designated tank, and having someone able to dps and switch to tanking in emergency can be the difference between a successful boss kill or a wipe once he bee-lines for the squishies. Keep in mind your options will be limited and damage/tanking ability will be below that of pure specs, but you will have the ability to do it.

Support is a great pick-up group role that allows for groups to have more leeway in how bad things can get. If the healer has issues, nearly every support role can assist in some way, and more than one support build can pick up a taunt for those roaming mobs that don’t want to stand still. Support is also a unique playstyle, bringing in players who may want to maximize their groups potential by providing the best buffs to allies and debuffs to enemies. Don’t dismiss a Support out of hand just because they are not as good in your role as you. You might live or die one day by their reaction and grace alone.