Reaver DoTs and Weapon Damage
Long time no talk! How many years, how many winters!
I’ve been enjoying myself leveling my Riftstalker, slowly, through Storm Legion content. I have a job now, with a ridiculous commute, so I don’t get a whole lot of time per day. I’ve spent some time on Riftstalker theorycraft, but here’s the problem: it’s all really obvious.
See, Rift has this mechanic called Gifts, which are stat bonuses that you get per point you invest in a talent tree (“soul”). If you invest in a DPS soul you get bonus damage, if you invest in a healing soul you get bonus healing, if you invest in a tank soul you get bonus damage reduction/health, and so on.
One of the unintended consequences of this system is that creating talent builds for non-warrior tanks – the cleric Justicar and, yes, the rogue Riftstalker – is really boring. Because of the passive survivability you receive from investing in each class’s one tanking soul, even the most useless talent in that soul is better than your alternatives in other souls, simply due to the passive survivability it gains from the Gift. That leaves only 15 talent points to play with between two subsouls. In the case of the Riftstalker, Gifts even predetermine one of your two subsouls, the Bard; and the last subsoul is in contention only because of a major survivability cooldown belonging to the only DPS soul in the running, the Bladedancer. And it’s still a toss-up, because its rival, the Tactician, has more reliable damage reduction paired with a Gifted increase in self-healing!
tl;dr: Riftstalker talent trees are boring. The playstyle is engaging, with a 1 second GCD and a good half dozen short-duration (30 s or less) survivability buffs/debuffs to keep track of; but aside from “Remember, you don’t need a full set of combo points to use a survival finisher!”, there’s not much to say about them.
Remember, Riftstalkers, you don’t need a full set of combo points to use a survival finisher!
OK, let’s talk about warriors.
Warriors on Rift play basically like slow rogues. They have 3 “attack points” instead of the standard rogue 5 combo points; a 1.5 s GCD; and can wear a different set of equipment, including plate armor, shields, and 2-handed weapons.
The warrior has 3 souls dedicated to tanking, all with equally effective tanking gifts, plus a support soul whose Gift is effectively the same as the tanking Gifts, but cut in half. (As opposed to the Rogue support soul, the Gift of which is less than a quarter as good as the Riftstalker Gift, yet is still the second best tanking Gift available.) The three flavors of warrior tank are the Paladin, which supplements strong blocks with activated self-heals; the Reaver, which sucks health from enemies afflicted with its diseases; and the Void Knight, which converts damage taken into stacking damage reduction and absorbs.
My Reaver Experiments
While I was constructing potential Reaver builds, I came upon the talent Combat Veteran:
My first thought was that this was a required talent for Reavers. Since Reaver survivability is based on damage done, I had unconsciously assigned them a 2-handed playstyle in my head. My second thought, of course, was: do Reaver DoTs actually have a weapon damage component? If they don’t, then using a two-hander would provide no benefit at all; it would be better to play them as sword-and-board. No weapon damage component was listed in the DoTs’ descriptions, but then, neither was an Attack Power contribution, and I was pretty sure damage would at least scale with AP.
A quick Google search on the question was fruitless, returning mostly results from before Storm Legion, all of which stated that weapon damage had no effect on Reaver DoTs without providing evidence or considering it anything but a foregone conclusion. When I asked my guild, the (sword-and-board) Reaver online told me that he didn’t think weapon damage had any effect on the Reaver DoTs, but that he had never actually confirmed it.
Well, since I was rolling an alt to get the free Fae Yule mount anyway…
For this test I needed gear such that with a 1h/shield and with a 2h I ended up with the same offensive stats other than weapon damage. I got my first 2-hander early in the Defiant starting zone, and by taking off my chestplate when equipping my 2-hander, I was able to do a direct comparison of the effect of weapon damage on Soul Sickness.
ARE YOU READY FOR THIS?!
Soul Sickness scales with weapon damage. Pretty well, too, actually: that’s greater than a 4% increase in damage done, which would, if the talent was available at this level, correspond to a greater than 4% increase in self-healing. That’s a lot of survivability for a single piece of gear to contribute.
Since Soul Sickness scales with weapon damage, It is very likely that the other Reaver DoTs do too, which means that weapon damage is a Reaver survival stat.
No, sorry, there is no And Therefore.
I’ve demonstrated that Reaver DoTs scale with weapon damage, but there’s a lot of work to do yet before we can make any kind of statement on the two-handed Reaver. The required 11 points in Warlord, which amounts to giving up 5.5 points of tanking Gift, is not a sacrifice to take lightly. Neither is the loss of armor from giving up a shield. Whether or not these sacrifices are worth the additional healing from playing Reaver two-handed is something we won’t be able to determine until we can observe the scaling of the weapon damage contribution at higher levels, and confirm that DoTs besides Soul Sickness scale with weapon damage.
But it’s a fascinating question, and one I look forward to pursuing in the coming year.