Our next subject is CS spells. Despite being a cleric’s main form of attacking and disabling, neither single-target warding nor especially mass warding were frequently cited as the reasons players make or play clerics, as seen in Part 1 and Part 2.
However, clerics’ lowest-level and highest-level single-target CS spells, respectively 302 Smite/Bane and 317 Divine Fury, did rate highly for player satisfaction or players’ opinions of the spells’ design.
For their mana cost, spell slot, and circle, which combat spells do you consider especially satisfying or great designs and which do you consider especially unsatisfying or poor designs?
Despite the high ratings, cleric players did express misgivings about the current situation of pure CS clerics in their written comments for reasons including:
- Smite vs. Bane
- Attack variety or lack thereof for pure warding clerics
- Spell circle redundancy
- Disabling spells
- AoE spells
- Spells in the Minor and Major Spiritual circles
…and more! Instead of trying to summarize their positions, I think it’s best to let the players make their own cases–which ran the gamut of passionate and dispassionate, lengthy and succinct. Detailing them all on one page would be a bit much, so disablers, AoE spells, and Minor and Major Spiritual spells will be covered in Part 4.
Until then, below is a small sample of opinions about clerics’ CS spells, split up into many subtopics.
CS Spells – Power Level
Generally speaking, most cleric players didn’t express any trouble with the power level of clerics on a single-target basis. One player of a level 41 cleric did say that “I was having so much trouble killing things that she now swings an [eonake] sledgehammer instead of pure casting,” but this was only one of a few exceptions expressing any trouble with power; we’ll look at the other more detailed comments later on this page.
Comments specifically mentioning that clerics feel powerful were somewhat rare, but not unheard of, as the two players below illustrate:
Outside of some slight limitations on hunting undead due to my own choices in builds (pure CS build, no Spell Aiming emphasis, Ghezresh convert), I have no problems and was somewhat surprised to see [clerics] were even in review
I am very pleased with the current way clerics are used in game, including their incredible combat effectiveness.
Clerics’ efficiency at solo hunting single-target enemies rated highly satisfying among respondents. So, like with raising the dead being rated highly but not seeing much in the way of thorough discussion from a positive perspective, it might be that cleric players simply find spells like 302 Smite/Bane or 317 Divine Fury satisfying in a self-evident way.
Select some gameplay categories in which you find clerics especially satisfying or unsatisfying.
However, one long-time cleric player made a comprehensive case for power level problems faced by post-cap clerics. Below is a composite of their responses to several questions in both surveys, reorganized for clarity and context:
I played my cleric for over 15 years because the class was incredibly fun and versatile to play with a great balance of flavor messaging and utility/mechanical benefits. However, the double 240/312 channeling nerf has rendered clerics completely unpalatable to play vs. any of the other 3 pure professions to whom they should be compared, such that I would rather play any of them instead. Now, clerics cannot kill single targets reliably in any form of mana or time parity to any of the other pures, and they’ve never been the best at mass swarms either.
[…] 240 reliability is impossible to achieve for clerics vs. empaths, since clerics must train in 3 subtypes of spiritual lore, while empaths don’t have to train in religion lore at all. […] An unreliable 240 that essentially provides 16-18% spell hindrance is useless and expensive, and no pure would agree to suffer paying that type of spell hindrance for a spell that does nothing when it doesn’t activate a re-cast.
[…] Similarly, 312 requiring a hard channel to utilize its lore benefits renders it so weak as to be unreliable without doing so.
[…] The 317 lore buff was an improvement but one that has little noticeable value at the post-cap level as many capped creatures are straight up crit immune or resistant.
CS Spells – Smite vs. Bane
The alignment aspect of Smite vs. Bane was mentioned in dozens of comments–though not heavily discussed since, again, opinions about it were often only a few words. Nonetheless, here are some snippets across the spectrum:
Early on, the whole Smite/Bane was a little issue. But more really a temporary inconvenience until other spells opened up.
Options for hunting living critters are far too limited and those that exist are lackluster or cost too much mana to use consistently.
I chain-cast 302 […], undead things get released, and I hoard Voln’s favor. I’m looking forward to seeing how he plays at higher levels.
[regarding the convert mechanic] need bane to hunt live things, hate all the RP options for live, horrible system
Being cap/post cap a little, the ‘loss’ of 302 on undead is a minor setback, but had I converted or started as Gosaena in Voln, that would have probably been a bigger issue
RP shouldn’t pigeon hole your hunting options.
I’ll note that Smite vs. Bane was the second-place consideration in players choosing their cleric’s Arkati or spirit. However, it was far behind behind the primary reason of roleplay as a strong consideration.
What influenced your decision on your cleric’s Arkati or lesser spirit? (If your cleric has CONVERTed more than once, please answer based on the most recent one.)
Although most (certainly not all) of the most vocal players unhappy with the design of Smite and Bane were lower level clerics, some higher level clerics do say or imply that it gets better:
The great thing about CONVERT for clerics is that it is a mechanic that allows for roleplay to take precedence over mechanics. The universal plasma cycle for core spells such as 317 mean that combat mechanics don’t suffer for RP choices.
[…] the decision to make smite clerics weak against the vast majority of critters in the game for most of their early and mid levels is one of the goofiest things I’ve ever heard of in this game (sorry to whoever that offends). I chose my Arkati because that’s who I wanted to represent, regardless of any downsides.
Suggestions on how to improve Smite/Bane were pretty sparse, but a few players gave ideas. The third of these suggestions below is a bit less conventional than most!
While I like that clerics are undead hunting specialists, I feel that my deity choice has further limited options available. Especially in the early levels. It would be nice if smite/bane remained 2 mana but gained different bonuses if fighting a preferred enemy.
Having something akin to 502 or 702, that isn’t alignment-based, and doesn’t cost additional mana for the base spell based on the type of creature you’re trying to kill, would be wonderful… being able to infuse extra mana into it for extra oomph, would also be wonderful.
I first fell in love with how cute the Repel (302) spell was making things flee all the time! I was no longer weak, I was SCAREY! Hee Hee! While my account was shut down for a few years, Simu screwed up my enjoyment of that spell (302) by changing it. It was the best spell ever […] making me giggle so durn much […]
Bring back with 302 the chance that the creature flees the room, or perhaps always flees the room with the cutesy terrified looking messaging if you are in defensive stance when you cast it but are successful with the spell. […] It was very very fun. […] Maybe as an EVOKE? […] I loved them running from me, and I feel like half a cleric now!
CS Spells – Mana Troubles
Related to the issue of power is ability to complete a hunt. A handful of clerics reported being short on mana, with one level 65 cleric specifically mentioning that it was true even after the release of 320 Ethereal Censer and that their cleric could only get fried in a group.
Although this was a minority, here are representative comments from two level ranges:
just not enough mana (or stamina, as a GoS master) to last from belled to fried. [Clear] to fried, could possibly be handled. […] Being a defensive-warder, and relying on 302, I’m limited to hunting undead because of deity alignment, and only having so much mana means only so much can be killed while solo hunting. Everything else [about my cleric], I love!
My biggest issue seems to be mana in specific circumstances such as Arena runs and swarming areas that require high mana spells/quick deaths to prevent maneuvers and such (the confluence). Other than that, he’s pretty efficient at everything he does. Though it should be noted he doesn’t hunt alone and hasn’t in a good while.
CS Spells – Channeling
Cleric players reported CHANNELing their CS spells more often than not, though the numbers on 302 Smite/Bane and 317 Divine Fury were close either way. Players solidly favored CHANNELing over CASTing for 312 Fervent Reproach. (The question did include a “Not enough mana yet to say” option, not shown in the results below.)
How do you use the following offensive CS spells?
Additionally, more cleric players said they like the extra power of CHANNELing than that they dislike the hard roundtime. Notably, the question allowed respondents to select both options–though, of course, it’s possible that some treated them as mutually exclusive answers anyway.
Which of these statements about CHANNELing CS spells are true for you?
The question also included an “Other” option, leading to the following responses:
I don’t like the hard RT, but it’s a minor hate. I think it’s a good balance.
I adore that if we are channeling with empty hands, it aids our casting power.
At lower level (sub 40 or so) I channel 302 a lot, but the cap on its bonus means there’s less benefit and channeling is riskier too so it ceases to be worthwhile.
I haven’t done enough channeling on my cleric to have an opinion here. If I were actively playing my cleric I’d probably channel a fair bit, it seems more interesting than just casting from guarded (the relative safety of which is part of why I’m not a big CS caster fan.)
Few people offered suggestions for increasing the appeal of CHANNELing, but everyone who did mentioned something similar to any of the three possibilities this cleric player raised:
No Hard RT, Not requiring Offensive Stance and stowing rune staff to channel effectively, a boost to CS when channeling to make the risk worth it (i.e. if I’m anything less than 80-90% sure I’ll hit, the risk of offensive stances is not worth channeling).
The others’ similar suggestions took more moderate stances such as having a CS boost instead of the phantom warding margin, or having a way to reduce the hard RT to 1 second rather than remove it.
CS Spells – Lack of Variety
Finally, probably the single most common criticism among cleric players was overly simplistic hunting.
320 Ethereal Censer was cited by several as a good improvement and got a unanimously positive reception among those (relative few) who mentioned it in comments, but most of those players also painted it in the light of helping out and being a step forward while saying or implying that more was still needed.
Below is a small sample of comments about lack of variety. Like with most highlighted comments throughout these survey summaries, more people discussed this than only the few below. We’ll continue to revisit this theme in later parts as well:
I mainly rolled this cleric for RP and raises/rescues. Solo hunting (at least up to level 12) is a slog. […] If the hunting ground doesn’t swarm too much, I can stance dance with channel for some fun. I never understood why people script hunt while I only played an ambushing rogue, but seeing the incant spell->repeat process for clerics, I get it now.
[My cleric] was a lot of fun to RP and I still bring her out for specific storylines, but I do not hunt her anymore due to clerics not being much fun at the upper levels […] and not having much diversity in attack routines. […] Get rid of the spells folks aren’t using [to make room for new ones]. Paladins seem to have a lot more variety and I sure as heck used a lot more paladin spells than I do as a cleric.
The main drawback of a Cleric is that it is boring to play. It is too one note, […] very much ‘spam 302 till dead’, even at mid levels. […] Mechanically, I technically do just fine. Things die, Im hard to kill. Its just BORING.
Lack of variety of attack spells. 320 helped, but it’d be nice to have more actual options still, especially with the rotation bonus of 320.
Toolkit is on the boring side. I’m Pure CS with 0 spell aim at 10 mill exp and I’m doing fine but spell aim is a low priority for me since it seems so unimpressive and requires a huge investment… […] My other higher level characters are a 9.5m sorc and level 60 bolting wizard and their toolkits seem much more interesting, varied, and full of possibilities in comparison. The sorc also has 0 spell aim but there is still so much more utility and variation.
It might be her level at 47 trains. But I am bored to death hunting her as a pure. She basically has one spell that is effective. And she isn’t very effective against bandits and a number of other things that ward CS spells. I am considering using this years fix skill to retrain her to use weapons again. […] I enjoyed hunting so much more as a weapon user. […] it might just be that she is messed up training wise.
We’ll use those comments about lack of variety to segue into Part 4, discussing some pretty unpopular spells among cleric players and why they don’t fill the void or keep things interesting…