Continuing on with lesser explored alternatives to the primary CS style of hunting perceived to be monotonous, now we’ll cover the use of weapons.
That’s not to say that the clerics using weapons do so primarily to add gameplay variety, though. In fact, in response to the checkbox question asking why some cleric players use weapons, gameplay variety took only third place with eight votes, behind the second choice place choice of flexibility and barely beating a fourth place tie between challenge/personal interest, flavor, and mana concerns.
Instead, the most chosen option was thirteen cleric players saying they use weapons for roleplay reasons–a sharp contrast to the two players who had reported bolting for roleplay reasons in Part 5.
If you use a physical weapon, why?
The number of cleric players saying they use a weapon often or sometimes was twelve; adding in the players saying they use a weapon rarely took it to fifteen. Both numbers are comparable, and maybe related, to the number of players saying they use a weapon for roleplay reasons.
Do you use a physical weapon? (melee, UAC, ranged, thrown)
Since the majority of clerics don’t use weapons, let’s take a look at why before moving on. Like bolting, the top given reason is costing too many TPs. Unlike bolting, weapon skills are cheaper for clerics than other pures, but this answer might have been because weapon use requires both the weapon skill and the Combat Maneuvers skill.
Second place is a three-way tie between hard roundtime being too annoying, lack of power/efficiency compared to magic, and roleplay.
If you don’t use a physical weapon, why not?
So roleplay is a primary reason why some cleric players use weapons as well as a primary reason why others don’t. However, roleplay is one of the least relevant reasons for why cleric players bolt or don’t. I take this to mean that decisions about bolting as a cleric are generally mechanically-driven while decisions about using a weapon as a cleric are generally roleplay-driven.
Clerics, Paladins, and Empaths
Overall, those who showed no interest in–or opposition to–improvements for weapon-using clerics pointed toward paladins while those who showed interest either pointed toward empaths or said their clerics predated paladins.
Let’s look at some back and forth about this topic, first with a focus on paladins:
I built my cleric to be a Warrior Cleric from day-one, despite the adverse commentaries and lack of warrior specific skills. The inclusion of the Paladin class also reinforces that the game designers have no interest what-so ever to allow for imaginary and creative character building beyond “RP”. […] I’m utilizing [my cleric] in the exact nature of why I rolled her up in the first place, and she is by far my favorite character out of a lineage dating back to the Ice Age epoch of Gemstone 3 era.
As a secondary or tertiary form of attack, clerics are fine with weapons and don’t need any more boosters or spells to aid in that form of attack. Splintering the class into a paladin class was the ideal way to handle the desire to combine spiritual magic and weapon use on a regular basis without further compromising the power levels of both as wizards have suffered.
[My cleric] was created before paladins existed, and I just have never wanted to change who she is that much. […] I find it harder and harder to use a weapon the older my cleric gets, which ROYALLY SUCKS […] Make it so it is a viable hunting method at higher trains.
The GS3 to GS4 change killed weapon using clerics as a concept for me. Prior to the conversion, and the “physical” nature of clerics being moved to Paladins, [my cleric] did use a weapon.
I think it would be excellent if clerics had more viability with melee weapons instead of always using a runestaff. I wouldn’t expect them to be as proficient as a paladin in melee, but would love to see clerics as a weapon wielding pure that doesn’t need/use runestaves.
Seems that if I wanted to be a weapon swinging cleric I would have been a paladin when they split. I just don’t see a niche for weapon swinging clerics.
And now some comments about empaths:
I stopped using a weapon shortly before level 50 because cleric AS can’t keep up and it gets expensive. If they could keep up with empaths I probably would have continued.
Better AS at higher levels. I can’t keep up, even with lots of hybrid style training, so I fixskilled to spells. […] Please make it feasible again. My empath is so much better with weapons.
I no longer play my cleric except on rare occasion for utility purposes (friend needs a raise) as I have found I generally enjoy other gameplay better than CS casting. I’m sure I could rework my cleric to be, say, a warcleric (I do adore warpaths, for example) but I’ve got alt-itis in the extreme and I just enjoy other classes and toolkits much more than clerics, to date.
Solo hunting for cleric is fine. Need more options for group hunting. Bolt spells are good in groups. Would like to see some physical improvements though. Not on a paladin level, but some minor boost to physical would be fun. Warmages and Empaths do quite well in that regard.
Hopes and Suggestions
The majority of suggestions by far were about improving AS, frequently citing 307 Benediction giving a larger boost to bolting AS than weapon AS; these comments often said something along the lines of the left comment below. However, the right comment below, even while seemingly agreeing about the AS improvement, also implied more was needed than only that:
I would like to see clerics maybe get another AS boost (uncapping 307 for AS would probably be best for this). An AS boost that happens later in life would be really helpful towards keeping war clerics viable to cap. You can always find lots of easy ways to enhance your [defense], but offense is another story entirely.
[regarding making weapons more appealing] Doing anything to give it depth beyond, “Here’s your 211, 215, and 307 (which has a bigger cap on self-cast AS for swingers than bolters for literally no good reason). Don’t forget to cast 117 sometimes!
Other suggestions included a range of options from lore specialization to sanctification changes and even two players hoping for more combat maneuvers. The fifth comment below is mine, as noted:
Giving the 307 benefit to melee AS as well, and a lore component that allowed us to still utilize 102. […] [Using a weapon] lost reasonable viability around level 80-85. There’s challenging and then there’s futile. [My cleric] used a claidhmore from 35-85. Hard to get high enchant ones to make up for the DS loss and hard to keep a decent DS and have usable CS in all the disabling circles required for optimal success and minimal risk.
The split of Paladins from Clerics really made using weapons post 50 solely for way over capped clerics. Sanctification needs to realize that and have some spell/CS/flare/mana regen abilities that would help a cleric. IE sanctified armor should allow for more mana recovery better target defense or something. Sanctified weapon CS flares damage flares to CS bolt spells. Sanctified shield DS/TD flres.
For instance CMAN options to emphasize my fighting tactics or my chosen Weapon. […] A semi-signature spell to increase AS for weapons (even if it limits or decreases other spell casting either Warding or Bolt based attacks)
As clerics are supposed to be the most physical of the pures, i would like to see them have access to at least a few more Cmans than pures traditionally do. It’s underwhelming for a melee cleric to be stuck with the same Cman options as a sorcerer.
[…] from level 0 to the mid-80s […b]eing a war cleric really incorporated several of a cleric’s unique qualities–sanctification, heavier armor than other pures, and binding enemies to really drop their DS and EBP to nothing–and I had a blast with it. […]
But […t]here aren’t any undead-only capped areas (besides Reim)[…] Cleric AS falls way behind, which in and of itself isn’t a dealbreaker since warmages are fantastic, but combine that with no spell like 506 or 1117 that power[s] up attacks and the sheer number of capped enemies that are immune to immobility or shake it off, and it’s just not a viable option, at least for solo hunting.
[response to later question:] I know many war clerics talk about their AS not being good enough at high levels, and while I agree with that (though I put it at level 85 while I hear others say 55), I don’t think it’s the entire crux of the problem–which also means I don’t think it could be the entire solution.
[…] 506 and 1117 [aren’t] AS boosters (though warpaths have high enough AS anyway), and that’s more in the vein of what we need. Both […] happened to take the direction of more attacks in less time, but it could also be […] other possibilities like more flares, rerolls on weak flares or weak hits, rerolls on evaded attacks, and so on.
Undoubtedly two of the most unusual testimonials anywhere in the survey came from two players who took mutant builds further than simply swinging a weapon. We’ll close out Part 6 with these:
I still am a cleric who enjoys several methods of hunting: blunt weapons, brawling, and CS based spells. I have trained up in Spell Aim as well […b]ut I am not the best hunter in any particular way.
I enjoy the ability to have the flexibility […] and still be able to grow during the tough times by raising dead folks.
[…] I [play] every profession represented multiple times. My cleric is the most fun to play due to ability to dabble in various hunting methods. My sorcerer would have been useless if I tried to make her brawl, blunt weapon, CS, etc all at the same time.
[…] I am told she [my cleric] may not be able to hunt at higher levels without fixskill. I don’t believe them. With enhancives etc I plan to keep her just the way she is!
I’ve found [my cleric] to be surprisingly diverse and durable. Opting for a thrown weapons build, I expected a challenging time leveling, but that hasn’t been the case. Self buffer + common mass spells, he hunts at level without problem and can hunt up to +5 if he chooses his targets. With cleric circle only at level, he isn’t a strong warder, but that was expected. Other than the sorc I play, he is probably the strongest of my pure classes. (I play one of each… diversity!).