by Leafiara

Introduction

As discussed in Part 4, clerics’ disablers and two AoE spells were largely written off by players as not worthwhile, which leaves us still facing the concern from Part 3 about lack of variety of attacks in combat. However, 320 Ethereal Censer was considered a step in the right direction and well received to the point of universal praise in the written comments, along with seeing only a single respondent vote it as “unsatisfying”–giving it the distinction of being the cleric combat spell with the fewest divided opinions.

In Part 5 we’ll cover bolting clerics. Later on, Part 6 will cover clerics who use weapons and Part 7 will wrap up the overarching topic of lack of variety and alternative options with a discussion on build diversity. (Yes! The commentary on lack of variety and the intertwined topics were so sprawling with such a diversity of well-expressed perspectives that I needed all of parts 3 through 7 to even summarize.)

Bolting – Mixed Appeal

 306 Holy Bolt and 111 Fire Spirit saw similar levels of use from survey respondents playing bolting clerics:

How do you bolt?

As with most survey topics, those who liked bolting rarely wrote anything meaty about it. One post-cap player, though, likes bolting so much that they wrote:

Bolting is great. The one thing I’d like (which admittedly, would probably overpower it), is for pures to be able to train up to 3x in spell aiming. Hey, you asked.

-post-cap cleric

That’s high praise, actually, since an extra 101 ranks in Spell Aiming for a cleric would cost 2828 PTPs–worth about 2.356 million experience to a capped character.

But why do clerics bolt? A frequent sentiment among written comments was training in bolting to add variety to hunts, but people rarely went into any further detail. Others simply said things like “Love bolting” and left it at that.

Unlike the written comments, the checkboxes ticked to explain why players bolt favored flexibility and an alternate attack option against high TD enemies–though enemy-specific advantages and gameplay variety were close behind, as seen below. Splash damage for group hunting also saw a fair number of votes and many mentions in written comments.

If you bolt, why?

Let’s take a look at two on-the-fence comments from players who expressed interest in bolts, but not quite enough interest to pull the trigger:

I would LOVE to have the points for bolting, but with as many things clerics have to choose between already, bolting fell low on the priority list unfortunately. At 10m [experience] I haven’t even finished 303 spell ranks. But as I said, I value bolting so much that spell aiming is my very next post-cap goal. The additional attack style would be helpful, but with mana issues, mana point for point, warding spells deliver more damage/power than bolt spells.

[…] as many times as I’ve watched fixskills come and go, I haven’t been able to find a satisfactory way to reduce other skills to get spell aiming now, as much as I’d love [my cleric] to have it.

-post-cap cleric

as it stands [bolting] just is extremely inefficient in comparison [to warding]. […] I would like to have it as an option and would tinker around with a bolt build if it actually had enough spells of interest to make it viable.

-level 59 cleric

Meanwhile, a post-cap player who is working toward fully training Spell Aiming still has concerns:

I tend to think of “bolting clerics” as an oxymoron. […] and it’s a bit of a shame because I like bolts.

[…] I’m fully tripled spelled and working my way up to double spell aim, […] but I feel that once I get to 2x Spell Aim (I’m at 1.3x currently), I’ll still feel empty because a cleric doesn’t really have any bolts. Cleric bolts anyway. […] I’m not going to count holy bolt as it’s generally useless since I rarely encounter undead at capped levels. So I still feel like I’m pigeon-holed into 317 over and over again – it’s the only really viable killing strategy.

[…] Clerics should have at least one good bolt that works well against undead and living targets that’s part of their own 300 circle so it can have clerical flavor.

-post-cap cleric

Bolting – Less Positive Responses

Other opinions on cleric bolts, and in a couple cases the implementation of bolting across all professions, were quite a bit more negative than the comments above:

306 is terrible against anything but undead and fire spirit is too expensive. Why spend so many [training] points for two spells?

-level 78 cleric

I just adore 111. I hate holy bolt it is the worst waste of a spell i ever saw, with its only redeeming quality being that I can squirt holy water and “wash off” players or objects if casting it from defensive stance, which i do adore.

-level 72 cleric

Clerics have just as many or more bolting options as the other non-wizard pures, and I definitely do not want any more. Bolting has many flaws at the post-cap level and has a mediocre power ceiling at best. The only reason to bolt post-cap is to power down for group hunting.

-post-cap cleric

[regarding what could make bolting more appealing] Aimed bol-ahahahahaha sorry I couldn’t finish that without laughing.

More bolts like web bolt that do something fun. Unbalance bolt? 335 bolt? Manna bread to the chin? GP Rain with all those coins I can carry now thanks to [314]? Resurrection bolt?

[…] Please don’t actually waste precious dev time on bolting if you cannot make it as effective/desirable as CS spells (ask wizard players for more details, I’m sure they’re champing at the bit to share).

-level 35 cleric

And, to follow up on those comments, below you can see which checkboxes players ticked for why their clerics don’t bolt. Costing too many TPs was the top selected choice, perhaps because the Spell Aiming skill is more expensive for clerics than other pures, while a lack of power and efficiency compared to warding took second place:

If you don’t bolt, why not?

Hopes and Suggestions

Despite divided opinions on the current state of bolting, questions asking for suggestions on making it more appealing or for general thoughts about bolting drew a few very specific ideas:

Smite clerics need an unholy bolt to compensate for the huge mechanical advantage bane clerics get from 306 on undead / 302 on living.

-player of multiple clerics

Second profession-circle bolt spell that buffs the cleric’s party somehow.

-level 38 cleric

302 rework, 306 rework. The work Estild did on 320 and 317 is great. Just need to fix the early level issues with 302 and gives clerics a bolt that is good against living and undead. […] A weak bolt early on that is less than or = to 4 mana to level up to 50 with. A strong bolt that is good past level 50 and at cap that is less than or = to 10 mana

-level 78 cleric

I really enjoy bolting as a means to add variety to hunts/cleric design. But I do think it’s odd to use wizard wands as my primary source of bolting. I would love to see 2-4 more innate bolting options for clerics besides 306. […] maybe something like Disintegrate which can be warded or bolted.

-level 40 cleric

Next Section

In Part 6 we move on to another niche option some people explore: clerics with weapons.

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Leafi

Leafi reports on current events in and around Wehnimer’s Landing, where she can often be found dashing about day and night! She also hosts public Town Hall meetings in the Landing and helps with numerous TownCrier projects behind the scenes, including entirely too many proposals that create more work for Luxie. Does this lass’s troublemaking know no end?