Taking a look once again at the chart back from Part 1 about why people create and play clerics, players expressed a love of the roleplay and flavor but less appreciation for the mechanical aspects that make clerics unique–particularly when it comes to hunting.
Listed below are some defining or unique attributes of clerics. Which were primary reasons why you created a cleric, which are primary reasons why you continue to play a cleric (if you still do), and which have had less importance?
The three most highly-rated mechanical draws were utility, anti-undead specialization, and group buffs. Nonetheless, we already saw the challenges posed to clerics’ utility in Part 2–and in this part we’ll look at concerns raised over other the other two mechanical elements.
Cleric Identity – Relevance
In Part 2, a player was quoted saying that clerics might as well not exist if the community doesn’t need raises. While this strong sentiment was rarely expressed, and might (or might not) have been a minority, the player certainly wasn’t alone. On the left is a similarly bold comment–and on the right is a far more bold comment.
Clerics simply aren’t as good at warding as sorcerers. Can’t bolt as good as wizards. And can’t melee as good as empaths. So what’s the point? Other than being able to raise the dead for experience?
Clerics really only matter to the people who play them. Clerics could likely stop logging in and playing for months and most players would barely notice unless they’ve a personal relationship with a cleric PC that exists outside of a mechanically benefitial relationship.
One particular player made a thorough argument across multiple responses in both surveys about clerics’ identity. I already highlighted a small piece of that player’s responses in Part 6, on the subject of war clerics, but I’ve reorganized the rest into a composite below:
There seems very little that makes clerics unique and fun in comparison to most other professions. Previously they could be the apex of undead hunters, but that unique point is now shared with paladins. I wish there was more reason to play the cleric, but now he just feels very bland. Ethereal Censer was an excellent addition though, very unique in function and makes hunting more exciting. […] I miss the days of melee clerics but that role is now owned by paladins.
Clerics simply need more to make them stand out as more than just a raise dead bots and chrism vending machines. There needs to be long term incentives or interesting mechanics to make them a main character option. […] Maybe a cleric only player service which imbues blessings into a deity Holy Symbol that provides scaling benefits (like encorcel). […] tailored around a specific deity also. So players might search out a cleric of Ronan because they like his specific line of buffs. Creating these Holy Symbols would require weekly play, like ensorcel, which would keep this unique to Cleric Mains and not available to pocket clerics.
[…] With Paladins stealing much that made clerics unique, I think a lot of focus should be spent on making caster clerics fun and unique. It makes sense for paladins to own the melee role now, but that has put more limitations on clerics who were already limited.
Since the above player brought up the idea that there aren’t enough reasons to have a cleric as a main, now’s a good time to take a look at the response to the question about whether a player’s cleric is indeed a main, an alt, or a pocket cleric! Among our respondents, at least, alts won out as the majority of clerics while mains and pocket clerics took second and third place respectively.
(See also the comment in Part 7 from a player preferring a different pure as a main in the wake of the change to 240 Spirit Slayer or the comment in Part 6 from the player with “alt-itis” preferring other professions’ toolkits.)
Did you intend him or her [your cleric] to be a main, an alt, or a pocket cleric? Is s/he a main, an alt, or a pocket cleric now?
Other comments on cleric identity being muddled or moot included:
Bane is great vs the living. I have other characters who are in Voln and specialize in hunting the undead. Honestly, the existence of Order of Voln and the ability to bless weapons with favor renders the “undead specialist” aspect of Clerics pretty moot. I’m glad I don’t have that limitation and bane is why.
Clerics are themed as undead fighters, but undead hunting areas vanish from the game around level 65. Add the extreme narrowness of clerical options at this level to the extreme paucity of hunting options and its a major mechanical wall.
Remove empaths for major spirit.
BRING BACK LICH’S LANDING SO CAPPED CLERICS CAN HUNT NEAR WEHNIMER’S LANDING.
[…] half the clerics have their basic hunting spell weakened against the undead, their only unique bolt spell is essentially pointless against the living, and aside from like 3 empath spells, casters that are not clerics get to completely ignore what is undead and what is not. Heck, sorcerers get a spell that can hose incorporeal undead, but not clerics!
[response to a different question:] Clerics running around with weapons more often than the other caster classes was fun and cool, and then came GS4 and runestaffs and paladins and now clerics are just another generic spell slinging class. You can play it as a swinger if you really want, but it’s not what it used to be.
Cleric Identity – Group Hunters
Written comments about the help clerics offer to others were mostly positive, which lines up with the high ratings for their contributions to groups being a draw for players to continue playing their clerics. Here’s a sampling of three perspectives on the subject:
Clearly we’re great in all group situations. If trained right we can cast 211/215/219 for the group. Who doesn’t love all that in addition to 307/310? […] I like taking younger characters hunting and these help them stay alive (not multi-accounting but friends with younger characters who have tough times hunting).
The greatest benefit the cleric offered was how much he powered up my other characters with 307 and 310. […] The class is great to just plop into a party and then never worry about switching to get him exp while hunting and great for pocket rescues/raises/chrism making
Clerics do well in groups, although the defensive spell benefits to others are not as strong as I’d like. Unless you’re hunting undead or worried about dying, most group[s] don’t really see a need for clerics.
[response to question about whether the player group hunts or solos:] Groups. The ONLY reason I don’t like hunting solo is b/c of stuns and stun-like effects. Clerics don’t have a good stun defense, and most of the times I die are due to being stunned first.
In groups I rely on 111 splash damage to make sure I get credit for a kill. I don’t use fancy Lich hunting scripts and use my own custom scripts […]
Solo I have a lot more “time” to get fancy. I can bind and 320 stuff, or change tactics as needed. I can use 335 and 240.
Group? Run my 111 script repeatedly. I fry a little slower usually because sometimes I don’t do enough overall damage, but it’s just the least amount of headache versus trying to do a ton of things. Everything dies soooo fast you just don’t have the time to do anything.
Group hunting greatly reduces spell options. I’m already limited to 316/317 mostly even when solo, but at least when soloing, I can goof around with some other spells. Nothing else is useful in group hunting beyond 317.
As a group contributor, [clerics] have great mass warding-based disablers (but they don’t need any more) and also provide utility buff spells that require the cleric to remain part of the group, which incentivizes others to hunt with them.
Have to have an alternative to warding. My bolting and THW style [clerics] can group but its not feasible with warding.
I tend to be stuck as the leader no matter who I group with. He does a great job as that.
group hunting style is different if there is another cleric, because we can’t both 316 everything