If you haven't been reading up on Rift: Planes of Telara, then you might not know about the interesting twist on the class system the have in store for us. First things first, classes are called callings and they are divided into four categories; Warrior, Rogue, Cleric and Mage. Each calling can have up to, speculatively, eight different souls. The are the souls of past heroes being reborn into Telara and as you travel through the world you gain access to more diverse and focused souls. Two souls are officially known for the Warrior (Reaver and Champion), two for the Cleric (Inquisitor and Purifier), two for the Mage (Warlock and Elementalist) and three for the Rogue (Ranger, Nightblade and Blade Dancer.
There have been other details that have been spied out from demonstrations at E3. Three more souls for the Rogue calling have been spotted; those being the Bard, the Assassin and the Riftstalker. Though not seen on a game screen, Scott Hartsman did let the word Pyromancer slip from his lips in one video.
So what's so special? You can access multiple souls at the same time.
As you gain higher levels you open up the abilities to access more than one soul at the same time (pictured above). However it's not as simple as having three classes in one, accessing everything at the same time. As you gain levels you gain Soul Points that can be put into each soul tree. These points are finite though and have to be spread across each tree.
Each soul tree has two parts, the tree and it's roots. As you apply points into the soul tree gaining bonuses for that soul, you also unlock root abilities. Presumably, you don't gain abilities as you level, but as you put soul points into each soul tree.
This is what makes Rift so unique and gives the impression of an amazing system that is incredibly flexible and customizable. If you have, for example, fifty points and have access to three trees you now have to choose how far to go into one soul and gain the more powerful abilities while balancing out the other trees to gain abilities there. Perhaps you can put a few points into a Ranger for some bow attacks but put the rest into a heavy dps melee soul.
As heard in this video the possibilities are really endless. Check out 06:08 of the video below. Russ Brown, VP of Development, gives the impression of Rogues that can tank, Mages that can toss out healing and Tanks that can drop some nukes. The balancing of abilities and tree is going to excite every min/max player out there. Do you use one tree fully? Two? Or go with all three?