Basic PvP Knowledge
I'm going to quickly skim over the basics just to refresh the concepts for everyone and to remind everyone that now is the very best time to set up your keybinds and begin to train your muscle memory. I will presume that everyone knows how to configure their Rift UI and setup appropriate keybinds.
Below I will show and explain my keybinding setup. I urge everyone to bind to what works for them and to put their keybinds in early, even while you only have a few abilities, so that you learn your bindings while leveling.
I have a generic action bar layout that I use across all of my WoW characters, and now Rift characters, as shown in the image below. At this stage I only have a few moves, but I'm expecting my bars to be filled with abilities by the endgame.
For now I have my bindings as follows:
- 1 : Flame bolt
- 2 : Fireball
- 3 : Countdown
- 4 : Inferno
- ` : Fire Storm
- Z : Thunder Blast
- X : Ground of Power
- C : Transmogrify
- V : Break Free
- F : Flame Jet
- Shift 1 : Flicker
- Shift W : Fire Armor
- T : Burning Bonds
- G : Cinder Burst
- Shift A : Internalize Charge
- Shift S : Smouldering Power
- Shift D : Detaunt
- Shift B : Burning Intellect
- F1 : Set Focus
- F2 : Soul Recall
- Shift E : Heroic Resolve (Racial Ability)
The concept of the soul and class system has amazed me in rift. The sheer amount of possibilities are amazing and after taking just a quick gander over all the trees I’m expecting endgame PvP to be incredibly fast paced and brutal. In the Pyromancer tree alone you have an AOE 2 second Stun, an 8 second snare that can be talented to NOT BREAK ON DAMAGE, not to mention a 20 second cooldown to remove ALL CC on yourself aswell as a talent to reduce CC on yourself by 30%! Each of the other trees also have similar PvP abilities that can make you unstoppable so I spent a lot of platinum on respecs to find this build that works well for me:
7/18/0 Archmage/Pyromancer/Dominator Build
- For the archmage tree you have two different paths that can be followed. Each of them have game breaking abilities at the end of the trees that can be very rewarding if used correctly. The problem is that by allocating too many points into Archmage you loose any 'functionality' that is provided by any other tree and therefore loose any advantage you otherwise may have gained. In then end i will be looking to take 'Improved Break Free' to give myself a 2 minute 'trinket', but at this stage in time the 15% passive damage bonus was just too good to pass up. If you fell you are dyeing too often or being targeted too much then it may be an idea to go into the other side of the tree with 'Resilient' and take some damage protection
-I feel like this is a no brainer for the initial points. A 20% decreased cast time on your main nuke is extremely helpful for this early stage of PvP. I felt that fiery concentration and improved fireball were not worth the points at such a stage in the game
Improved Smouldering Power
- Another no brainer. Anyone who has tried Pyromancer (or arcane mage) before will no that you can burst through your mana faster than you can say 'LOLDPS' and this talent will offset that. It's essentially the 'evocation' of the Pyromancer tree. The idea is to keep this up at all times (refresh once the 8 stacks wear off) and you will have next to no mana issues, and if used along-side ground of power you're mana should never be an issue for you.
- An EIGHT second snare, nuff said
Improved Burning Bonds
- Makes your snare instant cast, nuff said. (The plan is to eventually spec into unbreakable bonds so that it stops breaking on damage. But for now people will just need to learn to stop breaking CC) Once again I didn’t feel that the points spent in combust were warranted for this early stage of PvP.
- WoW's mage Blink has had a facial. The importance of this talent cannot be stressed enough! Besides from propelling you forwards 15 meters to escape melee play styles, this move will break ALL FORMS OF CC ON YOURSELF WHEN USED! And it only has a 20 second cooldown! Anyone who has tried arena in WoW will know the importance of their trinket (Removes all CC on yourself on use, with a 2 minute CD), and Flicker is essentially a trinket on a 20 SECONDS COOLDOWN that helps evade melee at the same time!
- Some may question my choice in this talent but i feel that ground of power is a vital part to the lvl 19 play style I am using. The ground gives you a 10% damage buff while standing on it, this in itself is very substantial, and if you’re playing correctly it's a rare time when you are attacked. And when you are attacked you need to merely step off of the ground of power to avoid the increased damage on yourself. With a cast time of just over 1 second and next to no mana, this fellow should be plonked on the ground whenever you set up to annihilate some poor enemy.
Although Fiery Resolve may sound like a great talent (and it is), i decided not to take it at this point as very few players appeared to be using their full CC capabilities, and of the few who did I only needed to cast flicker and escape.
- An AOE in the Black Garden is an absolute must have if you want your team to win, but i will discuss that later.
With only 18 points available to allocate in this tree at level 19 i felt that the AOE provided by fire storm was much more important than any of the other options.
For the final tree I was really tossing up between this and the Chloromancer tree. With Chloromancer the base root move is a debuff that can be applied to the enemy that gives anyone attacking the target with the debuff to receive 100% of the damage they deal back as health. Compared with the base 'Transmogrify' offered by the dominator tree I felt that 15% proc chance was too low for PvP and would train you to rely on RNG, which is not good.
2 Points must be allocated into this tree to unlock the 'Thunderblast', a knockback ability, that when combined with the rest of the CC makes the mage a power house of control.
- Both of the choices are not too great at only lvl 19, but using my play style, mana efficiency is not an issue for me and hence I chose this talent.
At level 19 the amount of abilities are limited, but you still have a small variety of control abilities that you can use to turn the tide of the battle.
In a perfect world where you could stand still and cast at the enemy without taking any damage yourself your PvP rotation would look something like this:
If you weren't being attacked you could probably chuck in a cinder burst or two against some tough targets - I don’t think there has ever been an occasion where I have been able to cast Cinder Burst, 6 seconds is just a mammoth cast time, and only an idiot player is going to sit there and take it.
- Plant down a ground of Power - Stand on it
- If you expect the target to survive for longer than 8 seconds then cast Countdown on them. Refresh if the target looses the debuff (usually because it has exploded) and you expect the target to last a further 8 or more seconds
- Flame Bolt when off cooldown
- Fireball until the target's health is beneath 30%
- Finish up with Inferno
-Deals a medium amount of damage, instant cast, on an 8 second CD. Very usefull move to get some burst damage on a target. Because it's instant cast it can be cast on the move, this is generally the ability that I use in most situations
- This is your primary player nuke. A 2 second cast time is quite hefty in fast paced PvP so before you begin casting this ensure that its going to hit your desired target. So make sure that your target will not run around a corner and LOS you, or interrupt your cast or else you will be wasting valuable GCD cast time. But if you can cast your fireball, then expect some big damage to be taken by your opponent.
- This ability is similar to 'Living Bomb' from WoW but without the dot effect. Generally this move doesn’t see much usage from me as my targets usually die within 8 seconds, rendering the ability useless. But there are a few occasions when the heals are just so great that it warrants casting this ability. It's also useful as a fire and forget type move. 2 Opponents? No worries, cast this on one, use some CC, and deal with the other. By the time you swap back this bad boy will be due to tick for a significant amount leaving your now single opponent at a disadvantage.
- This is your most powerful move. If it can be cast then you can expect your target to die. Personally I have never seen anyone survive a cast of this (being at the top end of the PvP bracket) so use this whenever you can.
- This is your primary AOE. It is channeled, and it absolutely smashes through your mana so its extremely important to be standing on your talented ground of power and maintaining your smoldering power stacks or you will OOM within 2-3 casts.
When picking up the flag (fang) in the Black Garden you get a castbar for about 1 or so seconds. This is interruptible, and it just so happens that the ticks from this AOE are about every 1 or so seconds, so when the flag is dropped and both teams swarm to pick it up stick this baby down on the flag and it will prevent the enemy from picking it up (Unless they spec into pushback or whatever - But i have rarely seen anyone pick up the fang while in the AOE at this bracket), this will give your team plenty of time to stroll in and casual collect the flag.
In my experience this is a game winning move. If the opponents do not copy you and your team can grab the flag in time, it sways the fight big time.
- This move doesn’t hit for much but it's knockback is invaluable. There are many situational uses for this ability but the main ones that I have noted are: knocking back a single player going for the fang, and knocking back pesky melee or pets that try to hamper your stationary PvP domination. Use it wisely though, I’ve seen a few stupid mages knockback a fang carrier that they have been chasing and putting them out of their own range, or knocking the enemies into the allied fang carrier.
Ground of Power
he ground gives you a 10% damage buff while standing on it, this in itself is very substantial, and if you'r playing correctly it's a rare time when you are attacked. And when you are attacked you need to merely step off of the ground of power to avoid the increased damage on yourself. With a cast time of just over 1 second and next to no mana, this fellow should be plonked on the ground whenever you set up to annihilate some poor enemy.
Generally if you don’t have a ground of power beneath you then you should be: Kiteing a melee, moving into a position to plonk down ground of power, or be under the effects of some form of CC.
- The Polymorph of Rift. Now I’m not sure if RIft PvP is subject to DR and the 10 second CC cap, but even if it is then this move is still powerful. You can effectively completely lockdown an enemy with this move for up to 10 seconds (30 seconds?). Have two enemies on your hands at once? No worries, lock down one with this and then kill the other. By the time the Trans target is free the other will be dead leaving you to kill this person without extra pressure.
- The PvP trinket of Rift. Removes all CC from yourself on a 5 minute CD. If your using flicker correctly then you will rarely need to call upon this ability, but its a useful reserve for when you get CCd multiple times within 20 seconds. This can later be talented to a 2 minute Cooldown similar to WoWs trinkets.
- A frontal cone AOE. While the damage is limited, the uses are not. The primary use of this ability is to interrupt a group of enemies attempting to pick up the fang in a similar way to 'Fire Storm'.
- The cornerstone of the Pyro PvP tree, and the One main reason I ended up choosing Pyro for PvP. As explained earlier: Besides from propelling you forwards 15 meters to escape melee play styles, this move will break ALL FORMS OF CC ON YOURSELF WHEN USED! And it only has a 20 second cooldown! Anyone who has tried arena in WoW will know the importance of their trinket (Removes all CC on yourself on use, with a 2 minute CD), and Flicker is essentially a trinket on a 20 SECONDS COOLDOWN that helps evade melee at the same time!
-This is your only armor choice at this stage, so re-apply at spawn or when it is removed from you and you should be good. FYI: 5% fire damage increase, 'nuff said
- This is an 8 second snare. Anyone familiar with WoW's entangling roots should be a master with this move, just bear in mind that it's on an 8 second cooldown, and before reaching the next tier of the Pyro tree it will break on damage. But its still an extremely useful move. The main purpose is for keeping those pesky melee off you, and preventing fleeing targets from escaping your wrath. "But how do they not escape your wrath if the damage breaks the snare?" I hear you say. Well, 8 seconds is long enough for you to charge up a fireball and put them out of their misery. Or felling really evil? then try out a cinderburst. Just dont try snaring another ranged to keep them away from you, they can still shoot you from where they stand
- As explained above Cinder Burst is a heavy hitting move with a 6 second cast. While it wont see much use in the Black Garden due to its incredibly long cast time, it is still useful to keep binded for those rare occasions where you get a perfect 6 second casting window on a target
- A 20% damage bonus is extremely powerful in PvP, but because this ability uses charge and not mana it will conflict with your smouldering power usage. There are cases where this will be handy to use, but its up to you to determine when. Getting the perfect mix between maintaining mana yet maintaining this ability is the mark of a true gladiator.
- As explained above this move is the main mana regeneration source for the Pyromancer and should be maintained at all times to conservere mana.
- A 50% damage reduction buff for a targeted enemy (breaks on damage dont forget) is incredible. Used in conjunction with Transmogrify, Burning Bonds, Thunder Blast and Flicker, a skilled mage could keep up to 3 enemies controlled (or even 4 for the budding gladiator) and kited on their own.
The Black Garden
The Black Garden is a small Warfront (Rifts Battlegrounds) with 10 players a side. Both Guardians and Defiants fight each other for control of the flag, ironicaly called the Fang of Regulos.For those who are unaware, Regulos appears to be the main bad guy of the game, and so holding his fang is like holding a part of the main bad guy. Turns out that Regulos dosnt like people holding his tooth, and so it gives off an increasing amount of damage to the holder until they eventually dieBecause of this mechanic the player holding the fang generally needs an amount of healing to prevent them from dyeing. Eventually the damage will become so high that they die in a single tick and healers become useless. When this happens another player must be nearby ready to pick it up
When attempting to pick up the flag you will be set back by a castbar of about 1 second that will be interrupted upon receiving any damage. It is therefore important to keep enemies going for the flag under pressure and constant damage so that they can not pick up the flag. The AOE tactic detailed above (under Fire Storm) is the generic opener beginning to be implemented by both the Defiants and Guardians in my battlegroup and once it has further developed it will become important to quickly neutralize enemy AOE'ers and at the same time learn how to avoid being killed in the opener while still keeping up the flag AOE protection
The opening strategy detailed above is very successful when used in conjunction with a competent team and I believe that until some nerfs are handed around or the Warfront is altered, this will become the generic Strategy employed by most PUG groups.
Getting your Burst on!
While following my playstyle works for me, it only gets me so far. After a few runs of this Warfront I realized that both the Northern and Southern shrines house a damage Buff.
This buff gives you a 100% damage increase! This buff lasts for 2 Minutes and appears to be on a 2:30 respawn timer. I highly advise to make the most of these before word gets out about just how overpowered they are. Collect these often and make good use of them and it will be a rare time indeed when you are not on the top of the charts. Each of the shrines has two ways of getting in. The first is a boulder on the ground that allows you to jump the wall. The southern shrines boulder is towards the west, allowing Guardians to access the shrine faster than defiants. The opposite is true for the north shrine. Each of the shrines can also be accessed by running along the pillar-bridge things. It a smart idea to use the pillar bridge to return to the middle of the map so that you are out of melee range initially.
Once under the power of this buff you can generally cast Flame Bolt, Fireball and then follow up with Inferno for a burst of around 1100 Damage in 3 seconds. In the lvl 19 bracket of the Black garden, that's usually someones entire health. Anyone with more health or heals, just chuck in an extra fireball or two.
PvP Pyromancer Black Garden Strategy
My Strategy for the Black Garden is divided into 2 Phases. To begin with I am faced with two choices, head into the middle and use the opener described above to ensure your team begins with the fang. Or head off to a shrine to immediately enter the game with intense burst damage.
Usually I will open with the AOE phase, and then collect the buff after we have the fang. But when the team seems competent or it's a guild run or premade then I will open by heading to the southern shrine.
Once I have collected the buff I will head to the center and help out our fang carrier by destroying anyone who attempts to kill him in ~3 seconds flat. Once the buff wears off and we have a firm grasp on the fang i will head to the northern shrine and repeat like this until we finally win. In the case where the enemies obtain the fang, i devote my efforts to hunting down the enemy fang carrier and killing them. The 3 second Buff Burst combined with the fang damage makes killing the enemy Fang carrier extremely easy, and makes attacking healers first something of the past. For now at least healers do not need to be your primary targets. Once the enemy fang carrier is dead, you can proceed to cast Fire Storm while your allies collect the fang