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[RIFT] Do You Have a Responsibility To Fill Multiple Roles?

I died fighting a rift today. That’s a feat when we’re talking a minor RIFT and a Justicar, even two levels under. I died because out of five of us, two rogues and two mages besides myself, no one had a single healing ability — or didn’t want to use it. So here’s the question I pose to you: In this bold new world of class freedom, is it your responsibility to fill multiple roles?

Now, I understand not everyone wants to do that. The MMO genre has been filled with DPSers forever by design. Tanks and healers have more responsibility than everyone else, that’s a fact. Because of this, and the horror stories the players who fill these roles share at every turn, the average player happily remains silent when someone asks “can you tank?” Who can blame that person, the one who’s never tried, who wants their game to be fun and stress-free, for avoiding that responsibility?

I’ll step up. I’ll blame them. Call me a jerk, but it really grinds my gears when the game literally hands you every potential option and makes it easier than any other game to try, and people would still rather slam their face against a wall instead of giving it a shot. How much sense does it make where the person tanking is also responsible for healing himself against a pack of five mobs AND tossing out group heals at every turn? It doesn’t. It’s the same old story of players passing the buck. Well, RIFT doesn’t give you the same excuse you’ve always had. There is no excuse. If you want to play in a group, it’s your job as a player to be prepared to support that group. It’s your job to be prepared. Anything less than that is laziness.

Now, I’m not saying that if you hate tanking or healing you should volunteer yourself for it. Quite the opposite. Avoid it at every turn. But when the time comes and you’re faced with a challenge, there is an expectation to have those other roles prepared. If you have a healing ability and the group has no other healers, and you don’t even use it, then it’s your fault that group fails.

At the very least, it’s your responsibility to be honest. Tell the group that you don’t like it. Let them go their separate ways. Don’t be silent. As you might know, in another life I’m a teacher. When kids are busted, put on the spot for something they don’t want to do (like being honest about something they did or saw happen), they get quiet and look at their shoes. Waiting for someone else to step up is the equivalent.

So let me answer my own question before handing it over to you. Players have a responsibility to one of two things: either they get the soul and try or they own up to why they won’t do it. Play how you want to play. It’s your money and if you never want to DPS, that’s fine. But you need to be prepared to explain to that group looking in your direction why.

The sad part? All those horror stories that drive so many people away from roles they might genuinely enjoy are the absolute minority. It’s a game no matter what role you play. And the god’s honest truth is that most people will be happy to have a tank or healer in the first place.

Because most players wait for the other volunteer.

Hat tip to Tobold for originally raising this question.


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  1. emyln

    I’m fairly new to Rift, only logged on Sun and currently at lvl 18. But Rifts are … not true group situations. At least not the ones at my level. Its a public group situation and I’ve also noticed that the more damage you do, the more rewards you get. (No hard and fast figures on this, but if I’m grouped with higer levels I tend to get less planrite.)

    In this situation, why you someone heal? Also, as a necro I have 2 heals thus far but its not even on my casting bar. (Is there a way to have multiple casting bars up at one time?) But right now, I have only 1 bar with 12 positions. All filled.

    Last point. Rifts are pretty fast paced. If you’re not prepared to heal you probably won’t. Of course I only have 3 of 8 souls so far so I might be in a totally different world than you are currently.

  2. Stubborn

    I’ll be unpopular and say yes. I’ve always been a tank or healer until I intentionally chose mage to avoid that eventuality. I believe if you can tank or heal, you should be, and you can have a dps off spec in case that role’s already filled.

    It’s not popular to want people to think about others, but that’s really what it comes down to. If gamers began to even THINK about following the golden rule, we’d have far less problems. In this specific case, every time I’ve spit and said “Why isn’t there a freaking tank or healer here?” I’ve immediately gone and made a tank or healing spec. Every time.

    Also, if you think that Rift was bad, try a BG. I’m a bad bard healer and frequently top the healing. That’s sad.

  3. Tobold

    Welcome to the club, it’s a rather exclusive one. 🙂
    Tobold recently posted..Learning from video games

  4. Rohan

    Uhh, if you’re a Justicar, you’re a cleric. Shouldn’t you be the healer?
    Rohan recently posted..Intellect Plate

    1. Chris

      I could have. No one else was ready to tank either. I didn’t mention it in the post and probably should have (I got nailed for this on the forums too). I took up the tanking mantle because it was a minor rift and traditionally I can solo those with my self-heals, so having a healer wasn’t really necessary until the very last stage.

  5. Anjin

    I’m split over whether to endorse or disparage Rohan’s comment. Based on your story, you were filling in as the only tank there. But at the same time, he does point out that just because you wanted to step outside the box of class expectations doesn’t mean that anyone else is required to follow suit. Sure, you and I may agree that they are missing out on a lot of the fun by ignoring those possibilities. But they are as entitled to their play style as you are of yours.
    Anjin recently posted..Played Lately- DestinyQuest Book 1- The Legion Of Shadow by Michael J Ward

    1. Chris

      Yeah, I agree. Honestly though, what bothers me most is that everyone was totally silent with the exception of one other player. Everyone waiting for someone else to say they’d do it. It’s normal at this point but will always strike me as little-kid like. That’s probably my biggest thing, actually. If you don’t want to step outside that box, don’t. Just be willing to own up to it when the time comes.

      Ah well. Hopefully my pro-tank/healing posts will encourage some more people to try it and find out how much fun it is 🙂

      1. Rohan

        I think that expecting a mage or rogue to tank or heal is excessive. Players role those classes mostly because they don’t want to tank or heal. The fact that RIFT does provide ways for those roles to tank and heal is an anomaly.

        To me, saying that everyone who can tank/heal should tank/heal when necessary is tantamount to saying that every player in RIFT should be prepared the tank/heal. That there is no room in the game for players who don’t want to tank/heal.

        I think going that far is excessive. I’m willing to agree that if you roll a warrior, you implicitly take on the responsibility of tanking sometimes. If you roll a cleric, you take the responsibility of healing sometimes.

        But I think it’s a little unfair to *expect* rogues and mages to tank or heal.
        Rohan recently posted..Intellect Plate

        1. Chris "Syeric" Coke

          See that’s the thing, the idea that “players who roll rogue or mage do so because they want to DPS” doesn’t apply to RIFT. Rogues make great tanks leveling and good off-tanks at endgame. Mages are some of the best healers in the game. Lots of people roll those classes specifically for that purpose.

          I’m not trying to say everyone should have to tank or heal when there’s a need, just that they should be willing to step up from time to time if they have the soul. It irks me that someone may have a heal in their spellbook and ignore it while the group wipes because “they’re DPS.” That’s what I’m talking about. If you don’t want to tank or heal, that’s fine. But be adult enough to say so instead of passing the buck.

          If everyone refused to step up, nothing would ever get done. And it’s this irrational fear of tanking/healing that keeps so many people from even trying the playstyle. That’s a shame since they can be a lot of fun.

          In the case described above, I didn’t expect anyone to heal because they didn’t volunteer themselves to. Could they have, though? Probably. Grabbing all the souls is somewhat of a rite of passage in RIFT. Maybe they didn’t have them, in which case they’re blameless. That’s the thing, though, when no one talks how is anyone to know better?

          1. João Carlos

            From my experience as chloromancer level 50 inside expert instances, I have to agree that mages are “some of the best healers in the game”. When I compare what I see as mage 50, that have solo and nuker aoe and healer roles, against my alt cleric level 26, that have dps melee and dps ranged and healer roles, I think I prefer play healer as mage.

  6. Genda

    It’s not unusual that there is a situation where people don’t want to fill support roles. It’s happened since EQ that I remember and probably since way before then.

    In today’s MMO climate it’s not surprising that if people can build a super-solo build they are likely to a) do so and b)hope that someone else steps up to the plate come rift or group time. Fact is, if there is no accountability, there isn’t as much incentive to fill those roles so it will probably get worse before it gets better.

    It’s called the “Law of unintended consequences” and it’s brought to you by MMO designers and politicians since time was first recorded.
    Genda recently posted..Casualties of War Coming soon to SWTOR

  7. Green Armadillo

    I approached this question from the opposite direction when I was picking classes – I did NOT want to be a main tank, I did want to melee, and I was willing to heal from time to time, so Cleric was kind of a natural fit. By contrast, the rogue would have given me a better tanking soul (the role I did NOT want) and a much less powerful healing option that I didn’t enjoy playing. I’m not convinced of the whole overblown morality thing, but you can definitely make the case that someone who has ended up with a class that has no non-DPS roles they’re willing to play has done a poor job picking.

  8. B.J. Keeton

    I had this happen to me today, too. I was tanking a Riftboss as a Justicar, and I died. I died hard. I died really, really hard. And what was my first reaction? I got mad and said to myself (IRL at that!) “What the hell is wrong those those guys? Who doesn’t heal the tank?”

    Then I realized that I was a Justicar. I have Doctrines. I have my third Soul as Warden. *I* could heal the tank. I was focused on something else and just assumed someone else would grab me. But they didn’t. So I died and lost out on some good contribution.

    I learned my lesson, but I think the the answer to your question is “yes, we all have that responsibility, but not to other people. To ourselves as much as anyone else.”
    B.J. Keeton recently posted..Writing My Novel- Revision is a Go

  9. Stabs

    If for the sake of argument we agree that dps is the most fun role (after all killing is what combat is all about) then we’re seeing a Tragedy of the Commons situation.

    It’s in everyone’s interest that someone heals.

    It’s in no one’s interest to be the healer.
    Stabs recently posted..Rift- The Hard to Kill Healer

  10. Ferrel

    Great example Stabs! You summed it up pretty well.

    Lets face it. For YEARS now being a healer in an MMORPG is a boring job. I really don’t like playing Ferrel in EQ2 because it is so passive and boring.

    It also doesn’t help that healers generally are blamed for failure. Who hasn’t been chewed out by a wannabe-uber DPS player? I have and I’m generally regarded as a solid healer.

    I’m still feeling out the healing in Rift. The souls are a little weird but I like where I am getting. The up side is that when I’m not grouping I can DPS. In any event until they either make games harder to where you have to have a healer at all times or make it so healing is fun expect the majority of players to be leet deeps.
    Ferrel recently posted..Shaman Soul Guide Updated

  11. browolf

    I got the impression reading rift forums that making my character. hunter/bard/assassin is a fairly strange thing to do in the general rift psyche. Being a player of ffxi, some of the best classes are hybrids and parties in that perform much better with the inclusion of those. but in ffxi dying is much more detrimental and it’s in everyone interest to keep everyone else alive by whatever means necessary.

    The wow legacy is no one wants detrimental death any more and people are used to fixed roles. Give people hybridization and they don’t know what to do with it and will naturally expect people to follow fixed roles. case in point above tank guy who could heal himself but didn’t.

    However I haven’t been in any dungeons or raids so I have no idea how well the content supports hybrids or whether it expects people to maximize their intended role and whether ppl will take one look at my char and say wtf,u aint coming in lol

    in any event rifts with me in seem to do ok since I can tank or heal or dps as needs be.

    On the whole there’s going to be a long tail in rift over educating the wow exodus that having options and using them is ultimately better.

  12. buboe

    I play a rogue, with DPS and Tank souls equipped.
    I’ve also got an abandonded Chloro Alt (25)
    I stopped playing it,because I couldn’t get to bronze participation in rifts as chlor, while my necor/warlock alt-soul was clocking gold every time(pre-patch, I haven’t played him since the canges to participation).
    With a rogue,as bladedancer, ranger or riftstalker,I regularly got gold and/or silver.
    Healing has traditionally been a shitty blame magnet of a role Nonetheless, having played endgame shamans and priests,as well as an LOTRO minstrel and that little goblin thingy in WAR I was willing to roll another healer,and the idea of a mage healer attracted me. But I’m not going to gimp my progression to do it. I haven’t even bought a third soul combo to try Bard.
    Having said that,I’ll regularly play the fist coupleof waves of a rift as bladedancer, and switch to riftstalker to tank the boss- because it doesn’t cost me anything.
    Unless the above has changed significnatly,I can see why someone wouldn’t want to change,particularly in a PUG rift group.

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