Grouping is an interesting endeavor in Aion. In many games grouping is essential for end game progression, but with Aion’s PvP focus the grouping for PvE seems to be secondary. Speaking of second class systems, Spiritmasters are the lowest percentage played class in the game. Some of this may be due to the perception of Spiritmasters in groups, not all mind you, but some. Of course most people enjoy bringing along a Spiritmaster for the Spirit Erosion skill that increases the drop rate of loot off mobs by 20%. This is of course significant and should mean that every group would have a designated Spiritmaster spot. Like the late Billy Mays said though, “That’s not all you get!”
Is it my deodorant?
First let’s start off with the weaknesses of bringing a Spiritmaster to a group. The Spiritmaster is a “tweener” damage class that does not provide the best damage output, or offer better crowd control or buffs than other classes. Gladiators and Assassins will dole out more damage and the other classes bring similar and in some cases better function than our Spiritmaster. This being said, a well played Spiritmaster will be welcome in most groups due to the support offerings and with our pets we can produce respectable damage.
I bring 20% more loot.
Should I bring a side dish to the party?
Wading past the naysayers and landing in a group, what is it that we bring to the party? Damage is first and foremost. Between our pets (contributing up to 30%-40% of our damage) and our DOTS and direct damage, the Spiritmaster brings a nice volume of sustained damage.
In addition to overall damage, we do have a nice dispel skill that we get early on in the levels. So far I have not seen a lot of PvE need for this spell, but I anticipate it coming in handy later on. Let’s not forget the 20% increase to drop rate that Spirit Erosion brings to the group. This is significant and I’ll be surprised if it stays in the game as more theorycrafters get their hands on parsed data to see just how lucrative it is to have a Spiritmaster around.
Outside of damage spells, we also bring some crowd control mechanics to the party. First up is the Silence and Root available through stigmas. These can be indispensible when you need an interrupt on a mob or to stop them from running. Another crowd control mechanic is the Fear option. Even though Fear can be used in PvE, it takes a skilled player to keep those mobs bouncing like a yo yo without pulling a whole lot of hate down on the party. Of course if everything goes bad, Spiritmasters do have some Stuns and Roots in their back pocket. Keep them handy in case you overpull or have a pesky runner for a mob.
We should bring friends.
Last but certainly not least is the wonderful out of combat spell for summoning group members, aptly named Summon Group Member. This is a nice to have skill, but with a ten minute cooldown it isn’t near as functional as it could be. Unlike some other games though, the summoning does not require additional players in the area. I guess we can’t have the cake and eat it too.
As with any of the classes that don’t fall under pure DPS like Sorcerer and Assassin, a Spiritmaster is more group oriented (heck with all of our Spirits it seems like we’re always in a group). We may not lead the charge or damage meters, but we bring a well rounded attack and support structure. The bottom line is that groups are better off with us than without us. How well you play the Spiritmaster will decide just how much better those groups are that have us along.