As my first full week in Rift comes to an end, I’m extremely pleased with my decision to purchase the 6-month subscription. My primary motivation to play MMOs is to have fun during the leveling process which is my progression through that world’s story.
The fluidity of your adventuring options is one of the game's greatest strengths. I can start the night focused on my quest journal, crafting or exploring and instantly be engaged into defending the world by closing rifts or beating down invasions. I find myself moving from moment to moment, doing precisely what interests me and the evening races by. As a player who enjoys a good deal of alone time to unwind first, I enjoy the effortless way in which we join and disband groups without interrupting whatever inner monologue I have going on until I'm ready for social fun.
Now that we’re out of beta I can jump into the instanced content. Yea! I'm looking forward to seeing every single instance. I’ve already healed Iron Tombs (defiant) and Realm of the Fae (Guardian) on my defiant Cleric. If this is a taste of what’s to come, it’s going to be a sweet meal.
For years, I've lamented about games where the vast majority of questing is out in the middle of nowhere and everything else is back in a player city. One of the reasons I loved the WOW run of Northshire Abbey to Southshore is because each zone was comprised of NPC towns and villages which for me, adds meaning to the quests. It makes the game feel more like a world and the critters I'm culling have a visible purpose because they're endangering nearby areas. Runes of Magic does this to a degree, Cataclsym does it more than original WOW but Rift so far has carried the motif the furtherest.
If everything that matters is back in the player city then why the hell do I care about what's going on way over there!?! It makes the questing feel extremely artificial. I'm happier questing in NPC inhabited areas and will tend to do each and every quest. Once you dump me in the wilds, I much more inclined to just grind. That's all if feels like you're asking me to do anyway in that setting.
Fond Farewell to Freemarch
I leveled past Freemarch sooner than I have on previous characters and I wasn’t rushing. Yet again, there was no need for me to quest in Smith Haven and the surrounding area or Iron Fortress. If I were a completest I’d do them anyway but I’m not. Besides which, I’ll get to see everything I missed on our Monday night progression characters.
I absolutely love my Cleric. I’m torn about what to roll for the Monday group. Should I try the Mage or Ranger for a change of pace or stick with something that fits me so well and has all the diversity I need in a single class? Not wanting to tank, I’m not sure I’ll ever bring the Justicar back into my melee build even though I enjoyed it in alpha. My Death Knight like build is great fun and allows me to do DPS and healing from the same role when questing in a group. With this build, I only switch to my full healer role for large scale rifts, invasions and dungeons. When I feel like forking over for the 3rd role I might use that for my Shaman + Justicar + Warden spec.
Beautiful. Exicting. Challenging.
The instances are more than just making your way to a boss that’s hard to kill. There are mechanics reminiscent of raid level rooms and bosses. There was a room in Iron Tombs that reminded me of the suppression chamber in Blackwing Lair. You must execute your path through the room together and with precision or there will be blood. I think that’s the only room where our party lost a couple of players and a pet but we never wiped. I healed most of the encounters solo but our rogue was able to break out his Bard spec for the more difficult situations.
Realm of the Fae on the other hand, was a trial of managing additional mobs while moving through a beautifully lush outdoor zone. Here too there were special mob mechanics that had to be managed. Not to be out done by Iron Tombs, before your journey is over you fight your way through snow covered peaks in blizzard-like conditions. Talk about white-out effects, I've never seen this attempted in a MMO.
One fight in particular had me terrified. I find heights in a game as frightening as real life. Fighting on a ledge that hovers over a precipice was terror inducing all on its own, now add the fact that I couldn’t see my feet because of the blowing snow and you have a heart pumping encounter.
I wish I could have taken more pictures but I was the healer. These aren't cake-walk encounters. I couldn’t risk closing down the UI during the fights and we moved at a very brisk pace, wanting to hit both instances that evening. BIG THANKS to the Casualty of War members Desarazan, Ludo, Pendan and Shogun for a great night. I had a blast and can’t wait to do it again as DPS this time to see how that feels. And I can do that when I want without a new character or visiting a trainer. I can start as DPS and change to off healing if it becomes necessary.
Let's Nuke it from Orbit
Nuking Stonefield must have been last night’s theme. It seemed like wave after wave of invasions hit the zone. We also had at least 3 zone wide events during the course of the evening. Woot for loot – I received gold contributions several times and started purchasing the next tier of planar gear. My late night to wee hours questing couldn’t have ended any better than a crazed invasion of trolls we couldn’t fight back before they reached the town.
I was out with two guildies – Maledictus and Zagato. We tried to stop the invasion on the road but with only a couple of other players in the area, there was no way we could defeat the half dozen elites and their accompanying minions. We gave it try but after drying back to back, we conceded we weren’t enough. We stood back and watched as the invasion marched forward. Slowly more players joined the cause and we killed one group then ran together to defend Granite Falls, which is the local town. We arrived to see an amazing and comical sight!
Troll Wedding Cake
We stopped dumb-found on the small bridge. Laughter rang out in vent chat. I screamed for them to stop so I could take a picture first. Troll wedding cake anyone??? That’s the first thing that came to mind when I saw all the trolls that had amassed in the town. There was still only a handful of us and no way to take it on at once.
We decided to attempt pulling them one or two at a time – seems logical and works just fine. Unless you're LEROOOOOOOOOY JENKINS, *cough - Maledictus - cough*, and hit your charge instead of shield.
I scurried screaming and squealing every step of the way when I saw Maledictus charge into the center of the mobs. There was no f’g way I was even throwing a HOT knowing what would happen to me after. I had to apologize after in vent because my voice reached a glass breaking pitch while shouting, “OMG – what are you doing??? RUN RUUUUUUUUUUN!” I haven’t laughed that hard in a very long time. I laughed until the tears streamed and my stomach hurt. He’s so lucky I didn’t get a screenshot to immortalize his shame.
We regrouped, got our act together and with the help of players who kept trickling in, we dispatched the unwanted visitors. WHEW, that was all the excitement I could take in one evening and besides, it was 2:30 AM ET. I logged with a huge smile on my face.
Has it really only been 7 days? It feels like a month's worth of fun already. Long post but I wanted to get it all in and the pictures out before leaving town again on business. I’m going to miss not being able to play next week. I’ll be very jealous of the fun people will be having without me.