Posted tagged ‘Rift’

New Stories Day!

May 29, 2011

In case you aren’t following my other blog, Manifest Tale, there have been several new episodes added since I lasted posted about it. Give it a look here: http://manifesttale.wordpress.com/

Let me know what you think. It’s been a blast writing these, and they’re actually harder than just writing a story. I have to take the screenshots I have and turn it into a coherent story that isn’t “I killed a llama” 100 times in a row.

There are now 4 episodes of ‘Wild’ Erp and 1 episode  for Of Blood and Bone.

Still Rifting

April 18, 2011

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Amun looks ready for war at level 26

Well, it’s been a long time since I’ve updated. I could tell you that it’s been a busy time, which it has, but that’s not really the reason. I just haven’t had much to say recently, at least not important enough that I really wanted to get it out there. Truth is, I still don’t, I just felt like I wanted to make a post and here we are.

I’m still playing Rift, though not nearly as much as I’d like to due to my schedule. Me and the wife are level 33 now and it still feels like the levels are coming extremely quickly whenever we find the time to play. We would probably have been level 50 by now, but my account was hacked a while ago and it took a couple of weeks to get my gear back.

I haven’t messed too much with alts, though the little I have tells me that I’m going to need to concentrate on one char until I get them to the level cap before starting a new one, since the single starting zone per faction really limits replay value. So far I’m still really enjoying the game, aside from the terrible 10 level PVP brackets. I love when a zone suddenly goes into mass invasion mode and me and the wife can ride around slaughtering everything in sight while gaining some serious XP.

The biggest snafoo recently with Rift was the terrible way they handled their first world event. You may have noticed that it’s over. That’s right, the second and third phases lasted about an hour, while the first phase lasted weeks. It would have been nice if I’d have known about that, but it wouldn’t have mattered. You see, Trion Worlds decided to have this weekend be a free to play weekend, and apparently when subscribers tried to log on to see the last two phases of the world event they were greeted with que’s. This means that very few paying customers say any part of the second and third phases, which presumably were a lot cooler than phase one.

Other than that Rift has done amazingly well for me. It hasn’t drawn me in like WoW did, or UO before it, but I think that’s simply because at this point in my life I don’t have 8 hours a day to play.  Still, I have no interest in going back to WoW at this point in time, or even in playing another MMO. Of course I’ll try Guild Wars 2 when it comes out, and The Old Republic, but as of right now I’m pretty content in my MMO game of choice.

I’ve also been playing a lot of single player games, and you’ll hear about them soon. Whenever I get off my butt and write some more that is.

Rift…Set…Go!

February 26, 2011

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Amun is my tanking Warrior on the PvE Deepwood server.

As anyone who is even remotely interested in this blog already knows, Rift launched on the 24th and I’ve spent every moment of my free time playing. In fact, the only reason you’re getting a post is because they’ve brought the shards down again to do some quick fixes. I love that Trion is willing to fix things quickly.

Both me and the wife are sitting at level 17. She’s a healing Cleric, human style, while I am a tanking Warrior of the Dwarven persuasion. We’re having a blast, and it’s a great combo for any MMO. If we run into a Rift, a Greater Rift, or an Invasion we have no problems. I throw down some initial AOE aggro moves, then settle into alt smacking everything around me while she heals. He constantly add people as well, so if you are on the Deepwood server we’ve probably already grouped together once.

I haven’t had a chance to do any dungeons yet. They start at 17, so we are waiting until 18 to go, in order to give ourselves some leeway. I did try the Warfronts, and just as I feared being level 10, you are utterly useless. I chased this level 19 Cleric around the map, he never even healed, just let me whack and miss the entire match. So we haven’t gone back, but being level 17 we’re ready to take the plunge. I just really wish Trion has taken a que from WoW and made the PVP brackets 5 levels instead of 10. That is the best change to WoW PVP I’ve seen since the game launched, and I had hoped Rift would follow suit.

I did however have a pretty epic moment. Due to the massive amount of people in the 10-20 zone there are tons of invasions and rifts going off all the time. This WILL clear up as you level higher and the population thins out, which is good because at the moment it’s almost TOO much. Almost. Anyway, we were participating in one of the zone wide mass invasions, and we never get to help take out the final boss. He’s always too far away for us to get it. This time he spawned nearly on my head. He was a level 20 elite raid style boss, and I was only level 16. I managed to tank him for the entire 15 minute fight, only loosing aggro a dozen or so times throughout. I managed to get it back, and even got a couple of people in zone chat telling me I did a great job tanking, which felt pretty damn good.

One thing I’m furious with though is the racial abilities. Every race gets some kind of movement increase, such as the group aoe sprint humans get, or the 15 second cooldown short duration FLIGHT that the High Elves get. What did Dwarves get? I can fall a bit farther than everyone else. Gee, that’d be fair if the entire game was played on a cliffside. Jumping off a slightly taller cliff and almost dying is only slightly better than doing it and dying, and it’s far behind an AOE sprint or a quick cooldown flight option.

The other race that got screwed, but to a lesser extent, is the Kelari. They basically get to turn into ghost foxes. This doesn’t increase movement speed, which sucks, but it does allow them to walk almost on top of aggroable mobs and not have them aggro. This does increase the speed with which you arrive at your destination by allowing you to bypass a ton of fights, but it’s still only slightly better than nothing.

All in all, I’m having a friggin blast playing, and I can’t wait to get another level and get some dungeons under my belt. I did manage to get my Mining to 75, and my Armorsmithing to 75 as well before logging off. My Runecrafting is only at 51, so that’s not that good, but it’s not too bad.

Rift Beta 4: The Likes

January 11, 2011

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The day Telara exploded.

Last time I talked about Rift it was the negatives and things I was worried about due to Beta 4. At the end of that I said I was still going to buy the game, but I didn’t get into any detail as to why. The following should clear that up and I hope will help push a few more readers to pick up this great game.

First of all let’s get the “it’s generic” argument out of the way. It’s true the game has very few “signature moves” so to speak. They aren’t touting something new to MMOs and that’s led a lot of people to write the game off without bothering to see more. But let’s look at some of the amazing games that have brought something new to the genre recently.

Warhammer Online – WAR brought the idea, as far as I know, of public quest. Quests that are zone wide and you don’t need to talk to anyone to accept the quest or help out.

Age of Conan – Amazing new melee combat with finishing moves that give Mortal Kombat a run for it’s money as far as blood goes.

Tabula Rasa – A more shooter oriented control scheme and a drastically different setting, making it a space aged shooter instead of a fantasy world. Perhaps not the first but one of the most high profile.

Auto Assault – A new setting of apocalyptic cars or whatever. You controlled a Twisted Metal meets Mad Max style monstrosity in a never ending destruction derby.

Matrix Online – It’s combat system was one of the more interesting things I’ve seen in any MMO in years. It was also, again, not fantasy.

Lego Universe – With it’s focus on building instead of questing Lego Universe might be the most unique MMO I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing in action.

Now, there are many more MMOs that have come out recently touting one or more things that make them unique, and while a few on this list haven’t failed, and Lego Universe is too young to pass judgment on, can we honestly say that having something new and unique made these games amazing? Are we all still impressed with Public Quests? Hell, most of us were tired of PQs by the end of the beta. Did Age of Conan’s blood and interesting melee combat matter when you got to mid game and realized they didn’t have time to implement quests or sieges? How are Tabula Rasa, Auto Assault and Matrix Online doing with their unique bits?

The point here is that originality doesn’t make for a good game. In fact, some of the best games in other genres have focused more on polish than on innovation. Bioshock had nothing in it that wasn’t in other shooters, but it did everything just right. Same with Starcraft II and the RTS genre, or Uncharted II and the third person platformer/shooter genre. What about New Vegas? That was basically Fallout 3, and yet it was done so well, and with just a simple change of location, that the game was amazing.

So no, Rift isn’t unique, and it doesn’t have a “gimmick” like other MMOs that have come out or are coming out. Instead Rift has focused on making a good game, on perfected what they took from other games in the genre. What they’ve come up with, even in BETA, is one of the more fun MMOs I’ve played in a few years. Rift may or may not hold me through it’s end game, but it’ll definitely be enough to get me to end game.

Now that I’ve had my rant on originality, let’ get to the bullet point style list:

Rifts, while I am worried about them late in the games life, can be extremely fun and addictive. Are they an interesting way to get players to grind? Of course, that’s what any quest is, but that doesn’t make it not fun. In fact, on Sunday when Trion did the MASSIVE fire invasion, where the entire zone exploded in fire rifts and everyone had to run around closing rifts, fighting off invasions, and finally tracking down and murdering a high ranking Fire general, well that was the most fun I’ve had in any MMO since trying to sell fish stakes in front of the Brittania bank.

Another thing both me and my wife loved were the artifacts. Much like EverQuest II’s collectibles, even copying the “ball of golden light on the ground” look of them, Rift’s collectibles are something we both really enjoy. Neither of us plays EQII anymore, so having this feature in a game we do play is going to be a blast, whether you get anything for it or not, it gives the player something to do other than just fight.

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Some of the spell effects are just badass.

Having your character not look like a retarded moose through most of the game is also a huge plus. This is due to the fact that, like Warhammer Online, you seem to have certain “looks” for certain level ranges, and while sometimes you’ll get something drastically different, for the most part you look pretty good. Add to this the fact that there are dyes in the game and, assuming they don’t suddenly open a cash shop and charge for black dye, your character can look as cool as you want. Does it dye the entire armor piece? No, just certain parts depending on the armor, which I couldn’t be happier about. There’s nothing worse for breaking immersion that running across GROGNAK TEH DESTRAWER in a flood fill bright pink plate outfit.

The PVP, while they did screw up by making it ten levels per bracket, was extremely fun. The battles were quick, which was nice, but still intense. There was a variation on Warhammer Online’s Murder Ball, but it was made much more fun by the quickness with which it kills the carrier, the turnover rate, and the fact that you got more points the farther you carried the ‘ball’ away from your base.

The leveling experience, from 1-20 at least, is just a blast if you like Theme Park MMOs. The questlines carry you through the zone, keeping you in appropriate levels and making sure you have a good time. Feeling bored of that? Head off the beaten path to get some more crafting materials or to look for artifacts. Better yet, go close some of those Rifts you see on the map. Tired of questing and rifting? Que up for some Warfronts. Is any of Rift truly unique other than the setting, which is still fantasy based? Nope. Is Rift one of the MMOs I am most excited to play? You bet. Sadly Beta 4 is over, and unless the never few betas are 30-40 or end game I doubt I’ll be playing more. Why? Rift only has two starting zones, and unless you have the option of going through many different zones for each level range after level twenty then I don’t want to burn myself out on the content before I start the character that really matters.

All I can say though is that if Rift wants to keep me for more than a year they better add a new starting zone in the first expansion. Heck, while they are doing that it might as well be for a third faction entirely. Maybe the death dragon faction? Who’d turn down a three way faction Warfront? Not me that’s for sure. Oh, but that has been done before, so I guess they shouldn’t worry about it.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Rift Beta 4: So Far

January 9, 2011

HeMan1

By the power of Grayskull! I have the power!

Beta 4 isn’t over, but I’m taking a small break from my powergaming session to give you my impressions so far. Luckily both me and my wife were able to get beta access this time without preordering, so we’ve been able to play together like we usually do. What do we think? Let’s get to it.

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Rift is an amazingly beautiful game.

We started two new characters for this beta, since we would be playing together. We went with red headed, green eyes dwarves without really talking about it at all. What we did talk about was what classes we would be. I chose a tanking warrior, Reaver to be specific, and she picked a healing Cleric. Eventually I added beastmaster which I don’t plan to waste any points on, I just wanted the pet, and then I chose the tank soul that is focused on magic, which turned out to be pretty cool.

We’ve been running around, leveling as quickly as we can and closing all the Rifts we come across. It’s been a blast, but I’m not going to lie and say that there haven’t been some issues. Less for me than for my wife, but they were still there.

One of the major issues is PVP balance. Trion decided to go with the 10-19, 20-29 brackets for PVP, which means you won’t be PVPing for most of the game. This is the stupidest decision you can make in a PVP game. A level 10 is completely useless against what will quickly be all level 17-19’s, just like WoW in the past. I can imagine it quickly becoming a scream fest when you load in at level 11, and everyone starts cursing you out for gimping the team and telling you to come back at 17. They don’t even have Warhammer’s “fake level up” thing.

Another issue is figuring out what classes people are. As far as I can tell there is absolutely no way for me to see what souls someone is using. That means I have to take someone’s word for it if I’m looking for a healer or tank for a dungeon. This doesn’t matter to me right now, as I’ll be tanking while my wife heals, but I can imagine this becoming a HUGE issue once the game launches.

My wife noticed something I hadn’t, and while it wasn’t a negative for me it certainly was for her. Once you get to the city of Sanctum you’ll run around and get a ton of quests. These quests vary wildly between PVP, PVE, and Dungeons. They also vary wildly in location in which they can be completed and level range. While some out there will love this random assortment of quests, my wife found it immensely annoying that this quest hub didn’t give her the normal small amount of quests that could be completed relatively close by.

Some professions we discovered were much harder to level than others. For example, I chose to go Armorsmithing and after I make something I can destroy it for a chance of getting my matts back, so I can use those e for the next item. This system is amazing and I wish I had it in every game. Unfortunately my wife went Artificer, and quickly found out that not only is it harder to find the materials to make Artificer items, but you are unable to break them down into their component parts. This means that, while I might get 20 skill points out of 15 ore, she could at most get 15. That might not seem like a lot, but it does add up. Silly? Yes. Annoying? Yes again.

Bag space is extremely limited as well. It almost feels like a Free to Play game that sells bags on a cash shop with how limited you are in bag slots. I spent every bit of money I had on the highest level of bags I could find and I still ran out of room constantly. I’ve never liked limited inventory in RPGs in the first place, but this is extreme. Why should I be forced to run back to town every few minutes to sell stuff when I would rather be out enjoying the world and NPCs I come across?

The worst offender so far though is that the Rifts can quickly get out of hand. You may find, once you move into the level 18+ areas, that all of your quest hubs are conquered by invasions, and that unless you have a large group of high level players you are going to be grinding for a while. This leads to many players banding together to defend and retake quest hubs, but it can also be annoying if you’re one of the only people around. For those that don’t know the Invasions aren’t like Rifts. The Invasions spawn dozens of monsters, all ELITE. This means you can’t pick them off one at a time solo either, so you WILL need MANY players to help you retake it. Especially if they are all level 17 mobs and you are level 12, at the level 12 quest hub. Yes this can and DOES happen.

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Lines for quest mobs are a fact of life in the beta.

With all that said I am still extremely excited about Rift. Will my wife be preordering and playing my pocket healer when the game comes out? It’s too early to tell, as there has been some issues between the game and her, but we’ll see by the end of this beta event. As for me, I’ll be preordering as soon as I can, though I may try and avoid the next few beta events, so I don’t suffer burnout. Or perhaps I’ll just play the Defiler side, since I like the Guardian side a LOT more and will be playing that at launch.

After the end of Beta 4 on Monday you’ll see another post from me discussing the things I disliked, AND the things I liked from Beta 4. I just wanted to hop on and give you all something to chew on while I continue playing this wonderful game. I can’t wait for it’s launch.

Playing Rift

January 7, 2011

Just a quick update. I’ve started playing Rift beta 4!
Wolfsbane server, character name Amun if you want to say
hi.

Rift Beta

January 1, 2011

I managed to sneak into the 3rd Beta event for Rift. Sadly my wife, who I always duo with in games, didn’t get accepted. Still, below is my take on the Rift Beta.

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Between me and my wife we quickly filled up all six character slots.

What I Liked:

The first thing you’re going to notice is going to be the graphics. If you have a rig capable of running this bad boy with all the bells and whistles it’s a truly beautiful game. Far better than the now aging Age of Conan, and almost into the realm of single player RPG graphics ala Dragon Age on PC (I hear on consoles it wasn’t as nice looking). Screen shots don’t do it justice either. Until you see the plane of fire open up with tentacles of flame the sear into the ground, slowly spreading and charring everything in it’s path while it spews forth fire monsters, well you can’t really appreciate the beauty of it.

The classes are amazing. You have four archetypes to choose from, but this isn’t one of those shitty games where you start out as a generic mage and have to work your way to level 10 in order to finally not suck. No, once you’ve logged in as either a Warrior, Mage, Cleric or Rogue you’ll be given a quest to go collect your first soul. Souls are the classes, as you’re taking the souls of fallen warriors to fuel your own power. Anyway, you can then choose one of six classes from inside your archetype. That’s a total of 24 classes, but seeing as how you will be getting other souls, for a total of three at a time, you have a near limitless number of classes to choose from. Want to be a dual wielding melee warrior with a pet and the ability to creates spears of fire, stone or wind to hurl at your enemies as you close the gap, only to ignite your swords with fire as you tear through the enemy, perhaps using your pet for added dps or to keep another enemy busy? Well, you can do that. I haven’t been this excited about class selection since Vanguard, which had the classes right but not much else.

Looting. There’s not much you can do to make looting better, but Trion has managed to improve this very basic interaction. How so? Well imagine you’ve just gone to a lowbie area, or maybe you grabbed far to many mobs and just barely managed to take them all out. You loot your first body and you will get all of the loot from all of YOUR KILLS within a certain radius. This is called AOE looting and it is a simple change, but MUCH appreciated. This can also be turned off, for those who want an old school, slowly picking through the bodies of the fallen approach. +Rep for giving us choices!

Crafting is another thing I really enjoyed. Sure it may be very similar to games you’ve already played, but again Rift just does it a little better. Imagine you get to your first town and decide you want a profession. Perhaps you decide, being a mage, to go tailor. A couple of silver later and you’re a tailor. The first thing you’ll notice is that all of the things you can make are green, useful, and probably better than what you are wearing. This seemed to be true throughout my leveling experience in Rift, and it’s a welcome change. Add to that the fact that you can create shoulders VERY early on, and I am in love. Of course, Trion wouldn’t stop there, you see they also gave you the ability to break down armor you’ve made or gotten from quests. This isn’t like disenchanting either, that is a separate profession. Lets say you break down a low level robe. You might come away with some gray frayed twine and a couple of burlap cloth. In some cases I managed to get back all of the cloth I had used to create an item. Of course sometimes you don’t get any back. This ability to reuse items, to grind for skill ups, then tear those works down and use the pieces to get even more skill ups, has me revving my engine for more Rift.

The combat is one of the most important aspect of most games, and as long as you like the traditional 1,2,3 MMO style combat you’re going to love Rift’s system. It doesn’t stray far from tradition, and others have put it down for that. To them I say that this game is a lot like Super Meat Boy. The controls may be the same old tired run and jump we’ve seen in every platformer ever, but by perfecting them and taking it to that ‘sweet spot’ both Team Meat and Trion have managed to make it feel fresh and fun again. The spell effect are stunningly gorgeous, the attack animations are fluid and devestating, and the pacing is right on the money. It’s not as fast as WoW’s combat, and not quite as slow as Warhammers, but it manages to make me feel like a badass each and every fight. Will that wear off? Perhaps on my fifth alt, but that happens with every game.

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You start off looking cool. In many games you’ll start off looking either horrendous or somewhat ok, but you quickly progress to looking like a clown for the rest of your leveling experience. In Rift I found that no matter what piece of armor I got it may look different, but it still matched the overall scheme. This allowed my character to get even cooler looking, while never looking like a complete tool. It’s not as drastic as Warhammer’s ‘new look every 10 levels’, and it’s better off for it.

The quests, while not as cinematic as WoW’s new lowbie experience, are contained. You’ll get four or five quests for an area and you’ll clean that area out before heading back and moving on to the next. If you’re the type of person who reads through new quests the first time, you’ll also be treated to a very interesting, tightly woven story that gives a good reason to be doing what you’re doing, at least in the lower levels. If you fear that this means you won’t be exploring or seeing anything new, then you haven’t experienced the Rifts.

Rifts are basically Warhammer’s Public Quests, but done right. Instead of a long, slow fight in a static location that yields a set reward which, after receiving you never go back to, in Rift you’ll open your map to see where you’re going and see a rift off in the distance. As you close Rifts you get ‘currency’ to buy good equipment and buff items, so you’ll drop what you’re doing and haul ass right through whatever’s in your way to reach the rift in time. This means you’ll actually be exploring areas of the map that may or may not have quests associated with them. Rifts are pretty fast events, ranging from three to six stages from what I saw. You’ll quickly burn through them and it didn’t seem to take many people to utterly decimate the rifts when they appeared, giving me hope for early level rifts late in the games life cycle once most people have reached level cap.

That’s it for this post as it’s getting kind of long. There are plenty more things I loved about Rift, but next post will concentrate on the things I didn’t like, or am worried about.