Friday, June 24, 2011

Rift update

Well, we're still playing.  Our tank/healer combo have reached lvl 48 and we're still rolling and having a blast.

We have been skipping the instances though, mostly because of my insecurity in being a tank and not knowing all the instances and boss fights or having gear that is good enough.

My tank is the Paladin variety, with a decent sized dose of Warlord.  I'm going to put together a Void Knight build and use some of the information I found here to do things right.

My wife has spent some extra time when I wasn't around doing warfronts, she has found them really fun.  I on the other hand will join her from time to time but find them frustrating.  Sometimes you end up in a wonderful raid group where everyone knows what they're doing and what the goal is.  Other times I end up in groups of people that seem to peel off from the main goal and have side skirmishes while the enemy is focusing on the goal of the warfront.  It feels like swimming against the current.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I like my wife

I really do ( actually love her completely).. so when I get a chance to play an MMO with her I take advantage of it.  Recently We've been playing together.  I coerced her into playing a healing cleric, and I'm playing a warrior tank.  Getting her to play the cleric didn't take much coercion, she likes to play healers in general.  When the game was first released her first character was a rogue, I think she was trying to relive her fun in WoW as a rogue, but then she got busy and I kept playing my chloromancer on a PVP server.

So when she got a chance to start playing again, she offered to come over to the PVP server and we started leveling together.  My previous projects of my chloromancer and my cleric tank have been put on hold for a bit and we've been having some fun.  So don't expect to see much about my cleric tanking here for a bit and since I'm re-visiting content ( still on defiant side ) I don't know how much I'll have to say.  Maybe I'll have some insight into warrior tanking or something but who knows.

One thing I did get a chance to do was heal with my cleric tank, I created a second role and healed through Iron Tomb when I was over leveled for it.  In doing so I found another annoyance with the new LFG system, I couldn't queue for IT at lvl 24.  I don't care if I was too high, I had a quest to go in there so I should be able to queue, shouldn't I?  Instead we had to create a group the old fashioned way and it came together quickly with a few people that were over level and one dps warrior at 18.  It was quick easy and enjoyable, and as a bonus I found my cleric a guild with the people I ran with.

Maybe something the RPG crowd would be interested in:
I stumbled on a link to an interesting project on, any RPG or dice enthusiasts might be interested.
They are creating sets of dungeon geomorph dice, 5 dice per set with 6 geomorphs per die.  It's a little expensive but if you're a dice fanatice like I am it might not be too much to own some unique dice.  Take a look, give them some pub help them get to their new goal of $17,000.  If they reach the goal they'll be "printing" 3 different sets of dice that you can choose from for your donation.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Well, I think my love affair with Rift may be in jeopardy

And here is why.

I was a WoW player, at least on and off.  I stopped playin WoW because the game had turned into a login/wait in queue, hope to find something to do with my main game.  I couldn't go out and play an alt and find something to do with my main when I saw someone looking for some help or wanting someone to do a particular instance.  When WoW added the LFD system they put a lot of incentive on using the system and really no reason to log in otherwise except for raids.

Well Rift seems to be going down the same road.  When they originally announced a LFG system that would not be the same as WoW I had hope that it might be a more freeform system like what Everquest put into their system around the Planes of Power days.  That system was just a refinement of the advertising to find a group.  Want I want in a LFG system is a way for me to be out leveling or harvesting with an alt yet be able to list my level 50.  At the very least I would have wanted to have a way for me to search for a lvl 50 group while out playing my lvl 23 character in stonefield.  On the positive side, Trion is keeping the LFD system on the same server initially.  Hopefully this will keep any sense of community from deteriorating, but when they stated this they added the caveat "for now" to their statements.

On top of this they are going to be dumbing down their expert dungeons and buffing the plaque rewards.  I don't know why they think they need to do this as they are giving buffs to equipment at the same time.  Like WoW did before they are taking away challenge when it wasn't needed.  I haven't been in a group yet where people weren't surprised by having a wipe or two.  Recovery is simple and as a group you get to learn from your mistakes.  What I want to know is, has there been an expert dungeon that has never been completed?  If there is no cost to making mistakes the game becomes a boring treadmill, just like WoW.

How are we "not in Azeroth anymore"?  as far as I'm concerned it's becoming the far east of Azeroth, just because it's not on your WoW map doesn't mean you're not in the same world.

I may be completely wrong, Trion may not nerf the experts as much as it sounds, the challenge may remain, but I am now questioning where I have placed my loyalty.

Friday, April 22, 2011

My first Tier 1 dungeons

Sorry for the slowdown in posts, I'm taking a class at night and it's taken away some of my time towards the end of the semester.  My job has also gotten a little busier as well so writing posts during downtime at work has been getting a little more difficult.  But here I am anyway with another post...

My chloromancer hit 50 sometime last week, finally.  And over last weekend I got a decent amount of time to play him and meet a few of my guildies who had already been 50 or even had a second character to 50.

We did a few T1 dungeons, we had a cleric MH, me as my chloro, a rogue dps and then we had a rogue and a warrior sharing tanking responsibilties.  The warrior was just getting into tanking and getting into T1s while the rogue had gone through the T1s at least once as DPS and within the week had started tanking.  I'm not sure if they really meant it or were just being nice, but my groupmates/guildies were very forthcoming with praise.  Saying that I was doing really good with my heals or that my cleansing was great and quick and the cleric never needed to cleanse or if I got out a timely combat rez I was told "great job".  It was a good feeling, I felt like I was really contributing to a team effort and that without me they might not have succeeded.

The T1s we visited were King's Breach, Lantern Hook and Foul Cascade.  None of the dungeons were completed without deaths but when there were deaths there was no finger-pointing or whining ( by me or anyone else ).  The fights we had problems with were approached like the puzzle they were.

Last month I posted a walk-through for normal King's Breach.  But in the expert version things are little different.  One of the nice things about the expert dungeons is the additional boss(es) that we didn't see in the normal dungeon.  It makes the instances at the same time familiar and new.  The changes for KBx, as the dungeon is abbreviated, is that the manticore boss becomes the manticore bossES. In normal there was a chance for either manticore, now you get both.  We also get an additional boss named Konstantin.  Strangely  I had been invited by a guildie the previous day to kill just Konstantin since his group earlier in the day had given up on him.

The instance was smooth, the only real problem we had was with the manticores.  The rogue tank had a strategy where he would try and get wedged into a particular tree trunk to avoid the knockbacks and the rest of the group could just stay at range.  We tried variations on that strat probably 4 times before someone else spoke up and said they had done it by having the whole group in the tree trunk.  We wiped once on that strat and the second try we got it right.  One trick the rogue tank used was to put his teleport beacon in the spot we were all stacked so that if he happened to get knocked back he was able to quickly return to the stack.... SUCCESS!!!

Konstantin, actually a very interesting fight.  Konstantin is in a crypt, this crypt has a metal floor with thousands of holes in it and the floor has a nice arc pattern to it.  When you start fighting him spikes come up through the holes in the floor, but only in parts of the pattern part of the time and then other parts of the pattern other times.  There isn't a set pattern to when they come up, all you get is a warning of puffs of air coming through the holes that are going to get spiked.  The first time I had done it the person teaching the fight told me to worry about the spikes first and dps when possible.  The spikes seemed to do about 3k damage, I had about 5k health, so two times getting hit with spikes without getting a heal was bad.  After two tries we got it done though.  The trick was that the spikes only did damage when they came up, so after they appeared you could move onto the spiked area without getting hurt.  This gave everyone a bit more time to DPS/heal and gave the fight a nice dance feel, like Heigan in Naxx.

A video I found on You Tube, not mine.

A different take on the Konstantin fight was what I saw the next day with the rogue tank.  He had the group stay outside of the crypt and he went in and pulled Konstantin out.  He kited him in front of the entrance and I guess there's a point where Konstantin enrages or something, but when that happened the rogue teleported either to his beacon or just straight ahead depending on which ability was on cooldown.  It made the fight more than easy for the rest of us as we didn't have to worry about spikes and the tank avoided extra damage.

Enough babbling for today, maybe Monday I'll have something put together about Lantern Hook and/or Foul Cascade.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Future Cleric tanking plans

As I said before there is some disagreement on the Rift forums and elsewhere with my presumption that shields are the lesser choice for tanking clerics.  My plan is to keep my non-shield spec for soloing and switching to a shield friendly spec for instances and rifts.  My cleric is 29 now and I've stuck with the game suggested combination of justicar/druid/shaman.  I'm going to try and show what my spec will end up looking like as I level up with both roles.

Lvl 20

Lvl 30

Lvl 40

By the time I reach level 38 I am required to start taking shield based talents to stay in Justicar, so by this I take it that I am supposed to have picked up a shield by this point.  None of the abilities post 37 ( Just Defense, Resplendent Embrace or Doctrine of Authority ) require a shield but they do seem to be survivability abilities that might be a mistake to skip, at least end game.  I held out and instead spent some points in my DPS trees to get to 40, assuming I would have to be shield spec'd by 50.  My extra points in Druid get me Fae Hammer to help with mana issues, I picked up Slumber to help with mob control

Lvl 50

So after 40 if I wanted to stay full Justicar, and I'm not saying that's the best choice, I need to take shield talents.  If I'm taking shield talents then it only makes sense to pick up a shield.  In some of my research I've seen specs that don't bring Justicar all the way up to 51, they stop at 38 and put points into Shaman and their third soul is Inquisitor.  I'll have to look at this once I get to that level.  Here is a link to a forum post about exactly this sort of spec ( ).

Let me know what you think or what you've found out, I'm always willing to listen.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Rift Cleric Tanking

I've started playing a cleric tank a little bit more.  I'm liking the soloability and of course the ability to tank an instance.  I've only done the first instance "Iron Tomb" on my cleric, but other than being a little squishy for the second half trash I've been going ok.  I like that I've been through the dungeon as DPS first, no responsibility other than pew pew and learning the instance.  Now that I have the responsibility of being the tank it's not so stressful.

The cleric Justicar soul gives you all the tools to tank, it works and IMO it works very well.  My other souls are the melee DPS cleric souls of Shaman and Druid, some of their early tree abilities benefit a tank with some endurance and damage reduction.  About halfway up the  tree there are a number of abilities that help with block or give you an ability when wielding a shield.  From what I've seen  the benefit to using the shield doesn't seem to outweigh the additional DPS, though perhaps when instancing the loss in DPS wouldn't hurt as much.

Cleric shields don't get as much armor or tanking stats as Warrior shields, they are also missing the spellpower that you would get in other caster off-hands.  It just seems that using a shield as a cleric is a net loss compared to other options.  Currently my tree is avoiding the shield talents and I just whip around a staff catching up to 5 mobs in my path with "Even Justice".  I've made sure to have the pure damage reduction 3% per point spent in the Justicar and the 3% for 3 points in Shaman.  Perhaps when my cleric gets to Deepstrike Mine I'll experiment with a different role using the shield and get some feedback from the healer to my survivability and from the DPS regarding my aggro control.

Has anyone else seen any discussions regarding this point?

P.S.  Vacation for me starts tomorrow, I'm going away so updates or comments may be sparse for a week or so.

Monday, March 14, 2011

King's Breach - Rift instance

I finally got into a group in King's Breach, the instance in Scarwood Reach.
  I was asked to DPS as they already had their healer, so I got a chance to learn how to play my warlock build.  The instance had the usual trash you would expect in an instance, easily gathered up and dps'd down.  I had my dominator soul second to my warlock soul all ready to squirrel things but there didn't seem to be any reason to CC. 

There are three boss locations in King's Breach, at the last spot you get to fight two bosses, one after the other.  Our tank seemed to know the instance so we moved fairly quickly and he was nice enough to give us a heads up for any special mechanics. 

We cleared out the trash from the first area, and after we had killed the last group the first boss came out to fight.  She was "Hunter Suleng", she seemed to be typical tank-n-spank with adds that spawned during the fight.  It seemed to be an easy fight, some of the trash that lead up to her probably hit harder.  In the same area as this boss is a life-bomb, you need to get three of them.  In this run the first life bomb was inaccessible, it seemed to be stuck behind a clip plane, though I hear that sometimes it is accessible. 

The second boss was Ravalos, he's a large crocodile that has a front cleave and a tail sweep.  On top of his melee attacks he puts a circle of some form of attack on the ground, you have to move out of it or you'll be asking your healer to heal when he shouldn't have to.  There's a decent amount of crocodile trash as well for those who have the butchering profession. 

We continued on through the area and ended up at the last boss fight location.  At this location you get one of two random bosses either Mondrach or Autoch, both of them are griffins, we got Autoch who's main annoyance is a charge ability.  Our tank had everyone stand in an alcove in a tree stump and he pulled the boss to us.  This kept the boss from charging anyone and made the fight relatively simple, I'm not sure if the additional damage to the group made healing any more difficult to the healer.  Following Autoch a Shadehorror Phantasm spawns in the same place he was standing.  He casts an AE void bolt so at the start the tank had us LoS the boss then we all started on him.  During the fight he spawns adds and at the same time becomes undamageable, the adds are elites but seemed to be easy enough.  It was a fun run, I'm sure it was made easier by the knowledgable tank.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I've actually enjoyed some PVP

I've got my chloromancer in Rift to lvl 34. I'm playing him on a PVP server, totally against my normal inclination.  From some of the posts I had read prior to launch I wanted to have a chance to play in that environment.  You know the one, where you're constantly on the lookout for your next assassin?  I know if my Bartle test had come up "killer" I would be looking at the zones as "target rich", but that's not me.  Instead I look around every corner and try and find some companionship while questing through the "kill x of y".
Apparently I made a bad choice with playing a mage on that server, some posts say that they are the worst to play in PVP.  I found this out when I stumbled upon what I guess was someone with Champion as their main soul and got thoroughly pwned.  I kept at it though, even attacking him first a couple of times, hoping to get a drop on him, but to no avail.  I soon gave up on trying to take him down, but it didn't discourage me from trying other PVP targets as I went about questing.
When I was 29 in Scarlet Gorge I spent a whole hour with my group trying to find our way to the "Fallen Cascade" instance which happens to be deep into enemy territory at the north point of Scarlet Gorge.  None of us knew for certain where the instance was nor how to get there, but we kept trying.  Eventually one of us prevailed through corpse hopping and we all benefitted from the teleport that group members get when any of their group enters an instance.  Sometimes this felt frustrating, but the pride in overcoming the challenge was worth the frustration.

All things considered I'm enjoying the PVP aspect in the game a little bit more than I have before.  I'll probably keep going with it and see what the end areas are like with both factions fighting over territory and quest hubs.

Monday, March 7, 2011

More Bartle

Well a couple days ago I managed to drum up a bunch of reads when I posted my blog URL into some WoW forum discussions on how to "fix" WoW.  In one of those forums I got one response of "I liked your post and agree with it".  It would have been nice to get a couple of comments on the blog itself, but I'll take what I can get.  I've done a little moving around of stuff around here, removed my WoW armory and moved TJ down into a lower link bracket since her stuff is now mostly about her pregnancy, congrats TJ!!!

I'm sure most people have seen or taken those personality tests, the ones that confirm in your mind what type of person you are.  I assumed there was one out there for Bartle's archetypes, so I did a search and found this one.

I found that according to their test I'm an Explorer being driven by achievement:
It's not so much the wandering around and poking about, but that euphoric eureka moment the Explorer strives for. The joys of discovery do not necessarily involve geography, real or virtual. They may derive from the mental road less traveled, the uncovering of esoteric or hidden knowledge and it's creative application. Explorers make great theory crafters. The most infinitesimal bit of newness can deliver the most delicious zing to an Explorer.

What did you test out to be?

Friday, March 4, 2011

What happened to WoW?

My previous post here: Rift - Why I think it will be a success , was about Rift and how they appear to have addressed Bartel's rpg gamer archetypes as shown here:  In my opinion WoW started out appealing to those archetypes as well, but through changing their game they have actually taken away some of that appeal.
  What WoW did was to reduce the amount of exploration by changing the leveling curve in their game, now to level from 1 to end game takes significantly less time than in Vanilla or BC.  Also the addition of the dungeon finder removed some of the need to wander and find quests or just the need to wander when given a quest.  Another thing that removed the need to explore was the the addition of the quest helper, which now directs you to where you need to go to finish your quest instead of giving you more general direction in the quest text itself.  So explorers got short changed, their gameplay was nerfed. 
  WoW de-emphasized the Achiever by making everything more accessible to everyone.  What an achiever wants is a way to differentiate themself.  In recent years ( last 3 years ) Blizzard has tried to make the game easy enough for anyone to play all of the end game, setting expectations that all players will be able to be the best.  They did attempt to keep some achievment based content by providing a "Heroic" version of the content, sometimes the heroic version has been met with disdain as just more HP and more damage taken.  I was more happy in the "Burning Crusades" days when I had better players to look up to, I had the next raid tier to look forward to and knew I had a ladder to climb.  Any achiever needs to have goals, even if they didn't seem attainable at this instant.  Removing the incentive to work through the content reduced the achievement process.  Why should I work so hard on this content when in 2 months when the new content comes out I'll automatically be bumped to that level?
  When the dungeonfinder was added the need to socialize with other players was reduced.  Sure the people could chat with guildies and in trade channel and city channels, but is this the kind of socialization anyone really wants?  Since the people you're running with in instances are people you most likekly won't ever see again, in most groups not one word is spoken other than "I'm ready".  In my opinion dungeonfinder broke the server community, your socializer types will have a harder time finding people who just want to have conversations, especially new people.  They have also made the quests easier to do solo, even further reducing the need to talk with anyone else, and giving possible socializer friends a reason not to communicate with the socializer.
  I'm not a PVPer so I can't make a whole lot of comment on this.  But most complaints I've seen has been based on balance and "Flavor of the Month" and how the player's favorite class no longer competes.  Anyone have any comments on this one?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Rift - Why I think it will be a success

OK, in case it wasn't obvious by my last posts I became enamoured of Rift.  I absolutely love the game and took a vacation day on Friday to play.
The first problem which is a carryover from Thursday headstart launch was that most of the servers were full, users would have to queue to get into the game.  Trion was very diligent in deploying new servers and allowing new players to get into the game quickly.  The only issue was on those servers that were identified by the user base as being the prime servers.  These servers were chosen by a large amount of guilds as their playground and I'm sure a lot of players decided they wanted to play on a popular server.  There have been many complaints but in most cases the player was rebuked by the community at large who pointed out that there are servers that are not full and without queues available to them.
On the positive side the game is as smooth if not smoother than beta, the gameplay is still as fun as I remember and the development team is responsive and helpful.  One thing that struck me is that this game seemed to strike a chord with me, I seemed to be more thoroughly entertained by a game than ever before.  It made me wonder what they did in this game that was different or better than the current king of the MMO world, so here are my thoughts on that matter.

Richard Bartle broke down rpg gamers into four psychological types: Achievers, Explorers, Socializers and Killers.  His article can be found here:
Achievers regard rising in levels and overcoming the game as their main goal
Explorers love to wander and discover previously undiscovered areas of the game
Socializers are interested in people, and what they have to say
Killers get their kicks from imposing themselves on others

Most MMOs attempt to satisfy each type of gamer and each player archetypes have some form of support.  The real question is how well each type of player is supported and how each type of play has been "incentivized".  Please remember that pretty much everyone is a combination of all four types, desiring some form of each playstyle in their game.  Rift seems to have managed to support each type of player pretty well.  I was going to try and describe the pros of Rift, but in order to contrast the statement I'll have to compare to the current king MMO, WoW. 
When the game was first release WoW took the existing MMO model and "perfected" it.  They streamlined the questing so that a person didn't have to stumble upon a quest or at the very least have a list of key words to say to an NPC for them to let you know what you needed to do for them.  They also created the "list" of quests in your quest log that you are currently working on.  There were probably many other improvements made to the MMO genre, these are just a few that came to mind.  WoW was made for all of the player archetypes, each type seemed to be well represented.  Over time though WoW has reduced the amount of satisfaction given to a few of the archetypes.
Rift has has built upon the user experience that players got in WoW, and perfected the way the different player archetypes were supported.  Explorers are given artifacts to find as well as puzzles in the open world and other hidden caches of items.  And as any new MMO the ability to discover a new world for yourself feeds the explorer.  For the achiever rift has a common achievment system where a player gets credit for doing something first as well as completing all of the quests in a given area.  Players are also given access to titles if particular questlines are completed and I'm sure there are other achievment based items that I can't recall at the moment.  The game provides standard MMO socialization as well a newer mechanic to support socialization with their rift events and public groups, apparently this type of system was used in Warhammer Online, I never played that game.  And the killers are supported by the contested areas after lvl 20 as well as warfronts which are team based PvP instances that have a winning condition.

In conclusion Trion has put together a solid fun game here, almost everything I've read has been positive.  They appear to be responsive to game issues and have done a very good job managing this rollout.

My next post might touch on what Blizzard did wrong since the beginning.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Rift - Beta 6

As I ended my last post I had stated that I wished beta 5 had continued longer.  That feeling really crept up on me during the week after the beta, a term has been coined by the Rift fanbase called riftdrawals and I think I was having them.  I let my wife know that this was the game I really wanted to play and I wanted her to take the journey with me.  She acquiesced and allowed me to setup an account for her ( we were given beta keys to invite friends ).  When beta opened we logged on with brand new characters, she played a cleric as she really enjoyed healing in WoW and since I already had a warrior character I decided to play a different tank, that being a rogue with the riftstalker soul.  Generally we had a blast, she got several chances during rift invasions to learn how to raid heal even at the low lvl of 11.

I was a bit disappointed by the choices I made for my souls, I chose saboteur and the bard for my other souls, mostly to check them out, not because they were suggested as a good fit by the game.  The rogues in rift have similar mechanics to WoW in that you have energy and combo points to use on finishing moves.  The riftstalker is a close combat soul and gets finishing moves that provide protection buffs as well as getting a buff that provides some more hitpoints among other things.  The saboteur is a mad bomber who attacks from range and is adept at area effect attacks.  The bard is a buffer/healer in the Everquest vein of bards.  So I combined the explicit types of souls and the character felt very subpar.

Since the wife had real life work to do for the rest of the weekend I was left to my own devices for the rest of beta 6.  Since I had tried the other three classes I made a mage.  Another thing I had not tried yet was the other faction, the Guardians.  I decided to make a Guardian mage and see how I did as pure dps so I started with an Elementalist and added on Pyromancer and Archon when I got the chance.  The Guardian side had a different story, you were a hero that was in the aftermath of a war that destroyed the Guardian home city and you were made an ascendent by the gods and pushed forward in time to make things better in the future.  The Defiant story had been started at the end of the world being destroyed by Regulous a dragon, you were a hero that was going to be sent back in time after being infused with souls and becoming an ascendent.  I was happy to get a little more lore with my new faction, I felt I got a little more in touch with both sides seeing where their point of view is supposed to be from.  The initial quest lines were similar only from the other side of the river dividing the two noobie areas.  By the time I got to lvl 12 I decided there was something about the Guardian side that I found unappealing.  I can't put my finger on it, there was just something that made me miss the Defiant side.

So back to the Defiant I went, I still wanted to try a mage and this time I wanted to see how healing was implementd for the mage, yes mages can be healers.  I chose Chloromancer for my first soul, this is the healing soul for mages.  When I got to pick my second soul I had played enough to feel that I needed a way to heal myself some more in order to survive so I chose the Warlock whose first ability is life leech which heals a little while damaging ( like the Chloromancer's ability whithering vine ).  Between those two I was doing ok.  For my third soul I picked Archon again, I had like the defensive nature of the soul which provides buffs to the party while debuffing the opponent.  I liked the rhythm I got into while playing this combination, I felt a little bit OP, but I also liked the "Come and get me you suckers the damage I do to kill you will just make me stronger!!!" feeling I got.  This combination is definitely going to be something I do when the game goes live for the early adopters.

I realized I was speaking about Guardians and Defiant and left some explanations of the lore vague and thought I could expound on them.  After a little consideration I realized it would probably be more expediant and ultimately more accurate to just provide a link to the Rift lore pages so here ya go:

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Back to MMOs

I've been killing time in LoTRO for a while. I decided that it was interesting enough to subscribe for a three month span and to even invest in the Mines of Moria expansion. The big thing I got from MoM was a couple extra character slots and two more character classes. So basically it's like I bought the slots and classes from the LoTRO store and got the content for free. So I've played a Runekeeper up to lvl 22, my Loremaster got stagnant around lvl 25 and I got my Guardian ( read tank ) to lvl 37. Unfortunately I'm at the point in this game where I have to force myself to log in and take care of a couple daily crafting items and try and advance my characters at least a little bit. My whole MMO enjoyment and got blown out of the water by my most recent MMO interest...

I have participated in the last two "closed" betas of Rift. My first experience, beta 4 I think, I thought it was very WoW like. Different environment, different classes but all-in-all meh. For that trial I played a Defiant cleric and probably didn't pick my starting souls very well and only leveled him to 11. I was very confused with the world and it felt chaotic and I didn't think it was a game for me, though I pledged to re-visit the game with the next beta.

The next beta I switched servers because my first server was filled and had a queue of about 100 people. I started up a warrior this time, again on the Defiant side and felt much less lost in the beginning. Apparently my first run with the cleric I had totally skipped past a quest hub somehow, this time I worked my way through the beginning areas and eventually found the Defiant city of Merdian. Meridian's layout was confusing at first (sense a trend?), but once I learned my way around I found quests to get MORE souls. I knew there were more souls, but I didn't realize you could quest for them. The quests for the souls all involved helping close the rifts that the game is named after. A rift is a tear in space between our world and an elemental plane allowing creatures from that plane to invade the lands of Telara. If the players fail to close rifts the creatures start establishing footholds away from the rift and attacking quest hubs. The rift mechanic was very enjoyable, I found it easy to lose myself in helping to shut down the rifts to save the land and get various planar rewards for doing so. I also discovered "roles", these are like the dual spec in WoW, only there are 4 slots availabe for purchase, though the slots got fairly expensive after the first two. Since I had started my warrior as a tank with Paladin, Warlord and Void Knight souls, I made my second role more DPS oriented with Beastlord, Paragon and Reaver souls. By the end of the week long beta I had leveled my warrior to 20 and was prepared to move out of the first large zone. After they shut down the servers I found myself wishing and hoping they would turn the servers back on so that I could continue my journey. I found the game so much more engaging than the first time and really enjoyed myself.

I did play in beta 6 as well and will post on that soon(ish)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Pretend you're a player in a new campaign

Ok, so you're a player in a new RPG campaign I am putting together. I present you with the two paragraphs below. What I want to know is what I forgot to mention or what questions can I expect from my players?

You live in a world that is beset with wars over land,artifacts and people. From one year to the next people don’t know who they will owe tithes or sacrifices. Things are constantly in chaos and flux as warlords and wizards exert their power to to gain more power only to have their underlings revolt to seize their own power. The world was not always so, in the distant past the world was more stable and the gods bred fear among their worshippers.

Over 1000 years ago an organization was formed to oppose the control the gods enforced over their mortal subjects. The members acquired enough personal power, god powered items and elemental support to be able to challenge the gods themselves. The result was the down-throw of the gods leaving a world without direction and discipline. Once their mutual enemies were destroyed, individual members fought to gain control of the now godless lands and its people starting a seemingly never ending cycle of chaos, violence and death.