Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling remarks from my mad, muddled, meandering mind.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Boosted to 60, Still Faffing About

In our last episode, Scooter and I were "taking it slow" in Rift, taking in the salty breezes, as it were. Funny thing, though: after writing the post, I realized we'd passed level 40—within ten levels of the original cap—in about 5 weeks; something that took months during our first go 'round in 2011.

Rainbows in the Dark
A new event came on the heels of Rift's Autumn Harvest this past week: "Unicornalia." Not a seasonal event, but a cash shop promotion, Unicornalia apparently happens a few times a year. There is an in-universe story going on, sort of, and I guess there's stuff in the store, though I haven't investigated thoroughly.

The promotion includes two daily quests that have pushed Scooter and me into activities we had not previously gotten too involved in: Instant Adventures and PvP. You probably know what PvP is, Dear Reader, but Instant Adventures don't seem particularly common in MMOs. I guess in a sense they are like Hearts in GW2, though they serve a different purpose. Basically, they are series of only vaguely related objectives that players can jump into and out of without much difficulty or much reason. Some have you traipsing across the entire zone, while the one we did last night was confined to a relatively small area. As it turns out, there are advantages and disadvantages to both types; though I suppose this is true of many activities (see below).
The End of Ezmodeamus
The PvP daily involves using a wand on an opposing player and channeling a spell for a few seconds. Both Scooter and I jumped into Warfronts to accomplish this before finding out it can be done in the context of a duel with a lot less hassle. That didn't stop us from getting a ton of XP and Favor (Honor) in various battlegrounds over the course of the weekend. I think I am some kind of "Legionaire" now.

A single, non-repeatable quest (not even when the periodic Unicornalia returns) involves killing the end boss of a particular Zone Invasion event. As it turns out, this is a relatively rare occurrence, and Fynralyl and Psynister had not been able to do the quest either. But I found a handy website that monitors current zone events called, appropriately enough, Rift Event Tracker. I watched as the event we needed ("Hooves and Horns") started on another server. Shard hopping! all the cool kids are doing it. I announced it in guild chat and headed over. In the end, it was time for celebration in the House that Bel Built.
Dance Party with Fyn and Psyn
In other news, Scooter and I took the plunge into the Nightmare Tide, purchasing the $50 Infusion pack. We felt this was the best value for our current needs and budget. Among other things, the Infusion Edition includes a single character boost to 60 (similar to WoD preorder boost to 90) along with gear, professions boosts, etc. I'm not sure how I feel about the boost, to be honest. There are obvious advantages, like the ability to do any content, anywhere, up to the expansion "entry-level" zone. We also got a free boost in Planar Attunement (similar to Augments in TSW, though with less grinding involved).

However, the boost may turn out to be a disadvantage in many respects. As you may have realized by taking level boosts in other games, jumping 20 or more levels introduces a ton of new abilities at once, and making sense of them is a chore, if not a challenge. Are they all still valuable enough to keep them on my bars? Which abilities have become obsolete and can be dispensed with? (I also discovered a Bard ability, "Motif of Encouragement," that is absolutely useless by just about any measure. And blatantly so, something I cannot remember seeing before in an MMO.)

We intend to continue on the now low-level story paths in Scarwood Reach and other vanilla zones (thanks to Mentoring, it would not be a face roll), but the boosts to our professions mean that not only will they stagnate at 375 (since we are not getting resources of the appropriate level), but that we will be missing out on the crafting dailies that give Artisans Marks or the higher level equivalents, because the low level ones are no longer on offer. On the other hand, at least I won't be asked to waste Runecrafter mats on grey items for a while. We also find ourselves relatively cash poor, though I don't think that will matter if we are just questing for story and faffing about in Rifts.
Why yes, my horse's armor IS transparent.
It Might be Me, But It's Definitely You
With the advent of Rift's "Faction as Fiction" in 2012, Warfronts became more randomized affairs. Even though our characters are Defiant, we seemed to find ourselves on the Guardian Team more often than not. But there is a huge difference in running battlegrounds at 40-ish like we did during the first part of the weekend, and running them at 60. The 40-level WFs were kind of fun—fun enough to keep doing them. I managed to accomplish a bunch of the objectives. But at 60, the tone changed. The WFs (same venues, just higher levels) are a lot more stressful, and at least one jackass felt it necessary to criticize the "PvE builds" of his teammates and otherwise insult us.

Now I will admit, I went into the WF with essentially the same souls build I'd been using for questing. But, having just boosted to 60, I was also wearing boosted gear, and there is no way to obtain PvP gear except by doing PvP (cash shop notwithstanding). So if he was referring to gear, there is not much I could do. Also, if you're screaming for MORE HEALZ in a battleground or LFG, you're the problem, not the solution. If you think there should be more of something in a random group of players, you are the one that needs to provide it.

I re-examined my souls build and switched it around, though I am not sure it's better than it was. And I am sure my rotation is not optimized (see the above, regarding boosted abilities). It seems like not only should there should be a division of Warfronts by level (in a game where that is a factor) but also by expertise/interest. That is, maybe the duffers should be separated from those players for whom PvP is SRS BZNS. After all, many of us were only there for our sparkly Unicorn powder.
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  1. Everquest II has several skills like the Motif of Encouragement, playing various animations (or inflicting them on others, like one that forces the other player to bow to you). It used to have more, but slowly over time they have been removed - I couldn't tell you why, other than maybe the thought that some players and developers take things too seriously.

    1. Two things make motif of Encouragement stick out. (1) It was originally a very powerful buff that got nerfed into frivolity. And (2) I have not come across another ability like it on any other soul in Rift. If that sort of frivolous "skill" were common, MoE would make more sense.