Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I doubt that's a good idea

This is not a Gnomore post. Gnomore is on vacation for this week due to Rift head start weekend.

This is a Rift post. Due to Gnomore being on vacation because of the Rift head start weekend.


So far I've been playing only one character, Kelari Mage called Copraf (ingenious naming, don't you agree?). The term "glass cannon" is an over estimation of Rift Mages survival abilities, but at least at the low levels the damage I can deal is quite enough to keep single mobs a couple of levels higher at bay. Even as much as to get them down before they can even hit me.

What can I say? Argent, the RP server I'm located with this character, is a very helpful and nice community. There have been no queues as far as I've seen, and the overall attitude is the we are in this together. The most bothersome thing about the game is its namesake, the rifts: it seems to me that there are invasions and rift events going on constantly when I'm online, making it nearly impossible to level up by the normal questing way. I'm overlevelling the content here, people!

As the explorer me, I had to take a breath of fresh air in Sunday and I ventured off the beaten path of Freemarch (the level 5-20 area). Strolling around in Droughtlands (level 22+) and later in Shimmersand (at least lv33+!) with a level 14 character was a stressful, exhilarating and very much refreshing experience! As every step had to be thought out in advance to stay alive, the intensity of that session was very, very high. And I really mean that you had to plan your steps ahead, because the nearest resurrection point was always at the other end of the map if you were lucky: the corpse run wasn't as nice as it may sound.

Anyhow, seeing the depth of detail put into these areas and the love in the graphics has convinced me even more that there is no hurry to level up. There is quite enough to explore on the way up, and the lore and legends which I encountered on those travels are quite promising. Like the separation of two Cyclops tribes after they were freed from the ilk of the evil Eth, who had brought them through dimensions by magic to serve as slaves and gladiators... How the heck has all that happened and what is going on in the cave there?!

In Shimmersand there are some nice triggered events which left me giggle: I won't go any deeper into this, because they are somewhat a surprise and I would surely spoil the fun from someone entering them for the first time. Needles to say, I'm waiting to come back with a proper level character and see how the events proceed then.

I have only one thing to complain about in the Rift events and public groups. There seem to be no interest to heal in them. As a pure dps I have no way to keep my health up, while the dps from Druid persuasion toss a self heal every now and then and keep pounding. The elite invader as much as breathes to my general direction and I'm gasping for a potion to stay in the foray.

Sad to say, but this was to be expected: everyone wants to beat the baddies, and as the system rates everyones personal performance, healing isn't going to be rated too high by the players. It's a war out there, anyhow, no time for losers! (I should have rolled a pure healing cleric and level only by quests and healing... no, too much Gnomore!)

The best part was yesterday: guild fun in Iron Tombs.

First of all, the game is gorgeous. But the instance itself rises the bar even higher: it is dumbfounding. The atmosphere, lighting and sounds are just magnificent and just ... right in its grand meaning. Can't wait to run the instance again, even though the initial amazement has vaned.

The structure and flow of the run is well thought. Like I said during the run, Trion has truly delivered the fun they promised to include in the game. Even though our rag tag group had one 'overlevelled' character, the rest at level 18 and my meager lv15 had quite enough to do and the challenge was to plan the pulls and kills after the first - and only - wipe after a specialist pull gone somewhat awry. Or how can you rate a pull for three mobs which ends up pulling thirteen, among which at least one mini-boss? Expert job, I say. Something I capped by stating the next proposed pull with "I doubt that's such a good idea".

The fun part of the run was that I really learned more about my Mage than I had learned before questing and rifting. I also found out later, when I was going through the run, the reason why it was so fun in many ways.

The main thing was the fact that there was no feeling of having to be the min-maxed super performer of the class. There was no need to show and tell how my class is played properly. And there was no expectations on anyone in the group that a certain class should perform at a certain level.

Here comes the only comparison to WoW in this post: in WoW I don't like the instances anymore because I have to be the best there is only to stay out of the name calling ring. Be it tank, healer or any dps, it is the same. The damage meters and the sour community does have its toll on the fun, really. Instead of going into an instance I have to think whether I have the gear to do it, the right spec to be accepted, the buffs I'm supposed to have. There is the feeling that the game and the rest of the group are expecting more than you can deliver.

Sure, there are players who don't give a damn about it and just go and get the bashing. But as a tank or a healer in WoW you are bound to get the shaft even if you perform well if someone decides the failure was your fault. Seen that on both my tank and my healer, and that's the major reason I don't want to tank in PUGs anymore.

It is not fun anymore, it's a chore.

Granted, the run in Rift was a guild run, but in a way it was a PUG: I'm a newcomer to the guild, the composition of the group came on the fly and we were just having a look into the instance. It had more common with a server PUG than a real planned guild run, really.

But the most fun came out of the fact that no-one really knew the instance, everyone was a gamer and had played quite a bit of MMOs and everyone was in to have FUN.

Anyhow, Rift is what I have earlier stated many times: WoW on steroids, Trion doing splendidly what Blizzard did way back when they launched WoW. It's new, familiar, simple to get a hang on, a new car with some new gadgets and better stuff under the hood.

For me the head start weekend - even though it was the worst gaming weekend I've ever had - was a great success on Rift point of view.

How about you? Have you tried Rift, will you give it a try or will you just pass it for something more shiny?

Or are you content enough with WoW?