This past weekend was all about RIFT for me; I even took last Friday off and had one of those ultra-rare gaming marathons! Six solid hours of RIFT, followed by a few good sessions over the “official” weekend…good times.
I have to say that I’m very impressed with the new World Event. Though, so far, the event doesn’t seem like much more than a few daily quests, some new vendor items, and an increased number of Death rifts. I’m looking forward to seeing the next two phases, however, and if the whole thing is an indication of Trion’s ability to roll out dynamic content, I’m pretty excited about the future of the game. Supposedly Trion has built a framework for delivering this kind of content into the game, so my guess is we’ll be seeing a lot of this kind of activity. It’s not Update 2, but so far River of Souls feels like a success.
I stretched some long-unused “MMO muscles” this weekend, and did a lot of things I haven’t done for far too long. I’ve pretty much come down on the side of the Defiants – running a Paladin/Warlord/Void Knight tank for groups and a Riftblade/Champion/Paragon for “fun” when running solo. The Warrior is a class I haven’t played in a very, very long time – the last time I considered a tank as my main was when I played World of Warcraft oh-so-many-years-ago. It’s a very different experience trying to keep all the attention on me, instead of staying out of sight as a Burglar. Though with RIFT‘s system of “all-things-to-everyone” classes, I’m still not sure if Warrior is my true calling. What’s still surprising is the almost complete lack of interest I still have (don’t have?) in Rogues. Not like me at all.
I managed to run my first dungeon as well – Iron Tombs. It’s fairly standard as far as dungeons go, but I wouldn’t expect much more for the first dungeon players experience. Aside from being a bit of a maze, the Great Barrows is pretty straight forward. As much as RIFT seems custom-built for MMO aficionados, Trion still has to keep new players in mind. And introducing complex scenarios requiring the type of coordination to which veteran gamers are accustomed isn’t exactly the easiest way to break in first-timers. I particularly liked one mechanic involving “Death Shards” – mounds being tended by keepers that need to be killed first, then the Shards spawn waves of undead as you destroy them. The first time we took one down, no one knew about the spawns, so we had it down to less than half health when we suddenly realized we were swamped with monsters. At first I thought they were just a few non-elite adds, but it turned out they appear as the Death Shards lose health. Very nice – nice mechanic, requires a bit of coordination, but not overwhelming.
Still, it was a fun time and I ended up running it twice – once with a group with one healing Cleric, a Chloromancer, and two Rogues and the other group with two Clerics (one healing, one…not), an Elementalist, and another Warrior. It was appropriately scaled for 5 players, and I’m absolutely impressed that Trion can create any group content so finely tuned that it can require certain roles but still be flexible enough to allow for the kinds of class mixtures we ended up having available.
I was surprised at how lazy I’ve gotten on the social aspects of these games; apparently having a solid and active Kinship, while immeasurably helpful and fun, has caused me to forget how to make friends. “Pick up groups” were never my favorite, but so far they’ve been necessary and actually quite fun.