Wednesday, January 25

Postcard from a weekend in Telera

I like Trion, they've come across as listeners and responders, they've been great at updating and working on the game since release, it was also a smooth one: Trion done good IMHO.

So when I got offered a free weekend in Teleria I took that in to account, there was new content to explore, had some time on my hands and after the dissapointments of SW:TOR I just wanted to play an MMO and have some fun. I'm pleased to report it worked well for me and now the free time is over I'm missing what I haven't explored....When the next patch comes in (or maybe sooner) I'll pick up a months sub. They got me in their honey trap.

All wasn't lush in Teleria, I transferred from the RP server, very few people around and in Meridian all I saw was static characters, obviously in a queue for warfronts or dungeons. A problem of both community and the lack of anything to support social activities in cities. But on with the good.

Here's the highlights of what's new since we left and a few from what's to come.

Lore driven dungeon content for one (well geared) or two players. As it stands there are three to choose from, are repeatable once every 24 hrs, give some nice loot and provide good experience towards Planar Attunement (the alternate advancement system).

Chronicle of Attunement
is available at lvl 50 and unlocks the Planar Attunement system. It's set in an instanced version of the capital and has some nice use of voice acting. It's a short story about celebration, the gift of attunement, unwanted gatecrashers and finally the celebration of your heroism again. Like it or not, in MMOs of this nature heroism is what we are all about, Vailare isn't complaining.

Vailare being cheered by the crowd for his great taste in shoulder pads.

Receiving the gift of attunement
Gatecrashers arrive courtesy of Regulos, giving you plenty of opportunity to prove your heroicness again. Kill the lvl 52 trash and a few level 52 Elites and get to the end boss, a fun encounter that keeps you on your toes. Of course the story side loses it's meaning on the third run but it's still a good, quick source of cash, crafting mats, gear and XP.

Not Vailare but some other hero (or should I say Guardian scum *grin*) facing the boss.

Hammerknell: Runes of Corruption
Using part of the raid instance from Hammerknell your tasked with finding a scouting party and defeating a king. Played solo it has few challenging encounters, Watch for patrols (on a short leash) and the groups of three. Sadly the use of item buffs makes the first boss and final challenge a walk in the park. It requires timing and a decent build to pull off. Worth repeating for the loot.

Vailare about to face the first boss
A lucky drop from Hammerknell

Greenscale's Blight: The Fallen Prince
Greenscales Blight raid instance is the setting for this. hardest to solo, I couldn't get past the boss whose guards turn in to werewolves, they hit long and hard while she buffs them. A real challenge but thanks to the soul system I didn't give up but I started developing builds. This dungeon made me appreciate the nuances of the class system again, I had three builds with two
classes in common and a third unique, all allowing me to approach the encounter in a different way, for PvE it's a great system.

Chronicles are a good use of available content and the loot is good enough to encourage repeatable play (Plaques of Achievement for dungeon gear are part of the reward). First times through the stories aren't bad either. There's a new one coming in the next patch.

Other new repeatable content
Instant Adventures are non-instanced, timed mini quests of kill x of this or click x of that. Set in Shimmersands or Stillmoor they are for solo or groups (up to raid size). Your transported to an area and receive your first timed quest, these increase in objective size as you progress. I never got to more than stage three of an adventure, didnt have the time. The xp reward is excellent and some nice drops to be had too. There's also a new max level dungeon I didn't get to see on Ember Isle: Caduceus Rise. There have also been additions to their 10 man raids otherwise known as 'Slivers', never done one, again no comment.

Ember Isle
Sadly didn't have a lot of time to explore or complete many quests. It's a large zone, bigger than the others. Mobs are lvl 52, half decent gear is needed. Looked nice, that's all I can say, looks worth exploring further.

Planar Attunement
The alternate advancement system is progressed via xp after lvl 50. In brief, it offers elemental 'trees' to advance. Choose an element best suited to your character (went with Fire for my mage) and gain small, incremental bonuses in stats, elemental resistance and get the ability to open rifts of the element you chose. There are three 'trees', the other two were locked, I have no idea how those trees progress. Seems a nice and simple enough system, should provide longevity if you want to max all your builds.

Rift still suffers from its small world size and lack of replayability but there have definitely been good steps taken to increase longevity. I like the soul system, if you don't go looking for cookie cutter there's plenty of scope with it, I also enjoyed the 'on the hoof' casual grouping for zone events, I came away having had alot of fun in a solid themepark with new content I thought worth exploring. Stat chasing and gear grinding isnt for me but Rift is sure giving you plenty of ways to do it.

A little bit more

I bit the bullet and signed up again, have to say no regrets. Ember Isle is great, its size encourages exploring and it is worthwhile. Lovely to look at and I still have about a third of the map covered. Mobs are around lvl 52, as a well geared mage I'm pushing soloing two mobs, bring in a third and death is very likely. Interesting quests and a challenge to be had amongst some very lovely scenery.

Th new patch has made some useful changes, you can use mats directly from your bank while crafting (Just like SWTOR), seems Trion continue to look for and take inspiration from what works in other games. Artisan marks (from crafting dailies) can now be exchanged for Master Marks at the rate of 500 to one, I had thousands so I was able to invest in one of the new recipes. That recipe required I buy two new master recipes from two trainers at a grand cost of 50 plat', not cheap, NPC bought ingredients aren't cheap either but imagine my horror to discover the new crafted mats are on a 20 hour timer, it's going to take six days to craft my new robe!

A new chronicle set in the raid instance at Stillmoor was introduced, thats four chronicles now, combined you can spend a good two to three hours alone on these if you insisit on clearing every mob in the Stillmoor one. I'm still having a blast playing these.

Gear progression has been simplified, a good thing. For PvP it looks like a move to skill being more important than gear. Dungeon modes have been streamlined but I've been playing solo so far.

Trion continue to impress, I could write more but there are dwarves in Hammerknell waiting to die :)


  1. I think I caught Phe's cold *cough*

  2. Nice post, Geek! I'm glad to hear you had a good time. I have some more thoughts about it. I get back to you on that later.

  3. Even though Rift undoubtedly has the prettier engine, I think I'm glad with my choice to go to Eberron rather than Riftworld :-)

    I'm finding that the "hobby element" which I felt was missing from both Rift & SW:TOR is present there.

  4. I'm intrigued, how do you define "hobby element" ?

  5. I'm still working on that. It's something I've been thinking about for a while now ever since some comments by Phè recently.

    Cliffnote version, starting around 2004 something's been leeching out of MMO's, something that made them more hobby than a game to consume and then discard.

    It's been talked about a lot in terms of hardcore vs casual, dumbing down e.t.c. but I'm starting to think that may have been clouding the issue. Our own talks about worldy vs gamey and such also never quite nailed it.

    But when I look at "accessible games" today, like Rift, like SW:TOR where everything is so smooth and easy to learn there's no hobby to it anymore. In a way it's like how the Internet killed the old school adventures.
    Every question you could ever ask about the game is already answered on some automatically generated data page or wiki. Discussing the game means braving the vitriol of official forums, where a question will get you scolded for not looking it up in a non people-interactive venue. Forums are for bashing other people you know, they're not say an open forum. A place to ask things of other people. That's so nineties, and the noughties are already gone.

    Need to think on it some more. Write it out. Also need to write a SW:TOR review, and kinda want to do a DDO one too.
    Bit much all at once though :-)

    I guess my term for hobby element includes the need/desire to do research about the game, its world, its mechanics and discuss them. Share with the rest of the community.

    In 2004 if you met someone who played your MMO there'd be a flash of recognition, a connection. The same as when I'd meet someone else who was into Warhammer Tabletop, or P&P RPG's. Now when I run into someone who played Rift (we both got Trion's "We got hacked" e-mails on the same day at work) it didn't spark anything really. We compared how long our subscriptions had lasted and never talked about it again.

  6. Oh here's an interesting question?

    Bioware were all about adding the fourth pillar, story, to MMO's.
    What are the first three pilars according to them?

    I'm trying to define what my 3 pillars of an MMO are, but how did they call them. Anyone know?

    One of my points by the way is that they spent too much on that 4th one while neglecting the original ones, going from a stable tripod to wobbly 4 legs of unequal length

  7. "combat, exploration and character progression" those are the other three pillars.

    Combat was ok if you didnt get the much talked about ability delay, plagued me really badly - interrupts were useless unless I was doing nothing else

    Exploration - Failed miserably here, too many landscaped walls and the false wall of 'exhaustion', nothing to encourage you to explore, all stories on very strict rails. No Datacrons dont count.

    Character progression - same as most themeparks, chase that gear! Failed miserably on offering anything unique though.

  8. Added a little bit more and some screenshots of Ember isle, there is some stunning scenery, they've done a great job with it.

  9. Looks nice.
    But if, and that's a big if, I'd resub to Rigt I'd probably end up bringing a Guardian up to Level 50 in a few weeks and desubbing afterwards.

    More and more, I find I want an online world, not a game.

    By the way, are you feeding George enough? He looks skin o'er bones in that shot.

  10. With the introduction of 'Rift Lite' their new trial- no time limit and max level of 20, you can start a Guardian before deciding on resubbing.

    It's still very much a game but the lore parts of the chronicles do at least immerse you more in to the story, something I think is severely lacking up until then.

    Population has seen a boost, the new trial, the free weekend and the migratory habits of MMO players (from that other game) have helped.

  11. George is a picky eater, won't eat his greens!