Thursday, July 14, 2011

Rift Retrial Thoughts

With Rift running about five months after the game's headstart kicked off, Trion apparently felt that it was time to offer a free retrial.  If your account has been inactive for a month or so, you're automagically back online through July 19th.  (Note that clicking the re-subscribe button on the page Trion put together to promote this event forfeits the retrial time and charges you immediately.)  I didn't uninstall the client, but I had 1.3 GB in patches to download, but after that I was immediately back in game.

What's new
The latest world event is up and running with a bunch of daily quests to go close death and water rifts.  (At level 37, I've yet to encounter a water rift, but the death ones are pretty prevalent.)  The easily completed daily quests are good for about 150 tokens, with minipets in the 250-500 range along with some cosmetic armor and gear with actual stats.  These quests are also worth a hefty chunk of exp - I gained about half a level during two days worth of them.  This is definitely a good thing if you're coming back to the game after stalling out on the leveling curve, or if you want an alt to skip content you did on your first character, though I am starting to wonder if I'm going to outlevel the Moonshade Highlands before I get through the local quests.

I respecced the Cleric yet again, shifting into the Cabalist caster DPS class (one of the last souls I have never used as a primary in a build).  I wasn't expecting much because the class uses a fair amount of AOE and channeled spells, which is not necessarily the best bet for soloing.  The difference here is that the Cabalist's main channeled spell is cheap and spammable.  I threw in some Justicar and Sentinel for durability (passive healing from all my heals, and two instant cast life nukes that give me convictions for the self-healing doctrine), and at a minimum I've come up with yet another build that isn't exactly like anything I've tried in other games.  (Current spec link if you're curious.)

Perspective on a return trip
Looking back after spending a few months away from the game, two points stand out.

The first is that the actual rifts are a completely different experience than they were at launch.  Between massive crowds, mob scaling, and since-nerfed AOE healing mechanics, I found that rifts and especially zone invasion events frequently felt under-challenging.  This may or may not still be true in areas with newbies or level 50's, but the scene in Moonshade Highlands was scattered minor rifts with 1-3 players per.  The encounters definitely feel more balanced, and I haven't really missed the zone events - maybe I'll be glad to see one if one finally does pop up, rather than being tired of having them over-run the zone every hour on the hour. 

On the flipside, I'm 37 levels into the game, I've tried just about every Cleric soul at some point, and I'm still changing my primary role almost every level.  On the plus side, I do enjoy making new builds, and the soul system allows me to do so without losing my progress and starting over.  It's also a lot harder to pick a "wrong" calling, because you have so many options. 

That said, I identify far more closely with my less flexible characters from other games - or even my WoW and ROM characters who can swap to two very different roles via their respective systems - than my Rift Cleric, who changes so often that I don't really have an identity for her.  Also, I chose the Cleric specifically because I wanted versatility, and because I wanted to make sure that I could be willing to use at least some of the non-DPS roles in groups.  It seemed like a safe bet because Clerics can do everything, where my experience with Mages and Rogues has been that I like one or two builds but am not that interested in many of the other options, including the group-friendly ones.  Perhaps I would have been better off picking a less flexible character with one role I really like for solo play and other utility where I can find it. 

Overall, it's not a bad time in the game's life for Trion to host a retrial.  Whether I come back for a longer stay remains to be seen. 


Magson said...

You've nearly got the "Inquisicar" build going, except you are using the crappy crappy crappy Cabalist soul instead of Inquisitor (seriously -- put 51 points in Cabalist and 15 in Inquisitor and your highest damage spell will be. . . . the Inquisitor's Soul Drain).

If you're stuck on soloing, 37 Inquis / 10 Justicar / 2 Sentinel is an excellent build for your level, and in my case once I get used to the "Vex x4, Fanaticism+Soul Drain, Circle of Oblisvion to finish" style I have a hard time playing any other build on the cleric. I actually have 2 clerics at 50 now, and the 2nd one I tried to use a melee build, but I found myself back at "Inquisicar" by the upper 30's.

For me, I do love being flexible enough to do melee single-target dps, ranged/AE dps plus support heals, tank, or heal at the drop of a hat, but since I play "Inquisicar" most, that's actually how I think of my character anymore.

Carson 63000 said...

I don't know if you've looked at Eden Eternal at all, but there's a game where your character changes so often that you don't really have an identity. It's like Rift squared. Bit unfortunate actually, since it seemed pretty promising (for a F2P themepark questgrinder), but being able to change your class freely - which they probably thought of as a unique selling point - actually killed my interest.

Anonymous said...

I'd decided for the cleric for the very same reasons you mentioned. Then again, I'd also quit playing my mage in WoW and levelled a druid instead because it's the one class that can heal, melee DPS, tank and be caster DPS. Yet, I'm now instead levelling my second mage to 85 (two different servers, though ^^). So, I probably shouldn't go for diversity. ;)

My cleric hit level 30 yesterday at which point I decided to buy a third role and try a different spec. I was using a hybrid of caster DPS/healer which had worked beautifully in the lower levels. I killed fast enough solo and could fill both roles during rifts (without having to go out of combat in order to switch from a heal spec to a damage spec or vice versa).

Still... I wonder whether it was the right decision. In theory, it was because cleric offers all sorts of playstyles. But somehow, it still doesn't feel right. ;)

WoW giving me 7 free days made me resub for 60 days. Maybe Rift will also get a short resub from me. But I don't think I'll stay there for a longer time (same with WoW, though).

Starseeker said...

My main used to be Rogue, now it's Warrior, but I had looked at the cleric for the same reasons you posted. I wanted to do everything. I found I really liked tanking.

However, I use the build mentioned earlier in these comments for leveling. Inquisitor/Justicar. You can basically choose the 3rd healing soul of whatever, I prefer purifier because of the ward, but inquisitor/justicar can dish out some damage without feeling squishy at all.

Anonymous said...

The everyday dps spec I use for my cleric is 51/10/5 inq/cab/sent. Squishier than an inq/justicar, but vex spam is still quite good for surviving large numbers of max level non-elite mobs.