Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Triumph of the Rift Raptor

It's been another few months in the life of Rift, which means time for another World Event, and the game's third Welcome Back weekend.  Telhamat made good use of the time, advancing from level 43 to 48, collecting a complete set of the (conveniently green) rare Transplanar armor, and completing the world event's Raptor mount.
Disapproving raptor disapproves.
World Events
I haven't been present for all of Rift's world events, but the three that have happened during free retrial weekends have all been very similar - one easy daily in town, a couple of quests to close rifts in the world (with event-specific rift invasions which open in zones that might not ordinarily be invaded by that elemental plane), and a token vendor in town with various goodies.  This time was only unusual in that a single weekend was enough time to snag the tokens I needed for the mount, the non-combat pet, an epic hat, and a larger backpack off the event vendor in some future phase. 

As Chris points out in pictoral form, the bad guys don't seem to be catching on that a couple of invasions aren't going to turn the tide and let them win.  Then again, this may be the point.  NPC invasions function as an extremely tame substitute for RVR - unlike enemy players, the devs can be sure that the NPC's won't throw matches, and won't get upset that they always lose. 

Invasion population
In one weekend, I earned more than enough Rift currency to collect all six pieces of the Transplanar gear set, plus a "synergy crystal" to provide a choice of set bonus options.
I'm finally high enough in levels to do zone invasions in the well-populated endgame zones.  This also means that I'm high enough to partake of greatly increased reward ratios that were recently implemented to draw players back into the Rift content.  The high level rare and epic currencies have been merged, and it's not uncommon to obtain 5-10 tokens for a single zone invasion.  This has brought down the prices on the previously costly mid-40's armor set down to a single event per piece, but is apparently meant to encourage purchases of consumable endgame essences.  

Unfortunately, the resulting zerg experience is much like it was in the newbie areas during launch - massive. lag-inducing crowds of players, and mobs that either melt under insane DPS or have ridiculously high HP totals to try and keep them alive so that players who have to ride across the entire zone can get there in time to hit the boss a few times. 

If feels like there is an extremely limited middle ground between too deserted to actually complete rifts at all (mid levels) and so crowded that you spend more time traveling from rift to rift than fighting.  Trion is apparently working on a new endgame zone, and I can only imagine how overcrowded this area is likely to be, even though it will reportedly be twice the size of one of the game's current larger zones.

Meanwhile, in Telara
Fortunately, I've been pleasantly surprised by the non-dynamic portion of the game.  I just wrapped up Iron Pine Peak, and there will be large amounts of unused content I can complete for Planar Attunement/Alternate Advancement after I hit the cap.  I also healed a dungeon finder Lantern Hook PUG without a single death, and I genuinely enjoyed the experience. 

It does seem like the game may be falling into the same mudflation cycle that all MMO's are stuck in these days, with entire tiers of content falling by the wayside as new on-ramps emerge, but I might not mind taking a slower sight-seeing approach that lets me learn to heal in content that may be technically a bit below my level.  Whether I actually get around to paying money for the game again before another retrial weekend gets me to the level cap is an open question. 

Another bad guy who thinks he has a chance of winning.


Paul said...

My dino-chicken dropped off a fire rift. No need to grind out tokens to feed the egg. :)

Bronte said...

Sounds like you are having a ball in Rift. I have recently picked up Fallen Earth F2P, but my ISP has sort of conked out ever since. Rats!

Bhagpuss said...

I've been wondering where those chickens came from.

I thought the egg produced the spider mount, which I hate. If it's the chicken I'm much more interested. I kind of fell into Allods unexpectedly this week so I have only been doing the City event dailies and maybe one or two invasions in Rift, but I hope to get a good run at things at least one day this weekend.

Quest content in Rift has been very unjustly dismissed in general. If you like the MMO quest format at all you'll find a lot of amusing and entertaining examples at all levels in Rift. All the zones repay detailed and repeated exploring, too. They are densely packed with fascinating detail.

Green Armadillo said...

@Bhagpuss: The spider mount is from the new "collector's edition". Trion's marketing people apparently noticed that people hate item shops and don't hate collector's editions. So, there's a new collector's edition, and the option for existing players to upgrade for $10. Trion's marketing people seem to have won, because no one is complaining.

The way the raptor mount works is that you can get it as an outright drop, or you can buy an egg (1 single token) and obtain 35 items to feed it (either as drops from rifts or for 75 tokens each at the vendor). It's not a bad way to have an RNG element but also put an upper limit on how bad it can get. I farmed 30 items for my egg and bought the last five from the vendor, because I had farmed enough tokens for the rest of the rewards, and I wanted the mount by the end of the retrial weekend.