Saturday, February 26, 2011

Quick Rift Pre-launch Weekend Notes

I've gotten into the Rift Headstart, with a level 14 High Elf Cleric (14 Justicar, 2 Druid, 2 Sentinel) named Telhamat on the Byriel server.  Here's a few random thoughts from the weekend so far.
  • Queue Queue Moar:
    The queues are probably the story of the game so far - many new servers have been added, and Trion is plaintively asking players to actually use them.  Either the problem will fix itself with players quitting by the one-month mark, or there are going to be chronically overcrowded servers (especially Faeblight) for a long time going forward, because no one wants to move once they're set up camp on a popular server.  Personally, I put the time in queue to productive use prank calling the Rift Watchers hotline.  (The gang plots my demise at minute 26 of the linked episode.) 

  • Rifts/Invasions Are Everywhere
    People often compare Rifts to Warhammer Public Quests, but I think they've missed the broader point.  You might log in and find a quiet solo game that plays a fair amount like, well, Azeroth.  Come back in peak hours and you might be killed four times between the newbie camp and your faction's main city by level 18 invasions that are destroying the entire zone.  (This was my experience trekking across Silverwood on opening night to sign the charter for the Telara branch of Ferrel's guild, Iniquity.

    With Invasions, Trion has tried to create the "War is everywhere" feel that Mythic hoped RVR would bring to Warhammer.  It's not safe to AFK anywhere because invasions could get you (and it's not safe to log off, because the queue will get you - yes, going back to the character select screen sends you to the back of the line).  Because NPC's actually do what the developers want, in a way that players usually don't, it looks like they might suceed. 

  • Wait, I just got all the souls?
    Having experimented in beta, I was sure I wanted to start with Justicar, Druid, and Sentinel.  My fourth pick would be easy, because I'd debated between Purifier and Sentinel for the healing slot, and it's good to have both for your healing role anyway.  I wasn't sure what I'd want next... but it turns out to be a moot point because you get all five of the souls you didn't start with almost immediately upon hitting level 13.  The "quest" to obtain these souls requires you to participate in beating any rift, and then fighting a mob version of your desired soul (which your public rift group will generally do for you, if you click the item immediately after the rift closes). 

    The good news is that it's now basically impossible to find yourself with a build
    you don't enjoy playing.  Also, I didn't really care about several of the souls, and might not have bothered to chase them down if they were hard to obtain.  Even so, it seems a bit anticlimactic to have all of the souls at such a low level.
Overall, I'd say the launch is going well.  That said, I think I can probably get to level 50 before that first monthly bill comes due.  It's going to be very interesting to watch mid-level populations (especially on the new servers) as the population moves to the cap.  


    1. Players are going to burn out on the rifts mighty quick because they are the same encounter every time with different skins

    2. Are rift events as common now as they were during open beta? They felt a bit too common to me, and I thought perhaps they would scale them down a bit for the full game.

      It'll be interesting to see the longevity of the rift events. I wonder if Anonymous above is right in that people will burn out on them. I know I eventually just avoided them because I wanted to see something different during beta. Not sure if I'd have the same attitude "for real".

    3. I didn't play the beta enough to compare the spawn rate, though they did specifically say that they were testing both the upper and lower range during that time.

      I'm guessing that the major events (40+ rifts, 12-20 rifts with invasions, raid-sized boss mobs) have some sort of internal cooldown - when one gets beaten, things are usually quiet for an hour or so. In the mean time, you can find rifts and solo-scale invasions (maybe 2-3 in the zone during off-peak, larger but not overwhelming numbers on peak) here and there, but it isn't too overwhelming.

      And yes, I think that players will start to burn out on rift content at some point.

    4. Great post, GA. I'm working on getting all my souls together now. I'm planning on having a PvE role for DPS/minor heals and then a PvP role for major heals/minor DPS. Looking forward to trying it out this weekend.

      Anonymous' post needs to be clarified, though. The only way you could think that is if you haven't done that many, haven't leveled very far, or haven't paid attention. Rifts may seem similar on the surface due to their progression but what happens during each one can be pretty different. I've been in some very early on that were tank and spank through and through. Others, around level 13 introduced more complexity. I've been in a water rift where the phase 3 baddy pulls you in and does massive AoE damage you have to run out of. I've been in others with with huge knockbacks, healing disabilities and a variety of other debuffs, summoners whose adds have to be defeated before he becomes vulnerable again (usually within about 30 seconds of the rift graduating to a foothold). In short, they might seem similar, but only if you're not paying attention to what's actually happening.

      Which, in fairness, is pretty easy to do in the midst of a zerg.

    5. QQing about Queues. Hating them. Of course, I am on Faeblight, so that blows.

      I love that you can acquire all the souls for your class, allowing you to change up your role. I think eventually they might even add more slots to let you get a 5th or 6th role, especially if they add more class trees. (i'm probably calling things by the wrong name)

      So if you do get bored with a spec, you can really change things up. It would be really difficult to learn all the possible specs you can have.

      I would challenge those guys at Elitist Jerks to theorycraft with Rift. It would blow their minds with all the possible combinations. Far more complicated than WoW, which has become even more cookie-cutter than ever.

    6. @Chris: I'm definitely curious to see some more advanced rifts myself. I'm currently level 15 (higher than I advanced in the beta), and all the rifts I've seen so far have been tank and spank - with an emphasis on the spank due to really large numbers of players. I made up a healing role but it seems half pointless because there's a lot of healing going around at the moment.

      Much as I'm tempted to roll up an alt to see if I missed my "calling", I feel like I should press on into the 20's to see how things develop at higher levels.

    7. @chris

      Difficult to discern any tactics in rifts currently (level 16) ... with a total zerg by players everything dies in seconds. Seriously, I can't use more than one 2-second cast ability since the mob is dead before the second one finishes.

      I think the invasions are more interesting. Seeing the mobs in the region try to take on the wandering bosses was very immersive.

      Last night on Aedraxis we had a massive invasion in Freemarch that brought down the server. When it came back all the NPC's were gone or unusable.


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