Greetings loyal (and sometimes imaginary) readers. I am still in process of writing another “Why You Should Be Playing Rift” feature. Hopefully will have it in a more polished state tomorrow or Wednesday. In the meantime I figured I would do another more personal blog entry. Ultimately, the series will come to an end and this is all you will be left with, so hopefully those who came for it will stay for the other posts as well.
Expert Dungeoneers Incorporated
As I highlighted in a post last week, the upcoming changes that should be rolling out this Wednesday are going to change the prices for the Plaque of Achievement gear vendors. I’ve heard rumors as to what this will actually mean, but regardless of the specifics change is coming. As a result the core group of level 50 players in my guild, that have been running experts on a semi-regular basis, decided it was best to get as much gear as we could beforehand. The better gear, the easier a time we will have gearing up the other members as they reach 50.
Starting Friday we began running 3-4 experts a night, and by day two we had the dungeons to a science. For most of the runs we saw no wipes, and in the runs we had to draw deeper into the well of pug players, they were kept to a minimum. Personally I managed to upgrade almost every slot on my character, including 3 t1 epic pieces, an epic weapon, epic trinket, epic ring, and some epic pants that in my recollection are better than then plaque ones anyway.
While Iron Tombs for example is starting to get a bit well trodden, the experience of running with friends in truly challenging dungeons stays relatively untarnished. While we made a pretty massive push this weekend, it still does not feel near as “grindy” as the heroics in wow had become. So I hope as they add additional dungeons to Rift, they figure out ways to keep them feeling fresh. Honestly, to me, the experts feel far more like a 5 man raid instance, than a dungeon that can be rushed through in the way we did heroics.
I Said It, I’m A Noob
I need to preface this next part a little bit. I am a very tank centric player. All of my character that can tank, end up tanking eventually. As a result, when I started playing this game, I created a tank spec and pretty much stuck with it as I leveled from 1 to 50. I purchased my second spec, but I never really did anything with it apart from adding talent points to it every now and then. That said, over the course of all these expert dungeons I had managed to amass a full set of t1 quality blue warrior dps gear.
So we move forward to Sunday night, Kings Breach, I get the wild idea that I want to dps it. This is awesome, in that it lets our rogue tank the instance, which he also enjoys. For weeks I had been complaining that I just didn’t have the survival in my dps spec that I had expected. I would switch to it every now and then, but end up swapping right back to my paladin centric role after a mob or two. No one would really understand what I was talking about, and I had gotten the impression that maybe paladins were just that phenomenally broken.
We start out the instance, and the rogue pulls. I charge in and send the pet as well… and moments later a pack of mobs nowhere near us adds onto us. We blamed the spec being new to me, and poor pet management. We get to the second pack, and my pet is consistently dying a few moments into the fight each time. While trying to figure out why, I look down and notice my pet is level 23. It is at this point the rogue asks, in a sarcastic tone… “you did train up your dps spec, right?”
I honestly thought I had. All this time, I couldn’t figure out why I had no problem with money, and all my other guild members were struggling to make ends meet. I couldn’t figure out why I had 10 plat to spare when I bought my level 35 mount and 10 to spare again when I bought my level 50 mount. Turns out… I didn’t realize I needed to swap into my second spec to train it up.
At some point in my 20s I had caught it up, but at level 50 I had a ridiculous number of abilities to purchase. I ported back to town, and proceeded to spend 23 platinum on training costs catching up my dps role to level 50. So yes, like I said, I am a complete noob. However the rest of the run went silky smooth and I was puling out just silly numbers. Seeing 2500 hp finishers, or the screen light up with thousands each time I cleaved was a bit addicting. All that said, I can also see why the champion/beastmaster spec is getting nerfed, because it is a little unfair to be that powerful in my level of gear.
Face Meet Palm, Palm, Face
Friday evening after a discussion with a friend, I wrote the somewhat depression blog post “Is WoW the WoW-Killer?”. In it I outline my views about how a series of decisions by Blizzard have lead to the slow dismantling of the server community. It was initially received well by my friends, who I think make up the majority of my regular readers. A few of thing thought it was spot on, and others disagreed with various points. The line being more or less divided by the players who are happy in wow, and the players who are in various forms of quitting.
While playing Rift or WoW, we have taken to hanging out on mumble. It lets the two factions of the same community stay in contact even though we are no longer playing the same game. It is common place for various WoW Stalwarts to pop down and chat for a bit before returning to the various grouping channels above our “Rift” channel. One of my longtime friends, a druid healer for our guild and raid, did the same thing to talk about my blog post. After a bit of chitchat he asked if I minded him sharing the link. I assumed he was going to post it to a friend.
I was shocked to find out, that the “Friend” was the entire wow community. I started seeing these weird redirectors in the blog dashboard from battle.net. After some tracing, I found out that he had in fact posted the link on the wow general forums. I greatly appreciate his support, and his believing in me, but I have to say it was a bit shocking. I was tanking an instance at the time, so it could just be that I didn’t fully “grok” the meaning of what he was saying on mumble.
The general forums, have in the past at least, been a wretched hive of scum and villainy. I figured that I would start getting flamed left and right since the post was in no way supportive of the game so many of these players loved. I have to say however, I was extremely shocked to find that the vast majority either supported my statements, or disagreed in a civil manner. I have to admit, I did a bit of a “facepalm” when I had heard this had happened, but at the end of the day it seems like a good number of players are just as disappointed and troubled as I was.
I reiterated Friday, that I am done with World of Warcraft. I still very much feel this way, and that I would rather catch up on my single player games than ever go back to it. However I am hoping that maybe my post, and others like it will serve to give Blizzard a reminder that the players do matter. That gaming is not just handing out content in an automat style, but also honoring the game environment that the players themselves create. It is the mechanics that make a game worth playing, but it is the player base that make it worth staying.