Bonus Stage: Shortcut

During the course of the week I have had a number of little bits and baubles that I wanted to share, but didn’t really feel like fit with the thrust of a certain post.  In Rift, if you complete the objectives of a stage in a timely manner you get bonus stages.  I reserve the right to post a long rambling mess at any time the mood fits me, but I think for now I will try and relegate them to my “bonus stage” posts.

Foul Cascade Shortcut

I have been trying to find a good way to work this in for a week now but having zero luck.  Once you hit 50, one of the things you will inevitably do is run experts.  One of the easier and more rewarding of these tier 1 experts is Foul Cascade.  As a Defiant player, getting to this instance is a thorn in our side as it involves running north through guardian infested territory from the Scarwood Lift porticulum.

While making the run for what felt like the hundredth time I decided there had to be an easier way.  In other games, players would get banned for “wall hacking” their way across zone lines.  But in Rift, Trion actually rewards this behavior since when you get up to the top of mountains, there are always cool things to see.  At the very least there is usually a wealth of artifacts along the way.

Above is my recording, using the in game /record system, of the route I take between Chancel of Labors in Iron Pine Peaks and the Foul Cascade instance.  Of note, I got confused while running across the lake as to where the road met up, and got dismounted.  Also of note, when you get to the Gloamwood / Scarlet Gorge zoneline, I drop down off my fast mount to my slow mount for a significant reason. 

If you are moving at fast mount speeds it is way too easy to drop down too far at once, and end up killing yourself.  Luckily, if you happen to do this, there is a soul forge at the bottom of the hill, at the same level as Foul Cascade so the run back is extremely short.  Honestly you would do just as well to simply dismount and hop down by foot, than to even mess with a mount.

I know there are other paths, but this one is pretty quick and relatively simple.  Would be interested to know any other shortcuts to either Foul Cascade or other instances that my readers have.  I know Caspian, one of my guildmates has a path that he runs to Foul Cascade somehow from Moonshae Highlands, but I do not know the specifics of it.  However according to him, this path involves no mobs in between, so that would cut down on the getting dismounted factor.

Nerd 202

bs_livelikeanerd

One of my blogger and twitter friends, Kadomi branched out on a new venture this week.  She is making the scary transition from blogging about WoW, to blogging about geek life in general.  Just like her wow blog, Tank Like A Girl, the posts are well written and always interesting.  Initially I thought this meant she would be leaving the other blog behind, but since then she has updated posts on the wow site as well.  If you do not have Tank Like a Girl and Live Like a Nerd in your RSS feed, you should add them.  Both are extremely good reads, and I hope that she continues to have great success as a blogger.

Week Without WYSBPR

2011-03-17_121155

I realize it has been a long time now since I have posted an episode in the “Why You Should Be Playing Rift” series.  I have a few things still in mind, but in general at this point, players are either hooked on the game or well stratified in their opinion that WoW is the only game on the planet.  It has come to the time where I trim back some of my evangelism and start just reporting MMO news, and my own brand of commentary.

I think before all is said and done I would like to have a nice even 10 episodes in the series, so expect to see more things.  However the post I have been working on in the background, is somewhat the reverse of “Why You Should Be Playing Rift”.  The idea is to create a post outlining all the questions players can ask themselves, to determine if Rift is wrong for them.

Since release we have had a handful of players return to wow, because the game just didn’t scratch whatever itch they needed scratched.  For some the game play in Rift was too difficult, for others they missed the 3D chat room that WoW had become for them, and as a result missed too many of their friends still playing WoW.  Rift is by no means the “one ring to rule them all”, it expects a lot more of its player base than wow has since the burning crusade era.  As a result, this game just is not the right game for certain personalities and player styles.

There should be some cool things in the weeks ahead.  I have been shocked at how quickly this blog has revived and regained readership.  All along I thought I was just burnt out with blogging, when I went on hiatus from the Aggronaut.  Turns out, the game I was playing just did not make me excited enough to write anymore.  Now that I have pushed that game aside, I feel like I have a world of ideas swimming in my head.  Hopefully I continue to have success, but I just wanted to thank the readers.  I am slowly beginning to believe that I actually do have an audience.

Rift Hotfix 14 Notes

Just wanted to get these up really quick.  These have not rolled out on North American servers as of yet, but if they follow the pattern recently they will be up at 8 AM PDT.  As of this morning we had already received the launcher patch associated with these changes.

New Items Arrive

As promised by Trion, the rumored “hundreds of new items” have apparently arrived.  These are supposedly sprinkled throughout the Tier 1 and Tier 2 dungeon bosses beefing up their loot tables.  I have no word as to whether or not these will be limited time drops, of if these are permanent changes to the loot table.  Either way I plan on making it another weekend of grinding away at expert dungeons.

Nameplate Options

One of the big problems I have with the game is the current nameplate system.  I will expound on this later in a future post, but it looks like we are at least getting some options.  There are now apparently two sliders in the interface options that allow you to control the size of player and NPC nameplates separately.  I just hope this makes them easier to see, and pick out from the sea of mobs.

Full Patch Notes

you can find the official patch notes here.

 

WORLD EVENT
* Rings from the event merchants are now properly labeled as ‘Unique’. These rings were previously set to be Unique but the text was not appearing on their tooltips.
* Added a display for the level requirements to Shadetouched Weapons Cache quest starting items. The level requirements existed previously but were not displayed on the item tooltip.
* Death Rift: Eternal Souls: You know that dragon that had wings but liked to walk a lot? He flies now!
* The Battle for Freemarch zone event now rewards Otherworldly Sourcestone for participation while the River of Souls event is underway.
* Adjusted the stage objectives for the River of Souls event Rift, ‘Pride Before the Fall’. Added better messaging to the stages involving the Soothing Stone Light.

GENERAL
* Fixed the Normal Practice Dummy having the defenses of a Boss Practice Dummy.
* Guild Perk: Planar Protection: Fixed a bug that caused this perk to consume Banner reagents.
* Fixed a bug where the Sir or Dame title would occasionally not be sent to eligible characters.
* Corrected the stats on the essence ‘Elusive Prey’ to have Melee Critical Hit instead of Spell Critical Hit.

ZONES
* Fixed issues in high-level zones that could cause Invasions to not spawn. This should help with zone events not spawning their Invasions as well.
SANCTUM
* Scotty’s Induction Ceremony for the Runeguard will no longer be interrupted by hostile creatures appearing in the same area.
SILVERWOOD
* The rare spawn mob, ‘Pandora’, can now be killed by Defiants.

DUNGEONS AND RAIDS
* Over 100 new item drops have been added to Expert Dungeons and Raids!
DARKENING DEEPS
* Expert: Scarn: Fixed the fires so they stay stuck on the bone piles.
* Expert: Scarn: Molten Phlegm effect is now cleansable. If your buddy is on fire, put them out!
* Expert: Scarn: Reduced area of Scarn’s frontal cleave so it shouldn’t catch players who are visibly outside of the front area of effect.
GREENSCALE’S BLIGHT [Raid]
* Duke Letareus, Infiltrator Johlen, and Oracle Aleria now drop 3 items when killed.
* Prince Hylas now drops 4 items when killed.
* Greenscale now drops 4 items when killed, and additional Relic items have been added to the possible drop list.
* Resolved a rare edge case where the instance would crash during a raid wipe-triggered Lord Greenscale reset.

AUDIO
* Addressed a bunch of audio issues with combat sounds being very quiet or not playing at all.
* The Lute purchased from Artifact rewards has more even-volume sound effects.
* More audio volume-level fixes for sounds playing too loudly (level up, anyone?) or too quiet.

CRAFTING
* A system fix to Unique-Equip crafted items that made them look for the base item when checking the Unique-Equip status went in with the 1.1 patch. This made identical rings or weapons with different Augment or Rune types unable to be equipped at the same time (or re-equipped if you already had them on a character and removed one or both). We are taking a look at the current Unique-Equip crafted items affected by this to see if further adjustments to their power are needed in order to keep them desirable.
* You can no longer close opened crafting reward containers and lose items left inside.
* Quests from dropped Cloth starters (The Caress of Cloth, Textile Texture, and From a Humble Scrap) can once again be completed and lead to the follow-up provided by the turn-in NPC.
* Calamitous Runes and Ravaging Runeshards now provide Spell Critical Hit. Devastating Runes and Destructive Runeshards now give Melee Critical Hit.

SETTINGS
* Added a self-cast modifier key dropdown under Settings -> Combat. This allows you to set a key that will always try to self-cast an ability if that key is held while the ability is used (such as setting up ‘Alt’ to allow ‘Alt+1’ to attempt to self-cast the ability in hotbar slot 1).
* There are now two sliders to scale the size of player and NPC nameplates under Options -> Name.
* Video recording: A bit rate slider has been added to the recording options window that will affect the quality and size of the video created.

CLIENT/SERVER
* Coin lock should be behaving better for players who also run VPN software on their machines.
* Server performance improvements.

Blizzard Still Doesn’t Get it

Despite having a now dead account, I still try and keep touch with my friends who are playing World of Warcraft.  Yesterday evening the buzz was surrounding the new and improved dungeon finder tool.  If you have read any of my recent posts on wow, you know that I consider this tool the “idiot button”, but I figured I would read the details and see if they were addressing any of the problems I had with it.  Below is a snippet that sums up the feature.  Full announcement can be found over on wow insider.

In patch 4.1 we’ll be introducing Dungeon Finder: Call to Arms, a new system intended to lower queue times. Call to Arms will automatically detect which class role is currently the least represented in the queue, and offer them additional rewards for entering the Dungeon Finder queue and completing a random level-85 Heroic dungeon.

Failing To Understand Motivation

The above description of the new ability sounds great in theory, but it verifies a long held belief of mine.  Blizzard simply does not understand the motivation behind certain classes.  The classes that we are generally missing from the PUG landscape are the ones that require the biggest social responsibility.  It takes a special breed to be willing to take responsibility for other players into your own hands on a regular basis.

In WoW the class that has always been in the shortest supply are the tanks.  The tank is controlling force in any party, sets the pull speed, determines the approach, and for the most part directs the success of a run.  A good tank knows he has to rely on solid healing, expert dps and utility to get through the instance.  However someone has to be the voice of the party and More often than not, in a successful group, that is the tank.

To be a good tank, you need an instinctively protective nature.  You need the desire to protect the other players from harm and press yourself against the onslaught of mobs attacking you.  Doing this means you tend to develop a special bond for your fellow players, and as a result these players tend to ask you into groups on a regular basis.

Sure there are good tanks that are very reward focused, and chase every shiny new bauble available.  However after playing a tank in one form or another for 10 years, I believe a far greater number do it for other reasons.  I personally tank, because I enjoy the feeling of protecting my friends from whatever comes our way.  I enjoy saving the day in an epic fashion, and when you take away the familiarity with your players, much of that enjoyment goes away.

Failing To Understand Their Game

Kadomi touches on this issue in her post, “Call to Fail”, but I will expand further.  As I wrote about in my “Is WoW The WoW-Killer” post, the community of gamers is a much different place than when the game was released.  Long gone are the good natured, easy going players that are willing to work through a problem.  They have been replaced by the “lolurbad”, “faster!” and “big pulls” wrath genre morons.  As a result the tank ends up bearing the brunt of this player abuse. 

Frankly, no amount of carrot is worth the stick that the abrasive players already provide.  Stepping into a pug as a tank, many times is like stepping into a warzone.  The instances themselves are usually relatively simple, dealing with the selfish and socially mal-adjusted are the difficult part.  As the tank, you somehow have to figure out a way to steer this bus of constant frustration across the finish line in a timely manner. 

The simple truth is, if you are a good tank, you don’t have a need to pug.  You have a pool of players that are always willing to run heroics with you.  You become a favorite tour guide, that everyone knows will get them home safely.  Most nights in wow, I logged in to a sea of purple tells, many of which were friends asking me to come tank something for them.  At the end of the day, no amount of loot is worth dealing with the frustrations when you have a stable of “known good” players asking you for help.

This ties back in to what I said earlier, most of your good tanks are not doing it for the “money” so to speak.  Most of us actually like to help our friends.  We like to be contributing members of the guild and server community, and as a result become keystones in whatever environment we are in.  When you have this network of goodwill built up around you, why on earth would you as a player abandon that for an experience you know will lead you to invent new forms of cursing.

Lost Touch

This has been a constant thread I have seen among the various disillusioned players leaving World of Warcraft.  We all feel like Blizzard has abandoned us, the players that helped build its empire.  My grandfather had a saying, and I hope it will make sense to you non-Oklahomans: “You dance with the one that brought you”.  Basically most of the players I know filing out of WoW at this point, are players who like me played from release or near release.

We were the players that brought Blizzard to the throne of gaming it has managed to obtain.  Problem is along the way it forgot why we started playing their games in the first place.  In this facebook era of games, it is too easy to think it is natural to have millions of users to spare.  In doing so however, you forget all the reasons why your game was great in the first place.

I’m thankful to Trion at the moment, because they seem to get it.  After years of playing under Blizzard, Sony Online Entertainment, and Mythic I had come to expect a certain amount of distance between the company and its player base.  I expect them to not really understand why we cared about the game, and why we were playing it.  With Trion, it simply feels different.

In my time since starting Rift, I have seen far more involvement from the company as a whole than ever in my gaming career.  There have been 13 hotfixes and 3 patches, with the game only being out about a month and a half.  In the past I would have judged a game harshly on those numbers, thinking they were having to bandaid the game to keep it going.  Instead Trion launched the most complete product I have ever played, and continues to simply improve the experience with each release.

Magic Dust is Gone

I am not sure it is really quantifiable, but something is gone from WoW.  It is like the lid to a box has been opened and whatever magic dust was inside floated away on the wind, and is forever gone.  I left quite obviously to play another game, but many of my friends who are now leaving are just doing so because the game no longer holds whatever special property it once did for them.  Either they got tired of the hamster wheel, or simply stopped caring about the game play entirely.

I still believe this has been a gradual process of bad decisions that have lead us to this point, and this latest change in an attempt to buy off the tanks only supports that.  However I do still feel bad that whatever locomotive is at the head of the train, is most definitely off course.  I have many friends still playing WoW, and many that either do not have the systems or desire to jump to another game if WoW fails.  I honestly do hope someone will step in to balance the listing ship, before it capsizes.

Twenty Gold and My Sanity

Today is a fairly auspicious day for no real reason other than the fact that my wow account is officially dead now.  I feel like I should tell my characters to rest in peace or something.  I am extremely happy in that it means I can finally rebind the stupid accounts to the physical dongles, file them away in a drawer, and upgrade my stupid iphone.  I have been putting off an operating system upgrade for ages because of the horror stories of getting locked out of the mobile authenticator.  Now I can do so in peace and see if it improves the glitchiness with my stock iOS 4.0.

Have Rift Will Close

20g_DeathRift

Last night went nothing like I expected it to.  I had originally planned on being gone, I had originally planned on traveling to a nearby town to meet a seller from craigslist and buy a laptop.  However since the seller has seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth, and is no longer responding to text or phone call, those plans went out the window.  On a side note, I am honestly hoping that nothing serious has happened, considering the last I heard from the seller he was boarding a plane to come back to Oklahoma.

Since my evening did not follow its normal plan, I decided to hang out and work on daily quests and rifts.  Recently I just have not been in the mood to do anything serious, and by serious I mean instancing.  As a tank, you are responsible for a good bit of the success and failure of any group you are in.  I just have not felt like wearing the leader hat the last few nights, so as a result I have participated in whatever invasions that have come along.

In my search to “catch them all” for the event, I have managed to get the 3 companion pets, and the bauble that makes you look all shade touched.  I’ve gathered about 150 more otherworldly sourcestone towards trinket that makes you look like the necromancer rogue pet, which costs 500.  I figure a few more days of daily quests and closing rifts will let me get all the spiffy limited time doodads.  In all my rifting however I still have yet to see a mount or any of the shadetouched weapon caches.  Here is hoping for a pony before the event closes.

Wrath of Kain

20g_stillmoor

With yesterdays hotfix the level of intensity of the event was increased, and with it seemingly the frequency of major zone invasions.  I had heard rumor these existed, as a few of my guild members were in the server first level 50 major zone invasion last week.  However until last night I had not actually seen one myself.  I was carefully picking my way through my Order of Mathos daily quests when it hit.  Alsbeth was attacking Stillmoor, and we were about to be caught in the balance.

Within a few moments, the zone was lit up like a plaque victim with purple spots, each one pouring out all manner of nastiness.  The Defiant player-base formed up a raid and began working our way through destroying the pillars.  Each pillar, used in the summoning ritual was guarded by a zone boss, of similar difficulty to the normal invasion bosses.  The fact that the invasion had 4 pillars, and therefore at least four bosses was in itself impressive until we started moving across the land.

In our travels closing rifts, we managed to encounter 4 bone dragons, 4 giant constructs, and 4 archlichs.  There might have been more of these world bosses, but these were the ones I managed to see myself.  So that in itself makes a minimum of 20 boss type mobs up in Stillmoor at one time.  Each one of these bosses seemed to be capable of rewarding players with the rare quality Ancient Sourceshards.  With teamwork we managed burn through the rifts, destroy the pillars and shift the event into the next phase.

At this time, the map blew up with footholds, moreso than I have ever seen in a zone before.  While we burned through the invasions that were pouring out of the footholds, a group of players dedicated themselves to holding vigil at Zareph’s Return.  In this event, that was the key location that we had to keep from falling.  After all the fighting we managed to push into phase three, and face the invasion boss Kain.  This went as quickly as all rift bosses seem to, as everyone in the zone dog piled his location.  The reward for completing this epic invasion, was the fabled epic Ancient Sourcestone.

Wrath of Crucia

20g_chancel

The wild ride in Stillmoor was over in about thirty minutes and so shortly afterwards I was back to doing my daily quests.  After an hour of chatting with guild and picking through quests, I heard the call go out that a greater invasion was hitting Iron Pine Peaks.  Considering I needed more Ancient Sourcestones, I rode to the nearest porticulum and popped into Whitefall.  It was with some trepidation that I joined the battle in Iron Pine. 

Last week, as I said some of my guild had participated in a major invasion, that happened to be in this zone.  Problem is, that night the invasion took over four hours to finish.  I looked at the clock, knowing I had roughly two hours of playtime left, and jumped into the fray hoping for the best.  The main issue with the IPP invasion, is that for some reason when it reaches phase two, the number of air rifts that spawn in the zone are at a minimum.  In addition to this, there is one known rift location in the far north of the zone that never seems to count towards the quest completion totals.

Knowing ahead that we more than likely were in for the long haul, it changed the way we approached the event.  Myself, Caspian, and a healer that was in zone Aran, quickly organized the raid into three basic goals.  The idea was that to hold out as long as we could, we needed to stop invasions from spawning.  In order to do this we needed to kill all of the rifts as they spawned as well as destroy all of the footholds.

Caspian charged off with a group that focused on closing the rifts, Aran lead up the defense of the Chancel of Labors, and I broke off with a small team and began systematically destroying each of the footholds in a sweeping pattern.  Within an hour we had whittled down things to where the majority of spawn points were down.  Each time an air rift would spawn, coordinates would be linked to the raidchat and a party would barrel off in that direction, quickly dispatching it. It became a waiting game. 

Since we closed down most of the possible spawn points, it meant that the few remaining spawners were constantly streaming mobs out to attack us.  Caspian and I had both gathered force at Whitefall in an attempt to salvage the town, but we both noticed that a massive invasion wave was heading straight for the Chancel.  Over time the defenders that were there, had splintered off to attack other things in the zone, and our map was indicating that a fairly skeletal crew of “purple dots” remained.  Over mumble, in a last minute decision we broke for the porticulum, thinking it might be our only chance to help save the wardstone.

We sprang from the portal, rounded the Chancel and had just enough time to charge an onslaught of enemies that were streaming down the path.  Each of us in our tank specs, furiously tanked at the wall of death.  It felt exactly like one of those action films, when the reinforcements arrive just at the right moment to turn the tide of the battle.  Caspian and I were those reinforcements, we were getting to turn the tide.  This outrageous assault on the Chancel continued for another thirty minutes to an hour as we turned away wave after wave of attackers.

Epic Defense

20g_Essences

The event in Iron Pine Peaks was over three hours of constant fighting.  During this time I gained over 6000 planarite, and countless other doodads in the process.  I have to say this is precisely why I love Rift so much.  What would have otherwise been a down night, was turned into an epic fight against good and evil.  We didn’t spend time in an instance, or get amazing loot.  Instead we the players fought back and defended our allies as the world raided us.

The biggest thing for me at the end of the night as far as gains however was the fact that I managed to secure two of the precious ancient sourcestones.  With these I purchased two of the epic greater essences from the rare planar vendors in Stillmoor and Shimmersand.  They both proc amazingly often, and I am extremely thrilled to have them.  More importantly I have an epic tale to tell you all, about the journey.  I have said it before, Rift feels like a game that is more about the journey than the destination. 

At the end of the night it only cost me twenty gold, and my sanity.

Rift Hotfix #13 Notes and Commentary

At the time of posting this it has yet to roll out to the North American servers, but our European friends got it at 3:00 BST.  Hopefully by this evening these will be deployed to the North American servers as well.  Overall there are not a huge number of changes happening, a few tweaks here and there.  The most important tweak however, and I think many other players will agree is that the Dye Vendor is reported to be returning from his recent vacation.

Pretty Pretty Princess

Funny how finally playing a game with armor dyes has made us all addicted to them.  The talk in the general channels is nonstop questions and or jokes about the dye vendor.  I myself have had a pair of boots desperately in need of a dye job for several days.  One of our guild tanks has resorted to using a hideous color scheme compiled with the easily obtainable apothecary dyes.  I wonder if the color palette of seafoam green and magenta offends the mobs so much that it increases his aggro.

Two-Tailed Cats Be Gone

A controversial change coming down in the patch is the removal of Valmera mounts from Defiant players who were crafty enough to stealth run into the vendor inside of Sanctum.  Since this was not necessarily an exploit, it simply involved stealthing into enemy territory, I can see the frustration for the players this is effecting.  But in reality it is somewhat unfair to give defiant players an additional mount, regardless of the effort they went to gain it.  On the positive side, as the notes say the cost of the mounts are being refunded.

Trophies of Death

So one of the side effects of not having a true “rifthead” yet is you never really know if you just fail miserably at figuring out a quest, or if it is honest to god bugged.  There have been several of us stuck on the “The Saga of the Endless: Trophies of Death” quest step for weeks, never really figuring out what we needed to do to progress through it.  I am so relieved to find out that apparently it was in fact bugged and has been fixed.  Maybe I can continue climbing the ladder. 

One of the players on my server has the title Timelord, which comes late in the series.  Being a massive Doctor Who junkie, I must have this title regardless of the mental costs.  I just really really hope that it does not involve staring into the Untempered Schism.  I have bad enough headaches as is to risk ending up with that infernal drumming sound in my head at all times.

Hotfix Notes

official patch notes here

GENERAL
* The intensity of Alsbeth’s assault on Telara is increasing! The number of rifts, invasions, and zone events is rising in all zones!
* Fixed a bug that was allowing some creative people to equip one more weapon than they had hands for. This was not an intentional advantage of being an Ascended.
* Removed Valmera mounts from the resourceful Defiant players who managed to purchase them. Don’t worry, we refunded the cost, and hope you enjoyed them while they lasted!
* The Dye Vendors will be returning from their vacation with this update.
* Guild and PvP Quests: Killing the same character more than once will again give credit toward these quests.
* Quest: Harbinger of Sorrows: Modified quest text for better clarity.
* The Saga of the Endless: Trophies of Death: Quest now updates by closing Death Rifts.

COMBAT
* Warriors: Tempered Will, Paladin’s Devotion, and Ruthless Pursuit can now only be used when the Warrior is under one of the effects these abilities remove.
* Tracking abilities no longer dismount you on use.
BEASTMASTER
* Protective Companion’s Pounce taunt now properly causes the taunt target to switch to the pet.
ELEMENTALIST
* Icy Carapace: Rank 7 now lists the correct damage for this ability.
SABOTEUR
* Charge Booster: Reworded description for more clarity. Using Detonate with 5 Combo Points will fire off a Booster Charge, dealing 50% weapon damage. The total damage dealt is increased by 15% for every point spent in Saboteur above 21.
VINDICATOR [PvP]
* Tactical Strike: Fixed an issue causing this to trigger several times more often than it should. Now triggers 5% per point spent. Damage increase to target has been reduced from 10% to 5% per stack. Description updated to note that this stacks up to 5 times.
VOID KNIGHT
* Residual Absorption will no longer show as a buff that can be clicked on to remove.
WARLOCK
* Empowered Darkness: Ability will no longer get overwritten by weaker buffs.

DUNGEONS AND RAIDS
* A number of Greenscale belts were incorrectly equippable by all characters. They are now limited by class for equipping.
* King’s Breach: Expert: Konstantin’s Mathosian Fury can no longer be removed by player abilities. It also has a tooltip description!

CRAFTING
* Salvaging Rings and Necklaces that use gems in their recipes now returns salvaged gemstone items as well as regular gems.
* Crafted bow: The ability on Hawk’s Talon was not triggering, and has been fixed.
* Crafted bow: Verdant Archbow’s tooltip has been corrected so it properly lists the damage done.
* Relic-quality items should now be Salvageable and Runebreakable, although why you would want to break such lovely items remains a mystery. But you can, if you want to!

Three Things Rift Didn’t Get Wrong

Over the course of the last several weeks this blog has all but become devoted to Rift, at least in it’s content matter.  One of the pieces you probably can’t glean however is that I have been approaching rift much differently than I did World of Warcraft.  In WoW, I was the leader of large guild, and raided multiple times a week on a schedule.  We fell in the casual raid category, but as a leader type I still pushed a good deal more than I should have to make sure things were getting done.

Slowing Down

When I cancelled my account I had 3 85s, 4 80s, and 7 between 60-80.  I prided myself on getting a character leveled and ready to raid in a minimal of time.  When I leveled my shaman to 80, it was fully epic geared and ICC10 ready within 5 days.  So to say I played with a focus and drive is a bit of an understatement.  Leaving WoW, and coming into Rift, made me realize how much of this process was my way of trying to make a game I no longer enjoyed fun again.

So as I entered Telara, I have taken a much more slow paced view of the world.  While I still hit the cap within 6 days played time, it was a much more gradual pace than what I was capable of.  The same has held true with dungeons.  Recently we have been running more than our share of experts both for gear drops and plaques.  While they have been fun, lately the pace we frequency of running them has started to remind me a bit too much of the countless hours I spent mashing my face against heroics for the guild.

I am nearing a complete set of tier 1 gear, with only my gloves lacking.  So after our initial push, I plan on taking a step back and moving more slowly.  The focus on experts has detracted from the other things I really enjoy in the game.  One of my favorite things is defending a town against an invasion.  For some reason it feels so epic, to stave off wave after wave of mobs trying to take over our territory.

One of the things I had to contend with in WoW was the barrage of tells I received the moment I logged in.  Recently with the focus on running experts, it has felt a bit like that again.  I log into questions of “what are we running tonight?”, “When will the Aussies be on?” and “how long do we wait before we pug this?”.  With the recent influx of newly 50s this should take some of this pressure off, but regardless I need to start saying no for my own sake.  WoW became a second job for me, and I refuse to let that happen in Rift.

The Skewed List

In my travels today I stumbled across an article on mmorpg.com entitled, Rift: 5 Things Rift Does Wrong.  While one point I mostly agree with, and another point I couldn’t care less about, there are three bullet points that I feel the author missed the boat on.  Now granted, just like this blog is most of the time, the author clearly states these are his opinions.

“Lifeless Questing”

The author is far from the first person to make this statement.  The Author sums up his point best in this statement “I find it a little disheartening that questing in Rift amounts to basically: go to hub, get a bunch of quests, go to bright yellow circle, kill things, return to hub when objectives are met. “.  Rift questing is very traditional, I will give them that.  Thing is, for a good number of mmo players, this is what we want.

Over the last few expansions one of the things I have detested about wow, is the fact that so many quests have turned into mini-games.  I don’t want to climb up a tree and throw bear cubs onto a trampoline, nor do I want to pilot a harvester and play a Super Mario like platform game as I try to climb a mountain.  What I want are well written quests with storyline that matters, and clearly defined objectives.  On top of that, I would really love to have clear visualization that is correct, so that I know where I should be going for this quest.

These two things ensure that if I am in the mood to read quests and really get into the storyline, then I can. The storyline in Rift is extremely well written and engaging, and when I am in the mood for it this is who I prefer to play.  However if I want to go on auto-pilot and quest for maximum experience, I can do that as well because the minimap tools clearly guide me to my objectives.  Nothing frustrates me more than being forced to play some poorly designed minigame, when all I really wanted was to go here and kill X things.

Granted, I come from an earlier time in MMO history, and much of my roots and practices are still there.  When I am purposefully trying to level, I find myself grinding quests the same way I used to grind through mobs.  However, with the slower pace I have taken in this game I have found myself enjoying the content along the way.  This game doesn’t hold your hand as much as other games, and to find some of the cooler things you have to get off the beaten path and go exploring.  There are so many quests you will never find, just by following the golden path.

“Stale Solo Play”

I guess I really don’t understand what the author means here when he says the solo play is stale and boring.  Really comes to the point of what exactly he is calling solo play.  To me, anything you can do as a single player without pre-planning, in an impromptu fashion is by nature…  solo play.  So while he spends more time harping on the fact that he doesn’t enjoy the questing system, I really don’t see him explaining why soloing is specifically boring.

To me this game is one of the more solo friendly games to come along in a long time. Why is this?  Simple… the public grouping dynamic.  On our server it is generally considered rude if you are running in private group mode, so for the most part players are open to the public.  So this allows you as a solo player to quickly merge and mesh with additional players that are completing things you couldn’t normally do by yourself.

So much of my time spent doing rifts is entered into in a solo fashion.  I ride out into a zone, and make my way to a rift near the porticulum town.  From there I enter into a public group, and start moving from rift to rift freely all the while, participating in a group dynamic while still playing on your time, your schedule.  Because of this same “open” dynamic, when you are off questing you are far more likely to find assistance when you encounter a road block on a quest than if you were truly alone in the world.

“Checklist Crafting”

This is one I have heard a lot over the years.  Crafting should be more intricate, or crafting should be more involved.  Problem is, these are awesome things in theory but nobody actually wants to play a game with one of those systems.  Everquest II had a cool system, for about the first five minutes I played it, after that the novelty quickly wore off when I realized I would never be able to just sit down, and craft a bunch of items quickly for my friends. 

For me crafting holds a special place in MMOs.  As an adventurer type, I go off exploring the world, and come back to town with a bag full of collected bits.  Crafting gives me a moment of downtime, from the action of questing, rifting, dungeons, and raids.  A time for me to set up a bunch of things to “build”, and go afk and get something to drink.  This downtime, gives me a much needed pause button from the game, and also lets me get some cool stuff made in the process.

I am at the very most a casual crafter, but honestly I would imagine serious crafters are even less for a more involved system.  If you are a serious crafter, chances are you play the auction house with your wares.  Doing so means you farm up a good number of mats, multiple times a week, and batch create your items to be sold.  If you have to sit there at the keyboard and mash buttons to get your stock replenished, you are just creating a new grind for players.  While you might think otherwise, fire and forget it crafting really is a good thing for an mmo.

The other complaint that always comes up, and this was slightly eluded to in the post is that crafted items in Rift are the same as dropped items.  Hardcore crafters for some reason feel that their items should be better than everyone else’s.  I have seen this time and time again in games, and I am assuming this is so that a dedicated crafter can maintain a monopoly on the best gear.  Thing is, these games are about epic adventure, not setting up trade cartels.  If you really want to become a master artisan that corners the economy, you might want to look into other games.

Things I Don’t Disagree With

“PVP Balance”

Firstly the author makes a point about PVP balance being off due to the massive number of soul choices.  I can completely see his point on this one, and were this something I cared about I would probably agree with him.  Thing is, I would almost as soon player versus player combat not exist in MMOs at all.  Generally in every game, one of two things happens.  Either the PVP balancing screws up PVE enjoyment, or PVE playability jacks up PVP fairness.  It is a balancing act that no game has ever gotten right, and honestly I wish to god they would simply quit trying.  PVP is something best left for other genres in my opinion, like first person shooters.

“Just Two Leveling Paths”

While I don’t necessarily think it is an Achilles heel, the fact that there is only one Defiant starting zone and one Guardian starting zone pretty much guarantees that by your second or third time leveling though, everything will be very stale.  It has it’s pluses and negatives honestly.  I have always liked the fact that each of us as players has the same shared experience.  There is no night elf leveling experience, or dwarf leveling experience, only the shared faction experience.

However as I am leveled my rogue through Freemarch, and now Stonefield, the ground definitely feels well trodden.  I hope given time they will add additional starter experiences, but ultimately you have to look at it this way.  With the diverse functionality of Rift, there is no reason why a player would ever need more than four characters per faction.  Were I to consider leveling 8-10 characters like in wow, I would probably cut myself.  But leveling four characters, over the same quests is really no different than having to level characters up to the new cap each time an expansion comes out.

In Northrend, with 6 80s, I can promise that things felt just as well done each time I moved a character to Dragonblight, even trying to alternate between Borean Tundra and Howling Fjord.  The only game I have played in recent memory that truly gave me an insane number of leveling paths, was Everquest II.  However we didn’t reach that point until several expansions out the door.  At launch, basically you were given the same kind of either Freeport or Qeynos experience as Rift.  I would be far more disheartened if I had seen poorly designed content, rather than limited starter options.

Divergent Post

I know this post today is a little divergent from what you guys are used to seeing from me since the focus on rift.  Every so often I will read something and want to comment on it, and this blog has long been my format for these comments.  Expect to see more informational posts, but at the same time expect to see more editorial commentary as well.

Patch 1.11 and Related Notes

Today the event moved into a new step with the 1.11 patch.  With it came a number of tweaks and fixes.  It appears some of this dungeon issues we encountered were rolled in with this fix as well, so that is good to see.  The biggest thing that will be effecting most players is that the daily quests now will only be valid for rifts of your level range.  In truth, when this event rolled out there should have been some clarification in the first place that these dailies were complete able outside of freemarch since the quests you receive are level 15.

Righting Some Wrongs

In addition to a patch, whose notes will follow shortly, Trion appears to have stepped up to the plate and staked their claim in the “doing the right thing” column.  It appears that each of the players that each of the players that were effected by the account hack bug early on in the game received a free month of gameplay for the inconvenience of caused by the long customer service wait times.

I first heard about this last night in guild chat as several of our players that had gotten hacked during those first weeks of game play received their letter.  While each account was eventually “made whole” again, it did have several effects on them.  Our shaman for example, would have been able to purchase his level 50 mount but due to the hack had limp by just to survive those expert dungeon soul repairs.

In the past Blizzard had credited accounts, for missed playtime in a number of days or hours, but never before have I seen an entire mouth given out so freely.  This truly comes makes Trion stand in a class of its own.  If you would like to see the full statement of the text sent out to players, Rift Junkies has posted the notice, and rather than reposting here I will just send the traffic their way.

Full 1.11 Patch Notes

link to official patch notes here

RIVER OF SOULS
* Increased the spawn rate of River of Souls Rifts, Invasions, and zonewide events.
* River of Souls daily quests now only credit players for actions appropriate to their level. Ex: Closing Rifts far below your character level will not earn credit toward the daily quest.
* Significantly increased the Otherworldly Sourcestone rewards for daily quests and added them as dropped items to event Rifts, Invasions, and Zone Events.
* The River of Souls event now has new exclusive Death-themed weapons! Unlock the secrets of the Shadetouched Weapon Cache quest to earn your own!
* We have added a number of new rewards to the River of Souls merchant, including new pets and accessories.
* Slightly reduced the prices of a number of the River of Souls merchant items.
* World Event Rift: Best Laid Plans: Addressed an issue that could cause the Endless Controllers to become un-killable.

GENERAL
* Fixed an issue where the Linkdead nameplate tag would not be removed after reconnecting.
* Updated the Coin Lock code emails to not use black text on a black background when CSS is filtered.
* Fixed a bug causing some characters to crash on login if they had the On the Hoof quest in a failed state.
* Server optimizations.

YOUTUBE
* The max duration of recorded videos has been increased to 10 minutes.
* Hitting CTRL+Y or clicking the upload icon while uploading a video will give you the option to cancel the upload.
* When upload is complete, a link to the video on YouTube will be shown in chat and can be clicked on to copy/paste.

COMBAT
* Players can now detect stealthed NPCs at a much greater distance.
* Reduced the range at which players can be detected while stealthed for both PvE and PvP.

ARCHON
* Exhilaration: Fixed a bug where this was not correctly returning mana.

ASSASSIN
* Incapacitate: Fixed a bug where mobs would aggro on players at the same time as the ability was used.

CHLOROMANCER
* Essence Surge: Fixed so it now works as described.

DOMINATOR
* Haunting Pain: This should now appear in ability lists and be usable again.

NIGHTBLADE
* Lost Hope, Dark Containment: Fixed a bug where mobs would aggro on players at the same time as these abilities were used.

PARAGON
* Path of the Wind, Path of the Raptor: Reduced cooldown to 4 seconds. For real this time.

RIFTBLADE
* Flamespear: Reduced cooldown to 4 seconds. Also for real this time.

STORMCALLER
* Static Barrier and Static Discharge charges will no longer be consumed by self-damaging effects such as Sacrifice Life: Mana.

VOID KNIGHT
* Rift Shield: Fixed a bug where this ability would not absorb Life or Death damage.
* Triggering ‘Residual Absorption’ will no longer make the Void Knight immune to non-magical DoTs.

WARLORD
* Distraction auras will no longer cause PvP Guards to attack the Warlord.
ZONES

IRON PINE PEAKS
* Thunder Snow: Someone set you up the bombs – they’ve all returned, and this quest can be completed.
* Thedeor’s Mercy: Those who follow Thedeor will no longer be forced to rob from the shrines if another player has already stocked them. However, Thedeor is now more punishing from those that do steal from his shrines!

MOONSHADE HIGHLANDS
* A Holy Remedy: Fixed an issue that caused a few of the Sickly Dwarves to be incurable.

SANCTUM
* Cealhaidh will no longer be stuck in an invulnerable state.

SHIMMERSAND
* Foiled Plans: Fixed a rare issue where the Enthralled Stonemaw would fail to die during this quest.
* Players will no longer get stuck in geometry while traveling with the Mystical Voyager.

DUNGEONS AND RAIDS
* Darkening Deeps: Expert: Glubmuk’s Poison Bolt now only targets players outside of melee range.
* Foul Cascade: Expert: Countess Surin Skenobar no longer deals inappropriately large amounts of damage with her Hail of Bullets.

GREENSCALE’S BLIGHT [Raid]
* Adjusted how the Slimy Shamblers spawn Sticky Slime to address player reports of it failing to spawn in some cases.
* Fixed the Blinding Bomb bug where the effect was not appearing at its current location.
* Greenscale: Fixed an issue where Greenscale would not breathe until his target lost the breath debuff.
* Slightly reduced the snare on strangle plants.
* Patched up a couple of ways to exploit encounters in Greenscale’s Blight.

CRAFTING
* Runecrafting recipes that previously used Essences as ingredients now use consumable items found through Rifts instead.
* Removed a fast-respawning Iron ore node from Scarwood Reach.

Whimper Not A Bang

Yesterday Rift saw it’s first major content update in the River of Souls.  With it came a plethora of class balancing, game tweaks, a world event, and a new raid instance.  This was the first major post launch test of Trion’s meddle.  The first major patch is usually a make or break moment for a game, and I have seen companies pull them off smoothly and others bring down the servers for a week.  While I can’t really give them a full passing grade for the results, the game was extremely playable.

What They Got Right

riverofsouls6_bmp_jpgcopy Firstly they gave the player base more notice than I have ever seen on a content update.  On they same day they placed this patch on the test server, they announced the specific day it was launching.  So from that day forward all players knew to plan ahead for these major changes.  While this only worked out to be a week, it is still a really major thing to have received notice of when the patch would go live on the same day it was initially announced.

On top of that, they announced Tuesday night that the servers would be down for roughly 4 hours.  In reality the downtime took 2 1/2 hours to complete.  This is another major thing, the number of times I have seen a server downtime go less than the announced time has been pretty few and far between.  The only negative here, was that the downtime was handled by US personnel, which made it extremely inconvenient for European players.

I’ve posted both the alpha and live patch notes on the forum, and those who have read the list can agree it was rather massive.  The amount of balance tweaks that were undertaken was extremely ambitious so all things considered the game was extremely playable.  Coming from WoW, our raid had a standing rule that all raids would be cancelled if a major patch was released that Tuesday.  It was a given that the servers would for the most part be unplayable by the time our raids started.  The servers themselves remained stable all evening long.

What They Got Wrong

riverofsouls1_bmp_jpgcopy One of the big changes that went in, that effected level 50 players was the change to the way bonus plaques work.  Much like the way WoW used to work, there are now daily quests in both Meridian and Sanctum for a Tier 1 and Tier 2 dungeon.  Last night the choices were Foul Cascade for the Tier 1 and Darkening Deeps for Tier 2.  Our little group decided to take on the Tier 1, hoping to knock it out quickly then proceed to Tier 2. 

First problem we encountered was that apparently instance lockouts did not reset at the normal times due to the server downtime.  This locked one of our oceanic players out of the instance, and it took us a good 10 minutes of zoning in and out to figure this one out.  After grabbing one of our stable of regular pug players, somehow he and I wound up in a different copy of the instance.  All of the players zoned out and joined us. 

We began to clear trash again, only to make it up to the first boss and find that he was missing.  Turns out we got locked to the instance that our Australian player had, despite the fact he was no longer in group and was never leader.  We chocked this up to patch day oddness as we reformed the group outside the instance.  Once again we cleared to the first boss for the third time, and hurrah, we had something to kill.

When we reached the second boss we encountered the first massive game breaking bug of the night.  On the Countess Surin Skenobar encounter, there is a phase where she teleports around the room dropping explosive barrels.  While doing this she targets random members of the party hitting them for large amounts of damage.  The bug we encountered was that when she fired her rifle during this phase, these massive hits would damage ALL party members.  So quickly the entire party would just be dead, without any way to heal through it.

We dealt with all kinds of little bugs here and there.  As a warrior I had major aggro issues on top of a wierd bug where any kind of “shield” ability was drawing aggro onto the caster not the tank.  All of these things were manageable, and knowing they were there, we could adjust our strategy to deal with them.  Not being able to complete one of the patches showcase features, that looks really bad.  I expect by the time I get home tonight, that all of these things will have been hot fixed, because after all that is the Trion way as it seems.  But ultimately last night we just quit working on FC, because we knew there was no getting past that bug.

A Grim Harvest

86481_RiverOfSouls3_bmp_jpgcopy Now for the piece that everyone was really looking forward to, the event.  Honestly last night, I was expecting a whole lot more.  Inside the capitol city there is a series of daily quests, in Meridian they are gained from Grim Disciples members located directly behind the porticulum.  Originally I was going to provide a run down of each of the quests, but Gaarawarr gives a far better run down that I could have done, with loc codes, images, and full reward information.

I had built this up into my head to be this massive invasion of Freemarch, and was shocked to see business going on pretty much as normal.  What we are seeing currently is the first phase, which appears to last a week of a multi-week event.  I am hoping as this week goes on, the occurrence of the new rifts will increase.  The good is, the new rifts are pretty amazing.  The two that I have participated in so far are the “dragon” rift where a massive skeletal dragon gets released from the rift, and flys off in the distance, and the construct rift where you are bombarded with various corrupted constructed and their endless court handlers. 

It’s all about accumulating Otherworldly Sourcestone, which can be used to purchase spiffy things from the Grim Disciplines.  Big negative of the Otherworldly Sourcestone is that they are an inventory item, not a currency… which was a confusing design decision.  Currently the prices of the items, versus the number of Sourcestone you gain from doing the quests and rifts means that no one has the toys to play with yet, but we can pretty much make an educated guess as to what they will be. 

For 100 Sourcestone you have the Hagbrood Hatchling pet, which to the best of my knowledge is a scaled down version of one of the many Harpies you fight from death invasions.  Touch of Shade comes in a 300 Sourcestone, and based on the flavor text of “Shrouded with shade energy from the Plane of Death” I am placing my bet you get the cosmetic “death” glow like when a mob roams into a death rift.  Lastly you have the Guise of Death for 600 Sourcestone, which I believe is the “zombie” illusion that Trion has talked about so much in various interviews.  Big negative of the guise is that it equips as a trinket, so for players who actually HAVE trinkets, seems like you will have to give up that slot to use it.

Keeping Hope Alive

Rift-RiverofSouls While things last night were a bit wonky, overall it was not bad.  Judged in wow standards it was a really good patch nights.  Compared to the Rift launch however, it was a bit disappointing.  Trion made an ambitious move to do a major content and rebalancing pass a month after the launch of their game and I think the  results are mixed.  We will have to live with it for a few weeks to see whether or not the results are a net win or a net loss.

My fears over the changes in the paladin/reaver effecting my survival have ultimately been mostly true.  The biggest change last night however is it felt like I had to fight a good deal harder to hold aggro.  I am not sure if this was the overall lowering of my paladin feedback damage, or the increase of mage damage.  Healer aggro as well seemed to be far higher than it has been in the past as well.  Hopefully I can figure out what magic buttons I need to tweak to bring things back to the norms.

As this event rolls out I hope it gets more exciting, but currently it is basically just another daily quest.  I have hope that over time it really will become the world changing event it was sold as.  I am sure this post will come off as pretty odd, considering I have been almost Pollyanna at times in my glowing reviews of Rift.  Hopefully as you read back through my past posts you will see I praise when folks do things well, and I poke when they are falling down as well.  I still have faith in Trion, and I still expect in all honesty that by the time we get home tonight to have another patch to bring a lot of these issues in line.  Was just disappointing to find out that this company truly was fallible.

Rift 1.1 Live Patch Notes

Since they are official and the world waits as this all gets applied, going ahead and posting the official updated live patch notes.  I have to say I am extremely excited to participate in the new content tonight.  Here is the official forum link to the notes, but I have listed them all out instead of broken into posts.

== FEATURED ==

The Endless Court launches an unprecedented invasion of Telara. Check out WORLD EVENT below for event details!

In-game video can now be recorded as well as posted on YouTube! Read more under VIDEO CAPTURE.

You can now report AFK teammates in Warfronts. Check out PVP/WARFONTS for details.

Rift events no longer track player contribution against other players. See below under RIFTS AND INVASIONS for more.

Leaders of merged groups now have the option to Unmerge Group through their portrait menu.

Many quest fixes below under individual ZONES.

WORLD EVENT

The Endless Court invades Telara! This worldwide event for all present-day Telara zones and level ranges culminates in the opening of the River of Souls raid zone.

Events and rewards are available for characters of all levels!

The new World Event UI keeps you up-to-date on current and future event progress. Check it out to see where your server stands in the fight against the Plane of Death.

Quest starters in Meridian and Sanctum offer currency rewards for special vendors, including limited-time items only available during this event.

VIDEO CAPTURE

You can record video through RIFT up to 3 minutes in length. If you add a YouTube account through the Settings menu, RIFT will automatically upload videos to that account!

Type /record or press CTRL+Y to start recording. Use it again to stop!

Small icons next to the minimap show when video is recording and encoding.

Once encoding is complete, you will have the option to upload if you have attached a YouTube account.

GENERAL

After merging your group with another public group, you can now un-merge it! Look for the menu option to Unmerge Group if you were the party leader of a group that has been merged.

Exposed now reduces movement speed by 6% per stack, rather than increasing damage taken.

There are now Raid Rift daily quests! See Abbess Katia in Sanctum or Raj Tahleed in Meridian. These award Inscribed Sourcestone which you can use to buy all sorts of cool things.

Fixed the loot bug where only the tank could get mob loot.

All artifact nodes now have a consistent 1.5 second gathering time.

You can now accept a quest on behalf of your guild even if your personal quest log is full.

Guild members cannot be promoted while offline.

If a group disbands after killing a mob with loot that would otherwise trigger a roll, that loot is now free-for-all.

Angelic Flight and Mighty Leap will not interrupt movement when used (auto-run or holding down a movement key).

Fix for quickly opening a series of clickable loot (such as geodes for gems) with auto-loot that would occasionally result in lost items.

Server Announcements now stay on-screen for twice as long.

Fixed multiple status updates going to Twitter during important discoveries.

RIFTS AND INVASIONS

Rift events no longer track player contribution against other players. You are checked for participation in the event and given rewards appropriately. It’s still important to participate in as many stages of a Rift or event as possible to receive the best rewards.

A large number of new Essences have been added to merchants in Meridian and Sanctum for purchase with Inscribed Sourcestones.

Tweaked cooldown times between zone events.

Fixed some instability with Wardstones disappearing when a large mob population is nearby.

ASCENDED POWERS

Planar Charges are no longer consumed immediately when starting to cast an ability. They are consumed when the effect actually takes place — no more wasted charges on an interrupted cast.

GUILD PERKS

Killing Spree and Blood Thirsty use the proper perk tokens now.

The following perks will now properly show the description/tooltip values associated with them: Lucky Penny, Call of the Ascended, Journeyman, Foe Hunter, Cache Finder, and Rift Extraction.

Journeyman no longer always shows in the buff bar.

CULT SAGA

Epic quests now award Achievements and titles at key advancement points. These are granted retroactively so if you already completed portions (or all!) of the epic questline, you will receive these on login.

The conclusion to the Saga of the Aelfwar is now obtainable.

The epic questline updates for Greenscale’s Heart and Death Corruption Sample are now granted for only one raid member per Greenscale kill.

The Saga of the Endless: Darkblade’s Terror will now properly update.

The Peacemaker: Disguise step no longer required. Defiants can still get to hide in the bushes!

The Peacemaker: Disguise items for this quest have been removed following the quest re-work to no longer require them.

COMBAT

Updated the tooltip description text for Attack Power and Spell Power in the character sheet.

Effects subject to diminishing returns will now also use diminished durations on player pets.

‘Immune’ scrolling combat text no longer appears on characters in stealth.

Player tracking abilities no longer proc trinket effects.

Fixed a bug causing some Soul abilities to be inappropriately blocked when respawning after a death.

Occasionally NPCs would be unable to attack stealthed players. Not anymore!

Increased the amount of Armor on Cloth items.

PvP Combat: Abilities now only check for caster facing their target at the start of a cast – they will still land if a target moves behind you while casting is in progress.

SOULS

Warriors: The following abilities have been changed to fix an issue where the character could use them and die before they actually triggered, making it seem like they missed: Touch of Life, Master of the Abyss, No Permission to Die, Rift Shield, and Predictable Movements.

Warriors: Taunts now continue cooldown timers while logged out.

Mages: Reduced pushback on all non-healing Mage spells.

Mages: Increased the base damage on all damaging Mage abilities.

Clerics: All cleric Cleanses should now properly remove associated effects.

PvP Souls: The cooldown for Break Free has been reduced to 2 minutes. Improved Break Free now reduces the cooldown by 10 seconds per point spent.

ARCHMAGE [PvP]

Rune Shield: Now has a 60 second cooldown. Fixed multiple issues with this ability so it now works as described.

ARCHON

Exhilaration: Now only triggers on damaging or healing Critical Hits. Mana procs will appear correctly in the combat log.

Ashen Defense: No longer counts as a mage armor buff and will stack with other mage armors.

Consuming Flames: Now a 6-point root ability. No longer deals damage to the caster and can be cast on yourself as well as other friendly targets. Now absorbs a set amount of damage and has multiple ranks.

Power In Numbers: Corrected the second rank so it will affect aura buffs.

Procs from Surging Flare, Volcanic Bomb, and Earthen Barrage now affect allies within 35 meters of the caster.

BARD

Due to the below changes, characters with points spent in Bard have received a free soul point respec.

Invigorated Soul, Coda of Restoration: Now affects up to 5 targets.

Using Verse of Fascination or Verse of Captivation now turns off auto-attack, since these effects break on damage.

Verse of Fascination is now tagged correctly as a Mesmerize effect. It can now be removed by abilities that clear Mesmerizes and will not affect enemies that are immune to them.

Motif of Tenacity: Now unlocked at 12 points.

Anthem of Defiance: Now unlocked at 18 points.

Motif of Regeneration: Now unlocked at 24 points. Now casts on the Bard and heals up to 10 raid or group members nearby with each tick. Uses smart healing to select targets – those with the lowest health of available targets nearby.

Anthem of Fervor: Fixed tooltip so the cost reduction is shown correctly when points are spent in Street Performer. Also fixed the cost reduction not being applied correctly to raid members when points are spent in Street Performer.

BEASTMASTER

Flesh Rip: Will now properly show up in the reactive ability UI when your pet critically hits. Fixed an issue where this was gaining weapon damage to each tick of the bleed effect. Base damage reduced.

Backhanded Blow: Now correctly triggers global cooldown. Fixed a bug causing Rank 3 to do 20% more damage than intended. Base damage reduced. Corrected Power cost on ranks 2 through 8 to cost the proper 25 Power.

Slashing Strike: Fixed a bug where this ability was doing the damage of a single target ability. The damage has been reduced to match other cleave-style abilities.

Fight as One: The benefits gained from Fight as One have been reduced to 5-15% for Hit, Critical Hit, and Damage. This ability has been taken off of global cooldown.

Diversion Strike: Increases Critical Hit chance of the Beastmaster and their pet by 5% instead of 10%. Damage lowered.

Tenacious Wounds: Now increases bleed damage by 2-4% instead of 3-6%.

Feral Sweep: Resolved a bug where this was dealing extra damage on each tick of the Bleed effect. Base damage lowered.

Tearing Slash, Fierce Strike: Damage lowered.

Protective Companion: Fixed a bug where the armor bonus from Protective Companion was not being applied for ranks 2 through 5. Corrected the armor bonus from Protective Companion remaining on the Beastmaster after their pet was killed or dismissed.

Protective Companion caused Companion’s Bite to debuff the target’s damage. This ended up not working as hoped, and the ability has been changed to a buff for the pet that reduces the damage they take by 2% per Bleed effect on the target, up to a maximum of 5 (10% damage reduction).

BLADEDANCER

Combat Culmination: Ability will not break stealth when it triggers.

CABALIST

Nebulous Haze: Now increases cast time by the 20% advertised on the tooltip.

Decay: Lurking Decay will now always trigger, even if Obliterate or Tyranny kills the enemy outright.

CHAMPION

Debilitating Strike: Made the tooltip for the debuff from this ability more clear.

Titan’s Strike: Damage has been lowered and the stun has been reduced to 1-3 seconds, down from 1-5 seconds.

Mark of Extermination and Mark of Inevitability: Will now cause the target to attack.

Bull Rush: Fixed a bug where this ability could root boss mobs.

CHLOROMANCER

Withering Vines: Increased the amount healed.

Livegiving Veil: Now affects up to 5 targets.

Radiant Spores: Now has a base chance to proc of 10%.

Phytogenesis: Now increases the chance for Radiant Spores to proc by 2-6%.

DOMINATOR

Priest’s Lament: The primary debuff on this ability is no longer affected by diminishing returns. The silence proc debuff is still affected.

Haunting Pain: Will only trigger on the first tick of damage from a damage shield.

Mana Wrench: Now drains 4% of the target’s max mana per second, capped at 4% of the *caster’smaximum mana, returns 4% of the caster’s maximum mana per second, and has a 25 second cooldown. The damage and energy drain portions of the spell are unchanged.

Improved Mana Wrench: Now increases the mana drained and returned by Mana Wrench by 0.5% and reduces the cooldown on Mana Wrench by 5 seconds per point spent.

DRUID

Trickster Spirit, Slothful Spirit, Spiteful Spirit: Reduced the damage to better account for the attached debuffs.

Fury of the Fae: Now a pet-cast buff that increases the group/raid’s Attack Power and Spell Power for 30 seconds with a 10 second cooldown. Shares stacking with Bard’s Motif of Bravery.

Satyr: Increased the ratio of the owner’s Spell Power converted into the Satyr’s Attack Power.

Weight of the World: Fixed a bug preventing this from applying to ranks 2 through 6 of Crag Hammer.

ELEMENTALIST

Intensify Elements: No longer on the global cooldown.

INFILTRATOR [PvP]

Due to the below changes, characters with points spent in Infiltrator will receive a free soul point respec.

Cloudy Poison: Ability should not break stealth when used. The debuff from this is now cleansable.

Murderous Thoughts: Now requires Prestige Rank 3. Now increases all damage against players by 3-6%.

Knock Knock: Now requires Prestige Rank 2. Increases critical damage against players by 2-10%.

INQUISITOR

Fanaticism: No longer consumed by Shroud of Agony.

Purge: No longer unintentionally removes debuffs that are caused by buffs (ex: the debuff from Battlefield Distraction).

Shroud of Agony: No longer triggers on falling damage.

JUSTICAR

Reparation: Now affects up to 5 targets.

NECROMANCER

Empty the Crypts: Charge can now be gained while this is active. The pets summoned by Empty the Crypts can be active for a maximum of 20 seconds.

Lich Form: Will no longer consume buffs that reduce the casting time of your next spell.

NIGHTBLADE

Scourge of Darkness: Can no longer miss, be parried, dodged, or blocked.

PALADIN

Touch of Life: Now continues cooldown timer on logout.

Balance of Power: Now deals 25-75% of weapon damage.

Aegis of Salvation: Ranks 1 and 2 have their cooldowns changed to 1.5 seconds to match with other buffs.

PARAGON

Strike Like Iron: Ability is no longer on the global cooldown. Increased from a 10-30% damage buff up to a 16-48% damage buff, with the value doubled for follow-up attacks. No longer overwritten by lesser effects.

Death Touch: Due to the Strike Like Iron changes, damage of Death Touch has been lowered.

Force of Will: Due to the Strike Like Iron changes, damage bonus to follow-up attacks from Force of Will has been reduced from 20 per point to 10 per point.

Path of the Wind, Path of the Raptor: Now have cooldowns of 4 seconds and a slight increase in damage due to the longer reuse time.

Dual Strike: Fixed a bug causing this to do less damage than intended – as a result, damage from this ability has increased.

Deadly Grace: Increased from 7% of Dual Strike damage per point to 9% Dual Strike damage per point.

Weapon Master: Increased from a 4-20% chance to gain a second attack point up to a 10-50% chance.

Combat Precision: Fixed a bug that caused this to ignore 100% of target’s armor. Combat Precision now correctly ignores 1-5% of the target’s armor.

Rising Waterfall: Damage increased.

Turn the Blade: Damage increased.

Flurry: Damage lowered.

PURIFIER

Shield of the Ancestors and related buffs now appear in the combat log.

Caregiver’s Blessing: No longer procs off of procced heals.

Surging Flames: Now converts 50% of overhealing.

Divine Cascade: Reduced Spell Power contribution. Now has a stack size of 1 per caster instead of 1 total, but only triggers when target is healed by the caster rather than anyone.

Spirit Rupture: Fixed the contribution from Spell Power.

PYROMANCER

Due to the below changes, characters with points spent in Pyromancer have received a free soul point respec.

Heat Wave: Reduced cooldown to 2 minutes.

Inferno: Removed from global cooldown.

Improved Grounding: Now a tier 2 branch ability.

Improved Smoldering Power: Now a tier 3 branch ability.

Ground of Power: Now obtained at 6 points.

Smoldering Power: Now obtained at 8 points.

Burning Shield – New Ability: Consumes the mage’s Ground spell to shield them in flames, absorbing damage. Lasts up to 30 seconds. While Burning Shield is active, the next Ground spell is instant-cast. Obtained at 6 points.

Ground of Strength: The stun proc from this spell is now affected by diminishing returns, to match other stuns in the game.

RANGER

Escape Artist: Fixed a bug where the improved version was not causing the pet to be immune to Root, Snare, and Stun.

Fixed a bug where the Razorbeast’s Charge could root boss mobs.

REAVER

Due to the below changes, characters with soul points spent in Reaver will receive a free soul point respec.

Soul Sickness, Flesh Rot, Necrotic Wounds, Blood Fever: The damage on additional targets when using Plague Bringer has been lowered. The Threat generation has been increased to keep overall threat gain of the abilities the same.

Crippling Infestation: Moves down one tier to unlock at 21 points.

Wasting Away: Moves down one tier to unlock at 16 points.

Grisly Works: Moves up two tiers, now unlocked at 26 points. Now increases the healing of Soul Feast by 30-90% for 15 seconds after killing a target the Reaver has engaged.

Soul Devour: Now increases the damage of Soul Feast by 50%, instead of 150%.

Power from the Masses: Changed to give a stack per nearby party/raid member rather than per nearby enemy.

RIFTBLADE

Earth Burst: Now properly interrupts elites and other high level mobs.

Avatar of Wind: Fixed a bug causing the tooltip of this ability to report improper values.

Rift Surge: Can now be removed with abilities that remove Curses. Now has a 30 second cooldown instead of 10 seconds and is adjusted by Attack Power at a slightly lower rate.

Flamespear: Now has a cooldown of 4 seconds and has its damage slightly increased to reflect the longer cooldown.

Burning Blood: Now deals damage based on 10-30% of the character’s Strength.

Improved Freeze Armor: Now only affects Riftblade attacks.

RIFTSTALKER

Memory Capture: Ability should no longer get you stuck in collision or falling through the world.

Rift Scavenger: Ability will not break stealth when it triggers.

Removed internal cooldown from Defer Death and Scatter the Shadows. Both abilities should be more responsive now.

Hasted Time: Fixed a bug with the second point spent in this ability gave an incorrect movement speed buff.

SABOTEUR

Due to the below changes, characters with points spent in Saboteur will receive a free soul point respec.

Shrapnel Charge: Fixed a bug where Shrapnel Charge would not fire if the main target was killed by the initial Detonate damage.

Long Range Bombing: Now increases the range you can hurl Bombs by 1-5 meters, down from 2-10 meters.

Improved Blast Charge: Fixed a bug where the armor penetration provided was higher than 25-50%.

Charge Booster: Redesigned. Using Detonate with 5 combo points will fire off a Booster Charge, dealing 50% weapon damage. This damage is increased by 15% for each point in Saboteur over 21.

The outcome and damage of each charge is now calculated individually. When you detonate 5 Blast Charges, you will see 5 damage numbers, each with its own chance to critically hit, rather than one large number.

When a Trap or Land Mine is triggered, the player who placed the trap or mine will not have their Stealth broken.

Undetonated Spike Charge and Blast Charge will not cause stealth to break when the charges expire.

SENTINEL

Vigilance: Now triggers more consistently.

Serendipity: Now properly affects heals that are queued immediately after being triggered.

SHAMAN

Strike of the Maelstrom: Rank 1 is no longer unintentionally affected by Stormborn.

Glacial Shield: Ranks 2 and up now work properly with overwrites of similar abilities – Shield of Oak can overwrite Glacial Shield, and vice versa.

Lust for Blood: Fixed a bug causing this to increase the damage of non-Physical abilities, such as Strike of Judgment. Fixed tooltip to more accurately describe functionality.

Ageless Ice: Description now properly mentions that it does not trigger a global cooldown.

Stormborn: Now properly affects the lightning on Lightning Hammer.

STORMCALLER

Static Discharge: No longer on global cooldown.

Static Flux: Will no longer be overwritten by weaker buffs.

Cloudburst: Increased damage.

Icy Vortex – New Ability: Reduces damage done to the Mage by 25% for 10 seconds and applies Hypothermia to attacking enemies, reducing their movement speed by 50% for 10 seconds. Obtained at 6 points.

VINDICATOR [PvP]

Due to the below changes, characters with points spent in Vindicator will receive a free soul point respec.

Dangerous Game: Now requires Prestige Rank 3. Fixed a bug that only increased damage on critical hits. Now increases all damage (not just physical) against players by 3-6%.

Resilient: No longer has a Prestige Rank requirement. Fixed a bug that only reduced critical chance received by 6%. Now reduces chance to be critically hit by players by 3-15%.

VOID KNIGHT

Insatiable Hunger: Now drains mana equal to half of the equipped weapon’s damage.

Devouring Blow: Now drains mana equal to 100% of the damage of Devouring Blow, rather than 50%.

Soul Pillage: Reduced to drain approximately 15% of target’s mana, down from 20%. The amount drained is now modified by Endurance to better scale at level cap.

Catalyze: The mana drain component has been reduced to drain approximately 15% of target’s mana, down from 30%. The amount drained is now determined by how much damage is dealt by Catalyze. This ability also gains Instability, a 15 second buff that reduces the damage taken by the Void Knight by 5% for 15 seconds.

Unstable Reaction: Now drains mana based on how much damage it deals. The net change should reduce it to approximately 15%, down from the 25% drained previously.

Power Sink: Mana drain value reduced to drain approximately 20% of target’s mana from each target, down from 60% previously. The amount drained is now modified by Endurance to better scale at level cap. It has also gained Instability, a 15 second buff that reduces the damage taken by the Void Knight by 5% for 15 seconds.

WARDEN

Tidal Resonance: No longer consumed by actions that are not Heal Over Time spells.

Track Water Creatures: Wardens can now use this ability to track creatures from Water Rifts.

Well of Life: Now has a 35 meter range.

WARLOCK

Neddra’s Might: No longer requires a target to cast.

Neddra’s Torture: Reduced cooldown to 20 seconds.

WARLORD

Call to Battle: Fixed buff tooltip to report a straight value rather than a percentage.

ZONES

The items on Rare Planar Goods merchants in Scarlet Gorge, Scarwood Reach, Droughtlands, and Moonshade Highlands had incorrect minimum levels to use. Scarlet Gorge items now have a minimum use level of 25, Scarwood Reach level 30, Droughtlands and Moonshade Highlands level 35.

Fixed many minor typos in quest and NPC text.

DROUGHTLANDS

Ancient Wardstones have been uncovered in Droughtlands! A dangerous land just got more dangerous-er. Beware the beast that lies within the ruins of Eth – Skirathos, the Eye of Fate!

Nowhere to Run: Fixed an issue that could cause the kobolds to not show up and attack.

Sothul’s Demise: Sothul now respawns faster.

A Fall Tale: Anontok’s Notes’ description now shows the level requirement to use the item.

Lecu the Claw: This cat is now almost as vicious as my cat.

The Biggest Void: Netharius is now more nefarious.

Additional variety and difficulty pass was made on Droughtlands named mobs.

FREEMARCH

The Tech is Mightier than the Sword: Jakub will no longer sucker-punch players or their pets during this quest.

Zone event Shadestones can now be used for pickup by multiple people at once.

Tete-a-Tete: The faction-change effect during this quest now makes you friendly to Life Rifts as well as the surrounding Aelfwar.

I Heard a Storm Was Coming: Doubled the duration of the swim speed buff.

Man v Mandible: Increased the drop rate of mandibles.

Durgin the Keeper: Durgin now respawns much more quickly.

Freemarch Defender – Achievement: Fixed the Rift ‘Encroaching Death’ to give credit for the minor version instead of the major version.

GLOAMWOOD

Dead Water: Quest now gives out Millrush Brew, which is soulbound and has no resale value.

A Burgher with Lies is now less disruptive to players not also on the quest.

The Toxic Source: Re-ordered the quest rewards so they are displayed more consistently with other quests.

IRON PINE PEAKS

A Hymn of Frost and Flame: All party members can now loot the Redsnow Communique.

Conquered Minds, Imprisoned Minds: Fixed an issue causing these quests to reset too often.

Deepmoss Lurkers are no longer skinnable and do not give experience.

Dagda Skullthumper, the Redsnow Bandit, should no longer return to life instantly when slain!

Dominance of the Soul debuff correctly affects Armor instead of Attack Power.

Corrected duplicate loot drops from rare mobs Emissary Kavenik and Frosthide.

Thunder Snow has been fixed so that Sentinel Nightbane is always where expected.

Removing Their Eyes: Increased total number of cultist kills required.

Protectors of Stone: Reduced the total number of gargoyle kills required.

Telara On the Brink: Significantly retuned to be more solo-able.

MATHOSIA

Shyla will cast heals more often to assist players during the Rift event.

MOONSHADE HIGHLANDS

Rainy weather is a bit less frequent in Moonshade.

Question and Answers: Centurion will stop beating on the Imprisoned Legionnaire before you get a chance to interrogate him.

The hounds of Conchobhar will stop trying to defy their master.

To Know Evil: The Infernal Transmitter will be more reliably provided.

Fall of Moonshade: Updated quest locators on the map.

In Plain Sight: The first objective now shares progress for the whole party.

A Gathering Force: The Demiurge of Earth now has a more accurate quest locator.

Death’s Embrace: Reduced Gorvaht’s damage.

A Holy Remedy: The sickly dwarves now stop to offer thanks before running back to Three Springs.

Scanning for Clues: The Defiant Scanner should be more reliable.

A Demon Among Satyrs: This quest now grants credit to all group members on the same step.

The Elite Greater Golems in Grey Gardens now look visually different from the Lesser Golems.

SCARLET GORGE

Taking Shards: Fixed an issue causing the visual effects to not appear as intended. Group members now also receive credit for placing the Problem Solvers.

Bits and Pieces: Construct components now drop as group loot for everyone on this quest.

SCARWOOD REACH

Honest When Dead: Fixed step four of this quest so it properly progresses.

Sealing the Portal: The portal at the back of Sagespire should be much more active now.

Salve No Longer: Quest can once again be completed.

Seek and Destroy: Added a map marker for Kelynn Eregor.

A Troll’s Lunch: Rakthug should respawn much more quickly now.

Let them Come: Fixed to allow party members to join in on the mission.

SHIMMERSAND

Reduced respawn rate of Rifts in Dunes of Akala, and made it possible for Major tears to spawn.

Final Preparations: Anthon Eskar, the Dragonslayer Covenant guard who provides the disguise for Flatyard quests, no longer tries to offer a second disguise if you already have one.

Buried Beneath: You will now be required to kill 16 Immature Whelplings for this quest.

A Crafter’s Lament: Now grants loot to all group members on the quest.

Fire and Sand: Improved spawn rates of Wanton Bone Rituals.

Tweaked scripting for the levers to summon Warden Nevin for Dragonslayer Covenant daily quests.

Slither the Voice: You get to keep the Inmate Disguise item after completing this quest!

Binding the Lightning, To Turn Aside the Storm: Golden Maw Enforcers will now correctly display quest tooltips.

Dragonslayer: Forging the Haft: This was a sneaky leftover quest from testing that was horribly broken and not intended for the live game — it’s been removed!

The mobs inside The Flatyard should respawn more slowly when fewer players are in the area.

Added more guards to Fortune’s Shore.

A sinister and powerful force from the Plane of Fire is on its way to Shimmersand. A large and organized force will be required to stop it! [aka: a New Fire Raid Tear in Shimmersand.]

Ritual Rescue: This quest should now be fixed for Dragonslayer Covenant dailies in The Dragon’s Tail.

SILVERWOOD

Azure Blade on the shores of Suncrest Rise now properly share faction with the Defiant.

Rift: Forging Heat: The Gedlo Heater should quit getting stuck inside the bonfire during stage three.

Beast of Burden: This quest is now offered to mount-less players at level 13 instead of 20.

Aelfwar Monstrosities: Quest now has more accurate locators for Aelfwar Defenders.

Clouded Contemplation: Quest now requires you to kill 8 Greenscale Zealots, rather than 12.

The Power of Life: Increased the drop rate of items required for this quest.

Thanks to the recent efforts of the Ascended, the road leading to and from Silver Landing is now much safer for travel.

STILLMOOR

The Spirit Walk: Quest now gives proper credit for the second objective.

Spirit Animus: Quest gives credit when entering Hillsborough.

The Spirit Walk and Spirit Animus shadow forms match up with player Calling!

Galenir’s Last Answer: Fixed respawn of Galenir.

Digging in the Dirt: The JKG-77 has learned to better recognize the character it should be following.

New Blood: Added a missing pre-requisite to this quest, so that you must first complete An End to the Horror.

Guardian NPCs at Thalin Tor should no longer respawn instantly.

Lowered respawn times on named quest targets for Stillmoor daily quests in the Endless Citadel.

Past is Prologue: Fixed a bug that would sometimes cause the quest giver to not appear.

STONEFIELD

The Graniteborn Champion and Corrupted Graniteborn Champion ability, Earthen Shock, will no longer react to passive or DoT damage.

Dead Drop: The respawn rate of the Earthmaul Ward is now faster.

Breaking the Breaker: Bonebreaker will always be tagged to the player who spawned him. Also cleaned up a case where players who attempted to summon Bonebreaker immediately after someone else killed him could have their quest items removed but not spawn the NPC.

Goorn has been working on overcoming his shyness – he might even stick around long enough at Titan’s Well to offer an escort quest!

The artifact set, ‘Ancient Eth Tablets’, included two different items with the same name. One has now been corrected to Scuffed Tablet Fragment.

DUNGEONS AND RAIDS

Plaques of Achievement will no longer drop off the zone quests for Expert Dungeons.

Added new daily quests for Expert dungeons for both tiers – one quest from each tier can be completed per day.

Tier 1 Expert dailies reward 10 Plaques of Achievement.

Tier 2 Expert dailies reward 20 Plaques of Achievement.

Only the final boss of Expert dungeons drop the Corrupted and Grotesque Souls needed for Expert and Raid Rifts.

Reduced the drop rate of tradeable, Bind on Equip zone-drop items in Expert Dungeons.

The appearance of Chain Raid-tier armor from the vendor has changed. It was incorrectly using the PvP Chain armor graphics – it now uses a unique appearance.

The Head and Shoulders of Cloth Raid-tier armor from the vendor have an appearance change.

The appearance of Warrior Raid-tier armor from the vendor has changed.

Updated a number of armor drop appearances from tier 1 and 2 Expert Dungeons; there’s now more variety in the look of various armors within a tier.

ABYSSAL PRECIPICE

Expert: Icetalon’s Ripping Talons can no longer critically hit.

CHARMER’S CALDERA

Expert: Gronik will now reset if he leaves his encounter area.

Expert: Gronik’s minions, Xaeiel and Sanwusu now ignore line of sight with their spells.

Expert: Added borders around Ryka Dharvos’ area to ensure more laser goodness.

THE FALL OF LANTERN HOOK

Expert: Oludare the Firehoof can now Charge and throw harpoons at players from a greater distance.

FOUL CASCADE

Corruptive Ritual: Fixed so that the mobs that drop the required items now always spawn in certain groups.

GREENSCALE’S BLIGHT [Raid]

Blightleaf Hexmaster’s Noxious Cloud can no longer critically hit.

Blightleaf Guard’s Wicked Vine can no longer critically hit.

All general population mobs’ standard attacks can now critically hit.

Made small adjustments to boss enrage timers.

Raid bosses in Greenscale’s Blight have new items added to their drop tables.

Raid bosses in Greenscale’s Blight now drop more items per kill than they previously did.

IRON TOMBS

Added new ranged weapon rewards to the zone quest, You Are Who They Call.

KING’S BREACH

Expert: Konstantin’s Mathosian Fury is now more lethal (and furious).

RUNIC DESCENT

Changed the quest mobs, Guardian Purelights, so the ambush should be easier to manage.

Expert: Eliam’s Death’s Fury can no longer be removed by player abilities.

Expert: Rictus: Changed Rotting Flesh from a targeted AoE DoT to a ground target effect with a longer duration.

ITEMS

Increased the amount of Armor on Cloth items.

Increased the amount of Plaques of Achievement needed to purchase first and second-tier Expert Dungeon items:

Boot and Glove items from the first-tier Expert Dungeon merchant have their price increased to 30 Plaques of Achievement.

Shoulder and Helm items from the first-tier Expert Dungeon merchant have their price increased to 40 Plaques of Achievement.

Chest and Leg items from the first-tier Expert Dungeon merchant have their price increased to 50 Plaques of Achievement.

Boot and Glove items from the second-tier Expert Dungeon merchant have their price increased to 120 Plaques of Achievement.

Shoulder and Helm items from the second-tier Expert Dungeon merchant have their price increased to 160 Plaques of Achievement.

Weapons from Greenscale are now Relic quality, and their stats/effects have been upgraded.

Swift Armored War Horses have had their price increased from 100 platinum to 125 platinum.

Pure-Endurance ‘Of the Fortress’ items will no longer drop above level 13.

A large number of new Essences have been added to merchants in Meridian and Sanctum for purchase with Inscribed Sourcestones.

Earthbreak Pauldrons from the quest Hero of the Defiants had defensive stats on them when offensive stats were intended. This has been updated for future Earthbreak Pauldrons, but existing items will remain as-is.

Fixed a number of items, including high-end Weaponsmith recipes, that had incorrect auction house categories. They now appear in the expected search results. We would list them all, but it’s a long list.

Fixed an issue where high-level Runes were showing as ‘level 1’ in the Auction House.

Going forward, randomly generated two-handed weapons will come with DPS stats rather than tanking stats.

The Waxing Shadesource had stats applied for a higher level item, and has been reduced in effectiveness to match its level.

Spellbinder’s Sash now has Spell Power instead of Attack Power.

Crystal of Brilliance and Crystal of Foresight had melee stats but are caster items. This has been corrected.

Rare Essences dropped from Major and Minor Rifts should no longer be bound on pickup.

Chan’s Thundering Fist was set up as a Warrior weapon rather than a Cleric weapon. This has been corrected so it now properly has spell power and lower base weapon damage.

Sacred Heirloom of Eth and Totem of Overgrowth were incorrectly gaining a bonus to their healing procs from Spell Power. These have been fixed.

Petrifying Rune: The root proc will now break on damage.

Fixed Ritualist’s Buckler to be a Cleric-equippable shield.

A number of offhand book items had the wrong visual attached and have been fixed.

Powdery Ash now has a proper sell price.

Ancestral Sourcestone: Fixed the tooltip so it shows an actual number value instead of 0.

Fixed many minor typos in item names.

CRAFTING

Apothecary updates: Endgame Apothecary recipes no longer use Minor Catalyst as an ingredient. Recipes that previously used Rift essences or augments now use consumable items gained from Rifts instead.

Bottle of Spellstrikes, Bottle of Critical Strikes, and Philter of Power now have a potion cooldown of 3 minutes. Each of these also apply a 1 minute immunity after use, so a player can only be affected by one of these effects for each minute.

Many vials that did not last through a death now persist. Rejoice!

Fixed an issue where all potions were on the same cooldown. They are now divided into three major groups based on their effects: Healing/Positive, Damage/Negative, and Buffs.

A large number of items have been updated to be Runebreakable/Salvagable. In general, all items not purchased from a vendor should fall into these categories.

Runecrafting material names have been updated. Crystals, Shards, and Powders now have new names. Uncommon has become Flickering, Rare has become Sparkling, and Epic has become Shimmering.

Fixed an issue where some runes were displaying incorrect names when applied.

Devastating Runes, Calamitous Runes, Ravaging Runeshards, and Destructive Runeshards have had their stats updated. They now award Wis/Int [Calamitous, Ravaging] and Str/Dex [Devastating, Destructive].

Accurate Rune now grants Attack Power/Hit, and Sharp Rune adds Spell Power/Focus.

New zone-specific drops come from monsters in the following zones, and are used in recipes from each zone:

– Gnarled Core – Scarwood reach

– Evergreen Core – Freemarch

– Enchanted Core – Silverwood

– Stone Core – Stonefield

– Shadow Core – Gloamwood

– Rusty Core – Scarlet Gorge

– Cracked Core – Droughtlands

– Glowing Core – Moonshade Highlands.

Artificers are now able to use Looms to craft Parchment and Vellum.

A large number of recipes from notoriety vendors have been adjusted. Recipes that were previously Uncommon are now Rare and have their stats adjusted accordingly. Ingredients used in these recipes require the Cores mentioned above or have had their other ingredients and quantities updated.

Iron Buckler recipes from faction vendors have been renamed to Steel Buckler.

The recipe for Divine Defender now appears in the ‘Maces’ section of the recipe list.

Recipe: Blazing Wisdom Rune now teaches the correct recipe.

Fixed an issue where Recipe: Polished Shadethorn Lumber and Recipe: Polished Mahogany Lumber tooltips displayed incorrect item information.

Blackwood Chopper crafted item has been renamed to Blackwood Cleaver.

Greater Rootcatch Brew is now a single target potion, while the Heroic Rootcatch Brew is now area effect.

Luminous Accurate Rune now grants Hit instead of Focus.

Fixed Rootcatch Brew items, which were using a healing effect rather than functioning as a snare.

The crafting quest items Light Downy Cloth, Tough Silken Cloth, and Exquisite Cloth are now Bind on Pickup.

The quests from Light Downy Cloth, Tough Silken Cloth, and Exquisite Cloth now direct Defiants to Master Outfitter Deo Zervos, instead of Master Butcher Jace Prisco. These quests direct Guardians to Master Outfitter Louis Klies.

Defiants: Rare Ore quests involving Kleeg Stonebreaker no longer try to convince you he is in Sanctum.

Fixed some floating and sunken resource nodes in Droughtlands, Stillmoor, and Moonshade Highlands.

Crafting related actions should no longer trigger abilities that proc on criticals.

Luggodhan now requires more than ‘0’ Butchering skill.

Crafting trainers in Fortune’s Shore, Shimmersand, now teach Master level crafting instead of Novice.

Adjusted harvest nodes in Abyssal Precipice and Charmer’s Caldera – nodes before the first bosses can no longer be stealthed to.

Additional adjustments to many resource nodes across the world. New locations have been added, and many nodes will now respawn faster than they did before.

PVP/WARFRONTS

You can now report AFK teammates in a Warfront. When enough of the team has reported someone as AFK, they will have a short period to prove themselves by engaging the enemy or supporting the team. If they fail to prove themselves, they will be banished! PvP combat: Abilities now only check for caster facing their target at the start of a cast – they will still land if a target moves behind you while the casting is in progress.

Killing lower level players in your Warfront bracket will now grant some favor and some experience.

The Black Garden: The damage dealt from the Fang of Regulos now increases higher than 100% of the carrier’s max health.

The Codex, Whitefall Steppes: Fixed a bug where stunning/mesmerizing/incapacitating an enemy player did not interrupt flag captures in progress.

The Battle for Port Scion: Repeatable quests now grant 50 Notoriety, up from 25.

The Battle for Port Scion: 50 Notoriety is awarded with the Noble Guard or Eldritch Vanguard for every 100 points earned.

The Battle for Port Scion: Resident NPCs in Port Scion no longer apply the Exposed debuff.

The Battle for Port Scion: Defiant Centurions and Guardian Lieutenants have had their difficulty slightly reduced.

The Battle for Port Scion: Capturing Sourcestone with two Idols up is now worth 30 points. Each Idol lost will reduce the score for capturing Sourcestone by 10 points.

The Black Garden Token, The Codex Token and The Whitefall Steppes Token can now be consumed to gain back the Favor that was spent to purchase them.

GRAPHICS AND AUDIO

Wardstones in player hubs have new and improved visuals!

New fancy appearances are incoming for the Epic Najmok, Yarnosaur, and Vaiyuu mounts.

The low health and death effects have been improved in the Low Quality Renderer.

Shield spell effects now appear on players even when mounted.

Extraplanar Leather Gloves and Ellisar’s Gloves now have actual glove graphics when equipped instead of INVISIBLE HANDS.

Various ambient sound and voiceover updates, as well as volume level tweaks.

COMMANDS AND MACROS

The /focus command now understands the @targeting arguments like the /target, /cast, and /use commands.

@pet targets your primary pet, and @targettarget picks up your target’s target.

UI/SETTINGS

Character stats will turn green on the character sheet if they are under any sort of bonus.

The total number of discoveries for a character is now displayed in the Achievements window.

Additional improvements to the Soul Tree window – role-changing and resetting visuals, confirmation to save spent points on exit, etc.

Equipped Planar Essences should now show colored borders based on the rarity of the Essence.

Guild names are now included in player tooltips.

Fixed a brief artifacting flicker on the screen when discarding changed video settings instead of applying and saving them.

Fixed a bug that would cause the Reactive Abilities UI to stop working after performing a /reloadui.

Edit Layout Mode: Elements can now be set to fade in and out when moused over or when entering and leaving combat.

The Rift meter contribution bar and leaderboard button have been removed due to the above change to contribution.

UI pieces docked to the Target and Target of Target windows now stay where you told them to be.

The Tutorial Alert icon will now always appear in the same place instead of being attached to the casting bar (which can be moved by editing the UI layout).

The guild roster will stop showing you as AFK when you log back in after having logged out with the AFK flag on.

A special World Event UI is now available.

CLIENT

Any existing connections will be disconnected as soon as you enter character selection, rather than when a character is logged in.

The green dot next to recommended shards at Shard Select now says ‘Recommended’ instead, which is what it indicated.

High population shards show in orange text, and medium in yellow. Full is still red!

We now also display queue sizes at shard selection.

Why You Should Be Playing Rift: 06 – Atmosphere

Over the last few weeks I have been doing a series of posts highlighting some of those cool features of the game that make it so worth playing.  To date they have all been tangible features, that you can interact with.  Today we are going to delve a bit into the esoteric, and as such this post will probably have a gratuitous usage of screenshots.  Originally I had set aside fifteen shots for this, but I will be trying to pair down a bit.  Some of the images are used with permission from jensketch.com (because I don’t play Guardian side).

wysbpr_logo

Episode 06:  The Atmosphere

wysbpr_06_chanceloflabors

In past articles I have covered a good number of features that show you why, rift is a game that is extremely polished and well thought out.  Problem is, these features alone do not add up to what makes a game enjoyable.  The reason why you get drawn into a game for any length of time is the environment.  You ask yourself if the world you are being drawn into believable and is the central conflict and its characters compelling.

Basically what makes or breaks a game is it’s atmosphere, and the world of Telara has it to spare.  Whether you start Defiant or Guardian you are drawn into a world at war, and into the heat of the battle.  You are dipped in conflict from the moment you set foot out the door, and ushered into a world torn asunder by factional warfare and a battle with elemental planes themselves.

There have been many games that have presented you a bleak, body strewn landscape.  Warhammer is a perfect example of this as it draws the player into a world of constant attacks between the forces of order and chaos.  Problem is, you see this world, so decimated that you have no clue why anyone would be willing to spill blood over it.  With Rift the player is given an apocalyptic vision of a possible future, only to be whisked away into the past where we the player can see exactly what there is worth saving.

A World of Beauty

wysbpr_06_greygardens01

The world of rift is a truly beautiful place.  Even at low resolution, you can see that there has been some amazing work done on trying to bring about unique looking settings.  At high and ultra settings, the world is just breath taking.  As I have played various MMO titles, there have been many “ooooo” moments.  The very first of these that I can remember is coming out of the mist, in Butcherblock Mountains and seeing the Statue atop Kaladim in Everquest.

wysbpr_06_stonefieldrain

With each new game, there have been more of these.  I sit back, take a screenshot and move on.  My rift’s screenshot folder has grown exponentially as I have leveled because each and every zone in Telara has two or three of these breathtaking moments.  Above is a picture I took, when I first entered Stonefield from Freemarch.  The sky had darkened, and it had just began to rain, but you could still see the strong shadows on the rocky faces.  I stopped leveling, stopped paying attention to questing, and just sat there for a moment enjoying the view.

wysbpr_06_crimsongorge1

I tend to power quest my way through zones, and in other games have been able to ignore much of the scenery in my push for the goal.  In rift however, I just cannot help but stop and smell the roses from time to time. Part of what has made this world so compelling is the fact that each zone is unique.  In games like wow, you have prefab objects that get reused over and over.  In rift, the architecture, the trees, the caves, and the landscape feel custom fit just for each area.  Each board on the bridge in the above image, feels as though it were placed by hand, and is unique looking from the other bridges in Crimson Gorge (of which there are many).

A World of Danger

wysbpr_06_gloamwood One of the things that had been missing from MMO games for so long, that I did not even realize I was missing, was a sense of fear.  In games like Everquest and Dark Age of Camelot I used to tread into unexplored areas with a sense of dread.  In the case of those games, I thought at the time, it was due to the stiff death penalties imposed on its players.  So when the modern crop of MMOs heralded by World of Warcraft arrived, with easy death penalties, I was happy at the time.

wysbpr_06_Stillmoor

What I am coming to realize now, is that those early games had a certain zone design ethic that lead to uneasiness in its players.  You know that you had to be extremely careful as you hunted mobs, both in the dungeons and the outside world because one too many would mean a certain death.  Rift has carried over this same old school ethic into it’s content.  As you move through the outside world, you have to have the same care as you would pulling a dungeon.

wysbpr_06_ITEnding

On top of this, the dungeons themselves have a creepy natural feel to them.  You can almost feel the dust being disturbed under your feet as your party explores them.  The above image is from the end of Iron Tomb, the entry level Defiant dungeon in Freemarch.  Notice how each of the surfaces exudes texture, as they are filled with careful carvings and decorations placed there once upon a time to honor the dead.  Having run numerous other dungeons, I have yet to see any of the assets in Iron Tomb show up elsewhere.  Each zone feels like it was crafted just for its purpose.

A World of Substance

wysbpr_06_FaeGrove

One of the arguments I have seen on the WoW Fan sites, is that because Rift has shied away from the slapstick humor and blatant pop culture parody, that it lacks a “soul”.  I think the exact opposite is true, like the titles that influenced Blizzard, Trion takes it’s game world very seriously and to me it exudes soul.  So many times in an MMO you do things that seem to have no purpose.  If you are asked to go to a town and rescue the villagers, it is often times from generic cartoon thugs.

wysbpr_06_icewatch

From the very start of the game you are immersed in a diverse tree of factions, each with their own methods, goals and objectives.  To the best of my knowledge, Rift has no nameless faceless meaningless cartoon thugs. The world is besieged by the Dragon Cults, who collectively seek to spread the influence of the dragons they champion.  In other games, where the dragons represent elemental aspects, they are often times benevolent forces that shape mankind.  In the world of Telara, the Dragons are cruel selfish creatures that want to seize control of the world for their own means.

wysbpr_03_abyssaltakeover

In Freemarch you are introduced into this conflict first with the Endless Court.  This group of cultists worship Regulos the Destroyer, the dragon of death.  The Endless Court harness the power of death to bear against you a multitude of undead abominations.  As you move through the zone you begin to encounter the Abyssals, a cult waging warfare on Freemarch from the depths of the Lake of Solace.  This group is devoted to the water dragon Akylios, and with it brings an unspeakable legion of deepspawn and water elementals.

wysbpr_06_Silverwood

On the Guardian side, in Silverwood you have two central conflicts, that of the Aelfwar and the Wanton.  House Aelfwar are a xenophobic group splinter cell of High Elves devoted to Greenscale, the Dragon of life.  Lead by Prince Hylas, they seek to destroy civilization and remake the world in a primordial jungle.  Diametrically opposed to the Aelfwar, are The Wanton.  These monstrous humanoids, namely goblins and dragonians, worship Maelforge, the dragon of fire and revel in senseless violence and brutality.  The Wanton will not be satisfied until every person has been slain, every forest burned, and every village ransacked all in a carnal sacrifice to their dragon god.

wysbpr_06_thingar

So each time I read one of the complaints that this game lacks soul, I keep asking myself.  Are these players playing the same game I have been?  I came to Rift with a pretty open mind, because quite honestly I wasn’t expecting much from it.  I sat on a beta key for six months, and finally the discussions started to make me curious enough to download the 8 gig client on my crappy DSL connection.  Going into it, expecting nothing, I was shocked and amazed by the vibrant and polished world I found.

wysbpr_06_crimsongorge_firerift

Thing is a few months down the road, and a month into the live release I am still amazed by the world of Telara.  Trion has shown a level of attentiveness to its players that I have not seen ever during my tenure of playing MMOs.  Since release we have seen 10 hot fixes, 2 patches, with the first major content patch set to roll out this Wednesday.  This level of dedication, to the game and to the world they have created truly is, why you should be playing rift.