Bonus Stage: Changes

There have been various sundry changes in and involving the Tales of the Aggronaut site over the last few days/weeks.  Most of these have been fairly subtle and in the background, and have just been snuck in here and there by me.  However, with one of these changes being pretty significant, I figured today would be a good day to do one of my “Bonus Stage” posts and catch everyone up.

Chibi Bahmi Bel

bel_chibi_full This one has been in the works for a long time, since starting to play Rift.  One of the hallmarks of my website was the adorable Chibi version of ZA geared Belghast.  It was given to me by a good friend of mine Audrae, who if you follow the link has a special nack for Chibis.

For the Bahmi Belghast, she went off in a new direction for her.  She created it entirely in Adobe Illustrator using meshes for shading and such.  I really like the results and it gives a completely different feel to it than the original had.

As attached as I am to the new Chibi, I just could not bring myself to remove the original Zul’Aman Belghast from the banner.  So now you have a composite banner that includes both chibi’s back to back.  I think it works, but I am biased.  One thing is certain, the new Chibi looks amazing.

Website Facelift

Over the weeks since leaving WoW I have been making a series of tweaks to “unbrand” the website from being a purely WoW based one.  While doing these tweaks I have tried to give it a more “Rift” feel without making it a blatantly recognizable Rift-Only website.  I am not sure if I accomplished this, but I am overall fond of the tweaks.

One of the newest features is the blogroll.  In the past my blogroll was always out of date with what I was actually reading on a regular basis.  It was a pain to log into the dashboard and add and remove links, so it was something I did on a very irregular basis.  This lead me to start searching for an easier way to let my readers see exactly what I was reading.

Thanks to some helpful information from the interwebs… I have updated the website to pull in my actual Google Reader information.  Now you can see exactly what I am subscribing to and reading on a daily basis.  Currently the Blog Roll is divided into three categories: Rift Leaning Blogs, WoW Leaning Blogs, and General Gaming / Geek Stuff.  Of note, the last category is where I keep very obviously multi-game blogs like Spinksville or Kill Ten Rats for example.

Official Rift Fansite

You might have noticed, that I have added a logo to the bottom of the sidebar along with the Twisted Nether Blogcast ones.  I was contacted by Trion and told that they were going to add me to the Rift official fansites list.  I halfway expected a WoW Insider style bump, but overall there has been a slow trickle of people arriving at the blog from the list.  I am guessing that the majority of Rift players simply do not know about that page.

I think it is pretty cool that the Rift community support staff has been reaching out to various websites.  They definitely seem more aware of the gamer community and are making more gestures to support it than I have ever seen from another game company.  I am not exactly a major blog, so the fact that they have chosen to add me shows me that they are actually out in the trenches reading what the community has to say.


I blatantly stole this concept from the blog “We Fly Spitfires”.  Over the last week a new link has appeared at the top of the blog, to my very own version of a Gameography page.  This was a fun little exercise as I tried to remember all of the various MMO games I have played, characters, and approximate levels.  I limited myself to only listing games that I have subscribed past the first month. 

In addition to games played, I created a list of all the various Alphas and Betas I have participated in.  After awhile this began to feel almost like a gaming resume.  I honestly didn’t realize it had been so many different Betas until I listed them out.  I knew that I had been in plenty, I am always looking for the ability to try new games as they are being developed.

Ariad The Gamer

I updated my about page, to rework it and add a significant change to this blog. Always in the past this has been solely my work, for better or worse.  However I was approached by a friend of mine, who wanted to start submitting articles.  I’ve know Ariad for going on seven years now, and had many a long winded discussion about gaming theory and application.  I am constantly amazed by his breadth of knowledge.

This is a significant paradigm shift in my blog.  No longer is Aggronaut, my personal vent platform.  Now we have actual contributors.  In the past we have had guest posts, but never a full contributor.  I am not sure if we will be adding any more, but I think this is certainly going to be a boon for my readers. 

I can’t promise that Ariad and I will always see eye to eye on issues, but I can promise that everything he posts will be as well thought as his comments always have been.  I hope you will all welcome him with open arms.  His first post should be arriving shortly.  I know I personally am looking forward to it with great anticipation.

Rift PTS 1.2 Addition 1 – LFG Tool

So as I begin the process of sifting through my google reader, I noticed that we have updated patch notes for the upcoming 1.2 update.  The biggest change is the addition of a LFG system that they completely pulled out of thin air.  You can see some screenshots on the Riftjunkies website, but overall it looks really similar to the WoW Dungeon Finder tool.

This is one of those things that could be awesome, or horribly bad for the server community.  Basically as I have stated before, the Dungeon Finder was the single greatest contributor to the downfall of the WoW player base and community.  The real question will be, how does this effect the Rift community.  Overall Rift players seem to be more drawn from the “seasoned mmo veteran” category, rather than the “wow was my first game ever” column.  As a result, I am seeing a better player ethic, because these folks have been through it all before.

The majority of my t1 and beyond dungeons, have been made up of a few guild members and a large number of pugs from the various social channels.  As a rule, Rift players seem to have more patience, and more base skill than I experienced doing randoms in WoW.  So here is hoping that the community in rift are responsible enough to take this system for what it is, and not a way to get dungeons without consequences.


PTS 1.2 Addition 1

full patch notes can be found here



As a part of the Looking for Group release, there have been a number of updates to instances and item rewards – See below for details!


* You can now use the new Looking for Group tool to queue for Dungeons, Rifts, or group quests with other players on your server!
* The Looking for Group icon has been added to the main menu tray in the lower left corner of the screen, and can also be opened with the default shortcut key ‘I’.
* Select from the group roles available to you based on the roles you currently have saved on your character.
* Queue for specific dungeon or expert dungeon groups, or join the random dungeon queue. Once a group is formed, members will be teleported to the chosen dungeon zone.
* Rift and quest groups formed through the Looking for Group tool are not automatically teleported.
* Queue for group quests currently in your or your party members’ quest journals from anywhere in the world and find others also looking to complete these quests!
* Additional rewards are granted for completing a random dungeon through the Looking For Group tool – these can be gained up to seven times per week but are not restricted in number per day, so you can do as many or as few as you like each day of the week up to the weekly cap. Save them all up for one day or spread them out; your choice!
* Additional restrictions based on gear also apply to forming groups for tier 1 and 2 Expert Dungeons through this tool.


* Expert Dungeon Plaque of Achievement items have all received a power upgrade. If you already have these items, they will be boosted as well!
* Expert Dungeon final bosses are now guaranteed to drop an Epic item. No more finishing the dungeon and getting nothing but Rare items for the whole run. Epic items still have a chance to drop from the rest of the bosses in the zone.
* Some items have been weeded out of the Expert Dungeon drop tables that were very similar to others so you are more likely to see a wide variety of drops. Additionally, some items now drop from different bosses in order to spread out the range of drops available per fight.
* Your instance and raid lockouts are now displayed on a new Instances tab in the Character window.


* These updates were released in a previous update to the Test Shard. Here is a recap of what has been adjusted and released to Test already. Please let us know your feedback on the Tier1 and Tier2 Expert bosses! We’re continuing to make adjustments to these.
* The health of general population mobs in Expert Dungeons has been reduced.

* Kaler Andrenos: Kaler’s Ice Geyser now deals Water damage.
* Expert: Calyx now resets if pulled off of his platform. A blocking wall is also activated at the start of the encounter.
* Expert: Renthar should be less likely to chain high damage abilities on a single target.

* Gronik: Slightly reduced the amount of power Gronik gains over time.
* Cyclorax now uses mana.
* Expert: Adjusted the encounter space around Ryka Dharvos so the lasers can’t be so easily avoided.

* Expert: Glubmuk’s Poison Bolt should not hit characters fewer than 6 meters from him.
* Expert: Scarn’s Wind Buffet no longer ignites smoldering bones.
* Scarn’s Smoldering Bones stay on fire longer.
* Incinerator Gerbik now uses mana.
* Non-boss NPCs in Darkening Deeps no longer count toward quests requiring dungeon boss kills.

* Kaleida: Reduced the radius of her crystals’ AoEs substantially.

* Oludare: Fixed the targeting method used by Oludare so he won’t turn to face a new target while cleaving or rear-kicking (in the face).

* Expert: Sparkwing learns to use his ranged abilities. It’s super-effective.

* A number of new Relic quality weapons have been added to Greenscale.
* Prince Hylas: Slightly reduced the absorption amount of Spiritual Barrier.
* Prince Hylas: Modified the amount of damage increased by Avenging Wrath.

* Expert: Players immune to knockback will no longer be immune to Totek’s Ancient Fury.
* Expert: Bonelord Fetlorn’s Boiling Marrow no longer affects pets.
* Guardians now respawn next to the Messenger of the Vigil.

* Expert: General mob populations have been reduced by a few pulls.
* Expert: Immunity to knockback no longer prevents damage from Konstantin’s spikes.
* Expert: Konstantin’s Cleaving Strike now has a proper effect radius.
* Expert: Konstantin’s Mathosian Fury displays an on-screen warning before use.
* Expert: Players within 3.5 meters of Konstantin receive a 20% damage bonus.

* Expert: General mob populations have been reduced by a few pulls.
* Chillblains: Fixed the targeting on the Elemental spawn, which was not working reliably.
* Luddoghan: Made some adjustments to prevent his ground goo from targeting the tank.

* Rictus: Adjusted how Rictus uses his abilities and reduced some of the associated stuns and stun durations.
* Expert: There is now a text warning when Eliam gains Dark Fury.


* A wardrobe set’s icon can be dragged onto ability bars to create a shortcut for quickly changing your character’s outfit (similar to Role icons on ability bars).


* Zone and Colossus Events are now easier to find. Zones that have active zone events now have a special icon next to the zone name on the main map. Mousing over the icon will display a tooltip showing the current progress of the event.
* Expert and Raid Rifts now have Achievements!


* Fixed pets losing effects that were on them when teleporting or entering/leaving an instance.
* Toggling auto-attack no longer triggers certain cases of reactive abilities.


* Crag Hammer: Increased the damage of Rank 6.

* PTS BUG FIX: Ward of the Ancestors: The blocker preventing recasting on the same target can no longer be removed by removing the buff.

* Word of Hope: Fixed tooltip to match the new functionality.
* PTS BUG FIX: Healer’s Covenant: The blocker preventing recasting on the same target can no longer be removed by removing the buff.


* Steelweave: Now correctly reduces only Physical damage received from players instead of all damage.

* Nature’s Touch: Updated ability description to clarify how this works with Lifegiving Veil.
* Lifegiving Veil: Fixed an issue with heals from Livegiving Veil receiving a bonus from Spell Power twice.
* Fixed an issue preventing Corrosion from triggering healing from Livegiving Veil.

* Ground of Strength: Now increases all magical resistances by 125, armor by 70%, makes the mage immune to crowd control abilities, and reduces damage dealt by the mage by 10%. This ability no longer has a chance to proc a stun.

* Static Discharge: Fixed an issue causing the damage portion to retain the effect of buffs that were active when the ability was cast but no longer active when the damage portion triggered. Damage is now attributed to the person triggering the damage instead of the caster of the buff. Static Discharge now triggers off of damaging spells and abilities and no longer triggers off of auto-attacks.


* Slip Away: Should now work more consistently against NPCs.

* Anthem of Fervor: Will no longer be overwritten by lesser buffs.

* ALPHA BUG FIX: Marksman’s Pedestal, Sniper’s Pedestal: Fixed a tooltip bug where the increased damage with ranged weapons was not displayed correctly.

* Flashback: Can no longer be used when carrying the Fang of Regulos in Black Garden.

* Spike Charge: The Bleed effect from Spike Charge should now trigger Blood Rage on your pet if you have soul points spent in Ranger’s Blood Rage.


* Tip the Balance: Slightly reduced the internal cooldown on Tip the Balance.

* Shroud of Entropy: Now shares a stacking group with other damage reduction abilities to keep them from being stacked to unintended levels. It now stacks with Power from the Masses and Imbued Armor.

* Avatar of the Rift: Fixed a bug causing this to increase the damage of Avatar of the Rift’s damage shield, Burning Blood, and Elemental Touch by more than was intended.
* Fiery Burst: The damage-over-time component from Fiery Burst will no longer overwrite the same components applied by other Riftblades.
* Burst abilities in general: The debuff component on Burst abilities no longer overwrites debuff components applied by other Riftblades.

* Stand Off: Now properly roots the Warrior in place.
* Phalanx: Duration reduced to 10 seconds, max range reduced to 10 meters. Now applies a debuff that prevents the target from being affected by Phalanx for 60 seconds.
* Forced Recon, Furious Blades: Now only trigger against players.

* Fusion of Flesh: Fixed a bug causing this to trigger off of the Void Knight’s own abilities.
* Fixed a bug with Reckless Strike, Rift Tap, and Furious Rage, where they were not generating enough threat.

* Fixed a confusing error in the tooltip for Call to Entrench.


* Ancient Wardstone quests in Droughtlands now with 100% more actual rewards!

* Dabbling in the Forbidden: Fixed an issue that would sometimes cause the Ritual Altar to not be usable.

* Expert Dailies have been moved to Epoch Plaza and are now given out by Lord Olangdon.

* Whispering to the Winds: Fixed the second objective for this quest so it can be completed.

* Past is Prologue: Simplified how this quest is available – now offered by Donal Sumptor immediately after completing ‘Rise and Fall’.


* Black Garden: Riftstalkers’ Flashback can no longer be used while carrying the Fang of Regulos.
* The Battle for Port Scion: The stacking buff Sourcestone Empowerment, granted from turning in Sourcestone, no longer reduces damage taken.
* Reduced the favor cost of Cultist’s Focus to 8550 Favor. It was previously priced as a 2-handed item.


* A number of new recipes have been added to the Artisan Stores.
* Blazing Resistance Runes are now Epic quality. Sharp Runes and Accurate Runes are now Rare quality. These recipes have had their ingredient cost adjusted to reflect the updated rarities.
* Minor Catalysts now only drop from Elite or dungeon mobs.
* You can now click on the Loom in Lantern Hook to open the crafting window.


* The Artifact pane of the Character window now has a built-in search – search for the artifacts you’re missing, or search for the collections themselves!
* You can now click on an artifact or empty artifact slot in the Artifact pane while viewing the Auction House to search for that item.


* Bandwidth optimizations.

The Classroom Analogy

Today was the release of the 4.1 patch in World of Warcraft, and amongst it’s features was the infamous “Call to Arms” dungeon finder feature.  There has been much discussion in the blog community about how this feature is tantamount to bribing tanks to run in PUG groups.  As I discussed in my post I present the notion that this will not actually solve anything.

Sheer bribery sadly solves none of the core issues that keep tanks from wanting to queue for random dungeons in the first place.  Good tanks, simply do not need to queue for randoms, as they are in demand with their friends to run them.  However the problem behind this issue is the fact that the PUG environment has degraded to a point where no one really wants to put up with the frustration.

Over the years, the game has gone from an environment where most players were capable of competing in most areas, to one where there is a massive chasm between skill have and have nots.  The question is, why is this the case?  Why has the game degraded to a point where the average player is simply not prepared for the realities of post leveling content.

Lack of Training

A few weekends ago I was sitting at On the Border restaurant, having a conversation with my wife.  As an educator, she was concerned about trying to cram as much learning as possible in the last few weeks before her upcoming end of instruction exams.  As a conscientious educator, she wanted to make sure her students were prepared for anything they might encounter on the impending exam.

The problem at hand with MMOs in general, is there is no solid focus on educating the player base.  In a classroom, the teacher must constantly challenge their students.  If you spend your time doing nothing but meaningless busy work when the time comes for that final exam, chances are the vast majority of your students will fail miserably.  You would not have prepared them for the high expectations.

In MMOs, the growing trend has been to make the leveling process easy and quick for the players, so they can ascend to the higher level content as fast as possible.  The problem with this notion is that while this is good for already skilled gamers as they level their second or third character, it does a massive disservice to the new players that each and every MMO is trying to actively recruit.  Through this style of leveling, you have given your players none of the necessary tools to be able to tackle the harder challenges that await.

A Shift in Focus

I’ve mentioned this before, but my last character leveled in WoW, was my Worgen Druid.  It took me a little over 2 days played to get from level 1 to level 85.  60 levels of that, was spend leveling through content I had never seen before, since it was brand new with the massive changes that came from the Cataclysm expansion.  While I will admit, as a six year veteran I am probably far better at the game than your typical staring player, it still tells me that the leveling process has been completely trivialized.

Game developers have to move away from this “low cost of entry” attitude in a blatant money grab for new players.  They have to switch their focus to treating the leveling process as classroom time.  Leveling your character should teach you all of the skills you will need to have to be able to participate in higher level content.  Giving players the easy road while pushing through those levels has created an environment where fresh 85s do not know how to use the basic skills their class requires.

I don’t really see this as being specifically harder than the current way.  Each level the character gains, builds their repertoire of skills so that as you progress through the content the designers can present the players with more interesting challenges.  When you reach the level cap, you have been taught everything you need to survive in the end game.

Dungeons as Raid Training

If leveling gives the characters the basic skills needed to play their class effectively, then Dungeons should reinforce good grouping habits.  Moving through instances should help the player pick up various skills needed to transition into raiding.  The system should be designed in a way to reward the character for spending the necessary time in dungeons, to gain sufficient gear to be able to not be a drag on raid groups.  Currently the drive is to rush through the gearing phase, and in the past players have been able to skip it completely.

I know on my various alts, I was able to step into raids and complete well within a few days of dinging 85.  Granted I always made a massive push for gear, but if I were a new player I would not have soaked up enough necessary skills to be able to move forward.  Spending time running dungeons for gear, needs to be a rewarded practice.  Going into an instance under-geared puts undue stress on the entire party, so this “Raid Education” phase needs to be treated in such a way that players gain something to keep building upon.

Universal Currency

One of the  best advancements I have seen came in the Rift system of universal currencies.  From the moment you step into your first rift or invasion, you begin earning a currency called Planarite.  Regardless of what you do from that point on, Planarite has value to you.  The key significance between level 10 content and level 50 content is the volume that you earn.  It gives players a feeling that regardless of what they are doing, they are building something that will be just as useful at level 1 as it is in the endgame.

The problem is, this concept is not nearly as common as it should be.  In WoW you are awarded various tiers of points for completing different difficulties of content.  The problem is, after a short while, that low level currency becomes completely meaningless to the average player.  So much so that they have been forced to implement a series of ways for the players to spend this currency at a resource loss.

Why is this a bad thing?  It rewards behavior that is not beneficial to social gaming.  In the example of random dungeons, you gain Valor Points for the first random heroic dungeon you do of the day (I realize that system changed somewhat in 4.1).  As a result you have just given players a reason not to help out with anything other than this one dungeon a day, or in the case of 4.1 patch the first 7 randoms each week.  So as players level and need gear, there is no reinforcement of the practice of more experienced members of the group helping out the lower level ones.

In the case of a universal currency, regardless of what a player does, they are always gaining a small bit of benefit from the action.  While it might sound mercenary, this small bit of reward alone can incentivize the player base in a way that the sheer bribery of “Call to Arms” really can’t.  It is a fundamental shift in the way players think about group interactions.  If they go into something knowing that no matter they are do, they are helping themselves while helping others, it builds a stronger community ethic.

Seeing the Big Picture

The problem is, I feel that most MMO design doesn’t really see the journey as a whole.  I am not saying that there is not some amazing content along the way, because there are some amazing quests and lore out there.  What I mean is that publishers fail to see their game as a process of gradually training the player.  Much as education is an investment of time in the students, leveling should be a similar investment in trying to create the kind of players that designers want to build content for.

Sure there exists plenty of content online to do this training process, and those who are willing to dig for it become the upper-class of players.  The problem is, we the gamers who read blogs, information sites, and forums are in the gross minority.  Your average gamer, wants to be able to come home from a long day at work, log into a game, and lose themselves in this rich world you have built for them.

Designers want to build compelling content that requires a high skill level to conquer.  Currently however, they are doing next to nothing to build this kind of player.  There are some games that do it better, than others.  Rift for example, is  challenging from the moment you leave the opening tutorial.  However even in this case, there is no real focus on teaching the players how to play their classes in a slow and focused manner.

If we shift the paradigm, and begin to act like those dedicated Educators out there.  We will build up this strong player base with all the tools they need to conquer the content the designers really want to be creating.  I might be naïve, but I believe that we will be able to raise the base skill level of the players, rather than nerfing existing content to make it more accessible.

The Final Exam

If we treat the leveling process as time spend in the class room, and leveling dungeons as quizzes.  It lets us move the players onwards to the final exam knowing they will be prepared to conquer it.  This is a far stronger base to build a game upon rather than what we have currently.  Based on the growing disillusionment among my generation of gamers, something has to change. 

I feel that we can rework the basics of the MMO genre and produce a game where the leveling process feels more meaningful.  No player, enjoys grinding through content for no purpose.  In the current system, there is no valid reason not to simply start characters out at the maximum level.  In fact, one of the EQ2 designers has suggested that. 

EQ2 producer David Georgeson presented the question, what if players could create a free level 90 character, thus bypassing the content and skipping straight into the endgame.  Problem is, statements like this tell the players that every bit of that sub 90 content is meaningless.  Having walked my way without any challenge through the leveling content in WoW, I can certainly say that it feels meaningless.  It feels like the leveling process is this menial task given to the players to keep them busy for awhile.

If MMOs are going to remain viable as a genre, the entire Journey needs to be meaningful.  The players need to feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves.  That everything they do is building to something larger, preparing them for something on the horizon.  There are great examples of lore and quests that give this feeling, but the problem is these are one snapshot of a larger photo album.  The entire game needs to feel like the player is going somewhere epic, and each quest they complete, each zone they move into, is building to something truly amazing that will be resolved through dungeons and raiding.

If designers are willing to shift focus, I feel in the long run this will create a more skilled base, and at the same time create a happier player base.  When you know the other players you are running with are skilled, that point of rejection against running with strangers is far less.  There are certain guilds, and raids you know harbor good players, so when you encounter them you are more likely to help them out.  Wouldn’t be be amazing if the entire community were made up of these “known good” players.

Wrapping Up

I realize this is an odd topic, but this is something that has been incubating in my mind for awhile.  I really feel that something has to change to raise the base, rather than separate players into skill based silos.  Thinking of the game, like an education process makes sense to me.  We go to high school, to gain the necessary skills to carry us into college.  We go through an educational process to give us the skills we need for our job, even if this is comprised of on the job shadowing.  Why would we think that our gameplay would be any different?

Warcraft Broke Me

It was a very dreary Easter weekend here in Oklahoma.  Honestly it felt very little like easter at all.  It was much needed, since some parts of the state have been without water since November and we were bordering on dustbowl era type conditions.  So here I had a weekend filled with rainstorms, and three days worth of nearly uninterrupted gaming because of it.  Granted I had to do a fair bit of work to help out my wife, but overall I got plenty of time to play around.

Rift-Lite Weekend

Flaming Hole of Fun Here is the odd part however.  I spent almost no time comparatively in Rift.  I would log in, chat around with some guildies, do a crafting daily and then log out.  I felt no pushing desire to be in game, and I knew my not being around wouldn’t really cause any issues.  The question you are asking yourself at this point, is has the rift evangelist gotten tired of the game?

No I am very much still enjoying what time I do spend in the game, and I cannot see myself playing another MMO at the moment.  However I find myself in a position where I just don’t want to take any one game super seriously at this point.  I think the years I spent raiding and leading a guild in World of Warcraft have broken me.

I Think I Broke It

Did I Do That? If you have read my blog for long, especially dating back to the wow era of it, you will be able to tell that once upon a time I was a fairly devoted raider type.  At my worst I was raiding something, nearly 5 nights a week.  On top of this, I felt this overwhelming need to log into the game.  It wasn’t that I really wanted to play the game that badly, or that I had that many things that I really wanted to accomplish.

I had this overwhelming sense of responsibility for my very large guild, my raid group and large server community of friends.  Logging in felt like a job, as I had to wade through a sea of purple text each time I logged in.  Buried amongst the “hi bel!” tells, were always a series of guild or raid issues that had to be dealt with in a leadenly fashion.  Of which I dutifully responded with as much helpful advice as I could muster on a given night.

WoW had long ceased to be a game for me, and more like a second job.  Logging in each night, showing up at raid times, became like punching a clock.  House Stalwart was my baby, that I had nurtured for six years, and much of my pull to the game was tied up in its survival.  We grew from a small group of friends, to a semi-successful raid team but it had severe tolls on me.

Gaming for Fun

Gaming for Fun.... Dip? One of the problems with leading a guild, is the time commitment pretty much means there are alot of things you simply don’t have time to do.  One of the big ones was the fact that with the amount of time spent raiding, you really didn’t have any free time to play any of those other games you used to enjoy.  For me this was a constant drain, and I jealously watched other friends enjoying the new titles as they came out knowing I wouldn’t have time to participate.

When I left WoW last month, it started a chain reaction for me.  While initially I left to play Rift, in the grand scheme it has been a major paradigm shift.  In essence, I broke a shackle that one specific game had placed on my leg.  At this point, I cannot see tying myself to another game as completed as I did Warcraft.  While I leveled up relatively quickly in my normal fashion in Rift, I don’t feel the strong commitment to the game that I once did with WoW. 

I think this is a good thing.  I am open to new games that come along, but can still enjoy the MMO I am working on at the same time.  Lately for example, I have been playing the hell out of Oblivion.  It is a game I never really got very far in due to raiding commitments, and with the impending release of Skyrim (11/11/11 will be here before we know it) I want to play through the entire game to prep myself for the new content.

I have a similarly long list of games, that I either didn’t play at all, or didn’t really give enough time to that I want to go back through and play.  I feel like by playing WoW I have missed so many other things, that I want to go out and try and catch up.  On top of my number one hobby, gaming, there are others that got neglected like writing and photography. 

I used to go regularly on weekend photo shoots to various spots taking photos of the urban landscape.  However with the feeling of “needing to be there”, it took much of the enjoyment out of these sessions.  As the whether warms up, I look forward to going out with my wife again to various places on a photo safari.  She normally sits in the car with the windows rolled down and reads while I roam all over hells half acre in search of something that catches my eye.

Zen of the Flake

Zen of The Flake In my guild, we have been talking about raiding in general a good deal lately.  I would really like to see the various raid content in rift, but I think I have changed too much to do so successfully.  Right now I have trouble looking at my nights of the week and saying that I will be committed to log in and show up at a specific time on a specific night.  In my post-raid life, I enjoy not having to plan my days, not having to say “sorry hon, I can’t I’m raiding”.

I think a good number of the folks in Manastorm follow this same mold. I think in the grand scheme we are going to have to create some loosely organized raid nights.  Go off and do whatever we can with the number of players we have.  I can’t really call myself casual yet, because when I do play, I play extremely seriously.  However I just can’t see myself being locked down to a schedule again.  I hate to think that I will be one of those players I long called “flakes”, but it seems like they had the right idea all along.  At least in this case I am being up front about it.

Odd Start to the Week

Odd Start to the Week I realize this is a pretty odd post to start a new week.  Everything in it has been weighing heavily on my mind, so I wanted to get things out there.  The biggest problem I have had lately is my desire to try and convert hardcore WoW players to this new reality I have arrived at.  While I still love Rift, I kind of see it as Methadone for hardcore WoW players.  If Everquest was the gateway drug to WoW for me, Rift has been the first step towards the cure.

I am sure Trion, doesn’t really want their game to be thought of as Methadone.  However I have played Rift from a much healthier mindset than I played the Blizzard juggernaut.  So I mean that statement with the greatest of respect.  Somehow Trion has managed to create something enjoyable and compelling without turning us into crack babies.  I am not sure if this was an intentional design ethic, but I appreciate it.

Rift: Full PTS 1.2 Notes

The full public test shard notes have been posted on the rift forums.  Reposting in completed form here.  Once again, this is a massive massive patch.  Wardrobe features have been confirmed, but no news yet of the guild bank as was rumored on the Fires of Heaven forums yesterday.  Here is hoping they get the bank in the final version.

So many interesting things.  Looks like my favorite void knight ability is getting nerfed, but overall there are many good things in the patch.  Looking forward to seeing how the slivers are going to work.  This ability was 25,000 planarite on the Alpha shard, so start stocking up now.  Luckily I am back up to 17,000 planarite again so shouldn’t be too much of a push to get there.

Original Thread

PLEASE NOTE: Patch notes for the PTS represent work in progress and are subject to change prior to any patches reaching live shards.

PTS 1.2 4/22/11

* Those who managed to sneak behind enemy lines and complete the introductory artifact collections inside Meridian or Sanctum now have a special reward coming their way!
* To make Artifact set collecting more fun for more Artifact hunters, rarity rates have been tuned to be less extreme between common and rare Artifacts. We’ll be keeping an eye on this through future updates to see if the rates need another boost.
* Artifacts for the Guardian version of the introduction quest for artifact hunting no longer have a sell value.
* Markers for completed quests will now always appear on the main map regardless of whether they are currently being tracked in quest stickies.
* ‘Discover’ quest objectives will no longer increment while a character is dead.
* Characters can no longer accumulate multiple daily quests from the same ‘group’ in their quest journals.
* For quests requiring you to kill level-appropriate targets, tooltips for mobs of too low level will no longer indicate that they will count for the quest.
* Reduced Auction House deposit prices by about 25%.
* You now receive an alert message when reaching a currency cap on your character (ex: Planarite).
* New clothier NPCs have appeared in Meridian and Sanctum following the rise in numbers of fashionable Ascended.
* You may now purchase a 5th role at your Calling trainer!

* As we all know, Telara’s universe is comprised of a myriad of planes and realities that all intersect with each other and with Telara at seemingly random angles and times.
* A “Sliver” is a place where a thin slice of another reality can be seen intersecting with our Telara.
* Some of these slivers are places where planar conflicts may have already been won or lost. Help set things right in other realities, or protect our own from their influence!
* The Planar Goods merchants in Meridian and Sanctum now sell the ascended power to view slivers – Omen Sight for Guardians and Quantum Sight for Defiants.
* These new abilities allow you to see things others might not be able to see, and potentially lead to the discovery of the entrance to Gilded Sanctum, a raid instance intended for 10 players.

* Wardrobe slots are now available for you to customize your character’s look!
* All characters have access to the first wardrobe set (all armor slots) at level 1.
* Additional purchaseable wardrobe sets will allow you to save and swap multiple outfits quickly.
* You can only equip armor of the appropriate type for your calling – Plate for Warriors, Leather for Rogues, etc.
* Additional clothing items will be available in the future, including from new Clothier vendors in Sanctum and Meridian.

* Lures for Crafting Rifts and are obtained by completing the new weekly crafting quests in addition to the tradeskill-specific Plaque the quest awards.
* These Rifts drop raw materials, Augments, and other goodies for crafters.
* Reaching the final stages gives a chance of obtaining an additional plaque!
* Crafting Rift lures open a Rift of appropriate level for the zone. In addition, materials awarded are also based on the zone level where the Rift is opened.
* All levels of crafting Rifts give a chance for an additional plaque from the bonus stages, even below your character level.
* Bring your friends and spread the wealth!

* Shifted from 5 different Combat Role colors to using a combination of Combat Role icons and Calling name colors.
* Callings use the following colors: Red – Warrior, Purple – Mage, Green – Cleric, Yellow – Rogue.
* An icon is displayed to the left of the player’s name to indicate their Combat Role.
* Defensive/Tank – Shield icon, Damage – Sword icon, Healer – Cross icon, Support – Flag icon.
* These indicators now also appear on search results and Warfront leaderboards.

* Increased the rate of major zone events – the type that drop purple zone currencies.
* Gear from Expert Rifts has been increased in power. Existing items will be updated automatically.
* NEW EXPERT RIFT: The Expert Earth Rift ‘Auricore Forerunners’ is now available!
* NEW RAID RIFTS: The Raid Rifts ‘The Golden King’ and ‘Drakith Hatchery’ are now available!

* Ancient Wardstones should no longer disappear mysteriously.
* Ancient Wardstones now have their own tooltip type with related information displayed on mouseover.
* Ancient Wardstones are now shown on the main map when controlled by one of the factions.
* During zone events, Neutral Wardstones now take reduced damage, much like Defiant and Guardian wardstones do.
* Invaders attacking the Ancient Wardstone in Howling Plateau of Scarwood Reach will no longer travel through Scarlet Gorge to get there.

* Planar Protection: Fixed a typo in the tooltip for this perk.
* Recall Scrolls should continue to count down their reuse time while you are logged out.

* Guild quests requiring you to kill a number of monsters from rifts now require that your target be green, but no longer require an overall minimum mob level for guild level 10 quests or below.
* New weekly harvesting guild quests are available from Horace Shoe in Meridian, and Cardinal Gladewillow in Sanctum. These are taken and completed as an individual, but reward your guild.
* More standard guild quests have been added to the mix!
* Player-kill objective PvP quests now require more updates in general.
* Warfront PvP quests now update more consistently.

* Forces of the Plane of Death: Updated the quest text to indicate that participation in the Rift is required to receive credit.
* The Means of the Endless: Towers should give more time between waves, and mobs will despawn after wipes.
* Cutting Off Communications and Tombs of Old can now be updated through the Expert version of the appropriate dungeon.
* A Family Affair: The aura detector can now be used again on Jiles Newkosa if you fail to kill him the first time.
* Powers of Life and Air: Now requires only Honored notoriety.
* Securing Source: Now asks a bit more than just running the Deepstrike Mines dungeon.

* Autoattacks now resume more quickly after performing abilities.
* Reactive Abilities now check if an effect comes from your character or your pet, which allows abilities like ‘Flesh Rip’ to appear correctly.
* Scorpion and Ranged Spider-type (yikes) mobs: Skittish: Reduced from a 25% Dodge bonus to a 10% Dodge bonus.
* Fixed a bug where the Battleworn debuff didn’t prevent NPCs from regenerating health outside of combat.
* NPC Assassins: Malicious Strike ability for these NPCs now deals damage and snares the target by 30%.
* NPC Assassins: These NPCs no longer use Paralyzing Strike when attacking from stealth. They now use an NPC version of Assassinate instead.
* Basilisks’ Toxic Discharge, Scarab’s Septic Wound: These NPC abilities are now properly cleansable as Diseases.

* PvP Souls: Break Free: In addition to cancelling crowd control and movement impairing effects, Break Free now grants 5 seconds of immunity after being activated.
* Reaver, Void Knight, Paladin, Warlord: Fixed a bug causing AoE taunts to only trigger an 8 second cooldown with each other rather than the full shared 1-minute cooldown.

* Mana Shield: Fixed so this now works as described.

* Exhilaration: Now only triggers on damaging or healing Critical Hits.
* Power in Numbers: Corrected an issue where the second rank of this ability was not affecting aura abilities.

* Serpent Strike: Damage increased. Cooldown reduced from 10 seconds to 8 seconds.
* Impale: Damage increased.
* Assassinate: Damage increased.
* Backstab: Additional damage bonus from Attack Power increased to 100% from 50%. Ability base damage increased. Now has a 6 second cooldown.
* Murderous Intent: Fixed a bug where this was not giving the correct percentage increase to physical damage.
* Poison Malice: No longer causes stealth to break when activated.
* Hidden Veil: Reworded ability description.

* Cadence: Damage slightly reduced for ranks 2 through 10. Cadence will also correctly give 3 combo points instead of 2 when you have points spent in Expedited Wounds [Infiltrator].

* Backhanded Blow: Fixed a bug causing this to not deal extra damage per bleed on the target. Also properly affected by abilities that modify attack-point building attacks.
* Flesh Rip: Now correctly considered a bleed effect for other Beastmaster abilities. Also no longer incorrectly triggers a global cooldown.
* Removed the ‘Messy Wound’ effect that showed on the target’s debuff bar when they were critically hit by a pet.
* Protective Companion: Fixed a bug causing non-offensive polymorphs (such as several quest effects that disguise you) to break while this was active.
* Spoils of the Hunt: Should now heal correctly.

* Flash of Steel: The minimum required range to use this ability has been reduced to 3 meters from 8.
* Deadly Strike: Corrected an issue where rank 9 and 10 were both trained at level 42. Rank 10 of Deadly Strike is properly trainable at level 48.
* Quick Strike: Additional damage bonus from Attack Power increased to 100% from 50%. Ability base damage increased.
* Precision Strike: Additional damage bonus from Attack Power increased to 100% from 50%. Ability base damage increased.
* Mass Subdue: The damage from Mass Subdue will no longer trigger secondary effects like Serrated Blades or weapon poisons, and will no longer cause the incapacitation effect to break as a result of these secondary effects.
* Blade Tempo, Side Steps, Blade and Soul Parity, Double Coup, and Dualism: No longer cause stealth to break when activated.

* Distorted Shadows: Fixed rank 10 to do appropriate amounts of damage.
* Dark Water: Fixed the damage dealt per tick to match the intended total damage listed on the tooltip.

* Mark of Extermination: Effect now ends when the target dies.
* Intense Training: Fixed the incorrect soul tree display for the impact of Intense Training on Soldier’s Bearing, Slayer’s Bearing, and Destroyer’s Bearing.

* Living Shield: Fixed an issue where this was returning mana if the absorb shield was removed before it expired. Also correctly removes mana when it deals damage.
* Enduring Tether: The cooldown reduction granted by this ability is now reflected in the Soul Tether tooltip and affects it properly.

* Controlled Opportunity: In addition to its current functionality, this now also gives the next damaging ability used on the target a 100% chance to hit, but prevents that ability from critically hitting.

* Weight of the World: Fixed tooltip to properly indicate that healing is affected as well as damage.
* Friend of the Weald: Fixed tooltip to indicate that it also affects attack power contribution.

* Charged: Now properly affects ranks 8, 9, and 10 of Lightning Strike.
* Tempest: Corrected an issue where Tempest would apply inconsistently to AoE abilities.

* Focused Intent: No longer works against non-player targets.

* Sanction Heretic: The damage over time portion now has a separate name, Sanction, so it can be differentiated in combat logs.
* Life and Death Concord: Now has a 6-30% chance to proc and no longer has an internal cooldown. Utilizing the proc now gives Bolt of Depravity a 10 second cooldown after that cast.
* Armor of Treachery: Now increases Armor and Endurance.
* Armor of Devotion: Now increases Spell Power and Critical Hit.
* Armor of Awakening: Now increases spell damage by 5%, critical hit by 5%, and mana regeneration rate by 10%. Increases damage taken by 5%.
* Aggressive Renewal: Added a tick for a total of 4 intervals, increased the mana restored, and reduced the cooldown to 1 minute.

* Due to the below changes, characters with soul points spent in Marksman will receive a free soul point respec.
* Fire and Forget: Removed.
* Eradicate – New Ability: Available after spending 44 points in Marksman. Removes up to 2 buffs from the enemy target.
* Close Quarters Combat: Now a 1 point passive ability rather than an activated one. Now available as a 6th tier branch ability.
* Bull’s Eye: Now available as a 5th tier branch ability.
* Crossfire: Available after spending 26 points in Marksman.
* Sniper Training: Revised. Now increases the damage of Empowered Shot and Deadeye Shot by 5-15%.
* Controlled Fire: Removed.
* Improved Hit and Run: New ability available after spending 38 points in Marksman. Allows the execution of ranged attacks while moving; causes Empowered Shot and Deadeye Shot to become instant cast abilities, removes cooldown on Empowered Shot, and reduces the Energy cost of all Marksman abilities by 50%. Shares a cooldown with Hit and Run.
* Hit and Run: No longer causes stealth to break when activated.
* Rapid Extraction: Revised – it now reduces the cooldown of On the Double, Hit and Run, Improved Hit and Run, Bull’s Eye, and Retreat by 15-30%.
* Strafe: Now deals an additional 20% damage if you are standing on your Pedestal.
* Rapid Fire Shot: Revised. No longer adds a buff that increases your attack speed. Now a ranged damage finisher that fires 1 shot per combo point up to a maximum of 5 shots. 20 second cooldown.

* Corpse Explosion: Rank 3 now has a 10 second cooldown instead of 45 seconds.
* Blood Spike: Ability description now updates to reflect changes from Clattering Bones.
* Plague Bolt: Fixed an issue that allowed this to gain damage bonuses from other players’ stacks of Deathly Calling.
* Shadow Revenant: Ruination: No longer gains damage bonuses from Vengeful Spirit for stacks of Deathly Calling above 5 on the target.
* Soul Rend: No longer gains damage bonuses for stacks of Deathly Calling above 5 on the target.

* Heat Retention: Fixed an occasional issue where this wouldn’t always trigger when using a damaging ability that awards a combo point.
* Ebon Fury, Twilight Shelter, Twilight Transcendence: No longer cause stealth to break when activated.

* Balance of Power: Removed internal cooldown. Tip the Balance still has an internal cooldown.
* Improved Paladin’s Devotion: Now shows correctly reduced cooldown in tooltip and on the cooldown timer.

* Shifting Blades: The tooltip has been updated to better reflect that this ability is intended to be used with two-handed weapons or sword-and-shield builds.
* Deadly Grace: Fixed a bug causing this to trigger on every other Dual Strike, instead of on all of them.

* Ward of the Ancestors: Reduced cooldown to 3 seconds. Ward of the Ancestors cannot be cast again on the same target for 20 seconds.
* Caregiver’s Blessing: No longer triggers the global cooldown.

* Burning Bonds: Using this will no longer cause a pet to stop attacking an enemy if the Pyromancer has the Unbreakable Bonds ability.
* Ground of Strength: Now reduces damage received by 20% and reduces damage dealt by 10%.
* Fire Storm: Will no longer award Charge if an ability that blocks Charge generation is active. Updated description.
* Combust: Fixed an issue causing multiple stacks of the DoT effect to only deal the damage of one stack. This now works properly.

* Double Shot: Fixed a bug where this would cause Fang of the Life Lord to trigger.

* Power From the Masses: Now triggers off of any damaging ability used, rather than just AoEs.

* Planar Blade: Fixed a bug causing Planar Blade to not proc as much as was intended.
* Stonespear: The root from this ability should now break based on damage dealt to the rooted target.
* Fixed several issues that were causing Burst abilities to trigger out of order.

* Rift Disturbance: Now generates more threat than before.
* Planebound Resilience, Planar Refuge, Scatter the Shadows: No longer cause stealth to break when activated.

* Incriminate, Carpet Bombing, Rapid Setup: No longer cause stealth to break when activated.
* Spike Charge: The bleed effect from Spike Charge should now trigger the Blood Rage effect on your pet if you have soul points spent in Ranger’s Blood Rage.
* Combat log messages now appear when Energy is refunded for using Charges out of combat.

* Word of Hope: Now also increases the spell power bonus of Healing Breath by 2% + 1.5% per point spent in Sentinel above 36.

* Building Storm: Now gives a 100% critical damage bonus to Hypothermia-causing spells, up from 50%.
* Lightning Storm: Will no longer award Charge if an ability that blocks Charge generation is active. Updated description.
* Lightning Conductor: Now correctly affects ranks 9 and 10 of Thunderbolt, and rank 10 of Electrocute.

* Subdue: Now properly lowers damage against all targets.

* Pacts: Changed the way Pacts are spent. Abilities no longer consume all Pacts on the caster – they consume a set amount and their effects are modified by those Pacts consumed. This should allow Void Knights to strategize the use of Pacts while also keeping some in reserve when using abilities.
* Fusion of Flesh: Revised – now protects the Void Knight for 20% of their maximum health for each Pact consumed by the next 5 non-Physical hits over 30 seconds. Each non-Physical hit heals the Void Knight for 20% of their maximum health. Consumes up to 5 Pacts.
* Discharge: Revised – Now costs 2 Pacts. The first damage effect will remain the same and occur with 1 or 2 Pacts consumed; the second hit will scale based on how many Pacts the Void Knight spent. The overall damage of the ability should remain the same as the previous incarnation.
* Tempest: Moved to require 26 soul points, with additional ranks added. The first damage effect will occur regardless of how many Pacts are spent and is unchanged, while the second will scale based on how many Pacts were spent. The overall damage of the ability should remain the same as the previous version.
* Rift Shield: Now costs 5 Pacts. The overall absorption should remain the same, with the only change being that it doesn’t consume all Pacts available.
* Ravenous Strength, Ravenous Defense: Now apply and last as long as Pacts. Any abilities adding a Pact will add these, and anything that removes Pacts will remove them.
* Ragestorm: No longer incorrectly hits more than 5 targets.
* Insatiable Hunger: Fixed a bug causing this ability to take the value of the target’s weapon in calculation, rather than your own.
* Improved Rift Summon: Now shows correctly reduced cooldown in tooltip and on the cooldown timer.
* Quality Care: Fixed a bug causing Quality Care to trigger off of pre- and post-phase Warfront heals. Also fixed a typo in the ability description.
* Spell Sunder: Won’t incorrectly remove Distraction debuffs from the target.
* Accord of Emptiness – New ability: Reduces damage dealt by melee attacks by 20%, and non-physical attacks by 10%. Available with 50 points spent in Void Knight.
* Spellbreaker: will no longer remove the Reaver’s Binding of Atrophy. The debuff from Binding of Atrophy can now be removed.

* Devouring Shadows: Will no longer award Charge if an ability that blocks Charge generation is active. Updated description.

* No Permission to Die: Fixed a bug that could cause this to not actually heal the Warlord on ‘death’.
* Promise of Steel: Cooldown reduced from 10 seconds to 8 seconds.
* Call to Battle: Now also places a buff on the Warlord, Battle Caller, which increases their Attack Power. This buff stacks with Call to Battle and other raid-wide buffs.
* Call to Entrench: Now also places a buff on the Warlord, Entrenchment Caller, which reduces their damage taken. This buff stacks with Call to Entrench and other raid-wide buffs.
* Call to Regroup: Now also places a buff on the Warlord, Regroup Caller, which increases the threat they generate. This buff stacks with Call to Regroup and other raid-wide buffs.
* General’s Order – New Ability: Available with 51 points, this ability acts like Sergeant’s Order versus a group of up to 5 enemies.

* Zone bosses spawned by Ancient Wardstones in Scarlet Gorge, Scarwood Reach, and Droughtlands now display on the main map.

* The talking Raptors around Redoubt no longer have say text on aggro. Clever girls.
* You can no longer mount in the upper levels of Lantern Hook.
* Battle Royale: Gave the Arcane forces a bit more survivability.
* In the Name of Lantern Hook: The first quest objective now shares updates with a group.
* Scout and About: Adjusted map indicators.
* Clearing the Rest: Added map indicators to help with finding the Fleshrend Centaurs.
* In the Name of Lantern Hook: Updated quest text to better indicate that using the Standard is what summons Mongrok.
* Thwarting the Emberlord: Fixed an issue that could cause Morkael to get into a broken state. Also corrected the display of the sword-type quest reward to not look like an axe.
* Back to the Pit: Quest rewards corrected!
* Carrion’s Song: Increased Carrion’s respawn rate. The Flightsong ability now lasts twice as long, though it reduces Carrion’s damage output by 50% rather than 75%. Flightsong still hits Carrion like a truck. Reduced Carrion’s level from 43 to 42 to match the quest level.
* Words of the Damned: Added some visuals for being teleported around Redoubt Tower.
* NPCs at Brigand’s Bluff and Fallback now have levels appropriate to the surrounding content.
* Stormbrood Lair: Mob population now responds better to the level of player activity in the area.
* Hook and Crook, Grab and Go: You should now be able to continue on a scavenger hunt regardless of whether a new one has started.
* The Biggest Void: Reduced the amount of mana taken and damage done by Netharius’ Life Glutton ability. Netharius and his Summoned Nethers now deal less damage, and the Summoned Nethers have slightly less health.
* The Full Rundown, On the Hoof: The tooltip for Whirl of Speed now displays the correct duration of 6 seconds.

* Uncanny Box: Fixed an issue that could cause players to teleport to another tower in the Iron Fortress.
* Trial of Combat: Sir Olgedon should no longer be able to enter a broken state after being defeated in combat.

* A new zone event has been added to Iron Pine Peaks! Planar Chill – hold the Icewatch Bulwarks to defeat the forces of Crucia!
* Frozen Gauntlet: Visually improved and optimized this daily quest. Also made it update properly for all members of a group.
* You can now turn in Iron Pine Peak event dailies even when the corresponding event isn’t running.
* Shipment Triangulation: Fixed the icon for the Locator Device.
* Bitter Winds: Fixed some rare cases that could cause this quest to stop working.
* Redsnow Bodyguards no longer get so confused over who is Defiant or Guardian.
* Consequences of Neglect: You can now progress past the second objective of this quest.
* A Gathering Storm: Added map markers to the second and third kill objectives.
* An Unbearable Burden: Fixed several issues with the debuff applied during this quest.
* Defiants that die near Choke Water no longer respawn at the Guardian resurrection point there.
* Jengri Blackfoot can no longer be helped repeatedly by Savik and Kric.
* Moved a few artifacts that were impossible to reach or iced over.

* Garad Nallam, the primary planar merchant in Meridian, now has the appropriate ‘Planar Goods’ merchant title.

* Added a porticulum to Reclaimer’s Hold.
* Honor Them: Quest now grants updates for the entire group.
* Mistfall Monsters: This quest now has map locators for both objectives.
* Memories of the Past: Fixed incorrect tagging mobs for corpse scanning.
* Wild Element: Fixed an issue causing Bound Sobeks to incorrectly grant credit for this quest.
* Tormented Minds: Fixed Veiled Nightmares not being attacked by guards.
* The Key to it All: This quest now gives more accurate instructions.
* The Relics of Bahralt: Abyssal Thieves should no longer mount more than one ambush in each location.
* A Holy Remedy: Fixed an issue that caused a few of the Sickly Dwarves to be incurable on this quest.
* Death’s Embrace: Sped up the respawn of Abyssal Focusers.
* His People’s Shield: Updated quest visuals to have a physical form for those with lower settings who can’t see the visual effects.

* Assassination attempts have become so frequent that they no longer stun Cyril. Cyril, Borrin, and Shyla now have boss-style immunities, including against interrupts.
* Quartermaster Melke, the primary planar merchant in Sanctum, now has the appropriate ‘Planar Goods’ merchant title.

* The Living and the Dead: The Uythradge Eye will now dismount players.
* Spared Parts: Reduced the respawn time of Elemoil.
* Broke Down Bahlmus, Spared Parts: The modified DX-27 will now drop the Carmintium Belt for all party members.
* An Unlikely Initiate: Fixed an issue that could cause Agogag’s cage door to close instead of open.
* Strange Brew: Noxious Fumes debuff is now less obnoxious. It shouldn’t get stuck on you.
* Crushing the Constructs: Increased respawn rate of quest targets and flagged additional mobs in the area to count toward this quest.
* Rift: Basilisk Den: This rift should no longer claim to be ‘Minor’ when it’s really full of super strong creatures.

* Added a respawn point, resurrection NPC, and Healer just outside of Trollblight Caverns to alleviate rage caused by dying in the cave and having to run back from Perspice.
* The undead population of Granitewood Crossing should be a little less punishing.
* An Innocent Condemned: The Cage Key can now be looted by all members of a group.
* Proof of Concept: Now with 100% more Reliquary sealability.
* Recovering the Unknown: Fixed map marker to show actual quest objective area.
* Can You Hustle?: Quest objectives no longer require you to complete them sequentially.
* Honest When Dead: Fixed missing map marker.
* Wrongfully Buried: Elysia Raymund now offers this quest only to Defiants.
* Rift: Eaters of the Dead: The Flesh Mound for this event should no longer fail to spawn.
* Rift: In the Ground: Elite mobs should no longer spawn throughout this entire Rift.
* Draylo Fuzzchin’s supply of Greater and Mighty Mana Potions has finally run out.
* Risen Channelers in Granitewood Crossing no longer have a knockback attack and had their damage output reduced by 20%.

* Foiled Plans: Players in Hazeed’s Cave waiting to take on Hazeed will no longer be teleported out when another player defeats him.
* Miracle of Modern Magic: The quest marker for Fibrous Reeds should show a more accurate area.
* Pillaged Goods: This quest now requires only 7 Confiscated Sourcestones instead of 10.
* Turn the Hourglass: Quest objective should now increment more reliably.
* Foiled Plans: Fixed a rare issue where the Enthralled Stonemaw would fail to die during this quest.
* Making a Deal: This quest now displays a map locator for both objectives.
* Assistance from the Dead: You can now re-awaken mobs for this quest if your initial target is killed by someone else.
* Ritual Rescue: Fixed this quest for Dragonslayer Covenant dailies.
* The bridge in Gildstone Sanctum can now be crossed after completing the quests ‘The Prize and the Power’ and ‘Strike the Earth’.
* The Pulsing Grit buff can no longer be purged from Akala’s minions.
* Sandstone Brutes in Gnawbone Valley will no longer hide in walls.
* Players running the Low Quality Renderer should find it much easier to complete the Shimmersand Puzzle.
* A Crafter’s Lament: Quest now grants credit to all members of a group.
* The Inmate Disguise will now display on the quest sticky for the following quests in the Flatyard: Slither the Voice, Welcome to the Yard, A Man Who Can Get Things, The Mastermind, Loose Ends, and Final Preparations.
The Kobold members of The Wanton in Firesand Desert now drop Ritual Firebrands.
* Removed the prerequisite quest for Ritual Firebrands.
* Zone Event: Wind and Wings: Corrected the progress text.

* The Vigil’s Shield: Tweaked the mechanics of this quest slightly for playability.
* Lord of the Fae: Makirn will not respawn so quickly if there is no one nearby on the quest.

* A new zone event has been added to Stillmoor! An Eye for an Eye – gather shadestone to summon your own champion in order to defeat Gogalab the Pox Bringer!
* Ruston is now a potential invasion location for Defiant invaders.
* Stillmoor got a bit less stingy – daily quests now award notoriety comparable to other end-game zones.
* Guardian players that were eligible but did not receive the Marshal Kain storyline rewards (a Necrotic Semblance or Necrotic Rage essence) should seek out Sergeant Coda at Thalin Tor.
* Abominable Reconnaissance: Removed the use time on manifests to make them a bit easier to click on while also fending off abominations.
* Master and Wolf: Improved respawn time of quest targets.
* Following the Light/The Light that Leads: The Retreating Instincts ability now makes the targeted wisp unattackable. Additionally, the polymorph it puts on your character can now be clicked off.
* In a Quiet Place/Where the Dead Rest: Fixed an issue that could cause the Obrivic Sentinel to not return to his original location after being kited away, or remaining hostile to players.
* Dark Discoveries: Increased the drop rates on the Abominations slightly.
* Dirty Job: Adjusted the visual effects that appear when near the Blessed Weapons so they are more visible and last longer.
* Sniffing Them Out: Coyotes should now properly spawn when requested.
* The Past: Added more clues and adjusted the location of existing clues to make this quest easier. Added another Cooking Fire nearer to Tigram Stillstep for luring Gunder away. Spawn rate of Stillstep Lackeys reduced.
* Drugon Khaliknos now respawns more quickly.
* The Hunt Rages On: The named mobs for this quest now respawn much more quickly.
* The Big Three, The Dead Ringers: Reduced respawn times on targets of these quests.
* Decreased respawn times on some daily quest targets in Stillmoor.
* The Endless Citadel should be slightly easier to fight through – especially for those who use mana to dispatch their enemies.

* Taking the Trog for a Walk: Goorn should now properly reset when a player abandons this quest.
* The Smoldering Tormentors of Rock Ridge have grown more numerous!
* The Last Valley: Centius respawns more quickly.
* Stealing Glory: Only players on this quest should receive Soul Essence.
* Extra Strength Relief: The Fluid Injector now dismounts players at the start of use.
* Gnarvul, Questing Overseer, and XT-300 have now been sighted by reliable sources in Stonefield.

* If players log out while in a raid, as long as one member is still actively online the raid will be kept and offline members shown as Disconnected.
* The health of general population mobs in Expert Dungeons has been reduced.
* Greenscale’s Blight and River of Souls now have closer respawn locations.
* Many bosses have had a pass done to bring them in line with their intended difficulty, and to make them more fun for melee damage characters in general. In a number of cases, some encounters were more challenging than intended. These changes should also help with forming appropriately matched groups through the upcoming Looking for Group system.

* Kaler Andrenos: Kaler’s Ice Geyser now deals Water damage.
* Expert: Calyx now resets if pulled off of his platform. A blocking wall is also activated at the start of the encounter.
* Expert: Renthar should be less likely to chain high damage abilities on a single target.

* Gronik: Slightly reduced the amount of power Gronik gains over time.
* Cyclorax now uses mana.
* Expert: Adjusted the encounter space around Ryka Dharvos so the lasers can’t be so easily avoided.

* Expert: Glubmuk’s Poison Bolt should not hit characters fewer than 6 meters from him.
* Expert: Scarn’s Wind Buffet no longer ignites smoldering bones.
* Scarn’s Smoldering Bones stay on fire longer.
* Incinerator Gerbik now uses mana.
* Non-boss NPCs in Darkening Deeps no longer count toward quests requiring dungeon boss kills.

* Kaleida: Reduced the radius of her crystals’ AoEs substantially.

* Oludare: Fixed the targeting method used by Oludare so he won’t turn to face a new target while cleaving or rear-kicking (in the face).

* Expert: Sparkwing learns to use his ranged abilities. It’s super-effective.

* A number of new Relic quality weapons have been added to Greenscale.
* Prince Hylas: Slightly reduced the absorption amount of Spiritual Barrier.
* Prince Hylas: Modified the amount of damage increased by Avenging Wrath.

* Expert: Players immune to knockback will no longer be immune to Totek’s Ancient Fury.
* Expert: Bonelord Fetlorn’s Boiling Marrow no longer affects pets.
* Guardians now respawn next to the Messenger of the Vigil.

* Expert: General mob populations have been reduced by a few pulls.
* Expert: Immunity to knockback no longer prevents damage from Konstantin’s spikes.
* Expert: Konstantin’s Cleaving Strike now has a proper effect radius.
* Expert: Konstantin’s Mathosian Fury displays an on-screen warning before use.
* Expert: Players within 3.5 meters of Konstantin receive a 20% damage bonus.

* Expert: General mob populations have been reduced by a few pulls.
* Chillblains: Fixed the targeting on the Elemental spawn, which was not working reliably.
* Luddoghan: Made some adjustments to prevent his ground goo from targeting the tank.

* Rictus: Adjusted how Rictus uses his abilities and reduced some of the associated stuns and stun durations.
* Expert: There is now a text warning when Eliam gains Dark Fury.

* Greater Essences that can be equipped simultaneously now stack properly with each other. Previously, a few cases of matching elemental type Greater Essences would sometimes conflict. Now, if you can equip both in the same Focus, you receive the benefits and effects of both Essences.
* Unique-Equip Families have been removed from most Greater Essences; you should now be able to equip any Greater Essences together. Planar Lenses still share a unique-equip family (you can only have one Lens equipped at a time).
* Added description text to the Lute and Flute artifact merchant items.
* Strength-type random essence containers should no longer give out underleveled essences.
* Cult Saga quest reward helms for Mages and Clerics have their Hit replaced with Focus.
* The Pyroblade from Fall of Lantern Hook is now a bind on pickup item.
* Royal Ruby Charm: Melee Critical Hit is now Spell Critical Hit on this item.
* Sandwarden’s Robe: Changed Spell Critical Hit to Spell Power on this item to differentiate it from Robe of the Last Ritual.
* Whip-Worn Britches are now called Whip-Worn Boots and should have the correct appearance when worn.
* Petrifying Rune: The root proc effect now breaks on damage.
* A number of mysterious items no longer drop with no apparent use (Diviner’s Frond, Sublimated Stone, etc). They may make a reappearance someday!
* Scotty’s Research Papers are no longer Soulbound and have an appropriate sell price.
* The Rare Essences, ‘Marching Flood’ and ‘Battle Tide’ are no longer Soulbound when acquired.
* The ability on Divine Defender will now trigger properly, instead of not at all.
* Warmaster’s Hammer: Spell Critical Hit removed and replaced with more Parry.
* Totem of Overgrowth: Healing from this item now correctly displays in the combat log.
* Titan’s Eternal Band now properly has Focus instead of Hit.
* Martyr’s Fist now has a chance to deal an additional 90 Life damage, instead of claiming to restore mana – which it never did.
* The Crystallized Fire Elemental essence sold in Fortune’s Shore has been removed and replaced with a new Greater Essence. Existing Crystallized Fire Elemental essences will not be changed.
* The effects of Sacred Heirloom of Eth and Totem of Overgrowth have had their chance of triggering with Area Effect abilities decreased, and their chance of triggering on single target abilities increased. These also now only trigger from the first tick of a heal over time spell.
* Lich-Skin Jerkin and Battlemaster’s Jerkin can now be sold to vendors.
* Wand of Charred Earth: Changed Melee Critical hit to Spell Critical hit.
* Night Leather Jerkin now has Attack Power rather than Spell Power.
* Scorching Blade of Talos: Now properly has Spell Power.
* Fang of the Life Lord: Updated tooltip to clarify that the user is healed for the damage caused.
* Aelfwar Conspirator’s Signet will now properly display in combat logs, and has a more informative tooltip.
* A number of offhand books and skulls have their appearances fixed.
* Several shields were improperly set to be equippable by both Warriors and Clerics, including: Bulwark of the Dragon, Arbiter’s Defense, Prince’s Crest, Aegis of Souls. These have been corrected.
* Despoiled Band was not able to be equipped by anyone; now it can be equipped by anyone. Oh, and it also has a correctly spelled name.
* Hand of the Eviscerator now triggers properly.
* The Fleshreaper now triggers properly.
* Verdant Archbow should no longer proc on non-damaging abilities.
* Arcane Hand Icon should no longer trigger when using Sacrifice Life: Mana or other non-hostile spells. It also now triggers only on the target of the ability that caused it to proc.
* Helmet of Transgressions is now Warrior-only.
* Mortuous Shadestone should proc more reliably now.
* Bahralt’s Symbol of Justice, Thedeor’s Symbol of Retribution, and Thontic’s Amulet of Discovery: Replaced Hit with Focus on these items.
* The cooldown on Unseen Insignia will now continue to count down while you are offline.
* Battlemaster’s Jerkin now has real stats.
* Fervent Shadestone Necklet and Mighty Shadestone Necklet now have Focus instead of Hit.
* The axe ‘Shadefall’ now has Endurance rather than Wisdom.
* Grand Bauble of Brilliance now has the correct icon and appearance.
* Waylon’s Ring has been resized so it fits as a ring instead of a necklace.
* Buckley’s Necklace is now an actual necklace instead of a ring. Increased stats to bring it in line with other neck items.
* Brilliant Shadestone Amulet now has Focus instead of Hit.
* Shroud of Anti-Life now sorts under the proper Auction House category.
* Spectral Horse items are no longer Unique.
* Essence: Watertouched Soulstone: Updated the ability description.
* Essence: Elementalist Sourcestone: Now works as described.
* The Quicksilver Yearbook now requires being equipped to trigger.
* The essence Beholden Target now correctly has Attack Power instead of Spell Power.
* Ancient Ironwood Staff now has Endurance instead of Dexterity.
* Faeguard Belt has its Block changed to Parry, as Rogues do not generally block.
* Many Expert Dungeon and Raid loot items had no sell value – this has been corrected.
* Changed the name of the dropped cash item, Shimmering Powder, to Glittering Powder to avoid duplicating the name of the Epic Runecrafting ingredient, Shimmering Powder.

* New weekly crafting quests have been added for all six production skills. Each awards a plaque as well as a Rift Lure that can be used to open a ‘Crafting Rift’ (details above).
* The recipe window now has a Search feature! Search recipe names, ingredient names, equipment slots, and Rune ‘usable on’ slots for recipes that your character knows. You can also filter by the type of modification a Rune provides (Strength, Spell Power, etc).
* For each production skill, one Master workorder has been bumped up to 250 minimum skill instead of 230.
– Order of Mathos Workorder: Mighty Bottle of Critical Strikes has been changed to Workorder: Mighty Healing Tonic, which does not include Pristine Distillate as an ingredient, and requires 250 skill to receive this quest.
– Icewatch Workorder: Radiant Rage Runeshards now requires 250 skill to receive this quest.
– Icewatch Workorder: Soulbind Leather Shoulders now requires 250 skill to receive this quest.
– Dragonslayer Covenant Workorder: Carmintium Sabatons has been changed to require Carmintium Pauldrons, and requires 250 skill to receive this quest.
– Dragonslayer Covenant Workorder: Carmintium Longsword has been changed to require Carmintium Stilettos, and requires 250 skill to receive this quest.
* Armorsmithing Workorders that duplicated the required items from other workorders of the same rank have been updated – in most cases this means a Sabaton Workorder now asks for Boots instead.
* Workorder: Basic Healing Tonics and Workorder: Mighty Healing Tonics (previously Mighty Bottle of Critical Strikes) are no longer set as level 1 quests.
* Exquisite Cloth, Light Downy Cloth, and Tough Silken Cloth now only drop for Outfitters.
* Slightly increased the drop rate of all crafting quest items. In addition, they can now be found on a wider variety of mobs and resource nodes.
* The description for the quest ‘A Peerless Leather’ now refers to the correct quest objective items.
* Bottle of Spellstrikes and Bottle of Critical Strikes now trigger the effect ‘Bitter Aftertaste’, which prevents another such potion from being used for 60 seconds.
* Redistributed some ingredients in Runecrafting recipes! The changes are as follows:
-Unwavering Rune recipes now use Perpetuals in their recipes instead of Sentience Runecrafting materials.
-Resolute Rune recipes now use Perpetuals in their recipes.
-Recondite Runeshard recipes now use Sentiences instead of Kinetics.
-Potent Rune recipes now use Perpetuals instead of Kinetics.
* Recipes for Quicksilver Bow and Hunting Bow now require only 1 Core each.
* Fine Leather Shoulders now require Fine Leather instead of Reinforced Leather.
* Enchanted Cores and Evergreen Cores can now be found in both Silverwood and Freemarch.
* The following crafted items are no longer Unique-Equip: Ebony Hatchet, Darkmetal Scepter, Orichalcum Ritual Blade, Darkmetal Sword, Divine Defender, Orichalcum Mace, Eviscerator, Damascus Shiv, Damascus Saber, Band of Crystallized Mana, and Titan’s Signet.
* Smoldering Runeshards have been renamed to Smoldering Runes.
* Updated any references to Windstealing Rune to say Windshielding Rune. This recipe is now purchasable from Quartermaster Ciaba with the requirement of Storm Inquisition notoriety.
* The scroll for Recipe: Medium Leather Hood was previously Epic, though the crafted item was Uncommon. This has been corrected so the recipe scroll shows Uncommon rarity.
* Plaited Silver Ring has been renamed to Plaited Cinerium Ring.
* Death Warding Potions have been renamed to Unholy Warding Potions.
* Glowing Wrathful Rune now displays its name correctly after being applied
* Fixed a typo where Honed Demon Horn mentions parry. This reference has been removed. Like other versions of the Demon Horn augment, Honed Demon Horn only award Attack Power and Dexterity.
* Jagged Lightstone now sorts properly under ‘Gems’ for auctions.
* Recipe: Exalted Bottle of Tricks: Now requires notoriety with the Arcane Hand, who sell the recipe.
* Darkcloth Belt, Conditioned Leather Boots, and Conditioned Leather Jerkin now sort under the appropriate categories in the Recipe window.
* A number of items from Dungeons and Raids were not able to be Salvaged or Runebroken. Now all dropped equipment in Expert Dungeons or Raids should be salvageable or runebreakable.
* The following items now Salvage correctly: Silver Choker, Lariat, and Pendant; Gold Chain, Choker, Gorget, and Lariat; Fine Platinum Chain; Platinum Choker, Gorget, and Necklace.
* Tweaked node respawn rates in Shimmersand, Moonshade, Scarlet Gorge, Scarwood Reach, Iron Pine Peak, and Stillmoor. Adjusted respawn rates and frequency of Orichalcum, Shadethorn, and Twilight Bloom.
* Fixed miscellaneous Butchering issues: Telthaeus in Stillmoor can now be butchered for proper loot. Blackhorn Grazers and other Cattle mobs (with the exception of critters) can be butchered. Sloptongue mobs no longer require 215 butchering, which was way above level, and have been adjusted accordingly.
* Fixed a variety of typos on items, augments, tooltips, and recipes.

* PvP Souls have been moved from the rank 2 PvP merchants in Meridian and Sanctum, and are now on the General Favor Quartermasters.
* Across-the-board improvements for PvP rewards and dailies.
* Rank 5 weapons have been moved to the rank 4 vendor, and had their names and prices updated.
* Rank 6 weapons are now available for purchase.
* The effectiveness of Valor has been updated. The numerical values have changed, but you will still gain 2% reduction per level up to 50.
* Complete PvP armor sets now give the following Valor:
– Rank 1 and 2: 15%
– Rank 3 and 4: 22.5%
– Rank 5 and 6: 30%
– Blazing Valorous Rune: 50 Valor – 2%.
– Radiant Valorous Rune: 25 Valor – 1%.
* Stat distribution for all PvP armor sets have been updated to be a bit more competitive with Expert Dungeon and Raid sets.
– Boots, Gloves, and Rings that were previously rank 2 no longer require a rank to purchase or equip.
– New items have been added to make a rank 1-2 set comparable to the tier 1 dungeon merchant sets.
– New Boots, Gloves, and Rings have been added to the rank 3-4 sets, and their quality has been upgraded to be comparable to tier 2 dungeon merchant sets.
– Favor costs have been updated on many items across rank 1 through 4 sets.
* Increased the experience, coin, prestige, favor, and notoriety awarded from completing Warfront daily quests.
* Increased the Notoriety awarded for Warfront outcomes. Wins award 250, Ties award 150, and Losses award 100.
* Also increased the amount of Prestige and Favor awarded for losses or ties in Warfronts.
* The range for receiving rewards from kills in Warfronts now includes the entire zone.
* The Battle for Port Scion: Infiltrators using Step Into the Shadows will lose their grip on Sourcestones.
* Updated The Battle for Port Scion Notoriety rewards:
– Eldritch Vanguard Steed and Noble Guard Valmera no longer have a Notoriety requirement and can be purchased from the General Favor Quartermasters.
– Friendly-rank necklaces have been upgraded to Epic items.
– Decorated-rank rings have been upgraded and now require Honored to purchase.
– Revered-rank weapons have been moved down to Decorated. Two-handed Warrior weapons are now available.
– Eldritch Vanguard Warsteed and Noble Guard Armored Valmera can now be purchased at Revered.
– New consumable helm Runes are now available at Glorified.
* PvP Quests: Securing the Port and Relentless Assault now only update when winning matches in The Fall of Port Scion.

* Keep Your Enemies Close: Now specifies the proper ability.
* We Three Kings: Fixed a case where Derribec wasn’t always giving proper credit for being the last alive.
* There Will be Blood: Fixed an issue where credit was not properly being awarded.
* Rapid Assault: Abyssal Precipice: Fixed so this achievement is not always awarded, even when the criteria has not been met. Characters who had received it while not actually completing the required task will have this achievement removed.
* Spikeless: Now gives credit only to the player completing the achievement rather than the whole party.
* The Silent Vigil: Achievement can now be gained by Defiants.
* Champion of the Droughtlands, Droughtlands Hunter: Guardians should now be able to achieve these.
* Baron It All: Now displays under the proper category and gives achievement points.
* Look Into the Light: Now functions as intended.
* Melted Sludge: Should properly give credit.
* Avoiding Death’s Grasp: Now properly gives credit and has an updated description.
* Back In the Bottle: Time limit reduced to 100 seconds to match the encounter.
* Pressure Cooker: Updated the description text and made it so you can actually get credit for this achievement.
* The achievements ‘Thwarting Their Plans’, ‘On the Hunt’, and ‘Stillmoor Days, Mathosian Knights’ could potentially not credit properly if the associated quests were completed as a group. If you were caught by this, you’ve now been credited with the appropriate achievement. It will also work properly for those yet to complete them.


* Fixed a bug that could cause incorrect animations to play when stacking polymorph effects.
* Improved quality of shadows.
* Fixed an issue causing visual effects to occasionally streak across the screen.
* More natural-looking character skin.
* Improved the appearance of Water Elementals and Living Oceans.
* Updated sounds for High Elf and Kelari males.
* Various ability sound fixes based on user bugs and feedback.
* Voiceover audio should no longer continue to play after you have logged out or teleported.
* Improved rendering of ghostly characters.
* Touched up audio for Paragon and Justicar abilities.
* Attack sounds for weapon-based melee attacks should come through a bit more clearly.

* Tab-targeting now skips hostile players if you are not PvP flagged and have the PvP Auto Flag option turned off.
* You can now use the ESC key when typing in chat while the respawn countdown window is active.
* If all nameplates are disabled in your settings, pressing Ctrl+U will only toggle the UI.
* Added the @mouseoverui macro argument to supplement @mouseover; @mouseoverui will oly select from UI elements and never pick targets when not moused over a UI selection.

* Adjusted window size and panels.
* Browse: Moved Results field to the bottom of the window. Reduced size of Category filter dropdowns.
* Auction: Added a checkbox to set the same price as an existing auction on new auctions.
* You can now filter results by Item Rarity, Calling, Lesser or Greater Essence types, Min or Max Buyout Price.
* All tabs can be sorted by stack size.
* The Auction and Bids tab can be sorted by unit price.
* Clicking a text field on the Auction UI now highlights existing text in that field.
* Pressing the ENTER key when creating an auction now creates that auction.
* You can now price an auction you are creating by buyout price or unit price.
* You can now automatically set the starting price to be the same as the buyout price when creating an auction.
* Auction prices now always display the Bid amount above the Buyout amount, and the location of the Bid amount does not move if there is no Buyout set.

* Group and Raid overhead arrows, map icons, nameplates, and ground reticules are now all blue to maintain consistency, instead of mixed colors.
* A blue "X" now distinguishes your own map waypoint target from others in your group.
* When departing a guild and joining a new one, your member notes and officer notes will be reset.
* An option has been added to the Raid window (default key: Y) to lock raid frames from being moved outside of Edit Layout mode.
* The Guild MOTD text box now allows you to type in it even when other things are updating in the guild UI window.
* Added more specific error text when trying to trade with a character that is out of trading range.
* Splitting stacks of items in your inventory now brings up a count window showing the total stack size instead of always displaying one less than the full stack amount.
* The Spell Power tooltip also explains that it increases outgoing healing.
* A dropdown has been added under Misc settings to change/add a modifier key to activate the right-click context menu in game, or to disable it entirely.
* Raid markers can now be seen on player, target, target of target, and focus target frames.
* Fixed an issue where icons, particularly arrows, on the edge of the minimap would show in the wrong location.
* Waypoints are now cleared when changing characters or leaving the main world map (i.e. entering Warfronts).
* Fixed some quest highlighting bugs when opening, closing, or scrolling through the Quest Journal.
* The Class Mechanic UI now updates size when changing the global scale, rather than waiting until your next role change.
* The ‘only show my debuffs’ setting now only applies to targets that you can harm.
* The ‘show all party buffs’ filter now applies to frames other than just the party frames for party members.
* Added a new minimap filter to show High Level Quests.
* Fixed a bug causing the 2D Scrolling Combat Text to appear in an incorrect location when playing at resolutions wider than 2000 pixels.
* You may now track artifact set progress on-screen much like quests.
* Sending an in-game mail message now attempts to auto-complete the subject line based on recently typed subjects.
* Fixed a bug preventing ability tooltips from displaying when mousing over a buff icon on the target or pet portraits.
* The crafting window should no longer reset the scroll bar position randomly while you have it open – same with the skill and soul training windows.
* The Auction House now shows "Apothecary" rather than "Alchemy" when searching recipes.
* The middle mouse button can now be properly bound to the ‘look behind’ function.
* Video capture now stops when resizing the game window.
* Party member portraits now show a Role icon next to the player name.
* Mail expiration text in the mailbox now says "Expires in X days" rather than just "X days from now".
* Player mouseover tooltips now show the character’s Role if you are grouped with them.
* Fixed bank bags that wouldn’t always save their positions on your screen.
* You may now hide your character’s shoulder armor in much the same way as the Hide Helmet option works.
* The Notoriety panel of the character window now lets you view more than one notoriety group at a time.

* While waiting in a server queue, you can now click the Settings button to change game settings.

A Grain of Salt

It is with some reservation that I make this post.  Always in the past I have tried my best to get verification from either Trion directly, or multiple sources before posting anything.  I plan on continuing this tradition, but this little nugget is so near and dear to my heart that I simply cannot resist sharing the info.  Namely I have to think Rilgon for tipping me off about this.

Knocking Out Number Five

Awhile back I made a post entitled “Five Things I Wish Rift Had” in which I outlined the features from other games that I most wanted in Rift.  As various commenter’s mentioned I left out a few, but this was the list that was especially important to me.  The number 5 item on the list, was the inclusion of an appearance slots system.


Based on some chatter this morning on the rift forums, apparently this feature is now in on the Alpha shard.  The above image and some various nuggets of information was posted this morning by the player known as Festo.  This if true is a pretty amazing advancement in the game, and is one of the first bones thrown at role-players.  At this point there really is not a lot of information.

I titled this update “Grain of Salt” because this is exactly what we have to take this news with.  At this point there is been no verification from anyone within Trion that this feature is going into the game.  As the morning has gone on, and the original thread has grown in length, additional players have chimed in claiming that it is in fact on the Alpha Shard as Festo stated.

Original Post From Festo…0421090907.jpg
First extra wardrobe costs 10p, next costs 50p, last probably costs 100p, I didn’t have enough plat to find out for sure.

Post From Lilliemunster Clarifying Pricing

1st slot (Free)
2nd – 10p
3rd – 25p
4th – 50p
5th – 100p

So based on this smattering of information from two players combined it appears that the system will give all players a single wardrobe slot for free.  Then much like bank tabs, or roles we can purchase the additional slots for a more expensive fee.  There is a bit of rumbling around the pricing being out of range, but in truth it seems about right for me.  In many games, you only have the option of a single appearance tab, so the ability to have multiple outfits that you can swap between is well worth the platinum sink.

We can only assume that if this feature does go live, it looks like it would go live with the rest of the confirmed 1.2 features.  So at this point, 1.2 is shaping up to be a very significant patch to say the least.  While I would have liked to have seen a guild bank in this patch, it is nice to at least have one feature off my wanted list.

Disclaimer Again

Just wanted to get this out here again.  At the time of posting this update, this feature has not been confirmed with by anyone at Trion.  So like every internet rumor take this one as questionable until we get official word.  However like I said, to me this is a very major feature, so I wanted to get this info up asap.  I know for alot of my readers, this too was a major feature.  I did take the time to read through the user Festo’s post history on the Rift forums, and based on the frequency and type of posts they seem as reliable as anyone is.  However, still proceed with caution until we get an announcement on this one.

Damming the River: Hotfix 19

Throwing up a quick post to get this information out there to those readers that have been relying on this site for their patch notes (I know I have a few).  Today the patch we have all be expecting is dropping.  Basically for all intents and purposes this shuts off the River of Souls event. 

The vendor will still be available for a few days so that folks can make purchases, but the items from the rifts and invasions have stopped dropping.  This also brings into play the “consolement” package that Scott Hartsman spoke about last saturday.  So when we all get home tonight, and log in we should have waiting in our mailbox the following…

Symbol of Purity – This item starts a quest you can complete to obtain

  • 250 Otherworldly Sourcestone
  • 1x – Purified Treasure Cache – Contains a random chance of obtaining one of the special world drop event rewards from the day of the event
    • Common – Grave Goods Bag -Unique 20 Slot Bag (NEW ITEM)
    • Uncommon – Shroud of Anti-Life – Lorn non combat Polymorph
    • Rare – Nimble Spectral Horse – 90% Speed Mount
    • Ultra Rare – Swift Spectral Warhorse – 110% Speed Mount
  • Shadetouched Weapon Cache – The starter item for the Rare Death weapon quests. You can choose whichever level appropriate one you’d like.
  • The following two Achievements, since not everyone who was (or wanted to be) present was able to obtain them.
    • Grim Hero
    • Grim Protector

Now for the actual Hotfix patch notes.  The original posting can be found here.

Hotfix #19: 4/20/11

* Expect mailbox delivery of your River of Souls Event Reward Pack shortly after this update hits your shards, for each character that existed prior to the River of Souls Phase 2 start point – see the River of Souls World Event Wrapup thread on the General Discussion forum for more details on the reward pack itself.
* River of Souls event merchants will remain available for several more days to give you time for last-minute purchases. These will eventually be removed, so don’t delay too much!
* The River of Souls daily quests have been removed now that the event has concluded.
* Characters are now required to be level 50 to enter the River of Souls raid zone.
* Discordant Pillar can no longer drop loot.
* Plutonus: Adjusted the placement of the ‘lightning fence’ during the latter phase of this encounter.
* Plutonus: Thundering Fists no longer reduces Death damage dealt by Plutonus.
* Alsbeth now spends a bit less time on the ground between air phases.
* Shadetouched Weapon Caches have been renamed so players can tell which cache awards what level of items.
* Swift Spectral Horse from River of Souls Raid has been renamed to Swift Soulbound Charger.
* Swift Spectral Warhorse from River of Souls Raid has been renamed to Swift Soulbound Warhorse.

* Dueling works again.
* Fixed loot windows from accidentally closing, causing you to lose out on items.
* NPCs that can fly in the air no longer get stuck unable to cast abilities.
* Corrected a badd typo in one display of the ‘Riftblade’ soul name.

* Resolved an issue where Distorted Shadows [Cabalist] and Shards of Light [Sentinel] could be exploited. These abilities should once again be available for use.
* Champion: Lingering Wounds: Fixed a bug causing this ability to stop applying.

* Prince Hylas: Should now reliably drop a full four pieces of loot.

* River of Souls event currencies and quest item drops will no longer appear.
* Due to outcry from the Telara Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Spectral Horses can no longer be Runebroken.
* Shroud of Anti-Life: Corrected the text in this item’s buff tooltip.

Rift Patch 1.2 Rundown

Well folks I still feel rather horrible, so once more you guys are going to have to get a minimal update.  At least some good happened along with the pain, I am posting this from my new laptop.  So far I am exceedingly happy with it.  Being able to run rift on 1080 with ultra settings, all the while my laptop stays cool and quiet is pretty amazing.  I probably would have skipped today were there not news to share.

Over the last few days there has been a good deal of information being released about the 1.2 patch.  Going to give a summary of what is coming down the pipe.

Class Balance Updates

The first bit of information is a series of posts regarding each of the classes.

Cleric Update

original posting

Greetings, Clerics of Telara. I’m Zinbik, the guy in charge of Clerics. I am here to discuss… THE FUTURE! Before I begin, I just wanted to thank everyone for their feedback so far. Whether in-game or here on the forums, we really appreciate any insight we can get as to how you’re perceiving the game. Now, on to the changes!

We’ve gotten quite a bit of feedback on the ranged DPS souls. For this next patch we’ll be focusing on the Inquisitor, working to make their DPS more reliable and comparable to other DPS souls.


  • Life and Death Concord is just too random. When it procs a lot, you’re having a blast! When it hardly procs at all, you want to strangle me. We really want to make this more reliable so their DPS isn’t so variable.
  • The Armor spells don’t offer much of a choice. You’ve got “the damage and defense one”, “the different damage and defense one”, and “the mostly useless one”. We’re going to change that into “the defensive one”, “the offensive one”, and “the big stick”.

The Healing souls have gotten a fair amount of feedback as well. Right now we’d like to focus on the Sentinel with a little Purifier love on the side, examining how we can make certain abilities more useful and interesting. Below are a few examples of these changes.


  • Healing Breath, while fantastic for a 0-point ability, just isn’t where we’d like it to be for those heavily specced into Sentinel. As long as its HPS is inferior to Healing Invocation, it just ends up being a liability when you try to use it on the tank in response to a minor damage spike or stun. We’d like to fix this, but only for those with a heavy investment into Sentinel.


  • Ward of the Ancestors is nice and all, but with its current setup ends up being something you only ever cast on the tank. We plan on lowering the cooldown, but adding a blocker to prevent you from casting it on the same person for the next 30 seconds. This allows you to use it on more targets without allowing one target to be shielded 100% of the time. Once we’ve had time to observe this change within the LIVE environment, we can evaluate the addition of scaling to absorption for a following patch.

Remember, just because I didn’t mention an issue here that you’re concerned with doesn’t mean we don’t share that concern. This is not an exhaustive list of changes that will be happening to Clerics this patch. We’ll be releasing more information when the ALPHA patch notes go live.

Mage Update

original posting

Hey everyone,

I have some information for you on some of the upcoming changes with the next patch. Most of the changes and fixes coming with this update have come from forum posts and feedback sent to us. While we’re always looking into issues and concerns of all sizes, those below are the ones with the largest impact that will be part of the 1.2 update.

First off, there will be a good number of fixes and updates. Among these are ones such as fixing the Pyromancer’s Combust so the effects now stack correctly, fixing the Elementalist’s Charged which wasn’t affecting the top ranks of Lighting Strike and several issues with weaker buffs overwriting stronger ones have also been resolved. We are also taking a look at pets and hope to resolve a number of the most reported pet bugs, such as pets no longer attacking after being stunned.

As many of you have been posting the Pyromancer ability, Ground of Strength, is an amazingly powerful ability. In many cases it is more powerful than it was intended to be, and as a result, is effectively the required choice as the mage PVP soul. It does need to be desirable, but also does need to have its power brought in line with its intended balance.

Another issue, that in many cases is connected with the Pyromancer, is the Dominator’s Controlled Opportunity. As many people have experienced, if you get Transmogrified by someone the next hit you take is really going to hurt. The main issue we found with this ability was critical hits on the target were receiving double bonuses, one from critically hitting and another from Controlled Opportunity, which generated much more damage than intended.

We looked into several possible changes that would help mitigate this while leaving Controlled Opportunity both useful and desirable. The change we have arrived at is having the damage bonus remain, and while an enemy is affected by the debuff the next ability used on them is guaranteed to hit and cannot be resisted but cannot critically hit. If when you attack an enemy with this debuff you are affected by an ability such as Nenvin’s Lament, which gives you a 100% chance to critically hit, your attack will hit the enemy and the Nenvin’s Lament buff will not be consumed until you attack again, preserving the special crit from Nenvin’s for the later attack.

Once we get closer to the patch day, a full list of the fixes and changes included with the patch will be available. We look forward to your feedback on all of the changes when the next update comes to the Test Server.

Rogue Update

original posting

To my fellow Rogues,

Thank you for posting your feedback and suggestions in the forums. I really appreciate your time and effort trying out various builds and sharing them with the both the community and us. Many of the changes we will be introducing in the next patch are a result of the community’s hard work and dedication to the calling.

As we all know, the Assassin is the cold-blooded killer who selectively picks his target and vanquishes his victim with ruthless efficiency. Unfortunately, they lack the punch we want them to have. As such we are looking to improve both their initial burst and their overall DPS over time. In addition we have been working on many of the Stealth bugs people have been reporting and we hope to get them fixed for the next patch.

While the Bladedancer is an excellent soul for soloing and brings some fantastic utility to the table, they are still not hitting the DPS goal we expect them to. As such, we are looking to tweak a number of their core abilities upwards to make sure the Bladedancer’s DPS is more in line with what we’d expect from a whirling dervish of destruction.

Finally for the Marksman, there are two areas of concern we are looking to address. Firstly, the Marksman’s overall DPS is not at a level we are happy with. Secondly, the Marksman is too reliant on the use of cooldowns to get the most out of its soul. With these in mind, we are reviewing their situational long cooldown abilities and DPS abilities with the intent of improving their overall performance and reducing the number of buttons players need to worry about.

Once again, thank you for all your feedback. The preview above is an outline of our intention for the upcoming patch and does not include a complete list of changes and fixes. More details will be added as we move closer to patch day.

Warrior Update

original posting

Hello all, we have been following the forums and feedback over the last few weeks and I wanted to take this opportunity to talk to you all about some changes we are looking to make to the Warrior souls with the upcoming patch. We picked through the feedback and looked over the souls and we decided to make some changes to a couple souls that are not quite fitting in like we want them to. The Void Knight and the Warlord.

The Void Knight has always been intended as the premier choice in tanking magical mobs but we don’t feel like it does that as well as we would like it to, so we are looking at several changes to help it fill that role. Just a couple examples, though not by any means everything we are looking at.

1) Giving them a new self buff that reduces the damage they take from non-physical melee attacks.
2) A revision of the Pacts system in which we are ending the practice of using a full Pact dump for each ability. The goal is to make them easier to use, easier to understand, and more balanced.
3) Fixing Fusion of Flesh to be more useful. This change will be independent to the bug currently affecting Rank 5.

We always wanted the Warlord to be a solid tank that could be useful in more situations. He currently fits a dual role of being a tank while bringing useful buffs to the table. Right now we are happy with their ability to buff their party, but we feel their ability to tank is below where we want it to be. Here a couple things we are working on to help change him into the tank we want him to be.

1) Giving him a new high level ability that acts as Sergeant’s Order but as an AOE, allowing him to pull in multiple enemies.
2) Taking a look at his tanking ability and seeing where we can make tweaks to help his mitigation out.

We also have a whole bunch of bugs we are fixing across all the souls and we look forward to being able to give you more detailed patch notes on these changes and bug fixes in the near future.

PVP Changes

original posting


We’ve gotten a ton of great feedback for PvP since we’ve gone live, so much that we’ve had quite a challenge weeding out which things we wanted to tackle first. Today I want to give everyone a preview of changes in our upcoming patch, as well as some hints as to where we are headed next.

Improving Reward Quality
There’s been a lot of concern about the quality of the Rank Sets, and the effectiveness that Valor has in PvP compared to the rewards from Tier 1 and 2 dungeons. With 1.2, you’ll find that Valor has received a significant boost, granting reduction in damage taken from Players. In addition we’ve also updated many of the PvP rewards. Here’s a few highlights:

• Retuning PvP items to have more offensive punch.
• Updated & added a number of items to Rank 1 & 2 that will be on par with T1 dungeons.
• Updated & added a number of items in Rank 3 & 4 so that this set is on par with T2 dungeons.
• Reduced the current Rank requirement for Rank 5 weapons to Rank 4, and introduced all new Rank 6 weapons that are on par with Epics from Raid dungeons.
• All Rank Set pieces can now be tinted.

Crowd Control
Crowd control continues to be an item we’re watching carefully. There is a fine line to walk between too much CC and CC being considered useless. With that in mind we’ll be making a few changes in the next patch:

• Increasing the window of time that Diminishing returns is effective, which should reduce the chances of being chain CC’d through an extended encounter.
• Adding a small immunity buff to Break Free in the PvP souls that way players are not immediately CC’d after using their abilities.

Warfront Notoriety
Another area of improvement slated for the next patch is improving the flow of Notoriety advancement so it’s more fun.

• Increased the notoriety rewards from warfronts and warfront related daily quests
• Updated the Notoriety rewards for Port Scion, with the goal of moving some of the better rewards to an earlier notoriety level so they are more in line with the new rank set progression

The above is the bulk of the changes we plan to release with our next patch. However there is no rest for the weary and we’re hard at work on adding some new PVP gameplay into RIFT. We’ll talk about this in more detail once we have things hammered out. That being said people should expect to hear more about things like PvP open world zone events, weekend events with alternate game mode warfronts, and PvP leaderboards & statistics soon!

Dungeon Changes

original posting

Hello my fellow Rifties. I want to give small preview to some of the planned changes to our Expert dungeons. Note: This is not a complete list there are plenty of other things that should be updated (such as various achievement bug fixes).
As I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, we’re generally happy with the overall difficulty but will be making a few adjustments for 1.2.
– Reduced Health on non-boss encounters
– Caelia the Stormtouched will be modified to be more understandable
– Gronik’s power gain will be nerfed
– Rictus ground target ability will be nerfed a bit
– Gatekeeper Kaleida will have the range of some of the crystal abilities reduced and will ignore line of sight
– Scarn’s smouldering bones will stay on fire longer
– Ice Talon and the Falconer will have their health pools slightly reduced
– King’s Breach Manticores will not instantly use their special abilities
– Shadehorror Phantasm will no longer spawn minions on pets

We will also be making some particular changes to make some encounters more melee balanced
– Ragnoth’s whips have reduced range, duration, and effectiveness
– Fae Lord Twyl will no longer have any ‘safe’ locations
– Sparkwing’s PBAE will have a reduced range. His chained bolt will now work properly on ranged targets.
– Konstantin’s cleave will no longer be 360 degrees. Players that are in melee range will get a damage bonus.
– Glubmuk’s poison bolt will no longer hit melee.
– Chillblains’ elementals will no longer prefer to spawn on the closest targets
– Queen Valnara’s ground effect she drops on her location will hurt less.
– Ouldare’s special abilities will share a cooldown.
– Luggodhan’s goo will no longer target the tank

The Wrap-up

Looks to be a lot of good and needed changes coming down the pipes.  These are a few days old but collecting them all in one post.  Hopefully soon the antibiotics will kick in and I will feel like writing up some of the various things I have floating around in my head.

Admitting You’re Wrong Is Awesome

Well this weekend was kind of horrendous for the aggronaut.  I am still in a lot of pain from my previously mentioned ailments.  One of my good gamer friends happens to be a doctor elsewhere in the country.  So prior to today I had simply been following her directions.  At the urging of my wife however I mad a second attempt at getting in to see the doctor, and was successful.

The positive that the doctor doesn’t think it is nearly as dire as originally planned.  The negative is, it is still a major infection that several days worth of powerful antibiotics will hopefully clear up.  As a result, since I am still very much in excruciating pain you my readers are going to get a rather crummy post today.  I figure it is better to post something than let a day lapse with no updates.  Here’s hoping I am right.

In the Blink of an Eye

This weekend the river of souls event wrapped up.  Like so many I was unfortunate enough to miss it.  I spent the early part of my afternoon performing necessary wife maintenance as we ran around town doing errands.  When I made it back around 4pm I got the privilege of sitting in a 1 1/2 hour queue.  After fighting through the queue, I logged in only to find the event was over.

So several weeks of lead up were gone in a flash.  I had been warned that this might be the case, that phases 2 and 3 would only take a matter of hours, whereas phase 2 took a matter of weeks.  All that said I was prepared to miss the event, and spending time with my wife was a better choice of my time.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean I am any less bummed about having to miss out on the content.

Why I Love Trion

Interesting thing is, when Trion saw how fast phases 2 and 3 went, the immediately realized they had screwed up.  I give them massive points for trying to carry out an event of this scale weeks after the launch of the game.  As a result they had no real way of knowing how popular it would become, nor did they really have any live data to determine how to scale those last few phases.  Once built and deployed they were pretty well committed to the conclusion.

One of the things I truly love about Trion is the level of interaction they have with the community.  For example I know of several Trion employees who have read my blog, and I still feel like an unimportant voice in a sea of millions.  So if they are engaging with the little guys like me, that tells you they are doing it at all levels of the echelon.  However the biggest sign that they care came in a post from Scott Hartsman on Saturday after the events wrapped.

Official Thread on Rift Forums

When we set out to get this unveil event in front of you, it was all about some serious ambitions.
Great new types of content to unveil a brand new raid zone. Events that really push the edge of what’s possible not just in Rift, but in any MMO of its kind. All within an incredibly rapid amount of time following launch.
In this case, while we did get to "what’s possible" we didn’t get to "solid gameplay for the entire game universe." The later phases of the event were too concentrated and time-compressed, which caused issues on a number of worlds.
Ambition is important — It’s what keeps us improving day to day, week to week, month to month. But, it’s equally important to know when you walked too close to the edge and got cut.
Between our previous experience with zone events and now with world events, we have a much better idea of the range we can create "fun" for at a mass scale in the future, and the steps we need to take to continue progressing the more solid gameplay experiences that only happen in RIFT.
As I had posted earlier, our next world events will already be taking everything we learned, as well as all of your comments about the event, into account. Please do keep them coming — I guarantee we’re here reading them all, weekend or not.
As developers, none of us are happy when anyone who chooses to spend their valuable time in our game feels like they got the short end of our aspirations.
To that end, even if something goes great for some, when it doesn’t go great for all, we’re going to go out of our way to make it up in some way wherever we can.
We’re going to assume that if you are an active subscriber you were intending to participate in the final stages.
1) Operating on that assumption, later this week everyone will be receiving an in-game mail with the River of Souls Event Reward Pack containing:
Symbol of Purity – This item starts a quest you can complete to obtain

  • 250 Otherworldly Sourcestone
  • 1x – Purified Treasure Cache – Contains a random chance of obtaining one of the special world drop event rewards from the day of the event
    • Common – Grave Goods Bag -Unique 20 Slot Bag (NEW ITEM)
    • Uncommon – Shroud of Anti-Life – Lorn non combat Polymorph
    • Rare – Nimble Spectral Horse – 90% Speed Mount
    • Ultra Rare – Swift Spectral Warhorse – 110% Speed Mount
  • Shadetouched Weapon Cache – The starter item for the Rare Death weapon quests. You can choose whichever level appropriate one you’d like.
  • The following two Achievements, since not everyone who was (or wanted to be) present was able to obtain them.
    • Grim Hero
    • Grim Protector

2) The achievement for kneeling to Alsbeth will remain available in her incarnation inside the River of Souls.
3) Additionally, we’re also going to continue the Otherworldly Sourcestone drops for the next few days, for those who haven’t yet finished off their collections and would care to.
4) And since the question has come up quite a few times — the ability to complete the quests from the Shadetouched Weapon Cache will continue, such that you’re always able to finish them.
We do thank you for your patience with us during this first ever World Event. We know that patience isn’t infinite. We do respect that fact greatly, and you have our word that we’re listening and reacting smartly for the next round.
– Scott

Basically they realize that they misjudged the popularity of the event, and for all of us who could not participate fully like we wanted to they are going to give us some of the things we could have gotten from participating in the event.  This feels so much different than the Call to Arms debacle, this feels like a company who truly misjudged the scale of an event and is going out of their way to let us know that they will plan better in the future.

I managed to get almost everything I had wanted from the event prior to phases 2 and 3, so in the grand scheme of thing this is not a huge deal to me.  I knew that by choosing my wife over the game I would be giving up my shot at the cool stuff.  For me it was a good decision, but I am sure there are others who feel far more distraught over the chain of events.

I have faith that future events like this will be scaled in a way so that each phase lasts  a number of days instead of a number of hours.  Initially I was disappointed in the entire event, I was expecting non stop invasions.  But I have come to a point of peace on it, I did enjoy the new rifts and I hope they will stay in the rotation for awhile.  I was just expecting something more grand.

Make the pain stop

Well there you have it, that is about the best post I am able to muster while under pain.  I hope these antibiotics will work quickly and return me to a blissful state of not hurting all the time.  Hopefully this post will tide you all over until something slightly more substantial can be posted.

Bonus Stage: Tinfoil Hat

It has been an extremely long week for the Aggronaut.  I’ve been battling some medical issues, so today I am bringing you a wrap up post through the eyes of someone in pain.  Honestly I didn’t play as much Rift as I would have liked to this week.  When I am in pain I don’t really feel like I can be a responsible member of a guild and server community, so instead I just avoid interaction with people.  This has lead to a good deal more Minecraft than normal.

The End is Nigh


The other day I was out on the Wal-mart website, and like a sirens call there was a link saying that Diablo III was available for preorder.  It isn’t like I would actually preorder anything through Wal-mart, but the link was shiny and reddish and begged to be pushed (not to virus authors, hide your payloads behind red shiny buttons).  I mostly followed the link to look at the pretty screenshots but once I arrived I saw something interesting.

Now if you go out to GameStop or amazon and look up the Diablo III page you just get some generic preorder information but no estimated delivery date.  However if you look in the above image (and I took the liberty of zooming in for you) Wal-mart lists an estimated delivery date for the game.  Do they know something that the other companies don’t? 

Honestly, chances are they do.  Wal-mart is known for their heavy handed practices at least in the music industry, so it is not a large stretch of the imagination that they would have the same kind of sway over the video game industry since they represent the single largest game seller.  I cannot see Wal-mart posting a date they have no background intel surrounding.

I am not immune to the irony that I am posting Diablo news when I have dedicated so much time lately to talking about the failings of Blizzard.  Thing is… this is Diablo, it is not like I won’t be playing it.  I ‘ve spent countless sleepless nights playing the first two, and if this one is half as good as those were it will be well worth the potentially brief ride.  You can take the info with a grain of salt, but just thought I would point out the date.  Would make a good deal of sense, considering that would mean a d3 launch just prior to Blizzcon.

Scary Numbers

4246453385_5147d41647Keeping with the tinfoil hat theme, I had read a couple of posts recently talking about the declining player base as represented on the WoW Census website.  So it got my curious about what numbers the realm I played on, Argent Dawn might show.  I can remember during the launch of Cataclysm, I went out to the website to see what kind of effect the normal post expansion bump did on our server population.  For Argent Dawn, it listed that we had roughly 20,000 active players.

This morning when I pulled up the same stats, it was registering only slightly more than 8,000 players for Argent Dawn.  The question is, what exactly does this represent.  Was there a massive drop off in the usage of the WoW Census add-on?  Did Argent Dawn really lose over half its player base since the launch of Cataclysm?  I honestly don’t have the answers, and am puzzled by the results.

If you look at the wider picture, WoW Census lists the total combined US and Euro player population at 4.5 million.  Now I don’t know what this looked like several months ago, but we have long heard the touted 12 million players figure spread around.  From what I had heard as far as a breakout, that represented 8 million US and Euro players and 4 million in the growing Asian markets.  So if you take that into account as the numbers, the figures from WoW Census would show a drop in players by nearly a half.

Problem is, I have no way of knowing how accurate the WoW Census data is.  Publishers have been reluctant to give out any real player numbers.  The last one I can remember showing how many players were logged into a server was Dark Age of Camelot.  WoW census gets its data from voluntary submissions through their custom add-on.  So what is uncertain is if we are seeing a true drop in subscribers, or just a drop in usage of the add-on.

All I can really base things on is my own incidental data from the Argent Dawn server community.  I know the guild I once lead has dropped on WoW Census from the 5th largest guild on the server to roughly the 12th.  These kind of numbers test out at least incidentally in my head, as we have had a large number of players quit for various reasons.  I myself left to go play Rift as did several others, however there is an even larger number of players who are quitting simply because they are tired of the MMO genre.

All of this taken into account, are the recent changes like Call to Arms, and the cosmetic changes to the Warlock pets simply meant as a way to bribe players to stick around?  Once upon a time I used to play this game called Horizons.  It offered the ability to play a Dragon, something no other game has done to this date.  As they began to hemorrhage subscribers, they started adding in additional content for the dragon players, knowing they were the ones who couldn’t get a similar experience anywhere else. 

2 years down the line, all that was literally left playing the game were the players who for one reason or another just wanted to play dragons.  So I guess my curiosity is, are we starting to see GMs putting in content for the sole purpose of trying to glue players to the game?  Like I said, I don’t really have any answers but it is food for thought nonetheless.

The Rifts are Closing

5335086294_080b2490cdThere is a well thought post over on Ardwulf’s Lair entitled “Rift on a Downward Spiral?”.  If you haven’t managed to read it yet you certainly should.  Basically there has been a lot of back and forth amongst the bloggers making significance that there has been a 20% drop in gameplay hours for Rift on the gaming communication Client Xfire.  To Quote Ardwulf…

To me, a 20% dropoff (not after 4 weeks but 6, mind,) along with reports of persistent server queues even to this day, seems spectacularly good. After two weeks of Warhammer Online you could feel players flowing out of the game. Remember, you can stop playing before your sub runs out, and many did just that, myself included. A loss of 20% (measured in playtime,) implies very strong ongoing performance in terms of retaining players who are actually active.

I personally have played many games in the past that were losing players faster than you could count.  I played Warhammer for about 6 months after release and Age of Conan for a month and a half.  In both cases, after the free month was over the servers felt noticeably lighter for the lack of players.  Rift most definitely does not feel like a dying game, at least not over on the Shadefallen server.

Another good take on the numbers is at Lowered Expectations, which presents some other data.

Really, is a 20% decline from a single gaming service like X-Fire indicative of the overall market share? The fact it is just one piece of the pie tells me no. Look at the Raptr numbers, which show a less than 10% loss. Look at the shard listings and see how a majority of servers are still at high…and even some queues.
Decline will really not be noted until we see merges or closure of servers.

I however present a completely different picture.  The main issue I see with judging the performance of a game based on a third party communication client is this.  These services are not nearly as popular as the regular users seem to believe they are.  I’ve used both at various times throughout my gaming career, and ultimately I get bored with them and simply quit logging in.  Currently I use Raptr as a chat client, but I have long ago turned off its ability to track my gameplay habbits.

On top of this, on Raptr I have less than a half dozen friends that use the service.  The greatest majority of my friends use Steam, and in reality even if you purchased your game through steam like I did, there is no solid reason why you should actually launch the game that way.  Ultimately I think the Xfire and Raptr communities represent a niche of gamers.  Quite possibly the game simply doesn’t appeal as widely to that niche as it does others.

What I am seeing on my own server is a decrease of the wow tourists.  I know them well, I was one for years myself.  A wow tourist is a player who goes out, plays a new game for the free month to get a break, then ultimately returns back to their core game feeling validated in their decision.  I was a tourist in every major MMO release since WoW shipped in 2004, I played my free month, maybe a month extra but ultimately I returned back to the mothership.

Who I am seeing glued to Rift are an older demographic, the players who remain nostalgic about Everquest, Dark Age of Camelot, and ultimately the good points of Warhammer online and miss those games as truly viable platforms.  It is less likely for me to be able to explain a boss fight in “its like this wow boss” terms, but more likely to be able to say “Iron Tomb feels so much like Muire Tomb” and get a response.

I know it is probably a bit hypocritical to dismiss claims that Rift is dying, in the same post I present numbers that show a decline in WoW subscribers, but to me you have to consider the two sources.  With WoW census you have a tool that takes a broad survey of players who are not even running the add-on, trying to come up with base numbers of who is available on the server at a given time.  With these guesstimates, you are looking at a third party tool that has absolutely nothing to do with the actual gameplay.

All that said, I have seen a decline in the player base in Rift.  However this is a good thing.  We have managed to shed a lot of the “barrens chat” types, and kept the seasoned mmo veterans who are willing to work for their rewards.  I have seen the high end public channels continue to grow and get more helpful with time.  So in the grand scheme of things, I think this decline will ultimately be good for the various budding communities.

A Safe Haven


With the recent pain I have been in, I have like I said been shunning anything that would involve someone else relying on me.  As a result I have logged in for a bit, completely my event dailies and usually logged shortly thereafter.  The rest of my time has been spent over on the Stalwart Minecraft server.  Every so often I get an idea in my head that just has to be built, so my city of Belgarde has been expanded in bursts of creativity.

The most recent burst of effort has involved the left side of the image above.  Previously I had this open area, where a good number of monsters spawned each night.  The dock area that I had built up was unfortunately a part of this overall area.  So one of my goals for some time has been to find a way to both secure the docks and increase the protected space of Belgarde.

In a city like the one I have been building, not much actual food production could happen inside the protected walls.  Ultimately each city is ringed with a network of agriculture areas, that feed resources back into the walled area.  In a game like Minecraft, where any undeveloped land is sure to spawn monsters, simply dotting the countryside around Belgarde with farms really didn’t fit the bill.

As a result I decided to extend out the walls to loosely encompass an area of land that would ultimately be built up as farms.  So far I have managed to complete the wall, and a guard station.  In addition to this I torched off the entire area to immediately stop the monster spawns while working on developing it. 

javaw 2011-04-15 16-08-01-72

I cleared and terraced an area in the upper right-hand region of the new walled zone.  This has become the first farm in the area, and includes a large house, work shed, and a large fenced off field of crops.  I don’t want to create cookie cutter homesteads, so this will take some time to design and build each structure to feel cohesive but look somewhat unique at the same time.  I will post additional shots as I get more things built.  Right now the general region just looks unfinished.

Wrapping the Wrap-up Post

So that’s all the assorted bits and pieces that didn’t really seem to fit elsewhere thematically.  I finally managed to pull the trigger and order the new laptop, so next week sometime I should be blogging from it.  I have a number of topics swimming around in my head that should make for at least interesting posts next week.  Given my irregular posting habits in the past, I am still shocked that I have managed to maintain a month of posting something each day.  While it might not seem like much for the bloggers who have been hard at it for three years or so, but for me just being consistent for a month is a proud moment.