Rift Prime Thoughts

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The launch of Rift was a really special time for me.  It was the first time that my “wow tourism” turned into something else.  It was the first time that I really immersed myself wholeheartedly into another game and I loved it so much.  At the time Rift was giving me everything I had said I wanted in an MMO and I chose to be a giant purple Bahmi warrior.  We had a lot of great times in the game and while we didn’t really start to break into the raid scene until the release of slivers…  we regularly had huge guild outings to open raid rifts which were an awful lot of fun.  At that point it was just a lot of fun to grab some friends and chase rifts for awhile, and in truth I cannot really remember what caused us to initially fade away.  For some players they never really grasped it in the first place as player fantasies turned out to be less than what they expected.  Others shifted back to the familiar womb of Azeroth, but a group of us stayed true to the cause for quite some time.  By the time the first expansion had rolled around however we were down to a shell of our former selves and a series of server mergers saw our little guild scattered.  I personally had landed on my feet with another very active guild in the form of Machiavelli’s Cats helmed by fellow blogger Liore, and entered a sort of second golden age of Rift for me personally.  I even managed to make my way into their raid rotation as I did my best impersonation of a dual wielding warrior.  With the launch of Storm Legion saw a bunch of changes and a bunch of folks wander off, and before long I was once again left as a member of a dwindling guild.  I made an attempt to rekindle the interests of my friends with a fresh start on Faeblight and the proper founding of House Stalwart in Rift, and it again worked for a time…  but by three months down the line we were once again down to a handful of people actively playing.  Essentially the core problem I have always seem to have with Rift is getting anyone other than myself interested in playing it for any length of time.  No matter how solo at heart you happen to be… if you don’t have a guild core to organize around it is really hard to keep excited about logging in every day.

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Recently Trion announced that they would be creating “Rift Prime” and it is not in fact shipping a temporal disturbance to your house in an hour or less.  I realize I am super late to the party in talking about this…  but I’ve been largely out of commission due to the flu so cut me some slack.  The idea in theory is that they are trying to roll back time, to an era when the game was subscription based and not fueled by loot box purchases and store purchases.  We don’t really have a ton to go on as to what specifically this means, but the full text of the blurb released on January 18th goes as follows.

Introducing RIFT Prime

In the Spring of 2018, we will launch a new server, RIFT Prime. We’ve paid a lot of attention in discussions with all of you and within the broader gaming community regarding business models in the MMO and games industry as a whole.

We have the opportunity to experiment with this fresh RIFT server using an oft-requested subscription model and progressively unlocked content. Our goal for RIFT Prime is to provide the experience that many of you have requested: no lockboxes, a significantly reduced store with more of the current store-based items obtained through gameplay (or removed entirely) – plus the excitement of sequential progression through RIFT’s content with monthly milestones and achievements.

So we know whatever it is will be happening in Spring…  which is one of those super squishy definitions as far as time goes.  It promises a return to a subscription only server, which admittedly is a huge boon as far as I am concerned.  During the early days of Rift the community was something I cared about and I regularly volunteered for groups forming up in public channels.  With the introduction of the free to play players…  I more or less stopped watching public channels because they were full of nothing that I cared to see.  I like the idea of starting over again with the core of vanilla Rift and building back out from there.  A good portion of my struggle to stay connected myself is that there is just so much competing wrong information that you have to sift through in order to find what is actual good advise.  We are lacking the Rift equivalent of Icy Veins to use as a sanity check to see if you are in fact speccing your characters in a reasonable manner.  I think rolling back the sands of time might help this a bit, especially if prime sees its own forum infrastructure to support the initiative.  Sure I would miss all of the toys I have accumulated over the years, but I also think having a reason to start fresh without having to deal with the baggage and friction of a free to play experience would be positive.

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There are two problems I foresee and I am going to talk a little bit about them.  Firstly how vanilla are we actually talking?  I never again want to return to an era when the “faction as fiction” patch has not been applied.  One of the best things to happen in Rift was the fall of the faction wall and I want to be able to run Guardian and Defiant together freely based on user choice.  Secondly…  if they build it will the people come back?  I can be as interested as possible, but if no core upwelling of players want to come back and play…  then my own journey through the game will be truncated as well without a guild base to build out upon.  I’ve not had the best luck with guild projects lately, and I am not sure if I even have the energy in me to try and organize anything for the purpose of Rift.  Destiny 2 was a colossal mess that never quite materialized into any semblance of regular group activities, but admittedly a lot of the problem there was the complete and total lack of guild chat.  I still love Rift and I have so many fond memories of the game, but always run into issues each time I attempt to play the modern incarnation.  At some point I left the tracks and never quite figured out how to re-rail myself.  If I could find an active community to do this thing with me… then maybe just maybe it would work.  However similar nostalgic based trips into other games have been short lived in the past, and even the third resurgence of Rift myself was us trying to do a similar “fresh start” that only wound up lasting three or four months.  At this point however I am willing to give it a shot.  If I am actively playing a game I am already in the mindset where I want to subscribe in order to support it…  so flipping that switch is a no-brainier for me personally.  The real question however is…  will I have anyone else joining me in that madness?

 

Quintessential Quintet

Farewell to Arts

 

I did another really quick video yesterday since we are supposed to have an impending server reset.  In the holiday weekend since the last restart folks have filled the server with all sorts of nifty stuff.  So I thought I would do a really quick video showcasing some of the cooler things.  The highlight for me is the alligator.  I am wondering who built it, because seriously it was perfect.  The server has essentially exploded with pixel art everywhere, some of it seeming to be freehand which is pretty amazing.  While this is all interesting I am hoping soon we get a bit more substance.

It was rumored that we would be seeing a new patch today or tomorrow and in it I am really hoping they introduce two things.  Firstly I want to see the crafting system and all the nifty things it can produce.  This is likely going to be a massive thing because this also means they will likely change they way the blocks work so that we actually harvest them instead of just destroying them.  Currently the game works a lot like Minecraft creative mode, where you have pretty much unlimited resources to place at your disposal.  While this is cool for free range building, the game however right now is lacking a “game”.  Wandering around and exploring, engaging in combat is fun but I feel like we need something to give us a sense of purpose.

The second thing I want badly is the cornerstone concept, aka your plot of lands that persists to each server you play on, and that no one else can disrupt.  Part of why I have not built much of anything yet is the fact that we still have way too many mad bombers on the server all to willing to destroy your hard work.  In fact I railed on Shawn Shuster of Massively a bit in the video as in his walkthrough that was posted yesterday… he was all too happy to blow up other peoples creations. 

There have already been some pretty epic works of art destroyed by some idiot who would not suppress their inner poo flinging monkey long enough to appreciate what had been created.  While I realize this is a side effect of having a game with no rules yet, it still depresses me to see the world as Swiss cheese.  I am sure once the new patch has gone life I will do another quick video showing off what it added.  So stay tuned to my channel and I will post something up there as soon as it is available.

Quintessential Quintet

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Also last night I managed to push my paladin Exeter to 90 and with it came an achievement that I was not expecting.  Apparently Quintessential Quintet is a thing?  I cut an odd path on this one, by the time I left Jade Forest I was already 87 thanks to all the mining nodes.  From there I made a beeline for Kun Lai, and critpathed my way through the zone until I reached the quest chain that lead to Townlong.  Similarly in Townlong I quested my way through the Shadopan chain until I reached the jumping point for Dread Wastes.  All of which was to set myself up perfectly to be able to start working on Klaxxi quests as quickly as possible.

Why you might ask?  This is my blacksmith, and all the nifty things you can create seem to be on the Klaxxi vendor.  Namely I wanted to be able to start creating masterwork weapons for all my other characters as I get them to 90.  That seems to be the big weakness as it comes to the Timeless Isle content.  You can gear your alts up with 496 extremely rapidly, but you have a few glaring holes…  namely your weapons.  Also I seem to have a much harder time getting Curios for trinkets, and the neck/ring slots to drop on the Timeless Isle.  So as a result I have ended up spending a fair amount of time trying to remediate their gear just so I can be able to queue for something.

Timeless Isle is nifty, but I really miss the equivalent of the Icecrown 5 mans.  I wish there were heroics that I could run that actually provided something viable for filling out a set of gear.  I feel as though they should really have put in a new 5 man that dropped 496 weapons to go with all the gear they are handing out like candy.  Even with epics…  a crappy weapon is still a crappy weapon.  Right now my paladin for example is using the treasures of pandaria BOA one handed sword that you find on the ground.  Which is better than anything he has gotten yet, but at least being able to create the masterwork hammer will be something slightly better.  I think those are 463 ilvl which is essentially what the heroic gear is.

What Next?

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I have to say getting Exeter to 90 was a pretty cool thing.  He technically was the very first character I created, and my intended main.  For years my internet handle was “Exeter” and quite honestly “Belghast” was my main over in DAoC, and it was not until late in Vanilla that I started to play that character as a main.  All the while through vanilla my main was Lodin the hunter, and it was an almost accidental occurrence.  I had a death in the family that pulled me away from Warcraft a few weeks after the release of the game.  As a result I got rapidly outpaced by the rest of the guild, and back then soloing a Paladin was a truly painful experience.

Hunters were the gods of soloing, so I started leveling Lodin just to be able to keep up with my friends.  Within a very short amount of time I had caught up, and when we hit 60… I got drafted into the raid group of a guild member as they wanted to replace a troublesome hunter.  I had no intent to actually play a hunter as my main, and in truth I am not terribly suited for the class… but I did for almost all of Vanilla because it was my “Raid main”.  Once you start playing a character in a raid group you are pretty much committed to always play that character until they no longer need it.  The positive effect however is that I met so many life long friends through raiding, and that the Late Night Raiders hunters were all such amazing people.

As soon as Burning Crusade was released, I saw this as my opportunity to leapfrog Lodin in gear and start playing Belghast as my main.  That is the awesome thing about expansions, the gear reset lets you change your focus.  From that point until the tail end of Wrath of the Lich King, I was a warrior main tank.  It was not until I needed a break from the hot seat that I switched focus to the Deathknight and fell in love with it.  All of this time I felt horrible for leaving Lodin abandoned in the dustbin.  It was not until Cataclysm that I actually managed to level him out of the outlands.  During one of my last sessions playing I pushed him up to Pandaria levels, so I feel as though it is probably his time to shine again.  I pretty much permanently run around in Giantstalker transmog in honor of the fun times I had with him raiding during those early days of Vanilla WoW.