Finally hit level 50 in Stillmoor a few days ago. I was surprised there wasn’t a lot of additional solo quests left after that. I barely completed less than half a dozen quests for
Icecrown Citadel The Endless Citadel in the west end, and then the same quests just turned into dailies.
I decided to finalize my time with Rift after that. I rode through Freemarch and Stonefield just to see the zones and then parked my Cleric in Sanctum. I actually have a level 16 Rogue at the Defiants side as well and I was thinking about playing him through those zones, but I must say that I’ve had more than enough of Rift now. As mentioned in an earlier blog post it just feels like a shallow game world devoid of much soul, and the quests were for the most part uninspired.
The dynamic rifts and invasions were an interesting new gimmick, but often an inadequate experience one way or another. Either there are no or too few players and the rift is too difficult, or there are zillions of players and the rift is too easy.
Last week there was a world event invasion in Fortune’s Shore in Shimmersand. It started with the usual intimidating villain speech and smoke rising from the town. Hundreds of players from both factions soon arrived and in the beginning it was exhilarating that we were so many beating on these elite mobs, but soon it dawned on me how undirected it was. I had no feeling of who or what was healing or tanking, if at all. Some gave orders in raid chat, but I think most players minded their own business. Lots of gravestones, layers upon layers of sound effects, and spells flying in all directions. Sometimes an invasion was defeated and the rabble floated onwards like a colony of ants. I got a lot of nice rift rewards out of it, but I wish it didn’t feel like something that will grow old quickly.
I must say that Freemarch and Stonefield are better zones than Silverwood and Gloamwood. Freemarch is more open and interesting, its town Meridian is much more impressive than Sanctum, and Stonefield was atmospheric with Scottish hills, rain, and strange obelisks. Compared to that, Gloamwood was dark, dreary, and depressing. I almost regret not having rolled a Defiant Cleric instead of a Guardian one. Ironically, I did that based on various assertions from beta players that the starting zones for Guardians were better. Only shows there’s no accounting for taste.
I also liked Iron Pine Peak in the beginning. The snow, ice and landscape seemed more atmospheric that many other zones. The one thing that ended up annoying me was those stormy wind sound effects. Instead of keeping a realistic constant wind tone going up or down, it was a few seconds of a strong wind here, a few seconds of a strong wind there, and a few seconds of I think you get it by now. Arriving in Stillmoor was a relief after this staccato wind circus.
Another thing about Iron Pine Peak is those highly annoying 4-5 seconds stuns in Whitefall, a town right smack in the middle of the zone. Suddenly you’re frozen in place as you ride towards a vendor and
Sauron something whisper threats in your ear. Every time I had to go back to that town to deliver quests, I was always wondering how many times I had to be stunned this time.
Shimmersand was one of the best high-level zones. Yes, it was more desert but it also had the best town outside of Sanctum and Meridian – Fortune’s Shore. With its clay huts, tents, and ships in a harbor it reminded me of EverQuest II. That’s a compliment, by the way. EQ2 has a lot of great towns and cities, most of which I think are more atmospheric and also look more interesting.
I’ve tried some Warden healing with my Cleric in a dungeon and in various rifts. There was also an interesting encounter with what looked like ten or more invasions on top of each other in Stillmoor, which was quite a challenge to heal. Although I admit that I didn’t get used to all the Warden abilities properly, I did try enough to learn that it didn’t feel as cool as Rune-keeper healing in LOTRO.
Warden have lots of small healing over time abilities that didn’t feel like they had enough punch. There was one of them in particular that could be stacked four times that I had to maintain way too much – lots of micro management. A Rune-keeper in LOTRO also has to stack various healing over time spells, but somehow it seems to work a lot better there. The Rune-keeper also gets a collection of group heals for emergencies that really feel like they matter. All the group heals I’ve tried with the Warden build felt like sticking my tongue out of the window.
But again I must say that I didn’t try enough of Warden healing to really make a final statement; just enough to have this gut feeling about it. Perhaps there are a few spells I didn’t use correctly. Usually I’m thorough with abilities and use a lot of time setting it all up, but 99% of my leveling was done in a DPS build (Inquisitor to be precise) and the few times I had to do Warden healing, I was more or less headhunted on the spot with little time to get acquainted with all of the abilities.
Remember that I mentioned never having seen a self-healing enemy in Rift? Ironically, I did find one shortly after that blog post. He only healed himself a little though, and even more ironically, he was the only one I ever saw doing that.
There are actually a lot of abilities mobs don’t have in Rift that can be so annoying in other MMORPG. Ever seen a mob run away scared when it’s down to 10% health? Not me. Some can stun, but rarely for as long as in LOTRO (where most mobs can do this for what feels like forever).
However, I could have used a little more static mobs like in LOTRO and a little less wandering and patrolling like in WoW. But when Rift is copying WoW as much as it is, of course the mobs also have to move in exactly the same way too.
The auction house is functional, but it could really use a re-search ability. You can right-click an item in your inventory to search for it quickly. And when you have to auction it, you can right-click it to dump it into the auction slot. But as soon as it’s for sale, you can’t right-click anything anywhere to check up on what it looks like compared to the other similar items for sale.
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