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Postcards From Telara: Of Rifts And Titans

January 31, 2011

Long time readers will know that I’m a Canadian living in the United States, but that wasn’t always the case. Even after our wedding, my American husband and I had to live apart for more than a year while we waited for the paperwork and the immigration process to complete so we could finally be together for good. In that time we only got to see each other on the weekends every few weeks or so, when my husband would fly into Toronto to spend time with me. That chapter of my life is thankfully behind me now, but I remember clearly the way I used to look forward to the days he would arrive and have a heavy heart on the days he would leave.

Now I wonder what he would say if I told him I feel much the same way about the Rift beta events?

To be honest, he’d probably roll his eyes at me and laugh at the way I set up that punchline at his expense. Still, I don’t remember exactly who said it, but the words of the blogger who first likened the comings and goings of the Rift betas to a long distance relationship resonated with me, for obvious reasons. Now that Rift beta 5 has come and gone, I find I’ve fallen back into the similar routine of waving farewell while reminding myself this is not goodbye — after all, the next one might be just around the corner, and in any case, the soft launch for the pre-order folks is just a mere month away.

Because of the huge number of patch notes included in Rift beta 5, a part of me seriously considered rolling another character and starting over to experience the new changes, but in the end I decided against it and resolved to press on with my mid-20s Defiant mage. I’ll be playing the early levels again soon enough, and I had to leave at least some surprises for myself at launch after all.

Zxeyl the Tainted -- Wow, the letters X, Y and Z all in your name. You win.

It always makes me feel a little hokey to say something like a game is growing on me, but in this case it’s really true. I have no doubt part of it has to do with Trion’s continued efforts to address player concerns and improve the game, but I’m also convinced that Rift simply starts to get better the higher level you get. For one thing, I’m gaining better abilities and getting more powerful, which helps.

However, more significant I think is the increased scope of the rift events as you progress into Stonefield and beyond. I remember being tired of the repetitive and tedious nature of the rifts and invasions at the beginning, to the point I actually started avoiding them. But zone-wide events and quests associated with them promptly changed my tune, and now I find myself seeking out the invasions whenever they occur periodically. The rush you get from joining a raid group of 20 players or more and defeating a raging colossus is motivation enough for me, but the rewards you receive upon completion of these events are nothing to scoff at either.

As a result, I did much more “rifting” than I did for all the previous beta events, and the public grouping system probably had much just as much to do with that. Defeating rift incursions is much easier when you have an idea of how much support you can count on, and also spotting where others are congregating on the map tells you quickly where you can join battles being waged. I also leveled much quicker this time around, thanks to all the rifts I participated in and the experience gained from sharing monster kills.

I made enough progress to make it to the zone of Scarlet Gorge, a beautiful zone in which I saw my first signs of Guardians and Defiants clashing in open conflict. I didn’t join in, however; there’s a good reason I rolled on a PvE server. On that front, I was glad to see that many quests relevant to the lore have emerged, especially those marked “story”. I love the look of this zone, and I eagerly await what comes next.

16 comments

  1. I’m trying to not play the betas when the start, want to save it all for the launch, but the more I read about it, the better the game seems to get, I thought I had a rough idea how things progressed, but there seems to be more and more layers added with every new area to explore.

    I’m using the Betas to spend time putting my guild website together ready for launch, keeps me from logging in :D

    (shameless plug: paradoxguild.guildportal.com!)


    • I know what you mean about saving stuff for launch. I’ll admit I’m keen on beta testing, but I’m also tackling the events in a very systematic fashion, focusing my activities on quests and rifts and offering the bulk of my feedback on those features. For instance, as tempted as I am to run some dungeons, that part of it I think I’m going to wait and save for release. :) Crafting as well, for that matter. Makes me realize there are a lot of little extras in Rift that I have yet to see.


  2. I enjoyed playing in beta 5, but I’m going to put the game on hold until launch. Rift feels like a game that I will burn out on sooner or later, and I would rather it was later.


    • I think what will ultimately keep me from burn out is my stubborn tendency to generally stick to one character. I’m really not a big fan of alts, contrary to what my characters page implies; it’s really hard for me to divide my attention between multiple characters, and the only time I stray is when I have to start a new alt to level with a friend or my husband.

      Even with Rift beta, I’ve resolved to stay with my mage rather than start a bunch of lowbies to try out all the classes. So at launch, I would have only played the starting zone once, versus multiple times.


      • That will help a lot. For me, alts are a sign that I’m bored and looking to rekindle my interest in a game. The more alts I have, the more I’m fighting to stave off unsubscribing. So hopefully I’ll get to the endgame before I feel the need to roll another character.


  3. All my lost enthusiasm for WoW has been rekindled in Rift. I know what you mean by the long distance relationship comparison, too. As it has for you I am sure, Online gaming has been a way for me to spend time with my S.O. when we are apart.

    One advantage that Rift has right now for me and DGF is the fact that we’re both new to it. So it isn’t quite as lopsided an experience as WoW.


    • Yes, for a year while we were dating and for the year we had to live apart after we were married, online gaming was the main way we kept in touch, along with our own private little vent server. So much more fun than just a simple phone call or even web camming through Skype :P

      And I know what you mean. Playing WoW with your newbie loved one and teaching them can be fun, but I find learning new things in a new game together is a more enjoyable bonding experience.


  4. I know some ‘doubters’ of this game cite the WoW-clone standard response, and while I am not a fan of the game I just don’t see the WoW argument holding any water. WAR clone, maybe. But WAR is no WoW. *Though* I will say the intro with the Chosen dude narrating was a bit funny to hear Arthas tell me the lore of a competing game. That dude just refuses to die, but at least in this universe he is back to his ‘normal before-I-had-daddy-issues’ self. ^_^


    • I don’t know if any game can be a “clone” of anything, it’s a hyperbole that gets thrown around a lot. Admittedly, it’s been a long time since I’ve played WAR but I just don’t get much of a WAR feel from Rift :P

      Gosh I don’t even remember the intro, I’ve skipped it so many times. Maybe it’s time to revisit it.


  5. Yeah enjoyed the Beta 5 event immensely, and was so sorry to see it end. Leaving me waiting for Beta 6 lol, which i think is rather soon. Yeah it does feel like a long distance relationship, so longing to see, and disappointed when its time to leave as the time goes by fast being there. Been there…

    I’ll leave making any alts to try out the other classes for when the game goes live though not normally that fond of making alts overall since tend stick more to what i normally play. Playing the class i normally play is fun enough for me at heart that i can easily do it all over and have fun with it. If even with a change of a soul or two to mix it all up in play and i do find that just changing the souls do give a different experience going about things.

    I was able to get the normal lvl 20 mount, which if one quests normally anyone should be able to afford at lvl 20. I wasn’t able to get the armored one you got, i might have overlooked something picking up the mounts.

    I couldn’t quite figure out how to take screenshots. I know some changes were made to allow for that functionality so will have to see next Beta event.

    I’ve enjoyed the game and seen enough to know I will pre-order the game for the headstart launch. What would also be nice is picking a server and getting enough people that do decide to play all on the same server or to form a guild possibly and make it overall more fun. Will see how things evolve over time though.


    • I’m so happy beta 6 got announced so soon, overjoyed to have something to play this weekend.

      I’m a one-character kind of player as well, though I will make exceptions to try out the other faction or a brand new class during expansions etc. I rolled a mage, elementalist for the pet in beta so I can be a more efficient soloer, but when the game launches I may choose a healing or tank-capable class. I do like playing the more “support” roles, guess I’ll have to see.

      I was able to get the mechano steed thingy during the first beta when you can still get it at level 20. It’s still in the beta, but they’ve made it so you can only get it at 40 now.

      You weren’t able to take screenshots before(unless you use something like fraps) since being under an NDA probably had something to do with that, but now that it has been lifted, I noticed last event that your screenshots are saved in your beta folder.


  6. Very nice looking screenshots. RIFTs is definitely a pretty game.


    • Yes, I have little complaint about the graphics now, and they can only get improved at launch.


  7. Random: Sometimes i feel just reading about an mmo burns me out before even trying it, and with so many coming out….i think i’m STILL burned out from WoW and just needing something vastly different, and irritated by everyone reminding me, “Hey, this is kinda like WoW” like it reinvented the wheel.


    • I think it really depends on the game. I can see how you can get burned out just reading about Rift, since it got so much attention in such a short amount of time.

      Games like SWTOR though, I don’t know if I can get burned out even though I read everything I can about it. The excitement has been happening well over two years now though, unlike a huge amount of buzz that comes in a burst :)


  8. Oh no, SWTOR is something i can’t get enough of, it’s very, very, very, VERY SAD and irresponsible of me to say. But neither my job, money, girlfriend, life, period, really matters atm because it’s simply filler until that game comes out, and it’s a guarantee that if at least 5% of my thinking somehow reverts back to that game…….my life will either be made worse by that game, or somehow it will become the one thing i really care about, and take everything else seriously in building around it. Which ALSO sounds bad even as i write it :/



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