Archive for March, 2011


Riftshot Of The Day: Oh Damn You, Trion! You TOTALLY Got Me

March 31, 2011

I love it when artifacts make me laugh.


Rift: One Month Of Cleric-ing Around

March 30, 2011

I was a little iffy about starting a Cleric at first, as I always get nervous whenever I tackle a healing-capable class for the first time, but I’d underestimated the power and flexibility of the Rift soul system. Now after a full month of playing the game, I realize it was the perfect class for me after all.

My World of Warcraft guildies used to tease me all the time, calling me the “Swiss Army knife of the guild” because my main was a Druid dual-specced feral and resto, and I lugged around about four different sets of armor so I could pretty much fill any DPS, healing or tanking role that was required of me. But I liked that! Sometimes I think it’s my OCD and ADHD clashing together in an epic battle to influence my way of playing. For one thing, I’m not really into alts. I’ve started a couple in Rift, but they’ve barely been touched. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to be able to experiment with all the other classes and their souls one day, but for now I’d much rather focus on a single character and experience everything the game has to offer, including achievements, collections, and higher level content.

At the same time, I enjoy having options and love variety. I like filling multiple roles. Maybe that’s why I always find myself being drawn to the “hybrid” classes. Sometimes, being able to switch from one style of ranged to yet another style of ranged just isn’t enough for me.

What I was delighted to find in my first or second week of playing was just how adaptable the Cleric is. I started off with a solo melee build — Shaman/Druid/Justicar — with survival being my first priority. I wasn’t the best healer, nor did I have the best DPS — but I had just enough of both to crush my enemies and survive a barrage of anything they could throw at me.

Shortly afterward, it became clear to me that since I am always playing with my other half who is a Warrior, I wasn’t going to need that much survival anymore if he could just act as my personal shield. I began crafting a new soul combination for myself, one that focused more on pure damage. The result — Inquisitor/Cabalist. BAM! Suddenly, just like that, I was a caster. This is also the role I tend to use when I’m in dungeon with a healer already in the party, or if I’m in a big group or raid doing rifts.

When my husband started building a new main tank role for instances, I went and bought my third role and started looking into healing. As a tank/healer team, finding groups is never a problem, and the two of us are strong enough to take on elite quests and even major rifts by ourselves. For this, I went Purifier/Sentinel/Warden, which I use mostly for instances but also sometimes too when rifting, if I see a disconcertingly low number of light blue names in the raid frames.

Believe you me, if I only had the platinum to spare right now for a fourth role, I’d be trying my hand at tanking too!

Dammit, I love my Cleric.


Read Lately – Star Wars: The Old Republic – Deceived

March 29, 2011

We first met him in a Star Wars: The Old Republic game trailer — the mysterious masked Sith that brought down the Jedi Temple during the sacking of Coruscant. Darth Malgus, dark lord of the Sith, was the one who led this brutal assault and cut down countless Jedi on their own sacred ground. Now he is one of the main characters in Deceived, the second book in the SWTOR series by Paul S. Kemp, which tells the story of the attack as well as the calamitous events which came afterward.

On the surface, Deceived might just be another novel based on a video game, but after reading it, I admit the quality of the storytelling took me by surprise. Even as Star Wars novels go, I have to say it is better than most. Granted, it is still your standard Star Wars fare — you have your archtypal tale about a Jedi and her comrade pitted against a Sith Warrior and the dark side and such. But still, it was refreshing to read a game book for once and get the sense that the author is actually more interested in telling a good story rather than trying to write a blatant MMO marketing piece that attempts to showcase every single player class and their abilities (which, incidentally, was my main complaint about the first SWTOR book).

That is not to say Deceived is completely devoid of references to the upcoming MMO, just that I feel they are much less pronounced. In fact, in true BioWare fashion, what I think the book attempts to do is to set the stage for the type of light-side/dark-side interactions we can expect to see in TOR. Deceived does this by delving deeper into character motivations and ambitions, and treading the line of morality.

Instead of hobbling the story, the addition of this interplay actually made things better. Subsequently, I felt the characters of Deceived were more fleshed out than I would have expected from a video game tie-in or Star Wars novel, because of the personal reasons and internal conflicts that drive them. The angry and hate-filled Darth Malgus, for example, may surprise you with his tenderness towards the woman he loves. Similarly, the Jedi protagonist Aryn Leneer has her own reasons for turning her back on the Order and going rogue. The reader will also find the smuggler Zeerid struggle to make some difficult decisions, in the name of keeping his family safe.

As such, even though this book can be read as a standalone novel, if I have to relate it back to SWTOR, I want to say Deceived prepares us for the kind of moral dilemmas and questionable choices and we will no doubt face in-game. In the context of the novel, however, this also serves to provide in-depth characterizations for the heroes and villains, and helps readers connect to characters who are otherwise new to the Star Wars expanded universe and are thus relatively still unknown. It’s a win-win situation, really.

There were a few things that annoyed me about Deceived, and I feel I need to mention them. One of them pertains to Darth Malgus, who was the one I was most looking forward to reading about, but unfortunately he also turned out to be the weakest character for me. I felt that his evilness, anger, hate, and all that lust for destruction and melodrama was just a tad over-exaggerated, making him just another broody Sith Lord in the Star Wars line-up, overshadowing what depth he could have had. Aryn and Zeerid, on the other hand, were much more interesting to me.

The book also changes points-of-view very frequently, bouncing around, sometimes only after just a few paragraphs at a time. Word of warning, it can get taxing if you are unused to that. Thankfully, there are blessedly few subplots in this novel, which made the constant shifts bearable. I liked how the storyline in Deceived has a clear focus, and Kemp follows through with it very well.

I would recommend this book to fans of Star Wars, fans who are looking forward to the MMORPG, and even those who are just looking for a quick but fun video game-related read. If you enjoy scenes of lightsaber combat and space encounters, you will not be disappointed — in fact, you can even expect to read about the Sith attack on the Jedi Temple in all its glorious detail and appreciate it anew. However, there is also more to Deceived than just constant action; there is also a deeper poignancy and intensity behind the events that I honestly didn’t think I would find in a Star Wars game novel. Perhaps other readers will be pleasantly surprised as well.


The Sims Medieval: A Day In Ye Olde Life

March 28, 2011

They say behind every great kingdom, there is a great king. Or at least I think they do, anyway. For the charming, picturesque kingdom of Fairhaven, this man was Lord Wellic Kyranny. He loves family (which doesn’t really mean much, ’cause he hasn’t got one), is friendly (only when he needs something from you), and his fatal flaw is being uncouth. But seriously, can uncouth really be considered a fatal flaw when you’re a king? It’s not like being a merchant or anything, where being a total boorish and vulgar clod would actually hurt your livelihood. On the other hand, who’d dare gainsay a king?

Now, Lord Wellic isn’t a bad man. He’s just…pragmatic. And feeling a little tired in the above screenshot. Hey, give him a break, running the kingdom is hard work! But don’t just take my word for it, let Lord Wellic take you on a tour of a typical day in his life as king of Fairhaven.

Early in the morning, the day begins with a hearty meal of bear stew (breakfast of champions!) This is also the perfect time for Lord Wellic to meet up with all his royal staff and advisors to discuss the going ons of the kingdom.

“A fine job we are all doing, lads!” he says to all. “Now what kind of death and suffering can we inflict upon the good people of Fairhaven today?”

Like all kings, Lord Wellic has a weakness for the thrill of the hunt. “If it bleeds, we can kill it!”

The royal inventory happens to be running low on whale, so Wellic is tasked to take to the high seas in order to fill the larders up again with some Humpback or Bowhead (was so about to write Sperm, until I realized how that would sound).

The crew, however, finds no whale that day. Instead, the lookout in the crow’s nest cries out, “There, over by the rocks! A mermaid, m’lord!” Indeed, an enchanting, beautiful young creature with a head and torso of a human female and a tail of a fish, sits sunning herself by the water. The men on deck are moved to tears by her sweet song.

“Pshaw!” Wellic snorts. “Everyone knows mermaids don’t exist! Harpoon the thing, butcher it for lunch, and let’s just go home already, I’m bored.”

Okay, enough mucking about, time to do some real work around here. One of the most important jobs of being a monarch is to listen to the petitions of the common people. “Perfect! I practiced extra hard on my ‘you-must-be-kidding-me’ and ‘you-are-soooo-far-beneath-my-notice’ expressions last night! Let’s go meet the peasants.”

Villager #1: I would like to have a female sheep from the royal flock. All my ewes died. May I please have one?

Lord Wellic: NO EWE FOR YOU! Do you think simoles grow on trees?! If I just simply pandered to every single bloody peasant who comes in here asking for livestock, how would I be able to afford that solid gold statue of myself I’ve been planning to install on my front lawn?

Villager #2: I seek guidance. A neighbor always leaves out food and attracts stray dogs. They’re mean! They taunt our chicken and eat our shoes! What should we do?

Lord Wellic: BRIBE ME! Not only will I sentence your neighbor to death and get rid of your stray dog problem, you can go to sleep happy tonight knowing you did a fine service to your kingdom, by generously donating to the royal coffers. Oh, don’t look at me like that. Did you think “Lord Wellic Kyranny” rhymes with “tyranny” was just a coincidence? (It was, actually!)

Villager #3: Mighty One, I have a problem. I am possessed by demons. That’s not the problem, though. The problem is that I’m beginning to enjoy it. What should I do?

Lord Wellic: GET THEE TO A TAVERN! There’s only one thing to do when you feel that good — get stinking drunk and fornicate the night away. Go on, enjoy! You’ll thank me in the morning. See, I’m an awesome king!

Time for the daily afternoon tour of Fairhaven. First stop, the Judgment Zone where the stocks are located and where the kingdom’s pet beast of justice resides. Oh dear, there’s something terribly wrong here. Lord Wellic does not seem to be liking the sight of those empty stocks…

“AH HA! Much better!” Lord Wellic laughs. “Come on, gather ’round my countrymen, don’t be shy! Hurl your eggs and rotten tomatoes at the prisoners, it’s so much fun! Especially when they are completely innocent!”

Man, all work and no play makes Lord Wellic a dull boy. One of his favorite things to do besides shirking his royal responsibilities is to sneak into the back of the storeroom and make out with that saucy foreign lass Fionnuala, Merchant Princess of Tredony.

Wellic says, “Hmm, we’ll just file this under ‘diplomatic negotiations’, shall we?”

Ah, what a nice way to end the day. The king falls into bed, glad for a hard day’s work, ready to do it all again and more tomorrow. “I am a wonderful monarch,” he thinks to himself as he stifles a yawn. “Fairhaven could not ask for a better king. I was born to do this job — I love my people, and my people sure love me!”

Huh. If that’s so, why is our Lord Wellic suddenly dreaming of assassination? Find out next time!


SWTOR: Becoming A Jedi Knight

March 25, 2011

Another week, another Friday where I get use this blogspace to talk about my thoughts on the latest Star Wars: The Old Republic update. Today’s reveal — the Jedi Knight Character Progression video.

Okay, so while I don’t remember when I watched the original Star Wars movies for the first time, I do know it had to be somewhere in the late 80s when I was just a little tyke and at the time my parents were transferred overseas. So what would you do if you happened to be a little kid stuck in the outskirts of some foreign city, where at the time there was not much to do and no such thing as Saturday morning cartoons (and even if there were, you wouldn’t have been able to understand them)? You watched your beloved 70s and 80s movie trilogies on VHS, over and over and over again! It was all we had. And that’s how I fell in love with Star Wars.

So I was watching the Jedi Progression video and thinking to myself, “Hey, this looks pretty cool,” but at about 0:36 where the Yoda-ish theme song kicks in and the droid pipes up with its little trill, I suddenly I found myself feeling a little choked up. This is going to sound embarrassing, but I don’t know how else to put it. It was like being pulled back 20 years ago and watching Luke Skywalker take his first step from being a naive farmboy to becoming a seasoned Jedi Knight all over again.

And then it was over. Subsequent armor sets started reminding me of the prequels era and pulled me out of my heavy cloud of nostalgia. Don’t get me wrong — the armor sets themselves were stylish, fashionable and overall looked very, very cool — but thinking about Episodes I, II, and III always tends to have that “smelling salts” effect on me. For a few moments there though, the powerful music and the image of that Jedi reaching that momentous milestone in his evolution — igniting and marveling over his first ever lightsaber — almost had me thinking about ditching my Bounty Hunter plans and going with the Jedi Knight for my main. Luke Skywalker’s “hero’s journey” was one of the things that made me love Star Wars so much. They’ve even got that pose from the poster down.

The fact that the Jedi Knight was the class I played in the Taral V demo probably also had a hand in making me feel this way. The wide range of abilities I had to play with impressed me, and that was only just a small subset of what was available. I know I said before that I had very little interest in the force users, but it’s one thing to say that before I saw the Jedi Knight in action, another to have actually experienced the joys of breaking a vine cat’s face in with my lightsaber.

What it all boils down to, though, is the epiphany I had after watching the video — I think I understand better now why someone would want to play the Jedi Knight. You see, I’d always thought of it as a “typical” decision, but now after the video and reflecting upon my own fond memories, I kinda feel bad about that. This update has made me think that perhaps it would be more accurate of me to replace “typical” with “meaningful” instead.


A Champion Has Risen – Thoughts On Dragon Age II

March 24, 2011

Note: No spoilers, until the last few paragraphs, plenty of warning forthcoming.

Let me just start this post off by saying I was a huge, huge, huge, HUGE, HUGE fan of Dragon Age: Origins, so to say I was excited about Dragon Age II is the understatement of the year.

Of course, there were several things I was mindful of before playing. On top of some major changes to gameplay, I knew that DA2, while set in the same world and time period as its predecessor, will also take place in a different city and center around the life and adventures of a new protagonist, Hawke.

I won’t lie; there was just the teensiest twinge of disappointment when I first heard this news last year. Admittedly, so much of my enjoyment of the first game came out of my emotional investment into my human noble warrior, and the attachment I felt to her companions, the Grey Warden mythos, and Ferelden. Nevertheless, I was open to something new — change can be good, and BioWare has shown with Mass Effect that they are entirely capable of following up a game with a killer sequel.

So go ahead and bring it.

My verdict: mostly good. Make that mostly very, very good. Despite some minor issues I had with the gameplay and story, I can truthfully say without disguise or exaggeration that Dragon Age II is probably one of the best fantasy RPGs I have ever played.

First of all, certain aspects from the first game such as the conversation system and user interface have been improved or modified to be much more functional and enjoyable, which should make even the most casual fans of fantasy RPGs feel at home. Some of the changes and their similarities to Mass Effect were not lost on me, like the addition of the dialogue wheel and the removal of multiple character origins so that the player only has the choice of playing Hawke, though we are still free to choose the gender and class of our character.

Some of these changes may make the game more appealing to a wider audience. I seem to remember reactions and opinions being quite polarized when I think back to Dragon Age: Origins, as in people either loved it or couldn’t stand it at all. As much as I enjoyed the game, even now I’d hesitate to recommend DA:O to just anybody. With DA2, however, I think I’d feel a little more confident about doing so, knowing there might be a better chance it will be well-received.

It probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone that the thing I liked most about the game is the story, and I think most of us will agree that that’s where the strength lies in any BioWare title. In fact, I think DA2 got the storytelling down so well, that it almost made the other RPG elements like combat feel trivial. I won’t deny that there were many moments of groaning and swearing at the computer screen — mostly times where I found myself being jumped by yet another gang of bandits, when all I could think was Arrgh! Get this stupid fight over with already so I can find out what happens next!

Uhhh...fine day for a bloodbath?

That’s not to say I felt combat was weak. Actually, I thought they’ve made it more fun and flexible than ever. Being tactical or not seems to be more of a choice. I did some micro-managing and issuing commands to my companions, but mostly I just played DA2 like any action game, hacking and slashing away with my warrior Hawke. Still, as much as I enjoyed splitting darkspawn skulls with my huge-ass sword and watching my foes explode before my unstoppable whirlwind ability, the novelty inevitably started to wear off and feel a little repetitive.

Hawke’s activities being restricted to the same city and its surrounding areas for the whole game probably didn’t help that very much. Dungeons all looked the same, and you also returned to some of them again and again. Kirkwall started to feel like a home, but it was still a bit of a downer to realize I wasn’t going to be adventuring anywhere else.

But like I alluded to before, the strength of this game and what makes up for its faults is its story, its elaborate twists and turns and the impact of the decisions you get to make. At first, I was a little skeptical. I was a couple hours in, and still there was no sign of any pressing danger, dire catastrophe, or malignant evil threatening to take over the world. Contrast that to Dragon Age: Origins, where almost immediately you are thrown into the midst of a blight and tasked to stop an archdemon. So, here was Hawke, running around doing quests in Kirkwall. What happened to my epic journey? Where’s the sense of urgency?

Dragon Age 2 turned out not to follow the basic formula, and I think I ended up liking the game better for it. Don’t panic — you still get to kill darkspawn and slay dragons, but for the most part, the story revolves around the politics and socio-cultural conflicts of Kirkwall. We only got a brief glimpse into the tensions between mages, the Templars, and the Chantry in the first game, so it was a pleasant surprise to be given the chance to delve further into these issues in the sequel. The set up made for more complex plotlines and having to make much more difficult decisions, which I can appreciate. I was not prepared for all the crazy surprises and shocking developments, but happy moments, sad moments, outrageous moments — I loved them all.

A fully-voiced and expressive Hawke.

One major change I loved about DA2 (and likely had a hand in improving the storytelling) was a fully-voiced and expressive Hawke. I can deal with silent, but I can’t tell you how frustrating it was in DA:O to see my Warden stare blankly into space like a storefront mannequin even during the most emotional situations. In DA2 I delighted in having my Hawke wrinkle her nose in disgust, narrow her eyes in annoyance, or raise her eyebrows in a questioning manner. It made my character feel like a more realistic and unique individual, and like in Mass Effect, being able to give responses that reflected different emotions (nice, sarcastic, aggressive, etc.) also allowed for some downright hilarious quest situations.

This also helped me form quick attachments to my Champion and her companions. I liked how there were a lot more ways to involve them in my conversations and interactions with the game environment, and there’s definitely a more authentic edge to the way my party members would act or speak. It made me approach my companions in a different way than in other Bioware games, like caring more about those I liked and treating the ones I disliked more harshly. Involving emotions and other believable elements in the game seemed to have led me to react to them in a more realistic manner as well.

*smooch* *smooch*

My romantic prospects, however, were another matter. In this area, I felt the first game handled things better, and it’s not just my bias for Alistair talking here, I swear! Simply put, in DA:O, romancing a companion felt like an epic tale unto itself; there was courtship, a clash of emotions, the surprises and unpredictability of a relationship, and the whole nine yards. As opposed to the innuendos and the sometimes cringe-worthy one-liners you get to spout in DA2 like a drunken date. Awkwaaaaard. And why is it that we are always stuck with emo guys?

Despite my little nitpicks, Dragon Age 2 is still overall a great game. I really can’t decide if I like it better than Dragon Age: Origins. Probably better, even though they both have their strong and weak points. However, one thing I know that can never be substituted is the warm and fuzzy feeling I first got when I played DA:O, that ineffable sensation that washed over me the moment I discovered I had a very special fantasy RPG on my hands. Like a first love, it’s a feeling that’s difficult to explain, once in a lifetime and unlikely to happen with any other Dragon Age title again. Still, while the first game will always be special to me, Dragon Age 2 is definitely a clear improvement overall. Bioware does it again, delivering a sequel absolutely worthy of its original.

Warning: Spoiler-free zone ends here. Do not read past image if you don’t want spoilers.

Spoilers ahead! Avert thine eyes!

For those curious as to what I did, I played a female warrior Hawke, customizing her to make her look as much as possible like my character from DA:O for old times’ sake. As I said, I tended to treat my companions in a more realistic manner in DA2, and one of the things my character would not tolerate was whenever one of my companions would willfully lie to her or deceive her. For example, when Isabela revealed that she knew more about her lost relic than she let on, I turned my back on her, making her up and leave me, never to return again. Whatever, good riddance, pirate wench.

My sister Bethany the mage also played a huge part in how I approached the Mage-Templar conflict. I played the part of the doting sister, defended good mages everywhere, and defied Templar demands wherever I could. Even my mother’s death did not sway me in thinking that all mages were ultimately dangerous and needed to be locked up. I even romanced Anders (even though out-of-character, I really didn’t want to, ugh!) and as crotchety as he was to all my other companions, I put up with his crap because I figured he and Hawke meant something to each other.

It was probably my character’s romance with Anders that led me to side with the Templars in the end after he went all whackjob on everyone and blew up the Chantry. My poor, disillusioned Hawke just couldn’t continue fighting for the mages when the champion of the cause and the love of her life was responsible for something that heinous. Justice/Vengeance-possessed or not, Hawke couldn’t let Anders get away with it. I was pretty pissed off too, considering how I never really even wanted to be stuck with Anders in the first place. I gave him a chance and he blew it, so he had to die. Obviously.

Of course, right after sticking that dagger in him I realized I just killed off my one and only healer. Yes, it made the fight after that and the final battle with the First Enchanter such a pain in the ass, but damn it all, I wasn’t about to go and revert back to a previous save just to spare Anders, so I stuck it out. The First Enchanter, who had resorted to blood magic to become an abomination in the end (even though I offered him a way out for the sake of my sister and everyone in Kirkwall) pretty much just me think I made the right choice as well. Mages becoming dangerous when cornered was the major argument from Templar supporters, and the actions of the First Enchanter just proved them right, if you asked me.

Two great things happened after the fight — 1) I still got to kill Knight-Commander Meredith, who was much too batty to be allowed to live, really, and 2) Bethany rejoined my party so I got my healer back! So even though the final fight against Meredith was way more complex, I also had a much, much easier time.

I was ambivalent about the concluding narrative. Even though I sided with the Templars, my ending wasn’t so very different from those who I saw sided with the mages — mages everywhere still took a stand, finding hope in the events of Kirkwall. And all the companions dispersed, except for the Champion’s love interest, of course. In my case, that was Anders…and I still got the “stayed by my side” line even though I killed him. Well, I guess they meant it in a figurative, haunt-me-for-the-rest-of-my-life kind of way…


3 Reasons Why I Go Back To Do Lower- Level Rifts

March 22, 2011

And no, it's not "to gank noooobs" 😛

Okay, I’m no altoholic and I love my Cleric, but I’m also not precluding the possibility that I might want to make myself another little Ranger or Warrior in Rift one day. Around the time of launch, however, I started getting a bit worried about the future of rifts and rift events, especially given how their frequency are based on both player population and their level of participation. Remember how I pondered about what would happen when the majority of the server moves beyond the lower-level content? Will my future alt be fending off rifts mostly on my own while tumbleweeds roll by and crickets chirp on? Or worse, as overall populations become sparser at the lower levels, will there even be enough to trigger events like zone-wide invasions to do at all?

Well, after I actually started playing, I realized Trion had much of this figured out already. When I wander the starting areas now, I still see a ton of people — and not just the lowbies either. There are players from all level ranges, all doing rifts together. I find that whenever I have the time, especially when I’m playing by myself, I’ll go back to the lower-level areas to do the them too. The game actually gives you plenty of reasons to go back, perhaps as a way of ensuring populations in all the zones will remain relatively healthy.

I’ll tell you this though, it’s not for the rewards or experience. Things are adjusted in a way that a higher-level character will not always contribute more than a lower-level character, so more often that not, players who are well above the level of the rift will only get crap planarite. Which is also why I try not to be a jerk whenever I find myself at a rift with lots of lower-level characters around — I’d hold back on the DPS, single-target instead of AoE, etc. I want the others to reap most of the benefits, while personally, I’m after other things:

1. Achievements and Artifacts
Can’t resist…must do…achievements! There are many related to closing rifts of certain planar types, some of which can only be found in certain zones. There are also specific achievements requiring you to close rifts only unique to a zone, and same with bosses. Sometimes I’d hang about hoping to get lucky enough to be around when a zone-wide event triggers so I can participate in the battle leading to their defeat.

And since I’m in a completionist mood, some artifacts also only drop from certain rifts or certain plane types. I’m too poor to afford even buying one or two artifacts from the auction house to complete my collections, so I try my luck with the rifts while I’m at it.

2. Notoriety
There are a number of rift factions in the game associated with certain rift types. Players can gain notoriety, or reputation, by sealing rifts, defeating footholds and invasions, and killing planar mobs. Each faction has a quartermaster located in the major city, dangling their rep goods smugly in your face. Curse you, Atlas Nicolo of the Ember Scholars, you dirty tease! I want your flippin’ Flame Squirrel!

3. Crafting
My Cleric is a Runecrafter, quite possibly one of the most annoying and abusive professions I’ve ever had the misfortune of leveling. Raw materials for it can be obtained from items that are “runebreakable”, which includes more than just uncommon or rarer equipment. Planar essences and crafting augments, both of which can sometimes be obtained from rift rewards, can also be broken down. Being able to pick these up every now and then while doing rifts is a nice side benefit. The best thing about runebreaking is, the lower-level mats can be combined to form higher-level mats, so nothing goes to waste.