Adventures In The Iron Tombs

March 2, 2011

Instances were something I never did during the Rift beta since I’d decided it was content I wanted to “save” for myself after launch, so forgive me if I’m coming late to the party with my musings.

I’ve been through Iron Tombs a few times now. Needless to say, your class and the soul build you choose will dictate your playstyle while in the dungeon. I guess what I didn’t anticipate, however, was how greatly your group makeup can alter your overall experience as well.

For days now, I’ve been mulling over and comparing two particular IT runs in my head. In Run #1, I was one of three Clerics in a rather bizarre group, along with a Warrior tank and a Rogue filling out the ranks. At the time, I was using my hybrid melee/heal soloing role and my guess was the other Clerics had a similar setup as well, since despite the three of us, I don’t think we even had a dedicated healer in the party. Not that it stopped us from tearing through the place, however. Seems when you have that many Clerics, you get a lot of incidental healing flying around. I felt a certain closeness to the rest of my group, with all of us being in the fray.

That said, the run was not without its challenges: overall damage was perhaps lower for us, leading our group to play to its defensive strengths, often resulting in long drawn out battles that put the Clerics’ mana bars at risk and there were some pretty scary moments for the tank. But still. Completely doable.

Run #2 was completed with a more “traditional” setup. Two Rogues, two Warriors, and me. I had purchased another role and was pretty eager to try out my new pure healing build. And boy, did IT give me a run for my money this time around, despite the higher average level of the group. Perhaps I would have had an easier time if we’d had another Cleric in the group, or even a Chloromancer, but the rapidly falling health meters especially during the Three Kings fight was not something I anticipated and I nearly went crazy with panic trying to keep the heals up, slamming and clicking away on the keyboard and mouse like a madwoman, screaming profanities at my casting bar all the while. My Twitter pals Dusty and Chris were in the group so thank goodness we weren’t on vent, or I’m sure I would have scared them off and found two less followers come morning.

Still, it was a blast. I wasn’t really in the thick of it anymore, but I felt like a “real” healer, and certainly the roles were way more clear cut than in my first run, the holy trinity asserting its dominance once again. Having a dedicated healer may be the “proper” way to do it, but it did mean more pressure for myself and I’m sure everybody else. But I gotta say it gave me the challenge I was looking for. Certainly, each dungeon run teaches me something about my current build, about what I’m doing right and what I might be missing.

I’ve taken to being excited over waiting to see what other classes are in my group and trying to anticipate their roles and what it would mean for my own. It seems the dungeon experience and difficulty can change so much depending on what the other class and soul combinations are, even if you stay with the same role each time. Who knows, maybe group makeup matters less now considering IT is low level content, but I see flexibility in roles as also being flexibility in group playstyle. It’d be nice if I can do multiple runs of the same instance, and still be surprised each time.


  1. Nice write-up of your (sometimes frustrated) times in instances. While I dislike the game itself, I like how it is at least proving more difficult than a cake-walk right out of the gates with group content. I particularly like the way you ‘lightly’ described your ‘oh-crap’ moments in healing, though I doubt you’d be able to scare off your buds. Now if it was PvP related, that generally leads to more aggro out of people so in that case, *maybe* hee hee

    Are you able to swap your soul-build mid run if say five dps/utility spec’d players isn’t working out?

    • Yes, you can switch roles mid run, just as long as you’re out of combat. That’s actually what my group did tonight in our run of Deepstrike Mines. We went in with a couple people who were lower level, so DPS wasn’t quite enough to bring down the last boss. We did some swapping of roles to see if we could bump up the damage, which was a good try but ultimately it was still not enough. It was an awesome run though, and I had a great time regardless…definitely not a cakewalk out of the gates, no 🙂

  2. I may not play Rift, or know much about the lore really, but I still have to say that is an excellent image.

    The pose, the architecture, the atmosphere, the effects, everything really comes together nicely.

    • I think you’d like the look of the game. It’s gorgeous, and the Defiants have a very unique magic-meets-technology style that I just fell in love with the first time I saw it. I think it was what drew me to that faction in the first place.

      And gosh, the music…I know you love music in games as much as I do, and I have a feeling you’ll probably like what you hear. The Rift music’s done by the same composer who scored Dragon Age. I’m dying to get my hands on Rift soundtrack, but so far the only way I know you can get it is through the retail collector’s edition, which I didn’t get.

      • Lol, I had no idea Inon Zur scored Rift. I know he scored TERA (which is excellent music, even if I never really intend to play the game), but I guess I missed the bit about him composing for Rift.

        Inon Zur is one of my favorite video game composers, at the moment. If he had been available to score SWTOR, he would definitely have been on my “dream list”, even though I’m not sure if his fantasy-tinged pieces would really fit in the Star Wars universe. But I’m sure he would have adapted.

        As for Rift, I would probably give it a buy if I thought I would get my money’s worth. But with SWTOR on the horizon (and a collector’s edition, at that), I just couldn’t see myself playing it enough to really be worth the cash.

        That said, I’ll admit that the game certainly passes the eye candy test. Not even just the architecture, but the atmosphere seems to be very polished (plus, it is hard not to be intrigued by giant monstrosities emerging from a portal in the sky).

      • He’s one of my favorites too! I bet he could have pulled off sci-fi, I know he adapted to post-apocalyptic pretty well with Fallout: New Vegas! XD Seems he’s got a pretty flexible style!

  3. Okay, if you want to try diferent runs at IT, try this:

    Get a third role and spec a cleric TANK. I think you will find it a lot fun…

    • Oh don’t you know I’m itching to try that…I’m already maintaining three roles though, one melee hybrid build for soloing, one pure healing spec for dungeons runs (my husband is a warrior so we wanted that healer-tank duo thing covered), and my third role is a caster DPS build for maximizing my damage, for either instances or rift events.

      I’d love for my last role to be a tank build (saw a guildie Cleric tank DSM last night and it looks like a lot of fun!) but it’s 30 platinum for the fourth role and it’s going to take a while for me to afford it!

      • I went through IT a few days back with a cleric tank, cleric dps, mage healer, and a mage and rogue being dps. I have healed it as a Chloromancer in beta, but I was dps spec’d this time and the other Chloro did just fine, I thought. We did have some deaths, but never a full wipe, and the dps cleric was always able to swap to healer mode and throw out rez’s then swap back to dps mode if needed. Worked well.

      • Absolutely. I am constantly being amazed at how flexible the soul system in Rift is.

  4. Neither of the Rogues in your group had a Bard spec to help out with the heals? Properly set up Bard rogues can do both dps and help out greatly with the heals and even boost the dps the group does to help out with the lower leveled dps’ers.

    • Nope, neither of the rogues were bards…one was a ranger, the other a rogue with a melee build, I’m not sure which, but it wasn’t one that healed.

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