It's a Storm Alright

A few gigs of download and Storm Legion is up and running.

Rift Storm Legion

Now, you might not like the art style of Rift and that’s cool but you have to admit that being able to see a vista and actually visit  the places you can see is cool.

As with all expansion launches, there are service issues.  What there isn’t is server queues, which is awesome.  What there is, is lag, which is sad.

I tried dimensions quickly and I think I’m going to be spending a lot of time tweaking mine.  It’s nice that you have a selection of dimensions rather than a single setting for everyone.  Good call.  The toolset is solid as well.

The third nicest part is the auto-looting of cash.  Drops are typically garbage and unless you want to harvest a creature (skin, herbs, whatever) there isn’t much need to loot.  What is awesome is killing and getting the cash deposited directly into your bags.  Great!

The second nicest part, for me, is the organic questing.   You still see ! around but you only get 1-2 quests at a time.  Otherwise, you need to actually go out in the world and pick up the quests naturally.  Either by killing an enemy and unlocking the quest or picking up a specific item.  This is such a different model than WoW/EQ that I’m quite taken aback.

The nicest is the open tagging system.  Now, imagine your typical tagging system where the first person gets the loot.  Imagine that being the only thing the first attacker gets.  Everyone else gets exp and quest credit, even if not grouped.  You need to kill 20 beasts?  Kill anything that you see, along with the random people around you.  Even better, press the auto-group button on the top of your screen to keep moving along.

I’m only a couple hours in but dang if I’m not having a blast.

RIFT Readies for its Expansion

We’re a couple weeks away from Storm Legion, RIFT’s first expansion.  Patch 1.11 (yes, 11 content patches since the launch, WoW rarely got past 3) is out and is prepping all the souls for the new expansion.

I have a 50 Cleric as a main, a 50 Warrior as well, a mid range Mage and a low level Rogue.  I had a decent set of builds for the first 2, opting for a healing/tanking set for the Cleric.  I really liked the flow of tanking with a Cleric but there were some rather serious limitations at launch – namely spell resist.  There have been a lot of balancing patches, a few with rather large re-writes to skills but the overall balance between everyone is pretty good, considering the thousands of combinations possible.

1.11 is pretty much re-writing every skill tree though.  You still spend 51 points (until the cap is lifted in the expansion) but there are plenty of new things to pick from.  As a general rule, the game is moving away from the RNG issues it had before, into a more streamlined stacking buff mechanic.  The changes for classes are so large, that each class has it’s own post,  typically 5-6 pages long of changes.  Wilhelm goes over some of the player perspective points.

Let me contrast this with WoW for a second.  My Rogue has the exact same playstyle as before.  Poison the daggers, build CP to keep Slice and Dice running, finish with Envenom/Rupture.  My Shaman has the same priority.  Flame Shock on, Lava Burst, Shock Burst at 7+ stacks, Lightning Bolt.  The only class with a real change is Warlocks.  There’s just a distinct lack of choice now.

Back to RIFT.  I like how the devs are taking their builds to task. I like how they listen to player feedback and promote players to moderate positions.  I like the forums as they generally are not cess-pools of vitriol.  Players seem to do a great job of self-moderating and the bad apples are rooted out fairly quickly.  I like the feature set for the next expansion – especially player housing.

I think the thing I like the most about RIFT is the clear amount of fun you can have when a system is made by people who genuinely understand their market and aren’t hopping on some hype train.