Darkening Days

I read a blog lately that said (and this is paraphrasing) RIFT must be going downhill because the enthusiasm for it has died down on the blogosphere.  Well, it could be that we’re all just playing it instead of talking about it, y’know?  I can only speak for me and those I observe, but I’m still having a huge blast with the game.

Last night we cobbled together a group to go explore Darkening Deeps, the level 25ish dungeon in Gloamwood.  We had four guild members wanting to do it, so I put a call out in the general chat and got perhaps ten instant responses.  So I’m guessing there are lots of folks out there wanting to run dungeons and very few willing to put them together.  Hopefully Trion will get that dungeon putter-together thing sooner rather than later!

I remember running Darkening Deeps from PAX Prime last year, and I once again found it atmospheric and fun.  So far in my experience, RIFT dungeons are somewhere between WoW’s “run in and AOE everything down” and other games where you carefully mark, mez and cautiously proceed.  Instead, we just agreed to whatever roles we wanted and headed into the fray, trusting in each other to do the right thing.  It ended up working beautifully — we had a dedicated warrior tank, me as an off-tank, a healing cleric, a bard, and another cleric doing straight-up DPS.

Let me tell you, having the freedom to zip around as a teleporting tank was just about one of the most fun things I’ve ever done in an MMO.  Without having to worry about carefully pulling or aggro issues, I could just zip in and flit between enemies, slicing them up to my hearts’ content.

The only sticking point came with the first boss, mostly because a pet aggro’d before we finished up with nearby adds.  After that one wipe, I switched to bard for backup, and between three healers we kept everyone alive just fine.

DD is a great run — it’s just the right length, there’s not a ton of mobs between bosses, and the atmosphere is delicious.  What I loved the most was just having an entire group who could come to a dungeon and modify roles on the fly depending on what was needed.  We didn’t really worry much about strict roles while setting up the group, trusting that we could adapt if needed.  I find myself doing a lot of role-shifting in group situations in RIFT, whether they be dungeons or dynamic events, because it takes a little bit to figure out what a group’s strengths and weaknesses are.  Having those tools at my disposal keeps me from fretting about not being as group-friendly as I should be, because I know I have all types of builds in my back pocket.

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13 thoughts on “Darkening Days

  1. Paeroka March 17, 2011 / 12:45 pm

    “Well, it could be that we’re all just playing it instead of talking about it, y’know?”

    I recently read that on the WAR forums as well. 😉

    But well. The “hype” is usually the biggest before a game’s launch and now, of course, there are disappointed people, people who are still blogging about it happily and people who are just playing the game. I’ve still not seen much from the game thanks to my exams (only 4 more weeks then it’s all over! *counts the days*) but what I’ve seen so far is a polished and solid game. So I hope history won’t repeat itself in this case and we won’t have another Warhammer Online (with its fast decreasing player base after it’d started with so many accounts!).

  2. Scarybooster March 17, 2011 / 12:51 pm

    I still love and can’t wait to play RIFT everynight. I’m just slowing down in the relationship because I’m enjoying every moment instead of rushing and having kids too fast. It is great game and talking about how much you love something everyday gets annoying to others real quick. A nice kiss on the cheek in public every once and awhile is fine.

    That and it is DAW next week!!! Too many great developers to appreciate, too little time.

  3. Scopique March 17, 2011 / 1:17 pm

    Those folks need some historical perspective. Hype and chatter ALWAYS dies down after launch, always, across the board. Whether it’s people playing it, or disinterest…it really doesn’t matter. Hype is about anticipation, which gets a lot of play. Rift got a lot of post-launch chatter, which is more then a lot of games get. I’d say that’s an indication that it’s doing better then most games do after launch.

  4. Zerbious March 17, 2011 / 1:18 pm

    I’m in complete agreement with you here, Syp. I am too busy playing the game to be chatting about it at this point. There is so much to do, it leaves me figuring out what I want to do when I log in each time.

    Most every shard has a high population still, which should say something. Let’s see how things look after the free month is used up and then judge. Personally I think there will still be a large population on most shards.

    As for dungeons, you are correct, they are wonderful fun and the eye candy is plentiful. I have been putting together regular “irregular” runs as a guild and having dungeon bosses as a guild quest doesn’t hurt either.

    What I mean by “irregular” is what you touched on. I see who is available and put together a group and we swap roles as necessary. I have tanked on my rogue with great success, we’ve had a three cleric group with them being tank, healer and DPS. We’ve had bard and chloromancer off-heals, and hunter pets off-tanking.

    We put no pressure on anyone wanting to experiment with their roles… if you want to try something and it didn’t work, so be it, its a learning experience and we’re having fun.

    Even last night when we had some mix up and one of the clerics didn’t realize he was supposed to be the healer. Even then we had a nice laugh… at his expense. 😉

    As I close in on 40, I have barely touched on the game, yet at the same time had so much to do. Quests are great, yes some are the same old KTRs, but others are unique and fun.

    Rifts, warfronts and world PVP are a fun escape from the grind. I love the collections around the open world and they give you a good reason to get off the beaten path and explore.

    I know there are some naysayers out there, but I even enjoy crafting since most of the gear I am making (yes, I have kept it on-level as I go) is better than what I get from quests.

  5. Juz March 17, 2011 / 1:46 pm

    I agree that the dungeons are great to look at. My level 42 cleric has been in multiple runs for each dungeon since RotF, fulfilling many different roles. I really enjoy being able to switch from a tank to a healer to a DPS/offhealer on the fly (though I do tank much more often than any other role). Rift’s class system is perhaps its greatest success.

    However, the most “successful” runs I’ve been in have also been the most sterile. This isn’t to say that they have been unfun – typically the people I meet are fun and cool and joking, and we have a good time as we crash through the place. But I can’t look at what we do and really consider it snazzy and innovative. Hell, the pulls come in only three varieties – a swarm of unthreatening mobs to AoE, a handful of unthreatening elite mobs to AoE, or one big unthreatening elite mob to kill (quite possibly with AoE).

    Maybe it’s just the way I tank. I LoS a lot, and I’m good about avoiding pats, keeping my buffs and shields up, etc. The trash mobs don’t really do anything interesting, so all of the pulls feel the same.

    The bosses so far have also been rather uninspired. The bosses in King’s Breach (mid 30’s dungeon), for example, include a boss who spawns adds, a boss who has a cleave and tailwhip, a boss who has a knockback and a random-target charge if you’re not in melee range, and a final boss who also summons adds. Bleh.

    I like your focus on the environment, because the dungeons definitely do not disappoint in that department. RotF’s Winter Terrace, with its whiteout conditions and huge treefolk enemies who make menacing silhouettes in the distance, is one of the best dungeon areas I’ve been in across all MMOs. Runic Descent (high 30’s/low 40’s) is one of the prettiest dungeons I’ve seen, and the architecture of the ruins is stunning. In addition, RD houses three elemental events that require kiting and distracting death lasers so your teammate can deactivate them. They’re challenging, fresh, and really interesting challenges, and I want to see more of that, perhaps in concert with a normal trash pull.

    So Rift does some of these things well, and I hope to see more of it. But for many of the dungeons, as I pull some trash with a ranged attack and then duck behind a wall, waiting for the pack to clump up in our aoe kill-zone, I can’t help but think that this has all of the trite parts of Wow, only it’s less fun because I don’t have my Prot Warrior’s Shockwave button.

  6. kiantremayne March 17, 2011 / 2:01 pm

    I’m going to go with what Scopique said. Of course there’s less hype and anticipation about Rift now… it’s HERE. We can play it as much as we want. We don’t need to blog about how awesome it’s going to be 🙂

    I’m finding the dungeons so far at about the right level for me and others in PuGs at the “competent casual” level – i.e. for people who aren’t min-maxed to within an inch of our lives, but understand concepts like aggro and not standing in the fire. I’ve run Darkening Deeps twice – once on my cleric as melee DPS/off-heals and once on my rogue (assassin except for the spider, where I had to swap to bard after the healer kept getting webbed and the other DPS was a bit slow about switching targets). The dungeon includes what may be my favourite dungeon boss yet – the werewolf fight with the peanut gallery of prisoners critiquing the tank’s positioning and bantering away in the background.

  7. Moxie March 17, 2011 / 2:25 pm

    I’ve just been playing the game, & my enthusiasm for it hasn’t exactly lessened… it’s just that like kian said, it’s HERE and I can play it as much as I like – which is to say, a lot.

    I’m not sure what those people are seeing anyway, because almost every gaming blog I follow is still talking about Rift, and almost all of them are still saying great things about it. /shrug

    I’ve only seen RotF and DD so far (fun run last night!) but I do like their instances… not so hard as to last for hours, but not so easy that you can ROFLstomp your way through. There’s still a few tricky pulls & aggro to be managed, and the boss fights are fairly entertaining. RotF is definitely on my list of favorite instances ever in any MMO though, just for the travel-thru-the-seasons concept and the white-out conditions at the end. That was brilliant design, IMO.

  8. Jomu March 17, 2011 / 2:40 pm

    too .. busy…playing rift…to…comment!

  9. ZombiePirate March 18, 2011 / 4:18 am

    I’m watching Rift at the moment. I played a little in the last couple of beta events and enjoyed what I saw. I am currently still in WoW but after the travesty that LFD heroics are I am thinking of switching over. My fear from this post is that the LFD mechanic from WoW will mean a similar experience to what I get in WoW, a bunch of nubs that cannot adapt to the situation and cannot step up or manage things have changed since AOE-Zerg Wrath content.

  10. João Carlos March 18, 2011 / 8:26 am

    I am almost level 50, just 70 k from it.

    And I will have a lot of things to do at level 50…

    I just found some level 50 quests, I need complete my collections for buy a turtle, I need get my crafting to 300, I need better gear…

    And I need do the raids…

  11. Julie Whitefeather March 18, 2011 / 1:05 pm

    Perhaps the over the top hype from virtual tourists has subsided a bit – eventually that is bound to happen. On the next NPNM show we have an industry interview and the main subject is rift. The guest points out that there were people at the level cap in the first week and a half the game has been out. Now is perhaps the beginning of the period when we find out if Rift “has legs”.

  12. PeterD March 18, 2011 / 6:00 pm

    As others have said I think Rift is getting less blog attention because instead of an anticipated title it’s actually here. Game blogging seems to mostly revolve around speculating, analyzing, or reporting. The speculation part is gone now, which mostly leaves people analyzing or reporting their play experiences. Which means, you know, the only bloggers really blogging are the ones playing the game, which is certainly not the same number as were speculating about it.

    I’m now in the mid 20s, and while Gloamwood is distinctly less crowded than Silverwood, there are still enough people to defeat almost every invasion event and clear out planar infested quest hubs. The game appears to be in a much better position than WAR, population-wise, in the same time period.

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