After two crazy weeks of work, I finally had a respite this past weekend — and some much-needed time to myself. When it came to gaming, I decided to have fun and throw all my chips into one basket to see what I could do.
In this case, it was a weekend of playing nothing but RIFT. As I’ve said in the past, I feel the pressure of the expansion growing, even though we don’t know when it’s coming. What I do know for sure is that it’s (a) in the fall and (b) Guild Wars 2 is launching at the end of August. That means that I need to get serious about getting this character ready for expansion content in the span of a month before a fourth title comes along to compete for my time.
If I’m making this sound dire and work-like, it’s not; I like a challenge, and it’s enjoyable to push my character out of a lackadaisical leveling pattern to something with a strong purpose. My current goals are:
- Hit 50
- Finish up the last five zones of quest content (Droughtlands, Shimmersands, Stillmoor, Iron Pines Peaks, and Ember Isle)
- Get cranking on Planar Attunement
- Gear up in a few dungeon runs — nothing serious, but enough to tackle Ember Isle
- Do the saga quests (like the Water Saga)
It’s a hefty to-do list, that’s for sure. So with my weekend, I wanted to cross off one, if not two items from that list. I decided that on Saturday, I would do ALL of Droughtlands in one go.
Considering that there’s over a 100 quests in this one zone, it was kind of crazy. My big advantage was that I was about four or five levels above the content, so I could breeze through mobs rather easily. I started the day by gobbling up all of the quests I could find, then began running them like a madman. It was crazy. It was fun. It felt like a shopping spree where you’re trying to grab all you can before a time limit ran out.
I didn’t quite accomplish an entire zone in a day — but I made serious progress and finished the rest on Sunday. A casual playstyle means that I rarely finish a whole zone — particularly in the elder game — this quickly, so it felt like a neat accomplishment. Big thanks goes out to two guildies who lent a hand for a few group quests that I couldn’t solo.
So Droughtlands is officially behind me.
During this experience, two significant experiences happened. The first is that I began to strongly fine-tune my Cleric’s Druid build so that it would be a lot more durable. That meant ditching my Sentinel soul, scaling back on my Shaman talents, and weaving in a very strong dose of Justicar. It’s created a really fun hybrid that is flexible on the spot. With a few button clicks, I can go from a tank with a pet healer to a DPS machine with a damage pet. The melee aspect of it is quite enjoyable as well, although I do still love my Inquisitor from time to time.
The other experience is that I jumped into high-level Instant Adventures for the first time and saw my XP bar practically shoot through the roof. Questing is steady, slow progress on the XP front; IAs seem almost criminally overcharged when it comes to the XP that’s raked in. Between a handful of IA sessions and finishing Droughtlands, I went from level 42 to 48 in a weekend. For me, that’s huge. With level 50 in sight, I’m going to be pushing even harder this week to hit that mark.
Plus, IAs are just a lot of fun as a whole. I like quests for what they are, but IAs are instant grouping with rapidly changing goals and activities that just chain together. It almost feels like a cheat mode for the game. Plus, I’m getting just huge chunks of planarite and other special currency to spend on much-needed gear.
So even while one juggles MMOs, it’s still cool to put all but one aside for a big marathon session from time to time. I love the feeling of accomplishment that came out of this weekend, and I feel like I’m actually getting there with my character’s progress.