RIFT: Serving a life sentence on Goboro Reef

reef1Do you ever get bogged down in a zone and feel like you’ve been there forever and will probably never leave?  When every log in feels like a reminder that you’re stuck in a prison of developer design?

That’s pretty much where I’m at in RIFT’s Goboro Reef and why I haven’t talked about this game in a while.  Somewhere along the way, the unrelenting pink-and-purple landscape got to me, the quests took too long to do, and my progression’s slowed to a crawl.  I’ve had many days where I only log in to do dailies and then zip back out of there lest I be reminded of my incarceration.

So why has this happened?  The story is actually not half bad, especially with the amusing and somewhat terrifying story of Finric and his alternate realities.  And then there’s the above winged lady who’s leading a burning invasion into the place, because that’s what you do when you see a waterworld: You try to burn it up.  Makes sense.

If not the story, then what?  First, I am not a fan of this landscape.  Oh, the “former wet reef is now exposed to the dry air” was a neat twist, but now that I’ve had to weave my way through the valleys and crags for days on end, I’ve grown weary of it and missing the early portion when I could swim over and under it all.  I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I wish that there was more underwater adventures in this zone, not less.

Second, my build just isn’t working any more.  I thought that once I geared up with new Nightmare Tide quest rewards that my relative DPS output would get back to where it was with Storm Legion, but nope, it’s far weaker than it’s ever been.  Standard mobs have a much higher health pool then before and I’m going through too many rotations trying to burn them down.  I’ve even found myself dying to stupid stuff that shouldn’t have even touched me before.

reef2I know that sounds like whining, and I guess it is, but there’s a combat sweet spot between things being too easy and too hard or aggrivating.  I feel like I’ve wandered into the latter territory and it’s not made for fun fights.

So I might be abandoning my trusty Bladedancer build.  I’m going back to a Saboteur/Ranger setup to have a pet take the damage while I build up charges and get some heavy DoTs ticking down.  It works, although it too is much slower to kill than what I’ve seen in the past.

Really, I just want to be done with this area and experience something new.  I not only have two more Nightmare Tide zones after this, but I think they’re adding a fourth area this week with 3.1.  Gotta get a move on, little doggy!

My 10 favorite geeky things of 2014 #7: RIFT’s Nightmare Tide

nightmareThe allure and promise of Nightmare Tide pulled me back into RIFT this fall, and I am quite glad for it.  It’s been a nice long streak thus far, playing a brand-new character from level 1 to (currently) 61 while plowing through the original game, Storm Legion, and now Nightmare Rift.

While I’m not fully through Nightmare Rift yet — it will probably be months yet — I can say that it’s a far more streamlined and compelling narrative than has come before.  I really thought it would be nothing more than swimming, but instead it’s been more about the unwanted lack of water and a desire to see it return to the plane.

What’s been even more interesting are the new bullet point features with NT, including the nightmare rifts (wild group experiences), being able to sidekick up to friends, and best of all, the minion system.  Minions have been overshadowed by both what’s come before (STO’s duty officers and SWTOR’s crew skills) and this year’s WoW garrisons, but I find them an amusing side diversion that nets me some nice rewards (and cash), feeds my collector’s urges, and involves a smidge of strategy.

I’ve also really enjoyed playing a Rogue as a Bladedancer, which was quite unexpected considering how little I usually do melee classes.  But it’s so versatile and self-sufficient that I have a hard time playing any other build right now.

RIFT: Plat, REX, Yule, minions, and the color pink

templeI continue to make my way doggedly through Goboro Reef in RIFT.  It’s an… interesting zone, a coral reef seabed without most of the water.  While it certainly is pretty in spots, the overwhelming assault of pink and purple scenery has started to get to me, especially while trying to run around the many “mountains” of coral in the region.

I am totally liking Finric, my sassy fish companion, as well as the story.  Finric makes me laugh a lot:

sassyBeing in a realm where its very existence was dreamed up by the moon — which is now losing sanity — is a much different ride than before.  And nightmare rifts are a blast to do, especially since they seem to draw the attention of everyone in the area.  We made our way up to level 31 last night and I raked in the planarite and void stones.

However, the minion system remains my favorite addition from the expansion.  Every day I faithfully log in first thing in the morning and then again in the evening to send five of my followers out on missions.  While the quantity of artifacts seems to have decreased from rewards, I hear they’re working on a fix.  In any case, I love getting all of the goodies and my dimension is booming from minion mission rewards.  I keep the very best and then sell the rest on the auction house.

This has resulted in a steady stream of income, and once again I got in the neighborhood of being able to afford a REX.  When I checked on the AH, a REX was going for around 1400 plat, so I decided to bargain shop by paying attention to the trade channel.  Sometimes people sell REX cheaper on there just to offload them quickly.  I saw someone say they wanted to sell one for 1200 plat, so I messaged them and offered the trade.  They said they’d send it COD in the mail, and a deal was struck.

However, the sender goofed and I received a REX in the mail for no charge whatsoever.  That led to the following exchange:

censorI can only imagine that sinking feeling when you accidentally gave away something worth that much and was paid for with real money.  Besides, this is what a community should do, look out for each other and not try to take advantage of one another.

Anyway, I like being able to earn a REX here and there, as I can go on a little shopping trip on the cash shop without opening my wallet.  That night’s purchase was the new Fae Yule minion adventure pack, and I consider it credits well spent.  First of all, I got a holiday sweater and two new minions off the bat.  Then there’s a series of specific minion missions that have to be completed in order, the titles of which tell a little story when read sequentially.  Better yet, by going through the entire chain, I’ll get (I think) four more minions with double attributes.  As I don’t have time to really invest in the holiday events right now, this will be the closest I’ll come to getting into the Fae Yule spirit.

RIFT: Life is the bubbles under the sea

sea1Since last we spoke of RIFT, I have officially wrapped up Storm Legion and finally — finally — moved onto Nightmare Tide.  Only two months after the fact, but better late than never, eh?  As I keep reminding myself, the new content isn’t going anywhere (only the crowd is, I suppose).

Anyway, Nightmare Tide takes us into the Plane of Water, a fact that had a lot of people in anxiety over concern that it would be mostly underwater shennanigans.  Players do not historically like underwater anything; it’s usually like flying slowly and getting lost on the Z-axis.  But what I’m finding so far in NT is that the water is more a theme than a constant, everpresent reality, thanks to the story.

As far as I can tell, some sort of eldritch god who likes to speak in sentence fragments is causing all of the water in the plane to go wonky, drying it up in spots and causing it to defy physics in others.  It’s a little surreal and a lot of fun to be swimming and suddenly pop out of the side of a pool instead of the top of it, as if some invisible force was holding the water at bay.  Maybe Moses got really bored around here, I dunno.

sea2I will say that it is all incredibly pretty, and so far the quests have been moving me along at a nice pace through the zone.  Carnage quests are far more reasonable this time, although now I can see why the expansion doubled my character’s health bar.  I’m certainly not breezing through fights the way I was previously — sometimes I actually get hurt now.  It’s nothing I can’t handle, but it at least brings a little challenge to the table.

There are mermaids, because why wouldn’t there be, and there’s even the occasional singing to go with it.  I haven’t seen where the singing comes from, but it’s both beautiful and eerie when it happens.  I guess they’re auditioning for The Little Mermaid IV: The Voyage Home.

I recently mopped up a small series of quests that had me cleaning up and protecting a clutch of Skelf eggs in a nursery from undue corruption.  The Skelf are the sentient shark-dudes of the expansion, and a little baby I saved decided that he was going to tag along and become my best friend.  I’m all down for that, because how many situations do you find yourself in where things can’t be improved by asking your shark buddy to bite someone’s head off?  I’m looking forward to seeing where my adventures with Finric take me.

RIFT: Same soul, new body

rogueThere’s a lot to catch you up on in regards to my RIFT adventures, so stick with me here.

Last week I traveled with my family to California to visit my wife’s family, and I had debated not bringing my laptop at all.  In the end, I compromised by “gaming lite” during the week and catching up on a lot of reading (not to mention family time).  So what gaming I did get done was solely limited to RIFT because I made it my mission to finally get to level 60 and wrap up Storm Legion.

By level 58, I had tapped out Brevane’s main storyline.  So I hopped over to Dusken and just went through the story quests there.  Let me tell you, when you ignore side and carnage quests to focus on story, you (a) track the actual storyline so much better, and (b) zip through those zones like a fleet-footed hare.  I dinged 60 in no time at all as I was doing quests for the big brain (the Overseer, aka Krang from TMNT).  The Shapers — a ghoulish race that takes people and animals and “reshapes” them into monstrosities — are still as creepy and unnerving as the first time that I encountered them.  I enjoyed smacking them down all over the place.

At level 60 I took a brief intermission to run the solo chronicle that had me defending Tempest Bay from Crucia and her air fleet.  I got to say that the expansion really embraced a scifi bent to the point where RIFT started to feel like a science fiction romp.  It’s hard to think otherwise when you’ve jumped into a giant robot to shoot laser beams at mechanical dragons and airships.  Magitech is pretty sweet.

Even though I’m at 60, I still have the final Dusken zone to go, so I’m going to stick that out to see the conclusion of this storyline before heading into Nightmare Tide.  There’s no way that the Shapers can stop me; as a Bladedancer I’m all but invincible.  I’m telling you, I wade into piles of mobs, start slashing, and walk out at almost full health while they fall into many pieces of corpse.

OK, so speaking of my Bladedancer and the title of this post, I did make a major decision at 60 here.  Thanks to the flood of mats, artifacts, and dimension items via minions, I had been accruing quite a nest egg from auction house sales.  In particular, early sales of attanium (or whatever that new premium crafting mat is) were selling at 50p apiece, and I got in on that train right away.  Attanium prices kept dropping as more crafting mats flooded the market, but by the time it hit a little under a platinum per, I had made around 3,000p.

Without much else to do with that money, I bought a couple of REX (1,250p a pop) and used those to get 2500 credits for the store.  That was just enough to accomplish my goal of changing my race from Dwarf to Mathosian (2400 credits).

It’s not that I dislike Dwarves; Bio Break readers know that I am particularly affectionate of short races.  But the Dwarf Bladedancer animation is absolutely atrocious, and I was seeing that nonstop.  When I temporarily transformed into a taller human for an infiltration quest and saw how that model handled the animation, I knew that I needed to switch up.

So Deltavee has gone from a white-haired stubby Dwarf to a taller brunette.  I feel very good about the expediture of credits/platinum to make this happy (and am a little pleased I could do all of this without paying real money).  In action, Deltavee looks far more lethal than she did before.