6 major MMORPG launch days revisited

wildstar plans

One of the neat things about having a long-running blog is that it inadvertently turns into a historical document chronicling major events. In this case, Bio Break has been around since 2008, and I’ve gone through several major MMO launches since then. I thought it might be fun to look up the day one (or day two) posts talking about those experiences to reshare them with you.

Guild Wars 2 (August 2012)

“Guild Wars 2.  Is incredible.

“Playing it live feels so much different than beta, and I’m so glad I have a character to actually invest in.  But even more than that, this is just a game that exists to wow you left and right.  I’m sure that there are those who have become immune to in-game beauty and details, and only see the numbers and min-maxing, but that’s missing the point here.  It’s a game where I felt fully justified to spend the first hour just gawking around like a tourist instead of killing things, and I’m forever going off the beaten track to explore.”

WildStar (June 2014)

“As you may have heard/experienced, it was anything but a smooth beginning.  Due to a purported DDoS attack and a kajillion people trying to cram through the login servers at the same time, we simply could not log into the game.  We got to know the little running hamster, the theme music, and our account passwords very well, however.  It was 4:15 before I could log in, and by then going back to sleep wasn’t much of an option.”

RIFT (February 2011)

“All in all, I’m pretty impressed with the game performance.  No crashes for me, and everything flowed just smoothly.  I did roll a Dwarf Bard, and I’m pretty pleased with the choice.  I’m a Medieval Guitar Hero and proud of it, baby!  I splashed in a bit of Riftstalker for the teleportation spell — being able to jump ahead 25 feet every so often is a ton of fun, as well as a helpful escape button if I got over my head.”

Star Wars: The Old Republic (December 2011)

“On a lark I tried to see if I could log in at 6:30, and lo and behold I could.  Servers were up about ten minutes after that, and I began the process of reserving the eight character names I picked out.  When I finally logged in, it was to a ghost town — not a single soul in the zone, not a single voice on the chat screen, nothing.  I’m not saying I was the first in game, but it almost felt like it.”

Champions Online (September 2009)

“Framerate issues notwithstanding, I had a great time last night.  It was fun to see a lot of friends in the game (and the @name system is growing on me, for sure).  I even spent a bit of time learning the ropes of the crafting system, which is pretty useful — you can make your own inventory bags, which is certainly useful.”

Neverwinter (April 2013)

“While the character creator is really skimpy and the Foundry reportedly in shambles, the core game itself looks fantastic and is pretty fun to play.  It’s more action/arcade-like than a traditional MMO, but for some reason it works here.”

RIFT: Into the Wilds


After lots of public bellyaching and gradual gear acquisition, I was finally able to take my first steps — er, hops — into the Planetouched Wilds in RIFT. Watch out, wacky landscape, because here I come! And I bring the all of the powers of the elements, one tempermental fairy, and a christmas tree light squirrel with me!


I was a little too into tourist mode at the onset of all of this to properly track the story. I think I had to go find someone for some reason who may or may not be long dead. Man, I always need a “LAST TIME IN YOUR GAME…” recap for MMOs, especially when I play too many of them.


You can’t blame me for being distracted — the game gave me super-jump in this zone, and I was too busy saying “wheeEEEEEE!” as I cleared treetops to keep track of all of the lore. Jumping fun! Bouncy bounce!


I did note that the porticulum was kind of out of service, which was a bummer. Fortunately, one of the first missions had me retrieving a glowing orb that somehow made it all work again. Guess it was the battery?

Combat isn’t too bad as long as I only pull one or two mobs. More than that and I’m a dead Dwarf, even with healfairy hovering nearby.


Dang, RIFT knows how to be pretty. Love the giant Easter Island heads too. The floating balloons might take some explanation, however.


And floating islands, why not?


My journey to follow/track these people whom I don’t know led me to a bunch of crystal recordings that showed encounters with a — and I’m not making this up — cosmic rhinoceros. Star Rhino. So at least now we have proof that Trion spikes its water supply for its game designers.

At least some of this offered an onramp to the zone story, which seems to involve a nasty lady who used a spell to empower this feral woman who is going around eating everything as if she had just boarded a cruise ship and found the buffet. Apparently this was being done to put pressure on the local warlord, King Khar.


Truly beautiful sunrise behind the trees.


Peasant dissent sent me to investigate Mr. King Khar, shown here with his harem and pet sheep (and we must draw a very clear distinction between these two elements). Khar will be standing in as your Conan the Barbarian understudy for this session.

RIFT: Forward momentum at last


I had a tremendously good night in RIFT lately and I wanted to share it, because I haven’t been in the best of places in this game as of late. I felt stuck, mired down at level 65 without a path forward: My gear wasn’t good enough for Nightmare Tide experts, I couldn’t defeat the quest to get into Planetouched Wilds, and the dungeons I ran kept giving me the same cruddy gear I already had. So I found myself with less and less reason to log in, worried that I might lose interest before Starfall Prophecy hit (and we STILL don’t have a date for that).

Anyway, come trivia night, we tackle the subject of Halloween traditions and superstitions, and I tie for first. Our guild not only comes up with great trivia questions but often has incredible rewards. This week I scored a Nebula mount (above), which I think looks absolutely spectacular. Great fit for my Cleric. I also got some money and started perusing the auction house for gear.

A little forward momentum gained, I asked around in the guild for gear advice, and one guy crafted me a nice earring and some new rings. I looked at the threshold I needed to cross over into NT experts and saw that, for a healer, I was just a couple hundred wisdom points away. Well the earrings, rings, and a new wand did it, and between charity and blowing all but one platinum of my savings, I made it to that tier. I was expert ready, baby!

I still think I need better gear, as I tried that PTW quest again and couldn’t beat the waves of mobs that it threw at me. But I think I got further than before, so that’s good, and hopefully I won’t have a problem finding groups as a healer. The plan is to try to run one or two a day and see how quickly I can polish up my stats. Worst-case, I’ll just have to tread water until the expansion, since I’m sure that will be an across-the-board gear reset.

I did find a group and got into an expert pretty quickly… and for the first time in my dungeon healing career, found myself out of my depth. My Warden healing build could not keep up with the large amounts of damage the tank was taking, and after the first fight the tank chided me for not using a Purifier build. I assume that this is “the” healing build for clerics, and after looking at what it entailed, I wanted no part of it. Oh well. There’s always DPS.

I also have a new build, mostly Inquisitor with a Druid/Cabalist backing it up, and it’s working remarkably well for a questing/DPS role. It’s such a terrific feeling to be moving forward after being stuck for a month or so now. Bring on Starfall Prophecy already!

RIFT: Magic 101 and Opie-um


It’s been 50 days since I preordered Starfall Prophecy (already?), which means that I finally was able to buy the highly desired Opie squirrel mount. He’s definitely adorable — it’s a squirrel, how could it not be? — and the Christmas lights all over him give him a seasonal flair (oh I know they’re artifacts, but they totally look Christmasy).

Yet my joy quickly turned sour as I realized some of the drawbacks:

  1. The mount shrinks you when you get on, which isn’t always desired.
  2. It’s not treated as a normal mount, so you can’t use your abilities and hop off or use the same dismount key. This is highly inconvenient if you’re trying to use Opie as a regular steed.
  3. Opie’s famed artifact hunting abilities require pellets to activate, which I don’t even have, so you can’t use them all of the time.
  4. It’s bind to character, not to account, so you can only get one. Whaaat.

Sigh. Buyer’s regret. Wish I could’ve spent those 50 tokens on something else.


Feeling like I’m hitting a roadblock with my Cleric, as I’m not finding a reliable avenue for gearing up enough for Planetouched Wilds, I threw caution to the wind and rolled up a new mage so that I might enjoy some questing and leveling instead of just sitting in Sanctum and sulking over not being able to go where I want to go.

Plus, more and more I’ve been wanting to go back to this archetype and resurrect — pun intended — my necromancer build. It’s like playing an old-school World of Warcraft Warlock, and I mean that in the best of ways. DoTs, pets, maniacal laughter, etc.

It took me about a half-hour to get her fully set up with the UI, mail items, and wardrobe, during which I participated once more in our guild’s trivia night. The theme was “serial killers,” and for better or worse, I cleaned house. Think I only got two questions wrong, because I might not be able to reliably shout my kids’ names, but I can pull out dumb trivia like nobody’s business. My grand reward was a spooky skeleton ghost pet, which I thought would compliment my necro theme.


No, I am not going to throw a beach party here. First rule of beach parties, host them away from the giant water tentacles. We lost an entire branch of the family tree last year.

I gave my mage a Victorian steampunk look, complete with bowler hat, and then was off to the races. I have no particular leveling plan in mind, just to quest like old times and then maybe get back into the IA/dungeon track. Seriously, I’m in no rush, because that whole PTW wall took the wind out of my sails in regard to the endgame — and the expansion is coming. When that happens, I can just use my boost to bring her up to 65 and start fresh in a new land.

In the meantime, why not have fun and hunt down some costume pieces? RIFT’s early questing might not be edge-of-your-seat thrilling, but it is relaxing and rewarding. I hit level 12 before logging off, and I’m excited to see how her build develops over time. Plus, new dimension to decorate!


New goal in MMOs: to try to take more close-up pictures of enemy mobs. Sometimes the detail, expression, and animation on these faces can be pretty enthralling — and yet I almost never see them with the camera pulled back.

RIFT: Trivial pursuits


Believe it or not, right now my MMO gaming time has pretty much been whittled down to just two titles, which may be an all-year low for me. It’s about 70% Legion and 30% RIFT these days, with Star Trek Online, SWTOR, and even The Secret World heading to the backburner (although release a new issue for the last one and I’ll be all over it). I am considering some other titles for replacements, but… why rush? I have one expansion to prep for and one to explore.

Today, let’s talk RIFT then.

When last we spoke, I was having some frustrating issues with trying to head into Planetouched Wilds. Namely, I was dying left and right, couldn’t figure out a build, couldn’t get my gear good enough, etc. A little whining in a blog post and a mention on twitter and…


One of the things I’ve always loved about RIFT is that it’s one of the most engaging teams on social media. Not many MMOs at all respond to my blog posts, but RIFT often does, and in this case, the devs handed out some helpful advice.

I obviously didn’t realize that Planetouched Wilds was Ember Isle 2.0, so yeah, I’m not ready for it. And that’s a shame, as I would like to get back to traditional questing here at some point. But for now, it’s all about gearing up, and since my stats are too low for Nightmare Tide experts (sigh), I’m resigned to queuing up for normal dungeons while moonlighting in Intrepid Adventures. I did get one solid upgrade so far, but it’s been slow going.

I mean, if they released Starfall Prophecy today? I wouldn’t be complaining too much.


I did have a great night last night with my new guild. Apparently every Wednesday evening they get together for a trivia night, which I found to be half game and half let’s-all-post-silly-replies. Perfect for me! I tied for second place and won some money and a new vanity pet, but the real prize was the growing friendships.

No, just kidding, it was all about the pet.

I also ran a new dungeon (for me), Citadel of Insanity. We kind of blitzed through it, so I didn’t get a lot of screenshots, but I loved the scenery and the voice work. RIFT’s boss conversations always amuse me for some reason. And I find healing to be rather soothing as gameplay — at least until everything starts falling apart and I panic and hit every key at once. I imagine my character exploding like a water balloon full of heal juice when this happens.

Struggling in RIFT


Guys, it’s not been the best of times in RIFT as of late.

I’ve been neglecting my adventures in Telara to some degree due to Legion’s launch, but truth be told, it’s also been avoiding a harsh truth: I might have hit a hard wall in the game.

I started to realize this problem when I graduated to level 65 and started on my Planetouched Wilds intro quests. I was getting smacked down left and right, and at one point, couldn’t advance any further because a boss mob was eating my Dwarf tushie for breakfast. After calling in a guildie to help me past that particular hump, I realized my problem: My gear was incredibly sub-par.

Because I leveled up in experts, I was getting on-level XP while the gear was no better than level 50 or so. Well, that’s no problem, right? I hit the auction house and went bargain shopping for level 63-65 gear to get me competitive.

Yet that doesn’t seem to be enough. More than one mob and I go down like a sack of sadtatoes, even with a healing faerie out and a tanking build activated. Something’s very wrong here.


I’m going to go back to the AH and spring for better 65 gear, but my big fear is that this zone was created for players who had really, really good endgame gear already. If that’s the case, then I’m going to have to hit some Nightmare Tide dungeons for a while, and that’s a bummer when I want to just enter the zone and see what there is to see. I feel that if I get into those quests and start earning gear rewards, then my character will find some sort of questing equilibrium.



RIFT: Nesting instincts


Isn’t that the most amazing MMO skybox ever? And it’s mine, all mine, in my pocket dimension.

One of my goals in returning to RIFT is that I wasn’t going to allow myself to get snowed under with all of the dimension items coming into me through the minions system. Instead, I’ve been fairly faithful in using these items almost as soon as I get them, adding a bit here and there to my budding housing area. It’s by no means done, but I thought I’d share some of the progress I’ve been making with it.

So I decided to settle in Stonefield Tavern, since it’s a homey place with a big central building that’s perfect for decorating. Plus, there’s some adjacent land and even an empty barn for furutre development. I used a time item to make it 10pm perpetually so that all of the lights would come on.


It’s an interesting challenge to use only what I get, not what I go out and purposefully find or make. I have a little hill in the front on which I’ve been putting these particular trees to make a Dr. Seuss-looking copse.

I have a LOT of street lights and lanterns outside. Would love to get some Christmas lights sooner or later.


Front entryway of my house. As you can see, it’s mostly empty and very much a work in progress. Under construction, as 1997-era Geocities websites would say. Still, I have the runner out, the kitchen area partially done, a few items here and there, and a second floor under construction.


The fireplace is a fixed centerpiece of the tavern and I’m trying to make it as inviting and cozy as possible. I added a coat of arms up top and then took a stuffed bear-panther thing and threw it halfway into the wall so it looks a bit like it’s mounted. Should probably fake a plaque behind it.

The pedestal to the right is holding this urn in which I resized and placed some alien-tentacle flowers. I like how it ended up looking.


Kitchen/eating area next to the fireplace. I think I just figured out that it’s pretty easy to change the floor by resizing these tiles — in this case, black marble — and then sinking them down so they just barely overlay the real floor. Helps to differentiate the living spaces when you’re not putting up a lot of walls.

Haven’t gotten any food yet, so that table looks kind of bare. Some day, table. Some day.


I love WildStar’s housing, but let me tell you, the placement and manipulation tools in RIFT are about 50 times better than Carbine’s version. Just so, so, so much easier to work with and allow me to create what I want without too much fuss.

I had a lot of fun fiddling around with these stairs to see what I could do to create a second story. Turns out, it isn’t too hard. I’m trying to blend the stairs in with the house, hence the bookshelf doing double-duty as a support pillar (and also because stairs hanging in mid-air with no visible support looks odd). Second floor has about half of the flooring down. I used a pillar to hide the hanging chandelier’s chain.


Love this view in the back of the tavern! I only added a stone outcropping and that cherry tree so far, as I don’t want to clutter up the vista.