Rift Beta 6 Impressions
I wasn’t actually planning on playing/testing much in Rift’s Beta 6 event. I’ve already pre-ordered the game and thus want to have it mostly be virgin territory for me to explore. I did want to check out some cleric soul combos on my level 17 cleric I’ve got on Faeblight, though. She’s finished questing all 8 souls and has a bit of cash saved up, so I thought I’d buy a role or 2 for her and repec things around and such.
Sadly, when I went to log in, Faeblight had a queue with an ETA of 5 minutes. Not long, I know, but it annoyed me so I selected the shard of Keenblade since I thought it sounded like a fun name and only showed a medium load. I’d begun a Stormcaller mage toward the end of Beta 5 but didn’t get very far with it — only just far enough to know I liked it a lot — so I decided to recreate it.
Racial abilities have been changed around for this beta, though, so I went looking for a/the race with an INT bonus. As I went through the Guardian side I thought the High Elves would have one for sure, but they didn’t. Eth (human) on the Defiant side did, so I recycled a mage name I use in EQ2 and Gotter was born on Keenblade. Started as a Stormcaller, grabbed Elementalist as soon as I could for the 0-point pet and 2-point lightning nuke, and Dominator for its mez and also its 2 point lightning knockback nuke. Since Stormcaller uses a lot of lightning, this seemed to synergize together well. And it did, butI found I wasn’t using the Dominator KB spell much, so I spec’d outof it and put more into Stormcaller. Overall the build does nice dps, but in-combat power regen can be an issue. Out of combat isn’t a problem, since Elementalist turns Charge into Mana when out of combat, but in. . . long fights (like endless rift invasions) are a pain. SC has a nice “Refresh” skill that dumps 50 charge to become 10% mana, but it’s “other only” for your group. If it worked on myself, I’d be golden. I think Elementalist has a skill high in its tree for in-combat regen. Or I could sub in Warlock for group work and eat my own heal or something. We’ll see how it goes when I make a mage in the live game and get it to higher level with more skills.
Anyway, once I was out in the world I found a mailbox, since somehow I had mail when I created the toon, and all my pre-order bonus items were there. A 2-headed turtle mount, a 1 hour (yet unlimited charges, so why isn’t this “until canceled?”) buff to put on any weapon that bumps my endurance which in turn bumps up my hitpoints. Companion pet that is so small you can’t see it so after it poofed when I died I never bothered to recast it, and I want to say there was a 4th thing, yet whatever it was eludes me.
I got out into the world and was questing merrily along when suddenly a big announcement flashed across the screen and rifts opened just about everywhere simultaneously. It was quite the massive event — too massive, really. It took over 3 hours to clear it all out. We had some fairly major battles at the Kelari Refuge quest hub — Invasions kept coming and coming and coming and there was this big war golem with them that we never did manage to kill becuz it always reset its hit points every time a new invasion came along. Didn’t stop us from trying, but it had high resists so we were doing about half damage to it, and the highest person I saw fighting it was level 23, but the vast majority were in the low to mid teens so we could barely dent it. It became rather boring, and I eventually left to try to go help seal rifts and such, but even that lost its appeal after a while, so I simply went back to questing and farming trash mobs for my components for my Outfitting skill.
Don’t get me wrong — while the event dragged on and on and became boring, I was having a blast playing the game overall. And other smaller zonewide events that only lasted 30 minutes to an hour I thought were perfectly done.
And I also kinda enjoyed the Outfitting — while I was doing it, at least. It was nice to just click “Craft All” and go get a drink or take a bio break and then come back to having higher skill and some fairly nice equipment in your pack. I took outfitter becuz I wanted to craft my own robes, and other than the gloves, which only add END for HP, rather than INT for spell power, I didn’t find any green items from quests or drops that was better. You can also get a hat recipe that’s usable at level 7 and I sold a LOT of those on the auction house in the 3 days of the event. I don’t think I got my 1st hat from questing/adventuring until level 16 or so.
My only pet peeves with Outfitting are that half of the “harvesting” for its materials doesn’t make any sense. The base materials you need are leather and cloth. So far so good. To get leather, you kill critters and butcher them for their hides. Also so far so good. For your cloth you can’t harvest it from flax or cotton or whatever, though. You find it as a random loot drop off of humanoid mobs. This means you can’t really go “farm” it. Well, no. . .you can and do by finding an area with humanoid mobs (even undead skeletons, oddly enough) in the level range where they drop the material that you want and go to town on them, but… it’s a random drop, not guaranteed. It’s common, sure, but you still only seem to average about 1 cloth piece for every 3 mobs you kill (and this takes into account that some mobs drop 2 at a time). Further, turning the base material into something usable requires 2 of them, so you really only are getting half as much.
Contrast this with butchering. You go find critters you can skin of the appropriate level and go to town. EVERY mob drops at least 1 hide, 2 is common, and I’ve even gotten 3 a few times. Further, when you craft it into usable material it’s at a 1:1 ratio.
IOW, I’ve got issues finding enough cloth, but I have leather coming out my ears. On the bright side, my “harvest nodes” are pretty common. The mining and foresting nodes seem few and far between. I have no idea how the people that need to use them are getting any kind of reasonable amounts of ingredients. And in case you wonder what my crafted stuff looks like, well…. I’m wearing it in the 1st screenshot of the post. Which brings gripe #2 — T2 crafted “Cotton” cloth armor looks *exactly* like T1 crafted “Burlap” cloth. I hope that once the game launches and I have a mage working outfitting in it (what? you expect a mage to be an armorsmith? That’ll be my cleric, tyvm!) up into T3 that there will be a different crafted appearance then, at least. We shall see. . . .
I got all my souls around level 17 or 18 and bought role #2 from my trainer, putting in Chloromancer as the primary and taking Necromancer as the secondary. Took it out for a spin to see how the spells all worked, and. . . to get the Necro’s tank pet it needs 12 points, meaning I only had 12 for Chloromancer. This was enough for the Lifegiving Veil, Synthesis, and Ruin, at least, which did serve to keep my pet healed, in spite of the fact that I’d be harming it myself in order to regain my own mana pool. Still… since the Elementalist gets a pet at 0 points, I swapped Necro for Warlock and put in Elementalist as the 0 point soul. 6 points in Warlock got me faster charge generation to improve my damage a little when it enables me to put up the “Entropic Veil” and also the ability to eat my own health for mana. I tested this against a few solo mobs, and while it seemed pretty safe since I could keep the pet healed so easily, as well as healing myself after grabbing the mana for health trade, it also was a lot slower than my Stormcaller build. Fortunately, once you’ve purchased a role, swapping back and forth is as simple as a 2s cast time while out of combat. . . .
Which also made it so that I got into my 1st dungeon run. I was running around on the Stormcaller build when the call went out “Iron Tombs Looking for Healer!” I swapped to my Chloromancer role and joined up. I was a bit leery since I still didn’t feel like I really knew how the class worked, but I must have been doing a lot of healing becuz during the 1st 2 pulls I got heal aggro and died. The tank could rez, though, so he popped me back up and he stepped up his AE aggro efforts and all as well after that. The only real difficulty from then on was a fight vs 2 mobs that hit like trucks and another series of fights where the thing you beat on spawns adds as you beat on it, so you have to break off and kill them or else you’ll get overwhelmed by the swarm.
Funny thing was. . .I felt like I’d done okay, but not great, and in reading the Rift forums afterward found out that I hadn’t taken the Nature’s Touch ability. When I read the description it read like “just another moderately sized nuke” and I hadn’t quite gotten the “For Chloro, your nukes are your heals” idea into my head yet and I also didn’t read it closely to realize that it’s a double-heal — big heal to tank when cast, plus the proc to Lifegiving Veil that it gives to the group (and also to the tank). Had I had that, I’d guess that it would have been a lot easier. At least I know for next time. . . .
And this is up to official wall of text length, so I’ll wrap it up now. Just adding in 1 more screenie of a questgiver and her troll bodyguard. Fun thing about what they’ve done with the lore is that this questgiver is also in the tutorial zone, set 20 years later) and *spoiler alert* is the one who sacrifices herself against Regulos in order to buy you enough time to escape through the time portal to come back to the present in order to save the world. I thought that was kinda poignant to meet up with her again. And I want her armor for my own toons. . . .
I was surprised at how well the game sucked me in. I didn’t expect to play it much at all, yet ended up playing a character to higher level than any other I’ve done yet. I’m very much looking forward to this game!