Recent experiences in Rift…

Starfall Prophecy, the latest Rift expansion, released on November 16. There has been some controversy about this expansion. The raid will not be released until later, but this was actually announced long before the expansion was released. After the expansion’s launch, however, some features had to be disabled. Some of them have been enabled again, but the fortress sieges are still not there. They are on the public test realm now, though, so I guess we’ll get to see them on live soon!

Additionally, there are apparently not enough quests to reach level 70 if all you do is quest. For me, the main content in MMOs when levelling should be the quests (and dungeons, but not having to grind them repeatedly). I also remember one expansion in Lotro not having enough quests. It was annoying and felt like the developers had either run out of time or out of ideas. That case had been worse, though, as Turbine had first announced that there would be 5 more levels and then they had said that because they had so much content, they had decided to switch to 10 more levels – only for players to run out of quests to do before getting these 10 levels. In general, I can only repeat myself from what I said about Lotro’s expansion: I do not like this at all. Not even because I don’t want to do dungeons or anything else other than questing, but because when I look at my alts, I know it’s just much more fun to have quests to choose from instead of having to do each and every one on every single character just to reach max. level with them. It gets repetitive and boring fast. A new powerleveling guide was just released and that one mentions the issue with not enough experience from quests as well.

rift meffanda cleric hitting level 70

I guess I am lucky that I am a slow leveler. I think I should fall into the “average” range of people with a busy life and not that much time to devote to gaming. When I read about there not being enough quests, I thankfully also saw the suggestion to do crafting dailies. As I could not actively play every day, I at least did these dailies regularly. I was amazed to see that the 5 quests I can do with my crafting professions led to a huge increase of XP (it was between 6 – 15 % depending on which level my cleric had – a bigger increase at the lower levels – and whether I had a bonus to XP gain activated). This actually leaves me with a whole lot of questing content untouched and I am currently trying to decide whether to take my mage or my warrior through the new content.

However, even though I am complaining here, I still really like Rift and bought a year of Patron time with their recent sale going on. Unfortunately, I was not awarded the amount of loyalty I should have received with my purchase. I did as was suggested on the forums and sent in a support ticket. I may be spoiled from World of Warcraft, but waiting several days seemed very very long. And then their reply was that I was awarded the correct amount of loyalty. I told them my purchase number for the patron time as well as screenshots which I had taken before and after the purchases (pure luck here! ^^) and one of these did the trick and I received my loyalty. In their defence, once you are at the top of the queue, replies are very fast and from the time I sent in the purchase number and the screenshots to when I received my loyalty, I think I had actually only made myself some coffee and oatmeal for breakfast. :p Bugs can happen and as long as they get sorted out, I’m happy.

Now on to something more positive about Rift: I did enjoy the quests I’ve seen, even though they once again seem very weird. Probably less so if you’re used to Rift and its lore. The new regions are beautiful to look at! And without doing much at all during Rift’s Yulefest, I got to exchange the yulefest currency for a new mount and a new dimension. I also got quite some nice rewards from the 4h minion missions after they reduced the amount of Aventurine one can hoard to rush through these missions once a special event is going on. I think I’m at three new companion pets! Additionally, when I saw that Rift was part of the Steam winter sale (and they match the price on Steam in their own store as well), I wanted to see if they also offered the upgrade to Starfall Prophecy’s Deluxe Edition with a discount. Instead, I found that the upgrade was removed completely. A short internet search revealed that Trion announced the upgrade to go on sale at some point in January. I can only assume that this is the reason why it’s removed right now as to avoid all of us buying it without the discount? If that is the case: Neat! If not: Still convenient. :p Now I only need to decide whether I really want that dragon mount or not. It can’t fly, it just looks awesome. But I did spend quite a lot of money on Rift already and I’m not sure I want to give them even more money at this point… especially since I have a lot of awesome mounts already.

Making friends in Rift and Guild Wars 2

Last week, Rift’s expansion “Starfall Prophecy” launched and yesterday, Guild Wars 2 released another content patch. Both games made me very happy as the patches feature my most favourite animal ever. Guess what animal that is!

No, not dogs. Although that’s true. Not rabbits either, although those are also my favourite animal. But no, my third “favourite animal”: Dragons!

Guild Wars 2 added a baby dragon, Aurene (not with this patch, but with a previous one – or else I wouldn’t mention her here as I do not want to add spoilers just one day after the patch’s release!). But seriously, a baby. dragon. How cute is that? I feel like Hagrid with Norbert!

Baby dragon Aurene in Guild Wars 2

And in Rift, there’s Tasuil. A dragon who at the beginning of the expansion story gets into trouble, because he accidentally broke something. Again, I don’t want to add any spoilers, so I’ll leave it at that. But I felt so bad when Tasuil kept apologizing. The poor thing didn’t want to do any harm, after all! It was an accident.

Rift Tasuil Dragon

To top the cuteness overload of dragons, you can apparently earn Mini Aurene in Guild Wars 2. I assumed ArenaNet would add her to the shop to be bought with real money, but the pieces needed to get the Mini are crafted! I definitely have to get that one as fast as possible!

If only Rift gave us a mini Tasuil as well… on the other hand, he’s disguising himself as a corgi while we’re out exploring the comet. I guess that counts for something as well, right? And while he’s with me, I can take out one of my mini corgis to have two corgis with me.

Tasuil disguised as corgi

More Starfall Prophecy Tokens in Rift

When the expansion was first announced, Trion told us that we would get a Starfall Prophecy token each day when claiming our daily login chest. The main goal for players was to get Opie, a tiny squirrel mount that lets you reach artifacts more easily (if they’re hidden in hard to reach places). But it costs 50 tokens, so you would have had to pre-purchase the expansion 50 days ago to get that mount. The expansion comes out on Wednesday next week, but Trion just announced that they prolonged the login tokens and now if you pre-purchase, you get tokens for 60 days more giving you enough to get your own Opie mount (and you can even miss 10 days). I think that’s pretty nice, especially as we now know much more about the expansion and players can choose more easily whether they want to make the investment or not.

rift opie mount

If you don’t care about a mount, there is the “Sack of Infinite Void” that increases your inventory slots by 40 which costs 20 tokens. It’s unique per character, but account-bound, so you can hopefully collect the tokens with one character and buy the bags for your alts. For 15 tokens, you can also get a “Tenebrean Mystery Box”, but nothing is known about the content yet. Apparently, we need to wait until the expansion’s launch. On the other hand, since we will still get tokens after the expansion launches, the vendor will also still be around, so we can keep the tokens and wait until more is known about the box’s content. This is what I’ll be doing, at least. I have one Opie and as cute as it is, I have so many other mounts that I love using that I don’t really need this mount on my other characters. I also don’t go artifact-collecting that often. And let’s not forget that in order to use those special jumps with Opie to reach artifacts more easily, you need to feed it with pellets which are supposed to be kind of rare in the game. So the bag and maybe the mystery box sound like the better choices for me.

Finally got my Opie!

If you pre-purchased the expansion when Trion announced it and collected the Starfall Prophecy tokens by logging on every day (which fortunately, I was able to do), then you should have 50 of these tickets today and can get your Opie mount!

rift opie mount

I had seen pictures of the mount, but I never noticed that it shrinks you and that it’s actually tiny. Very cute! I haven’t tried out the other – functional – part of Opie yet. It’s not just a mount, it can help with collecting artifacts. It can jump very high making it easier to reach certain places. There was a concern that Trion would put in artifacts that are otherwise impossible to reach, but they promised they won’t do that. Additionally, Opie needs to be fed with pellets in order to be able to use these abilities and they will not drop too often.

In other words, I can just enjoy my new Opie mount and being tinier than usual (being a dwarven lady).

rift opie mount with sparkles

Revisiting World of Warcraft

WoW Death Knight starter areaWho isn’t back to World of Warcraft? This was the question I asked myself a lot lately when looking at blog posts or tweets. And once I mentioned it to bookahnerk, we were off on nostalgia lane. “Do you remember how…” and all that. We knew we would not go back to WoW ourselves. After all, my last expansion was Mists of Pandaria, which I had bought and levelled my mage a bit right before Rift announced going free to play at which point I immediately dropped WoW. But there was another expansion before Legion which I would have to get. Bookahnerk did not even have Mists of Pandaria. So, in order to only catch up, we would already have to buy three expansions plus the monthly fees.

Only that apparently, Blizzard gifted every account that owns the base game (so not the free trial accounts) every single expansion except for Legion! Once we saw that, we decided to gift ourselves three months of monthly fees and a long trip back to see what has happened, changed, been added to the game. There is one great thing about our WoW corner: It involves a guild. The guild that bookahnerk has been very active in back in Ultima Online. Yes, you read that correctly. He’s been with some of these guys since the early years of Ultima Online! And even though we’ve basically been away since Cataclysm, we are still members of the guild.

So, upon returning we decided to make new characters to get back into the game more easily and asked for invitations for these characters (WoW doesn’t have account-bound guild memberships). A few minutes later, he was on Teamspeak chatting with the guild members. We were welcomed back and I think this is a pretty big part of an MMO. You can leave easily and never look back when you know the people you played with are gone, too. But once you are part of a community, you never really leave, right?

I had chosen to give Death Knight a try. The last time I played, she had two blood, two death and two frost runes and I had to memorize which skill used which runes etc. Now she has six frost runes if she’s frost-specced and the skills do not require different types of runes anymore. Much easier, I have to say. Maybe too easy, but I have never been a fan of resource juggling when playing a character. I much prefer having to know which skills do what (like stuns, roots, damage over time effects and so on) over that.

WoW Death Knight on stolen mount

My main character was a frost mage and when I last played her, I got her to level 88. Mists of Pandaria had a maximum level of 90. Warlords of Draenor added 10 more levels. So I figured I should also level her a bit to see all the new content. The Death Knight is level 60 now, so she’s ready for Burning Crusade, which is the expansion that released back in 2007. :p I remembered most things about my mage, almost all hotkeys and even her macros were still working! It took me a while, however, to remember that frost mage actually has a water elemental. Whoops. All of a sudden, her damage got up a lot! ;) So I guess that was my really n00bish moment getting back into the game.

Now here is something that already annoys me a lot: I had played my Death Knight with a two-handed melee weapon. I love these weapons as long as the combat animations are quite fast. That was the case with the Death Knight. But now I got a message that the system changed and they are now required to fight with two one-handed weapons. No big deal, I thought. And then I remembered that I also started a pandaren monk who fights with a staff. Melee staff-wielders are my favourite when it comes to melee, but hardly any game ever offers you those. Most of the time, it’s casters with a staff in their hands. So I logged on with her and noticed I had mail… yep, Blizzard telling me that melee DPS monks no longer use a staff, but two one-handed weapons. Seriously… -.- That staff was the main reason I rolled a monk! I am not the only one who doesn’t like this change, but that doesn’t really help much. On the other hand, it makes me want to check out the thief in Guild Wars 2 again with her daredevil specialization!

Oh well, I have enough to do with my mage, after all – who yes, is holding a staff in her hands. ;) I am also already looking forward to checking out garrisons and what they are all about. Certainly not housing, though, so Rift won’t lose me any time soon. :p