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

Rift livestream: Information about the expansion (Blaugust Post 6)

Rift_Starfall Prophecy_5 new zonesI fell asleep yesterday trying to follow the Rift livestream with information about their expansion “Starfall Prophecy”. So I decided to read up on what was said, but I couldn’t find anything online (if there is, please point me to it!). I’m listening to it now and figured I could also just write down what I hear and share it with you here in this blog. This may not be a complete list as I may have missed something. Additionally, I had trouble understanding them sometimes (not a native speaker, so please keep that in mind – if I got anything wrong, feel free to correct it in the comments! :) ). Basic information about the expansion can be found on the official expansion’s website.

Dungeons and Raids

  • 2 dungeons at launch: One for life and one for fire
  • They said “very very polished dungeons”
  • They do have plans for more future dungeons, but only two at launch
  • Dungeons will be shown on Gamescom and PAX (possibly the fire one?). Personal note: No show booth at Gamescom. They’ll be in the press hall only!
  • Raid: Will probably launch with 4.1, to give the raid team more time to polish. Along with the raid, they will release the “looking for raid” feature.
  • It’s going to be a 10 man raid. Focus will be on 10 man raids from here on. No 20 mans on the schedule
  • Some invite-only alpha tests for players

Maps

  • Alittu as starting point for expansion. First quests will be from here.
  • Not going to replace Tempest Bay. Tempest Bay will remain the city for players where you can find everything you need.
  • Size of the new zones: Will be shown at Gamescom. Personal note: No show booth at Gamescom. They’ll be in the press hall only!

Legendary Abilities

  • One point per character from 66 to 70 (5 points in total per character)
  • How deep you’ve gone into a soul determines how many points you can spend in that soul. 61 points = Unlock up to 3 legendary abilities in that soul
  • Modified upgraded versions of abilities, not completely new ones.
  • Website only shows a couple of examples – All examples are still subject to change!
  • Rogue: 61 points in Bladedancer allows you to have two rhythmic actions going at once with a legendary ability
  • Warrior’s Bull Rush (Champion Soul): Teleports and roots the enemy for 1.5 seconds. The new version can only be cast within 3 metres, but it will knock the enemies back and then you charge to them
  • Not every ability has a legendary ability, but they’re targetting for 5 to 7 per soul.

Rift_Starfall Prophecy Legendary Abilities

Fortress Sieges

  • New zone event mechanic
  • Purely PvE, no PvP. Chat asked a few times whether it could be made into a PvP feature – no reply to that question as far as I could hear
  • For a lot of players at once
  • Event starts with a lot of solo content (“do some stuff with walls, fight some stuff back”). Further through the siege the content becomes group-based, then raid-based (for public groups) with a boss at the end

Planar Assault Mode

  • “Basically rifts 4.0” (Archonix got that wrong and called the Fortress Sieges “rifts 4.0” at first, then Julia came into the room to correct that a few minutes later)
  • You’re not directly going to the other planes in the expansion until you do Planar Assault adventures.
  • Similar to instant adventures: you queue up and you’re dropped into the planes to fight a rift or many rifts. We’re basically doing some invading back
  • There will be a whole livestream dedicated to the Planar Assault Adventures later on

Prepurchasing the expansion

  • If you purchased the expansion, starting on Wednesday you will get 5 extra Starfall Prophecy tickets to make up for the 1 or 2 missed ones on August 4/5
  • 40 slot bag for Starfall Prophecy Tokens is unique
  • Opie is one per character. Opie’s jump ability helps you in reaching artifacts, but there won’t be artifacts that require Opie to reach them!

PvP

  • New bracket for levels 65-70
  • I don’t think anything else was said about PvP at this point.

Items/Gear

  • Planar Fragments: customize your gear, tweak the stats.
  • New way to upgrade equipment: Activities out in the world, similar to a quest. E.g., for a helmet to upgrade you’d need to close 10 rifts or do 10 warfronts.
  • New item rarity: Eternal items. Special but rare items as in there won’t be that many in the world. Colour will be Aqua-blue, new tooltip frame just for this rarity. Not much information what exactly this will be or where/how you can get it.
  • How big is the gear jump? Should players still try to get T3 raid gear? It’ll give you a leg up. Maybe you’ll be able to upgrade these items to get even more of a leg up.
  • Crafted 70s replacing 65 transcended gear? – too early to talk about that yet

Monetization

  • Why the change to “buy to play”? – They need to earn the money, of course, but did not want to monetize on things like earring slots as they did with Nightmare Tide, or charge for pieces of the expansion. Vladd added in the chat: “To be clear, some planar fragment slots will need to be unlocked but it will be through in-game means, not paywalls.”
  • Lockboxes and other monetization will stay.
  • Expansion will not be sold for credits
  • Earring slots unlocked with buying this expansion? – Currently no, but they are discussing it internally!

Miscellaneous

  • Everything you need to know about the lore will be in the expansion. You’re not missing out if you didn’t do the raid “Comet of Ankhet”.
  • Some of the old world heroes will be accompanying you: Shyla, for example
  • They don’t know if the level 65 boost will be tradeable
  • Crafting, dimensions, stuff for guild – not talked about, but they will talk about these later
  • Players without the expansion: If it’s e.g., a new crafting recipe to craft a dimension key, then they will be able to get that dimension (and the recipe, too, if it’s tradeable)
  • New Sparkle quest for 70s, but not directly at launch. You need to be level 70 to be using the rewards from the 70 sparkle quest.
  • Fishing: New 70 version of a fishing pole – no promise, but it’d be cool
  • They internally have a launch date and they are on track
  • 64 bit alpha delayed, they gave a reason, but to be honest, I didn’t understand it, so I won’t write it down here (something with double build size and double build time)
  • Primalist souls: 4 still missing. They’ll be coming out next year