Archive for the ‘questing’ Category

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My Rift Cleric at 40

March 29, 2011

Only ten levels to go… the excitement is building.

These last few levels, if anything like the other MMO’s I have played, will be the longest levels in the game. Well, compared to the first 30 I just played through. I have been thoroughly enjoying the Rift leveling process and have only once been impatient to leave an area and move on to the next – and that was only from excitement that the next are was visually very pretty to play.

Callista, my Cleric, is still primarily an Inquisitor using Vex as my main spell in a 40 inq / 7 warden / 6 sent build. But more and more often, I am finding I need to kill large packs of mobs faster as Vex’s throughput doesn’t heal me enough to keep up with the damage that the higher level mobs are dealing out. This is especially apparent in Invasions where you can’t control how many adds come tottering along with dire intent to maim and murder everything in their path. Sometimes I find myself facing off with up to 15 mobs and it can be a bit too much to deal with. Plus, if Utu pulls threat when he is in his Pyromancer wtfbbqpwnsauce build, I sometimes can’t heal him fast enough to keep him alive with only Healing Breath from the Sentinel tree and Healing Spray from the Warden tree. Even pre-loading the Healing Spray hot and the Healing Current hot on me before a pull can sometimes still be pretty dicey when it comes to outlasting the packs of mobs with only Vex as my DPS heal. I find myself relying on Circle of Oblivion (hereafter to be referred to as Circle of Awesomeness) and Soul Drain between keeping up my Vex dots to burn them down before I die.

I am beginning to yearn for more AOE abilities…

So I have been thinking of switching around. Anyone who has done some serious end-game raiding knows the inverse equation of healing ratio to damage output. More damage output can mean less healing is needed. Conversely, stronger healing can mean less burst damage is needed. Its a balancing act that starts out innocently with merely slotting for class balance in a raid, and ends with min-maxing for hard modes and capitalizing on class stacking and spell rotation usage. But this blog isn’t about hardcore snooze-fest theorycrafting on how to top meters and crush your fellow healing teammates with uber play, its about celebrating being an MMO healer and how much I am enjoying killing things while I level to end game in my current MMO, Rift.

I am thinking I either need stronger heals or I need stronger AOE. The Cabalist tree offers some serious AOE throughput but that would exclude any sort of heals from either my Warden hot or the Sentinel Instant heal. I would have to drop one tree for the Cabalist, and that got me thinking. Why not consider dropping both Warden and Sentinel in favor of an Inquisitor (35) / Cabalist (14) / Purifier (4) build or maybe just drop warden with a Inquisitor (41) / Cabalist (15) / Sentinel (10) build.

Just looking briefly over the numbers, the Cabalist tree offers Entropy which would boost my Vex output, and a spell power increase which replaces the Warden instant ability spell power buff Destructive Tide. The Shield of the Ancestors from the Purifier tree absorbs 658 damage (before spell power modifiers) vs the instant heal of only 304 (before spell power modifiers), but it only has an 8 second CD VS a 30second CD on the shield. The little heal from Healing Flame gives 208 (before spell power modifiers) and its on a 1.5 second CD so maybe it might help, but my instincts tell me that that is too little too slow to really do any difference compared to what I have right now (instant heal and a hot).

So my real dilemma is A) how to get more fat AOE damage without giving up too much healing protection and, B) is the pure AOE output in Cabalist worth dropping the security blanket that the Warden hot and the Sentinel instant heal have given me so far? I guess the only way to see is to spec into the Cabalist/inq/Sent trees and find out.

more details to follow…

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We’ll be the Pirate Twins again…

March 25, 2011


Video courtesy of Fallingdown08. No thanks to EMI who relentlessly makes sure no one will ever ever ever see an original video of Thomas Dolby’s early work.

Just a little bit of Derring Do…
One of the most fun moments Utu and I have had so far in this game, aside from the spontaneous Rift Raids (informally called Rifting by those of us playing the game) that you get when you are out in the zones was a quest called, “Just a Little Off the Top“. this quest, started by the NPC Helena Brass, asks you to go upstairs and pilfer some off the protection money the local mob boss took from the merchants of Lantern Hook. Seems simple enough, right? Utu and I headed off to grab the cash and get some easy exp.

Well, what we hadn’t realized is this guy here doesn’t want us to pop into their little cave of ill-gotten lewt and make off with the goods. No, instead, he wandered in like a normal NPC, noticed what we were doing and kicked our butts. He trampled Utu and almost got me before I could run away and reset him. It was pretty cool because we didn’t expect that level of NPC interaction in a game; after all, he is yellow tagged and that usually means he is neutral hostile.

Well, after we ghost walked and got back to the cave we had a fun little time taking turns playing look-out and calling out to each other when it was safe while we each hopped over the wall a few times to grab the quest lewt. The bully/guard doesn’t pat away very far, and as a result we had a few tense, but fun moments making sure he didn’t see us as we pirated the goods. We got back safely to the quest NPC and turned it in. Both Utu and I throughly enjoyed being pounced on and running around like kids stealing candy.

Hopefully our sacrifice wasn’t in vain and we wont have to rescue these folks again. Maybe they will learn their lesson and not let bullies extort them for “protection money” again. Luckily for them, Mr. Paws is on the job protecting the good people of Lantern Hook from danger.

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Funny UI glitches

March 24, 2011

It appears that last night we saw some hot-fixes to the video settings in Rift. I ran around half the night either not being able to see people’s summoned pets, or not being able to see half of me. This is something that used to happen in Alpha to me occasionally. Here is hoping Trion gets on it and gets this fixed as it makes it hard to know if a pet is being attacked by an NPC or not.

Guess this screenshot just proves I really am just a Pocket Healer =)

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My Rift Cleric at 35

March 23, 2011

Last night was yet another exciting and satisfying night in Rift. Time just flew by as we quested and played and had the time of our lives. Utu and I finally made it past content we had tested in alpha and we were really digging seeing all the new (to us) content. We took a slow ride on our tortoises to Lantern Hook and then followed the ‘bread crumb trail’ in Meridian to Moonshade Highlands.

After Scarwood Reach, it appears that Trion has two zones where they encourage you to quest at this point. So, after running around a little in Lantern Hook, killing mobsters, stealing back protection money and sending the gambling bosses out of town, we decided that level 37 guys were a little too hard-core for us and headed over to Moonshade Highlands.

So far we are impressed. This place is really pretty, the questing is gentle but engaging, you get a TON of exp for everything here so you level rather quickly, and we got to see Dwarf NPC’s. FYI, they sound a little like Yoda… err, yeah.. I even got buffed with an icky Guardian Wardstone at one point. I will follow up with more thoughts on why there seem to be two zones to quest in for the 35 – 40 level range, and some more pretty screenies from Moonshade Highlands when Utu and I finish the first quest hub tonight.

While I was on my farming toon….

Got some lovely screenshots of an earth rift in Stonefield today on my marksman, Lionesse. Thought I’d share with folks how visually stunning this game can be. It reminds me of Lotro with the light sources and how pretty the scenery can get. Even the desert areas are nice. Well, sorta a combination of EQ and Lotro and one step further along down the MMO graphics evolutionary timeline.

Okay, that’s all for my quick update. I wanted to close with a little screenie I took of the sky. Yes, the boring clouds and rain and the sky. Its for my skeptical Wow friends.

Look guys! WEATHER!!!!

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Jocelyn, The Achievment Monger….

March 15, 2011

… aka, why can’t she just play the game like normal people do…?

I completed a bunch of achievements with my gaming buddy Utu. He is, in case I haven’t mentioned him before, my partner, my best friend, my co-conspirator and one of the best persons I know. I am lucky to have such a great guy in my life.

There are several easy achievements to get while still low level. A few in Freemarch and some in Stonefield. I dragged Utu all over the world this afternoon grabbing a few of them. Took us about 90 minutes in total, but I think we could have went even faster if I hadn’t killed Utu twice jumping into things too fast.

First achievement we grabbed was called A Quick Escape (click the link for the guide). It was relatively easy and can be done while questing in that zone as well. It consists of simply jumping off the middle part of the bridge out of the burning town called Smith’s Haven in south-eastern Freemarch.

We then went over to Lake Solace and swam down until we found the Freemarch Puzzle for the achievement, Sleeping With The Fishes (click the link for the guide). Solving the puzzle was fairly straightforward and easy – I even buffed us with water-breathing as there was a line to do the thing. Opening the chest got me a blue tanking shield with some impressive spell power and endurance stats. Utu got a tanking staff with only spell power and endurance – a real head scratcher as he is a mage and needs int more than anything. Guess Trion wants us to PVP.

We zipped out to Stonefield for the other achievements stopping occasionally to kill squirrels in Freemarch as I am collecting 20 Squirrel Tears for the Heartless title. Once we got to the Giant’s skull in Stonefield, we ducked inside and looted the red sparkly bag for Red Handed (click the link for the location). The miner’s agro on you, and they hit REALLY hard. So be ready for a bit of a mixup when you nick it.

Next on the stop was up the mountain for the four achievements everyone wants in this zone. The Spinning plates puzzle, the Dancing with Squirrels title, the Mountain Climber achievement and Plop! Which gives you a cool ‘Daredevil’ title.

If you go up the mountain just above where the chest is looted for The Mousetrap quest, you can make it to the first spot which is the spinning plates. Easy puzzle if you know how to do it, I linked it for you in case you are in a hurry to solve it like I was.

Next we moved up one side of the mountain for the Dances With Squirrels achievement. Simply walk over to their torch, and wait for them to dance. The torch ignites and you do your /dance emote and get one of the cooler titles in the game =)

On your way back towards the upland meadow that had the spinning plates make sure to head a little left until you unlock the exploring quest, mountain climber. Head back to the other side of the falls and then you edge your way out to the rock promontory and jump into the lake for the Plop! Achievement and the Daredevil title (super easy, and better explained on the forums. Click here for the pic guide)

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My cleric so far..

March 14, 2011

Meet Callista. She is a Defiant Cleric in Trion’s new MMO, Rift. She Heals, she DPS’s and she Tanks. Yes, she even tanks.

Callista

I love how the class system works in Rift. So fluid and customizable, a person can seriously play this game any way they choose and still do amazingly well. My Cleric wears chain armor and can AOE down a pack of mobs while walking backwards. It’s the stuff of dreams to finally be able to quest, heal or tank in a well designed MMO on a character that doesn’t makes you suspect that investing serious game play into them will end up as a giant waste of time. Much like my druid from Wow, I am in love with this class and its potential for varied game play. Much UNLIKE my druid from WoW, I can actually PVP, quest, raid or tank in the same gear, with the simple switch of my Soul Tree spec.

So far I have built her skills around the Inquisitor tree’s Vex spell mainly because I can keep moving and healing while questing. It seems to be the fastest way to level and keep up with my Chloromancer/Warlock/Necromancer friend, Utu =)

Here is my Cleric’s spec at the scrubby level of 25:

She is a level 25 Inquisitor 22 / Warden 5 / Sentinel 5

I specifically built her around the Vex spell and chose talents that support this spell to maximize uptime while questing and reduce travel to pick up loot, etc.

First, lets look at Vex:

Rank 1 Vex is a simple instant dot that costs 8 Mana and “Torments the enemy, dealing 38 Death damage over 15 seconds”.

Not so earth shattering in and of itself. But I found that coupled with the warden talent Destructive Tide (which increases the damage of your instant cast spells by a certain % up to five pts) makes it a very powerful dot.

It takes ten points in the inquisitor tree to get the talent Contempt (heals you for 45% / 90%), but once you get that high, you can dot up several mobs and the damage it does (when amped up with Destructive tide) heals you for quite a bit. Meanwhile, you immediately get a 0 pt spell with Warden called Water Jet that is an instant cast spell that at lower levels allows you to pretty much run around killing and looting non-stop.

As I progressed a little higher, I centered my skills around enhancing my spell power with Watchful Gaze in the Sentinel tree and other talents/spells that give me more crit or more healing to help support the fast leveling play style my build supports.

Finally, I reached the higher levels of the Inquisitor tree where I could grab Mental Resilience for the extra 10% / 20% / 30% / 40% / 50% damage it gives and the Vex spell really starts shining as I am able to literally hold my own against powerful rift mobs and rampant Guardian invasions. It also helps that the 0 talent heal Healing Breath in the Sentinel tree is full of win. With only an 8 second cd, its my go-to heal every time.

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Rift!!

March 11, 2011

Well friends, the launch of Cataclysm came and went. Over the ensuing months since November’s release, I spent many long hours grinding heroics with my end-game toons; a feral/resto Druid named Lionesse, and a shadow/holy priest called Hyacinthe. It took me a bit of time to get them to a point I felt they were raid ready, but by Mid-February I had a feeling I was there. Unfortunately, I also felt burned out and bored – right back to where I was in Wrath just months before.

There are many reasons I was bored, some of it was the badly implemented cross-server Dungeon Finder Tool and the over-abuse of the Vote-to-Kick function that made each gear run such a grinding horror. As well, some of it was the lack of viable raiding spots in my new casual guild on Proudmoore that would support my commitment to reduce my online gaming time to a responsible level and still give me enough time to live a meaningful life outside of virtual reality. And finally, it was also due in part to the simple fact that I had been there, done that, with the same classes, and the same mechanics, and the same story telling methods, time and time again. Seven years of World of Warcraft is a long time folks.

So to alleviate the boredom I decided that I was going to play a game I spent some time last Fall alpha testing. That game is called Rift. Although I have beta tested quite a few MMO expansions and even had a chance to beta review one before it launched, I have never had the honor of participating in an Alpha test. It was a pretty cool experience and my thanks goes out to the folks over at Angry Guild Leader for the MMO testing opportunities they bring me over and over again.

As of this week, I have a level 23 Cleric called Callista and a level 17 warrior called, you guess it, Hyacinthe. I dont know yet if I will stop playing World of Warcraft, or go back after a few weeks, all I know at this point is that I just dont feel like logging in to my characters on WoW. Not at all – not even to say hello to friends, not even to run dungeons with my son. I guess I am just too burned out to care about WoW right now.

Stay tuned for further adventures and minor blogging as I explore a new MMO for the first time in over a year.