Things are progressing nicely in Rift. I’m currently halfway through level 47, while others are just a few bars away from 50. We also have a nice ‘second core’ of people around the 20s and 30s. A few more members would not hurt however, as with our current roster filling out a 20 man raid would still be dicey most nights, so if you are playing and looking for a guild, let me know. Guardians, Sunrest server is where we are playing.
Last night a few of us ran Abyssal Precipice, one of the two level 48-50 instances. While we were ultimately successful, we did wipe a good number of times on various bosses, which made for a solid, challenging run. The setting, a series of ice caves and snow-covered mountains, is interesting and looks great, and the boss design was a good mix of mechanics. Nothing mind-blowing or super-gimmicky, but solid.
Due to our current guild quest (20 wins in the Codex and Black Garden warfronts) we have been grouping and running warfronts more often as well. While they are not a complete game themselves, as a break from PvE they do their job well IMO. They are short enough that if your team is terrible, you don’t suffer long, and if you are steamrolling people you can chain a few wins together in rapid succession. On the other hand, a close match does extend a bit longer, and those are always the most fun and encourage the best tactics. In that regard they balance very well.
One thing we have noticed is that it’s difficult to pick out enemies by their class/role, making focusing healers tougher than normal. Priests were chain and often looks similar to Warriors (especially when they run in to melee, which some souls do), and you have no way of knowing if a mage/rogue is more focused on healing or DPS. I’m sure some of the confusion will drop once we get more familiar with the game and how various classes look, but I doubt the issue will completely disappear. Currently the best method is to have someone call out a healer by name and having the rest of the group focus them (target of target is a huge help here).
On the PvE questing front, I’m currently in Stillmoor, which is an excellent zone in both pacing and story. The zone itself is the current-day version of the tutorial/starting zone, which gives you a nice “back in the day” feel and shows you just what happened after your actions. The various quests also reference those actions, which is pretty cool. The overall setting reminds me a little of a traditional Warhammer fantasy town/area, with some of the older towns overrun or under siege, and with your faction setting up small outposts to try and fight back.
One nice use of existing tech is a story arch that ends in you closing a major death rift in the middle of the zone. The rift plays itself out like a normal rift, but the setup around it includes special storyline aspects. This is done in other zones as well, but in Stillmoor it’s especially pivotal.
I’m looking forward to hitting level 48 in order to continue the story in Stillmoor (the quests stopped at a certain point when I was 47 due to being under-leveled), especially because the live event that starts March 30th and stretches across various zones also opens up a new raid area in Stillmore itself.
One final note: I’ve enjoyed questing in all of the zones I’ve been reading the text in (Silverwood, Gloamwood, Scarlet Gorge, Scarwood Reach, Stillmoor), while when I was just questing to level in Droughtlands or Shimmersand, the “quest grind” was setting in. Part of this is of course just approach; I’m in there just to get XP asap, ‘grinding’ is the best way to do it. The other part however is that even simply kill/collect X quests have a bit more meaning behind them if you know the why of the task, especially because after one of those simple quests, more often than not the next one in the chain is something with more story or meat to it. When you follow the storyline, the pacing is (not surprisingly) much better and the quest mix becomes more entertaining. I’m looking forward to taking my alt through the zones I have not really explored or quested in, and even without a single addition, there is enough content to allow for a second unique pass after Scarlet Gorge.