Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Wagons Roll! : Rift

I stepped back into Rift last week. I'm subscribed right up to April but I've hardly logged in since late last year. When I read that Rift's first twenty levels were going to be freely playable (Not F2P. Oh dear me, no!. We can't be having any of that kind of talk) my first thought was "Great! Now I can cancel my account and just drop in and play low-level whenever I need a Rift fix".

The thought of seeing the first twenty levels hopping with new players like they were just after launch is a very pleasing prospect. The busier the zone, the more rifts pop, the more invasions fire. Things could be just like the good old days, back in the mists of yesteryear, lo! those long ten months ago.

Then I read about the changes to the Soul Tree system (as discussed here and here among other places) and thought that if I was going to pontificate about them I probably ought at least to try them out. Not that lack of personal experience usually stops me climbing on a soapbox. Nor lack of a soapbox, for that matter.

Before I could do anything I had to move all my characters off Shadefallen. And move the guild. (Didn't need to call a Guild Meeting on that one. The entire guild membership is me and Mrs Bhagpuss and she's not playing Rift even more than I'm not playing Rift so I just took an executive decision. That's what Guild Leaders do).

Look and wonder!
As promised, moving the guild was very straightforward, as was moving each of the characters. Well, it would have been if not for two things: the guild bank and my mail. Storage has always been at a premium in Telara and I've been in the habit of using the mailbox as a kind of poor man's bank vault. The Guild Bank was completely full of crafting materials and various consumables. Since you have to have an empty mailbox and nothing in the Guild Bank before your application to move can be approved I had a happy couple of hours shifting stuff about and buying larger bags and new bank vault slots before we finally got our passports stamped for Faeblight.

Which is where the next complication arose. Faeblight was the "reserved" destination server for Shadefallen characters because it's the only remaining RP-PVE server. That reservation had expired, but I still wanted to go there because of the RP part and because we have our Guardian characters there and, hey, it's easier to remember where they are if they're all in the same place, right? Only I'd forgotten that Rift only lets you have six characters per server and I had a total of seven and Mrs Bhagpuss had eight or nine.

To cut a long story short, I ended up moving all the Guardians to Millrush, which meant another round of mailbox-emptying, although at least we'd never gotten around to making a Guardian guild so there was no guild bank to deal with. Finally, about four hours after I'd had the passing notion to try out a preset Soul build, I logged in my Rogue and hit "N".

Oh that's where they go!
First off I compared the Presets on offer for each Calling with what I was using. Apparently I'm a bit of a maverick. Or an idiot. Let's go with "maverick". Whatever, my choices look quite odd compared to the presets, which make a good deal more sense. I chose the "Huntsman" model and, after paying a large chunk of money to my trainer for nine tiers of upgrades to abilities I'd never even considered taking in all the time I've played that character, I went Warfronting.

Guess what? Trion have a better idea how a ranged DPS class should spec than I do. Who'd have thought it? I imagine having designed the game gives them some kind of an edge. That and the fact that I detest allocating points and just try to get it over with as fast as possible. Either way, the "Huntsman" build plays a lot better in Warfronts than my Ranger/Bard hybrid ever did.

I did a few Warfronts and remembered how much I like Codex. Probably my favorite instanced PvP zone out of all the ones I can remember from DAOC onwards. Even more fun now that I'm significantly more effective so thumbs up for the Preset Soul. Pretty much kicking into an open goal as far as I'm concerned since I never wanted the responsibility of creating a build in the first place.

I'm in two minds now about cancelling my subscription. Chances are I won't want to play much Rift after April. Guild Wars 2 looms. And there's the free twenty levels sitting there if I do. But I did really enjoy being back. I'll wait and see how much I play over the next six weeks and then decide, I guess. Which is in itself a win for Trion. Apparently they do know what they are doing after all. Maybe.

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