In this week's column, I'll give a wrap-up of my beta experience. Read on to hear more about Gloamwood, Warfronts, Darkening Deeps, and a lightbulb moment that I'll never forget.
I kicked off the weekend in Gloamwood, a spooky, spider-infested settlement on the Guardian side. I was all set to check out some solo quests but immediately changed gears when rifts opened up all around me and I spotted a giant Werebeast attacking the city. I had logged in just as a major event was beginning, so I joined one of the raids forming up and followed along as we jumped into battle. Raids have a limit of 20 players, and there were at least four or five that had formed, so you can imagine the crowds of players making their way over the narrow streets and bridges of Gloamwood Pines. The Werebeast had a knockback and a rough AoE, but players began to figure out his cues and eventually took him down.
Since my adrenaline was pumping, I figured I'd relax with a little peek at PvP Warfronts. There were two available this weekend: The Black Garden and The Codex. The Black Garden is for players level 10 and up, and the objective is to seize a relic and protect it from the opposite team. The longer you hold the relic, the more damage you absorb, so your teammates have to be quick to snag it when you die. Teams gain points both by holding the relic and by killing other players. The Codex involves control of certain control points on the map and is for players level 20 and up. From the looks of it, Warfronts are cross-server, and happily, my queue times were pretty short. The Black Garden seems to be a 10-man instance, while The Codex is much larger, with a cap of 20. The scenarios might seem familiar, but what really made it fun was sampling out different soul combinations to see what they do in a PvP setting. One of my guildmates, named Fidgets, discovered a healing soul that was actually pretty destructive. His Cabalist has an ability that places a sigil on the enemy. Under certain conditions, it explodes, causing damage to three enemies nearby. You can imagine the fun he had tagging players with the sigil and watching the fireworks show that ensued. I don't normally opt for PvP, but I can definitely see myself joining guild groups and running these regularly.
To wrap up the weekend, I decided to teleport over to Stonefield to see what the Defiant hunting grounds were like. As it turns out, I ended up having one of the most amazing "lightbulb" moments ever. Rift invasions are fun and dynamic, but I've always viewed them as NPC-driven events. The invading mobs that come from the Rifts and attack our Wardstones are just AI-driven, computer-generated mobs, or so I thought. But as I arrived in Stonefield, I realized that the Guardian wardstone that I had just ported to was actually a target for all the Defiant players running past -- just as the Defiant wardstone outside Sanctum was a target that I repeatedly attacked and destroyed. And if the Guardian wardstone out in Stonefield was a target for the Defiant, that must mean I had the power to attack any Defiant wardstone in their territory! I couldn't do it alone, but I had a planar flare that would summon a Guardian army to attack any wardstone I was close enough to target. It was too tempting to pass up, so I inched up to a small quest hub, targeted the wardstone, and stood back laughing as my Guardian forces engaged the Defiants.
Before I wrap up, I have one more community site for you to bookmark and visit. It's called RiftIRC, and it's been around since April 2009. Its staff has weekly chats every Friday with members of the development team and fields a community of over 100 players. Make sure to stop by if you have any questions about the game or want to chat with other players.
Once again, I had a very enjoyable weekend in RIFT, and I'm already looking forward to the next event. I did do some livestream video of my time in game, which you can view on the Massively Channel, and I'll definitely do that again for the next event, so keep an eye out for the MV Guide. In the meantime, death to the dragons!
Whether they're keeping the vigil or defying the gods, Karen Bryan and Justin Olivetti save Telara on a weekly basis. Covering all aspects of life in RIFT, from solo play to guild raids, their column is dedicated to backhanding multidimensional tears so hard that they go crying to their mommas. Email Karen and Justin for questions, comments, and adulation.