Why hello there blog…how have you been, besides lonely and neglected?
So apologies for the 5 week gap between posts here. I attribute it to two things. The first is Google+ where I, along with the usual suspects plus a bunch of new quasi-friends, have been having lengthy and interesting discussions about games. Google+ allows for a real conversation and it feels like the perfect place for ‘been thinking about’ posts that don’t really need to be saved forever. I, and many others, have found it’s a much better place to hold a conversation than in blog post comments, for reasons I don’t quite understand. I’ve just observed this to be the case.
Second, I’ve been playing a ton of Guild Wars. Not end-game Guild Wars, but the the base game. It’s a 6 year old game and I don’t think I have much to add to the abundance of content that’s been written about it since launch. I’m really enjoying it, but I don’t need a whole blog post to tell you that (even though I wrote one anyway).
But Rift is holding a half-birthday event and I decided to return to the game and see how things have changed. That spawned all kinds of thoughts about MMOs and persistence of playing and how to go back and have fun and why MMOs seem to have a lighter and lighter grip on me these days.
The good news is that my ‘main’ character (who was a whopping level 25 when I returned) didn’t have his soul points reset since I last played. It took me a few minutes to figure out the main skills he (a bard, basically) uses and get into a pattern of firing them off. I have a 2nd role that I haven’t even looked at. Some of my other characters did have their soul points reset and, man, I just didn’t want to do the homework to remind myself of what was what, and figure out what had changed. It just felt like work to me.
So off I went with my bard into those dingy woods aptly named Gloamwood. Gloamwood isn’t any more populated now than it was when I quit, and rifts that open generally just get ignored unless a high level type comes upon one and decides to seal it. Otherwise you can stand there for 10 minutes waiting for help and never see another player, so if it isn’t feasible to solo it, you may as well skip it. We used to wait much longer than that for spawns in EQ, but these days wasting 10 minutes of my precious free time is out of the question.
The event, or maybe the latest patch, has us collecting Dragon Tears, or Dragon Pearls, or Dragon Something, from these things that look like a mutant plant bulb. These are intended to be group activities since they have a huge amount of hit points. But there’s an interesting mechanic at play here… the longer it exists in the world, the easier it is to kill (it gets an ever-increasing debuff that increases the damage your attacks do). A few minutes after the things have spawned they’re easily solo-able. I’m hoping this mechanic will get spread to regular Rifts, perhaps based on population in the immediate vicinity of the Rift. It’s a shame that Gloamwood, on my server at least, is just PvE Questing at this point.
In spite of these grumblings, I was having some fun back in Rift, and then I got a couple of quests that sent me into an instance. Instance meant grouping. Now there’s that new Dungeon Finder I could have used, but see above re: learning my souls and builds. I really didn’t want to join a random group of strangers and be screamed at for having a stupid build. I dislike being screamed at… my skin is thin and I get very angry very quickly.
So it was either research a build and make sure I understood how it worked, and then use the Dungeon Finder to do these quests, or skip the quests. I skipped them. But knowing I was skipping the really interesting parts of the game made me glum.
Honestly the most fun I had was going back to Silverwood and participating in events there. I’m high enough level that my bardic healing was a boon to other players, and I still have a quest to kill some of the event bosses over there. I’m not sure a level 25 was always welcome but I stuck to the major events and tried not to step on any toes.
I also grouped randomly with someone in Gloamwood for some low-key PvE questing, and that was a lot of fun, too.
I see Rift 1.5 is going to have some kind of solo and duo dungeons added, and maybe those will solves some of the malaise I feel about missing the best parts of the game. (And to be clear, this malaise I feel is not limited to Rift…it applies to all MMOs I’ve tried lately.)
Or maybe I should go back to playing Deus Ex: Human Revolution, where I get to experience all the best parts without the worry of some 15 year old punk hurling insults at me for doing it wrong. Or Guild Wars, where my army of heroes is always ready to stand by my side, with never an epithet hurled.