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Fifty – Not Just Another Level in Telara June 6, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Rift.
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With the announcement of the upcoming Rift expansion, Storm Legion, I thought it might be time to get a character to level cap in the game so that should I buy it and want to play, I would be ready… unlike with all those LOTRO expansions I own.  I’ve only ever been to Moria.  But that is a subject for another post.

Fortunately this was a pretty easy task to accomplish.  I have had a rogue sitting at level 49.8 for a few months.  I never could quite build up the enthusiasm to push him that last 20% of a level to get to 50.  I have hit level cap in enough games for there mere act of getting there not to be much of a thrill, and end-game pursuits have never really been my cup of tea.

But, with an expansion coming, the balance was tipped.  I figured it would be my only chance to see what one can do at level 50, since once you tack on another 10 levels, all that previously end-game content gets bypassed.  Such content becomes Wintergrasp after Cataclysm; once a popular event, now a distraction pursued by a few die hards and the curious.

So I ran out to Stillmore, the last zone I had been working on with my rogue Teresten (I “still” had “more” to do… who names these zones?), to find a zone event just kicking off.  That was a good thing, since it saved me the trouble of trying to pick up where I had left off.  I joined the first public group I could find, which became the main raid group, and we ran around stomping out rifts and slaying bad guys.

Along the way, the moment came, and I hit level 50.

The moment!

Now if you don’t play Rift, that “Level Up” message might look pretty impressive.  To put that in perspective, I get a similar size message, only in green, when I grab a quest which says, “Quest Accepted.”  So I have seen the big text 48 times already, it is the achievement at the bottom that is the difference… in that is says 50, rather that 40, 30, 20, or 10.

Rift is big on celebrating every moment, which is a good thing.  I remember in LOTRO when it used to just say something like “your level has changed” in you chat window.

I went on with the event, which was a success.  Since Stillmore events are for level 50s, it draws a crowd from the top heavy player base.  I got a pile of things that added 10,000 points to my planar attunement, which I noticed advanced my still visible and working experience bar when I used them.

I also had an in-game mail waiting for me.  “Probably some congratulations message from the faction leader,” I thought.  It was, sort of, though it was a little garbled at the end.

Since this might spoil things for you if you have not made it to level 50 in Rift, I am going to put this all after a cut, so you’ll only have yourself to blame if I ruin the surprise.

Unless you are reading via RSS, in which case you can see the whole thing.  Sorry about that.

Anyway, the message.

I wasn’t sure what (default) I was supposed to press, and was amused to see that their profanity filter was editing their own in-game message.  Are the QA folks not testing with the filter on to ensure it doesn’t render such messages unreadable?

I opened up the key bindings to find what opened up the Chronicles interface by default and saw the ceremony listed.  So I immediately clicked on it and was transported to a party.  A party for me.

In a bit of stepping things up relative to hitting level cap, you get to go to an instanced version of Meridian (if you are Defiant) all decked out to celebrate your making it to level 50.

You like me, you really like me

I followed the red carpet into one of the main chambers, where NPCs said nice things about me.

A testimonial

I was told what a special and unique snowflake I was, all without another player around to deny it.  Though I noticed that they couldn’t even be bothered to use a wildcard to put my character name into the speech.  Just another ascended on the assembly line.

More kind words

And then they had me step in one of those Defiant machines and switched it on for another achievement.

Wait, level up again?

So there I was, “attuned” according to the achievement.  What new wonder or power did this open up for me?  What great new end-game club was I going to be able to join?  What did this ceremony grant me?

Another freakin’ skill tree.

Oh look, I can spend more points!

I might have mentioned the esteem in which I hold such trees in the past.  Though, to be fair, most of the skills on this one seemed less than useful at first glance.

Whee, I can deliberately lure earth rifts now, rather than just getting whatever random rift.  And with enough points, I can damage earth rift creatures more effectively.  So I guess that goes hand in hand.

I only figured out later… by you know, actually reading… that I could change which type of rift forces I wanted to spend against.

But at the moment I could see a +1 endurance skill now and again, which was okay I guess.  But for a rogue, a dagger class to the point of being a cliche, that is specialized in ranged attacks, getting boosts for sword and maces, all that showed up on the earth tree, seemed less than useful.

Again, a profusion of choices requiring research.

And while I was dwelling on this, the whole party turned into an event, complete with invading bad guys.  The first waves were not so bad, and I managed to get up into the main common area in Meridian and strike down the named guy, only to have him laugh at me and summon a boss.

Who is crapping on my party?

This was all made more painful by the fact that I had done this straight after the event in Stillmore, so my bags were full and I was out of healing potions and dinks.  So I died a couple of times trying to get the hang of the fight.  Eventually though I was able to kite the boss down and was given my third achievement for the level 50 process.

Indeed, for without me, that virtual instance of a virtual city might have been held hostage to that virtual bad guy indefinitely!

And with that, the party resumed and cake was served to celebrate the great victory.

More lies?

Now the question is, what should I do after hitting level 50?  Is the planar attunement tree important enough that I should try to flesh it out a bit?  Should I work on improving my faction with various groups in Telara?  Is Ember Isle worth the effort?

Or will all of this, in the grand MMO tradition, be made obsolete by the upcoming expansion?

I suppose I could just go work on achievements.  Those never go out of style.

Comments»

1. Tesh - June 6, 2012

“More lies?”

slow clap

Well played, sir.

2. Wilhelm Arcturus - June 6, 2012

I finished Portal at last, I am allowed to make that reference now.

3. kiantremayne - June 6, 2012

Ember Isle is great fun, but it’s only for a newly-minted 50 if you enjoy a challenge – just about all of the mobs there are level 52 and have a hit point total that’s more like the elites in Stillmoor. It was really designed for those who’ve been at 50 for a while, got some gear from expert dungeons/expert rifts/raid rifts and want their solo PvE to present a bit more of a challenge.

For now, I’d suggest hopping into any zone events you see advertised and either working through your quest backlog or queuing for a few random expert dungeons. Seeing those will give you an appreciation for the expanded version of the normal dungeons you’ve already done. Err – you may want to hit the auction house or a crafter for some level 50 blue quality gear to get you up to a good starting point.

I wouldn’t worry too much about planar attunement xp – that just happens to pile up from whatever you’re doing. It’s intended to give you something nice ofr playing the game, rather than be “OMG I must grind PA to max to be competitive”. Of course, some players DO do that, because hey, if you haven’t filed in every added 0.1 DPS with your weapon of choice you’re a noob, right? :)

4. pkudude99 - June 6, 2012

PA isn’t anything to worry about. Some wag added up all the bonuses if you got every single point placed in every tree (ie ground and ground and ground some more) and it worked out to be equivalent adding a single piece of gear to your stats.

As the person before me said, Ember Isle is a fun little challenge, but I never found it to be too difficult either, just that the fights took longer. Of course, I used a Shamicar cleric that self-heals on strike. Since a rogue with enough points in assassin to have the self-healing poison also does the same, I’d imagine you could do just fine as well, assuming you’re going the melee route. I hear that newly 50 ranger/marksmen can’t keep their piggies alive very well there. My rogue was 42 when I let my sub lapse, so I can’t speak from experience there.

5. bhagpuss - June 6, 2012

I’m sure you know this really, but Rift is the MMO that actually makes good on that “the game doesn’t really start until max level” cliche.

I don’t mean that in a good way, either.

While I was playing regularly I had two level 50s, the first of which was dinged max just a couple of months after launch. The main reason I have two is that leveling up is a lot more fun than being 50, but not because of a lack of things to do there.

Being level 50 at that time was all about grinding: many faction grinds, gear grinds, PvP rank grinds, you name it. Endless dailies, crafting marks, planarite (easy one that).. I forget a lot of it. Then, of course, event currency after event currency.

And we didn’t even have Ember Isle or Planar Attunement then.

I found being 50 very annoying after a while. You think you’re finished but you’re not. Eventually it occurs to you that you never will be. Trion will always add more track just as you think you’re about to pull into the station.

All MMOs do this somewhat but Trion have it down to a fine art. It’s enervating.

On the other hand, doing zone events and invasions at 50 is great fun for quite a while, at least until you’ve done all of them scores of times. The mentoring system when it comes it should help add variety to that.

6. Ardwulf - June 6, 2012

That’s actually pretty cool. I hadn’t known about that.

7. Wilhelm Arcturus - June 6, 2012

Looking back, that is a pretty sparse crowd behind the velvet ropes along the red carpet. No a big turnout for a Defiant of the highest order. I think Pauly Shore draws a bigger crowd. It is like these big city people have seen it all before… or they got advanced warning about coming invasion.

8. Michael - June 6, 2012

It’s hard to read, which is their own font fault – it’s press J which is the (default) key binding for chronicles. I really liked the challenge of soloing them. I used an assassin/riftstalker/bladedancer build that once I got a little toughness gear mixed in really made them shine. But, Bhagpuss is right – it ends up being sort of overwhelming how much grind is at the end. But if you like that playstyle, there’s enough of it there to keep you busy.

9. Vatec - June 6, 2012

Short answer? Gear up.

Long answer? You can revisit all the lower-level dungeons, this time in “expert” mode, with extra bosses and a few new mechanics. You can grind notoriety to gain access to “best in slot” runes for your gear (Stillmoor, Shimmersand, Iron Pine Peak, and The Unseen in Meridian). And you can grind Inscribed Source Stone to acquire “best in slot” essences for your Source Engine.

But that’s all only really relevant if you’re planning on raiding or care a lot about minmaxing your stats. If you don’t, you can do whatever you like. Just don’t hit up Ember Isle unless you can take a Necromantic War Golem solo in Stillmoor: you’ll just end up frustrated ;^)

10. Some Early Impressions [Rift] | Diminishing Returns - June 7, 2012

[...] Not bad, but nothing stands out. I do find some of the UI graphics slightly ridiculous – as noted by Wihelm. Every time I accept or complete a quest I receive a massive ‘QUEST ACCEPTED’ sign that makes [...]


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