Accidental Instant Adventure

After finally hitting level 50 in Rift last week, I was set to try and answer the eternal question of those at level cap, “What now?”

I ran out to Ember Isle for a bit, just to see it.  As predicted, being modestly geared with mostly green quest reward items, I got pounded pretty hard.  Most battles ended with my boar pet dead and me having consumed some sort of health supplement in order to survive.  I could kill things and survive, but it was slow and not economically viable.  I should have put an alt into the manufacture of health potions rather than weapons and runes.

I did some PvP battleground… erm, warfront… things.  There is a whole pile of quests to get you pointed in that direction as well as the promise of being able to gear up using Favor, the PvP currency that would be Honor in WoW.  But I have never been a huge fan of battlegrounds (something compounded by the fact that in amongst the veteran and geared up level 50s, I do get one and two shotted an awful lot) and the only one I ended up enjoying much was Black Garden, mostly because it is small and simple enough that I actually think I understand it, making it pretty much the opposite of Port Scion in my view. (I think it is something like Alterac Valley in WoW.)

Black Garden – Nobody uses those side paths

In the end, I decided on zone events as my avenue of adventure.  If enough people jump in, zone events can be fun without becoming the thundering herd of beta that would curb stomp any mob it faced before you could get in two hits.

It’s the tier 1 Telara Beta marathon!

For the most part, enough people do tend to jump in to make the events viable.  With the deck stacked heavily in favor of level 50s in the game by this point, it is much easier to finish up a zone event in Stillmore, Shimmersand, or Iron Pine Peak than any of the mid-level zones.

The timing seems to be such that an event runs in each one of those zones every night at prime time.  I have been able to hit at least one such event successfully almost every night.

And this helps me on my way towards beefing up my rogue.  He has already earned 12 levels of planar attunement and has accumulated a pile of inscribed sourcestones.  The latter are yet another currency to help you buy upgraded gear.

However, not every event is well attended.  Last night I ran out to an event in Shimmersand only to find myself pretty much alone in fending off the threat.

My usual tactic is to find the public group that becomes the central raid, join it, and follow it around.  That is generally the best use of my meager abilities.  There are a couple of events where I can accomplish things solo, at least until I find that raid group, by picking my battles carefully and not standing in the path of the parade of invasion groups running around the zone.

This was not one of those events, and so I found myself dying while attempting to find any public group working on the event.

Then, finally, I ran close enough to somebody to get the join button at the top of the screen.  Only it said “Join Adventure” rather than “Join Public Group,” but I wasn’t picky at this point.

And so I stumbled, quite by accident, onto the Instant Adventure feature of Rift.

The group consisted of me and one other player, and he clearly did not need me along for the ride.  But after he kicked me once and I rejoined, he tolerated me until I was able to prove I wasn’t totally useless.

Instant Adventure appears to be a chain of quests, each of which centers around a general geographic area in a zone and which finishes up with a boss fight of some sort.  It is like your own personal zone event.  Or your group’s own personal one.

Some of the quest series is always a kill quest for mobs that were there anyway.  But you also spawn some special mobs, participate in events, and, as mentioned, the boss fight or similar end event.  And things scale depending on how big your group is.  Sometimes it is simply a need to kill more of a given mob.  And sometimes things seem to get much tougher, like the end boss.

This can lead to group composition issues.  During my first run with IA, this warrior and I fought a pirate chief and, while it was a tough fight, the result was never in doubt.  Later, in a group of six, with five rogues and a warrior, everybody died at least once and soul walked back into the fight because the boss scaled to a point where we really could have used a healer.  I am going to guess that healers are all off raiding or doing expert dungeon while IA has become the domain of the disenfranchised DPS players looking to gear up.

That is certainly why I am there, because the payout for IA includes inscribed sourcestone, one of the currencies for welfare epics in Rift.  And between zone events, my first few runs with IA, and my obsessive attention to the Lootables scratcher game in the Rift Mobile App, I had earned enough of these to buy a bow that was a serious upgrade over the level 50 blue bow that my weaponsmith alt had made for me.

Only, as in all things, there was a catch.  I could afford the inscribed sourcestone price for the bow that was a serious upgrade.  There was a second aspect to the price.  The bow I wanted was in the second tier, and to get that you must buy and trade in the first tier bow.  I did not have enough sourcestones for that, and the first tier bow was, at best, when looked at through squinted eyes, a very mild upgrade to my current bow.

But, I want that next bow, so I bought it.  Now I need another 90 sourcestones to get the bow I want.  That means more zone events, more Rift Mobile scratchers, and certainly more Instant Adventure.

At least I got an achievement.

Out on an Instant Adventure

Rift achievements aren’t quite as shiny as WoW achievements, but they are close and a still head and shoulders above other competitors in presentation and content.

14 thoughts on “Accidental Instant Adventure

  1. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    I left out one bit. When I first started Instant Adventure, I thought this would be great for the instance group to use for those “between dungeons” levels. However, you must be level 45 to participate. Ah well.

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  2. HarbingerZero

    I never got to try the Instant Adventures since the time between us dinging 50 and the start of Star Wars was such a small window, but I was intrigued by the concept. For me, as a healer who doesn’t raid…sounds like I wouldn’t have any problems staying busy!

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  3. Rohan

    I think Trion is bringing low level Instant Adventure in the next patch (1.9?).

    Personally, I’m rather surprised that there hasn’t been much more talk about this feature in the blogosphere. Though I’m guilty of that as well, I’ve been meaning to write a post about Instant Adventure for months now.

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  4. bhagpuss

    You know you can just click on the Instant Adventure button wherever you are in the world and it just ports you straight to the action? When I was trying it out i just sat in Meridian and clicked and was in Shimmersands and later Stillmoor in a minute or two.

    I can only play in Silverwood and Freemarch now on RiftLite so I’m way out of touch on what’s happening at 50. Back when I was playing regularly, though, you could run zone events in Stillmoor, IIP and Shimmer virtually back to back, day and night without a break and I often did. That had tailed off some by the time I left, but was certainly still the case six months after launch. I suppose Ember Isle killed that.

    It took me about a month of playing it fairly regularly, plus repeated readings of several guides to really understand what was going on in Port Scion. I say “really”. I never *really* understood it but eventually I had the basics down. I got to liek it a lot in the end.

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  5. pkudude99

    From your screenshot at the bottom. . . Holy Tons of Buttons, Batman! Do you not use macros? When I have my rogue in ranged build, I’ve only got about 6 buttons on the bars. Heck, when I’m in melee I only have about 4. There are “1-button” builds out there for melee rogues also, but I think they’re overly simplistic and never made use of them, plus it’s nice to keep some situational abilities on the bars, ya know?

    FWIW, I found I actually had much better survivability using one of the “assdancer” builds (Assassin/Bladedancer). Onc you have 26 points in Assassin the Leeching Poison proc on your attack does a ton of healing, so your survivability goes way way up. I ended up preferring that build to my ranger/marksman (though I kept that one too for ranged dps in groups). Might be something to try on a 3rd or 4th role slot perhaps.

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  6. Telwyn

    Towards the end before my cancelled sub expired I did a few of these on my Cleric main. It was a ton of fun and really helped deal with the lack of population after Ember Isle sucked all the geared level 50s away from the original end-game zones.

    But there was a major reason why I didn’t bother healing them, which ideally I wanted to do to practice healing before doing endgame dungeons. On my server, PVE-RP, there was a significant minority of players who were always flagged for PVP out doing this stuff. Quite often they were well geared so the tank specced characters would be the ones keeping aggro. I had the choice between flagging to heal them or being helpless to stop them from dying if they overreached. I found that *so* frustrating, it really took away from my potential enjoyment of the content. Not much Trion can do about that I suppose, it’s a community culture thing – those interested in open PVP will gravitate towards anything big that brings players together…

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  7. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Rohan – I went and looked and it sounds (to me) like they were going to do the low level zones next and then get to the mid-level zones later. Stuck in the middle again.

    But it is a fun feature, yet another take on open group questing, and has seemed to avoid much in the way of press.

    @Bhagpuss – Yes, once I stumbled into instant adventure I found the button to queue you up and send you out. However, it seemed to send me out alone rather than dropping me in a group. Of course, that might be because my server is kind of low-key of late, so I might have been the only person queued up. So far, every time I have done IA, I have ended up grouped with Jorz. That also seems to indicate that the IA population is small.

    Iron Pine, Stillmore, and Shimmersand do seem to come up in regular rotation during the evening. The problem (about half the time) is enough people turning out to finish the event. Shimmersand seems to have this problem especially. Iron Pine might have the problem as well, but I usually take a break when the event cycle hits there. I am not fond of that zone for reasons I cannot articulate.

    @pkudude99 – I am on yet another hunter build after not playing him for a few months. I need to look into the macro thing as I do have too many skills. Though I do have them sorted into groups that are logical, at least in my own mind. And fishing is always on the 1 button for me. Gotta fish.

    @Telwyn – I always manage to get myself flagged PvP when zone events happen in Shimmersand. I blame the pig. But so far nobody has spent time trying to kill me as a target of opportunity.

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  8. Telwyn

    There is an option to prevent accidental flagging in case you didn’t know – but that prevents any abilities affecting a flagged player of your side (or of course an opponent) so it makes heals pretty useless.

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  9. HarbingerZero

    @pkdude99: From your screenshot at the bottom. . . Holy Tons of Buttons, Batman! Do you not use macros?

    You should see mine. I think I have five rows open on the screen in total. To me, that’s part of the fun.

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  10. Scott Hartsman

    @Wilhelm — Re: “I went and looked and it sounds (to me) like they were going to do the low level zones next and then get to the mid-level zones later. Stuck in the middle again.”

    That same update will add Mentoring, to let people downlevel in said zones for +xp, while the rewards will still pay at your actual (L50) level. It should end up providing something new to do for everyone, if we pull it off right.

    And by then there’ll be Conquest too…

    Glad you found the system!

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  11. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Scott Hartsman – I will be interested to see how you guys get mentoring/down leveling to work. I liked the idea of it in EQ2, but even after a couple of passes to smooth things out, it doesn’t feel quite right.

    We started a new group in EQ2 a year ago, and a friend at level cap would mentor down to play with us. However, even mentored down to the lowest level player in our group, he was pretty much destroying content that we were otherwise struggling with as a group of five.

    Now, there is always the “he’s just good, we just suck” point of view, which is certainly possible given our history, but even he said he felt overpowered. There is a fine line there.

    And what is happening here? First I get an email response to one of my posts from John Smedley, and now a response, not to a post, but to a comment on a post… implying more time and diligence put in than many a commentator here… by Scott Hartsman? Are you MMO guys in a slump between E3 and Austin?

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  12. Scott Hartsman

    Yeah, they’ll be more powerful due simply to the # of abilities they have unlocked. Balancing exactly how powerful will be something that continues after it hits live scale.

    And – Hahaha — Truth is a lot less exciting: I started getting up about a half hour earlier, now have a little more time before work, and I’m trying to get back into the blog and forum rotation I used to read every day.

    I missed it a lot. I feel incredibly disconnected when I can’t find the time to read all the blogs and forums that I’d be reading even if I didn’t have this particular job. :)

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  13. bhagpuss

    When Mentoring first came to EQ2 (probably back when Scott Hartsman was running the show I would imagine) abilities didn’t scale. You actually had to get find the relevant-level Spell/Combat Arts and put them back on your hot-bar. I forget whether you had to re-equip appropriate-level gear or not.

    Anyway, there was a lot of set-up work required to mentor and it was very unpopular because of that, which I imagine is why it was changed to the to the current one-click-and-go model. The first iteration did a much better job of making your character behave as though he or she was actually the mentored level, though.

    I did a blog post about this quite a while ago and I’ve thought about it a lot. On balance I prefer the “mentor down and feel like Superman” model to the “go back to exactly how you really would have been” model but i can see that it would vary according to why you were mentoring in the first place. Ideally you’d have the choice of both.

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  14. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – Oh, I remember day one mentoring in EQ2. You not only had to re-equip your hot bar, but that was back before the attempt to rationalize skills, so every tier of a skill had a different name, and sometimes a different icon. (Or the same icon for two skills in different areas.) I would not want to face that again.

    And I wouldn’t even want to have abilities removed automatically. Having the relearn how to fight your character with low level abilities again is not a win.

    But in our pass through EQ2 last year, Gaff’s mentored down character was killing off group mobs so fast we could barely get into the fight. He was such a freight train of power mentored down that I would say it contributed to our lack of attachment to, and our early exit from, the game.

    It is, as I said, a fine line and I bet there will be no universally “right” answer. Somebody in higher tier raid gear probably ought to be very powerful went mentored down. But if you remove all challenge, it becomes the sourcestone express as people gravitate to the easiest way to advance their goal.

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