Marching in Freemarch, Chasing Rifts in Rift

The instance group isn’t set to get back together in full until this coming Saturday, but three of us still got together as part of our slow exploration of Rift.  We’re trying to get into the game without getting too far ahead, though I suspect a couple of us will want to roll new characters for the full group kick-off.

I was on ahead of the other two, so started tracking down some quests I had, including one I had that wanted me to talk to a guy all the way across the zone.

And had I taken the direct path to that guy, I would have wandered through at least another dozen quests, and doing them would have gotten me to the appropriate level for the guy.  But I had missed a quest turn in previously, so I went the long way around the zone, missing all those quests, and ending up in a bit over my head.

(Not that there is any place in Freemarch that is a “long way” from anything.  It is a surprisingly compact zone.  I think you could fit three Freemarches into West Karana in EQ.)

Anyway, there I was, keen to go into this burning town, only the mobs I had to fight were levels 16-18, and I was level 15.  Level 16s I could take, even if I got an add.  17s were a little tougher.  But level 18s… well, I couldn’t lay a blade on them.  I learned that the hard way.

So I tried to avoid the level 18s, which was possible, except that one stood astride a quest item I needed.  I ended up using the old hunter trick of sacrificing my pet (glad I chose beast master) while I grabbed the quest item and then ran and stood some place where it was safe to revive after the mob in question tracked me down and killed me.

We do what we must.

Two rounds of quests and 9 deaths later, the Potshots showed up.  We grouped up, they rode on out to me, having the same cross-zone “talk to a guy” quest, though they were level 16 so had obviously done some in between quests, and we went through the same set of quests I had just finished.

Which wasn’t really a bad thing.

I was able to be a bit of a guide, the three of us together could take on any number of adds, and Rift seems very good so far at sharing quest updates across a group.  I hold this up in comparison to the disaster in New Halas where the sheer bloody minded refusal of the starter zone to be group friendly pretty much killed EverQuest II for the instance group forever.  Individuals have stated that they will never play EQII again, so it is dead to the group.

Rift won’t have the same result it seems, at least not because of that.

That set of quests done, we decided to head out and help defend Freemarch from invasion.  There was some sort of “Angela’s Ashes of History” world event of some sort going on, and we were instructed to find a quest giver in our capital, but none of us managed to find this quest giver.

Either Meridian isn’t our capital, a possibility, it being merely the first city we’ve seen, or we were too low level to participate.  Because I would guess that the the quest giver for an important, we’ve announced it everywhere, world event would be put in an easy to find location, and not in the back room of the third cave to the left in the side annex of the city, right?

So we went riding off to attack the more mundane invasions.

We all got the collector's edition

We started in on footholds.

Footholds through me for a minor loop when I first encountered one, as they pop up and shoo away the quest givers.  That was before I discovered that the enemy NPCs guarding footholds are pretty flimsy and not very observant.  You can pull them off one by one.  But if you get the whole group, it isn’t a disaster, as they tend to be manageable solo as a whole.

So we knocked out a foothold, destroying their “blue thing” and cheering for the restoration of our “red thing.”  (We were not up on the terminology in our fellowship… erm.. group.)

Foothold Defeated!

And then we ran on to the next foothold, and defeated that.

Foothold Defeated As Well!

We ran along and killed a couple more, then consulted the map.

The map showed a foothold back at the first two spots we had just cleared.  So we apparently either missed something (I think I saw a roving group of invaders previously) or the who dynamic thing isn’t really as dynamic as they would like you to believe.

Tired of footholds, we moved on to a nearby Rift.

The first one we encountered was already in progress, somebody having defeated the first couple of rounds before they wandered off.  We closed that one up, but failed to make the timer on the bonus round, mostly because nobody noticed the timer until it was down to 00:04, at which point we were not going to make it.

The next one we found was a fresh rift.  We went after that with a vengeance, now a bit more aware of what was expected.  We were successful, beat the timed round, and the bonus round with the boss.  Full victory with a group of three.

A Rift No More

Riding around looking for more trouble, we spotted a rift forming.

Coming Soon To This Location - A Fire Rift

We used our special “get this rift going already” ability and a rift with fire based bad guys popped into being.  We had been mostly fighting water footholds and rifts up to this point, but what did that really mean?  How about a little fire, scarecrow!

This rift, flagged as level 13, was actually lower level that the last couple we took on, which put up level 15 bosses which we defeated without much issue, so when we got past the timed bonus and went to the boss round, we were pretty confident.  We were level 17 by this point, and what chance did a level 13 boss have against us?  Bring on the so-called Beast of Flame!

How Do You Do? Now You're Gonna Die!

And then, of course, he kick out collective asses.

Did I Mention He Was A Beast? A Beast of Flame!

After three rounds of that, we decided the Beast of Flame could keep the stinking little farm he was occupying.  It was getting late and our mothers were calling.

So we rode off.

But it was getting late, so we headed back to Meridian, where I still failed to find any world even quest giver, which doesn’t mean the quest giver isn’t there.  I probably just missed the giant sign with the arrow pointing at him or something.

Anyway, the hope is that we will have a group of five this coming weekend and will start sorting out into specific roles within the group, so when we next run into the Beast of Flame, we’ll have somebody spec’d for healing and for tanking as opposed to set of people all spec’d to solo.

9 thoughts on “Marching in Freemarch, Chasing Rifts in Rift

  1. HarbingerZero

    So you went Defiant eh (at leat for now)? The world quest givers are off to the right just inside the main gate of the castle/city (yes, Meridian). When you first walk through, you will see the mount sales guy directly ahead, and to the left are some trainers…to the right, the world events people. I think so long as you are level 15 you can participate, and the quests are generally do-able at any level. (Some *nice* rewards this time around too).

    Some of the Rift bosses are tricky, we’ve learned not to sleepwalk through doing Rifts, that’s for sure. Watch for patterns and particular abilities. I think that flame guy may have a reflective shield ability now that I’m thinking about it. That’s bad news when someone drops a finisher…especially if its an AOE one.

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  2. pkudude99

    Based on your screenshot you had a cleric in your group. Did s/he not have a 2nd role yet set up for at least “support heals” as they’re called in Rift (any other game would call them minor or off-heal)?

    Some of the bosses do hit pretty hard, but even “off-heals” from an “-icar” cleric will usually enable a group to take them down pretty easily. An “-icar” cleric has 11 points in Justicar soul in order to have their passive heal-on-damage ability apply to the whole group, plus the yummy “Doctrine of Loyalty” group heal. And the Mien of Honor passive-heal booster too ;-) It’s VERY useful in a group and tbh solo as well simply becuz the amount of healing is enough to enable the cleric to keep himself healed just fine as well. Pairs well with any dps soul, but does generally work best with Inquisitor if they’re going the caster route due to the Life-based damage attacks being needed to fuel the DoL heal.

    Which server are you playing on?

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  3. bhagpuss

    You haven’t been reading my blog, have you?

    http://bhagpuss.blogspot.com/2011/10/ashes-in-wind-rift.html

    See her there with the flares? That’s your quest giver, that is. As I discuss in the blog, this event’s quest givers are exactly where last event’s quest givers were. Of course, if you weren’t around for the last event that won’t have given you the same huge leg-up it did the rest of us :P

    Freemarch is pretty big, I would have said. West Karana is, after all, one of the biggest zones I’ve ever seen in any MMO, so if Freemarch really is only a third the size, that’s still big. All Rift zones are very z-axis oriented, too. Don’t expect everything to be at ground level. There can be plenty underground, up mountains, under lakes and so on.

    If the burning village you mean is the one by the water after the huge tent outside Meridian, I have to say I have never done any quest relating to it. And I’ve leveled five characters through Freemarch now. Or is it the big, walled place down the other end of the zone on the road to Droughtlands? That one’s fun.

    As for Rifts, be very careful to check if they are Major or Minor before wading in! And as HarbingerZero says, difficulty can vary wildly. I like invasions more than rifts nowadays, but it took me months before I became blase about rifts.

    Great write-up. Looking forward to more. Going to be interesting to see how your instance group reacts to the disruption of questing by zone events, invasions and so on.

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  4. HarbingerZero

    Going to be interesting to see how your instance group reacts to the disruption of questing by zone events, invasions and so on.

    This. Our little group started this game hating the invasions, viewing the rifts as a necessary evil, and ignoring dailies. Now we participate in every invasion, quell rifts even halfway across the zone, and stay up late to finish dailies. Its been interesting to see how they have grown on us.

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  5. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @pkudude99 – Alsbeth server.

    Potshot was the healer, and he was healing for all he was worth, but I have no idea what souls he had beyond one of them being a druid. The Beast of Flame has a big attack that took me down to barely alive in one hit. In that hole, whatever Potshot had wasn’t enough to keep up.

    When we get the five of us, Earl will go for a strong tank build and one of us will make a real healing focused cleric and we’ll probably be good to go.

    @Bhagpuss – Smith’s Haven, that’s the place we were, which is the walled city out by the Iron Fortress. (I have quests for the Iron Fortress showing on my screen.)

    Linking up what I have read in my mind with what I am doing at any given moment in-game is always a sketchy proposition.

    As for how big Freemarch is, I sort of measured it based on how long it took me to run from Meredian to Smith’s Haven on foot. Yes, West Karana is huge… and it stands as my measurement of what constitutes “big” in zones because of it. But I remember how long it took to run across it. The little run took about a quarter of the time, so I called it about a third the size.

    The plan is to let Rifts/Invasions/Footholds take priority in our travels. We’ll see what happens when something we cannot handle drops in our path and keeps us from both story and victory.

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  6. pkudude99

    Alsbeth server… and I have names from the screenies. I may just have to make a Defiant or 3 on that server and look you up ….

    The cleric’s role icon shows dps in your screenie, and he’s got the Cabalist Decay and Dark Harbor buffs running, so if he’s running Druid/Cabalist/whatever he’s probably not got a lot in the way of heals yet. Druid has a small-ish heal on a 15 second cooldown available for choosing with 6 points, but it’s by no means a healing soul, and if you don’t choose the heal spell… outta luck. Cabalist doesn’t heal at all. And I have no idea what his 3rd soul is, but I’d guess it’s “0-point” and even the healing souls can’t do a whole lot at 0 points, sadly :-(

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  7. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @pkudude99 – You know more than I, certainly. Not a tough bar to top, granted.

    As I said, we were all out there with builds basically set to suit our solo exploration.

    Potshot wasn’t strong on healing, while I was heavy on offensive warrior skills, and swinging a 2h chopper, so I wasn’t mitigating much of the incoming hate. Gizalia was probably the most appropriately spec’d, as she was set to do damage.

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  8. HarbingerZero

    Worth noting again for pkdude99, I’m also on Alsbeth, and if you need anything, look me up. I’m on most weeknights. Ellul is the character’s name.

    I love the Cabalist, and its my main soul for casual play. Usually in Rifts though, I do switch to a build more suited to healing (and tanking sometimes, since our group doesn’t have one).

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  9. Vatec

    On a related note, the stage 6 bosses for the current fire and earth rifts are seriously underconned. I’ve seen Beasts of Flame wipe entire parties of appropriately leveled players. You need a tank with good mitigation, a dedicated healer, and probably a Bard (Rogue with AOE healing), Chloromancer (Mage with AOE healing), or support Cleric (as pkudude99 stated, any Cleric with 11ish points in Justicar and some form of damage-dealing) to do that particular boss. Anyway, hope you continue enjoying your time in Rift!

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