Saturday night found us all online in Rift, and with the five of us our thoughts turned to group content. Potshot had pointed out that once we were all level 15 we could attempt the Realm of the Fae instance.
All we had to do was get the whole group up to level 15.
Earl was actually on a bit ahead of time, so I ran out to help him catch up to where we were in the Freemarch quest chain.
About the time he and I were headed for where the group left off last week, everybody was online and we could assess where we stood. The party as we joined up was:
- Jollyreaper level 13 mage
- Earlthecat level 14warrior
- Ephemara level 14 rogue
- Hakawati level 14 rogue
- Hillmar level 15 cleric
I still hadn’t worked out what souls we all have allocated, but we’ll get to that. The
dungeon finder looking for group tool informed me that the group, as formed, was not eligible for any dungeons, as was expected.
But we had time. And since this post ran much longer than I thought it would, I am going to insert a break to keep the front page from being a mile long.
We knocked out the line of quests near the mine and mire, which is one of those quest areas that goes much quicker in a group. The place is generally overrun with NPCs.
That quest line ends up sending you to Meridian, so we got to explore the Defiant capital as a group. There are a few “run around and find things” quests that helped move us along to our goal of all getting to level 15, but did not quite get us there.
So we had to soldier on, heading south out of Meridian to the next quest line. There we quickly wrapped up two passes through the quest hub which was just enough to get us all to the right level. The first instance on the list, Realm of the Fae, was now open to us.
Being level 15 of course put us at the very low end of the level range for the instance, and the evening had moved along, so there was a question as to how much time we might have. But we decided to give it a shot anyway, if only to start getting us ready to work as a group.
So we tried to get in… and were denied.
In a surprise twist, the first thing that kept us from entering the instance was that Jollyreaper had too many unspent soul points.
Ah well, that was easily solved. So we gave it another try. And we were again denied.
This time around we were informed that we had too many people trying to play the same role, the damage role. And, as a helpful addition, the UI decided to single out Ephemara as part of the problem.
But the real issue was that Earl needed to be able to occupy the tank role. Only, in something of a Stanislavski turn of events, you cannot just pick the role you want to play in the group, you must BE the role you want to play.
And it appeared that Earl had been putting his points into a role that was deemed “offensive,” which is to say a damage oriented role. This lead to some discussion that eventually had us head back to Meridian so that Earl could adopt the tank role.
Eschewing a simple respec, it was suggested that Earl buy a new role. A good idea, since he could then switch from damage, which is great for the outside world, and tank, which we would clearly need for any instance encounters.
However, the new role page had us stumped for a bit. Potshot, who had done it, was trying to tell Earl of Skype what to do, and it just wasn’t coming across. So then I tried it, ending up exactly where Earl sat, staring at a mostly black window while being told to click and select roles.
Eventually, the discussion came around to the “activate” button, which you must press in order to be able to configure a new soul. I might suggest to Trion that, rather than a big, black window with an untrained soul, they put in something like “click activate to configure” in order to make things just a bit more obvious.
Thus enabled, Earl poured soul points into a defensive tree, allowing him to take on the tank role. We were ready. The interface would now let us queue for an instance.
And we were into The Realm of the Fae. We were standing in front of a portal facing the zone.
At that point Earl realized that changing souls meant that he had to redo all his hot bars. So while that was going on, we wandered around the safe-ish looking foyer of the instance. And I decided to run through the portal.
Which put me back in Meridian.
So while Earl worked on hot bars, I was working on how the hell to get back to the group. I asked in general chat, always a risk, and got a couple of answers. Some were not so helpful. (You walk back to the instance.) Others were sort of helpful. (You click on the LFG icon.)
I say “sort of helpful” because the LFG icon was surprisingly small. Eventually, after clicking a few different places, I managed to locate it on the bar under the mini-map next to the clock, and was able to get back to the group.
By that point Earl was about set and we decided to move forward.
There were no quests for us in the instance. I compare this to Iron Tomb, which I poked my nose into with another character. I had quests to get to the tomb, people to speak to when I got there, and quests to pick up.
But Iron Tomb is on the Defiant side, while I understand the Realm of the Fae is on the Guardian side of the world.
In the absence of quests though, there were still a set of rift encounter-like objectives which appeared to add up to taking down four bosses. A simple enough goal.
At this point it was time to, you know, kill some stuff and figure out how to actually work as a group.
Early battles went well enough. We lost somebody to an add, but for the most part we started getting into the swing of things. Rift does not use giant Lucky Charms icons for targets, instead opting for simple numbers. That actually works well enough I suppose. It certainly makes the kill order obvious. And we just had Jolly
sheep squirrel the mob with the highest number. Yes, it appears that the Rift version of the WoW polymorph crowd control spell turns the target into a squirrel.
And, in a side note on the mechanics of instances, what is the instance chat channel about? When I entered the instance, I got signed into the Realm of the Fae as my local chat channel. Does that channel cross instances, or is it just for the instance I am in? And in either case, what would be the use of such a channel?
Anyway, we managed to make our way around to the first boss, and then the wipes began.
This was our first real, full group, just us and not a raid out in Freemarch, boss fight. Time to see if we were ready.
Our first go was simple. We went after the main guy first. That didn’t work at all.
It looked like his two little companions were buffing him. We drew the correct lesson from that. We needed to kill them first.
Applying that particular lesson was another story.
Keeping aggro on Earl, keeping Earl healed, and burning down the two companions and then Maelow turned out to be a challenge. We ended up wiping a total of six times on Maelow.
Eventually things came together and we managed to bring the Trickster down, though Hillmar ran out of mana at the last moment, so Earl died at the same time as Maelow. But at least we beat the first boss.
That done, we moved forward into the instance. While we exposed more of the map, we did not actually get to the next boss.
As we moved along, clearing our way, we ended up with a bad pull that was compounded by a wandering add that lead to our final wipe of the evening.
Normally a mid-instance wipe like this would be a non-event, something to bounce back from and carry on. But it was getting late. We spent a good chunk of our evening getting everybody to the right level and then getting configured to actually get into the instance. And this was our test run, to see if we could bring it together at all in an instance after nearly eight months of not running any full group content.
So we decided to call it a night and headed back to Meridian for our traditional screen shot.
We seemed to be able to coordinate and take down serious encounters, even at the very low end of the level ranged for the instance. One of my take-aways from the evening is to go research healing specs. I was barely able to keep up with Earl’s health due to the cool down on one instant heal and the cast time on my other single person heal. I hope to have a better healing plan next time.