Earl lives on the east coast. So for our Saturday night groups, he starts playing a midnight while for the rest of us, who are all in California, the time is just 9pm. And to his credit, it is usually we in the Pacific time zone who poop out first.
Iron man though he is, staying up until 3am on Saturday night doesn’t always fit into his schedule. And so it was last week, which left four of us to find something to do.
We decided, based on comments left on last week’s incursion into the Darkening Deeps to try and earn that PvP soul by doing battleground warfronts.
Now, if you follow Rift, your temptation is going to be to jump immediately to the comments to say something about the 1.7 patch. Don’t. We’ll get to that in due time.
Let us instead speak of our evening in the pre-patch world, where we sought only to earn that 2,500 points of favor to buy the PvP soul while closing a rift or two between matches.
Our group for the evening was:
- Jollyreaper level 23 mage
- Zahihawass level 23 cleric
- Gizalia level 23 mage
- Hillmar level 24 cleric
And we met up, as usual, in Merdian where it appears The Village People we staging a come back.
The plan was to queue for the three warfronts for which we qualified and spend the night focused on those. To kill time between, we thought we would close a few Rifts in Stonefield. I had queued up a couple of times with just Hillmar before we all got on and was getting into matches in under 10 minutes.
So I queued us up and off we went to Stonefield. There we grabbed the standard daily quests and started chasing rifts.
We knocked that first rift down. And then another. And then another still.
I started watching the queue times more and more frequently. We seemed to be going well beyond the average.
While I was making it into warfronts solo without much of a time lag, it appeared that joining as a group was going to be an issue.
After about 45 minutes in the queue, we did finally get pulled into a warfront. We got The Codex, which is the Rift version of Arathi Basin.
We did… poorly I guess. As a group we were in the low end of the level 20-29 level bracket. But as a whole, our side pretty much got stomped. I ran around healing people, but it felt very much like being on the side in Arathi Basin that doesn’t have its act together.
And to top that off, Gizalia had to AFK during the battle to take care of one of their dogs for a minute and was booted from the match as a deserter. Trion learned that lesson from WoW as well I guess. So there were only three of us in the warfront. And once it was over, which it was fairly quickly, we could not queue up as a group again until the deserter flag timed out on Gizalia.
So we went and did some more Rifts.
I never tire of seeing those sky covering water rifts.
We were able to queue back up again for warfronts after a bit, but never made it into another one.
We chased rifts around some more, turned in our daily quest in Stonefield, and started to think about calling it an early night. Gizalia was tired and logged out first. This, of course, meant we had to re-queue for warfronts as a group again. We did a bit of tradeskill related stuff and then called it a night.
The next day I got out Hillmar and did a couple more warfronts. You can be surprisingly effective as a carrier in the Library of the Runemasters as a healer. I think I carried an artifact for the whole match, just hiding and healing myself. All of which earned me enough favor to buy the cleric PvP soul, which even came with an achievement.
So mission accomplished. This bit of extra-curricular activity did put Hillmar a level ahead, but at least he had the soul.
And then, of course, Rift Patch 1.7 came along. You can read the full patch notes over at Rift Junkies. It is a long list of updates.
A number of things in the notes would have changed our evening. For openers, they took out the PvP soul. That achievement is no longer available and is now a legacy achievement. Go me.
Now the aspects of the PvP soul are handled in the game as a “Planar Attunement-based character enhancement.” I have no idea what that means.
Then, of course, there was our long wait in the queue. This might have been helped with the new mercenary feature.
In order to reduce queue times to as near-zero as possible, players may be added the opposing faction’s Warfront team as a “Mercenary”.
Basically, they are now just throwing people into warfronts to fill them out. This is a good thing to cut down on wait time. I am not sure how people feel about it from the story perspective of the game. The Defiants and the Guardians aren’t as different as Alliance and Horde, but they are at war. It doesn’t matter that much to me, but I am sure somebody will see it as a betrayal.
And even my getting a level ahead of the pack would have been solved if only I had waited for the patch.
Added a new ‘Lock XP’ checkbox to the Interface > Misc settings pane. Checking it will stop your level 1-49 character from gaining experience until it is unchecked. Characters at the level cap and trial characters cannot lock their experience.
The ability to lock experience is huge. I want to run out and do some stuff with Hillmar, get his harvesting up or earn some planarite, but I have to get ahead of the group. We try diligently to try and stick together. But now there is the magic check box!
Actually, there were three new check boxes. I have to wonder a bit about that last one. I realize that it is necessary, but is somebody really running around proposing to random people? I would bet that somebody is.
And there was a ton more in the patch notes, including pre-set builds for given roles to help people find an appropriate soul combo to accomplish the role they want to fill. That is probably a pretty big deal as well. It is nice to have the freedom build a character up with the abilities you want, but the myriad of choices can also be daunting for the new player.
So that was our first run at warfronts. I hope that with the changes that have gone in, our next run at them will be better.