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.
Why all themeparks don’t ship with the option to disable XP is beyond me.
Locking XP, in the UI, not for gold. About freaking time.
Huzzah! I may actually level my gathering skills now on off nights without fear of level creep.
That’s one of those things that really pissed me off about Cataclysm. in addition to the ridiculous speed of leveling, gathering and what was the other new activity called… surveying or waterwitching or whatever, EVERYTHING yielded XP making the problem worse.
Someone refresh my recollection, EQ2 allowed shutting it off, but could you completely shut off AA as well?
In EQ2 you could turn off XP or route it, in all or part, into AA. I do not recall if you can turn of AA exp. I want to say yes, but then I also want to say “why would you?”
And not for gold is big too. WoW charges for turning off XP. I know why they did that. I did not like it all the same. They were so worried about twinks haunting the first tier battlegrounds and the low level zones on PvP servers that they put a price on it (any price is too much, imho, I want to turn the damn thing on and off at will) and made people who turned it on use a separate set of BGs.
On the queue times: Rift has two separate queues, although you can’t tell the difference visually: a PUG queue (groups of 2 or less) and pre-made queues (3 or more).
Queueing in the pre-made queue is always a time-consuming process: simple mathematics would indicate why it’s longer than the solo/ duo queue, add to the fact that many pre-mades don’t use it. What they used to do instead, prior to 1.7, was queue as multiple duos, and sync-queue: press the queue button at the same time, get the same warfront.
This, obviously, lead to many, many pre-made vs pug match-ups, which were as one-sided as you can imagine. Thus, 1.7 has a solution – removes the two separate queues, but randomly assigns people (individually or in groups) to *either* side; it’s called the mercenary system. This thus defeats the pre-made sync-queue exploit AND drastically reduces pre-made queue times.
It screws us RP-ers, who decided to care about faction identification; but it undeniably fixes both the length of the pre-made queues AND the sync-queueing exploit.
I just checked and as far as I can see you can’t turn off AA XP in EQ2. Gaining AA will make you much tougher in all sorts of ways, but it won’t have any effect on who you can group with. Locking XP to zero and gaining AA would leave you much more in-line with other players of your level compared to the other option, which would be to carry on leveling up and then mentor down, which tends to turn you into Superman to your friends’ Jimmy Olsens.
That said, EQ2 has two separate ways for a group pf friends to play wildly different amounts and still always be able to group together, so it would be very harsh to nitpick.
When I read the “mercenaries” thing from the !.7 patch i thought it was one of the crassest things I’d seen an MMO do for years. Really, was that the best solution they could come up with? Rift already had some of the least convincing lore I’ve ever seen but that pretty much tears up the whole backstory and throws it into the wind.
Won’t stop me doing 10-20 BGs with my free characters though!
It’s really sad how all these WoW clones are just now stumbling upon features that used to be standard in the 90s and early 00s. It’s even worse that they’re charging for it
@Bhagpuss – I certainly could not see Blizzard putting Alliance and Horde on the same sides in battlegrounds. Still, it solves a problem and them pretty-boy Guardians look more like us than the stuff coming out of rifts. Pity they don’t appreciate our high tech setup.
@Tobias – Could you expand on that a bit? To which features in particular are you referring?
Yet another instance of changes that exist solely because of PvP being forced upon PvE players. Is there honestly any game out there where the reverse is true? I’d like to give them some money and become a lifelong devotee. ::shakes head::
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I don’t think you can switch off AA XP in EQ2, but I’m with you, Wilhelm: why would you want to? It’s different from gaining levels, because you can just choose to save up the AA and not spend them immediately.