Saturday night and it was time for the ability to toggle experience to come back and bite us. Three of us left our experience locked when we were in Deepstrike Mines, fearing to spread out the levels in the group too far, only to find out that our next instance, Foul Cascade, required we all be level 28 to enter. And the group as we gathered up was:
- Earlthecat level 28 warrior
- Jollyreaper level 28 mage
- Gizalia level 27 mage
- Hillmar level 27 cleric
- Zahihawass level 27 cleric
Jolly had not locked his xp last time, and Earl had gone out and caught up to the level we needed. So the three of us good citizens were now holding the group back. No good deed and all that.
So we joined up in Scarlet Gorge, the zone where Foul Cascade is located, picked up the quests at the first hub, and went out to make up that level gap. The three of us behind also used one of the experience boost potions that they hand out as veteran rewards, hoping to speed up the journey so that we might have time to do the instance.
As usual with picture laden posts these days, more after the cut.
I will say that Rift is very good at making solo quests manageable in a group. Most updates get shared across the group, and those that don’t make some sense. This stands out in stark contrast to our experience last year in EverQuest II, where the quest behavior seemed designed to break groups up through sheer frustration. And it is also better than how classic World of Warcraft used to treat solo quests in groups, back in the pre-Cataclysm days. I can’t speak to the 1-60 content post Cataclysm, since levels went by so fast our group barely had to do anything outside of instances.
A couple of passes through the main quest hub, with a rift or two along the way, and we had all managed to get to level 28.
The quests still took us a bit, and as the evening was wearing on, we though we would use the Rift
Dungeon Finder Looking For Group tool to get into the instance, primarily because we had no idea where the instance was.
So up came the list of choices, with Foul Cascade now available to us.
We all took our roles, one tank, one healer, and three damage, and… well… went nowhere.
We have had our issues with the LFG tool before. It is, frankly, a bit too nanny-state for me.
You cannot have unspent soul points, for example. Picky picky!
You also cannot just say you are a tank and expect it to accept you are good for it. You actually have to have a build that qualifies you for the position. Means testing for instance roles.
But this time around we were a bit mystified. We appeared to have everybody in what we considered to be the standard positions, having been fully WoW indoctrinated over the last five years, but to tool was being a tool and telling us we had excess people in the damage role.
We tinkered around with this for a bit before giving up in frustration. All it would tell us was that we had one too many DPS.
After the fact, Potshot went out and researched this and found at least one member of the group must spend at least one third of their soul points in a tree that qualifies as a support class. So essentially, you must have somebody in your dungeon group capable of accepting the support role.
Well, probably a lot of people. Just not us. Damn tool.
And since we hadn’t actually used the LFG tool since Realm of the Fae, we had fallen out of spec as far as the tool was concerned.
But, as I said, all of this knowledge came later. At the time we were standing in Scarlet Gorge going “Huh?”
So it was decided we would travel after all. Zahi went to the web and looked up just enough to find out that the instance was at the other end of the zone. With a direction to travel, off we went.
Part of the trick though is that Scarlet Gorge is one of the shared zones. The south end, where we started, is held by the Defiant. The north end is held by the Guardians. This made for some careful route choices as we moved forward. And at one point, a particularly aggressive Guardian NPC came out and one-shotted Gizalia and Jolly, just to make sure we were paying attention.
Eventually though, we made it to the far end of the zone and stood looking at… well… water falls.
The north end of the zone is essentially a full-size Super Mario level with all sorts of ramps and tunnels and lifts, and somewhere in there is the Foul Cascade… and probably Princess Peach for all I know.
Oh, and there is at least one more Guardian camp up there. Avoid the lift if you are Defiant.
So up we went, following ramps, paths, taking wrong turns, finding dead ends, and generally seeing all the sites as we went.
Eventually we got close enough to the instance that it showed up on the map, which only proved we were going the wrong way and involved some back-tracking to get us pointed in the right direction again.
Apparently just getting there is such a task that you get an achievement just for landing on the front door.
We were there at last.
Unfortunately, it was now getting late. We had eaten up two of our three hours already, and people were tired enough that the third hour was seeming a bit iffy.
Still, we had come all that way, we had to at least go in and try our hand at a pull or two. Maybe get to the first boss and give that a shot. In we went.
The instance itself appeared to be the standard Rift affair. A couple of quests at the start, the regulation four bosses to kill. (No doubt the instance forming tool won’t let you create an instance unless all four boss slots are filled, with at least one boss in the “special tricks” role.)
We grabbed the quests and headed for the nearest group of bad guys. And died.
We went after one group, not having spied the wanderers who happened to be at the far end of their circuit when we started. The arrived back part way into the fight, tipping the balance against us.
A couple of us soul walked and ressed the others. Then there was a doggie emergency for one of us, and we waited and looked at the scenery.
The doggie thing took a bit longer than expected and by the time we were all back at our keyboards, there was a request to call it a night due to just being too tired to go on effectively.
Outside the instance, we noticed that there was a Carnival of the Ascended pinata at the bottom of the large bucket driven water-wheel like device off to the side from where we stood. It looked like a long way down. But it appeared that maybe we could jump on the buckets and ride them down. So Earl gave it a shot.
The buckets, they do nothing.
You pass right through them. However, Earl fell straight and true and landed in the water at the bottom of the drop and survived undamaged. So the rest of use took the jump as well.
We all made it except Zahi, who hit a ledge on the way down and went splat. He was too far up to ress and probably too deep in to the zone the run back in any reasonable amount of time, so he revived back at camp, took his penalty, and headed back to Meridian.
The rest of us beat on the pinata, got our glass beads, and called it a night.
Now we are set for Foul Cascade. We are the right level, we know where it is, and Zahi tinkered with his soul points to ensure that he could take the support role if we decided to use the LFG tool again.