Daily Archives: July 9, 2012

Rift and Mentoring vs Dial-a-Level

Mentorship: the developmental relationship between a more experienced mentor and a less experienced partner referred to as a mentee or protégé

Something on Wikipedia

Rift patch 1.9 came along while I was on vacation and I have spent some time coming to grips with it.

Patch 1.9 brought along the usual load of goodies that Trion has been handing out regularly since launch.  Each patch is a game changer.  We got a new world event, a new PvP option called Conquest, new instant adventure options, a barber shop.  The patch was chock full of stuff.  You can read the patch notes here.

Among this cornucopia was a feature I consider to be more far reaching in impact that everything else on the list.

Trion called the feature “mentoring.”

However, it really is not mentoring.  To call it mentoring sells the feature short.

EverQuest II has mentoring.  In EverQuest II you pick a friend and you can adjust yourself down to their level.  It is, effectively, the relationship described in the quote at the top of this post.  It is strictly an interaction between two individuals and you are limited to the level of the mentee.  (There is a “wet mentee shirt contest” joke lurking somewhere.)

Certainly you can use this new feature in Rift for that sort of thing.  But it does not require you have a lower level friend to mentor down to.  You essentially get a slider and can pick your level from a set range.

Pick your level

You can set a level appropriate to a lower level zone or dungeon and have at it without being locked in to another players level.  Furthermore, the feature is integrated with the updated Instant Adventure options that came with patch 1.9.  If you go into the random queue and it sends you to one of the lower level zones like Freemarch, your level is set automatically.

So it really is more of a dial-a-level feature, to borrow a term from other weapons technology.

And it seems to work pretty well.

At the lowest levels, such as when I get sent to Freemarch for Instant Adventure, I do seem a bit over powered.  Normal mobs go down in two shots with my pet assisting, before I can build up enough combo points to use a finisher with my ranged attack favoring rogue. (He uses the Huntsman pre-set soul plan.)  However, my rogue not only has access to all of his level 50 skill at level 12, which is the level that you get set at for Freemarch IA, but he also just got the second tier bow from the epic planar goods vendor, an upgrade that was sufficient to let him operate successfully in the Ember Island zone where previously he was losing a pet on every fight.

And this feeling of being over powered is somewhat diminished in Stonefield, where I have also spent some time running instant adventures since the patch came out.

All in all, it seems like a pretty solid attempt to solve at least one aspect of the “level” problems that plague so many MMOs.  Players can now pick a level and go play content they may have passed up while still continuing to earn planar attunement experience and related rewards.