The instance group, together again!
After a long summer hiatus, we all managed to find the launch icons, log in, patch up, and find each other in Rift.
The line up in Meridian was:
- Gizalia level 36 mage
- Zahihawass level 36 cleric
- Earlthecat level 36 warrior
- Jollyreaper level 38 mage
- Hillmar level 41 cleric
A lot of things have changed in Rift since we were last together, some of which came in handy.
For example, Hillmar obviously crept ahead in levels. He could have turned off experience I suppose. However, he did not need to because of the new mentoring feature.
Likewise, here we were together on a Saturday night, out of practice, staring at all those damn buttons do (skill overload is one of Rift’s issues), and wondering what we could do as a group warm-up exercise.
Enter Instant Adventure.
IA had the advantage for us of being both a group activity as well as one that wasn’t too… demanding. We got together, got the daily IA quest in Meridian and joined the queue.
We were, of course, sent to Freemarch. I know this isn’t broken, because I actually got an IA in Stonefield last weekend, but Freemarch still seems to be the overwhelming default choice. That made us all level 14, so at least the level gap was gone.
And the initial teleport alert drew and disappeared before I could click the button… this happens to me about 1 in 3 times… so I had to ride to the group. But at least the group was only in Freemarch.
It was Saturday and the server was populated so we actually drew a decent sized group. Not the full raid quest eating machine of last week, but about dozen people. That was enough that some of us could come up to speed without impacting the progress of the raid as a whole.
In fact, it worked out very well for us. We started off with a set of slow-pitch difficulty quests… go kill some guys, go collect some things… out on the beach on the west side of the zone.
This built up for a while. We participated in the first “1 in 7” boss fight, but by the time we got to the second one Earl was holding aggro to tank, I was healing, and the damage crowd was burning the guy down.
We kept that up, running through the cycle of quests. I even saw one I had not run before, which involved burning corpses.
That one was actually confusing for a moment because no corpses were in evidence. Then we realized we had to make our own by killing the right guys. A minor flaw in the mouse-over quest details on mobs is that if you have to do something with them after they are dead, that info doesn’t show up because they aren’t dead yet. Ah well. We figured it out.
At about that point a zone event kicked off in Freemarch. When you are in an IA group and that happens, the next task you draw is to defeat the zone invasion. That is actually a great idea, as you do not want a big group running around the zone saying, “Sorry, we’re too busy collecting shells and burning corpses to help out with all these rift creatures overrunning the zone.”
On the other hand, if you are online and in the game just to do the daily IA quest to get your inscribed sourcestones, it can be a bit of a bother. If a normal IA quest takes more than five minutes, it is unusual. (Though there are a couple that often do.) But a zone event… the IA timer on that is 2 hours, and it can take a while if you do not have enough people out helping. It can fail without enough people.
But one of the joys of the mentoring scheme is you are no longer dependent on having just the right number of people at the right level. All those level 50s can mentor down and join in.
And we were in it for the practice, so a zone event was a nice addition to the mix. We immediately headed east towards the closest water rift, which put up quite a fight.
In Freemarch, all of the instant adventures are on the west side of the zone. This is because the game mentors you down to level 14 when you join, and the appropriate level mobs are on the west side. Rift is very good at keeping you from going after mobs bigger than yourself. Anything beyond a couple of levels above you suddenly resists most of your spells and dodges most of your attacks.
And the east side of the zone is full of mobs in the level 16-20 range.
And so our little group, mentored down to level 14, assaulted a level 18 water rift. This actually meant we had to work for things a bit. Earl had to really tank, I had to really heal, and Zahi had to debuff to so we could get spells to stick. We failed to beat even the first timer for the bonus rounds, but it was a workout. We even had a man down in battle, so I got to pull out my relatively new combat res to bring him back during the fight.
That was the peak of our effort for the night, and we did well enough. The rest of our encounters during the event were closer to our level and the final boss was way over on the west side of the zone and was only level 8. Though a level 8 final invasion boss is still a tough guy. You couldn’t solo him at level 14.
There was even an achievement for finishing off the boss for that particular event.
After that, things began to wind down. We had all gotten a level or two. The goal was to get everybody to level 38. Only Gizalia is still 37, and she is close to level, so we can cover that.
We went back to town, spent soul points, trained up skills, fiddled with equipment, emptied bags, and generally got ourselves settled. It was a decent return to Telara.
Next week Earl will be out of town, so we will have another off night, but after that we should be ready to go after the next instance on the list, Runic Descent.
So while you are doing your Guild Wars 2 early access, we should be running that instance.