Instant Adventure for the Instance Group

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.

While Jolly and I were on last week, and a couple of us played some Diablo III, the whole group had not been on together since the middle of May.  But now we were back.

Loitering in town

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.

Questing in the sand

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.

Fire!

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.

5 thoughts on “Instant Adventure for the Instance Group

  1. Gripper

    Ahh wow – your killing me with your Rift blogging! They have really done a lot of neat things with the game since I left about 2 months after launch… Our group of guys has a hard time getting together, but with that IA and mentoring now, it seems like when you can get together you are able to do something. Very cool!

    I take it you are not going to try the GW2? Our group is going to give it a shot, it has some neat things, it has some things I am not sure how it will work out – I only played a little of the 2nd beta to see what race/class I wanted to try out and didnt want to do anymore.

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  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Gripper – We talked a little bit about GW2 while we were playing.

    I am a bit torn on when to start considering the game, though less so than I have been with past big releases.

    In the old days… with EverQuest, EverQuest II, and even as late as LOTRO, being there on day one was worth the inevitable issues. It was a unique experience that was never replicated again.

    Since then though, the repetition of the same old problems… server queues, down time, patches, and broken stuff that was obvious in beta but won’t get fixed for weeks after launch… that has worn me down. So I really have to be excited about a game to endure that. And there is no game about which I have that much enthusiasm at the moment. Certainly not GW2.

    So we will follow what is now the classic Van Hemlock approach and let the rest of you work out the bugs and enjoy the early exploits. In a few months, when things settle down and we’ve finished the last Rift instances, we might give it a try.

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  3. bhagpuss

    It would be very interesting to read about The Instance Group doing GW2 or indeed The Secret World if it goes F2P at some point. They both have 5-man dungeons. GW2’s are supposedly exceptionally challenging, too, although I don’t know how anyone knows. Were they even tested in beta?

    Rift must really have changed since I was playing regularly if mentoring down is relevant to how many Level 50s participate in a Freemarch zone event. For five of the six months I played, the main problem doing any zone events in either Freemarch or Silverwood as a level-appropriate character was landing a hit on anything before some Level 50 killed it. What with the main cities being in the lowest level zones, there were always loads of max levels passing through and they always joined in whether you wanted them or not.

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  4. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – We have to worry a bit about game swap fatigue. The main interest of the whole group is to play together, but when it comes to playing a given game… or any new game… the interest level becomes pretty stratified. Making everybody buy a new box or download another 10 GB client wears thin.

    And even I balance my desire to run off to new things with a completionist desire to finish things off. Something in me still wants to go back to WoW and finish those last three WotLK instances that they added after we had finished the original batch.

    On the mentor thing. In Freemarch, the level 50 overkill blight was definitely an issue. I have a draft of a post somewhere asking level 50s to leave me the hell alone in my low level rifts and events. It was the result of a bad night with several very helpful level 50s who would insta-kill anything I glanced at. I got over it before I finished the post.

    However, in other zones between Freemarch and Stillmore or Shimmersand, level 50s might show up once in a while, but usually it was the empty zone problem. You get three at-level players trying to take down a zone event.

    Now though, since you get experience for planar attunement and rewards (sourcestones) appropriate to your real level when you mentor down, level 50s slaughtering all that stand before them has diminished quite a bit, and I have even seen a mentored down group in the mid-tier zones now and again doing a zone invasion.

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  5. Jacob

    I enjoy reading your instance group adventures; thanks for posting.

    Your posts about Rift tempt me to play the game again, but there are so many games and so little time…

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