After one successful weekend with a full group, we came up short again. Four of us were online when it was noticed that Jolly had sent a text indicating that while he was on the road for home, he would not get there in time to join the group. So we had to come up with a plan. What to do?
It was a dark, broodingevening in Meridian, the sky aswirl with clouds.
The weather around the city seems to have a number of variations, even when there isn’t a zone even going on out in Freemarch. This time, the lighting seemed to deigned accent the pattern in Earl’s armor.
But admiring the weather and its effects could only carry us so far. We had to find something to do. The group for the night was:
- Gizalia level 38 mage
- Zahihawass level 38 cleric
- Earlthecat level 38 warrior
- Hillmar level 42 cleric
Our plan… after the cut.
Wait, why a cut? Oh, yeah, too many pictures.
Our first plan was to try warfronts… or battlegrounds as you would call them in WoW.
I mentored down to the same level as the rest of the group and tried to queue us up. However, warfronts are not on the whole mentoring plan. Warfronts are still stuck in the world of real levels and 10 level brackets, so if your friends are 38 and you are 42, you can’t play with them.
The next plan, just to get us out of the city and doing something, was Instant Adventure. That put us in Freemarch in a group of five. As I said in a previous post, my anecdotal observations were that the combination of the Guild Wars 2 head start and the start of the school year seemed to be draining away part of the Rift player base. Where last weekend Instant Adventure was a nearly a full raid, now we were bringing almost the entire group.
We ran through that and did our seven quests and turned in the meta quest for our reward.. One of the nice things about getting Hillmar to level 42 is that he is now in the final sourcestone bracket, so he is collecting the inscribed sourcestones that can be used to buy level 50 gear later on.
Back in Meridian, we decided that the next task would be a scouting mission. In trying to stick to our plan of taking the overland route to instances when possible, we thought we would blaze the trail to our next dungeon, Runic Descent.
That meant getting to the Moonshade Highlands zone, which is kind of off to the northwest of the game. When you get into the level range to go to that zone, a quest becomes available in Meridian that gives you access to the portal at the start of that zone. Not wanting to do a complete cross-world event, and because three of us had already done the quest, we opted to take the fast route and then scout from there.
In the Moonshade Highlands it was just a matter of following the road. We decided to take out rifts we found along the just to extend the experience, as the trip did not look like it would be a long one.
Earl and I were familiar with the zone and commented on some of the mobs that were part of challenging quests… challenging mostly due to mob density, which leads to adds and so on.
It wasn’t too long though before we reached the end of the road and had threaded through those mobs in question and were at the door step for Runic Descent. So naturally we went on in.
And, once inside, we had to pick up the initial quest and then do something of a reconnaissance in force.
We managed the first group before the door well enough. I was on the hairy edge of being able to get out enough healing, which ended up with me essentially chain casting my big heal over and over. Mana usually isn’t a problem, but the 2 second cast time and the 1 second global cool down can make things tight.
The next group though, they did me in. It was a trap. Fortunately Earl has a ress ability as part of his repertoire.
Then further in we went, carefully pulling groups. We pretty quickly ran into the first objective for the quest we had picked up. We just had to go open up a box of some sort sitting by a fountain.
A fountain which contained some sort of magical spigot mortar that killed us repeatedly as we tried to figure out how to get around it and open up the box. Fortunately, Earl and I managed not to both die at once, so resses were handed out liberally.
We eventually were able to dodge around and get the box opened, which lead to a fight. But we had that covered. First goal accomplished.
At about this point it became clear that not only was this an outdoor zone, but it was, in fact, a descent. We were up the hill and could see the second boss was down below us.
We moved on carefully, eventually coming upon the first boss, Rictus.
He is off on the side in his own little area rather than being in the classic “astride the path” or “guarding the gate” position so favored by dungeon bosses. A little less care on our part might have seen us just wander by, smug in being able to avoid some trash mob.
And, honestly, unlike most of the instances we have done, there is no gate to bar you from going further. You could just keep going on into the instance. We should have done that, but we decided to give Rictus a try.
He killed us.
That was not surprising. We did get a look at his combat techniques though, his method of pulling everybody in and then doing an AOE. We will be better prepared for that next time around. We made out mental notes and then moved on.
The next waypoint we reached was the second box, this time guarded by guarded a Goldfinger-esque laser trap, which did indeed kill Earl while we tested what it did.
That one was easier to figure out. Basically one person went to distract each of the lasers, which track you around their target area, while a third person went to open up the box. Actually, it was called a “rune vessel,” but it looked like a box to me. Once opened, the lasers were done and we just had to slay the spirit that was released. Two down there.
We moved on. By this point everybody in the group had gone up a level, which is where I ran into my first mentoring oddity. You do not seem to be able to changed your mentoring level mid-group. Because I mentored down to Gizalia when she was 38, I seemed to be stuck there. I could clear mentoring and be level 43, or I could mentor down, which offered me the usual level select, but which then stuck me at level 38 no matter what I picked.
Since I was just healing, I opted for level 43, the difference between that and being mentored to 38 not being a huge difference. And it did not keep us from dying again in any case when we had a pull with adds.
We got ourselves back to life and pressed on until we got all the way down to the bottom of the hill and to the second boss, Wormwood.
We explored the area around him, and decided to see if we could pull him without getting the other mobs circling his pool. We got the whole bunch of them, and died pretty quickly. Too quickly to learn much about the fight, aside from the fact that we need to clear carefully first.
At that point we were about done. We had reconnoitered the instance in some depth. It was time to call it a night.
I chose to revive outside the instance, which turned out to be a dicey proposition, as the annoying, densely packed wandering mobs I mentioned earlier were pretty much right on top of me when I materialized in my corporeal state, and I had to make a run for it, hitting myself with insta-cast heals as I ran. I had already died eight times in the instance, I was not keep for a ninth time.
I got clear and we all recalled back to Meridian. Visiting the healer cost me nearly a plat coin.
Next time though, with a full group, I hope that the healer’s bill will be significantly less.