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Catch Up is Over – Storm Legion is Here November 13, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Rift.
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The light that burns twice as bright burns for half as long – and you have burned so very, very brightly…

-Dr. Eldon Tyrell, Blade Runner

Catch up is over.  Because that is what the last couple of weeks in Meridian have been as far as I can tell, a catch up period.

Trion has brought the fight right to our doorstep and has been handing out fist full helpings of prizes like that one great house you run into every Halloween.  There have been bosses right there in the city.

How he got in the gate I’ll never know

There have been video card slagging invasions.

This is where AOE comes in handy

And then when you think you’ve seen it all, they throw a really big boss at you.

Literally out of the blue

Granted, some of it is a little silly… like the Storm Legion camp.

It was the only empty spot…

If the Storm Legion can set down a foothold right in the middle of Meridia, how come they cannot overrun the place?  And if we’re strong enough to prevent that, how come we cannot toss them out?  They let us set up cannons to bombard them from 20 feet away.

I bet the Autumn Harvest Festival was holding up their invasion.  You have to book that spot well in advance.

And while I could do without putting up another barricade, clicking on another pole, and rescuing another keg of beer (I never get to drink the damn things), the whole event has been a giant pile of exp and planarite and planar attunement points and inscribed sourcestones.  If you wanted to get to fifty (congrats Potshot!) or wanted to lay in those last few planar attunment points (I made it to 107) you were given a big boost these last couple of weeks.

But now Storm Legion is upon us.

Rift 2.0.  The first expansion.

And the first expansion is always the good one, right?

Ruins of Kunark!

Burning Crusade!

Uh… Desert of Flames?

But the first expansion is always the most hungered for, as it comes before levels and alternate advancement and mid-tier zones have become a thing of drudgery, before they stand like unassailable mountains before the new player.

Anyway, it is time for Rift, bigger, better, and deeper.

We have a launch trailer.

We have patch notes.

And our group seems good for it.

We were actually discussing the game this past weekend as we did our own bit of group leveling, trying to get everybody into the zone for the final three instances in what will soon be the “old” world.  While I spoke a bit about my time on the beta tour, we spent most of the time on the current features and how much things have changed since we showed up, which was a good 8 months after launch.

General consensus was that Rift really has no unique features, having freely borrowed from the rest of the industry.  Almost everything we could come up with had precedent in previous games.  But the way Trion has put things together has worked well for us.  We will be here for a while longer.

The other observation was about how willing Trion has been to tinker with the game.  They jump right in and alter things they feel are not working, they iterate on things that are working but not as well as they would like, and they have gone along fixing, changing, and adding features at an almost fevered pace since launch.

It is hard to tell how much work is really going on behind the scenes in any game… just because the devs are quiet doesn’t mean they aren’t in crunch mode… but it sure feels like the Rift team is the hardest working set of devs in the MMORPG genre these days.  And they have not made any critical mistakes that I have noticed.

But can they keep up this pace?   Will this willingness to change things up quickly be their undoing in the long term?  How will they juggle the needs of those still in the old world with those deep into the expansion without trivializing one or the other? For that seems to always be the long term issue in games with levels and level cap raising expansions.

Does the light that burns twice as bright last half as long?

Comments»

1. Toldain - November 13, 2012

Hey, DoF was a very good expansion, though I don’t know if it was the “best” EQ2 expansion. DoF brought wall-climbing to MMOs. There was a fun faction mechanic, and arena fighting – which everyone said they wanted, and nobody used much.

2. Wilhelm Arcturus - November 13, 2012

@Toldain – Okay, DoF was pretty good, though it is forever tainted in my mind for bringing the plague of flying carpets to EQII. I suppose I should let go of that given the profusion of achingly ugly mounts in the game these days.

Anyway, I certainly spent my time in the sands, and people were hungry for an expansion and 10 more levels by that time.

The climbing thing was kind of neat in theory, though always a bit contrived in practice. Like the box stacking in Splitpaw and the breakable walls in Bloodlines, there would just happen to be this special rock climbing wall right where you needed it.

And the arena thing… I was surprised that SOE thought people would want to run player made dungeons with special avatars after the arena avatars failed so completely.

All of which is part of the complexity of my relationship with EQII mentioned in the previous post.

3. bhagpuss - November 13, 2012

DoF is one of the expansions that holds up best still today, I’d say. I certainly spend enough time there. My only level 92 character even lives in Maj`Dul.

Just patched Rift and about to log in. I have to say that after logging in several times in the past week I have yet to feel any enthusiasm whatever for playing. I’m only logging in now out of some misguided sense of duty and some complicated background social issues relating to EQ2, GW2 and Rift. And of those three, Rift is the third in line for what I’d rather be playing right now.

Let’s hope that all changes when I actually get to the new content. The ever-revolving loot pinata in Meridian and Sanctum did absolutely nothing for me other than annoy me really quite a lot.

4. SynCaine - November 13, 2012

I’d say the ‘unique’ feature of Rift is Trion’s pace of updates. From my interaction with them, be it PAX or the Storm Legion tour, it was pretty clear that Trion knows they have a themepark, and know that in order to make one work, you have to keep giving people content.

Sounds so simple, yet who really does it?

5. Wilhelm Arcturus - November 14, 2012

@Bhagpuss – Well, the one nice thing about the loot pinata event in Meridian was that, even if you didn’t care about the loot, you could get in a group and figure out how your spec worked after they revamped all the souls. I think I am competent again in three specs on two characters.

Besides which, the event was only there in town. You had the whole rest of the world in which to play.

@SynCaine – That may indeed be Trion’s claim to fame with Rift.


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