The first day of the Storm Legion went about as I expected.
There was patching to be done, naturally.
The first thing to get patched was the launcher, which came up fresh in Storm Legion livery. Then the launcher started patching the game.
The first patch was 19MB, a mere minute or three. The second was about 80MB, a few more minutes.
And then came the 3GB patch and I figured it was time to go away and do something else for a while. If my connection is running well, it can patch about 1GB an hour.
I did noticed about half an hour in that the launcher had declared the game “playable.”
This is one of the features of launchers of late, which I think SOE spearheaded with EverQuest II Extended. Basically, you can play while still patching, at least in theory. This really requires the patching process to throttle back when you are playing however, and the Rift launcher did not seem inclined to do this.
And I could not find an option to turn on throttled downloading while playing.
So I could get into the game, but the “playable” game was pretty unplayable. Character select eventually loaded, but my attempt to get into the game timed out with the loading screen at 94%.
94% is like torment o’clock for the Rift loading screen. If it is going to hang on me, it is always at 94%. Of course, it hangs there because I instinctively tab out of games at loading screens to go read email or the web, and Rift doesn’t seem to like that either. Quirk of the game.
Anyway, the message was clear, go away until patching is done.
Later though, once patching was done, I was able to get into the game without any issue.
I got on for a little bit. I collected my pre-order goodies and Raptr rewards items, including my helmet and goggles.
There was also a cape. Rift added a cape slot because… hey, capes!
I hid that. You couldn’t dye the cloak in beta and I forgot to put it on until I was out in the field, so couldn’t even check to see if they had fixed that. But you can turn it off in the wardrobe tab if you do not want to run around with a big white flag on your back. As for the size and shape, it fits into my usual complaint about capes and cloaks in MMORPGs.
As for Storm Legion itself, I decided to just go where ever the game sent me. I spent very little time in the beta, not wanting to spoil the expansion. I think the Storm Legion tour might have been the biggest chunk of time I spent with it.
Among the many items in my mail box was a quest item that sent me off to Iron Pine Peak where a new portal is available.
There you have a choice. You can go off to Pelladane, which is where Potshot went, or you can go to Cape Jule. I chose Cape Jule, which I recalled being the epic battle, under siege, right into the action option.
And it was under siege. And the mobs are tough. I would guess, just based on my own experience and a finger in the wind, that the level 50 mobs out there were at least as powerful as the level 52 mobs on Ember Island. Which means they are pretty tough. Taking on two mobs with my huntsman spec’d rogue usually meant losing my pet and getting down to a knife fight to determine the final winner, who would be left with only a few hit points. Three mobs meant run for it.
Of course, I was under equipped for the whole thing. Yes, I had the second tier epic bow and all the rare planar upgrades I could afford. But, as always happens with expansions, my best old stuff didn’t even begin to stack up to the first quest reward item the game gave me.
And the only reason my old pants beat the new ones on the attack power stat is because I added an enchant. Spending all that planarite ends up being for nothing, as expected.
I was able to see a couple of the new quest strategies in action. One, an attempt to solve the eternal “bears, bears, bears” issue, puts a mark on the name plate of mobs that will automatically give you a “carnage quest” for them if you start killing them. And then there were a couple of “pick up the interesting object and the quest to collect them will start” variations.
Experience seems to have been given a twist. By default your adventure experience seems to move very slowly, which is okay I suppose unless you are in some sort of hurry. There are just 10 more levels. But you keep accruing planar attunement experience, which I suppose was the answer to “what is going to happen to planar attunement when we add 10 more levels.” I am not sure if you can shift the ratios between adventure and attunement, the way you can do in EQII between adventure and AA, but for now it seems fine.
I managed to get through the first few quests and only died three times. I am not kidding about the mobs being tough and me needing the green equipment upgrades. I want a new bow. When I made it to the first camp in the area, I noticed that you have a choice for portal destinations, one for the old world, one for the new. And when you choose the old world, which I did to get back to Meridian, the map seemed to be inverted, with Iron Pine Peak down at the bottom. That took me a moment to figure out.
And that was about it for the night. I did not even get around to the new housing option, the so-called Dimensions. And don’t even ask me about upgradable items.
But Storm Legion is live, I am patched up, there are new places to explore, and there will be plenty of time going forward to see new things.