It was Saturday night and for the first time since early January the whole group was home, awake, online, and ready to play.
Somehow we have managed to not all connect for almost three months.
That has lead to some alternate diversions. Cars. Tanks. Forgotten Realms.
But with all of us back online together, it was time to head back into Rift. We all logged in and grouped up, ending up with the following rosters.
- Jollyreaper level 51 mage
- Zahihawass level 51 cleric
- Hillmar level 51 cleric
- Earlthecat level 52 warrior
- Gizalia level 53 mage
The question, of course, was what to do.
More after the cut.
We left off last time with the journey of one hundred deaths, our run at the Exodus of the Storm Queen instance. Being out of practice (what do all these buttons do again?), it was felt that jumping right back into another attempt at that would not be… productive.
Fortunately, there is a world event going on right now in Rift, the Carnival of the Ascended. It is the game launch anniversary celebration.
They have all sorts of things going on that let you earn various forms of currency… glass beads, prize tickets, doubloons… which can be turned in for rewards. We decided to look into that.
I actually had a lot of glass beads, some left over from last year and some from the Rift mobile app scratchers, as well as some prize tickets. But to get the biggest items from the carnival… mounts, it is always mounts… you needed doubloons. Those, in turn, appear to only come from one quest, a weekly, that requires you to win 50 carnival games.
The games are ring toss, a balloon stomp, and a mechanical horse race in Meridian. Doing any of those 50 times would be a grind. However, we quickly discovered that, when grouped, not only did we get credit for each others activities in a game… my balloon pops counted for everybody else… but that the weekly quest shared credit for the games across the five of us. So we very quickly cycled through 10 games of the balloon pop each and got that out of the way for the week.
That lasted a couple of minutes. We checked out the prizes some more. We picked up the titles for sale this year. I grabbed the special second anniversary cloak, with a Roman numeral II on the back.
But that all wore out pretty quickly. So we went through the portal to see if the carnival in Shimmering Sands offered anything different.
The games were pretty much the same. Throwing a ring onto a skittering creature plays out about the same in the city as it does on the beach. There was, however, a raid level event being offered. It was flagged as level 50, so we thought we would give it a try. It would at least be a decent warm-up exercise we hoped.
So we ran out, set off the event, and fought the giant raid boss with 2.5 million hit points.
That was actually a good warm-up. There were adds, so Earl had to grab those, and a pile of healing was required, so I pretty quickly figured out what most of my buttons did. In the end, we defeated the event.
What to do next?
We still weren’t keen to go after the Storm Queen again. So it was suggested that maybe we could use the group tool and just do a random level 50 expert dungeon. With our gear upgrades, expert ought to be closer to a normal dungeon. So we set the spinner in motion to send us off to a random choice.
And we ended up in Charmer’s Caldera, which was actually one of the last instances we completed before starting in on the Storm Queen. When we did that one, we had already started in on the Storm Legion quests, so were partially geared up… geared up enough that it only took four of us to finish the instance.
Would the expert version add more challenge?
Well, we would at least open up the center part of the map.
Certainly the yard trash mobs weren’t going to slow us down. We plowed through them to the first boss, Smouldaron, pretty quickly. We brought him down and actually earned an achievement for doing it.
The fire stopper achievement was pretty much for staying spread out so that one of his special attacks wouldn’t affect more than one of us at a time. We did that pretty much by accident. But we were moving on pretty quickly, so I began to wonder if we might get the achievement for completing the instance in under a set time. We kept moving clockwise.
We had a couple of minor setbacks. People died once in a while at bosses. But for the most part it was a fairly quick journey around the perimeter of the instance.
We made our way around and finished off the last boss from the original instance, but then were stuck as to where to go next. The way forward was a tunnel across a river of lava which was angled in such a way that it was difficult to see. Potshot found it, and we waded into the lava and crossed.
That put us on the path to the final boss. There was another along the way, but that fight didn’t end up being much more than a minor speed bump. And then we were there at the last platform. We got ourselves lined up, with me, the healer, towards the back. Then Earl jumped in and… crap, I was too far back!
I am starting to dislike this “barriers pop up when the fight starts” mechanic that seems to be popular with the Rift devs. I mean, I get that you want to channel the fight and keep it from becoming a kite event or some such, but did the barrier really need to be right there? Could it not have been at the other end of the bridge.
So the fight went on, while the barrier kept me from healing. What the barrier did not block was the bosses area attack, which threw people back. It threw me all the way up the ramp and over the edge into the lava beyond. So I don’t think the limited enclosed space was really needed.
The attack also threw a couple of the other casters overboard and into the lava and lead to a wipe. Earl actually hung on for quite a while, but the wipe could not be avoided.
But at least we learned something. Something besides where the barrier would pop up. The second time around we all ran into the fight and positioned ourselves with our backs to the far wall to avoid being flung about. With that, we were able to win, which gave us the achievement.
We will see next time if this was enough of a warm up to put us back into the Exodus of the Storm Queen fight.