Daily Archives: March 19, 2018

Finishing Freemarch and the Vendors of the Ascended

The Rift Prime venture continued to hold my attention over the weekend, though it was admittedly a weekend where I did not have a lot of spare time to play.

Rising up, back on the street, did my time, took my chances

I managed to complete the circuit around Freemarch, completing quests as the chain zig-zagged across the zone, slaying mobs, collecting items, and eating cheese.

Yes, it even includes a cheese eating pun in the achievement

The problem was that by the time I had gotten around to where quests started to dry up I was just hitting level 17, which was a bit shy of the level you want to be to head on to the next zone, Stonefield.  The game was ready to send me there.  I had the quest.  But I felt like I needed to be at least closer to 18 to move off to a zone that is billed as starting at level 20.  Even doing the near constant zone events hadn’t edged me far enough along.

Oh, we’re slaying this guy again

So I did what I often do and checked my achievements.  Rift came along after WoW had already made achievements a necessary feature, so it has a pretty complete set, including the usual exploration and quests in zone variations.  Sure enough, I had yet to explore all of the zone and I was a good eight quests shy of that achievement as well.

Freemarch and Meridian

The problem seemed to lay in my faulty memory of the game.  I would wander off to where I thought the next quest ought to be, causing me to miss a couple of quests along the way.  I seemed to have a pattern of not going to the beach, so I rode off to where, in the dusty bits of my memory, I seemed to recall a few quests lingering.

Riding off to the beach at dusk

I rode because along the way I had also sprung for a horse.  Paring down my bag inventory mercilessly and selling a few items at the auction house made investment in a mount seem worthwhile.  There are only a few choices.

Horses for sale

I went for the bay.  It doesn’t feel all that fast, but it is faster than walking at least.

I found a few quests at one beach, then a couple more up the way in an unexplored area, then was left with both one unexplored point on the map and a couple of quests.  That unexplored location was another beach area just east of Kelari Refuge.  So it was that I got the exploration achievement as soon as I arrived.

Freemarch explored

And, once there I found a couple of quests ready and the location where I expected to find another, though it had been overrun by an invasion foothold that I had to take out in order to get the quest giver to respawn.  That is a thing with Rift, you sometimes have to clear hostiles off the quest hub.

Once I got those setup… and then helped clear a water rift that had descended on the beach in the middle of the area I needed… again, a very much a thing in Rift… I was able to finish up the quests, getting the achievement on the last turn in.

The Long March complete

That achievement actually had a reward, some void stones, one of the in-game currencies, so seemed worth doing for both that and the experience.  And there was even one more quest over on the shore that I had not done, though I recalled it requiring a stretch of underwater work.  That doesn’t thrill me, so I let it be and headed back towards Meridian to clear my bags and see about getting to Stonefield.

Up to that point I had forgotten that the game had something equivalent to the hearthstone in WoW, though why I should have forgotten that when Rift copied so much of WoW is something of a mystery.  I only chanced upon it when I was looking at my abilities for something else.

Like a hearthstone, but doesn’t take up a bag slot

Of course, five years down the road the WoW version of this has become three different hearthstones (which, of course, take up three different bag slots) that have only a 20 minute cool down.  Now an hour seems so unreasonable.  I’ve got places to be, I can’t wait an hour!

Anyway, I got my void stones, clear my bag, and got a lift to Stonefield.  I was just shy of 18 at that point, but found some quests open to me when I arrived.  However, once I rolled over to level 18 a bunch more suddenly became available, proving my point.

So I am starting off on the second zone, still having a good enough time.  I opted for Rift over WoW all week.

Stonefield, where there are more rifts

I am starting to agree more and more that progress relative to the quest chain is off, even when I have done a bunch of rifts and invasion events.  But I haven’t taken the time to go off and do a dungeon yet.  Maybe I need to do that as well.  The last time I did Realm of the Fae, the first dungeon on the list, was December 2011 and I have almost no memory of it.

The world seems to still be quite well populated.  I’ve always found other people around when doing the various events.  But it feels like the events are set to go off at a pretty rapid pace, so I wonder if Freemarch will simply be overrun when the population dries up some more.  Or maybe the level scaling will keep people coming back in search of planarite.  We shall see.

I did see some of the server issues people had been complaining about.  At a couple of points during peak hours it was taking quest NPCs a while to respond and rift event transitions seemed to lag.  And during one invasion event it looked like the whole zone got disconnected a couple of times.  Lots and lots of people dropped and logging back in.  But the login queues didn’t seem to be a thing, at least when I was getting online.

Meanwhile the Carnival of the Acended, the Rift anniversary event, launched on the live servers.  Trion had said they were going to do something on Rift Prime for it, which I had hoped it might add a bit of spice, or at least something else to add to the xp budget.  But in the end they just put a couple of vendors in the cities and called it a day.

Vendors of the ascended

As if being encouraged to celebrate a holiday by spending money wasn’t too real world enough, the vendors had crap all worth getting.  I had hope that maybe there might be a cosmetic hat on which to spend some of my void stones, but I was destined to be disappointed.  I will save my void stones for something else.

So there it is. I continue along with Rift Prime for the moment.