Tag Archives: Instant Adventure

Instant Adventure for the Instance Group

The instance group, together again!

After a long summer hiatus, we all managed to find the launch icons, log in, patch up, and find each other in Rift.

While Jolly and I were on last week, and a couple of us played some Diablo III, the whole group had not been on together since the middle of May.  But now we were back.

Loitering in town

The line up in Meridian was:

  • Gizalia level 36 mage
  • Zahihawass level 36 cleric
  • Earlthecat level 36 warrior
  • Jollyreaper level 38 mage
  • Hillmar level 41 cleric

A lot of things have changed in Rift since we were last together, some of which came in handy.

For example, Hillmar obviously crept ahead in levels.  He could have turned off experience I suppose.  However, he did not need to because of the new mentoring feature.

Likewise, here we were together on a Saturday night, out of practice, staring at all those damn buttons do (skill overload is one of Rift’s issues), and wondering what we could do as a group warm-up exercise.

Enter Instant Adventure.

IA had the advantage for us of being both a group activity as well as one that wasn’t too… demanding.  We got together, got the daily IA quest in Meridian and joined the queue.

We were, of course, sent to Freemarch.  I know this isn’t broken, because I actually got an IA in Stonefield last weekend, but Freemarch still seems to be the overwhelming default choice.  That made us all level 14, so at least the level gap was gone.

And the initial teleport alert drew and disappeared before I could click the button… this happens to me about 1 in 3 times… so I had to ride to the group.  But at least the group was only in Freemarch.

It was Saturday and the server was populated so we actually drew a decent sized group.  Not the full raid quest eating machine of last week, but about dozen people.  That was enough that some of us could come up to speed without impacting the progress of the raid as a whole.

In fact, it worked out very well for us.  We started off with a set of slow-pitch difficulty quests… go kill some guys, go collect some things… out on the beach on the west side of the zone.

Questing in the sand

This built up for a while.  We participated in the first “1 in 7” boss fight, but by the time we got to the second one Earl was holding aggro to tank, I was healing, and the damage crowd was burning the guy down.

We kept that up, running through the cycle of quests.  I even saw one I had not run before, which involved burning corpses.

Fire!

That one was actually confusing for a moment because no corpses were in evidence.  Then we realized we had to make our own by killing the right guys.  A minor flaw in the mouse-over quest details on mobs is that if you have to do something with them after they are dead, that info doesn’t show up because they aren’t dead yet.  Ah well.  We figured it out.

At about that point a zone event kicked off in Freemarch.  When you are in an IA group and that happens, the next task you draw is to defeat the zone invasion.  That is actually a great idea, as you do not want a big group running around the zone saying, “Sorry, we’re too busy collecting shells and burning corpses to help out with all these rift creatures overrunning the zone.”

On the other hand, if you are online and in the game just to do the daily IA quest to get your inscribed sourcestones, it can be a bit of a bother.  If a normal IA quest takes more than five minutes, it is unusual. (Though there are a couple that often do.)  But a zone event… the IA timer on that is 2 hours, and it can take a while if you do not have enough people out helping.  It can fail without enough people.

But one of the joys of the mentoring scheme is you are no longer dependent on having just the right number of people at the right level.  All those level 50s can mentor down and join in.

And we were in it for the practice, so a zone event was a nice addition to the mix.  We immediately headed east towards the closest water rift, which put up quite a fight.

In Freemarch, all of the instant adventures are on the west side of the zone.  This is because the game mentors you down to level 14 when you join, and the appropriate level mobs are on the west side.  Rift is very good at keeping you from going after mobs bigger than yourself.  Anything beyond a couple of levels above you suddenly resists most of your spells and dodges most of your attacks.
And the east side of the zone is full of mobs in the level 16-20 range.

And so our little group, mentored down to level 14, assaulted a level 18 water rift.  This actually meant we had to work for things a bit.  Earl had to really tank, I had to really heal, and Zahi had to debuff to so we could get spells to stick.  We failed to beat even the first timer for the bonus rounds, but it was a workout.  We even had a man down in battle, so I got to pull out my relatively new combat res to bring him back during the fight.

That was the peak of our effort for the night, and we did well enough.  The rest of our encounters during the event were closer to our level and the final boss was way over on the west side of the zone and was only level 8.  Though a level 8 final invasion boss is still a tough guy.  You couldn’t solo him at level 14.

There was even an achievement for finishing off the boss for that particular event.

After that, things began to wind down.  We had all gotten a level or two.  The goal was to get everybody to level 38.  Only Gizalia is still 37, and she is close to level, so we can cover that.

We went back to town, spent soul points, trained up skills, fiddled with equipment, emptied bags, and generally got ourselves settled.  It was a decent return to Telara.

Next week Earl will be out of town, so we will have another off night, but after that we should be ready to go after the next instance on the list, Runic Descent.

So while you are doing your Guild Wars 2 early access, we should be running that instance.

Instant Adventure, You Do Love Me!

Yesterday I was carping a bit about Rift’s Instant Adventure.  There are some issues.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t run the regularly.

I have a warrior, Sanperre, whom I decided to level up… just because.  It might be nice to have more than one character at level cap when Storm Legion comes out.

So I take him out most evenings and run him through “do seven” Instant Adventure quest.  I also run the crafting related quests just to get him some of the currency for buying recipes.  He crafts both armor and weapons at this point.  So he has been building up levels and various currencies.

Last night though was extra special.  After hitting one of the boss kill segments, I got a purple equipment cache drop which, when opened, ended up being a server first item.  I don’t think I have had a server first of anything since the early days of EverQuest II.

First one on Shatterbone

This was a great drop.  First it was a serious upgrade over the weapon I had been wielding, giving me a 5.2 DPS boost… which is actually pretty huge.

Serious upgrade

Second, I love weapon upgrades in general, so this was a double win.  I will go through a game and forget to upgrade armor pieces, enchantments, and so forth, but I do tend to obsess about the weapon I am wielding.  This one will probably cover me until I hit level 50.

And the second, blue equipment cache drop wasn’t so bad either.  It wasn’t epic or a server first, but it was a good upgrade to my main chest armor… which, as noted above, I had neglected to upgrade despite being at least a tier above what I had been wearing.

So a good night, though I still ended up in the Freemarch Instant Adventure.  Again.

Did That Say “Instant Adventure” or “Instant Level?”

It has been something of the spaceship season here at TAGN.

Reading my posts this summer and you might well assume I have just been running around in EVE while bitching about other games it not clear I am even playing.

There certainly haven’t been many tales of the fantasy hack and slash variety around here of late.  No instance runs, no group wipes, no dragons slain, no groups lost in the middle of nowhere.

But I have been staying involved; my sword sleeps not in my hand.  While the instance group has been on hiatus for a weeks now with various summer activities, I have been in Rift fairly regularly, anticipating our return.

I just haven’t been doing anything worth writing about.

While I can generally turn a disaster into something amusing to read, and can even occasionally turn a victory into a passable tale, so long as it came largely despite our own incompetence, running through an MMO solo becomes interesting only as a series of milestones when it comes to me blogging.

And even that can wear thin.  My highest level character, Teresten, hit level 50 a ways back and I started in on planar attunement and the like.  He has a bunch of points in that now.  I take him out most nights to do the updated Instant Adventures.  There is a quest that gives three extra inscribed sourcestones if you do 7, and those are the currency for upgraded equipment.

I also did a few with Hillmar, the healer in our group, just to see how they worked for lower level players.  But have generally stuck with my guy at level cap.

So last Saturday when Jollyreaper was online and logged into Rift, it was a chance to try Instant Adventures out as a group and see how they played and how effective they were in gaining some experience.

Instant Adventure – You Are Eligible

Instant Adventure started off as a level 50 activity a while back and I invested some time running them in Stillmore and Shimmersand.

Then came the last big update, Patch 1.9, which brought both low level Instant Adventures… which I am going to call IAs from this point forward… and the whole mentoring or “dial-a-level” mechanism.  This gave us new IA’s in the low level zones of Freemarch, Silverwood, Gloamwood, and Stonefield as well as a way for high level players to join in.

And I have to applaud the way it was implemented.

When you have queued up for an IA and it is ready to go, you are automatically joined to the raid for that zone, mentored down to a level appropriate to the zone, and teleported out to the raid.  If you are in a group when you queue up, the decision to join is put up to a vote.  If people agree, then your group is teleported and merged into the raid.  And, best of all, when your group wants to leave, there is an option to unmerge your group intact, so you can carry on with whatever you were up to.

Good stuff that.

There are, of course, still some rough edges.

The first recurring annoyance I noticed was that, about 1 time in 3, the alert which comes up that gives you the option to teleport out to the raid gets dismissed before you can teleport.  And there you are, in the raid but not in the zone.  So you then have to hoof it on your own to the zone, which means teleporting out and running.  Unless you get the Freemarch IA and are in Meridian.  Then it is just running.  Which leads me to the next item.

I seem to be stuck in Freemarch.  In the last two weeks or so, every time I have queued up for IA, I get sent to the Freemarch version.  I would get sent to Stonefield once in a while, but now Freemarch seems to be the only possible destination.

Now, I recall their being some geographical proximity issues with IAs before patch 1.9.  If I queued up with Teresten in Meridian, I would be sent to Shimmersand every time.  But if I took the portal out to Stillmore and queued up, I would get the Stillmore IA.

That no longer seems to be the case.  I can take the portal out to Stonefield then queue up, and I get teleported right back to Freemarch.  Which isn’t the end of the world I guess, except that I prefer the Stonefield IA because it is a bit more challenging.  Freemarch, being the lowest level IA… you get set to level 14 when you join… also seems to suffer the most from people showing up with all of their higher level skills.  All that high level baggage you bring with you knocks stuff down pretty fast.  Mentoring is always a fine line.

And then there is the question of experience gain.

Jollyreaper and I grouped up and queued for IA.  We, of course, got sent to Freemarch, where we joined a raid of four almost full groups which proceeded to tear the zone apart for the next hour.  The individual quests scale some depending on the size of the IA raid, but seems to be upper and lower limits for that.  Being in a very small group can really slow things down, while in our monster raid we were plowing through individual quests so fast it was tough at times to complete even one of the objectives… kill n or these or harvest n of those… before the quest was complete and it was on to the next one.

So, with all those people and being able to barely participate beyond running from point to point, the experience sucked, right?  It was, after all, being shared out among all those players.

No, the experience rained down on us.  The big raid group lasted for about an hour and during that time both Jolly and Hillmar gained a level and a half of experience.

Now, if we were actually level 14, that would be no big deal.  But Jolly started at level 36 and Hillmar at level 39.  Those are the levels when you’re supposed to be saying, “OMG this is taking forever!” right?

And then the raid broke up and we were down to 4-6 people at any given time and the experience slowed down quite a bit.  We ran along for another 45 minutes of so until Jolly hit level 38, which was the target level for the group, being the minimum suggested level for the next instance on our list, Runic Descent.  At that point we headed back to town to train and call it a night.

Jollyreaper and Hillmar at the end of the day

Now, I am not really complaining about leveling up quickly.  As a mechanism to catch somebody up to the appropriate level or to just lift and alt past a zone you would rather not run through again, it is an effective tool.  It is more the variability of experience that I find worthy of note.  It just seems a tad ironic that the point when we were least able to contribute to the group’s progress… when we were in the thundering mass trampling Freemarch… happened to coincide with the greatest experience gain.

Ah well, every MMO is a work in progress I suppose.

And it did its job.  Two out of the five members of the group are now up to at least level 38.  Hillmar slipped a bit ahead, but he can always mentor down a level or two.  Now to get the rest of the group back online and up to level.  I think we are committed to finishing out the normal mode instances in Rift before we find ourselves distracted by pandas or running off Tyria.  We shall see.

Accidental Instant Adventure

After finally hitting level 50 in Rift last week, I was set to try and answer the eternal question of those at level cap, “What now?”

I ran out to Ember Isle for a bit, just to see it.  As predicted, being modestly geared with mostly green quest reward items, I got pounded pretty hard.  Most battles ended with my boar pet dead and me having consumed some sort of health supplement in order to survive.  I could kill things and survive, but it was slow and not economically viable.  I should have put an alt into the manufacture of health potions rather than weapons and runes.

I did some PvP battleground… erm, warfront… things.  There is a whole pile of quests to get you pointed in that direction as well as the promise of being able to gear up using Favor, the PvP currency that would be Honor in WoW.  But I have never been a huge fan of battlegrounds (something compounded by the fact that in amongst the veteran and geared up level 50s, I do get one and two shotted an awful lot) and the only one I ended up enjoying much was Black Garden, mostly because it is small and simple enough that I actually think I understand it, making it pretty much the opposite of Port Scion in my view. (I think it is something like Alterac Valley in WoW.)

Black Garden – Nobody uses those side paths

In the end, I decided on zone events as my avenue of adventure.  If enough people jump in, zone events can be fun without becoming the thundering herd of beta that would curb stomp any mob it faced before you could get in two hits.

It’s the tier 1 Telara Beta marathon!

For the most part, enough people do tend to jump in to make the events viable.  With the deck stacked heavily in favor of level 50s in the game by this point, it is much easier to finish up a zone event in Stillmore, Shimmersand, or Iron Pine Peak than any of the mid-level zones.

The timing seems to be such that an event runs in each one of those zones every night at prime time.  I have been able to hit at least one such event successfully almost every night.

And this helps me on my way towards beefing up my rogue.  He has already earned 12 levels of planar attunement and has accumulated a pile of inscribed sourcestones.  The latter are yet another currency to help you buy upgraded gear.

However, not every event is well attended.  Last night I ran out to an event in Shimmersand only to find myself pretty much alone in fending off the threat.

My usual tactic is to find the public group that becomes the central raid, join it, and follow it around.  That is generally the best use of my meager abilities.  There are a couple of events where I can accomplish things solo, at least until I find that raid group, by picking my battles carefully and not standing in the path of the parade of invasion groups running around the zone.

This was not one of those events, and so I found myself dying while attempting to find any public group working on the event.

Then, finally, I ran close enough to somebody to get the join button at the top of the screen.  Only it said “Join Adventure” rather than “Join Public Group,” but I wasn’t picky at this point.

And so I stumbled, quite by accident, onto the Instant Adventure feature of Rift.

The group consisted of me and one other player, and he clearly did not need me along for the ride.  But after he kicked me once and I rejoined, he tolerated me until I was able to prove I wasn’t totally useless.

Instant Adventure appears to be a chain of quests, each of which centers around a general geographic area in a zone and which finishes up with a boss fight of some sort.  It is like your own personal zone event.  Or your group’s own personal one.

Some of the quest series is always a kill quest for mobs that were there anyway.  But you also spawn some special mobs, participate in events, and, as mentioned, the boss fight or similar end event.  And things scale depending on how big your group is.  Sometimes it is simply a need to kill more of a given mob.  And sometimes things seem to get much tougher, like the end boss.

This can lead to group composition issues.  During my first run with IA, this warrior and I fought a pirate chief and, while it was a tough fight, the result was never in doubt.  Later, in a group of six, with five rogues and a warrior, everybody died at least once and soul walked back into the fight because the boss scaled to a point where we really could have used a healer.  I am going to guess that healers are all off raiding or doing expert dungeon while IA has become the domain of the disenfranchised DPS players looking to gear up.

That is certainly why I am there, because the payout for IA includes inscribed sourcestone, one of the currencies for welfare epics in Rift.  And between zone events, my first few runs with IA, and my obsessive attention to the Lootables scratcher game in the Rift Mobile App, I had earned enough of these to buy a bow that was a serious upgrade over the level 50 blue bow that my weaponsmith alt had made for me.

Only, as in all things, there was a catch.  I could afford the inscribed sourcestone price for the bow that was a serious upgrade.  There was a second aspect to the price.  The bow I wanted was in the second tier, and to get that you must buy and trade in the first tier bow.  I did not have enough sourcestones for that, and the first tier bow was, at best, when looked at through squinted eyes, a very mild upgrade to my current bow.

But, I want that next bow, so I bought it.  Now I need another 90 sourcestones to get the bow I want.  That means more zone events, more Rift Mobile scratchers, and certainly more Instant Adventure.

At least I got an achievement.

Out on an Instant Adventure

Rift achievements aren’t quite as shiny as WoW achievements, but they are close and a still head and shoulders above other competitors in presentation and content.