Tag Archives: Stonefield

Catching Up in Stonefield

After my side experiment with an alt I went back to my cleric main and returned to Stonefield, the zone that is, in fact, mostly stone and fields.  Aptly named indeed.

Stonefield

However, just because Trion had adjusted the quest experience didn’t mean that I was automatically back on track.  I was still easily a level behind and had to spend a bit of time back tracking to make sure I hadn’t missed any quests as well as running the four daily quests in Granite Falls until I had gotten myself back into the sweet spot.

Despite some disdain I have heard for Stonefield, I still like it.  It isn’t up to the standard set by Freemarch, and it does seem to have been named quite literally, being made up of a lot of stone with some fields scattered about, but it has its moments.  There are some good quest lines to follow and a bit or irony.

For example, if you watch the loading screens, you might see this message go by.

Also applicable to Silicon Valley

I happened to see that one just in time to get to the point in a quest chain where the Defiants decide to summon a titan with their technology.

Just because we can summon a titan…

Of course, nobody asked the titan’s opinion on all of this and he runs amok and eventually you have to lure him back and slay him, which is a bit of a challenge as he is elite and hits like a truck.  And if you’re a level low it is even more fun.  So kiting him around was the order of the day, something doable by my cleric with his healing familiar to keep him alive.

Turning to finish him off

I’ve run through the zone, made it up to level 26, and have gotten a chunk of the achievements from around the place.

Achievement for stealing from NPCs

And the exploration achievement I got much sooner than I expected.  No need to find that corner I missed.

Exploration done

But I remain stuck on one key achievement that I want, which is for finishing up quests.  The achievement is triggered when you complete 73 quests and I am five shy of that number.  I know it is doable… or was doable… because I did it before, back in 2012.

Quest count…

I just have to find those five missing quests.

Quests seem to come in three flavors in Rift; those handed out by NPCs, carnage quests you get for killing one of a mob type, and quests from drops.  Each has their own problem.

NPC areas and their quest givers can be overrun by various rift creature manifestations, so you might missed them.  For carnage quests, you have to find and kill one of the creatures, and some of the quests are for killing one creature alone.  And quests from drops are always problematic because you might not get the drop.

We shall see.  I don’t want to move on until I have that achievement.  The completionist in me demands it.  But I have the lead-in quests for Scarlet Gorge already as well.  That post from 2012 I linked above actually has a couple of hints, so I have something to run down.  And I’ll kill some stuff along the way, just to see if I get a quest drop.

Do you have a quest drop for me?

I also have to get that squirrel achievement. Can’t leave without that.

Meanwhile, I carry on.  I remain invested enough to grapple with the next zone.

I also saw that I was getting close to the end of my 30 days of patron access, necessary for Rift Prime, so I logged into Rift to buy another 30 days with my pile of otherwise unused gems.  I found that, since I was still a patron I got a bit of a discount on my next 30 days.

How much for 30 days?

Normally it is 2,400 gems, but since I was still active it was only 2,160.  Nice.

I realize I haven’t playing as diligently as some.  There are people who hit level 50 in the first week or two who are now demanding that Trion unlock the next thing, which Trion has been cagey about when that might occur.  But I am not so far behind as to be alone.  I still run into enough people to make running around and closing rifts and such a viable activity.

Stonefield in Fifteen Achievements

I wrote about my current Rift goal last week, my desire to get one character of each of the class archetypes, warrior, rogue, cleric, and mage, to the level cap.  Already there with a rogue and a warrior, and well on the way with my cleric, that left only a mage to level up.

And my mage, Solyndro, was only level 8.

If this had been EverQuest of 1999 I might have despaired and passed on this goal.  Even WoW of 2005 or so would have made grinding another character to level cap a chore.

But this is 2012, and we don’t hold with that tough grind to level cap any more.  So Solyndro is already level 38 as of last night.  He only has 12 more levels to climb and 60 days in which to make the goal.  Not tough at all.

It became obvious pretty quickly, as I burst out of Freemarch after only a couple evenings, that running the 7 round Instant Adventure quest every night plus doing a bit of questing was going to make the level cap goal very attainable.  So I decided to add an additional side goal.

I decided I was going to play the hell out of certain zones, run down their full quest chains, explore all of their nooks and crannies, and leave only when I felt I was well and truly done.  Even if I started to level out of the content, I would use the mentoring system to level myself down and keep on playing.

And the first zone on the list was Stonefield.

Stonefield had the obvious advantage in that it stands as the next zone on the list of progression, so I could start right away.  Also, Instant Adventures run in Stonefield, so I could run that daily task in the zone as well.  And Stonefield is a zone that I haven’t really “finished” in the past.

Though I might say that about most zones in Rift.

The rate at which you level, if you are moving at a casual pace and building up a bit of rested experience between sessions, is such that you are usually ready for the next zone when you are somewhere between the half way and three quarter point in the quest chain.

Even before Instant Adventure came along, I think the only zone I felt I had really finished, aside from the intro zone, where you do not have much choice, is Freemarch.  In Freemarch I ran back around to root out the final quests to finish up.  And after Instant Adventure… well, you can go pretty far without too many zones.

So I did it.  I ran the Stonefield quest line from start to finish, even running down the end quests that lead you on to Scarlet Gorge.

And when I was done, did I “feel” done?

I suppose.

The gold standard for this sort of connected zone is the old Westfall, where you followed a story that started with Old Blanchy and lead you through the zone to the natural conclusions, the Deadmines.  You did the zone, got to the end, then found a group to do the instance.  When you turned in the quest that sent you to the zone, the Gryan Stonemantle announced your accomplishment in a zone-wide shout.  That was one of the great early points in the game, getting that shout.

Stonefield does not feel that well connected.  The story line gets broken up and the instance, Deepstrike Mines, which our group did back in March, comes along about two thirds of the way into the zone.  Once you hit Granite Falls, you have the quests to go do it and in past runs that is about where I have stopped.  And the instance, which is about fighting the Endless Court diverges from the Eth/Titans lore of the main zone.

On the flip side, you can get too tied into story.  Recall the post-Cataclysm version on the Redridge Mountains, a zone so dedicated to keeping you with the story that other players become an annoyance.  Of course, pop culture references ran amok in Redridge as well.

Ah well.  But I did get achievements.  And thanks to my enabling the social media aspect of Rift (though I gave the feature its own Twitter feed so it doesn’t spam the few followers on my main feed), the game automatically takes a screen shot every time I get an achievement.  This got me in the habit of trying to “pose” or at least face towards in an interesting direction when they hit.

That, in turn, ended up being kind of a nice little montage of my time in Stonefield.  Fifteen achievements all in a row.  I actually ended up getting all of the achievements that you can just “do,” aside from the one about killing giants.  The remaining ones involve rare spawns and completing collection quests.  I so rarely complete collection quests that I will probably never get that zone meta achievement, the achievement for getting all the achievements.

The only hitch was getting the achievement for doing quests, Playing the Field in Stonefield.  I was stuck at 86 out of 87 for a while until I looked up the quest list and found one I missed.  There is a quest giver on the rocks above the entrance to  Deepstrike Mine.  That actually opens up a couple more quests.

And then I did the Titan’s Well dive, slew the beast that resides therein, and it dropped another quest starter.  So there are enough quests to do the achievement.

My next zone focus is the Moonshade Highlands, where Solyndro has already started.  From there I think I will wrap up in Shimmersand, a zone in which I have done almost no quests.

But that is for later.  For now, here is my Stonefield adventure, in achievement screen shot form.

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We Queue Up for Warfronts, Then Chase Rifts All Night

Earl lives on the east coast.   So for our Saturday night groups, he starts playing a midnight while for the rest of us, who are all in California, the time is just 9pm.  And to his credit, it is usually we in the Pacific time zone who poop out first.

Iron man though he is, staying up until 3am on Saturday night doesn’t always fit into his schedule.  And so it was last week, which left four of us to find something to do.

We decided, based on comments left on last week’s incursion into the Darkening Deeps to try and earn that PvP soul by doing battleground warfronts.

Now, if you follow Rift, your temptation is going to be to jump immediately to the comments to say something about the 1.7 patch.  Don’t.  We’ll get to that in due time.

Let us instead speak of our evening in the pre-patch world, where we sought only to earn that 2,500 points of favor to buy the PvP soul while closing a rift or two between matches.

Our group for the evening was:

  • Jollyreaper level 23 mage
  • Zahihawass level 23 cleric
  • Gizalia level 23 mage
  • Hillmar level 24 cleric

And we met up, as usual, in Merdian where it appears The Village People we staging a come back.

I knew they would be Defiant

The plan was to queue for the three warfronts for which we qualified and spend the night focused on those.  To kill time between, we thought we would close a few Rifts in Stonefield.  I had queued up a couple of times with just Hillmar before we all got on and was getting into matches in under 10 minutes.

So I queued us up and off we went to Stonefield.  There we grabbed the standard daily quests and started chasing rifts.

First rift type... death!

We knocked that first rift down.  And then another.  And then another still.

Bioshock rift!

I started watching the queue times more and more frequently.  We seemed to be going well beyond the average.

Average 1 minute - Our time 26 minutes

While I was making it into warfronts solo without much of a time lag, it appeared that joining as a group was going to be an issue.

After about 45 minutes in the queue, we did finally get pulled into a warfront.  We got The Codex, which is the Rift version of Arathi Basin.

A Warfront At Last!

We did… poorly I guess.  As a group we were in the low end of the level 20-29 level bracket.  But as a whole, our side pretty much got stomped.  I ran around healing people, but it felt very much like being on the side in Arathi Basin that doesn’t have its act together.

And to top that off, Gizalia had to AFK during the battle to take care of one of their dogs for a minute and was booted from the match as a deserter.  Trion learned that lesson from WoW as well I guess.  So there were only three of us in the warfront.  And once it was over, which it was fairly quickly, we could not queue up as a group again until the deserter flag timed out on Gizalia.

So we went and did some more Rifts.

Water rift ahoy!

I never tire of seeing those sky covering water rifts.

We were able to queue back up again for warfronts after a bit, but never made it into another one.

We chased rifts around some more, turned in our daily quest in Stonefield, and started to think about calling it an early night.  Gizalia was tired and logged out first.  This, of course, meant we had to re-queue for warfronts as a group again.  We did a bit of tradeskill related stuff and then called it a night.

The next day I got out Hillmar and did a couple more warfronts.  You can be surprisingly effective as a carrier in the Library of the Runemasters as a healer.  I think I carried an artifact for the whole match, just hiding and healing myself.  All of which earned me enough favor to buy the cleric PvP soul, which even came with an achievement.

So mission accomplished.  This bit of extra-curricular activity did put Hillmar a level ahead, but at least he had the soul.

And then, of course, Rift Patch 1.7 came along.  You can read the full patch notes over at Rift Junkies.  It is a long list of updates.

A number of things in the notes would have changed our evening.  For openers, they took out the PvP soul.  That achievement is no longer available and is now a legacy achievement.  Go me.

Now the aspects of the PvP soul are handled in the game as a “Planar Attunement-based character enhancement.”  I have no idea what that means.

Then, of course, there was our long wait in the queue.  This might have been helped with the new mercenary feature.

In order to reduce queue times to as near-zero as possible, players may be added the opposing faction’s Warfront team as a “Mercenary”.

Basically, they are now just throwing people into warfronts to fill them out.  This is a good thing to cut down on wait time.  I am not sure how people feel about it from the story perspective of the game.  The Defiants and the Guardians aren’t as different as Alliance and Horde, but they are at war.  It doesn’t matter that much to me, but I am sure somebody will see it as a betrayal.

And even my getting a level ahead of the pack would have been solved if only I had waited for the patch.

Added a new ‘Lock XP’ checkbox to the Interface > Misc settings pane. Checking it will stop your level 1-49 character from gaining experience until it is unchecked. Characters at the level cap and trial characters cannot lock their experience.

The ability to lock experience is huge.  I want to run out and do some stuff with Hillmar, get his harvesting up or earn some planarite, but I have to get ahead of the group.  We try diligently to try and stick together.  But now there is the magic check box!

Actually, there were three new check boxes.  I have to wonder a bit about that last one.  I realize that it is necessary, but is somebody really running around proposing to random people?  I would bet that somebody is.

And there was a ton more in the patch notes, including pre-set builds for given roles to help people find an appropriate soul combo to accomplish the role they want to fill.  That is probably a pretty big deal as well.  It is nice to have the freedom build a character up with the abilities you want, but the myriad of choices can also be daunting for the new player.

So that was our first run at warfronts.  I hope that with the changes that have gone in, our next run at them will be better.

The Trip to Shatterbone and Stonefield

As I reported last week, our server is being declared a “trial server.”  We were being asked to leave Alsbeth.  A server merge by any other name….

So when Saturday came around, it found Potshot, Earl, and I online in the afternoon, so we had some time to talk about the transfer.

We decided to go with Shatterbone, if only because the “saved you a spot” message gave us a glimmer of hope that there would be less likelihood of issues.  And if there were issues, I would at least get a blog post out of “what do they mean when they say they have ‘saved you a spot?'”

I changed the guild message of the day announcing where we were going and then, because we had time and wanted to face any issues early on, Potshot, whose character Zahihawass is the guild leader, transferred his character and the guild over to Shatterbone.

And it worked.  Only, we suddenly found that those of us remaining on Alsbeth lacked a guild channel.  And the guild MotD went with the guild as well.  Kind of a “well duh” moment, but now we were committed.

At this point, 4 out of 5 of us had the news where we were going, so we started transferring characters over.  The transfer worked, and when we logged into Shatterbone, we were reunited with the guild.  We kept our progress with the current guild quest and, aside from the fact that we all had to have our ranks restored to their previous level, there was little to do once we were over.

The Guild Log Shows Transfers

I left Hillmar behind on Alsbeth to watch for Jollyreaper when he showed up.  When he did, I gave him the quick run down and we were both over on Shatterbone in a couple of minutes.

I did end up having to leave a character behind.  I had one level 7 alt who did not meet the minimum level requirements for a transfer.  I will probably just delete him, as I understand that the Trial Server conversion will leave him stuck in Meridian unable to do anything.

Anyway, we all ended up together on Shatterbone on Saturday night.  Potshot decided to swap out his rogue, Hakawati, for his DPS cleric, Zahihawass in the group mix.  I suspect this was because we had finally learned how to spell and pronounce “Hakawati.”  So the line up for the night was:

  • Jollyreaper level 22 mage
  • Earlthecat level 22 warrior
  • Zahihawass level 22 cleric
  • Gizalia level 22 mage
  • Hillmar level 21 cleric

Potshot had proposed a master plan for the group to help us see more of the world.  We were going to try to travel overland to enter dungeons going forward, unless we were unable to get to them at out level.  So, for example, last week’s trip to the Iron Tomb was overland.  But before that, the Realm of the Fae was way over on the guardian side of the world and there was no way we were going to be able to get there without a serious, and probably all night, effort.

In furtherance of that, and because we were right at the lowest level for the next instance, we decided to make the night a travel and explore night.

The goals were modest.  Travel to the main encampment in Stonefield, Granite Falls, which would put us in the general area of our next overland dungeon trip, the Deepstrike Mine, and then run around, close a couple of rifts and do a few quests as a group to get us all another level before we attempted Darkening Deeps, the next instance on the list, though one to which travel probably won’t be an option.

The travel portion was not a big deal.  Most of us had been there before, though I hadn’t been back since they added in the new travel portal.

Travel into Stonefield

We got to Granite Falls, grabbed the travel point and the local quests for closing rifts and killing rift creatures and then began to look around.

Welcome to Granite Falls

Rifts turned out to be few and far between.  It was one of those nights when we really could have used a zone event, but the planar creatures seemed to be otherwise occupied.  We knocked out one rift we found, but spent more time fighting the local flora and fauna that beings from other planes.

Dude, don't feed the trolls!

Finding the planar population rather lacking, we headed back to Granite Falls and picked up the quest chain that takes you through the graveyard and crypt just outside of town.

I’ve been through that quest line twice already, once solo and once as a duo with Potshot on other alts, and it is really one of those areas where being grouped is better than solo.

A group of five might have been major overkill, but there is no shortage of undead to slay down there.  Getting everybody their last bit of grave moss was the only challenge.  But we wanted to do something to maybe get us all another level and maybe a bit of fresh gear.

It is never a mystery when you level in Rift

After that, we dropped the quest line, popped another rift that showed up on the edge of town, then started talking about gear and currencies.  It started with the planar gear vendor in Granite Falls and what to buy and where to get more planarite and the special stones for the purple gear.  I think after that four out of five of us are now using the Rift Mobile app on our iOS devices to gather more planarite during the week.  I know I do my scratchers before I go to work and when I get home every day.

Then we moved on to what to do with all those damn unique snowflakes in our bags, which lead us back to Meridian and the World Even Merchant.

Turn in Unique Snowflakes here

After which we were feeling about done for the evening.  There was more discussions about gear and crafting and who was working on what and how much it was going to cost for a guild bank, but the actual adventuring portion of the evening was over.

So we should be leveled up, geared up, and lined up for another instance this coming weekend.