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#1 Jan 09 2011 at 10:09 PM Rating: Excellent
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Beta phase 4 is over tomorrow morning, so since I had a chance to play (I've been playing since Beta phase 2), I thought I'd just throw out some thoughts. I'll have an article out around the middle of this week on warfronts and groups, but here's just a few fragments going around my head.

Pros:
-Rifts are still dynamic and fun and unexpected. I enjoy getting loot from them, even slowly, and it's awesome that it's based on individual contribution, not a roll for loot. If you are active, you'll get prizes. Yay! I also think they lowered the emblem requirements for the level 13 blue gear? In Silverwood I seem to recall them being 10 emblems a piece; in Freemarch they were 3-5 depending on the item. I could just be remembering incorrectly though.
-Mounts at 20 are WONDERFUL. Walking takes so much time, especially when hunting rifts. The 3+ platinum cost is a little high, but I easily had it without ever using the AH.
-Warfronts are good in that you can remotely queue. Press k to bring up the PvP tab, and it shows what ones you are eligible for, how long of an average wait you'll find, and give you an option to queue up for it.
-I'm still blown away by the potential with the soul tree system. SO MANY CHOICES!
-Piggybacking off that, as pet hp seems bugged out of combat to restore almost instantly to full, Necro/Anything is pretty OP for leveling and soloing. You have literally no downtime.
-The dungeons actually involved some strategy! We died a few times, but getting back was pretty easy.
-The GMs are hilarious with their server-wide messages. At one point there was an unchecked giant invasion and the GMs taunted the players in Meridian for not going after them.

Cons:
-Unlike before, after playing almost 18 hours in this Beta, the shine has come off a little. These are mostly a list of complaints. Note: NONE of them are game-breaking. All of them can and probably will be fixed or expanded upon. And some might just be my ignorance.
-I hate walking. Would some automatic transportation kill the game? On the one hand I can see how it makes you more aware of what's going on around you, but on the other hand... ugh. It takes forever to get from one place to another.
-I'm not sure why there is a Greater Planar Essence for sale in King's Retreat when you don't get a container for it until Stonefield. Almost wasted a Heroic emblem on it before seeing that it was Greater.
-Warfronts are pretty neat, but they'll get old fast. They feel like old-school WoW battlegrounds... complete with the notoriety requirement for gear.
-Speaking of gear, well, I'll go on with that in my article Smiley: grin
-I wish that there was a dungeon queue system similar to the warfront one. Waiting around in the capital for people to join really bites and gave me PTSD back to my FFXI days in Jeuno.
-Servers were less stable this time. I'm not sure if there were more people due to the pre-orders, or if people just knew where to go during events now, but the servers crashed twice and had to be reset once, and I had terrible lag several times. On the plus side, all of the issues were fixed within a couple of minutes.
-I like that I can solo rifts... but I can only solo minor rifts, for minor loot. Elites really are elite; they hurt! I guess it's a good thing to need more people, but I do like being self-sufficient for the good items as well Smiley: nod

TL;DR: Warfronts were fun, servers were a bit less stable, Necromancer is OP for leveling, and while I had several small issues this beta was even more fun than the last!

Well, those are my first thoughts! Anyone else?
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#2 Jan 09 2011 at 11:15 PM Rating: Good
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Not to sound like a negative nancy, but I'm not going to bother quoting the things I feel similarly about, only those I dsiagree with.
LockeColeMA wrote:
-Rifts are still dynamic and fun and unexpected. I enjoy getting loot from them, even slowly, and it's awesome that it's based on individual contribution, not a roll for loot.

I liked the mechanic since WAR. Although I do think the rifts spawning in random locations adds to the spontaneity of the event slightly, I think it has the drawback of effecting rewards in a somewhat random way. The problem is that If you want to do a rift, they can easily end up spawning far away from you, and therefore the people who get there first are able to contribute more.
LockeColeMA wrote:
-I'm still blown away by the potential with the soul tree system. SO MANY CHOICES!

I'm cautiously optimistic. My biggest concern is that it will be a situation where you have a huge number of options, but very few viable options. There is no indication so far of that being an issue, but only time will tell.
LockeColeMA wrote:
-Servers were less stable this time. I'm not sure if there were more people due to the pre-orders, or if people just knew where to go during events now, but the servers crashed twice and had to be reset once, and I had terrible lag several times. On the plus side, all of the issues were fixed within a couple of minutes.

I wasn't playing that long, but I never had server issues. There was one time when the servers were down, but that was an announced maintenance to add two additional servers.
#3 Jan 10 2011 at 6:54 AM Rating: Excellent
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Allegory wrote:
Not to sound like a negative nancy...


Haha, that's not nearly as negative as I thought it would be, Al.

I agree about the random rift spawn being an issue, which ties into my "no quick transportation options" complaint. If there's a rift open, by the time you get there you won't get much besides the motestones. I also agree with being cautiously optimistic about the soul trees. Some options won't be nearly as powerful come release (like Necro) because pet health regeneration will be fixed. As for the stability, I'm thinking the ONLY reason I saw it was due to the massive amount of time I put into the game. I had several issues over 18+ hours, and all were resolved within minutes, if not seconds. The only times it was really annoying was when we had a server reset 2/3 of the way through Iron Tomb, and when they reset a zone-wide event right in the middle of it. But hey, it's Beta, so it's to be expected!
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#4 Jan 10 2011 at 7:34 AM Rating: Good
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The pet regen issue is with most, if not all, of the pets. I can verify that it's an issue with Ranger pets as well. Haven't played an Elementalist yet and never paid much attention to health of my pet as a Druid or Beastlord. I think it was most noticeable to me on a Necro due to their ability to transfer pet health to mana, which resulted in free mana regen out of combat.

I'm fairly certain that some, if not all, of the server issues were related to some of the new content they were testing (i.e., tidelord invasion is Freemarch had some issues).

Personally I have no problems with the size of the world and travel times once you get a mount. Before you get a mount it's a bit harsh. I think if they lower the mount level requirement (and proportionally the cost) to 15 rather than 20 I'd have no problems with travel. I will say that Guardians are a bit better off than Defiant since Sanctum and the magic college both have portals where the only Defiant portal is in Meridian before you get to Stonefield.

In a note related to the request for a LFD system, I'd love to see a LFG tool. There were a few quests in Stonefield which were rated for 2+ people in a group. I couldn't find any way to look for a group for those quests other than just yelling.

Warfronts were a lot of fun, but I found I had a lot more fun, managed to get more favor, and was on the winning side a lot more often when I played a Bard rather than attempting to be yet another DPSer... Given how much more favor I was getting as a Bard compared to playing a DPSer I'm tempted to say that healers might be getting a bit too much favor from healing.
#5 Jan 10 2011 at 10:04 AM Rating: Decent
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Now that you mention problems with pet regen I can confirm beastmaster's pet regen as well. My pet was definetily tanking Spawn of Regulos during the Jakob event in Freemarch.

I do love mounts.

I like Warfronts so far. I found them a lot of fun and so far they have not broken down to kill-fests. I just find it strange that you can Queue for Warfronts and not for Instances.

As for the greater planar essence. There is no reason to not have a greater planar essence there either. Maybe a Freemarch rift drops a focus with a greater planar slot. We can't really knock anythgn being sold anywhere specifically. And there is also no reason why a higher level won't be in Freemarch and get a few rifts. If there weren't any Greater essences (or general higher level planar rewards) Higher level players REALLY have no reason to return to lower areas which it seems like this game wants to encourage.

Servers are stable enough. I just have a lot of trouble holding a framerate in anythign but the low render setting Which isnt bad but not great either.

The soul system gives an amazing amount of choices and of what I have seen of Warrior at least none are useless. There are just too many abilities sometimes. Possibly lol
#6 Jan 10 2011 at 11:01 AM Rating: Good
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Danex317 wrote:
Now that you mention problems with pet regen I can confirm beastmaster's pet regen as well. My pet was definetily tanking Spawn of Regulos during the Jakob event in Freemarch.
In combat I haven't noticed any problems with pet regen, although there were definitely some issues with bugged events in Freemarch (where mobs weren't attacking properly) which could explain your pet easily tanking or otherwise healers might have been spam healing your pet without you knowing it. The real problem with pet regen is it seems like they regen 20% health (or more) per second the moment they get out of combat. This is really silly for necros since they have a pet healing spell which is only useable out of combat, but the pet regens to full before I can cast that spell...
#7 Jan 10 2011 at 11:08 AM Rating: Excellent
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#8 Jan 10 2011 at 11:33 AM Rating: Good
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Some other general thoughts about Beta4:

1) OMG they keep adding more zone events! I was impressed by thinking it was going to be just 1 zone event per zone and now there are at least 2 in each of the newbie areas. (although the second Freemarch event seemed to have some major problems)

2) The rifts/invasions just keep getting wilder. I never know what to expect each time they launch a new Beta. I'm hoping this type of crazy content keeps getting added after launch.

3) Never complain about being bored... Had someone in the raid complaining about the Stonefield event about how boring it was killing the earth crystals. 30 seconds after he said that we had a Death Rift spawn on top of us :)

4) Having 3 major invasions attack a town at the same time seems a bit overkill (outside of the zone events).

5) Defiant Warfront queue was a lot longer than the Guardian Warfront queue. Not sure if this was due to having higher population of Defiants or just having more Defiants interested in PvP. Will be interesting to see if this continues through later events and into release.

6) Favor generation seemed a lot easier as a healer/buffer than as a DPSer in Warfronts. Not sure if that's planned/expected or if I was just a better healer/buffer and I sucked as a DPSer ;)

7) Why oh why does it have to end! I want a 24/7 Beta :)
#9 Jan 11 2011 at 3:48 AM Rating: Decent
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I had a great time with the beta this weekend. There's so much going on at any one time that it's very easy to lose track of hours. Everyone has covered the rifts and invasions and I think they're great, but what really surprised me was the detail Trion put into the quest lines. I thought the intro area for the Defiant faction was great. I don't want to give out any spoilers but even the die-hard Guardians would be well served to run a Defiant character through the intro area because I thought it was just really cool the way it was set up.

I think that the biggest surprise for me, however, was the quest series in Silverwood (Guardians) that involves Overwatch Keep. There were a lot of other good quest lines leading up to it but the Overwatch series of quests really stood out for me as just a whole lot of fun with some great story elements tied into it at every step. I finished that quest series at level 21, picked up my mount in Sanctum and then headed on over to Glaomwood where I managed to get halfway through level 22 before I ran out of time.

I didn't get to check out any of the dungeons and Warfronts weren't really a priority for me, but I was quite pleased at the level of polish already present for a game still in beta testing. There were a couple of bugs here and there and a couple of the zone invasions seemed to have been shut down early by the devs because things didn't seem to be working quite the way they should have been, but those kinds of situations were few and far between. For the most part I had to remind myself on a regular basis that it was still a game in beta and not to get too attached to my character(s) because I'm just going to have to start over at launch which honestly is not a bad thing.

It seems very much like Trion has a winner on their hands. There will no doubt be some tweaks and adjustments made to the game between now and the start of official service but even if they launched the game tomorrow I think it would do quite well. I just have to remind myself that when it comes to Rift, the statement, "just one more quest" almost always translates into "just one more quest and then oh invasion and oh seal the rift and oh while I'm here there's another quest nearby and and and" and before you know it "one more quest" has turned into "three more hours." :P
#10 Jan 11 2011 at 7:59 AM Rating: Decent
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Well this was my first time playing Rift. I have to say... that on Friday I got up to get a drink and realized I had been playing for 3 hours, which felt like 30 minutes (was myf irst time logging in and had a lot of OH CRAP moments too heh). I have not felt like that for a game in a very long time. It was pretty awesome. The graphics and music were great, and the story was awesome. The defiant parting was like "May the world last another day" or something... epic.

I agree about the walking feeling like forever, but I played Defiant and honestly, it took like 1-3 minutes to walk somewhere. But somehow due to the way movement looks it felt like it would take longer, it really didn't take that long at all. I got to 17 on my cleric and 10 on a bunch of other classes so the xp was fast, and I would assume they are gonna tone that down at least a little bit cuz I was doing quests I was 2-3 levels higher then so I ended up backtracking a bit.

I seriously enjoyed Warfronts. I hated BGs in WoW they were ok in War. But I honestly enjoyed these because, you never knew what you were fighting, or what someone was gonna pull out. And quite frankly people worked together more as a team then I have seen in any MMO before. At one point I thought "Crap, there's like 4 level 10's here, we're gonna get smoked" that happened more then once. We won all of em. Those guys pulled their weight and would grab the fang while being defended. Or simply went after the ppl killing casters/healers. Play smart. Also I had a cabalist and a healer role I would switch from. On cabalist/inquis I usually was one of the top killers. Otherwise I went warden/sent/pur healer, and I was the highest in healing everytime and really, I only saw one other cleric once heal on our side the entire time and I musta done like 25 WFs.
It made a HUGE difference, and honestly I ended up being protected like a king and rarely died.

My quest givers dying was annoying since I couldn't solo those rifts, and having jumped over a wall at some point when I was like level 12/13 and getting stuck in an area that was 18ish wasn't cool since I couldn't find a way to get out haha... also they need more haircuts.. cuz those were pretty terrible. Overall I really really enjoyed it and I am totally recommending it to my friends. ^_^



Edited, Jan 11th 2011 9:00am by Boompyro
#11 Jan 11 2011 at 12:11 PM Rating: Decent
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PvP felt a bit clunky, honestly. It may have been worse for me since I have to run on low quality, but it was next to impossible to tell who or what I was fighting. I couldn't focus healers because I couldn't tell the healers from the mages, and kept dying to archers I never even knew were hitting me because I couldn't see any sort of arrow effect.

Top this off with the fact that the Defiant are already dominating 90% of the time in warfronts...it's Alliance vs Horde all over again. Which means that Guardians will end up having to grind three times as hard for a single peice of pvp gear that a Defiant player got in a day.
#12 Jan 13 2011 at 8:07 AM Rating: Excellent
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Here's my article on Beta 4, dungeons (well, Iron Tomb) and Warfronts!
http://rift.zam.com/story.html?story=24775
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#13 Jan 14 2011 at 2:13 AM Rating: Decent
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I was pretty impressed with "Iron Tombs". It was the only instance I was able to do so far, but I found it very well designed.

I am grading it on sort of a curve. Sorry for making a WoW reference, but it's the best thing I have to compare it to. I had to keep reminding myself that this is the First dungeon available. This is a lowbie dungeon. So compare that to "Ragefire Chasm" or "Stockades" in WoW, "Iron Tombs" blows it away. It isn't till late in the BC dungeons you see anything comparable.

From what I hear the next dungeon is a bit of a hog, that has people already screaming for it to be nerfed. I hope it really is that difficult, and if Trion sticks to their words, "We're not in Azeroth anymore" they wont nerf it out the wazoo like you-know-who would.

Edited, Jan 14th 2011 3:14am by KristoFurwalken
#14 Jan 14 2011 at 11:50 AM Rating: Good
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LockeColeMA wrote:
Here's my article on Beta 4, dungeons (well, Iron Tomb) and Warfronts!
http://rift.zam.com/story.html?story=24775

Good review. A couple of to kibitz/comment on though :)

1) Do we really know that all PvP gear is currently available? I am hoping that they will be adding/filling out the available PvP gear before release.

2) You can buy your PvP soul at any level for 2500. Not exactly gear, but it's something to do with your PvP points :)

3) Agreed that Healers seem to be getting too much favor. I was getting tons of favor when playing as a Bard, but having a much more difficult time getting favor when playing as a DPS Rogue.

4) While I think you are right that all Invasions are Elite (which I hadn't really noticed before) the Footholds guardians can be either Elite or Normal. Not sure what the current intention is forthe Invasion hanging around the Foothold after they take it over. Seemed like they were having some bugs with Invasions last beta (i.e., 2+ Invasions spawning and running around together or just not moving).

5) There is (or was in Beta3) a Planar Focus available with a Greater slot in the main city (IIRC) I remember almost buying it by mistake and switching to buy the one with 3 lesser slots when I didn't have any Greater available.
#15 Jan 16 2011 at 7:21 PM Rating: Decent
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rlunt68 wrote:

5) There is (or was in Beta3) a Planar Focus available with a Greater slot in the main city (IIRC) I remember almost buying it by mistake and switching to buy the one with 3 lesser slots when I didn't have any Greater available.


Ya, there was definitely a Planar Focus that you could buy in Sanctum with the bottom tier rift tokens (sourcestone fragment?) that had two lesser and one greater slot in it.
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