My Rift Builds: Comments, Criticism?

So I currently have three active roles in Rift.  Let me give them to you, and you give me your two cents.

 

Solo/PvE Content

The Grey Knight

The idea:  Basically the goal here is to let me get a hand in the game.  Designed when we were running a full group,  I found that for normal mobs, given casting times, I got in perhaps one hit before they were dead.  Which is fine…but not fun.  So I expanded and tuned the build I had used in Beta.  It has one purpose really, and that is to provide as many instant cast spells as possible.  As you can see, this fits the bill.  Six instant cast damage dealers, and three melee strikes (also instant) provide the oomph.  Group healing is minimal for standard content, and the instant cast Doctrines + Healing Breath work fine for that.  With Luminous Gaze on, my crit chances are north of 20%.

 

Full On Healing Power

Master Healer

The idea:  I had been using a Warden-central build to heal with, but after a particularly rough dungeon run, I decided I wanted a more traditional healing base rather than a HoT centered one.  I came up with this.  This build feels off to me.  And I haven’t had a whole lot of chance to shake it down because I finished it right about the time the group stopped getting together.   The ultimate goal is simply a character who does nothing but heals for dungeon runs.  I just keep thinking there is a better way to do it.

 

The Farmer

Dark Fire

The idea:  This is my experimental build.  Really it started out as a desire to have some AOE bombs to drop while still being primarily a healer.  Then I thought maybe it would be good for farming low levels or whatever.  Now it just seems useless.  Mostly I’m at this point looking for how to get the best use out of the Cabalist soul and the Purifier soul.  I really like them both, but I can’t seem to find a good way to get them working in my favor.  I’m open to suggestions.

 

Also…please do me a small favor.  Do not overuse hyperbole in your response.  Often with build people like to use the words “always,” “never,” “must,” “require(d)(ment).”  Spare me.  I’m not a powergamer.  Just tell me what its good for any why you like it.  (-:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ding!

I had a sad moment last night, so I had to share with you all.  I just dinged 30 in Rift.

DING!

It was an excellent and awesome moment.  I’m looking forward to trekking my way to 31 so that I can whip up some sort of build that involves a Centaur.  And a combat rez (did I mention I’m a cleric?).   Anyway, I was very impressed with myself and very happy.  And also playing solo, as I have been doing the last few weeks.

We had a solid gaming group going for the first month, but then it just sort of…fell apart.   Things do that.  So I have journeyed onward.  But I had this ghost of an urge to yell “DING” only to realize that there would be no one there to follow up with the customary “Grats!”  And there was sadness.

But then I remembered I had this blog, and I thought maybe one of you might humor me for old times sake.  What say you?

Genius.

I was reading this interview with Jake Song, one of the bigwigs with ArcheAge online.  And I was struck by two things in this response (they are highighted):

I think Closed Beta Tests are to figure out what players would like to play and to check if the game is being developed in the right way. Through ArcheAge’s 3rd Closed Beta Test, players gave feedback that the gameplay environment in the early levels is not satisfying. I think this is because we developed the end content of the game first. For out next Closed Beta Test, we will improve the early level game environment, include more characters, animation, and also the siege warfare system.

 

First of all, its refreshing that a developer thinks that the audience plays a hand in the development cycle.  I could name more than one MMO company that openly opposes this idea.  Now for the biggie…

Yeah, you read that right.  And now that I’m thinking about it, I’d bet dollars to donuts that’s exactly how Rift did it too.  That is some sharp thinking on their part.  Put the bulk of your development hours into the end game, and then go back and finish up the early stuff.  After all, players will spend less time in the early levels anyway, right?  And they don’t need to be as good, because the “honeymoon” phase doesn’t really wear off until mid-game usually. Especially when you have some interesting ideas and solid graphics, as ArcheAge (and Rift I might add) have.

I also wonder in development cycles about dungeons and group content.  Certainly that is part of endgame as well, but these are also part of cornerstone content as one levels too.  One of WoW’s strengths is the sheer number of dungeons/group content available (I haven’t counted lately, but probably 20+).  Rift launched with only 10, but others are being added, and there is the dynamic group content of the Rifts themselves, along with the World and Region events.  What will ArcheAge, as a sandbox MMO, launch with?  Any?  Some?  My guess is that if they focused on end game first, that we will see a decent number of dungeons/group content on launch.

By the way, compare those numbers with SWTOR – a whopping 4 total, with no indication that additional ones will be in by launch.

In any case, kudos for a backward thinking dev team over at XL Games.  A good sign of things to come, hopefully.

State of My Game: July ’11

What I’m Playing

Rift.  I’m currently trucking through my 29th level as a Cleric, and for once, alt-itis has not really struck.  Kudos for the billionth time to Trion for making a character creation system that has loads of flexibility.  I currently have a casual questing role (Justical/Sentinal/Inquisitor), a raiding healer role (Sentinal/Warden/Purifier), and a third role that I swap out for fun when I get bored.  Right now its kind of a farming role – a Cabalist/Purifier mix with the third soul (with 0 points of course) being rotated as needed to keep things fresh.   The world events and “programming” unleashed by Trion are excellent.  I think some of us questioned if this new variation on Public Questing was going to be problematic, but its so dynamic and fun, it seems hard now in retrospect to even try to compare them.  I have some minor quibbles, but nothing worth writing about at this time.  And I have to say thank you again to Trion for spoiling us bloggers by bringing us along on the ride from the very early phases.

World of Tanks.  Not only did I get sucked in, when 9 months ago I would have told you there was no way I was playing this game, but so did my brother and dad.  The end result has been mayhem.  A full three man platoon to roll with any night I want to.  I wanted a full on gaming group as one of my goals this year, I just didn’t realize it would take this form in this game!  Speficially, since launch I have dedicated myself to US Heavy tanks.  Initially I wanted the T29, as I admired it in Beta, and specifically the way a skilled player could capitalize on its strengths and minimize its weaknesses (incidentally, from my win % in her, I’m going to admit I’m not a skilled player lol).  But when the full tree changes were announced and I realized that if I just dug a little deeper, I could grab a tier 8 premium in the T34 – and specifically, have a nice premium tank that looked and played just like the T29, I had my goal set.  Currently, I have enough XP to grab it, but since the patch is still 2+ months away, I’m sitting on the free XP I’ve converted and started working my way up the Russian and US medium lines.  And here I confess that I am a medium tank player at heart.  My win % and XP earned stats on medium tanks is consistently higher than with the US heavies.   The patches continue to improve the game, and I think concerned about matchmaking are over rated.  WoT still needs to do more to address the “invisible tank” problem, but other than that, they are in good shape.

What I’m Testing

Nothing.  I’m actually not currently in any Beta’s or testing programs at the moment.  I was never able to get Gods and Heroes working, so…I can’t really tell you if it was good or not.  Perpetuum still intrigues me, but since I have no itch to play EVE at the moment (even less with Incarna out – I don’t get the whole desire or issue myself), I’ve put it on hold as well.

So, if you need someone to play and test (or write about) your game or your Beta, give me a yell.

What I’m Not Going to Talk About…okay, yes I am.

The Old Republic.  Seven months ago, I went ahead and joined a TOR guild, thinking it would help keep a check on my impatience for the game to come out, and help me settle into some good relationships for a game that, by all accounts seems to be just as fanatically multi-player as it is fanatically single-player (how these two worlds will mesh in reality is still a good question I think).   I recall thinking that I wasn’t sure I could wait another 4-6 months for the game to come out.  I was concerned that my brother would not be back from Russia in time (he spend the first 6 months of this year living over there) to be in the game at launch with me.   But mostly I was worried because there was every indication that the game was not actually 4-6 months away.  For those who don’t believe me, I have a draft of a post I wrote but never published (happens more often than you think) from last October, arguing those points.  And I was right.   And it dawned on me yesterday that there is still no indication that the game is no closer to launching than it was last Fall.  In other words, I have patiently made it through the time I wasn’t sure I would make it through, only to find that I have made no progress whatsoever.  This is another definition of hell is it not?  Add to this the multiple confirmations that the game will have no Open Beta (riddle me that one Batman…) and this means that launch will be launch, with no teaser a month before to scratch the itch.

To put this in perspective for you: would you be surprised if there was an announcement that the target date was moved to next Spring (2012)?  Me either.

I’m not sure what else to do here other than keeping marking time.  And my stance is well documented – the longer this takes, the more they push it back (and don’t let them kid you, it has been pushed back, whether they published an official date or not), the worse things are.  You can argue that if you like, but MMO history is clear, and the burden of proof otherwise rests squarely on the backs of EA Bioware.  And the other half of my stance is well documented also: worried though I may be, rooting for them I am.

Coming Soon To a Blog Near You

IE, Here.

Yeah, my brother returns from parts abroad this weekend, and we have plans to start touring Rift together.  We had also planned to return to Pirates of the Burning Sea, cash in hand but alas….that may be awhile in coming!  SOE looks down for the count right now.

I’m not really sure what to make of things these days.  I don’t feel quite done with this site, but I just don’t have a whole lot to say either.  Strange to think that 6 months ago I was riding the twin buzz of Rift and TOR. 

I think I’m just at a point where I need to thin out my commitments some.  Until then, and until Sony gets its junk together, you can pretty much just find me in World of Tanks.  Driving one of these…

Whew! I’m back!

Sorry everyone, busy couple of weeks for me. Lots of stuff at work, and a week out of town at a conference with limited internet access will do that to ya.

And when I have had some time free…well, its been one of those time periods where I’d just rather play than write!

So what have I been playing? Actually, not your first impression. Rift seems to have hit a great stride with its launch and continuing updates. I haven’t really heard anything bad from the people I know that have been playing it. But I didn’t anticipate any big shake ups there – clearly they had the technical side of things down to a T.

And I will be playing Rift – but I needed to step away for a while. With launch NDA’s are loosened a bit, and so I can tell you I’ve been playing it pretty much incessantly for the last five months. I highly recommend it. But I was a bit burned out and needed something new before I dove back into the world at square one – or in this case, level 1.

So I rifled through my various Beta invites…

I tried Gods and Heroes. Well, let me be more specific – I tried to sign up for, download, install, and patch Gods and Heroes. That was probably three weeks ago. I still haven’t played a minute in game. At first it wouldn’t grant my account access. Then it wouldn’t connect. Now its telling me that the patch I need to play the game no longer exists. The current solution is to uninstall, reinstall, and re-patch. Which…I’m not keen on doing.

I had a few others, one of which in particular caught my eye and will see some playing time in the near future – Perpetuum. Its basically EVE Online – only with Mecha instead of space ships. At least from what I can tell from their web page and Press Releases. Which I have to admit, is pretty freaking cool. But I just got out of EVE, and I’m not ready for that grind yet either, especially not – again, having to start over somewhere.

I went through a few other rejections and finally decided I needed to give World of Tanks a spin. I have not been disappointed. In fact, you can expect a post or three on it in the coming week. I’ve genuinely enjoyed myself in the game, and its become a fast addiction for me. I’m a nut for WWII tanks already: I’ve made multiple pilgrimages to Aberdeen and to Fort Knox both (thought I hear some of Aberdeen’s stuff is being transferred south to Virginia). I was worried about the historical accuracy vs. playability balance, but I’m really impressed – they have found that balance point and are riding it well so far.

Light Tanks take a special kind of mindset to use effectively. Being crazy works too.
 
To be fair, there are still a number of issues that need to be cleared before launch, but to their credit, they seem to get this and are working to correct these things before they set up their pre-orders and launch date. Also to be fair, they have been very open about those target dates, changes to them when necessary, and why they were necessary. Unlike some other developers we know of, who are at this moment running at least two months behind in some areas – without a peep of explanation or even an admission that they are indeed running behind. 

 

That’s all for now, just wanted to let you know I was alive and kicking, and to expect some new posts this week!

Rift Beta Warfronts: Thoughts and Screenshots

 Yeah, its been quiet around here lately. Lots of stuff going on personally (nothing terrible mind you, just busy), and the lack of subs makes for a lack of content. I guess I could cover the TOR Friday Updates, but there’s not really anything there to cover (oooh, low blow!). But I am loving me some time in the Beta.

I spent this go round with the Cleric. I’ve spent previous Betas fooling around with the Rogue and Warrior and found them both fun and appealing. But I think I found my character this time around. Its been awhile since I played a full time healer – CoX to be specific (shout out to the wonderful boys and girls of LoJ who took care of me for my short time in game). And this gives you a good insight into my character planning process: I started out looking at the Warden – I love the instant cast spells, despite the disadvantages. I have a hard time keeping up in large group battles, and I thought that might help me be more effective. I paired it with Sentinel to get the early access resurrection skill and snaring direct damage spell. But soul number three was trickier. I finally settled on Justicar, for no reason other than I could put a few points into it and gain some survivability with better armor and plop yet another instant cast spell on my action bar. I quickly realized what a nice combo attack skills and instant cast spells are. And that the Justicar’s Conviction heals are also instant cast and one of them is raid wide. I immediately went fiddling with my build, basing it around that instead of the Warden, and it fits me like a glove.

I also have to give a shout out to whoever designed the dwarves. I usually can’t stand playing dwarves. But these dwarves are different. Well, at least the female ones are:

And the bonus is that dagger looks like a sword in her hands!

And I guess that drives home the real win the Rift picks up. I’m playing a Dwarven Cleric. Is there anything more cliché in all of fantasy gaming? Okay, well, Elf Ranger, but still…this is right up there.

And yet, it doesn’t feel that way at all. It plays like a class out of my dreams, as if I had custom designed it for me. And in a way, I did.

 

Lastly, I got a chance to finally participate in one of those giant dynamic events. The devs opened the skies and Silverwood was flooded with Life rifts and invasion mobs. I ran around like a mad man with my raid group from place to place. At one point, we were defending an advance on a log bridge, and I was healing my little tush off. In another place, we caught the mobs off guard and undermanned and I was able to switch to offensive mode completely.

And I have to tell you this: the raid interface was very intuitive and very nice. I was quickly able to identify who was under fire, who had aggro, where to heal at, etc. The map interface also does a great job of tracking the raid so you can keep tabs on everyone. For someone who doesn’t normally get into raiding, this ended up being very fun and quite a treat. 

Note the raid interface and the number of rifts we have to close!

The only downside to all this is that I feel a little guilty. I didn’t report and glitches and gave no feedback. But it has to be said that the primary reason for this is that there just weren’t any glitches to speak of. And the best feedback I can come up with this article. The game, already good, continues to get better, and we continue to see great things from the developers and the play itself. Next Beta – it will be time to get a handle on all those wild Mage souls…

Rift: More Detailed Thoughts

So here is my long overdue, lengthier analysis of Rifts as it stands right now. I hesitate to call this a review, and with good reason – we are still in Open Beta and still seven weeks from launch. So I will probably revisit this around launch time to give you an update. The tl;dr version is..well, it’s here. If you are looking for awesome screen shots – I don’t have any. Either I haven’t found the button yet, or its not enabled yet. So deal with the wall of text.

Quick review of my methodology: Good and Bad are things that are important that this game, still in development, is currently doing well or poorly at Then we move on to Ugly and Tilt. These are the things that this game, still in development, are doing that are more personally relevant to me, but the community at large may or may not care about. Confused? Example: A Good for WoW would be its lack of hardware requirements – you could go down to Wal-Mart and buy a computer-in-a-box and run it. That’s good not for me necessarily, but for the games overall success – more potential customers equals more potential revenue. An Ugly for WoW would be the lack of player housing. That is something that me (and some other players, to be sure) think is important in an MMO – but clearly its not hurting WoW any. Got it? Away we go:

The Good

Graphics and Sound: While Rift isn’t quit playable by a Wal-Mart “Compy In The Box”, it comes pretty close. And boy do they make it count. I’ve read other reviews that have said they thought the quality of combat animations and sound were poor. I have to wonder if we have been playing the same game. The ranger summons his pet and lightning arcs back and forth between him and the ground. Dual wielding rogues handling daggers in reverse grip style spin and twist through their combat moves. Call forth an armor buff for your warlock and a dark cloud coalesces around your torso. The land itself is gorgeous, with blowing wind, raining meteors or catapulted rocks, foreboding clouds. Enemies drip malevolence. On the sound end – bows twang, bombs explode, war cries abound. In this one area I will admit I was not 100% satisfied, but I have high standards. My computer is decked out in SoundBlaster gear, and I have high quality speakers and headset. And I could use just a bit more “oomph” when my blades strike home, a little more “click, click, boom” when I detonate my bombs. Even if it launches as is though, its hard to beat. I love the way it looks and sounds. Its worth mentioning too that the game is mostly glitch free at this point. I’ve only encountered two, and both were minor ones that did not impact my overall experience in any significant way.

The Calling/Soul Class System: This is hands down my favorite part of Rift, and a big reason why I like the game. I admit that its hard to get the hang of – you will probably find yourself restarting your character at least once as you uncover how you want to play and what combinations really move you. But its worth it. Once you get it fitted just right – you don’t want to stop. I tanked it up, something I haven’t done in a while, with a Riftblade/Reaver/Paragon combo. Savage dual-strikes, ranged pulls, sweet buffs, and a variety of damage types just made my day. What about healing? You like to do it WoW style in cloth armor, from a distance, with hardcore ranged DPS to go along with it? Rift has you covered. Prefer the ranged DPS, but still feel the urge to save lives? Take two randed DPS souls and one healer type soul. Want to heal, but prefer to mix it up inside with a big hammer? Check. Want to do all three – YOU CAN. Yep. Roles – you can have up to four sets of three souls, with points distributed differently for each of them. Get tired of one, or need to tweek it? Pay a little coin to reset the soul points and start over. I’ve been able, so far, to recreate my favorite class from every MMO I’ve played. That means alot to me. And given the number of roles, soul trees, and three part combinations you can inact – multiple viable builds will be running at any given time. There’s always a flavor of the month, of course, but don’t expect to see it all the time. Not in Rift.

Developers Who Listen: Before you cry that this isn’t part of the game itself, hear me out. I would normally put this down as the Tilt, but I really do think this is one of the strengths of Rift. Trion came up with a vision for this game, but they didn’t lock it in stone. They seem to feel that you, the player, have some stake in the game and how it should be played, and the direction it should take. Crazy! Madness I tell you! Insanely good madness. Something that other developers need to take notice off. Trion’s flexibility especially shines next to the opaque rigidness of Bioware. In a year that will probably end up with about four top shelf MMO releases, this may very well be the thing that puts Rift in the driver seat. The transparency alone that has been set up in the Beta events and game testing is refreshing and inspires confidence. With Rift, you know what you are going to get if you order the game now. And if not, you probably know someone who can give you lots of good first hand information about the game. That’s good – because MMO’s, to be successful, require long term buy-ins by the players. They need to feel at home and they need to feel that they are an important part of the game’s success. Even if you are not satisfied with how Rift is looking and feeling now – can there be any doubt that it will continue to improve and develop? This makes Rift’s future very, very bright.

The Bad

The World of Telara: When I learned that Jon Van Canegham had left Trion, I fretted a little. Of all his many accomplishments, the one thing that is sometimes overlooked is his skill as a worldbuilder. You can feel his touches around the edges of Telara – magic and technology blended, otherworldly forces at play – these are his trademarks. But there is something that his worlds have always had in the past that is lacking – a touch of humanity. In a place where incredible magitech machines whirl, winged angels speak bravely, and powerful heroes clash, one wonders about the little things. I’ve yet to come across someone who could sell me anything other than planar goods or basic traveling and crafting supplies. Enjoy playing that hard hitting cleric from above? I hope you like doing it with your giant two handed mace – because there’s nothing else for you to wield. Enjoy that spear of fire your Void Knight hefts? I hope so, because its the only spear your going to get. Don’t expect to save any crying orphans or find a lost dog – those things are simply unimportant with a world on the brink of apocalypse. Its hard to find someplace that isn’t touched by madness, just to catch your breath a little. It feels at times as if the entire world is so intent on going to hell in a handbasket that they are doing it with an overdeveloped case of ADHD. Of these two problems – a lack of gear and item flexibility and an at times irritating Spike and Chester mentality, the first is what hurts the most. Particularly alongside what is the most comprehensive character development system in an MMO today. Hopefully this is something we will see improvement on – but I’m doubtful. It seems to be the trend today to put a severe limit on items and gear. WAR is perhaps the harshest, and TOR will certainly be carrying WAR’s torch as well in that area. As for the second half – maybe I just haven’t advanced to the safe areas yet. I’m a slow leveler and an explorer – so it takes me awhile to meander the paths that others blaze through. But again, somehow, I’m doubtful.

The Guardian Starting Area: Oh wow. Where do I began? A cramped forest full of red-aggro mobs, packed so tightly together you cannot walk through without drawing at least one, usually more than one, of them too you. And of so many flavors that your irritation isn’t softened by the fact that at least you are advancing your quest. And then – unlike the Defiant starting area – to add insult to injury – you have to fight your way back through the forest to turn in the quests and then – yep – back through them again for the next set of quests, who’s mobs are even deeper in said forest. Now toss in the rampant battlefield full of sets of 5+ mobs who will aggro on you in force if you are not careful. As if in tacit agreement with this assessment, at one point, your quest receiver offers to fly you back across the battlefield, so you don’t have to wade through all that again. On the one hand, its good, because it is dynamic and immersive. But its mostly bad, because you’re supposed to be the Ascended savior of the world – and I can pretty much guarentee you will be dying multiple times to peons. On top of that, the Guardians need some work overall. They come off as so smug and self righteous you almost have to like being the bad guy to play them. Some character depth and most directly – some doubts, injected into their overall personality schemes, would be welcome. This faction and this area specifically needs some work, and if it doesn’t get some, I’d be willing to bet that you see server populations migrate over to the Defiants en masse.

The Ugly

The Big City – Bring It On: It drives me bananas that games these days that games feel that I’m not able to handle any sort of social environment until I’ve played through the first 20 or so levels of their game. Since the social environment exists in that time period whether game designers want it to or not, basically it just compresses everything into the global general chat channel. And global general chat channels are dumpster fires that need to disappear from MMO’s altogether as far as I’m concerned. I’m not sure what genius dreamed them up in the first place (or why). To be fair, Rift is not the only game that has fallen into this trap. EQ2 continues to progress along this axis of evil. Take a tip from AoC – put a big city in ASAP. Waiting longer doesn’t acclamate new players better – it makes it that much harder.

A Dynamic World: There’s two sides of this coin, so you are going to see this appear again directly below in Tilt too. The downside of this coin is that the world is not quite dynamic enough yet. The rifts are dynamic. The PvP is dynamic. The world, though, is not dynamic, not yet. It could be that endgame gives us the ability to trash cities and invade opposing factions or lock rifts out of a certain area for a certain time period (or force rifts open on our enemies for a certain time period), but at times if feels like the world is as static a place as it has been in other MMO’s. I’ve pondered long and hard about whether or not a dynamic world is even possible in an MMO that is not sandbox style. And I’m not sure it is. The cost of this fourth pillar – as I’ve mentioned before, may be too much of a price to pay if you want to keep things simple enough for really large numbers of subscribers.

The Tilt

A Dynamic World: On the other hand…just as I am loathe to take Bioware to task for their story limitations, I’m loathe to take Trion to task for their dynamic world limitations. The truth is that this is a giant step in the right direction. Meteors don’t just sail through the sky, they land…on you. And they will hurt you. Sparkles everywhere indicate small vignettes waiting to be played out – a book to be added to your collection, an altar to pray at, a source stash to buff you, a cleric willing to bless you. I’ve played through the starter areas several times each – and I’ve seen a new mob or received a new quest everytime I’ve done so. And not just mundane things. I’ve rounded a corner expecting the usual mobs only to see the usual mobs locked in mortal combat with a giant mob I’ve never seen before. The devs love to take control of the world and drop random stuff on your head – and I don’t think that’s going to stop with Open Beta. Some of these things are so subtle, players are missing them. I saw on player freaking out because a spirit was following him in a starter area – turns out it was a temporary pet that was given to him as an unannounced quest reward. Someone runs into a base camp half dead with a mob in tow and the general goods vendor will draw cold steel and lend a hand. Seen that before? Me either.

Its Fun: There is something just plain fun about Rift. Perhaps its the fact that I get to tackle quests and enter groups with the abilities I’ve always wanted. Maybe its the dynamic content littered through the beautiful countryside. Cynics will say its just the sheen of a new game, and they might be right. But I don’t think so. Its influenced my decision to buy this game in an inprecedented way. I’m actually going to be shelling out for the Collector’s Edition. The only other time I’ve done that was for Vanguard…a year after it launched…because it was on clearance for $20. Any game that can get me to not only buy it, but spend extra to do so has a thumbs up in my book.

In closing, I’d also like to give a personal thanks to two of Trion’s finest. First of all Scott Hartsman, who continues to be patient with my questions and has been diligent in his quest to give players something they will enjoy. Second of all, Dave, one of the animation team, who I had the pleasure of chatting and questing with recently (do you know how handy it is to encounter a minor bug, and, rather than reporting it, having a group mate who can lean back in his chair and yell over to someone to fix it?), who seems to genuinely enjoy what he has helped to build. People like them will be the building blocks of Trion’s continued success.

Rift: I like it.

Yeah, I’m long overdue for a post about my Beta experiences.  But its taking a long time to write and rewrite and try to capture how I’m feeling about the game.  So if you want the long version, check the post tomorrow.  If you want the short one, the “tl;dr” one, here it is:

I like Rift.  I think its a good game.  I think the developers have listened to feedback and adapted accordingly.  I think it has a very bright future. 

No, its not the complete package.  Yes, it still needs some work to really lay hold of that “dynamic world” dream.  Yes, the actual gameplay is not a brand new bag.

But there is a lot to love here, and alot of good precedent has been set in the development process that is reassuring and tells me that I like where this game is trending to in the future. 

ETA:  No, I have not read Massively’s hands on impressions yet.  And they did not prompt this post.  I prompted this post because I am tardy in putting up my review.

State of My Game: November

I’ve been thin on content lately my friends – I had a large family wedding this weekend and this week a dear friend passed away, so I have been neck deep in friends and memorial arrangements.  Here’s where I’m at:

EVE Online 

I should be back in the fold as of tonight.  I have plans and alot of future posts planned about those plans, so stay tuned.  Mostly I’m excited to strap into that badass Command Cruiser and put it to good use in the coming PVE events in Incursions (when it finally drops I suppose).  Also on the docket – T2 missiles and projectile weapons.  Its time to diversify into the world of Minmatar.  Kudos to EVE Online’s re-sub discount, its one of the reasons I’m back.

Fallen Earth

I am back in here as well, working my way through some content to catch up with my brother.  Mostly I have my eyeballs on crafting though, as usual.  I have a severe case of motorcycle envy, and and even worse case of submachinegun/shotgun envy.  I’m trying hard not to blow all my points on Pistol to have one  *now*.  Kudos to Fallen Earth for their re-sub discounts.  Its one of the main reasons I’m back.  Seeing a  trend here?

Star Trek Online

I am around 700 skill points shy of my Nebula and Akira.  After that, I have no idea what, if anything, I will be doing in the game.  I continue to be intrigued by Diplomacy though.   Part of my slow progress in the game has been spending time (without spending Credits, because I know I will need them for the non-free Tier 3 ship) stringing together enough Diplo XP to open up more missions.  I’d really love to see them spend more time in that category.  I enjoy the space battles and land battles, but I need the exploration and conversational stuff thrown in to break up the monotony that can come from having an MMO where your skill bar has less than ten buttons on it instead of the normal thirty or so.  One other request Cryptic – and a small thing I never thought I would miss – color code the quests by level.  As it currently stands you have no way of seeing, until the quest is in your log, its difficulty relative to you.  Gimme that old “grey to red” colorscale to help me sort them all out, m’kay?

Rifts: Planes of Telara

There may or may not be an Alpha.  It may or may not have an NDA.  I may or may not be in it.

Everquest II

I haven’t been playing but I’m excited.  My wife and I’s ten year anniversary is upcoming.  She asked me last week what I wanted.  And I jokingly said “play some games with me.”  She pursed her lips and replied “one night?”  I said, “one for each year of marriage.”  She frowned.  “Okay,” I admitted, “I’m open to some negotiation here.”  If it happens, and it looks like it might, this would probably be where we would play.  No extra money, its pretty vanilla in terms of system, not alot of grieving going on, etc.

Pirates of the Burning Sea

Goes F2P this month, and it will be on like Donkey Kong.

The Reincarnation

I continue to urge you to this free warhorse of a game.  Its been going on for over a decade now, and is fantastic.  We are currently neck deep in a two front war, and about to open a third.  Its my third or fourth set leading our guild, and we have truly grown into a veteran war guild.  Despite the two front war, we have lost only one mage to each of those opponents, while slaying multiple foes on each front in response.  And another two will probably be dead before the day is out.  If you like strategic PvP, this is the place for you.  I imagined that would apply to alot of you EVE pilots out there…

So that’s it.  Add in my long reading list and my neglected novel for NaNoWriMo, and you’ve peeked inside my world this month.  Was it good for you?