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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dubhs first Warfront experience

Dubh had her first Warfront experience last night, in The Black Garden.

Being level 29, and having had warfronts available since level 10, it was about time that I got my hands dirty, and tucked into some battleground style PvP.  Also, since I'm on a PvP server, and had a novel experience with a member of the opposing faction (more on that in a bit), and will be moving into zones that are more heavily contested and will require actual PvP, I figured I'd better get myself a PvP soul.

Now, PvP souls cost 2500 "favor". "Favor" is a currency that is earned by doing Warfronts, similar to WoWs Honor.  Ergo, time for some Warfronts.

But first, let me relate my little experience with a Guardian named Ysera.  I was finishing up questing in Rock Ridge, and was ready to make a move back to the first portal in the zone, when I spied a character with red over their head, moving distinctly not like a NPC and beating down on a Defiant.

I spied them, they spied me back.  This was a Guardian, named Ysera and was level ??, which implied she would have been at least level 40.  Well, when you're looking at a boss level Ysera, and she's looking back at you, what do you do?  You run, that's what you do.  So I tried to do a dodge around the quest hub building.  There was one other Defiant Ascended there, who had also spied Ysera, and was looking to make a run for it as well.  Ysera came bounding around the corner on her swift mount. Doh!  Switch back and run the other way.  Luckily, I was a bit quicker than the other guy, or perhaps Ysera just latched on to him first.  Either way, Ysera changed targets and was beating him down, while I plodded down the river on my two headed tortoise.

And then the surprise.  In chat, from Ysera was "So sorry. Guild quest =/".  There's a guild quest that requires you to kill members of the opposing faction, of a minimum level.  I think you need to kill about 50.  This can be completed in warfronts with killing blows, but Ysera was a bit old fashion, and doing it old school, by ganking toons at a much lower level.

Of course, the shock for me was understanding the the Guardians speech.  As one of the guildies said, "This is not WoW", but still factions is factions, and that was a toon named Ysera! For the uninitiated, Ysera is the dragon aspect of Life in WoW, and plays a major part in the liberation of Mt Hyjal from the Twilight Cult.  Now that I know that, I'm going to have to do some trash talk macros, or even a trash talk addon, when addons become available, just so I can hit a button and convey some general feelings of fear, sarcasm, taunting, gloating and congratulations without having to type a whole bunch of stuff during a fight.  "Did you mum pack your lunch when she packed that knitting needle you call a sword?". "For Pony!".  Stuff like that.

Anyway, running away, surprised by the speech, I felt too exposed on my tortoise.  So I did was any running Kelari does.  Shift to a camouflaged fox form and run further, being very hard to spot.  It did work a treat.

Now, back to the Warfront experience.

It took quite a while to actually get in one.  Queue times were reporting an average time of 4 minutes, but my wait, while I quested, was more like 30 minutes, before I gained access.

Now the goal of The Black Garden is to pick up a fang in the middle of the warfront, and hold on to it for as long as possible, accumulating points.  However, the longer you hold it, the more damage it does to the holder, so you need to pass it off to someone else, heal up, heal them, defend them, etc.  The first team to 500 points wins.

Well, none of that mattered.  We got pants'd.  Not sure if there were just more active players on the Guardian side, or perhaps they were just better at it.  They snatched that fang, and hung on to it to the tune of 500 points to our 50.  I think I managed to kill one person, and died about 5 times before it was all over.  I did manage to get 50 favor for the experience.  50 more matches like that, and I can get my PvP soul.

I think I'm going to have to have a look at the other souls available to find something a bit better for warfronts.  Justicar/Shaman/Druid doesn't seem to do it, or perhaps I have points in the wrong tree.

Tonights homework will be warfronts, and foraging up to 115 so I can collect stuff in the new zone that I've entered now that I've made the milestone of level 30.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spec change for Dubh, and RIFT PvP

One the weekend, I had a thought to do something more useful with Dubhs third zero-point soul.  She was working with Justicar / Sentinel / Purifier, and it was becoming clear that this Cleric build was never going to be an instance healer.  So I swapped Purifier for Druid to get access to the pet Fae that will heal and attach along side you.

That was pretty cute, but then I went one step further, and dropped Sentinel for Shaman.  As it happens, the Shaman would appear to have stronger attacks than the Justicar, but I do like the survivability of the shield wielding Justicar, and the usefulness of the block buff.  As a result, my rotation has changed somewhat.  Now, I make sure if have 4 points in conviction for emergency heals, through a shield bash in for increased block, and generally spam the shaman DoT and instance damage abilities, for a lot more health back that I was getting with Justicar.  The downside is that I no longer have any direct heals, but that seems to be okay so far.

Last night, I had my first RIFT PvP experience.  I was about level 27 and questing around the northern end of the Scarlet Gorge.  I had grouped with a rogue who had a pet boar.  I'm inclined to say hunter, but I'm not familiar with the rogue souls, so it could have had some other name.  Anyway, he was level 29. We were scooting pretty quickly through the quests, when all of a sudden my action bars went dead, and I was hit with a debuff that I vaguely recall being "All hope is lost", or perhaps it was just "Lost Hope".  Either way, a few seconds later, I was cactus.

I had fallen victim to a Guardian gank.  A lvl34 and 2 lvl29s were having a bit of a romp in the general vicinity, and decided to give us a bit of hassle.  After the third gank, I was ready to log, but we tried one more time to complete our quests, with success.

I've heard that PvPers hate clerics.  Apparently, we're overpowered and really hard to pull down.  I guess I'm playing the wrong way, because I only had time for 2 hits before I was sliced to shreds, against that lvl34.  I guess this is the point of PvP.  Be ready for anything at any time, even ganking and griefing by goons that are 5 levels or more above you.

Tonight will be a bit of a maintenance night.  That is, I'll be putting a hold on levelling via questing in favour of getting my butchering up to speed so I can actually collect things in Scarlet Gorge (seem to need at least level 85 in butchering), and helping out the guild quest of closing 100 rifts so we can get to guild rank level 2.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Dubh of Nyx

I'd like to introduce my second RIFT character that I've been playing this week, Dubh of Nyx.

Much like her previous WoW counterpart, Dubh is a female elf, of the Kelari tribe.  Anion used to be called Dubh when she lived on Malygos.  Dubh of Nyx is a cleric, and is currently a Justicar with minor participation as a Sentinel and Purifier.  As Dubh starts to get more access to the other souls and multiple talent builds, she may decide to even become a Druid, just as she was on Malygos and Aman'Thul.

Justicar is a pretty fun soul to play.  It's a melee healer, which means I get to get in on the action, casting my offensive spells to build up Conviction.  As I cast each heal, my Conviction count drops, so I have to temper my heals with a rotation of attacks to make sure I always have some sort of healing available.  Dubh is only at level 15, at the moment, and hasn't wandered into the PvP zones yet.  Freemarch is a pretty good place to try out the Justicar soul.

A big part of RIFT is participation in closing rifts, shutting down footholds and chasing off invasions.  And one of the great things about RIFT is the Public Group.  If you see a rift open on the map and there are people anywhere in the vicinity, you get a Join Public Group button at the top of the screen, then can join up and participate!  Rifts tend to have several stages, with different goals.  Usually it's always kill the bad guys, but occasionally there's a time limit.  For each stage, depending on your participation, you get Planarite as a currency, and if you collect enough of that, you get to trade it in for rare armour and weapons.

Anyway, one of the things you'll want to do, as a cleric, during a rift event, is heal a bunch of people all at once.  And for this, we have the Sentinel soul.  So far, I have minimal points in my Sentinel soul, and no points in my Purifier soul.  However, even with that, I have a group heal that will heal up to 10 people in my immediate vicinity.  I'm fairly certain Purifier gives me a basic heal that will heal a single person, and Justicar gives me a self heal, a damage reducing/absorbing shield (like PW:S) and the ability to self heal on melee strikes (a very weak Seal of Light that applies just to me).

That's a pretty good range of healing abilities, and seems to suit really well for the starter area.  However, when I move into the contested zones, I may have to step up my game.  I'll also need to consider different builds for battlegrounds (PvP/Sentinel), and for instances (Purifier/Sentinel).

Currently, I just tend to mention two trees.  At these lower levels, you tend to become jack of all trades, master of none, if you spread too evenly.  At later levels, when points for soul allocation before plentiful, I'll be more likely to introduce points to the third tree for extra utility, or adding basic shifts in stats and abilities.

I'm actually finding my time as a cleric more enjoyable than a warrior, so I may end up sticking with that for a while longer.

At this point, I've picked up Foraging, Apothecary and Butchering as my professions.  I may end up dropping Butchering and take up Runecrafting, but I need to have a bit more of a look and see what it's all about.

Pathak of Nyx

I'd like to introduce Pathak of Nyx.  He's not moved to a new realm, he's been made flesh in a new dimension, in particular, the Planes of Telara.  That's right, I've jumped on the RIFT bandwagon.

Pathak has taken the form of a Bahmi Warrior.  Currently, he embodies the soul of the Paladin, Void Knight and Reaver, although he's sticking to Paladin as much as possible, with excess points spilling into Void Knight.  I've decided to go with this spec, since I was very much enjoying the sword and board antics of a PvP Prot Warrior in WoW.  The RIFT Paladin seems to reflect a WoW Prot Warrior more than a WoW Prot Paladin, with my primary focus on giving things a backhand with the shield.  Eventually, I'll be dropping the Reaver soul, and will take up a PvP soul.  However, it's very early days, and from what I've read, there may be opportunity for some sort of stored spec facility, where I can swap between different Soul configurations.

Pathak is currently level 14 (or 15, I forget, it was very late when I finished up last night), and is enjoying his jaunts around Freemarch.  Nyx is a PvP server, though there hasn't been much PvP to speak of yet, aside from the occasional Guardian invasion, which is usually an elite NPC followed by a bunch of lackeys, tearing up your country side.

It's early days with Professions, too.  So far, I've picked up mining and armorsmithing.  I've also seen herbing, butchering, and weaponsmithing.  I'm going to assume that there's some sort of tailoring, cooking and leatherworking, and perhaps even jewelcrafting, since I came across some shiny gems.  I'm going to keep my options open for that third profession until I've seen a lot more of Freemarch.

But I do want to mention Salvaging!  It's an awesome ability for a character to basically deconstruct certain items, like armour, into base crafting materials.  It certainly beats the pants of Disenchanting!

I'm having fun wandering around and discovering things in game, rather than alt-tabbing to a wiki or community site.  Eventually, I'll probably start looking external information when I start dying a lot.

The RIFT UI seems pretty nice, and is fairly usable in it's current form.  I'm not sure that I'd want for any addons, should they be available.  I haven't done any instances yet, so I'm not sure what happens with threat meters.  One of the nice features of the UI is the layout editor.  With this, I can change the position of various frames on the screen. You can also scale individual frames.  From the Display menu, there is a global scale, if the whole display seems a bit big.  Also go searching for options to make the additional action bars appear on the screen.  It probably won't be long before I change my RIFT UI to look more like my WoW UI, with my unit frame, target frame and target of target frame as the base of the screen, next to the action bars.

I'm not sure about how many alts I will, or can have.  I'll be creating a healing cleric at some stage, and maybe switching between the two, to take advantage of the rested bonus xp mechanism.

For all the reports that RIFT is like WoW, I'd go so far as to say, it resembles DDO and LoTRO as well, especially with the UI and professions.  Then again, that may just be a reflection of my limited MMO experience.  Fours years spent in one MMO, with limit experience in other MMOs such as Guild Wars, DDO, LoTRO and Battle of the Immortals does not an expert make.  Eitherway, I'm having fun in a new game with new mechanic and am actually taking time to read the quest text!

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Just Joker-ing

Once again, I got bored with PvP on Pathak. Not so much bored with the PvP, but a little lonely that there was no one else in the guild, online, that also liked to do a bit of PvP. It doesn't help that I usually only play from 10pm to midnight, but there you go.

So I took a visit back to Barthilas to complete leveling Misnomer to 85, and perhaps level Chewychop, my fledging goblin warrior, because, you know, I want to do some more prot warrior PvP.  Prot Warrior PvP for battlegrounds is in a really good place right now, although I don't know how that will be when 4.1 gets released, given am increase in the cooldown of Spell Reflection from 10s to 25s.

Anyway, the guild I'm in on Barthilas is Joker.  The guild leader was taking a long break when I first joined during one of their random recruiting drives.  For a while, before Cataclysm, it was quite fun.  There was always a bit of banter on guild chat, and people doing this and that.  I think the plan was that things would "kick in" when Cataclysm hit and there would be raiding (and cake).  There was even a guild launch event to level like mad buggers on Cataclysm launch day.  Being a bit of a world PvP chicken, and also having to contend with long realm queues, just to log in, I contented myself with Aman'Thul at that point.

Anyhoo, I'm back on Barthilas, slowly getting through the levels (via Hyjal, Deepholme and Uldum), and then I log in one day to see a guild notice: "joker no longer active, active joker members encouraged to join Tricky".  Sad face.  For an inactive guild, it's not a bad place to be, if you ignore to lack of people online at any one time (or perhaps just when I'm on).  At the time of the message, it was a level 13 guild, and Misnomer was half way through Friendly, and nearly at my weekly guild rep cap.

So earlier this week, the night following maintenance, and the resetting of the guild rep cap, I put a bit of an effort into getting Honored with the guild, before it shut down.  And why?  Worn Stoneskin Gargoyle Cape, is why.  Misnomer did a little farting around with the Argent Tournament, but not enough to end up getting some BoAs to help with leveling.  This cape will do Chewychop just fine, as she makes here way through the new, yet old content.

So now Chewychop has a BoA cape.  And Dubh has the +int one as well.  I haven't bothered picking up the agi one, although if I ever do level my horde hunter, I'll get honored with another guild, assuming Joker has been dismantled, or I'm no longer in that guild.

Which brings me to my dilemma.  Joker just hit level 14, with the few people that are still leveling in it.  That's a 10% increase in tradeskill points, on top of the rep and honor bonuses that are available.  I don't mind the solo play, since I've been doing it for close on 5 months now, and 10% honor bonus would come in really handy if I even do get to 85 with Chewychop.  Should I stay or should I go?

At the moment, I think I'll stay, until at least 4.1, when Looking For Guild tools are introduced.  I haven't really taken too much notice of the interface, but I think there are basic things like PvP, Leveling and Casual, which is pretty much my style of play.  Chewy is only getting 1 point of guild rep per quest at the moment, so it's no great loss , if I don't leave Joker and join with another guild.

To Windsoar, With Love.  Thanks for the passive prod to put a post up.  Maybe I'll give those other guides a good read, and do something about that white on black rendering.