Amazingly Awesome War Front Report.

Ok, you know how much I like PvP, right?  And we all like videos, right?  Especially concerning PvP, right?

Well, take a look at this one from BFF!!

 

Great look at the two War Fronts in this week’s beta test.  I must say, that warrior ability is sweet.  No warrior in World of Warcraft can do that!!  Yeah, Rift kicks ass.

Advertisements

Beta Five Patch Notes!

Huge list of patch notes for tomorrows beta!

Continue reading

Let’s Set Aside the Game for a Moment and Talk About Trion.

In today’s post I want to set aside the game.  What I really want to do is talk about the company making the game, Trion Worlds.  Let’s forget about whether you like the game or not.  Maybe you love it, maybe you hate it but I think one thing should be agreed on by everyone who plays or follows MMOs.  That is, quite simply, Trion should be the model on how future developers interact with the community, run their beta and develop their game.  If you compare the development of Rift to WAR, Age of Conan or a whole slew of other MMOs pre-release, you will see a refreshing difference when it comes to how Trion does this.

The NDA

 

First, let’s talk about the NDA.  Mark Jacobs, formerly of Mythic Entertainment, had this to say about the NDA and the dropping of the NDA:

“As to NDAs, the rule I’ve always gone by is my “time before release rule” in order to judge the confidence the publishers have in their new game (doesn’t apply to ports or games that are already out in other places). I add a +1 for every week prior to release that the game’s NDA has been lifted and come up with a score. If <4, there’s a lack of confidence in the product, if you are >8, they really believe in the game. WoW had a great score (the highest I believe) and some of the MMOs that failed, had, as expected, low scores. A score of 4 is just about the minimum you should expect from a MMO publisher.”

I say he was right and his own game proves this.  Warhammer Online‘s NDA drop happened only a scant few weeks before the game went live.  We can now see that Mythic had little confidence in the game and rightfully so.  By contrast Trion dropped the beta NDA a full three months before release.  Now, it must be said, there is still an NDA covering the Alpha participants but I have seen very few MMOs allow beta players to talk so freely about their game so long before release.

Access to the Game Pre-Release

 

With the release of the newsletter last week, Trion opened the flood gates to the beta servers.  Each subscriber now has VIP access to the beta servers, which allow for automatic entry to every beta event.  In addition, each newsletter subscriber was given a VIP key that allows for 25 more people full access to the beta.

For all intents and purposes, the Rift beta is now completely open.  With the number of VIP keys available from the subscriber newsletter and websites like MMORPG.com giving away hundreds of keys everyone who wants in can get in easily.  Never have I seen such open access to a game this far out from release.  WAR went open beta just 11 days before release.  Age of Conan just 22 days before release.

Not only are they allowing unprecedented early access to the client but they are letting players see more of the game than most developers do.  The current beta client will allow leveling up to level 30 but future beta clients will allow access up to level 42, only 8 levels before the cap.  Age of Conan capped their beta to level 20 which, coincidentally,  is the exact level in which content ran out.  Trion is allowing access to the full world at each cap.  Dungeons are open, War Fronts are running, Rifts and invasions are running.  Bottom line, by the time the beta is ended you will know whether the game is worth buying or not.

 

Responsiveness to the Players

 

Trion has also set the precedent when it comes to listening to the players and responding to their complaints and suggestions.  Look at the list of things Trion has added, fixed or improved upon since the first beta client and you can not help but be impressed:

  • Players wanted to gain access to Souls sooner.  Trion completely changes the Soul acquisition system, making Souls easier to get and giving them the ability to get them sooner.
  • Players thought the combat was a bit too unresponsive.  Trion adds ability queues and changes the way key presses trigger abilities.  Combat is now much smoother.
  • Players thought Rogue energy regenerated too slowly.  Trion now allows energy to regen during the GCD.
  • Players thought that invasions and Rifts were not powerful enough and happened too infrequently.  Trion unleashes the events upon Telara.
  • Players wanted Open Groups ala WAR.  Trion puts them in.
  • Players complained about the lack of anti-aliasing.  Trion adds it.
  • Players complained about Tab Targeting.  Trion fixes it.

The list goes on and on.  They have even more in store for the future, fixes to Racial abilities, master looter and a whole slew of things that the community wanted.  Every developer claims to listen and many try but I have never seen a developer do so as quickly as Trion does.

Polish and Promises

 

I have talked about this before but I wanted to state it again; Trion promised only what they could deliver.  They did not promise the moon, only to have to pull features before release.  They under promised and over delivered.  Exactly the opposite of most developers.  The game, in its current state, is more polished, complete and bug free than WAR, AoC and even Aion was months after release.  It runs well, there is a distinct lack of bugs, all features are present and accounted for and everything works.  Compare this to most other MMOs on release and the difference is striking.

You May not Love the Game but You Should Love the Company

 

As I said above, you may not like Rift and that is fine.  Just like other MMOs, it will not appeal to everyone.  Some are looking for a game that is radically different from prior MMOs and if that is the case, no Rift will not appeal to you.  Some don’t like the graphics, the combat or the lore and that is okay too.  I understand that.  But, no matter what you feel for the game itself, every MMO player should love how Trion is handling this release.  It is the standard by which every other developer should be held accountable.

For too long we, as MMO players, have stood by and watched as developers released buggy, unpolished and incomplete messes onto the gaming public.  We watched as they hid their faults behind NDAs and open betas that just began a scant few days before release.  We watched as they promised to do anything and everything and then failed to deliver even the basics.

Finally, we may have a developer that does not do that.  That is not afraid to let players see what they have to offer pre-release and that is not above listening to player suggestions and then implementing them quickly.  Whether you like Rift or not, you should applaud that.

 

HorRIFTic Intentions Has 75 V.I.P. Beta Keys to Give Out!

Ok, I now have 75 (SEVENTY-FIVE!!!) VIP keys to give out for the Rift Beta.  To get one, all you need to do is post here using your main email address and I will send you one ASAP.   First come, first served!

 

Edit: Gonna be away from the PC for a bit but everyone who posts here before the 75 keys run out WILL get one.  Be patient as I send them out!

Great Rogue (Assassin) PvP Video from Beta Four

Thought I would post up this nice PvP video from Beta Four.  This was done on my server (Lotham) and is really a nice video.  Take a look:

 

You can find the thread where the creator talks about his spec and such right here.

 

Updated:  I meant Beta Four, not Five!

Fantastic Fan-Made Video Trailer for Rift

Check out this video!  Everything turned up and in HD.  This just looks fantastic!

 

I just have to laugh at the people who try to say that Rift has poor graphics.

Rift Beta Event 4 Almost Didn’t Happen For Me.

I live in an older apartment complex.  This has its upsides and downsides.  Upside is that the construction seems to be more sturdy and the walls are thicker, so I have less problems with noisy neighbors.  Downside is things like what happened last week.

I come home Thursday evening to find a note on our door from the apartment office.  Apparently, they have decided (in conjunction with my cable company) to rewire the complex or somesuch.  Because of this, my cable TV and my internet was scheduled to be down all weekend and into this week.  My cable company was giving me a discount on the bill but it would still mean that I would be unable to partake in Beta Event 4.  I, of course, was crushed.

Luckily, I remembered that my Droid 2 phone (through Verizon) could be used as a Mobile 3G hotspot.  Now I must admit, I had little hope in the speed or latency of the connection but it was worth a shot, right?  And, because of my work, I have unlimited data on my service.  Might as well try it!

Well, I am happy to say that my little Droid 2 and Verizon performed more than adequately.  I averaged 80-130MS latency throughout the entire weekend and only disconnected twice due to an incoming phone call.  The download speed for the patches was not near as fast as my cable connection but, other than that, it worked fine.  I must say, I am pretty impressed.  Good job Verizon!

So, as for the Event itself, it was pretty awesome.  I had decided, earlier in the week, to re-role to the Lotham server.  I had been playing on the RP=PvP server because that was one of the few without a queue last week and it was not a bad server but I am preferring Lotham.  I decided on Lotham because that is the server that most of Goon Squad had rolled on.  They are going Defiant there so I am going Guardian. I have a lot of memories from Goon Squad back on the Mal’Ganis server and I figure that I can relive some of those glory days on Lotham.

I first created a Cleric and went with the Warden/Inquisitor/Purifier spec and it seems to be a lot of fun and very effective for both leveling and PvP.  However, it is just not might style so  after hitting level 16 I dropped the character and made another Rogue.  This time I went with Saboteur/Assassin/Riftstalker and what a nice combination it is!  The burst damage is just insane.

My Saboteur! Ain't he pretty?

Most of my points are in Saboteur with the remaining points in Assassin for the +crit bonus and I can do an amazing amount of burst damage after applying my charges.  The strange thing  about the Saboteur is that you do no damage when applying your charges and then one large burst damage after detonating them.  The saboteur has a large number of different charge types, each has a different effect.  The first one you get, Blast charge, does a tremendous amount of single-target damage when detonated.  After that you get the Spike Charge which does burst and then a very large DoT to a single-target, the Shrapnel Charge which does a large amount of damage to the target and all targets around him and the Caltrop Charge which snares the target longer for each active Charge when it detonates.

In addition to the Charges, the Saboteur is full of other little tricks.  You have an Adhesive bomb which is a targetable AoE snare, a Fragmentation bomb which is AoE damage to the target and any targets around him and a Chemical bomb which is a targeted AoE ability.  All in all, the Saboteur is full of neat little tricks.

For the first few levels, you will find yourself just applying Blast charge five times and Detonating but as you get higher level, you will be mixing up the charges quite a bit especially in PvP.  I normally applied a couple of Blast Charges, then the Spike charge for the DoT and maybe a Caltrop charge for the snare.  Detonate that and you do a lot of burst damage with some DoT damage and you slow the target down.  Lots of fun and lots of room for experimentation dependent on the situation.

Combined with the Assassin’s Stealth and the Riftstalker’s teleport abilities, I was a highly mobile instrument of death.  None of the Saboteur’s abilities (except traps) have a cast-time so I could move around at will and never pause except for laying down a trap.  This suits my playstyle in PvP to a tee and was a lot of fun.

Speaking of PvP, we had our first look at Warfronts this weekend.  Warfronts are Rift’s version of battlegrounds in World of Warcraft or Scenarios in Warhammer Online. If you like those you will like Warfronts because there is little difference in the ones we saw.  The first, Black Garden is a fairly simple map in which you have to grab a “thing” (The Fang of Regulos) from the middle of the map and control it to receive points.  Of course, the other teams job is to take it away from you so the entire team is required to keep you up and healed.  In addition, the Fang itself places a DoT on you that gets worse as time goes on so heals are very important.  The Warfront is very similar to a few of the WAR scenarios.  So much, in fact, that it is time to revive a great comic strip that breaks down the objectives very well:

Someone needs to make a Rift version!

The Warfronts went really well but it is painfully obvious that Guardian is entirely outnumbered and by far the less popular of the two factions.  The queue time on the Guardian side was nearly instantaneous at all hours of the day and night but on the Defiant side it could take up to 20-30 minutes to get into a game.  There are simply too many Defiant and too few Guardians and it is really showing.  In addition, most of the big PvP guilds rolled Defiant and, in many cases, Guardian was simply outmatched.  Early in the weekend I lost almost every game I played but it evened out Sunday night to Monday morning and I went on a 17 game win streak.

I think that a few of the major Defiant PvP guilds should possibly reroll to Guardian for release.  This will make for a better experience for both sides.  Getting destroyed in every match is not fun but neither is winning every match with no competition and waiting for a long time for queue pops.  Hopefully, this will even out at release.  We shall see.

Other than that, the rest of beta was very smooth and Trion is continuously showing us new tricks with the Rifts.  The events this weekend seem less numerous than the prior weekend but they added some neat stuff to them.  The events now add a zone-wide sky change when they happen, which seems particularly ominous.  The entire sky turning red and the color scheme shifting to make it seem like the whole forest is on fire was pretty cool.  I was unable to partake in the Gloamwood events because of my level but I hear those are cool as well.

Its the End of Days!

Well, thats it for now but I intend to make another post soon about leveling and leveling without questing.  Hope to see you soon!