Over the last few days, I’ve had the opportunity to dive head first into RIFT’s Storm Legion expansion. Getting in was smooth as butter and the new world is fantastic. We can criticize and commentate all we want but at the end of the day, I love the expansion model. It brings such an influx of excitement and activity that it’s hard not to get swept up in it. Storm Legion is no different and my server, Greybriar, has just been popping. Everywhere you go, there are people enjoying themselves. And there are a lot of new things to enjoy! I’ve really only scratched the surface but I am very optimistic for what’s to come.
Vertical expansions are a lot about starting over, so I decided to dust off my cleric and give him a go. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve played him, so it was slow going at first and way different than playing my rogue. There is something about that class I really enjoy, though. Probably hitting things with maces. AH HIT STUFF GOOD HUR HUR. But really, the interplay of their souls makes them incredibly versatile if a bit more complex to jump back into after a year away. Thankfully the RIFT class forums now have a guide section, so I was able to get up and running quickly. It’s fitting, I think, tackling new lands and new adventures with the character I began it all with. Plus, being able to take on a small army of mobs and hardly losing any health is always fun.
After grabbing the quest, I headed to Cape Jule instead of Pelladane. It really wasn’t an informed decision because all I knew was that Dusken used a lot of purple and I’m not a fan. Cape Jule on the other hand is vibrant and lush with greenery. It’s a jungle with giant, spiky vines and mobs that aren’t just rehashes or old hat (mostly). I think I made the right choice because I want to explore.
Which, as it happens, really does pay off in Storm Legion. In my few hours of questing I’ve found at least a half dozen quests lying around. Usually they’re items you have to click on or imperiled citizens who didn’t realize they were actually terrible, terrible newbs. Between these, artifacts, achievements, and gathering nodes, there’s lots of reasons to go and get lost.
There are also more Carnage Quests than I really care to complete. Just about every mob-type I’ve killed so far starts one. I thought I would like these but the reality is they’re just grind trackers with rewards at the end. I’m hoping they really are optional and not an important part of leveling but experience gain is slower than I expected, so it’s a question to revisit down the line. On the plus side, the system is perfect for downtime because the adventurer’s currency can be exchanged for some great gear with awesome skins. The developers were honest (which is pretty normal with Trion – love those guys!), Carnage Quests are a way to reward plays for doing what they would be anyways, and all their progression systems tie in with it naturally. I look forward to seeing where else than can go with it.
I also go to try out a hunt rift. Intense would be an appropriate word. I didn’t know it was a new rift-type until afterwords, but playing through it meant facing wave after wave of invasion mobs on top of the normal wave spawns too. It was always “go, go, go” in a very good way. The way normal waves and the invasion-stoppers blended together made everything feel like it was on the edge and ready to fly out of control if I let up even a little. It straddled that red-line in just the right way and was a blast.
One thing I haven’t seen is dimensions. I know everyone was excited about this, and so was I, but I figured I’d take it naturally and wait for a quest or letter to come pointing me in that direction. As of yet, it hasn’t come so I’ll probably just head to Meridian to pick up my first one and play. I did get to visit the vendor in the first city. Prices for new items look cheap but I could see it becoming a big money sink for creative-types.
Another thing that I have to give Trion props for is the scope and beauty of their vision. The expansion is just VAST and everything is so BIG. I came to the first city in Pelladane and it’s literally bigger than all of Meridian and I would bet Sanctum. I keep my view distance cranked so I can stop and admire each vista as I come across it. Armors also seem to have taken a step up. I recall reading a Hartsman quote that pre-launch of v1.0, they couldn’t go out on armor and weapon models like they would have liked. I suspected that we’d see that rectified in their first expansion and I was right. Everything it much more elaborate, much more detailed, and not generic like many had feared. Kudos art team!
I know I’m gushing but that’s okay, I don’t mind. RIFT holds a special place with me. It’s the game that convinced me to start the RIFT Watchers podcast, the second ever to focus on the game. It allowed me to build a friendship with my co-hosts that still lasts today, to discover the ins and outs of editing and podcast “business,” to even have a role in forming a guild that would outlast its founders. (I killed a guy in conquest from that guild not long ago… I didn’t even know it was still around!). I even got prank called by Scott Hartsman from PAX (thanks to Jeremy!). It’s the only MMO other than WoW where I have multiple max level characters – I don’t do that! So even though I don my critic hat, I’m enjoying the simple act of enjoying this, and it’s easy to do.
As time goes on, I’m sure we’ll all discover things to have a critical discussion over. For now, ahem… GOOOOOOOOOOO STORM LEGION!