RIFT Grindhouse: Post-60

March 31, 2013 - 2:58 am No Comments

rift grindhouse

Raptr shows me as playing RIFT more than World of Warcraft now, which of course is only true over the last year of actually using Raptr because I’ve probably got another 2000+ hours in WoW (and, in fairness, at least another 5-600 hours in RIFT) pre-dating my Raptr use. It does show that RIFT dominated March – logging 310 hours played. Somewhere around 10 hours a day played, so if any developer out there needs a play tester just drop me a line!

Anyway, it’s safe to say I’ve established myself in RIFT again and I’ve spent the majority of those 300 hours playing post-60 level cap. I’ll be honest, I haven’t really been playing my level 60 all that much – altoholism has hit me very hard this go-round. I started leveling my Defiant rogue and my Guardian Warrior under the assumption I’d be splitting my time raiding on Wolfsbane and carousing around Faeblight. Things changed and now I’ve got three characters at 55 or higher, including two rogues. But I’ve learned a bit more about leveling up to help you the readers out. Read through the cut for more about that and a handful of discoveries I’ve made about RIFT post-60.

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Sixty: Storm Legion Endgame

March 9, 2013 - 4:07 am No Comments

Sixty-Storm Legion Endgame

Reaching the Cap Again

Raptr says I’ve logged 89 hours in the last week. That’s insane – although, in fairness, a lot of that time was spent  staring at the character select screen. Still, it took about 10 days, or about 35 hours, to go from 50 to 60 with a plentiful bounty of rested experience along the way. Of course, I forgot about my veteran pots. The grind was not nearly as bad as I expected; in fact, it was quite fun getting back into the game, using a new soul, and generally plowing my way through hordes of carnage, story, and daily quests.

It wasn’t all kill beasts and find porticulums though. Along the way there were plenty of planar mobs to kill. Invasions seem to be significantly more common than in vanilla RIFT. Footholds are common and rifts are opening all over the place. While carnage quests are the bread and butter of the grind to 60, there is plenty of variety to keep a person busy and engaged. Overall, the experience from 50 to 60 was massively enjoyable and a far car from the “same old, same old” grinds of other MMOG expansions. Read through the cut for more on the grind, dimensions, and what there is to do once you hit sixty.

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Return to Telara

February 24, 2013 - 10:03 am No Comments

Return to Telara

The Storm Legion Beckons

Yeah, I’m game hopping. What of it? I just can’t seem to find a game right now that can command my attention for more than a few weeks at a time. After enjoying a short jaunt back in Azeroth (six max level characters later), I spent a little time maxing out a single character in Tyria. It was good fun, but both just got boring. So round and round the MMOG wheel spins, and now I find myself smashing away at the armies of the Storm Legion in RIFT‘s first expansion. To Telara we go!

After about 30 hours spent in game over the last week there’s a few things I’ve figured out. One: I’ll likely never be inclined to get into the number-crunching of spec building this time around – it’s just too time consuming and I just want to play right now. Two: while the new continents offer great quests and the carnage missions are like free xp, the vast amount of total xp required to level makes the journey to 60 one of the longer grinds in any expansion I’ve played recently. Lastly: I really miss raiding! Read on for the review of my return to Telara.

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Introducing Die by the Blaster!

December 21, 2011 - 7:07 pm No Comments

Hello everyone! Thanks for visiting.

In the same fashion as Die by the Arrow, I’ve started a blog, Die by the Blaster, that will feature my exploits in STAR WARS: The Old Republic and will focus on the ranged damage expert class, Imperial Agent Sniper. I will be providing leveling, build, and play-style advice. As always, it will be aimed towards mastering the end-game without bringing that “elitist” mentality, keeping things easy enough for and relevant to the average player. Along the way I will touch on Sith Inquisitors and general SWTOR gameplay and features.

In the next couple days I will be commenting on the first 30 levels or so of the game, featuring hotspots on Hutta, Dromund Kaas, Balmora, and Nar Shaddaa. I’ll drop some tips on the best way to solo and my planned build for level 50.

Check out the blog and subscribe to the Die By the Arrow Network Twitter and Facebook page for updates.

Chronicle of a Quarter Century

November 28, 2011 - 6:29 pm No Comments

While I can’t say that I’ve overly enjoyed the time I’ve spent in Japan, I can say there have been moments when I was overjoyed to be here. The Tokyo Game Show. The Akihabara (aka. Electric City). School girl outfits… eh, sorry, off topic there.

I recently took a trip back to Rapongi. I hadn’t been there since 2007 when I first arrived here in Japan. We came across the Mori Art Museum advertisement and I saw the poster for “The Dragon Quest Chronicle of a Quarter Century” and I immediately said out loud, “Oh, I’ve GOT to see this.” Something like ¥6000 later for my family of four, we were looking at gaming history. Hit the jump to read about my journey through 25 years of Dragon Quest history.

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Playing Rogue: Ranger

November 4, 2011 - 10:34 pm No Comments

Playing Rogue: Ranger

Way of the Hunter

With all the buzz about Marksman, the former standard for Rogue ranged DPS – Ranger (no, we don’t really count the Sabo as ranged DPS here!) – has been a bit under-represented. Before the changes 1.5 brought to Marksman, Ranger was the only Rogue soul that truly excelled at arrows and bullets combat. The Sozu ranger build was king and Marksman was merely a laughed about sub-soul to bring a purge to kill Uruluuk. Now the Marksman talk overshadows Ranger and little attention has gone their way.

There is hope for the pet loving players, however. The 39 point Deep Ranger build brings plenty to the table. In fact, this build can do comparable single target DPS to the 51 Marksman builds and even surpass them in fights with a lot of movement. The reason for this is that damage bonus is dumped into Shadow Fire, instead of Master Archer. Since Shadow Fire is a timed buff and not restricted to standing still, a Ranger on the move will beat out a Marksman on the move. Read through the cut for details on the 39 point Deep Ranger build.

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Addons Arrive – Let the Game Begin

October 6, 2011 - 12:42 pm No Comments

First Addons 1.5

While everyone is out and about mastering the new Marksman builds and giddily skipping along with massive amounts new-found DPS, another grand feature was added when patch 1.5 went live – addons! A mainstay in many MMOGs, addons have been in alpha testing on PTS for some time now, meaning there are already a good handful of addons available for download.

Trion and lead addon developer Zorba the Hut have been hard at work to bring us an awesome Lua API that is powerful enough to provide what we need without being too powerful and falling into the problems experienced by World of Warcraft. While the current slew of addons are nothing ground-breaking, they bring welcome customization to a Trion UI that has many failings. Hit the jump to get a feel for addons and find out what I’m currently using.

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Comprehensive 1.5 Marksman Guide

October 3, 2011 - 12:36 pm 10 Comments

Playing Rogue: Marksman

The Comprehensive 1.5 Marksman Guide

Thanks to changes in the 1.5 patch, Rogue DPS became a whole lot more versatile. Before this patch, the best ranged spec (as by the traditional bow/gun concept) a Rogue could come up with was the Sozu Ranger build. While this build pumped out respectable numbers, it was never anywhere close to the top of the chart. This left raiding rogues only two real options – the Hoko Sab or Sabdancer builds.

Since 1.5, Rogue DPS has become much more diverse for both melee and ranged. Rogues have been presented with a plethora of new builds; surprisingly, almost all of them have been within a few hundred DPS of each other. This has given Rogues a ton of options to use in end-game raiding. Marksman has come out of the gates with a huge reception, coupling giant DPS numbers and huge group utility. Read through the cut for the 1.5

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Early Opinions About 1.5 Changes

October 1, 2011 - 11:59 pm 1 Comment

By now we’ve had a lot of time to run our rogues through the paces. Dummy testing can only take build theorycrafting so far. It’s all about how hard your spec hits on the bosses, right? Well, here it is Saturday – River of Souls and Greenscale’s Blight are cleared. The numbers are in. What’s the good word? Marksman.


The Return of the Marksman

Yes, Marksman are back. They had the good life back in beta before an extremely heavy handed round of nerfs flattened them into the ground. Flavor of the month? Probably. Marksman are easily capable of pulling top DPS on a raid boss, although there is still heavy competition from warriors (especially Beastmasters). Within the calling, Marksman are shining way ahead of most melee specs, and this will likely cause the forum criers to draw a nerf. Is it fair? Probably. For now, Marksman are pure win.

One of the most important improvements to Marksman is gear scaling. My Defiant Rogue is sporting mostly T1 gear for the most part, while my Guardian Rogue shines in full T3 gear (T3 being raid T1). The difference in DPS is a good 500 or so. This is a great thing considering how poorly Rangers and Marksmen scaled in gear prior to 1.5. Before 1.5, the difference in DPS was barely 200. Those wearing Hammerknell gear are reporting numbers in excess of 1800 DPS – indicating each tier of gear is somewhere in the neighborhood of 200-300 DPS for a full set.

Coming Soon

I’ll have a full, detailed guide on the 51 Marksman build within the next couple days. Sure, there’s already a few on the official forums, but I’ll be explaining in more detail about the different options you have as a Marksman, including specs, rotations, buffs, and gear. Like I said before, in 1.5 we have a lot of viable options and don’t need to be cornered into a single build. I’ll also brush a few pet builds that may prove useful in fights with a lot of movement. Check back soon!

Patch 1.5: Rogue Revamp

September 29, 2011 - 12:43 pm 5 Comments

Playing Rogue: Builds

Patch 1.5 is here, and the news for Rogues is glorious. Nearly across the board, Rogues have seen an overall increase in DPS, utility, and tank capability. Like any major changes do, some of the current “best” builds have dropped off while others have remained strong. PVP implications aside, Marksman and Ranger have both seen vast improvements and with the addition of synergy crystals, Rogue ranged DPS has become absolutely raid ready.

After hours of testing on PTS and now hours spent testing on live, I’ve buttoned up several great ranged DPS specs focusing both on marksmanship and pets. Much has come out of my testing but I believe the best aspect is this: variety. There will of course be a top min/max build (which I will address), but more importantly there are several builds that are equally competitive in a raid environment. This opens up the opportunity for rogues to sport different builds on the raid to not only complement other classes, but each other as well. Read through the cut for the test results and first-look opinions of the 1.5 changes!

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