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.

Return to Telara

The Storm Legion expansion is a crazy ambitious expansion in any terms. The amount of increased play area is insane. Questing is fun again. The new soul adds to an already rich character development.Upgradable gear, cloaks, and bigger bags are all extremely welcome changes. And to top it all off, add-ons have greatly matured in the time I’ve been gone.

Questing

It seems the fast way to level is by running Instant Adventures all day long. Of course, the fastest way isn’t always the most fun way, but IAs are enjoyable at least for the daily quest’s worth. Questing in Storm Legion is just plain fun. Most of the missions you pick up from NPCs are story line related and thus offer back story and lore along with a healthy dose of rewards. Gone is the “go to NPC, pick up kill 15 enemies quest, kill enemies, return to NPC” repetition. Instead, now you pick up carnage missions as you run through your story quests. These carnage quests are standard kill xx enemies with the exception that there is no turn in or pick up. You simply kill an enemy (there will be a quest indicator on their name) and the quest is loaded. Kill enough to finish the quest and you’re done; all you do next is click a button on your screen to collect your reward. This idea is novel – you end up completing several carnage quests as you run along the course of the story. It’s a great and welcome change to the typical old-school questing model.

New Souls

I’ve only played my rogue so far, but the new Tactician soul is a treat. You get a freakin’ flamethrower! If the other classes got soul as well thought out as Tactician, the expansion is a success on that fact alone. Tactician is a great soul for rogue not just on its own but that it gels excellently with both the support and dps roles that rogues are famous for. Bard healing is massively enhanced by Tactician. Ranged dps is further enhanced, although it seems the 61 Marksman build handily out-perform the Tactician. Just for fun, a Ranger and Tactician build would make for some awesome soloing. As it stands alone, Tactician is a beast for soloing. My grind to 60 has been a breeze while slewing flame and snow on enemies while reaping passive healing off the damage I do. Great fun, I highly recommend it.

Playing the Interface

Add-ons have massively improved the interfacing with the game, and they have matured quite a bit in the last year. nkRebuff and Gadgets make creating the perfect UI a breeze and I spend less time looking at buttons and buffs and more time on the combat at hand. It’s not quite as smooth as Guild Wars 2, but it’s a big improvement over the stock interface. Zorba, the game’s lead ui developer, also seems thoroughly dedicated to improving the API used by addons. This is something I sorely miss in GW2, of course, seeing as how I love to play with my UI almost as much as I enjoy the game I play.

Raiding

I haven’t hit the level cap yet let alone geared up, but raiding is my most favorite part of an MMO. GW2 doesn’t have any. World of Warcraft’s raiding just hasn’t been fun since Wrath of the Lich King. I’m hoping that RIFT strayed away from the intense, no-nonsense mechanics that were present in Hammerknell because, well, Hammerknell just wasn’t any fun. I had only scratched Infernal Dawn, downing only the first boss. My hope is that I can dive right into 10-man raids and muscle in on a 20-man spot just as soon as I can cap and gear up. Check back here for a review of raiding once I do.

Skydiving

No more falling damage. Yes. Absolutely the best feature ever added to an MMO. I love climbing to heights and diving off. Not dying from the fall is that much better. Now if I could just get a flying mount…

What More to Come?

As I continue my grind towards 60, I discover more and more things I like about the new RIFT. It may not be the same game I’m playing in three months, but for now it is the game with the most of my attention. The dungeon queue hasn’t changed any, still an hour wait for dps or support, so I’ll report back when I get a few more of those under my belt. Can’t wait to get back into it!

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