PTS 1.5 – First Look

September 10, 2011 - 3:14 pm No Comments

Playing on test server is a bit like watching preseason football: outcomes usually don’t mean squat when the regular season starts. But I’ve been painfully playing my Ranger for awhile now wondering when they were going to finally get buffed to be competitive; considering they fall far short of the dead-simple Hoko and Sabdancer builds, getting competitive in-class would be a great first step in getting the whole class competitive with warriors and mages. So I decided to roll up on PTS and see what’s new.

First Impressions

This is all from the first test build, which I’m sure will be far different then what hits live 2-3 weeks from now. Basically, bow using ranged rogues now find synergy between Marksman and Ranger – having to rely on Assassin for crit-enhancment is gone. In fact, relying on crit for DPS seems to be gone. Essentially now the trick is to find a balance between Ranger and Marksman so that you get enough bonus from Shadow Fire and Electrified Munitions to outweigh the crit bonuses from Assassin. Hit the jump to read the details on the first round of PTS testing.

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Building Killer Specs from So Many Souls

July 9, 2011 - 11:58 pm No Comments

Playing Rogue: Builds

One of the things that sets RIFT apart from the other MMOs is the deep character customization made possible by the soul system. With the possibility of five roles on any one character, eight souls can make for a very versatile player. These are the rogue builds that I am currently running around Telara with. I tweak them from time to time to test certain things out, but for the most part, these are the specs that I always return to.

 

I’ve got a lot of specs and I’ve spent a lot of time at the dummies and in GSB testing them out (I have two level 50 rogues – one of each faction). I keep them updated here.

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Bringing a Little Music to the Group: a Bard Guide

July 5, 2011 - 1:15 am No Comments

Playing Rogue: Bard

As with the other roles a rogue can play in a group or raid, the support role is something rogues excel at. Buffing companions, debuffing enemies, healing, and light crowd control are all abilities the bard brings to the table. None of these abilities are anything to be scoffed at – the constant buffs and debuffs provided by a bard can make or break a dps burn phase in a raid and the group healing can safely outpace many aoe damage effects in a dungeon. The Bard is truly a valuable asset to any team attempting to squash bosses.

There are many nuances to barding that, at the hands of an experienced player, can make a Bard a must-have on a raid – but many of these nuances require careful micro-management that can annoy some players into avoiding the role altogether. There is often little payoff to barding – a Bard will never top a damage meter and likely never top a healing meter in a raid. These factors combine to make the Bard a less appealing role to play; but the Bard still plays a vital role to both small groups and raids. Read through the cut for details on the Bard and how to play one to amaze your friends.

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The Soloing Rogue: Melee

June 20, 2011 - 5:39 pm No Comments

Soloing Rogue: Melee

It’s time for my first full-scale guide. This guide will include macros, soul design, and pointers on what exactly to do with it. Eventually, in future revisions, I may include some video references.

This build is great for soloing, especially for the daily reputation grind. It works great for questing but it doesn’t have the best DPS output in the early stages. It really comes into its own at around the point you get Reprisal from the Bladedancer tree. The overall design of this build is that Assassin brings stealth capability and overall damage bonus, Riftstalker provides survivability and healing, while Bladedancer does the bulk of the damage output. Read through the cut for the details on this powerful spec for the soloing rogue.

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Zone Invasions are Hard to Solo

June 19, 2011 - 11:52 pm No Comments

Bugged Out Foothold

One of the acclaimed features of RIFT is the dynamic content – the thing that gives RIFT its name: rifts. I’ve done my fair share of raving in favor of invasions taking over quest hubs, building their own footholds, and rifts tearing open in the middle of quest areas – often right on top of the named mobs targeted by quest objectives. However, several months into the life of RIFT, they have become more than just an annoyance.

Part of the problem lies in the fact that I do most of my rifting in off-peak hours. Aside from Briarcliff and Wolfsbane (the unofficial Oceanic servers), just about every server drops into the low population category during the week from around 1am PST until noonish. This presents a problem when it comes to rifts and invasions because there is not enough people to fend off zone-wide events. And then there’s the bugs… like the one pictured in this post. A foothold with one invasion squad is feasible to solo – one bugged with 50 mobs surrounding it is a raid-caliber event. Read through the cut for more about off-peak gaming in Telara.

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Another 50 Later and Finally a Raid

June 15, 2011 - 7:23 pm No Comments


Hitting 50 a second time, even though it was another rogue, was actually just as exciting as it was the first time – this time it was even a bit more fun because I hit the mark while my friend 3,000 miles away was in the group with me. The refreshing thing about being level 50 this time is that I’m not trying to run my own guild; this time I found a great group of folks in the guild Fatality. And with Fatality, I finally got a taste of raiding in RIFT.

That’s not to say there wasn’t a fair share of difficulty on the way. All the way from the mid-30s to the late 40s I was constantly struggling with questing. I always seemed to have quests three levels higher than me which made killing even single mobs a task. At level 49, I had to grind about 80% of the level just killing mobs. It was 318 mobs… not that I was counting or anything. Read through the cut for my first impressions on what it means to raid in RIFT.

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Being Defiant

June 1, 2011 - 9:56 am 1 Comment

Meridian Portcullis

There comes a time in every Guardian’s life when he begins to question the motives of The Vigil and wonders if being the long arm of divine justice is really justice at all. It is in that moment that the weak souls will brush aside their concerns and blindly continue to follow orders. But the strongest souls (you know, rangers, marksman… souls like that) investigate their suspicions by donning the veil of technology and going behind enemy lines to determine how “unholy” the defiant truly are. Yes, I’m a switcher… again.

Well, I’m a hobbyist switcher anyway. For the most part, I rolled up an Eth rogue to put in a little playtime with my real life friend, Newcast. Hobby turned into project and I’ve put in quite a bit of time playing my Eth. Level 30 already in just a few short days – I know, that’s not as fast as Laughter but that’s pretty quick for a man like me! I’ve even joined up with a raiding guild (Fatality, Regulos-Defiant). So the investigation of the Defiant goes on as I explore Telara as an Eth and hopefully get in some dungeon and raid time with my new friends. Jump the cut for my first impressions of the Defiant leveling experience.

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Fifties, patches, and LFG tools that kinda suck

May 24, 2011 - 5:43 pm No Comments


It’s been awhile. A long while, I know. Once the earthquake and tsunami hit, the subsequent evacuation and then a little family time put a bit of an interruption into my gaming and blogging. But the tough times are over for now and I’m back in Telara. Since my last entry, a lot has happened in Telara. Two patches have dropped, a couple world events have passed through, and lots of great – and some not so great – features have come to RIFT.

Let’s start with a little self-appreciation: I finally hit level 50. Up until the earthquake, I was on pace for a relatively quick grind to 50. That didn’t turn out to be the case but it did finally occur. Aalwein is now a level 50 rogue sporting four unique roles: tank, ranged dps, melee dps/scout, and support bard. At level 50 with my guild, I have spent most of my time running as either my heavy marksman build or as the support bard. Both are tons of fun. Playing a support bard gets quite intense in heavy movement boss fights, especially when you are trying to keep buffs and debuffs up while still contributing to the overall group healing. I’ll go in-depth into my rogue at level 50 in my next post. Read on for my reflections on the feature highlights added in the last two patches.

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Visualizing the Next Generation

April 6, 2011 - 1:50 am No Comments

Since I have been displaced from my home in Japan temporarily due to the earthquake and tsunami, I have had to cut back my gaming time; thus, I am going to break from regular rogue information and talk about a topic that has become very obvious to me since I am now forced to play on a laptop.


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Visualizing the Next Generation

A Review of the RIFT Graphics Engine

It seems like every new MMO that launches tries to make a claim to be the “next generation” of gaming. RIFT has for the most part taken the best aspects of other MMOs and refined them, making it less of a next generation game and more of a polished version of current generation. Where RIFT shines is in its graphics. When played with ultra settings, RIFT is simply gorgeous. Read on for the details about RIFT’s intense graphics customization capabilities.

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The Diversity of the Rogue – Part 2

March 27, 2011 - 3:06 pm No Comments

The Diversity of the Rogue

First things first, if you didn’t catch part 1 of this series, you can read all about Rogue tanking and ranged DPS options in Die by the Arrow at Tank Telara. Here in part 2, we will talk about the different styles of melee dps and the unique support roles that can be built with Rogue souls.

Die by the Blade

While the Rogue clearly excels beyond any class at ranged dps, the Rogue is equally at home with cold steel in its hands. With many different souls to choose from, there are different styles of fighting that the Rogue can take on. The Assassin, for example, wields big attacks from behind and poisons the enemy while a Blade Dancer is at home in front of the enemy with fast flashes of steel and quick parries that are especially suited to soloing. Choose your weapon.

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