Read on to see why public groups are not just for rift invasions and how a little love to your nearby wardstone can make your life (and those around you) much happier.
Public groups -- they're not just for rift invasions
If you've ever played an MMO, I'm sure you've experienced the following. You've stopped by a quest hub, you grab every quest you can get, and you head out to kill your 10 roaming creatures. But just as you run up to attack your first mob, some guy behind you tags it first and steals your update. He's got the same exact quests as you, but instead of grouping together, the two of you spend the next 10 minutes trying to hit keys faster and steal mobs from one another. On the surface, it would make much more sense to group up and work together, but that would require a tell, and consent, and then the feeling that you're obligated to stick together even after you're done with the quest. Small talk can actually be a pretty big barrier to grouping!
In RIFT, that is no longer an issue. Many players are aware of the public group feature and are making good use of it during rift invasions, but it's also something you can use while hunting. If you click on a player and he's set himself to allow public grouping, you'll see a little button above his name. A simple click instantly adds him to your group, and you can work on quest updates together without ever having to send a tell or engage in small talk. Of course, if you prefer not to group with someone, you can flag yourself private and prevent others from grouping with you.
Buff those wardstones!
So there you are, running around questing as the air suddenly grows warm and your map explodes with fire rifts. A zone-wide event just started, and it's a race to see whether you can drive back enough invasions before all of the wardstones are destroyed. On the surface, the easy plan is to go all-out-offensive and try to kill invaders before they kill you, but sometimes the best offense is a good defense. I've talked about buffing wardstones a bit in a previous column, but I'd like to take a closer look at exactly how this works and why it's so important.
Wardstones are located at quest hubs and towns, and if they go, so go the NPCs around them, which means no quest givers and no merchants. They start out as Hallowed Wardstones, and as they are buffed, they upgrade to Blessed, and eventually, Consecrated. They also give out a nice buff as they are upgraded, too, with the Consecrated Wardstone giving you the ability to deal out 20% more damage and receive 20% less.
During events, if certain key wardstones are destroyed, players fail the event and miss out on the rewards. But a quick trip to the nearby planar goods merchant can solve that problem. For 50 planarite, you can purchase the ability to heal up and upgrade a wardstone. For Guardians, it's called "Bless Wardstone," and for Defiants, it's called "Augment Wardstone." To use it, you need a planar charge, which you can get from sealing a rift. You can have up to three planar charges at any given time, and you can see how many you have in your character's target window (they're little blue crystals).
To heal and upgrade a wardstone, all you need to do is target it and activate your ability. You can only do this once every five minutes, but it can completely turn the tide of battle and make you a hero. In the picture below, Defiants forces are attacking a Hallowed Wardstone, and if they win, they will drive out all the NPCs and establish a foothold in the area.
There are several other abilities that you can purchase from the planar vendor as you level up, and we'll examine more of them in future columns. But the ability to upgrade a wardstone is an ability that's easy to acquire and important to use. Here's to buffed up wardstones and (hopefully) questing free of kill-steals!
Whether they're keeping the vigil or defying the gods, Karen Bryan and Justin Olivetti save Telara on a weekly basis. Covering all aspects of life in RIFT, from solo play to guild raids, their column is dedicated to backhanding multidimensional tears so hard that they go crying to their mommas. Email Karen and Justin for questions, comments, and adulation.