With a rowdy Dwarven "ha ha, YES!" (does anyone else think that cheer was voiced over by Ed McMahon?) and a flash of coin pouches, Update 1.2 arrived in RIFT this past week. It was a rather meaty update, with new content, some well-deserved zone improvements, and the much-discussed looking for group tool.

In this week's Enter at Your Own Rift, we'll take a look at a few notable changes that came along with the update -- for better or worse.

LFG!

I'm going to warn you right off the bat that I did not successfully use the LFG tool, but I do support it, and I am a fan of it. I did test it out, but I cannot bring myself to use the dungeon group option. I swore off PUGs years ago and have lived in the comfy shelter of guildmates ever since. It's the main reason I lead guilds, to be honest. So for the dungeons, I'll have to yield to Justin if he so desires. I did, however, use it to try to group for rift invasion groups and quests. I got in the queue for a rift group only to experience radio silence for a time and then finally admit defeat. I then tried to use the quest tool, thinking this was a great idea given the number of group quests that I never got around to completing. The only problems? There were no quests listed for me to join, and there was no way for me to add quests for others to join (as far as I could tell).

In theory, I like its design. When I heard about the LFG tool, I assumed it would be for group instances only, and while that's fine with me, I never saw myself actually using it. But when I realized that it had options for rift invasion groups and quest groups, I was much more interested, so I was disappointed when I tried to queue up and had no success. So for the rift invasions, I want to rally all Byriel players to start making use of it, and for quests, I hope that whatever prevented me from adding my quests and joining with others gets tweaked.

Mapped out wardstones

One improvement that I really enjoyed was the change to the maps during rift invasion events. Prior to Update 1.2, if you wanted to check on whether a certain zone had an event, you had to travel there, and even if it was still ongoing, it was hard to tell which wardstones needed reinforcements and which had already fallen. With the update, all of that is easily conveyed on the world map. I can zoom out to see which zones have events (marked by a giant red icon), and then once I'm there, I can tell which wardstones need protection (marked by a yellow shield with the distance) as well as which have already fallen (marked with a red shield).

This is a great improvement, and for me, it's breathed new life into my rift-hunting career. In the past, it was hard to tell where the momentum was -- sometimes I was with the pack, and sometimes I wasn't. With the map changes, I can tell where to focus my efforts and also help rally aid to spots that need protection. It's made rift invasion events easier, but only if the players get up to speed and make use of this new information, which they are doing -- slowly. It's actually neat to see how the culture changes from a "run with the pack, zerg-rush rifts till we hit the objective, and hope the wardstones don't fall" to "back off the rifts, regroup at the last wardstone, and protect it with everything you have." In other words, it's a tactical advantage that adds a new layer of fun into rift-hunting.

The wardrobe

But of all the changes, the one I was most excited about was the addition of a wardrobe tab. I'll admit it: I'm totally obsessed with how my character looks. I was the Elf Ranger with the red Reserve Militia Tunic in EverQuest, clinging to it long past its due stat-wise, simply because it was unique and made me stand out. Right now, RIFT is pretty new, so the amount of appearance gear is limited, but I was thrilled to be able to tweak the look of my character. And the cherry on top was the addition of a new clothier NPC. I couldn't wait to see what great outfits he had for sale! My excitement quickly dissipated after I put it on...

The other choices for sale aren't much better. In fact, every single outfit for sale needs to come with a PG-13 label on it. The bikini outfit made me feel like I needed to be standing on a mailbox in Ironforge, doing a perma-dance emote and offering lap dances for a few coins. I honestly don't mind if you offer that for sale, but what bothers me is that it's the only option for female characters right now on the clothier. A little more plate and chain on the next pass please! I'd like something that goes a little better with that whole notion of wading into battle and facing armies of enemies that have sharp weapons and a lust for blood.

Despite the skimpy fashions, I'm enjoying RIFT. The update renewed my love of rift-hunting, and I'm enjoying the dungeon runs I've been doing with guildmates. I finished Abyssal Precipice and enjoyed the little twists and turns of some of the scripts, like the fight in which you get turned into a rabbit and chased by a pack of wolves. I'm also planning on trying out the Ancient Wardstones again, since the update made it easier to see them on the map and identify which side has control over them. And I might even dive into crafting, now that there are special crafting rifts. Just try not to point and laugh if you see me charging into battle in my little bikini outfit, please!

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.

This article was originally published on Massively.