I have to begin by saying that I really enjoyed Justin's column last week about the "no quest" challenge. It's actually a philosophy that I've subscribed to for almost a decade now, going back to my first time grouped with a somersaulting Dwarf in EverQuest who advised me to stand against the zone wall in West Commonlands while he chain-pulled spiders and skeletons over to me to kill for experience.

Ironically, I've quested more in RIFT than I have in any other MMO. It's not that I find it faster to level; it's that I actually enjoy the lore behind the quests, another area that I have tended to ignore in other MMOs. Questing can be extremely frustrating for me, though, because I'll almost always bump into someone else doing the exact same quests as me, and yet he won't group up and join forces, even with the luxury of the public quest button. So when I reach my limit in trying to politely suggest to people that we group only to get a few grunts in reply, I decide to take a breather from questing and find an outlet for my frustration. PvP would be the natural choice except that I'd get my rear handed to me on a platter, adding insult to injury.

Luckily, there are lots of fun little mini-diversions in RIFT that give me an opportunity to burn off some steam and have fun at the same time. In this week's Enter at Your Own Rift, we'll look at a few of them, from prize fighting to centaur racing.

Fight Club

Rule number one about Fight Club is not to use this hackneyed quote, so I'll spare you. Out in Scarwood Reach is a small tent with several colorful NPCs and a few pairs of brass knuckles. Look for Tank Dooks, who offers you the chance to tangle with a random selection of fighters in and around the tent. You can fight three opponents each day, and if you beat them, you'll get some experience and a little prize purse including some event-specific artifacts. There's a cooldown of about nine hours between fight opportunities, but beware, the events can get buggy. In the past, I helped another player take down his opponent to speed things up so I could have my turn. As a result, I lost one chance to fight that day because it counted his fight as mine, even though the other person got the credit and the loot. So if you see someone in the middle of a brawl, just hang back and wait it out, even if it means he loses. Jack's Cold Sweat thanks you.

Jumping the shroom

As I was working on quests a while back in Scarwood, I found myself up in Auld Warden and noticed that the fungus growing from the side of the roots formed a little path. I stepped out onto the first one, and the next one below began to sparkle. I continued to follow them down, realizing that I was now in a race. Instantly, my Super Mario phobia reared its ugly head, and I fumbled and stumbled right off the side of the fungus, once again failing miserably when it comes to eye-hand coordination. I'm determined, though, to finish that race!

Miracle of modern magic

I tried and failed this quest only once, but I plan on going back to complete it. One of the first quests I got out in Shimmersand sent me out searching for an adorned chest. Turns out that I'd been duped, and I woke up at Rex Cantor, minus one kidney. In order to fix myself up, I was sent out to retrieve strong alcohol, a fibrous reed, and medicinal balm. Little did I know how urgent it was that I work quickly, and I ended up failing the task. I'll probably go back and try again, although after dealing with Rex, I might just try to continue on with the one kidney I have.

The full rundown

A couple of years ago, my guild staged an overland race as part of RnH's birthday celebration. The catch was that we all had to compete in Centaur illusion. So I was tickled to see myself suddenly transformed once again into a Centaur in order to compete in a foot (hoof?) race in the Droughtlands. The quest is called The Full Rundown, and it's received when your faction controls the nearby Ancient Wardstone. Buckle up, though, if you do choose to ring the bell and try the race, as the challenger is extremely fast and practically unbeatable even with the aid of speed boosts. And a word of advice -- do not bother using sprint-type abilities because they will cancel your Centaur disguise and remove the speed buff that comes with it as well as make you KOS to any nearby Centaurs.

Get the hard-to-reach shinies

The first time I passed by a shiny in an impossibly hard to reach spot, I figured it was just a zone bug. But after a while, I started to see too many shinies in places that looked as if they'd been hand-placed intentionally to seem impossibly hard-to-reach and tantalizingly close. One was on an outcropping that you'd need to be part mountain goat to reach. Another was on top of a pike on a statue in Moonshade. In Iron Pine Peak, there was one right on the point of a tall log that was tipped against another. And probably the best one was out in Stillmoor on the peak of a pointed-rooftop. I find myself spending just a bit more time looking at my surroundings to see if I can spot a hard-to-reach shiny. Even if I fail to reach it, I have a good laugh over its location.

The little side games and challenges are a nice change of pace when trying to knock out questlines (and avoid callous people). Many can be found by looking over the achievement list for each zone -- you'll usually find one or two fun minigames there. But some just require a willingness to go off the beaten path and explore a bit, something I wish I did more. In the meantime, don't forget to heal those wardstones!

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.
Massively Speaking Episode 153