My time was short this week in the world of Telara because of work and other obligations. However, I did several hours of RIFT-streaming this week; I hope you check out the stream at the end of this article. Although the video is kind of laggy, the inspiration for this article was captured in one of the streams. I die a lot, but thankfully, I'm an Ascended, right? So death means very little to me. I can be brought back many times over. I have a tendency, as you may see in that video, to get in over my head -- a lot.
This being my second week in the game, I'm getting used to what it's all about. I've been able to close multiple rifts, and I've leveled up to 13. (I told you I didn't get to play as much as I wanted.) There is much I love about the game, and there are many things that turn me off.
Most importantly, however, this week I encountered my first invasion of Freemarch. It took a bit for me to catch on to what was happening. I had thought it was just another rift opening up, but with a glance at my map, I quickly realized that this wasn't your everyday planar tear.
Seriia stood at least a head taller than the older human before her. She did not recall towering over others in her former life, but to be honest, she did not remember much of her former life at all. Mostly, it was feelings and instinct -- and dreams. The dreams of a dragon and horned man haunted her. She gave a glance to her constant companion, Kitter the faerie. The imp just pressed her lips together and shrugged. A lot of help she was going to be.
"I'm not sure what you're going to do with these, but here are those squirrels you asked for." Earlier Seriia nearly singed herself capturing the pesky fire squirrels. She wondered for a moment whether the inflamed rodents were due to the tears, the rifts between dimensions that were becoming more regular now that the demon Regulos was becoming more powerful. She had already seen the uncommon plant growth in the fortress of Meridian. Now she was playing pest-control for the Eliam Fields.
Just as the old man opened his mouth to speak, another voice echoed from the sky. "Arise, tyrant of iron!" the goddess from above announced. The old man shuttered and covered his ears. Seriia turned to look up toward the clouds, letting the net of squirrels slip from her hand. She barely noticed the fiery creatures scamper away as the sky was suddenly painted a rich violet. "You will serve Regulos!" the voice continued.
Then another voice replied, this one male, "With the power granted by Alsbeth, I will retake Freemarch in the name of Regulos!" The ground trembled under the weight of a planar shift. The sky wrenched open, and the sound of lightning-less thunder filled the heavens as rifts spotted the sky like a plague. The male voice bellowed, "Arise, my fallen sons. The jaws of Regulos will devour this world!"
All the color had left Seriia's face when she glanced at her companion for answers. The faerie, again, just shrugged. Yep, a lot of help she was going to be.
I believe that my readers here are looking for my honest opinion. That's part of what this column is about, right? I'll still attempt to be level-headed about this. There is one aspect of MMOs that is really starting to irk me, and RIFT appears to be no exception. The games are just not social anymore. I do not understand where this issue stems from, nor do I know a good fix for it.
As you may know, I rolled Seriia on the roleplay server of Faeblight. The lore of RIFT has surprised me on more than one occasion by its richness and depth, and you'd think that a roleplay server would latch on to this lore and run with it. The world itself presents ways to incorporate world-stories into your personal story -- dynamically! Yet there I sat in Meridian, the capital city of the Defiants, with no one conversing. I take that back; one guy said, "How do I click on this cake?" Admittedly, although I have played many MMOs, I do not roleplay in all of them. Star Wars Galaxies is my staple roleplay MMO, but I have roleplayed in Lord of the Rings Online, Fallen Earth, Champions Online, City of Heroes, and even World of Warcraft. It has been my experience with each of those games that if you were in a hub on a roleplay server, there were people openly roleplaying. Granted, some of the roleplay was so bad or disgusting that I had to leave the area, but at least it was there. However, RIFT -- only six months old -- had no conversation in this crowded city of Meridian.
Possibly the lack of in-character conversation was my fault. I certainly did not speak to anyone myself. I really just wanted to observe. So this week, one of the choices in the poll will be roleplay. What I plan on doing if you choose that for me is to attempt to spark conversation with people in my travels. I will attempt to focus on crowded areas after dynamic events. Although I will not catch it before the next article, I will also attend a player-run event if there are any more.
Lastly, I want to talk about the invasion that nearly made me cry because it was so awesome. I'm not sure if I can accurately describe how, literally, in awe I was. In fact, the introduction above is pretty much what actually happened. I was in Eliam Field about to turn in that silly fiery squirrel quest when the sky turned black and Alsbeth's speech popped up on the screen. At first I thought it was just a couple of rifts opening up in my area, but then I glanced at the map and nearly crapped my pants. When I think of the great things that the live environment of an MMO can produce, something like invasions is on the top of that list.
These events not only throw wrenches into your personal gameplay -- anyone who watches me on Gamebreaker knows that I like the unexpected in gameplay -- but also encourage people to group up. If only they encouraged communication, too, then I would play this game all the time.
Ultimately, the public group turned into four groups of four, we defeated the iron hordes of Jakub, and I leveled up at least once during the event. If you review the video, you will notice that I hung toward the back of most rifts firing off my one ranged shot. Unfortunately, considering my level and the size of the group, I was pretty useless as a melee DPS. All the enemies would fall before I got to them, but I still had fun. I also began to understand why players really enjoy this game.
This week's poll is fairly simple: What should I do next? By this weekend, I hope to be level 20ish, and I should be competent enough to handle a dungeon or PvP or roleplay above. The game is starting to grow on me, and I think it's time to take it to the next level. Tell me what I should do!