Enter at Your Own Rift: Tidbits from 1.5

Rift Chronicles
RIFT's Update 1.5 has been live for about a week now, and with it comes lots of changes. What always strikes me about the updates is the number of quiet changes that leave you saying, "Wait, what was that?" It's not a ninja nerf; it's more like the fine print of the patch notes -- things that you tend to skip over or not read closely because there's so much other stuff to chew on.

This week in Enter at Your Own Rift, we'll take a look at a few of those "little" changes. And yes, we'll look at some of the larger ones too!

Veteran rewards

First off, the new veteran rewards are really nice. I was excited to log in and get some nice looking-armor and my personal gofer guy whom I can sell to. There was only one problem.

Rift no pants
That's right: no pants. Cyril looks mortified, but at least he didn't see me on my mount -- it's even worse! Unfortunately, I don't get the pants until I have purchased 12 months of game time, leaving me with a difficult choice. Do I fork over the money to buy another three months (I've paid for nine so far), or do I go pantsless (or worse, wear armor that clashes horribly with my nice garb)? Talk about a shrewd marketing move. Well-played, Trion, well-played!

I rode into Sanctum and felt a little out of sorts because for the first time in a while, there weren't live event dailies all over the place. Oddly enough, though, I had worse lag than I've ever had there, and it took a good long time for the zone to finish drawing in the architecture and NPCs. It did seem to settle down and run more smoothly the longer I was there, though, so maybe it was a one-time thing.

I headed in to Sanctum to sell some stuff and retrain my points, and I was caught off guard when I realized that I could now run around inside the main building with my mount still up. What's odd is that I can't tell you how many times I grumbled at having to drop my mount and run on foot any time I entered the main building in Sanctum. But now that I can, I almost wish I couldn't because it actually made sense (similar to taking off your hat when entering a building).

Guild wall

The guild wall seems like a minor detail, but I love the fact that guildmates can post guild-wide messages on a tab in the guild window. It's sort of like guild twitter, but it's something that makes you wonder why all games don't have something like that. Communication is so important when running a guild, and this is such a simple way to allow leaders (and members) to get the word out quickly and hassle-free.

Rift Chronicles

The new chronicles seem fun so far. I particularly liked the Chronicle of Attunement, your personal "coming of age" instance, which is rudely interrupted by Kain and his minions. In a scene reminiscent of Sleeping Beauty, Kain crashes the party and then trashes the party to show how displeased he is at not being invited. It's a fun little storyline that gives more meaning to the milestone of reaching level 50. In addition, the chronicles help explain some of the major characters in the storyline, and as you directly interact with them, you get to know them and the lore a lot better than you would just through quest text. Lastly, I liked how the Chronicle of Attunement offered directive quests at the end to help guide you on what to do now that you're level-capped. You often hear players ask, "I'm level 50; what's next?" Justin even did a nice write up of some available options. But this chronicle helps to provide a little in-game guidance on which paths are available down the road.

At your service (even though I'm under attack!)

Lastly, I noticed an interesting tweak to the rift invasions, which is that players can still interact with NPCs even while those NPCs are under attack. I was able to use a healer NPC even though there were mobs chasing him around. I'm assuming that goes for quest turn-ins as well. On one hand, I like the change; I remember many a time when a quest hub had been overrun and I ended up dangerously low on soul health because the mobs were camping the spot where the healer NPC was located, and he was running around like crazy, refusing to be of any service. Being able to heal my soul would help me turn the tide and regain the spot. However, it feels like a tacit admission that the rift invasions and footholds are a nuisance rather than a legitimate piece of content in the persistent world. If the entire story is based on the struggle against the planes, there should be a consequence when the planes gain the upper-hand.

I actually would like to see the invasions become more of a threat, especially toward Sanctum and Meridian. When you think about it, Sanctum and Meridian are probably the most fortified cities in Telara, with dozens of well-geared level 50s wandering around. And yet the invading forces that charge in to attack are small, low-level clumps of mobs. While I understand that you can't really plunk a level 50 rift in the surrounding newbie zones, it doesn't really make sense that the planar invaders wouldn't send in their best to attack the capital cities. Based on that strategic logic, you'd think Telarans would have driven them back and repaired the ward long ago.

Overall, though, Update 1.5 has brought some nice changes and additions to the game. And while some might be enjoying the peace and quiet in the city, I'm looking forward to the new world event that's right around the corner. In the mean time, I'm off to find some decent-looking pants!

Whether she's keeping the vigil or defying the gods, Karen Bryan saves Telara on a biweekly basis. Covering all aspects of life in RIFT, from solo play to guild raids, the column is dedicated to backhanding multidimensional tears so hard that they go crying to their mommas. Email Karen for questions, comments, and adulation.
This article was originally published on Massively.