Enter at Your Own Rift: Going from zero to Storm Legion in a summer

Enter at Your Own Rift Going from zero to Storm Legion in a summer
As a returning player, I appreciated Karen's last column, which outlined some of the big changes to the game since last I played. While I had a level 50 Rogue sitting in Sanctum, I just couldn't connect with her because it had been so long. Even though I knew it would require a bucketload of time and effort, I rerolled a fresh-faced Cleric to go through the game all over again.

Was I insane? Probably. My biggest worry at this juncture is that I won't be ready for Storm Legion when it comes this fall. When you've been at the level cap for a while, you probably don't even think about the amount of content you need to chew through to get there. I didn't want to be caught flat-footed when the expansion released, shouting, "Wait up guys!" as I fell behind.

Re-rolling was good for me for two reasons. One, it's allowing me to connect with this new character and feel out all of the changes in the game. Two, it's giving me the chance to prove that anyone could start RIFT right now and be totally prepared for the expansion -- even if you're just a casual player. Today I want to share a few of my experiences on the leveling game and why it's not too late to get ready for Storm Legion, even if you're a newbie.

Enter at Your Own Rift Going from zero to Storm Legion in a summer
The first level is the easiest

Fifty levels used to be a Herculean task in MMOs back in the day, but not so much today. Even at RIFT's launch over a year ago, we saw players hitting level 50 within the first few days. True, they were crazy fanatics who had a speed-leveling path laid out, but even the most casual player didn't have problems following in their wake to hit the cap within a month or two.

Rolling a new character meant that I had to bite my pride as a former level 50 and accept that I had to live as a lowbie for a little while. In my opinion, it's one of the most fun parts of the game because the levels come fast and furious, your character has that new-car smell, and if you've done it before, you can practically zoom through all the content. On top of that, I had a few XP potions from my veteran rewards, and those really give you a strong boost. I just had to be careful that I didn't outlevel the zones I wanted to fully complete.

So what I'm saying is that leveling is the least of my concerns in getting ready for Storm Legion. In fact, if the expansion were going to release in two weeks, I'm pretty sure I'd have a 50 ready to go if I needed to do so.

The beautiful thing about RIFT is that there are so many different ways you can level your character. You can be as narrow-focused or as varied as you like. Quests, rifting, invasions, dungeon runs, warfronts, Chronicles, Instant Adventures, and world events are lined up, side by side, on Trion Worlds' buffet. The only question is what you might want to devour that day.

I'm quite excited about this week's addition of IAs to lower levels. Instant Adventures have been widely praised and embraced by the community; they not only are a great source of XP and rewards but can give rerollers something else to do than plow through the quests they've already done.

Enter at Your Own Rift Going from zero to Storm Legion in a summer
It's like riding a bike

Whether a returning player picks back up his or her old character or decides, as I did, to reroll, one goal is clear: You must learn how to actually play that class, and well. Trion's upping the ante with Storm Legion, and if the Ember Isle is any indication, the new continents aren't going to be a cakewalk.

This is why I like rerolling. It eases me into learning about my class and builds instead of dumping me in the equivalent of a 747 cockpit and expecting that I know what all these buttons do. Gradually unlocking abilities and tweaking builds are not only powerful rewards but useful learning tools on the path to mastering a class.

I felt incredibly apprehensive at the thought of taking my old level 50 into a dungeon, and I couldn't remember any of the quest chains that I'm halfway through. The character felt foreign to me. Yet I'm sure that if I forced myself to stick it out, I would've found that it's like riding a bike: the muscle memory would kick in, I'd remember how this character rolls, and with some detective work, I could suss out the quest lines.

So there's no wrong way to come back to the game to prepare. Rerolling offers an initial burst of excitement, and you can bond and learn with that character over the full course of the game's path. Picking up an old character certainly saves time that can be spent pursuing endgame activities, although it might be more daunting at first.

Enter at Your Own Rift Going from zero to Storm Legion in a summer
Draining Mathosia

Suffice it to say, the second that Storm Legion hits, a large percentage of the game's population will migrate to the east, either to Dusken or Brevane. That's fine for them, but not so much if you're suddenly stuck in a relative wasteland of human contact known as Mathosia (the game's current continent). Expansions have a funny way of making you feel as if you need to go where the crowd's going, and it's never fun to think that you're being left behind while your guild chat fills up with the oohs and ahhs of the new experience.

So while it's quite feasible to accomplish the two main barriers to entry for Storm Legion -- get a level 50 and be able to play your character well -- there's a laundry list past that of things left to be done in the current game that could help you on your way. Personally, I want to make sure I go through all of the PvE quests (yes, I actually enjoy those), especially in the zones I've never visited. I'm achievement hunting, and just getting a bulk of those done will occupy my attention for most of the summer.

Then there's the question of gearing up. For some people, this is the main point of the endgame: gear up, raid, gear up more, raid more (substitute "PvP" for "raid" if you like). We can expect that no matter how good our level 50 gear is now, it's not going to compare to what lies ahead in the expansion. Therefore, gearing up isn't as high of a priority for me as I look forward to the fall, although it can't hurt to be decently equipped so that the first few days aren't a slog through hard-hitting battles.

So as you RIFT players factor in Storm Legion, what are you doing to prepare for the transition, and what priorities would you recommend a new or returning player have during this period?

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.