Rift Enthusiasm Waning, Bring on Draenor

November is nearly over, which means NaNoWriMo is almost over for another year. As of this posting, I have some 1,500 words left to do before validating. (The story is nowhere near done, and I expect I will need to add another 40,000-50,000 words to actually finish the novel.)

I’m growing a bit tired of Rift. I finished the main story and got my main Mage to 65, and my Rogue, Warrior, and Cleric are all sitting at 60. I still enjoy playing Rift and sending out Minions, but it’s prohibitively time-consuming to farm Void Stones from 61+ Zone Events to upgrade one’s gear, and I’m not really in the mood for dungeons right now.

The Rift dwarven family of characters.
Ezarin and the Rift dwarven family of characters in Nightmare Tide.

With Rift fading from the limelight, I’m turning to Warlords of Draenor “full time.” The leveling game is crushingly easy as always. I finished the story in the first zone Shadowmoon Valley and reached level 92 in the process. I’m enjoying the Garrisons so far. They’re sort of like a slow-motion RTS. (I don’t much like having to wait for followers to finish their missions though.)

I haven’t yet used my instant-90. At first I thought I would use it on my 68 Mage, but lately I’ve come to the conclusion that Mages are the absolute worst class in WoW, and I have no more desire to punish myself by playing one. (Except I’m still determined to get my Mage to 90.) I honestly don’t know what they are good for (other than creating portals). They are terrible for soloing, and they are terrible in groups. The only useful ability they have in groups is a Remove Curse, and I consider that to be a healing responsibility, so I have no idea why the Mage even has it.

Hurray, I saved the world again!
Shadowmoon Valley saved!

Anyway, I think I might now use my instant-90 on my Warlock. Maybe. I haven’t decided yet. Who am I kidding? I’ll probably just hold onto it indefinitely.

In other news, I volunteered to write an article for Syl’s Bloggy Xmas Calendar. My article is scheduled for December 7, a date which seems to be looming a lot closer than I would like.

Rift – Nightmare Judgments

One thing I’ve noticed in Rift’s Nightmare Tide is more pressure to spend money. I don’t mean in terms of a sales pitch; I mean in terms of making the game less tedious.

Losing my head over Nightmare Tide! (Not really, it’s a Halloween costume mask.)

For example, two new things in Nightmare tide are Earring Slots and the Planewalker “attunement” which allows you to wear some of the new gear. Each of these costs 100,000 Void Stones (the new zone event currency) in the Rift Store. The Planewalker attunement is account-wide, but the Earring Slots must be bought for each character. It is technically possible to grind out the Void Stones to buy those two important things without spending cash to unlock them, but keep in mind that there is a limit of 35,000 Void Stones you can collect per week, so you have to grind zone events for a minimum of six weeks to get both of those items for one character.

Me? I happily paid to get the $50 Collector’s Edition so I don’t have to do that for any character. (Even the $25 edition comes with them, so I highly recommend it.) Did I have to pay to get those things? No. Did I have to pay so that I didn’t die of boredom getting those things? Abso-freakin-lutely. (For reference, I don’t think I’ve picked up more than about 5,000 Void Stones in a week yet, and I’ve been playing a lot, so the amount of effort it would take to grind out 35,000 a week is mind-boggling.)

Now technically, you don’t need to wear earrings or have Planewalker attunement gear. You can still do everything in the game (I assume). I’m a relatively new level 65 and I’m only wearing two Planewalker items, and I’m not having any trouble with world quests and zone events. (Mobs are more difficult at 65 than they were at 60, though.) But obviously, you’re not going to be invited to any high-end Raids without earrings, and it’s going to be that much more difficult to meet the Expert Dungeon requirements without the stats from two extra items (and two extra rune enhancements).

The other area I’ve felt pressure to spend money in is Crafting. Crafting materials are abundant in the Plane of Water. However, it costs a lot of platinum to level up your crafting skills from 375 to 450, in the form of training recipes and store-bought materials. It costs so much money that it would be super convenient for me to drop $10 for a REX thingy, which I could sell for about 1250 platinum. The most platinum I’ve ever had on my main character is about 450, and that was when Attanium was selling like hotcakes. Alternatively, rather than taking your chances with REX prices, you can now, for the first time ever, buy the store-bought crafting materials for 3 credits each instead of spending the expensive 1 platinum each.

Savant-tier crafting materials as compared to the Grandmaster-tier crafting materials from the last expansion.
Savant-tier crafting materials as compared to the Grandmaster-tier crafting materials from the last expansion.

And lest you think you don’t need the store-bought materials, I can assure you that nearly every single crafted item going from 375 to 450 requires at least 1 store-bought item (essence, wax, string, etc.). The least expensive way to level from 375 to 450 seems to be to save up your materials and level up all at once with a +160% Transcendent Skill Sphere, which if you don’t have one costs 1000 credits. It’s credits well spent, though, in my opinion, because of the savings you’ll reap from not having to spend so much on materials. (I happen to have some from previous giveaways, and I plan on using them.)

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind spending money on Rift at all. But this is the first time I can remember feeling any kind of pressure to buy. Pressure in the sense that it’s better and/or more enjoyable to spend money than to play for free. In the past, I’ve felt that spending money is only necessary once you’ve grown bored of a particular activity that was inherently fun, whereas now the activity is so tedious and time-consuming that you don’t even want to start on it.

Despite all of that above, Rift is still a cheap game in the global scheme of things. If you’re keeping score, so far I have spent $70 on Rift Nightmare Tide. $50 for the Collector’s Edition and $20 for some Credits which I used on Minion slots and some Minion cards. I could have gotten away with spending only $25 for the cheapest Collector’s Edition and had much the same experience. Considering I just paid some $90 for Warlords of Draenor and a 3-month subscription (and I still haven’t played more than a few hours of it), what I’ve spent on Rift so far is a bargain and for me, it has a lot more bang-for-the-buck.

A November Kitchen Sink Post

Hi! You may remember that I used to write blog posts. At least occasionally. Unfortunately this month two things have happened: Rift Nightmare Tide and NaNoWriMo. Those two things, particularly the former, are way more interesting than writing blog posts. But I thought I would take a break and quickly write down some stuff about things.

Chatting with Akva near the end of Draumheim.
Chatting with Arak near the end of Draumheim.

Overwatch. Blizzard is making a role-based shooter (cough Team Fortress cough). This is probably a great idea that will make bazillions of dollars. I personally have less than zero interest in yet another shooter in a crowded, stale market. The only way I could possibly become interested is if they find a way to solve the ridiculously unbalanced gameplay that usually occurs between casual newbies and hardcore veterans. Most shooters are not fun unless you decide to dedicate your life to them and start on day one. I can’t tell if they are addressing any of that from the information I’m seeing, but I’m guessing that if it’s Blizzard, there will be progression in it, so they probably aren’t addressing it.

ArcheAge. Sorry everyone whose ArcheAge searches bring you to my blog, but I’ve totally lost interest in ArcheAge. I couldn’t care less about the new Auroria continent. I’ve seen a lot of controversy about the cash shop, but I haven’t been paying attention to it, and that’s not what will drive me away from the game anyway. (Aywren has great posts about the problems with ArcheAge.) For me, it’s basically too time-consuming to fully experience and enjoy the game. All I do in ArcheAge now is log in periodically to make sure my geese haven’t died and to pay my taxes. That is probably all I’m going to do until my Patron status runs out, which could be in a few days or a few months. I can’t tell by reading any of the information in the game or on Trion’s site. (That is another problem with ArcheAge.) After my Patron status runs out, there’s no reason to keep playing because if you can’t own land, ArcheAge has very few interesting features. (I mean, unless you want to run around with a guild doing trade runs for, I don’t know, bragging rights I guess.)

FFXIV. I’ve played a little bit of the new Rogue class in FFXIV. To me, it feels a lot like the Pugilist class, which is not really a selling point for me. I doubt I’ll play very much of it, although I will level it to at least 15 like every other class. But first I need to stop playing …

Rift Nightmare Tide. Pretty much playing this every possible moment, doing all the things, including the Harvest Whatever event. My mage is almost to level 65, but I’ve also spent a lot of other time leveling my rogue from 51 to 55, and building up his survival and fishing proficiency. I imagine this is what you WoW enthusiasts will feel like when Warlords of Draenor comes out. (Actually many of you WoW enthusiasts apparently already feel like this.) The only real problems I have with Rift are that performance is considerably slower than I remember, and there is a weird camera problem when you walk beside things.

My mage in his Ravens football uniform, standing before the junk pile of dimension items I've been collecting.
My mage in his Ravens football uniform*, standing before the junk pile of dimension items I’ve been getting from minions.

NaNoWriMo. I’m seeing a lot of people in my Twitter feed participating this year, which is cool. I’m on pace, which is better than I expected to do considering I didn’t have anything like a plot or characters when I started. My novel is a post-apocalypse story (but not a young adult dystopian or a zombie apocalypse). I’ve wanted to write a post-apocalypse story since I was a teenager (although this one doesn’t look anything like the Mad Max world I had envisioned back then).

Now to find some pictures! And then get back to Rift!

* Note that I am not a fan of the Baltimore Ravens (though I don’t particularly dislike them either). Also note that I do not have permission from the NFL to use the term “Ravens,” “Baltimore,” “football,” the color purple, or a picture of shoulder pads.