I grudgingly embarked into Rift’s Starfall Prophecy over the weekend. I wasn’t excited about it, but I needed an excuse to postpone writing for NaNoWriMo. I’m trying to catch up from a huge deficit, so it’s important to put things off as long as possible. Anyway I pre-ordered Starfall Prophecy, so I figured I might as well play it.
I was very thankful to see that you still get tokens for logging in. I would have been about five short of buying the squirrel mount if they’d stopped that upon launch. So yay! I bought the squirrel mount. It’s silly and I will never use it. I took a screenshot, though.
Anyway, back to the expansion. First there was the challenge of finding the expansion. This is always a thing in Rift. They never tell you in-game where to go. I guess they just assume everyone is going to Google it or read the forums or something. I noticed the new area on the map and the new porticulum there, but I figured there had to be some sort of quest that led you there.
This conclusion was based on my first experience with the Plane-touched Wilds. I got there first by walking directly into the zone from Lantern Hook. There wasn’t anything preventing me from going right on in there, except an NPC at the border who said, “Hey you might want to maybe not do that because it might be hard.” Once inside, the first quest-givers made it abundantly clear that I’d missed something, so I left again. I ended up Googling how to “officially” start that zone, which turned out to be a quest way out in Tarken Glacier that I never would have found in a million years.
So with that in mind I went looking for a Starfall Prophecy quest that would take me a million years to find. I first investigated a place near the porticulum in Tempest Bay I didn’t remember seeing before, where Cyrodil was handing out a story quest. It looked very promising. I followed this quest line for about 45 minutes before I could no longer convince myself that I was heading for Starfall Prophecy. I was actually doing one of the Saga quest lines, something about dreams. I logged out in disgust, because then I had no more excuses to avoid writing.
Later I gave it another shot. But instead of spending a million years porting all over the place trying to find a Starfall Prophecy quest, like finding a needle in a haystack, I just ported right to the new continent.
There was some ruckus there with a dragon breaking things but I didn’t really pay attention to it at the time. It didn’t seem relevent.
Then I talked to someone who gave me a “fragment,” which is apparently the new gear progression in Starfall Prophecy. I promptly installed the fragment. Then I realized the quest had asked me to do something else with it. It still let me finish the quest anyway, which was fortunate. Then I got another fragment, which I promptly installed as well. At which point I read that I was supposed to recycle it or destroy it or something. Oops. I couldn’t figure out how to un-install fragments so I guess I’ll never finish that quest.
I struck out into the wilderness. Shyla Starhearth and a miniature dragon appeared by my side and started talking, urging me to go to the forest on the right. This is the point where I thought I definitely missed out on an introductory quest, because I had literally no clue why these two were suddenly following me around in this new zone. I didn’t mind them being there, but it was totally out of the blue. They didn’t say, “Hi, Ascended, mind if we tag along? Because ___”. They just started talking as if we were already in the middle of a conversation. They mentioned the ruckus about breaking things so maybe I missed something there. I’ll have to go back and look at the video. :)
I recognized Shyla by her name, but she was wearing a totally different outfit than I’ve ever seen her in. And I recognized Tasuil because that was the name of a corgi from Dendrome but now he’s a dragon I guess. I sort of vaguely remember something about Tasuil and a young dragon at the end of Dendrome but not really. All I remember is the Rift developers killed off Tasuil the corgi in the end and it made me really mad and I had to enter a Chronicle to exact bloody vengeance upon whoever it was that did that.
The point is it would have been nice to have a little bit more of an introduction for the expansion instead of forcing me to try to remember a story from years ago. (I had the exact same criticism of Legion.) Maybe there was an introduction, if I’d spent a million years searching for it. If that’s the case, then it would have been nice to know where to find the introduction without a painful search. Why do developers keep doing this? It happens in like every game every time. Well, almost. GW2 made it pretty easy to find Heart of Thorns as I recall.
(If the beginning to Starfall Prophecy was at the end of Planetouched Wilds, I never got past the first porticulum in there.)
I wonder if a Defiant player would have somebody else as a companion. When I think of Shyla I definitely think Guardians. She’s right there standing next to Cyrodil in Sanctum. Would it be a totally different conversation with somebody else? Or the same conversation just with a different person? If it’s someone like Asha Catari I can’t see her being quite as sympathetic as Shyla Goody-Twoshoes Starhearth. Sadly I don’t have any Defiant characters at 65 to check it out.
Since I didn’t happen to have any top-tier raid gear when I started, the expansion was a little rough in the beginning. Most expansions are, so it was no big deal. I had to use my Elementalist build to get through the mobs, healing Smashy the stone elemental tank pet very frequently. I used to love the Elementalist, back in the old days when I leveled my first char to 50, but it got all weird and complicated in Storm Legion and I don’t like it as much anymore. But I had a build and macros already so I went with it. As I got more updated gear from quest rewards, the fights got easier, and finally when I got a new staff it got exponentially easier. I switched back to Harbinger.
At least until I got to that Blackthorn area. That’s when all the mobs turned level 66. Unfortunately, I myself was still only halfway through level 65 at that point, and there was a noticable increase in difficulty in the level 66 mobs around Blackthorn (mainly those unicorn-killing Tuathe’de).
I’m pretty sure the reason I was lagging behind in experience is that I wasn’t subscribed. You get a pretty substantial bonus in experience gain when subscribed, and I imagine if I’d been subbed, I would have gotten the necessary experience to reach level 66 by the time I got to Blackthorn. That’s kind of annoying, especially since I can’t see any easy way to make up the difference in experience.
I figured I’d play some Instant Adventures until I picked up enough experience to make level 66 before continuing. But for some reason, IAs are “disabled” right now.
Rifts are out because every one I’ve seen is level 66. And nobody ever closes them unless they’re part of a zone event, so I would have to close them solo and I don’t think I’d be able to. Not in a timely manner, at least.
So now I’m stuck behind the power curve. Killing random mobs for experience isn’t going to cut it in this day and age, and you can only do those Carnage quests once. I tried going back to the Plane-touched Wilds but the experience gains there are pitiful.
Slogging through difficult level 66 mobs at level 65 isn’t all that fun. I could handle it if I knew it was temporary, but I’m sure I’m going to be behind the experience curve all the way to 70, because it’s an effective incentive to subscribe.
I might be tempted to subscribe except for one thing: Trion doesn’t give you any credits with a subscription package. Nothing, zip, zilch. You get a small discount but you still have to pay real money to buy anything from the store, even after you’ve subscribed.
Maybe I can dig up some old experience boost potions. Either that or I’ll have to wait for the Instant Adventures to return before continuing the story quests. Which sucks, because now I’m sort of invested in the expansion and having fun. I have to save the unicorns!!!
(And don’t even think about suggesting a dungeon. I haven’t optimized my builds and macros since roughly Storm Legion, so there’s no way I’m going into a group with people who know what they’re doing. I don’t even have a DPS meter installed for fear of what it might show.)