On Saturday, October 20th, I am going to be participating in the Extra Life gaming marathon, in support of The Children’s Hospital & Research Center of Oakland. The basic premise is that I play games for 24-hours straight, raise some money, and donate it to help out sick kids. I’m taking suggestions for games to play, and will be splitting time streaming my exploits with Liore on the Machiavelli’s Cat Twitch.tv channel. Please take the time to look over my donation page, and even if you don’t want to support financially, come hang out on Saturday.
So Rift released patch 1.11, which is the lead-in patch to Storm Legion (the first expansion) yesterday. Along with it came all of the changes to the existing soul trees. There was also a bunch of rebalancing to content to theoretically keep it around the same level of challenge. That’s pretty cool, although I have no idea if it worked because once I was patched and logged in, I spent the next hour and a half panicking about how there were so many buttons and I had no idea what to press or when, and why did everything change, and but I just learned how to play, and OH MY GOD CHANGE IS SCARY!
I think Rift is sort of “known” to have tons of abilities per spec, and they’ve definitely done a reasonable job of streamlining that a bit. However, I’m still starting off in a place where I had 4 souls built out and button-mapped (and in some cases macros were built), and now I have none. A lot of abilities are no longer in the game (or now require more points than I have in their tree), but the buttons stayed on my hotbars. Several of the souls had their focus completely changed, or at least had it tweaked. Some of the time it makes sense to pair a different secondary (and/or tertiary) soul with the same primary one. Basically, I have to relearn everything all over again, and it is chaotic and daunting. So yeah, advice #1 is clear your bars and rebuild them from scratch out of the spellbook.
In the end, Trion has expanded their suggested builds (there are now something like 8 per calling/class – more will likely come with the new souls in SL) and the notes/details/tips sections for each of those builds. However, it’s still pretty easy to get lost in there. Elementalist (the one where you get to summon a rock-monster and a fire dude and an air lady and a water blobule) is still paired with Pyromancer, but I can’t tell if I’m actually supposed to use any of the Pyro spells. I know that whenever I cast a spell of a particular element, I get a buff to the next spell I cast of a different one, and there’s clearly an intended cycle to all of this. But what I found myself doing as I played around on the target dummies was really just pressing every button whenever it came off cooldown. And it seemed to be okay? But I have no way of knowing. The forums talk about using Necromancer in place of Pyromancer because of some synergy (this also indicates the probability that the Pyro spells aren’t that important anymore), so I might try that out.
The thing is, though, I had just started to really feel like I knew what I was doing. I am only a month or two into being level 50, had tagged along to a few raids (yeah, I know, can’t keep me away), and had picked out a spec that seemed easy enough to manage while also doing fairly good DPS (I think. I don’t really have a proper benchmark for this, nor do I particularly want to…). I happen to like the learning process in games, and it’s one of the reasons I felt like I had run out of things to do in Warcraft. I just also like the “now I’m going to get better” part, and it seems like that point has gone skittering off like a cat that doesn’t want to be picked up, even though it’s CLEARLY hugging time.
It’s still cool, though. The patch also lets me put ANY ARMOR in any wardrobe slot, so I will totally be able to dress up as a plate-mage. Which will go swimmingly with my completely badass Storm Legion-born melee specs! And my warrior (who was my original Rift character) gets a proper support spec, and has more reason to run around with a mohawk cat, and I hardly remember how to play her anyway, so I was going to relearn anyway! And the full expansion is only a month or so away, and everyone is feeling things out and going through similar growing pains, and I missed out on this part of the experience last time around, so it’s still exciting. It’s just… I fear change!