Monday, January 3, 2011

Rift Beta 3... Or "Greetings fellow Air-Breather" PART TWO

Act III- Freemarch Under Siege

I awoke the next day, and met up with Swiftsure to do some more missions, and make our way to Meridian. Unfortunately she had left before me and ended up someplace else, so I did not physically get to fight alongside her till a bit later on. In the interim, I amused myself with the destruction of more water rifts, and a few death rifts.

One thing I will say about Telara, there is no shortage of people to help you. Just when you think you are up the creek without a paddle, on a rift that will KILL you... again... along come a few brave souls to help you seal that particular rift. The up side is that with everyone contributing, the enemy that spawns is even stronger, but the rewards are greater. There is a downside though, especially for a healer.

Oftentimes it gets a bit confusing when you have multiple groups of people repelling an invasion or a rift, and you may get the call from someone to "HEAL ME!!!!". Currently there is no real way of identifying who is who in a mass of ungrouped people so finding the person in time and healing them is a tricky proposition at best. Hopefully someone creative will think of a plausible solution to this dilemma, till then, we Clerics may get a bad rap for not healing people in time.

Aww so close to Meridian, yet so far.

I found a little farm overrun with boars not unlike the domesticated one Swiftsure always ran around with, and in this farm there were actually some settlers who needed some things done. Granted, this would not be epic uber missions where the fate of Telara is in the balance, but the little things... the feel good missions that make you proud to be a Defiant, and happy to be of service to a fellow citizen. Not to mention it was a great way to meet other Ascended, and see some rather interesting hairdos...

Oh I see how it is.. the Bahmi chick gets a banging 'Fro, and I gotta go bald eh....

It's ok Trion, you can keep your Afro, I like being bald thank you. :-p

I digress again...

During my daytime travels I actually found Telarans resting... taking a break as it were from the constant sieges of the planar enemies. Believe me, any chance you can get to rack up some Zzz's on Telara... TAKE IT! All too soon your sleep can be rudely interrupted.

I did encounter all sorts of odd occurrences on my way to Meridian to wait for Swiftie... including this phenomenon that only happens once in a blue moon... lightning striking twice!

By nightfall I had made it to Meridian, and I opted to spend a good deal of time there exploring.

I met Orphiel Farwind in his observatory, and carried on a brief conversation with him. I dunno about Orphiel though, something about him does not seem right... I cannot quite put a finger on it.

His Tower is incredible though, as these next couple of pictures show.... Quite an impressive feat of technomagical wizardry!

I was indeed impressed, but not nearly so much so as when I met HER...
Pleased to meet you, again... for the first time... Whatever it is... I made a pledge to you, and I intend to honor it. My mace and my conviction are at your disposal General Catari. You don't know it yet, but you are going to save my life.... errr... well maybe I am here to save yours.

We'll figure it out later. For now, it was time to learn all I could about being a cleric. Including the highlight of this beta test... getting ALL the cleric souls (8 of them) so that I can mix and match.

Yeah... Trion's idea of a joke LOL. The technical reason is that the quests you have to do to get all 8 souls are not ready yet, so this is just the filler text you see for the time being. Makes for a funny read. Personally I think they should just leave it like this, but I suppose they HAVE to change it.

Eventually I found the bar, and an NPC with a chest twice the size of any player's. I had to sit down and hang out with her for a while.

 Of course during my distraction with her, a Water rift spawned outside that  I had to take care of... I will tell you I was none too pleased about this. Not to be deterred, I took out the water rift with a quickness.

After all was done, I promptly went back to my NPC hostess.

At some point in time, I do not remember how long, Swiftie showed up, and I ran her through some of the things I have seen in Meridian thus far so she could catch up, including telling her how to get all 8 rogue souls. May as well take advantage of the free souls while they are there. With that done, we opted to get some more missions done.

Our next major one took us to a place called Lakeside.... an ODD little town.

First thing I noticed was a scout kneeling by the roadside.
Ziara informed me that there was something suspicious about this town that she could not quite figure. For some reason, she wanted me to investigate by talking to the townsfolk.

Seems easy enough... Here were my findings.
Umm... ok?
Uhhhh... Yeah, whatever you say there...
OK THAT'S IT! You are SOOOO NOT fooling me here!

The whole town was a front for the Abyssal cult! Somehow they got their hands on some kinda polymorph potions and were pretending to be humans. They took the entire town over and were gaining a foothold in Freemarch. I knew just what to do... I called upon my inquisitor's fanaticism, and SMOTE them down with all my fervor!

When that was done, I had to take the fight underwater to their hideout. At this point in time Swiftie was not present but another lovely lady came to my aid. For the life of me I do not remember her name though, so though she was lovely, she apparently was not memorable. :-(

A note about underwater... I have not really shown it in my tales thus far but just like RL, you have only so much breath before you begin to drown... and I do not have the magic spell to make me breathe underwater... I am only a silly air breather afterall. By the way, to swim up or down either press the right mouse button and move your mouse, or press both mouse buttons and move your mouse. You'll thank me later.

Several levels later I finally ran into Swiftie! Yay! I must say I like her wardrobe upgrade. We made our way to Smith's Haven, another town under siege, this time by the cult of Death- The Endless Court.

The missions in here were noticeably a bit more challenging, but doable, and we were able to make some serious headway rescuing the town, some of the priceless artifacts that random citizens wanted is to retrieve, and even saving the lives of a few trapped citizens in a cave.
After we got out, and got over the smoke inhalation from the town on fire, we could see in the distance an Air rift in a far off area of Telara... a promise that we have only just begun to walk this road, and that more was yet to come.
We did not have time to mourn our inability to get to the rift as the best was yet to come. Once more the developers spawned an epic rift event that damn near caused the end of the world.... again...

With Regulos one step away from taking over, we did everything we could to beat him back. It took us the better part of a couple hours, but we did it. When we were done we celebrated by entering the Iron Tomb and slaughtering the undead in there too.

 Truly an epic experience, this continued over the next day as we not only ran Iron Tomb but also I was privileged to go back to the Realm Of The Fae in Silverwood, and show the Satyrs that I was back. I have to admit that was the best part for me was being able to teleport to Silverwood, in Guardian held territory and slaughter those Satyrs, with no remorse.

When it was all said and done, I rested on the mountain in Silverwood, to look at the world I once knew through guardian eyes, but now see through my ascended Ethian eyes.

When Swiftsure made her way to Silverwood, we fought side by side once more, and joined a Raid on their way to take Sanctum by force.
The raid mind you was a partial success. We were able to take a few strongholds, and pvp with a few guardians, but we learned in short time that against the NPC guards of Sanctum, we stood no chance, even as an amassed force of players. It was sooo much fun to do however, and we got to see their mascot....

WTF? A giant Squirrel? Leave it to the Guardians...

When it was all said and done, we had an amazing time and I explored so much of the world. I did not want to leave when the time came. I enjoyed my life as a Defiant and am committed to the cause.

I can only hope the next phase of beta takes us to uncharted places, to experience more unique vistas, meet exotic people, and kill them.

Till then, I await inside the halls of Meridian... right next to my Leige- Asha Catari.


Next beta is January 7, 2011 at 10AM Pacific Standard Time. It lasts all weekend till the 10th which is that Monday following. Join the Rift game site HERE. I am sure they are still giving away beta keys if you would like to see Telara as I have been, and keep your eyes out for the elusive VIP keys which allow ALL access to all betas from here on out!

See you on Telara, thanks for reading.

Rift Beta 3... Or "Greetings fellow Air-Breather" PART ONE

This past week, from December 28 - December 31, was the latest closed beta session for RIFT... Beta 3. Now during this beta we were asked to play EITHER Guardian OR Defiant from level 1-20 and evaluate both the leveling system, all the soul class options available, and perhaps engage in a little pvp and major world events.

I cannot even begin to tell you how much fun this entire experience was. Added to my enjoyment was the fact that one of my dear friends from Second Life, decided to join me on this endeavor. She was lucky to have gotten a VIP beta key, so she too was in like Flynn. This short tale will recount our story as we leveled to 20 and had a blast in the Defiant side of things...

First thing I did was kill off the old, guardian Belenos. No offense to anyone but I am not white... the toon looks nothing like me, so it had to go. Besides, I wanted to be a defiant anyway, so this gave me the perfect opportunity. If only we had such redos in life...

Behold the NEW Belenos-

Still a cleric, still decided to go with Inquisitor as my main soul... partly for RP purposes, partly because the skill tree actually looked pretty offensive (as opposed to defensive).

Now I might segue to add that even though the Eth race are a bit darker than the Mathosians from the last beta, I am still not quite seeing "African" colors yet... I still hope the devs can add that in. Black players may be a minority in the gaming community, but it says a lot to us that we can at least have something that looks like us... regardless if some of us are "white boys trapped in black boys' bodies".

I digress...

Ok so... new cinematic aside, and with Swiftsure (my SL partner) on her newly created toon, we both awake inside the appropriately named Life Factory.

Act I- The Uncertain Future

Map of Starting area- Terminus

For the Defiant side, our game starts in the future. (Guardian is in the past). When we are brought back to life we are brought smack dab into the apocalypse, armageddon, ragnarok if you will.... Or to put it bluntly... the world is FUBAR! The Guardians are all but dead, the cities destroyed, the world torn apart and only a small group of Defiant remain steadfast in this grim scene. We are immediately told that the last great hope for civilization lies in our hands. As engineered Ascendants we are tasked to getting to a time machine they have created for the sole purpose of putting us back in time to a point where it is believed that future, that present could be CHANGED. Yes it is the classic paradox, except I do not meet my own grandfather and kill him.

With our mission clear, Swiftsure and I walked out to greet the dawn of the last day on Telara.

First thing we did was group up. As two of the last survivors on Telara, we may as well stick together. We made our way through a perilous course of insane Telaran husks, and other citizens who have gone mad in the apocalypse, eventually reaching the place where Asha Catari had rounded up the remnants of her guard. Our first task it would seem was to get the time machine working again. All the efforts of the Defiant technicians, including whacking on the machines they were attempting to fix, did naught to get everything fully functional again...

During the chaos it looks like something happened to cause the power supply to go out. Perhaps an attack, all I know is it was burning and we had to put it out. Along the way we had to rescue a few trapped people, and try our damnedest to retain some semblance of order and sanity amongst this withering civilization.

Eventually we reached the machine, and I doused it with water as Swiftsure turned it on.

Ok great!

We got that working... now what. Well now we had to report to some dude named the faceless man. Apparently he used to be an Abyssal (water plane cultist) who saw the error of his ways and sided with the Defiant. Nice guy, even if he is a bit touched. I should say that I know how he feels too, since I am feeling a bit touched myself. One cannot stare death in the face and witness the end of the world without being a little off kilter after that.

In any event, one of our next tasks was to take down a rogue Guardian... Not just any Guardian mind you, but none other than Shyla the Pentarch of the Vigil.... now turned Shyla the Fallen. For those who do not know, Shyla was the High Elf matriarch on the Guardian side... Well apparently (and it has been a while since I saw her) she has gone mad. She very nearly killed us all, and it pained me to do so, but she had to die. After my grim deed was complete... I have to admit... it touched me. How such a good elf could go bad... beyond me.

I had to rest for a while. It was probably just as well as Swiftsure needed some downtime also. I would not see her again until after I had completed our objectives ahead of her. As it was, fighting without her was going to be difficult. Many times over I had to back off and try again, as even though I had gained a second soul (Justicar, to add to my Inquisitor), I was still not quite powerful enough to defeat the many hordes of death.

When I got back up I was given the task of heading up to the camp halfway up the hill... Just shy of the time machine. There I met Isach, who told me how dire the situation was, but thanked me for my assistance on the way up in getting his reinforcements through the battle unscathed.

Almost there... I could feel the hands of death closing around Telara... the closer I got to the top of the mountain, the worse the feeling became. I was consumed with many thoughts... Why did the Guardians betray Telara by destroying the Defiant devices? Where were the Gods that at one time demanded my worship? They made the world, why were they absent at its near destruction? How could they let an entire world just simply DIE?

My faith was shaken to the bone as I mounted the crest of the hill and met Stavel Rosso, operator of the time machine.

We were just about to get started when I met for the first time the woman who would become a constant thorn in my side this entire beta event.... Alsbeth the Discordant. Better known as Regulos' personal witch concubine... Words cannot express how much hatred I have developed for this "woman".

After much monologuing, she decided to give me some undead creatures to keep me busy. No problem, I took them out with relative ease. A couple more spawned... again, no issue. Done in no time. Then like most villains, she decided she wanted to simply do the job herself.... uhh problem.

Enter my savior! Asha Catari and her personal guards!

I knew Swiftsure was on the way, but this could not wait, I had to work with Asha to get this witch bitch back to the hellhole she spawned from. WE did just that. By the time Swiftie made it up the hill, Alsbeth was a memory and we were facing the progenitor of doom himself... REGULOS, the Destroyer of worlds.

Asha Catari bought us all the time she could muster, and one by one Defiant ascended plunged into the time machine. I thanked her and made her a vow that when I saw her in the past I would pledge my maul, my conviction, and my life to her.

Then my world turned black. Asha Catari gave her life (again) so that we might live.

Act II- The Present Day

I don't think we are in Kansas anymore Toto...

All things considered, it was better than being at the end of the world! I waited several minutes till I finally got my bearings and saw Swiftsure materialize from the time machine, no worse for wear. In short time... pun intended, the other ascended survivors also appeared. Our presence there startled many, who were unsure if the machine would even work, but seemed like a blessing to others seeking justification and confirmation that the technology was sound.

We made our way to a built up cavern that housed some key people we needed to see, and informed them of who we were. They appeared satisfied with our identities and bade us well on our quest to get to Meridian to report to Asha Catari.

Like any good mission, it involves a LOT of side trips, whether helping other citizens, taking the time to learn how to craft, or even defeating opening water or death rifts! The Water Rifts brought me flashbacks of my time as a Guardian Inquisitor, in another life... and the many crusades to crush the cult of the Abyssal, followers of the dragon of water, Akylios the depraived. Fighting his minions brought my religious fervor back somewhat, and steeled me in the coming battles, even if I still resorted to drink after the battle was done to soothe my frazzled nerves.

The Water rifts in particular were to play a major part in my life as an ascendant this past week... as I was soon to  find. I took every opportunity to destroy every single water rift, invasion, or random npc I saw in Freemarch.

EVERY opportunity...

We found our way to King's Retreat, where we made some new friends, and we were able to learn some needed crafting skills. I will segue to say that crafting in RIFT is ridiculously easy. This can be good or bad to the average player. DO NOT come to Telara looking for a challenging crafting system that will have you solving puzzles or putting your life at risk to make 10 items... But do expect to be able to craft with great ease, so much so that you could in theory put yourself on autopilot to craft and "soul walk" around your rl house while your avatar does all the work. For the record, I do not recommend the latter as the chances are great that when you return, a planar invasion may have come through, and killed you!

As time went on, we found that doubleteaming rifts, and enemies, as well as doing missions together was in fact the BEST way to level up in Telara. Since Swiftie is a rogue, and I a cleric, we make a great combination that could handle MOST things that popped up to try and kill us. Just as it was going oh so well for us, we ran into an old friend again....

This witch.

OMG! I want to kill her... AGAIN! Perhaps if I could kill her that would have saved us all the problems in the future we just came from. Sadly... she disappeared before I could put my maul in her head. Her demise would have to wait...

By evening time we had made it to Kelari Refuge, a startling little shantytown on the beach, encased within a natural U shaped bay, and definitely off the beaten path enough so as to not be TOTALLY overrun by rifts.

It was here I decided to call it a night, as did Swiftsure. We agreed to meet up the next day for more fun adventures.

As I sat watching the glorious sunset at Kelari Refuge... I was reminded that at times... yes, Telara can be absolutely beautiful.