In yesterday’s thrilling instalment, Osgard was born, died, and born again as an Ascended being. Not bad for a day’s work.
He stands now at the Thontic’s Fountain quest-hub in the village of Ardenburgh, having just gained his second soul, and spent some soulpoints. It’s time to get going again.
As Minsc would say, “Evil, meet sword. Sword, meet evil!!!!”.
4:35 pm GMT, 30th of December
The Defiant have placed machines around the village which are capturing innocent villagers and draining their essence, reducing them to undead. Truly diabolical behaviour, and Osgard has been tasked with destroying those machines. He has also been asked to slay a number of Ardenburgh Horrors, and retrieve the holy Sanctified Spheres that they have stolen.
The Horrors are no problem, being plentiful, not too tough, and looking a little bit like they’re on loan from Kingdom Heart’s Maleficent.
Destroying the Morbid Infusers for the “Unholy Shackles” quest is a trickier proposition. What is supposed to happen is that you find one of the machine spots, and smash it up. Shortly after, a Defiant will run in and fix it, resetting it for the next person. Unfortunately, it seems that the machines are not getting reset, so nobody can complete this quest.
That’s a problem, as you don’t seem to be able to continue with the tutorial quest series until you’ve completed it, so there are a whole lot of confused folks in Ardenburgh desperately searching for Morbid Infusers in vain. Maybe if I level a bit more I’ll get offered another quest.
Unholy Shackles was working fine on the first day of Phase 3. It might just be a server issue.
5:31 pm GMT, 30th of December
Lag has also gotten quite bad, with monsters taking 5 seconds or so to realise you’re attacking them. It could be the two things are connected, if the server is in some sort of difficulty. Maybe they’re running a stress-test.
I am a bit worried as to whether Osgard is going to be able to continue his adventure today! I’ll run around bashing things until I level, and see if that gives me a way around, but I’m not hopeful.
5:43 pm GMT, 30th of December
We’re saved! Like the angel of bug-smiting did GM Vittoria swoop down from the heavens and set us all to rights by advancing our quest. I quickly finish up the quests from the fountain hub, and am sent on my way to meet Brother Jebiah, at Ardenburgh’s northern gates. Surely such a holyman will have much wisdom he can share with me.
He has just murdered a villager for suggesting that we try to talk to the Defiants. That’s insane, and if it were not for the fact that the Defiants are running around the village building machines that turn villagers into undead, I’d probably consider joining them at this point!
Unfortunately I can’t do anything to punish him for his murderous deed, or even express my displeasure. I’m going to have to work for this zealot if I want to move on to the next part of the tutorial. Grrr.
I know actually being the good guys (rather than just believing yourselves to be) is seen as kind of cheesy in our post-modernistic world, but I’d really like the option again. I began my MMO career serving Lord British, trying to follow the Path of Virtue, and I have a very low tolerance for seeing my allies doing horrible things. In particular, I expect better from a Dwarf.
Anyway, it turns out his quest is reasonably sane. He wants me to head through the gates behind him into a small wood, Bloodmurk Grove, filled with Defiants and their machines. There I must destroy the machines, and retrieve the soulstone that has been used to fuel them. Tam Daggerborne, on the other side of the gate, wants me to kill a few Defiants while I’m at it.
6:49 pm GMT, 30th of December
I’ll breeze through the events of Bloodmurk Grove so we can get to some new features more quickly. For the first time the enemies were aggressive before being attacked, so you had to be a little more careful about moving about, but other than that it was fairly simple. On the northern edge of Bloodmurk Grove was Valor’s Hold, a small Guardian encampment, standing before a large open field area. It is there that Osgard is sent next, to speak to Cyril Kalmar.
Cyril must wait a moment. Os is lost for words as, looking north across the field, he sees his first rift.
It’s quite a long way away, and I’ll have a fair bit to sort out before I get there. Handing in the current quest to Cyril Kalmar, he has a fresh adventure for our Saboteur hero, and also sends him to visit the Rogue Trainer.
As well as spending points in your Soultree to improve skills, you can also buy skill upgrades from trainers using ingame money.
Osgard only has a couple of skills he can upgrade at his level. The starter attacks he got from his two current subclasses. He’ll snap both of them up, as I suspect he’s going to be needing them!
I need to place a Warding Orb into an Altar of the Vigil at a certain spot in this battlefield. It’s quite a large area with a lot going on, but the map tells me exactly where to go. I also have a secondary quest that just requires me to kill a few of some of the sorts of undead that roam here.
One neat feature I’ve noticed is that if you kill more than one enemy in a fight, when you loot one, you loot all the corpses with range. A nice timesaver.
8:00 pm GMT, 30th of December
Placing the Warding Orb into the altar begins a sort of ring event, with several waves of enemies assaulting you until face the Spawn of Regulos. Fortunately you’re assisted by the illegitimate son of the old king, Carwin Mathos, who turns up in the nick of time. A passing ranger and her Razorbeast also lent me a hand. Carwin is willing to do most of the work if you don’t go grabbing all the agro from him, so I should think this is soloable, if a little scary.
Osgard didn’t get looting rights, but he did get quest-credit for the kill. I’m not entirely sure how looting rights are decided yet, but it was slightly irritating to not be able to loot the big bad spawned from my own quest. I doubt he had anything good anyway!
The server has just gone down for an update. I’ll pick things back up when they return!
8:47 pm GMT, 30th of December
OK, we’re back. No sign of any patch notes. They might have just been bouncing the servers to try to sort the lag out.
For Osgard’s next mighty pair of deeds, he is getting sent up to Vigilant Rise, a bluff which overlooks the battlefield. Once again, he must seek out and destroy the machines of Orphiel, the Defiant leader. Once again, the map tells me exactly where to go.
Both quests lead to the North East corner. the circle shows the area in which the monsters I need to kill roam. The little star in the same area is the precise location of Orphiel’s Corruptor. The black and silver stars show the location of each quest-hub.
I know a lot of people love how modern MMOs tell you exactly where to go, so you don’t have to “waste time” reading quest text, exploring and learning about the land in which you find yourself, and can just get your quest done in the minimum amount of time necessary. I don’t. Actually I pretty much hate it. It rendered 80% of the battlefield area surplus to requirements. Previously, you would have had to look around the area until you found what you were looking for, so that additional space would get some use, but when you know exactly where to go it just becomes dead space, and it hurts my heart that some poor soul still had to spend their time decorating it for folks like me that insist on exploring even when we’re not told to by a questbox.
As it happens, it’s not completely dead space, as I discovered when I compulsively explored it. Those sparkley books can pop up in the most unlikely places, and I also spied some named enemies, and conversable NPCs with snippets of lore. Will that be enough to have most players explore them? I’m not sure.
At any rate, I don’t need the precise location of the machine. Just tell me it’s up on the hill, and I’ll find it just fine. I suspect it is quite large and glowing.
9:30 pm GMT, 30th of December
Osgard is level 6 now, so I put a few more points into his soul tree, getting an ability called “Blast charge” that allows him to attach up to five explosive charges on an enemy, detonating them all at once.
It’s time to jog on up to Vigilant Rise, and give Orphiel a spot of justice. I head up the path, beating up Carrion Flayers for my other quest as I go.
There’s an awful lot of players standing around up here on Vigilant Rise, and I’m not entirely sure why. I head on past them onto Ascension Hall, a stone building that juts out over the battlefield. There is Orphiel’s Corruptor, which I quickly disable. Ethect, a great golem who had ignored me until now, moves in to action.
As Ethect falls, Orphiel appears, rather annoyed with me for having tampered with his work. He vows to one day learn how to Ascend without the help of the gods (which of course he does, in the Defiant tutorial set in the future), and runs off in a sulk.
Hmm. I may have reached the end of the tutorial. There is an angel waiting to give me my third soul, and next to him is a portal that looks a lot like it might take me out of here. As I’m not sure I can get back once I leave, I don’t want to go just yet. I nervously approach the Messenger of the Vigil, hoping that he won’t automatically zone me if I complete the quest which will grant me the soul.
And then the server goes down without warning. A crash maybe?
10:04 pm GMT, 30th of December
We’ve had some patch notes, though I’m not sure whether they were for the previous downtime or this one.
RIFTS AND INVASIONS
* Adding additional metrics and debugging info to investigate zone-wide event stability.
* Fixed an error where Death footholds were being spawned by Guardians in Silverwood. They really weren’t spies for Regulos, we promise!
This post has gotten pretty large, so we’ll pick things up in Part 4 of the Rift Beta Bonanza! Be sure to let me know if there’s something in particular you’d like me to cover.