The Rift Beta Bonanza – Part 6

Continuing on from Part 5.

I need to get my dancing feet on if we’re going to check out any new features, as this phase of the beta is due to end today.

5:00 pm GMT, 31st of December

That being the case, I’ve just been bashing my way through the Divine Landing quests, harvesting resources when I can. I expect if I keep on going I’ll either find a crafting trainer, or one or more dynamic rifts.

The server has just gone down again, before I could even take a nice screenshot!! Hopefully just for an update. I *think* beta phase 3 is going for a few more hours yet.

5:27 pm GMT, 31st of December

Back in, and here’s something new!

While the books I collected back in the tutorial seemed to be static, I’m now finding sparklies in the world which do seem to give random artifact collectables. In this screen, I have a choice of which of two different collections I want to add the Principia Conflagera to.

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Rift's Collection Window

It seems to work pretty similarly to EQ2’s collection system, though I don’t know what reward or effect completing a collection has. *Update* Syp has told me that completing a collection will get you a bag with random loot in it, with the possibility of rare items.

5:43 pm GMT, 31st of December

I finish up at Divine Landing, and am sent on to the next quest-hub, “Rudi’s Wagon”. This hub is different to the last one, in that it seems to be attackable by enemy invasions.

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Rudi's Wagon in the Sterling Hills

You can tell that it’s attackable because it has a wardstone. In fact, while I was sorting that picture out, some sort of invasion began from the plane of Life. Strange treant and dryad-type creatures appeared, and started beating the daylights out of the wardstone, the NPCs, and anyone else who got in their way. You would *think* that the plane of life might be a little less inclined to go around killing people than the plane of death, but apparently not.

As this hub is right on the track that any guardian has to go through there were plenty of us about, and they were eventually ejected. As things returned to normal, the Guardian NPCs respawned. One of the more dynamic and unique things about Rift, and potentially the most annoying to some, is that you can lose entire quest-hubs to the enemy, and not be able to progress until the hub is recaptured.

The circular icon above Berthold Stronn’s head means he has a daily repeatable quest. In this case, he just wants me to beat up some planar invaders, which I’m pretty sure I’m likely to do in the not to distant future. Rudi, he of wagon-fame, has an ordinary questgiving icon.

I wasn’t quite ready for that invasion, so I didn’t get any pictures, being more interested in staying alive! I’ll stick around and wait for another one, and go over the process in a little more detail.

The servers have just gone down for another patch. ETA is 30 minutes. See you on the flipside!

7:20 pm GMT, 31st of December

OK, just had a rather epic confrontation with the plane of fire. Here is a picture of the moment I realised something bad was about to happen. It got much more firey and confusing from here on in!

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Rudi's Wagon comes under attack from the Plane of Fire

What is happening here is that a fire rift has opened up nearby. You can see it’s red swirl over on the far left of the picture. That’s something that needs dealing with in its own right, but it is also creating bands of epic enemies, who have run over to Rudi’s Wagon and started attacking the NPCs and generally making a nuisance of themselves.

This group of fire planars kills the NPCs, and then runs north up the road, rather than trying to take this hub. I did not follow them, but I’d guess they went off to attack Argent Glade. Further waves of enemies from the fire rift did attack Rudi’s Wagon’s Wardstone, and succeed in turning it into a fire foothold. Until the rift itself is dealt with, it’s going to keep sending these invasions out, so I made helping out over there my priority.

On the right hand side, the top of the quest window has been taken over by a special UI that tracks the current event I’m in range of. In this case the attack on Rudi’s Wagon. It shows what phase of the event you are in, what you need to do, your score ranking, and eventually it will also contain any rewards you get for your contribution. If I head over to the Rift (which I did), that’s a separate event with separate scoring.

The rewards for participation include special crafting materials, and tokens with which you can purchase consumables and gear. You can also find some very nce consumables at the time, specific to the plane you’re fighting. I got a couple of lovely healing consumables while battling the plane of life, more than capable of healing Osgard to full.

Other consumables you can buy with planar tokens or loot include ones that will upgrade the wardstone, and ones which will summon a force of NPCs to assist you against an enemy foothold. I could see me using these quite a lot, and they are pretty affordable.

8:21 pm GMT, 31st of December

I just had a quick look at the mailbox at Argent Glade. You can attach up to 6 items to a mail, as well as money. There’s also a C.O.D feature, something much beloved by merchants everywhere!

10:12 pm GMT, 31st of December

Looks like the Beta is going to end in a few minutes.

I don’t want to do too much in the way of conclusions or navel-gazing posts about Rift just yet. Much could yet change, and I’m too low level to be too sure of how the main bulk of the game will play. I certainly have no intention of getting caught up in the wave of hype and expectations that is sweeping through the blogosphere right now. Currently I’m fairly neutral anyway. A lot of what has gone into Rift is derivative, often with little attempt to disguise the source. However, the rift mechanism is interesting and full of potential, but they need to do far more to explain to new players why the place they’ve been sent to on the extremely linear quest timeline is on fire with no quest-giver in sight. The world itself, as you may have seen from some of my pictures, is quite beautiful in parts, and I’m certainly looking forward to exploring it further.

It’s still in flux, and the developers have been taking good note of player feedback. We’ll be back with Beta phase 4, whenever that turns out to be, to see what they’ve learned from this session! Soon, I hope, as I never did get around to having a good look at the crafting.

Update: The patch notes for Phase 4 of Rift’s Beta are out and can be found here.

The Rift Beta Bonanza Part 7!

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