Just before writing this article, I finally hit level 65 in RIFT: Nightmare Tide, and I couldn’t be happier to get that whole leveling thing out of the way. From level 60 to 64, my leveling experience with Nightmare Tide had been extremely positive. Things were moving quickly, but not so quickly as to undermine the achievement of gaining a level. Quests were fun and engaging, so much so that I think a lot of them are going to stick with me for quite some time. Like milking a giant praying mantis for “nightmare juice” (or at least that’s what I called it). Or that time I had a disembodied liver following me around while I attempted to keep it hydrated. How about when I drank a potion that ended up being sentient and talked to me about what it was like being inside my body? All of them were great distractions from the fact I was merely grinding out quest after quest. Trion has also proven their knowledge of memes, and while sometimes this can almost seem to destroy immersion, it helps keep things light.
If you remember the end of my first article on Nightmare Tide, this week’s entry was supposed to talk about a bit about endgame: the dungeons, the raids, and everything else Nightmare Tide has to offer. That was BEFORE I hit level 64. Now, it very well may have just been my perception, but the process of leveling from 64 to 65 was a chore. I felt like quests started to take much longer to complete and did not reward nearly enough experience for the challenge they were presenting. Objectives were often vague, leading to an artificial difficulty as I ran around like a headless chicken wondering what I was supposed to do next. For the sake of the article, I decided to pop some 160% experience potions to help cut down on time. But with the aforementioned length of quests, I found quite a bit of the 2-hour boost going to waste.
Luckily I mixed it up a bit by doing the new dungeons. Unluckily I was only able to do them on regular mode, which is mindlessly easy. Each one can be conquered with simple “stay out of stuff on the ground” mechanics (and with a good healer, even those are pretty much optional). I was told by several people I grouped with that the elite dungeons are MUCH harder, so I’m looking forward to challenging myself with those in my next article. But so far, none of the dungeons have stood out in any extraordinary way.
I also delved into the minion system. This is something many, many people are excited about, and I must admit that it really cuts down on time spent gathering resources and artifacts. Just in case you don’t know what the minion system is, let me explain it. You have several minions at your disposal that you can send on missions. After a certain amount of time, depending on the mission’s difficulty, they will return with loot such as notoriety, crafting materials, artifacts, and even dimension items. Each of your minions have stats that give them bonuses when doing certain missions. For example, if you send a minion with a high water stat on a water mission, you’ll get a bonus roll on better lootz (with a Z)! As I mentioned above, this system is really beneficial to those who do a lot of gathering and collecting. I do not, so my enjoyment of the system was slightly limited, but I can definitely see the appeal.
I’m also going to mention the world design, as Nightmare Tide is, to me, a true testament to interesting choices. At times you will be swimming in a large sea only to suddenly drop to the ground, leaving you looking up at the giant body of water. Some cities in the game are very reminiscent of those in the Little Mermaid, although a bit less gaudy and phallic. There are many beautiful, sprawling cathedrals and castles spread across the land. But at other times you’ll find bases made out of sunken ships, or simple towns made up of dozens of houses. The whole thing really feels as though this is a society living life on a dried-out ocean floor. But aesthetics are not the only thing affected by this world down under. There will often be quest objectives far above your current location with no obvious stairway up. At first you may think the quest is bugged, only to notice that many of the walls in this world are made of water. Simply walk into one and swim your way up to the quest objective! It’s so obvious you’ll wonder why walls aren’t made out of water in real life! Then you realize PHYSICS.
With leveling finally out of the way, next week I can start to truly delve into the endgame of Nightmare Tide LIKE I WAS SUPPOSED TO DO. I guess I should stop writing checks my body and experience bar can’t cash. Coming up: Expert Dungeons, Raids (although the 20-man raid is not yet in game at the time of writing this), and Dimensions