Note: Bill’s and Suzie’s impressions were written before the second phase of the event began.
For Rift’s first major content update, I wasn’t expecting much. The Trion folks had already delivered an exceedingly polished product at launch. At first glimpse I expected the River of Souls content to be sort of a PR stunt to say they had released a content update more than anything else. What I was pleased to find is that the event is really more story-telling device for the game’s entire population, with the added benefit of another raid thrown in for those at the level cap. Now I can’t comment on the end game content, as I’ve sort of fallen for my dwarf Cleric over my Bahmi and have since been working on him. But I like the fact that this world event seems to be setting the tone for the way in which Trion will be guiding the world’s lore from here on out.
Now I know there are some issues at hand. I mean, I’m with those of you who are thinking to yourselves: “What the hell, more rifts?” But come on… it’s not like that particular feature wasn’t advertised from the get go in a game called Rift. What I’ll be more curious to see is how the event progresses. At the time of this writing, we’re still in the first phase of the event and the second phase which was scheduled to go live has been postponed due to stability concerns.
Right now, what the first part of the River of Souls event amounts to is a growing taint of the Death plane across all of Telara. It’s seeping into the major cities, and more and more Death rifts are spawning across the map. There are a handful of repeatable quests in the major cities which involve closing Death rifts or driving back shades from the plane of Death that are bent on invading the city. You get a special event currency from doing these tasks which can in turn be spent on some cool novelty items. Basically, it’s on par with the other types of “world events” you see in many games, and is especially reminiscent to me of the Warhammer Online events, though with a lot less apparent grind if you ask me. Lots of cool themed stuff going on in the world, and the rewards are the kind of things you really want because they look cool and all, but they’re not anything you really need. But I mean, who doesn’t want to be shrouded in a deathly glow while questing or during PvP?
The other big changes in this patch, outside of the additional raid, were some pretty hefty changes to the Warrior and Rogue archetype soul trees. In short: they got nerfed. There’s no need to dance around it, it’s just what happened. And as a Cleric, I will gladly say they deserved to be hit with said squishy stick. In PvP, certain combinations were far too strong against all comers. And while I appreciate the folks who got hit with the nerf being a little saddened, in the end the balancing act that we’re going to see over the next several years is such a big game of touch and go that it’s not even worth mentioning. It’s all in an effort to try and keep things fun for all in PvP and PvE, and I personally think we just need to get on with it and learn to play our classes when the changes come. But then again, I play a Cleric and I’ve not been hit with any major sweeping changes yet. So I should probably shut my mouth. Anyhow, I’ll let Mrs. Suzie Ford cover the view from level 50 and what she thinks of the 1.1 update. From what I can gather, the event doesn’t seem as fun or handy for those already at the tippy-top.
As Bill said, the v1.1 content update has been a nice surprise with a caveat: It’s best suited to mid- and low-level characters. Starting to mid-30 players will have a blast. My baby Warrior has scored some great stuff with the event-specific currency. My level 50 Rogue, however, hasn’t and that just doesn’t make me a happy camper.
When the 1.1 patch was deployed, I anxiously logged in with Level 50 Kalia and zipped up to Mathosia, gleefully anticipating using my character’s awesome power to drive back the forces of evil. I waited breathlessly for the map to show the first telltale sign of a tear or the purple swirly thingy that means a Death Rift had opened up. And I kept waiting….and waiting…and waiting.
You see, this is the problem at the top end. These zone wide invasions and the arrival of large numbers of Death Rifts are based on zone population. With fewer players at the top where this content is needed, fewer invasions and rifts open up. Those who have reached the level cap are not as plentiful these days doubtless due to the fact that there is so little to do and the River of Souls events just don’t seem to reach up high enough to make hangin’ in Mathosia much fun. Most 50s have already finished the instanced dungeons, gotten great gear, done the daily quests ad nauseum. 50s need more to do, dammit, and the River of Souls was our hope. Sadly, that hope has been dashed into, at least as of this writing, a thousand shiny pieces.
Call me whiny. Call me a complainer. But I just love my Rogue and wanted this event to keep my interest in her alive. It hasn’t done that for me largely due to waiting around for 10-15 minutes between events. It’s what led me to create my new warrior character.
In complete opposition to my 50 Rogue, my 31 Warrior has had a blast! She has participated in taking down Harbingers, Death Rifts galore, and stopped invasion attempts by the undead all the way from Silverwood through Gloamwood to Scarlet Gorge. I’ve only started to notice a slowdown in the number of zone events now that she’s in Scarwood Reach. Unlike my Rogue, my Warrior has earned so much currency that she’s managed to purchase two great rings, some trinkets and more.
There are a few things that I noticed, however, even with my low-level Warrior:
- In Gloamwood, zone events happened so often and so close together that sometimes I avoided them completely. “What? Not this again? I thought The Hag was dead.”
- Players at all levels tend to avoid any rifts that aren’t Death Rifts. There’s no incentive beyond Planerite to bother with them.
- Gloamwood is filled with Level 50s chasing the Death Rifts because they want some of the special event gear too.
River of Souls is fun if you're in the right level range. Perhaps once the second phase launches, things will get better. I surely hope so. I miss Kalia. But, then again, I hate to hold my breath.