Telara’s Unsung Hero – Mentoring
Rift is one of the few MMOs in recent memory that truly delivers content on a pace that’s deserving of its subscription fee. I’ve been subbed to Rift since its launch, even if I rarely get the chance to play, just because I personally believe in the game and the devs’ ability to churn out quality frequent updates. But the unsung hero of their most recent Conquest patch is undoubtedly the “Mentoring” system. It’s not a new feature to MMORPGs, but it’s one that’s sorely overlooked by recent launches. Let my cohorts and I explain why we think Rift did it right.
I’m going to go back to the first day of 1.9’s existence on the live servers. Grakulen and I were at disparate levels, but we wanted to play together. Normally, in most level-based MMOs, this means that one of us (the higher leveled) was going to suffer some sort of penalty. But not in Rift. Mentoring down to the lower player’s level means you still earn XP at your level, while not overpowering the content. And what was even better, as an unintended side effect of this system, was when 1.9 launched and the brand new Instant Adventures queue was broken… mentoring allowed us to drop down and partake without hassle.
What happens when you queue up for any of the available Instant Adventures in Rift? Once it puts you into a group, it automatically mentors you down to the appropriate level so that you can gain XP, rewards appropriate for your level, and so forth. Gone are the days of “I’m too high to care about that content anymore”, because Mentoring makes it so you can always go back and replay something you miss, or play with friends and alts who are too low level to join you normally. Mentoring is not only a brilliant addition to Rift, but the kind of feature all level-based games need to plan on from the get go.
Mentoring in Rift was introduced in v1.9 as a way to give high level players a way to help out lower level players. While that’s not a particularly new system in MMOs today, the way that Trion Worlds went about it is unique. When choosing to mentor another player, your character’s skills, gear and stats are adjusted downward to the same level as the player you’re helping out. So rather than storming into a low-level zone and having monsters fall dead at your feet due to fear of your awesome godlike powers, you’re ‘required’ to play as if you were a commensurate level with others in the area.
What makes this so terrifically awesome is that high level characters get the chance to earn XP while mentoring, sourcestones are rewarded equal to your character’s true level and you get to see content that might have been missed on their initial journey or that might have been added since passing through a given zone. Trion has been very assertive about adding new content since Rift’s launch so the mentoring system is a terrific way to revisit low level zones and see what’s new.
I have to give props to Trion for spectacular innovation on the mentoring system and for giving other developers something better to shoot for.
The addition of the mentoring system with Rift's 1.9 patch is just a continuation of Trion doing what Trion does, add high value quality of life improvements to Rift. Too often we as players forget the purpose of MMOs is to be social and encourage us to play with other people. Adding a mentoring system to Rift makes it that much easier for you to group up with and play with other people in the game, not just talk to them in chat channels. It also provides players with high level characters that do not like to roll alts; myself included, meaningful reasons to go back to low level areas.
Tired of doing Instant Adventures at level 50? No problem. Find some new low level friends or a guildie that is making a healer, or tank that you so desperately need for raids, and start doing low level Instant Adventures. You continue to earn experience commensurate with your character’s level so you progress your Planar Attunements normally. While Trion is not the first company to add a mentoring system to their game they deserve credit for giving the players even more choices in how to play Rift.
One of the many things that I enjoy about Trion Worlds' game is of course the eponymous Rift system. There's really nothing better than exploring the Telaran countryside and bringing the fight to waves of extraplanar creatures who seem to have a knack for materializing all up in your business. The thing is, I'm addicted to gaining experience, and I usually stick around the game regions at my level that deliver XP directly to my face most efficiently.
Now, with Rift's Mentoring system, I can go anywhere in Telara that I've been before and bask in the game's dynamic content while still earning experience, rewards, and Planar Attunement commensurate with my level. I can help my fictitious lower-level friends with quest areas that they're working on without slowing down my own character's progress, and explore other regions that I may have skipped in my earlier adventures. Mentoring opens up the opportunity to experience Rift's content without feeling like you're backtracking if you're interested in adventuring in a lower-level area, which is something this XP hoarder can appreciate.