Closing down the Rift

I’ve done something that renders a previous post I made somewhat obsolete.  I hit level cap in Rift the other night.  This may not seem like an accomplishment to many others, but it certainly was to me.  My level 50 dwarf ranger/bard/nightblade is the only level cap character I currently have in any of the MMOs I’ve played.

Level 50 with my new epic two tail

The next time I logged in I quickly made my way to the mount vendor to purchase a swift Valmera and then it was off to Ember Isle.  When I arrived I was greeted by an onscreen message informing me that Ember Isle content was designed for players with end game gear.   In other words: not me.  But, it went on to say, if you enjoy a challenge, knock yourself out.  And that’s just what I did.  Mobs were level 52 and took a considerably longer time to bring down than I was accustomed to.  

At this point I had a tough decision to make.  Do I start working on gearing up my character to have end game gear to make the Ember Isle content more palpable, or do I close up shop and wait for an expansion?  As I tend to view the planar attunement system and gearing up a level capped character for a chronic soloer like me to be something of an unnecessary grind, I decided it was time to follow the siren’s call and move on to another game.

I would like to go on record as saying that if/when Trion Worlds releases an expansion for Rift, I’ll be back for sure.

There it is again…that haunting melody.

Just some random impressions I’m left with after my time spent in the game:

–I’ve had a wonderful time in Telara.

–The art design of the world is top notch.  I have particularly fond memories of my time spent in brooding Gloamwood, Scarwood Reach and Stillmoor.

–The ethereal music that tends to play while standing outside in the various  terraces of Sanctum is quite beautiful and haunting.  I would be hard pressed to come up with another example of in game music from another MMO that stirred me as much as this.   I found myself on a number of occasions just staring out to sea waiting to hear the music again.

Some are easy to get to…

–From a soloer’s standpoint, artifacts were a welcomed addition to the game.  Collecting shinies is something I never got tired of and on several occasions went out of my way to find some.  Anything that promotes exploration in my gaming is a plus in my book.

–The game centers on rifts.  They are an engaging mechanic and add a certain element of unpredictability and danger to the game—something I generally found refreshing.   There were times where I wanted to turn in a quest, but the camp in which my quest giver was stationed had been overrun by a major rift invasion.   Either I helped fight back the invasion so that things could be restored and I could turn in my quest, or I’d just have to come back later when the chaos had died down

Next stop for me?  Middle-earth.  Dunland to be more precise.  Much like Syp, I’m looking to catch my second (more like forth) wind in LotRO.

One flesh

My email order bride arrived in May of 2005.  At the time I was hook, line and sinker into World of Warcraft.  Before she got here we used to chat for several hours every Friday night, and I would bore her senseless with my WoW exploits.  Lucky lady, I know.

After taking a brief hiatus from the game to get to know each other better, I returned to WoW in a more casual capacity.  It wasn’t long after this that I found my wife standing over my shoulder during gaming sessions and asking me questions about what I was doing.   One morning I came out of the shower to find her playing a freshly minted character of her own, and the rest—as they don’t tend to say—isn’t history.

Within a month we had purchased a second computer, another copy of the game and created her a WoW account, and for the better part of the next year we were inseparable in Azeroth.

Those were magical times.  We put together a guild of real life friends and explored and conquered pretty much every dungeon the original content had to throw at us.  We would take long evening walks and talk strategy and plan our agendas for upcoming gaming sessions.  We considered ourselves lucky in finding a hobby we were both passionate about pursuing.

However, little did we know the winds of change were already…uh…on the wind. 

My son at one

In essence, our lives became more demanding.  We had a son.  She received a promotion at work.  We purchased a home, moving further away and now had a longer commute.  Our joint gaming sessions were growing fewer and farther between.  And in time we stopped playing WoW all together.

Today my wife has moved on to other pursuits.  She’s found out she has a talent for art and has been trying her hand at illustration.  She’s even started her own blog chronicling her own adventures there.

Me?  I’ve moved on to other games.  I still play MMOs, perhaps not as much as I played before my son was born, but still enough to keep the passion alive and well.  As far as WoW goes?  I can’t seem to find any of the magic I once experienced in the game.  Believe me, I’ve tried.  I’ve gone back more times than I care to think about but each time for shorter and shorter stays.  Although I tend to solo in most games I play, I feel particularly lonely when playing WoW.  Maybe it’s because I can’t seem to shake what we used to have in the game.

The scars on my back

Not in Moria anymore…

I’ve lost count the number of MMOs I’ve played over the years. I would guess it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 15. I’ve probably put the most time in WoW, with LotRO coming in a close second. I’d guess Rift would be next, and I don’t really have a good grasp of the remainder. Anyway, as it stands today, outside of Guild Wars (which I’m not sure completely counts), I don’t have a single level capped character. At one point I hit level cap in WoW, but once Wrath of the Lich King launched I never caught up again. I was also level capped in LotRO, but Rise of Isengard quickly put a stop to that.

There are days when I look at my track record and think I should probably turn in my gamer card. In the cosmic scheme of things I really haven’t “achieved” all that much. It’s like I’ve started a project and never see it through to completion, or perhaps reading a book and never getting to its end. In other words, I’m a warrior with plenty of scars on his back.

But I think there is a bigger part of me that really doesn’t care that much about such things. It tends to enjoy the ride while it lasts and then, when the shine is gone, compels me to move on to another game. Life is too short it tells me and with the limited game time I have, why squander it on something no longer engaging?

Under Rift’s spell

All of this rambling to say, I do believe quite soon I’ll have my first level capped character in quite some time. My ranger in Rift is closing in on level 48 at the moment, and the shine is definitely still there. I realize there are several imminent releases (Diablo 3 and Torchlight 2 come to mind), that will no doubt be competing for my time, but for now I’ll continue logging into Rift.

For anyone who cares, I’m listing below all the scarred-backed warriors I can recall:

Age of Conan — Ultharin (level 55 dark templar)

Everquest 2 —  Barnavelt (level 72 necromancer)

Fallen Earth —  Barnavelt (level 19)

Guild Wars — Mortimus Zurn (level 20 Warrior/Monk)

Lord of the Rings Online — Alzebo (level 65 warden)

Rift — Charlan (level 49 ranger/bard/nightblade)

Vanguard — Halkoryn (level 22 ranger)

World of Warcraft –Celephais (level 82 druid)

Heroica (by the rules!)

Out of the blue my son informs me that he wants to play a board game by the rules.  Up until now he’s equated playing by the rules as something unfun and restrictive, and I’m sure I’m to blame for this line of thinking.  In the past I’ve let him just play with the board game pieces and figures as he wanted, and when I tried to implement some sort of structure to the game, he generally balked and would have nothing to do with it.

 So when he told me he wanted to play a game by the rules, I was more than willing to oblige.  That game ended up being Lego Heroica–more specifically, the Draida Bay adventure.  Recently Lego has gotten into the board game market and some of their releases have been surprisingly RPG centric.

Heroica: Draida Bay setup

Our game lasted a mere 5 minutes, but during that 5 minutes my son played completely by the rules.  Our mission in this adventure was to infiltrate the goblin fortress and take out the goblin general.  My son played the barbarian and I the wizard.  He made a beeline for the general, while I set my eyes on a heavily guarded (well, it sat behind 2 goblin soldiers) health potion.  My son’s first two rolls were bad (like father like son I guess), and he was down to half health before taking out any of the goblin guards.  Eventually his luck changed and before he knew it, he stood before the goblin general’s throne.  My wizard managed to catch back up with my son’s barbarian, just as the “boss” battle was about to begin.  I handed him the health potion I picked up.  He downed it right before engaging the goblin general.  This time he rolled well, and we watched as the goblin general went down like a sack of potatoes.  When I asked what his barbarian wanted to do next, he informed me that he planned to sit on the throne for a while (again, like father like son).

Age: 7+ (My son is a couple of years shy of this and we still had fun.)

Players: 2

Playtime: 5-10 min.

Overall impressions

Heroica: Draida Bay was fun, while it lasted, but there’s really not a lot of game here.  I can’t see my son wanting to play through this adventure again, as is.  Maybe if we set up another scenario, something Lego encourages you to do, the game would have more lasting power.  Maybe having daddy captured and tortured by the evil goblins (my son would like that), and he has to come rescue me.  I know there have been other sets released in the Heroica line, and maybe by combining the different sets into a bigger campaign, the game could come into more of its own.  As it stands though, it’s a tad on the light side for me.  Still, my son had fun and he did play by the rules.

Welcome

What does one do with their very first post? 

I guess I’ll just try and give you an idea of what you’re likely to find here in the future. 

What topics you’ll most likely see discussed  here:

Age of Conan

Video games (with an emphasis on MMOs) –  I tend to like RPGs and find myself mostly playing these.  I play these games almost exclusively solo.  I guess you could say it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks.  Over the past couple of years I’ve found a rhythm that works pretty well for me.  I’ll play an MMO for a month (usually not more), then jump into a single player game (or two) for another month until the urge to play yet another MMO strikes me, and then the cycle repeats.

My one-trick pony board game collection

Board games – This has become a secondary hobby of mine, and it’s something I very much enjoy.  Again I’m a sucker for dungeon crawlers, so that’s where I spend most of my time.  Anything with a dungeon/fantasy theme is fair game to me. The amount of free time I have doesn’t allow for much in the way of gaming outside of my family, but I do manage to get in the occasional game with some of my friends.  I’ve even been known to play some of these games solo.  Again, that old dog new trick thing.

Battling duck-like dragons once upon a time, ca. 1979 (Adventure, Atari 2600)

Gaming memories – As I intend this blog to be something I can share with my son when he gets a bit older, I’m going to document some of my gaming memories here.  Exciting, I know.  I’m an older gamer—as far as the current crop of gamer goes—so, I’ve got a few memories stored up over the years.  It’ll be therapeutic for me.

Parental gaming – As I have a young son who seems to be turning into a  gamer, which is something I’m very excited about, I’ll probably be discussing gaming related issues from a parent’s point of view.

Game related books – My job is connected in some ways to the publishing industry.  I like to keep up with what’s out there (and what’s coming out) in this field.

Game related podcasts – My real world job requires me to be chained to a desk for 8 hours a day.  During that time I’m not required to communicate much with the outside world.  So I tend to listen to podcasts while doing my work.

What topics you probably won’t see discussed here:

In depth game analysis and theory crafting – Sorry, I’m just not wired that way.  Gosh, I would have to say almost anything in depth won’t be found on this blog.  Feel free to look elsewhere.

The current hotness – I’m usually a bit behind on new game releases and even though I often follow them, I don’t usually play them at release.  I’ve generally got older games I’m working through at the time and I’m generally in no hurry.