Saturday, May 21, 2016

MINIONEERING!






Minions have been one of the most popular additions to RIFT since it launched. Who doesn’t want a collection of obedient servants who run around gathering goods for us? I had the chance to chat with Dan “Snedhepl” Hollinger, Lead Engineer, about this terrific game system.

Snedhepl has been involved with Minions from the start, working on the original design doc alongside other systems folks. One of their main goals was to come up with a process that incorporated engaging design and gameplay with the absolute bare minimum in processing power so that it would not bog down the game at all. To that end, the Minion system calculates processes on the fly as you call upon them, rather than running all the time.

Minions first appeared in RIFT at the time of the Nightmare Tide expansion, and have been expanding their ranks ever since. According to Snedhepl, managing minions is now the second most popular activity in RIFT, right behind adventuring… why? It’s fast, easy, fun and rewarding!

I was curious how many Minions we actually have in RIFT, but apparently there isn’t an accurate count, because some minions come and go, particularly with events, be they holiday promotions or fundraisers such as Extra-Life or Hotfix Earth. Snedhepl stated that there are “at least” 200 in game, but probably more, but not all of them are always available. There is certainly a very large core that is always available through various means.

MINIONEERING IS AS EASY AS PIE…

The default key to access your Minions is “V.” If you want to reset the hotkey to something else, click on ESC, go to Keybindings > UI Toggles > Minions. Pick your new key and hit “APPLY.”

To send your minions on a mission, click on the Adventure Card of choice. It will go into the middle slot. Next, choose a minion that has appropriate attributes (at least one matching the Adventure card), and enough stamina to go on the mission. The “Send Now” button will now light up – just click on it and your Minion is off!

The minion will then appear at bottom right as being on an adventure, with a timer showing how long they will be gone. You can “Hurry Up” your minion for Aventurine or Credits, if you don’t want to wait. Aventurine is earned over time as you complete Adventures, and Credits are available from the RIFT store.

One of the most convenient features of the Minion system is that they are shared across your entire account. Any character can access the minions to send them on adventures and to collect loot. It is important to note that your higher level characters will claim higher level rewards in crafting and gathering missions!







A LITTLE ABOUT THE MINIONS:
  • All Minions can level up to 25.
  • They do have different levels of rarity based on how hard they are to acquire, but these do not have any effect on their attributes, stamina or rate of experience gain.
  • You can only have one of each type of minion, but you can sell, trade or give away extras!
  • Minions start their life in your service with 10 or 12 stamina, and as they level up, they will increase to 20 or 30, respectively, at level 25. Hidden Minions are an exception and are explained further down.
  • Stamina is required to run Adventures, and it regenerates fully over 24 hours while the minion is not out on an adventure.



WHERE DO MINIONS COME FROM?

Rumors of the Minion Stork and Minion Fairy are not founded in fact, but they are almost magically easy to acquire:



Quests and Achievements!

Stophie the mantis shrimp is probably everyone’s first minion, and is obtained at no cost through a very simple quest in Meridian, Sanctum or Tempest Bay. Additional minions are awarded from other quests and achievements as you progress through RIFT, and the minions themselves will also result in achievements!



Artifact Collections!

Some collections result in minions!



In game: Achievements, Mob Drops, Rifts, Instant Adventures, Puzzles, Warfronts and Raids!

Some minions are dropped from various in-game events. As you may imagine, some are easier to obtain than others!



RIFT Store!

A solid selection of minions can be found on offer in the RIFT store. Free players can save up plat in game to trade for Rex that will give them credits.



Holiday/World Events!

Many holidays feature Minion questlines. Typically a starter minion is offered on the RIFT marketplace and will lead to a chain of minion adventures, several of which will result in more minions. It’s like magic!



Crafted!

Yes indeed, master craftsmen can create some rare and valuable Minions, such as Runald, which can only be made by Runecrafters – all crafting professions can purchase their own special Minion recipe from the RIFT store, under Pets > Minions.



Charity Fundraisers!

Occasionally, RIFT will sponsor a fundraiser that includes a minion card. Roughraptors is indeliably associated with our annual Extra-Life efforts, and for Earth Day this year, we offered a Treant minion card. These ones can be expected to appear around Telara from time to time, but don’t miss out when you see them appear!



Auction House!

Even the most peacable, non-raiding, non-Rifting Ascended can purchase minions on the Auction House from other players. I personally make a run through the Auction House once a week juuuuust in case a minion is on offer that I do not already have. Some of the rare ones run into the hundreds of plat… TOTALLY worth it for a completionist like me!



ALL MINIONS ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL

There, we’ve said it. Some minions are just more skilled than others. The rest will just have to deal with it!

Snedhepl notes that most minions can skill up to a total of 25 across their two abilities. “HIdden Minions” are uncommon and differ from normal minions, often having more than two attributes that can total more than 25, more stamina and stat growth.

Many hidden minions can be obtained through world event quest chains, but some have a very convoluted path to obtain, such as the infamous Drekenoth of Fate and Ra’Aran of Fate. At least one hidden minion is in game but has yet to be discovered, and all manner of theories abound as to how to trigger their appearance. Snedhepl was extremely cagey on the topic when I pressed for details, but we’ll all keep trying!

Some minions are “Attractors” and display a little horseshoe magnet at the top right corner on their card. When sent on an adventure, these minions increase the chance of the same type of adventure appearing in the decks. For instance, sending a diplomatic attractor out will increase the chance of diplomacy adventures showing up in the deck. The number of extra attracted missions at maximum level is listed in their card text.







WHAT IS AVENTURINE?

Aventurine is a currency exclusive to the Minions System. It has collected automatically when you complete adventures, and has several uses:
  • Use it to reshuffle the deck if you are searching for specific mission types
  • Pay for the high level adventures to save yourself credits
  • Use it to “hurry up” missions to finish sooner







HOW DO THE ADVENTURE REWARDS WORK?
Reward Types:

  • Experience – all adventures will result in Minion experience, and Patrons gain a 5% bonus!
  • Notoriety – these rewards are automatically consumed upon claiming, so make sure you decide in advance which character is to claim them! If your character has reached the maximum faction status, you will gain coins instead.
  • Artifacts – high star-ratings upon claiming will result in more chance of Unstable or Bounty Artifacts.
  • Dimension Items – this includes dimension keys! Items come either singly or bundled as stashes that you can open.
  • Cloth, Salvage, Runecrafting – Ore, Plants, Wood – Hides, Fish, Meat

All of the gathering Adventures are pretty self-explanatory, but remember that the level of reward for these is based on the level of the character you use to claim the reward!

If you want to fish for adventures of a specific type in any deck, you can click on “reshuffle” – this ability costs Aventurine.



HOW CAN I BOOST MY CHANCES AT RARE REWARDS?
There are six reward tiers, marked by the stars that you earn when you claim your adventure. This is where the random reward roll comes in. Snedhpl likens it to a dice roll, which is affected by the level of the attributes of the minion.

For this reason, it is ideal to send the minions with the highest level of matchingattributes. The level is determined by the total of all attributes listed, as long as ONE of them matches. For instance, a 5 water/5 fire Minion = 10 when sent on a water or fire mission. A 10 water minion is just as good when sent on a water mission, but not on a fire mission.

Remember that you can Auto-match your minions based on attributes, either in ascending or descending level!

Premium Adventures: These can appear in decks 2 or 3, and are identified with a diamond symbol. These adventures offer the best possible rewards, and cost credits to participate in. Not feeling flush? No problem, you can reshuffle the deck at NO cost.



HOW MANY ADVENTURES CAN I RUN AT A TIME?

Everyone starts with one free Adventure slot at the right side of the minion screen.

You can purchase up to 5 additional slots with credits in game (Patrons get these for 10% off). Each Adventure slot costs a little more than the last, but over time, the benefits of running multiple Adventures really pays off.



WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE FOUR DECKS AT THE TOP?

They decks are all differ in time expenditure and potential rewards.
  • First deck: experience only! These do not result in Aventurine rewards.
  • Second deck: 5 and 15 minute adventures, low returns on experience and loot, and, on average, 2 Aventurine.
  • Third deck: 8 hour adventures, medium returns on experience and loot, and a minumum of 10 Aventurine.
  • Fourth deck: 4 and 10 hour adventures, highest returns on experience and loot, as well as a minimum of 10 aventurine. All adventures in the fourth deck require an entry fee is Aventurine or credits.



WHEW, IS THAT IT?

Oh heck no… this is just the very tip of the iceberg when it comes to Minions. For an extremely comprehensive look at the Minion System, we invite you to head over to RIFTgrate and check out their extensive guide, including a Minion Card Database! https://riftgrate.com/2014/10/27/guide-minions-system/

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