Friday, December 09, 2016

LIVE! Tok’s Proving Grounds







Puzzle me this! Give one insane RIFT designer free reign to create a dungeon based on puzzles, and what do you get? A truly unique dungeon, exclusive to Starfall Prophecy: Tok’s Proving Grounds!



First, you need to find the entrance. It’s not as easy as it seems, for it rarely shows up in the same place twice! Search for a Platonic solid, somewhere in the quiet town of Alittu; it is magically charged and will transport you to this unique region in the nethersphere.

Wait – what’s a Platonic solid, you ask? For those of you have not already fled to Google to look it up, here is a great article on the geometry in question… you’ll benefit from your new knowledge in this dungeon, where victory is not measured in hitpoints or damage, but rather by skill, knowledge and determination.

Tok’s Proving Grounds invites scholars – as befitting a quiet questline, the challenges are meant for solo or duo players. No full groups or raids here, just a significant commitment of cooperation and exactitude.

Those who invest enough time in Tok’s service may well earn some of the most spectacular appearance gear to be found on Telara, with swirling, animated colors based on the planes: Fire, Earth, Air, Water, Life and Death… you have to see these in game to truly appreciate how glorious and unique they are. If you actually attain a full set, you will also appreciate how much effort and commitment went toward earning it!

Some time ago, we gave you a sneak preview of Tok’s Proving Grounds on the RIFT livestream. You can view that episode, with some of the armor mentioned, with Brasse and Simon “Dead Simon” Ffinch on YouTube! (WARNING: Lots of spoilers in this video!)

In the reception area of Tok’s Proving Grounds you will find Shadi Pinkoo, Ripseo Neilmi andDead Simon himself. They offer various quests or items to buy that you may obtain after you’ve proven yourself through puzzling. The quests will help you amass the faction you need, as well as killing rats, doing the puzzles or finding artifacts and if you listen very closely, you may hear designed Simon Ffinch himself, cackling quietly to himself, back in our studio. He knows this endeavor is not for the casual player, and that his name will be alternately blessed and cursed as puzzlers advance.

For starters, there are NO MAPS. That’s right. No maps anywhere in this dungeon.

In the reception area, you can buy a maddening number of oddball items that have no apparent purpose – except that they DO have a purpose – you don’t know what it is yet, and won’t for some time to come. The items are purchased with Tok Tokens, a curious currency unique to this dungeon. This means that there are no shortcuts! Simon recommends you purchase the Tok Box first – and it is the most affordable item on the list.

On your way through the dungeon’s challenges, you will find a large number of artifacts – another Dead Simon specialty. There are five huge sets to collect, the smallest of which has 28 artifacts. These special artifacts cannot be tracked, so don’t even bother – your reward, should you complete them all, is the title “Old School Collector!” as well as some really nice Platonic Solids for your Dimension. There are other Artifact sets as well that have a special purpose for you to discover one day.

All this before we even come to the challenges themselves. All puzzles have an option for solo or duo play – watch for the playing dice on the entrances for players 1 and 2. Also, the configuration of the puzzle will change every time, so you can’t just memorize one solution for each!

SPOILERS FOLLOW. STOP HERE IF YOU WANT A SPOILER-FREE PUZZLE EXPERIENCE!

WE WARNED YOU!

LAST CHANCE!



RAT MAZE

Did we mention rats already? Now you ARE the rat, and you need to navigate a maze that involves magic orbs and what you can think of as four floors, although it is the maze itself that changes rather than you going up and down. Confused yet? In the single player version, you will operate the up and down orbs yourself. With two players, one will look at the maze from the top while operating orbs and offering guidance to the rat below.

When you complete the puzzle, collect your prize, which includes Tok Tokens and access to the next puzzle!



NUMBER CRUNCHING

The more puzzle-minded of you will recognize this is a fantasy version of Sudoku. However, while you will quickly catch on that you need to click on the Tok Blocks to change them, you will run into a complication: Pesky Bogling Numerologists will wake up and attempt to randomly change some of the blocks. To prevent this, you must run around and pick up Tok Boxes, each of which will give you an item to distract the Boglings in various ways.

In the two player mode, one person can concentrate on the puzzle, while the other contends with the Bogling Numerologists. One more thing, for both solo and duo mode… the longer you take to solve the puzzle, the faster the Boglings appear.

Never mind, we know you’ll be victorious – collect your tokens and access to the third puzzle!



HALL OF GLASS

This one may be the simplest, but it can be extremely disorienting as well. Simon used most of the available virtual glass in RIFT to build this great hall. In the solo version, thread your way through the maze to find two levers on each level – there are three levels in all! As a duo, one person will go to each lever on each floor, and pull them at the same time. Simon kindly allowed a variance of a few seconds to coordinate, but communication is key!

As you might guess, if you make it, you will collect a prize and pick up the access to further puzzles. This time, you may choose from three different challenges: the Polyhedron Cave, the Math Maze and the Pyramid.



POLYHEDRON CAVE

You will face an elegant array of small floating spheres. Your task is to light the spheres so that they will form the vertices of all of the Platonic Solids, in any order. If you refer back to the article we linked at the beginning of this article, you’ll see that there are five in all. This puzzle can be completed solo or duo, with the latter going faster if both understand how to build these geometric shapes.



MATH MAZE

A deceptively simple maze. As you enter, you’ll see numeric values on the floor tiles. Add the numbers on the outer tiles, look for the sum in the middle of the next tile and move there. Add the outer numbers there and move to the sum again.

If you run it solo, your run will be governed by a timer. If you run it as a duo, there is no timer; the second person will gain a top-down view and will handle the math for the first player, as well as telling them which way to move. What could possibly go wrong?



THE PYRAMID

This is a crazy, lost temple adventure style run. Start by running up a tightrope with colored spacers. If you use the object near the start of the rope, you’ll gain blockers of the corresponding colors on your hotkeys. Press the buttons as the colors approach you on the tightrope and you can climb it easily, right? Of course right!

Succeed at this and you’ll face the gauntlet of flame cannons, hollow logs and saw blades, and another brightly colored tightrope walk – and this one moves faster! All of this merely gets you to the top of the pyramid, at which point you need to solve the puzzle – and not ONE hint of spoiler here!

Simon did take pity on the folks who aren’t good at these sorts of gauntlets: in duo mode, one friend can run the puzzle and then turn off the various traps to allow the second player to easily make their way up to join their friend up top to help solve the final segment! Incidentally, making it through this puzzle unlocks a timed version as one of Dead Simon’s dailies.



MUNCH MAZE

Seasoned video gamers will recognize this life-sized version of an old favorite arcade game, involving a maze, pellets to collect, and hungry creatures. In the RIFT version, they are Skeletons, named Soggy, Foggy, Sparky and Weed. Being RIFT, you’ll also be distracted by the occasional artifact along the way, possibly leading to your doom if you pause to grab it!



WHEW! AM I DONE YET?

Oh no, my friend, you are just beginning on your long journey. If you manage to rack up enough faction to achieve Venerated status with Dead Simon, you will gain access to the hallowed inner sanctum of the dungeon, where planar workstations await. There’s also the little matter of figuring out what to do with Tok’s Field Guide.

There are more clues we could offer for the Meta Puzzle, but we’ll part with just this: read the crafting recipes with great care and attention.



The clock is ticking! Tok, tok, tok…

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