Showing posts with label Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Review. Show all posts

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Strategy for Rift in a Nutshell

If you just started playing Rift: Planes of Telara you probably want to know what the best strategy is for that fresh Guardian or Defiant. Unfortunately, there are not too many strategies available just yet. The majority of tips and guides out there are for beta content only and while the beta was pretty much release quality, a lot of things have changed since then too.

Now, if you’re a big WoW player the game is pretty similar to Warcraft with many of the same mechanics and a lot of similar themes, but if you think you can whip through Rift based on your WoW prowess alone, you’ll be in for a pretty big disappointment. So, you may want to get a strategy guide – one that gets you through the basics of the game, outlining what you’ll be doing along the way and showing you how to dominate your opponents in PvP and end-game content alike.

The best one I’ve found thus far is called Rift Secrets and it’s from the uber-prolific guide writer, Tony Sanders. This guy has written more stuff than you can imagine and the result is a collection of strategies and tips designed to help you build a bigger and stronger character that won’t be stepped on by anyone else.

If you’re really ready to start playing Rift: Planes of Telara with the best players out there get over to Tony’s site and check out what he has to offer in his Rift guide. You’ll be blown away by the PvP, Dungeon and other strategy tips he’s loaded into this thing and the ways he’ll help you get ready for just about anything that can be thrown at you. Stay tuned too because he’s working hard on major updates for post-release that go beyond what bet had to offer.

Here is the link for a rift guide that I can recommend!
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Thursday, May 05, 2011

Warlock Review

The Warlock deals in the dark arts and walks a fine line between controlling the aspects of death and being controlled by them. Using curses and leeching their opponent's life force to feed their own, the Warlock is a fearsome force to be reckoned with.


  • Master at soloing
  • Lots of survivability tricks
  • Little to no down time
  • One of the highest DPS souls


  • Damage needs time to ramp up
  • Can be overwhelmed by burst DPS

The Warlock is among the most powerful and feared souls in all of Rift, with high damage and survivability making them a daunting opponent to face. Warlocks have a high success rate as a close companion soul to the Necromancer, with either soul doing well as the focal point. Which soul to focus on will be more about personal preference of playstyle than anything, with many players doing 33/33 splits between the two.
Solo Play

Soloing as a Warlock is a very easy road to hoe, with tons of tools and tricks to help you along the way. Players who can manage the rotation of life drains and mana regen will rarely need to stop to rest or drink. Multiple mob pulls are not a problem either with multiple AoE damage spells at their disposal as well as a very potent single target fear.

Group Play
What Warlocks lack in utility and crowd control, they more than make up in raw damage. High output groups will love to bring you along as they burn through content. Even though the Warlock may not have that initial high burst of damage, they make the last 40% of the enemies health bar drop quickly. Warlocks also possess a stun and a silence that increase their worth to a group.

Pairs Best With

Cut from eerily similar cloths, the Warlock and Necromancer are truly a match made in..well, somewhere south of the heavens. In builds that feature heavy point investment into both, it’s often hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. Adding extra healing, a strong pet and the ability to drop all aggro make this pairing a no brainier.

As similar as the Necromancer is to the Warlock, the Chloromancer is equally dissimilar – but they are still an excellent pairing. Needing very few points to be effective, the Warlocks DPS rotation is enhanced quickly. By leading with Radiant Spores not only will all group members have a chance to heal themselves for 100% of the damage they deal, the Warlock will increase his Intelligence for several seconds – making other spells more potent and effective. Rounding out a build with group healing utility will make you a fast favorite in groups.
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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Paladin Review

One of the three primary tanking souls, the Paladin packs the most punch for players dedicated to protecting their allies and punishing their foes. Most tank builds will want to build heavily around the Paladin no matter what their ultimate focus is.


  • Highest mitigation of all souls
  • Excellent threat generation
  • Multiple self heal talents and abilities
  • Can lower enemies damage output
  • Can shield all party members from large amounts of damage
  • Nearly impossible to kill


  • Limited AoE threat
  • Weak against magic based attacks
  • Low damage output

Out of all the tanking souls, the Paladin feels the most like a tank quicker than any of the others. Using shield enhancements stuns and debilitating attacks to control the battlefield, the Paladin is a powerful bulwark that can make low level tanking a breeze. Early on in both the root and the advancement trees there are several threat generating abilities that help the Paladin keep a firm grasp on unruly mobs. There simply is no way around devoting considerable points into the Paladin tree no matter what style of tank you ultimately become.

Solo Play
While most players will devote one of their roles at least to a more traditional DPS based solo spec, it is still possible to solo as a Paladin. One of the drawbacks to being a Paladin is a lower overall damage output than many of warrior souls, but the tradeoff in survivability means you won’t be at a complete disadvantage. One on one a Paladin can whittle down even some epic mobs and solo some rift bosses if enough cooldowns are available.

Group Play
A good Paladin will have more friends than they know what to do with as you will be the primary tank of choice for many encounters. A highly forgiving spec at lower levels, the Paladin is a great soul to learn the basics of tanking with and experienced players will quickly master its nuances for maximum performance.

Pairs Best With

Another tanking soul, the Reaver fills in the few gaps in the Paladin’s gleaming armor. Adding AoE threat and some extra punch on the damage end, the benefits of a Reaver soul are felt almost immediately. At a mere 6 points in you gain Soul Sickness, a nice DoT, in the root tree and buff it to heal you for 50% of its damage in the advancement tree. Even though the master of entropy and death may seem the polar opposite to the bearer of the light, this is an excellent pairing.

While many people may overlook the Warlord as being a relatively weak soul, its buffing and enhancement abilities are a excellent way to round out the Paladin. Passive abilities that reduce incoming damage that are coupled with the Paladin’s already impressive mitigation will make you a healers dream. Astute warriors will use the various shouts and cooldowns afforded by the Warlord to round out a top notch tanking build. My personal favorite is a 3 minute cooldown called “No Permission to Die” that turns a fatal blow into a 50% of max health heal, a devastating ability in PvE and PvP alike.
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Thursday, March 03, 2011

Rift Revealed – First Impressions

In the past few years every major fantasy MMOG that has launched has been compared to WoW in some way or another, with some even being crowned the WoW killer. None have gone as far as Rift though, launching TV ads that boldly proclaim: “We’re not in Azeroth anymore.” With over a million players pre-ordering and the headstart servers packed to capacity, Rift may be the first serious challenger to take a bite out of the WoW playerbase. Can Rift survive past the first 30 days and maintain steady growth, or will it lose a war of attrition as players flock back to their old games? It’s probably too early to tell but the answer may lie in some of the things we have seen in the first five days.

Thus far, Rift has been one of smoothest running and best performing games at launch in recent memory. Servers have been incredibly stable, client-side lag has been negligible and even the most populated of areas have run smoothly. Individual computer performance can play a huge role in this of course, but even playing on my older laptop the game was incredibly smooth, albeit with graphics setting adjusted down slightly.

The only major knock on game performance has come from those unable to get into the game due to some fairly lengthy server queues. Trion has been swift and measured in regards to this and has introduced several new servers to help ease the load. There have been a few instances of server restarts and minor performance-related patches, which can normally be frustrating. Unlike most games at launch, however, the folks at Trion Worlds have been spot on in their estimation of downtime and have usually had the servers back up within 15 minutes.

In Rift you play the role of an Ascended, a hero brought back to life to battle the forces of Regulos, who seeks to destroy Telara, as well as to battle the otherworldly forces his attacks have unleashed by creating tears in the fabric of reality. The world is divided into two major factions, the Guardians and the Defiants. The former is comprised of the races that trust in the gods of the Vigil and the latter is made up of those who have shunned their teachings and instead put their faith in technology. Since all classes and callings are available to both factions, the choice is a purely aesthetic and lore-related one.

A brief cinematic brings new players up to speed with a history lesson tailored to the faction of their choosing that helps usher them into the game world. The process of choosing your first soul will introduce you to the games quest mechanics and begin a linear chain that moves you quickly through the first zone and first 15 levels of the game. All of the major components of Rift are introduced fairly early, with the obvious exception of end-game raiding. The leveling process is a quick one, perfect for today’s brand of MMOG player, but like any other form of repetitive gameplay it can get monotonous fairly quickly.

Planar invasions are there to help break up that grind, build up the community, and offer an extra dimension of gameplay. Invasions can happen anywhere and at any time, even in cities and quest hubs – reinforcing the feeling that nowhere is safe in Telara. Participating in these events is as simple as showing up; with the auto-grouping feature there is no need to beg for an invite or worry about getting proper credit. Each invasion has waves and each wave has various objectives that are spelled out in a UI frame that opens up when you are in range of the event. Completing the objectives rewards you with coin as well as a planar currency and can often times gives you a chance at rarer rewards.

Combat is fast paced and fun, with spells and abilities being unlocked by spending talent points in the various soul trees. Being in direct control over which combat abilities you have at your disposal can make you feel much more invested in your character and encourages you to spend some effort in creating a well-rounded build. In an era of cookie cutter specs, armor that looks the same and so many classes brining the exact same things to the table, it is refreshing to be able to craft something unique with your character.

Existing somewhere between ultra-realistic and a slightly caricatured art direction, Rift does a good job at finding a happy medium and allowing you to control the level of detail best for your machine. Telara is a beautiful but frightening place, and the game’s graphic engine does a good job at conveying that without forcing you into upgrading your system or bottlenecking performance.

I am still of the opinion that putting too much stock in the graphics of an MMOG is the surest way to miss out on a great experience. Leave texture scrutiny and polygonal pixel count debates to the single player games - as long as the graphics don’t detract from the feel of the game world. That being said, the one minor detraction for me so far has been the character models. While I do like the look of a couple of the races, they are lackluster overall. However, if having bland looking characters facilitates smooth gameplay with hundreds of us on the screen at the same time, then it’s a tradeoff I am willing to accept.

The base UI is well appointed and laid out well, with every element having the ability to be moved and adjusted. While I would like to see UI modifications come down the pipe at some point ( especially ones that would modify the mini-map), Rift has one of the better out of the box interfaces available.

The music, ambient sounds and voice acting are all top notch and indicative of a AAA title with high production value. At this early stage of the game, and even throughout pre-launch testing I have yet to encounter a glitch or a bug with any audio component of the game. Perhaps I lack an audiophile’s finely honed ear, but everything I have heard so far has been a nice compliment to my immersion factor.

Free-to-play purists might balk at the $14.99 monthly subscription, but no one can argue that well supported games with high quality communities can easily command a monthly fee. Rift shows every sign of satisfying both criteria, especially in light of how responsive Trion has been to player feedback throughout beta.

Yet, with the game less than a week old and no clear idea of Trion’s post-launch plans for the game, it is hard to accurately assess the value factor. Having box sales of over 1 million by the headstart date would seem to indicate that the price point was set correctly, and I personally thought the collector’s edition was very well priced. Trion also offered special subscription rates for early adopters, but the value there will be highly predicated on the game gaining some long term traction.

Lasting Appeal
Working hand in hand with value, lasting appeal will be largely dependent on the game’s community. All the major components are in place: a strong storyline, faction-based conflict, a robust endgame, and multiple paths for character advancement – now it just rests in the hands of the players to determine how well all these elements work for them. I am fascinated by the soul system and can’t wait to see how the various and unique builds will work together, and as long as that aspect of the game doesn’t get dumbed down or forced into homogenized blandness then I can’t see any reason not to play Rift for a long time.

While it is impossible to tell the future of any MMOG, no game since WoW has done so much so right so quickly. With all of its ducks in row, Rift has the potential to succeed where many other games have failed in their ability to retain players past the initial 30 days. A smooth headstart launch, marred only by the tears of those stuck on the outside looking in, gives a strong indication of big things to come. For the good of AAA MMORPGs everywhere, let’s hope that Rift continues to live up to its expectations and doesn’t buckle under the weight of its own lofty goals.
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Monday, February 28, 2011

Paragon Review

Warriors are divided into two basic subgroups; those that can take a beating and those that bring the hurt - the Paragon is definitely among the latter. In fact there may not be another soul in this calling as effective as delivering a beat down. Utilizing powerful combat techniques and moving with a fluid grace, the Paragon is like an axe wielding, plate wearing martial artist. Whether as a focal point or a minor component, there are some powerful talents here that pair well with the other DPS souls.


  • High damage output
  • Able to deal damage to ranged opponents
  • Well suited for soloing
  • Able to interrupt casters


  • Less mobile than other Warriors
  • Relies almost solely on avoidance with limited mitigation
  • Can feel weaker than other souls at early levels

The Paragon is an offensive powerhouse that combines the feel of a martial artist with the power of steel. A heavy Paragon build can be the ticket to a fast and smooth leveling experience from level 20 onward, combing high dps with some decent crowd control. Even though the Paragon gains a talent to increase their base movement speed periodically, the soul lacks an ability to quickly close the distance on an opponent that some other warrior souls enjoy.

Solo Play
An excellent solo class that pairs high damage output with fun gameplay. Many of the Paragons abilities are reactive in nature, requiring players to pay attention to procs and triggers. These follow up attacks act similarly to finishing moves, but will award attack points to keep the killing spree rolling along.

Group Play
Paragons are effective in dungeons, raids and rift invasions due to high DPS and some moderate crowd control and interrupts. However a player with Paragon as their focal point would probably be better served to choose another soul to increase raid synergy and bring more to the table as thus far I have found more benefit in increasing overall raid damage than the moderate upgrade the Paragon gives my personal DPS.

Pairs Best With

Mating a Paragon with a Riftblade makes for one of the best cloth killers in the game. The added magical damage and ranged attacks will also help mask the fact that the Paragon struggles to close distance on opponents. At 6 points into the tree: Freeze Armor will slow an enemy by 50%, couple this with the 50% movement speed increase of Fleet of Foot for maximum benefit.

The constant companion of any build, the Champion pairs well with nearly every soul but its upside to a Paragon build is without compare. Crazy amounts of DPS increase talents, an AoE root and Blitz (which makes Bull Rush available in combat) as early as 11 points into the tree makes this a must have for the Paragon.
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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Beastmaster review

Like all classes in Rift, the Warrior has a vast amount of diversity in the available souls within the calling. One of the most intriguing is that of the Beastmaster, a powerful melee class that derives much of its capability from the bond shared with their combat pet. The Beastmaster can be a focal point of your build if you want to create a melee support class or a nice bit of flavor to round out other more traditional warrior builds.

  • Great soloist
  • Can offtank adds and handle multiple mob pulls easily
  • Offers group enhancements
  • Easy access to armor and mitigation buffs early in the tree

  • Lack of diversity as prime soul
  • Lower mobility than most other warrior souls
  • Lack of PvP talents
  • Dual wield itemization is lacking in certain level ranges

Fans of the Beastmaster in FFXI and the Beastlord in EQ1 will instantly be drawn to this soul, and with a bit of planning will find they can recreate that playstyle with ease. Masters of avoidance and hard hitting dual strike melee attacks, the Beastmaster is a wonderful pet class that offers tons of upside.

Solo Play
Beastmasters are master soloists, bringing their own backup with them in the form of a summoned spirit companion. Digging deep into the tree you will find a slew of potency and survivability upgrades, as well as some nice statistical enhancements. With a nice combo heal that effects the caster and the pet equally, the Beastmaster can handle the unexpected add with ease.

Group Play
Beastmasters bring quite a bit of utility to a group, via enhancements, buffs and damage. While there are better choices for damage output and group buffing, the Beastmaster is a great utility infielder that can handle both duties.

Pairs Best With

The Champion is the social butterfly of the warrior calling, fitting in anywhere and everywhere. At a measly 4 points into the tree you can pick up a 5% damage increase with Soldier’s Bearing, a root side bargain that packs a huge punch. Other damage modifiers abound in the tree, but players looking for a dual wield playstyle will need to navigate around the many two-handed talents in the tree.

This pairing is one suggested at the in game tooltip and one that makes sense for most players.
The Warlord adds a measure of survivability and group enhancement that is a perfect complement to several builds and gives the Beastmaster the increased armor and avoidance they will need to stay viable. At 6 points into the tree you gain Call to Battle, a scalable battle cry that buffs a groups attack and spell power by 6 as well as unearthing a scaling health buff and a hefty dodge increase in the root system.

My personal favorite pairing for a third soul of a Beastmaster is the Riftblade. The Riftblade adds elemental damage and a couple ranged spells that give me the feeling of playing a Beastlord from EQ again. You can gain a decently powerful punch with as little as 11 points spent in this tree, gaining spell damage enhancements, dodge increases and a nice snare ability. One of the coolest upsides is found 2 points into the root in the form of Fiery Burst, a triggered ability that adds a DoT to weapon damage and is off the global cooldown timer.
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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Reaver Review

The Reaver is a defensive soul that specializes in using the powers of disease, death and decay to aide them in protecting their allies. Much like the Death Knight in WoW, the Reaver has some powerful self heals and excels at tanking multiple mobs. Most players who are creating a tanking build will want to include the Reaver, which is equally at home as a primary, secondary or tertiary soul.

  • Self heal talents early in the tree
  • Well equipped to handle multiple mobs
  • Strong crowd control capabilities
  • Damage output increases in relation to damage taken

  • Weak against single targets
  • Poor mitigation abilities
  • Higher ramp-up time for damage than other tanks

The Reaver is one of the three defensive minded souls for the Warrior calling and the best suited for tanking multiple mobs. Having a spec with the Reaver as the primary soul is optimal for tanking many of the small group dungeons with a heavy AoE group as threat on multiple mobs is increased.

Solo Play
With the ability to have multiple soul sets, most players won’t rely on a defensive soul as the focal point of a soloing build. The Reaver does have some nice abilities as a secondary soul especially when one starts to venture into some of the more densely populated areas of the game where adds become a concern.

Group Play
Reaver abilities are well suited for group play as most tanks will want to spend at least a few points in the tree. Adding a strong Reaver to a group adds an extra dimension of crowd control in the form of a fear; Reavers are also excellent off-tanks who possess a nice slowing ability for kiting mobs. Enraged Essence gives Reavers the ability to increase their party’s damage by 5% periodically.

Pairs Best With

The Reaver is a cant miss soul for both of the other defensive specialist in the calling. Pairing it with a Paladin will greatly increase deficiencies in mitigation and single target threat as well as finding immediate gains in armor and block values with Defender and Stalwart Shield respectively.

Void Knight
The Void Knight is an excellent choice for a tertiary soul of a Reaver, adding heavy resistance against magic dealing foes. Reavers who are slated to be their raids permanent AoE and off tanks, or if most of their fighting is done in rift encounters, may even bump this up to a secondary soul. Insatiable Hunger grants a fairly consistent mana drain ability with only 5 points sp
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