A confluence of factors have colluded to make me to revisit Rift. First is the fact that I have been dedicating my LotRO playtime to my Warden which is level locked to my wife’s Minstrel. After duoing for a while playing solo on my Hunter has become lackluster. So rather than force myself to play I’ve been looking for another game to occupy my time. Monday Night Combat has been kinda filling that niche but it’s a decidedly love/hate relationship. So thanks to two people I follow regularly, Lord T. Hawkeye & MMO Gamer Chick, I have been debating either giving World of Warcraft: Cataclysm a spin or break down and try the release of Rift.
In the end it came down to knowing myself. As my wife puts it, I’m an MMO slut. If an MMO winks and gives me a come hither look I so fall for it. Well, for a month or two. Then I boot it to the curb for the next hot floozie to come along. And since WoW’s had its claws in me before I knew even if I tried Cata I would eventually fall for Rift’s siren song. So might as well get it out of the way now, right?
So a few nights ago I broke down and purchased Rift on Steam. Download, update, patch and good to go. Of course I had to look up which servers OTG decided to invade. PvE? Check. Defiant? Check. Sweeet.
First up was to go with the calling I had tried in Beta, a Kelari Mage. I decided to name her Athnamas after my Draenai mage in WoW. However instead of going Warlock/Necro like in beta I decided to try to stay true to the original Athnamas and went Stormcaller/Chloro. For the first few levels this was fine and I was having a decent time of things. By 18 I was dying every 10-15 minutes. Single mobs were hard to fight. Any adds were the death of her. On the occasions that I had someone else along she was fun to play but overall I figured a Mage was not for me.
My second choice for calling was Cleric. This was largely because of MMOG’s enthusiasm for her cleric and, well, we hybrid, bear-tanking players need to stick together. Again Kelari but this time named Avonavi after my WoW Draenai Shaman. Decided to go Shaman/Druid/Justicar. Within a few hours I had hit the areas that were killing Avonavi and just steam-rolling them. What a difference chain mail makes. That is even with no active healing since I’ve not unlocked any direct heals. A melee class with passive heals? Yes, please! 2-3 mobs, not a problem. I even got to play my normal pet naming game. The green faerie the Druids get? Yeah, she’s Kylie.
I got to Avonavi to 21 and the 2nd zone and while she is a blast to play and may still be my main I couldn’t help but think that I might have given up on my Athnamas a bit too soon. I really liked the Beta build so maybe toss the character concept out and go with a build that I know I enjoyed? That’s just what I did today. Respeced (Hmmm, 1 c or two there?) into Warlock/Necro/Chloro and gave it another go. Headed out to the areas that gave Athnamas trouble before. No trouble at all. 3 mobs? No sweat. 5? That all you got?
The synergy between those three souls is obscene. Deep enough into Necro to get the pet tank. Deep enough into Chloro to get the basic heals based on the targeted mob. Then dive into Warlock to unlock as many DoTs as possible. Send in the skellie tank, load up the mob with DoTs and just wait. The pet gets healed by attacking. If it is getting lots of mobs I can use my charge (which is always full) to heal it through 5 mobs beating on it at once. If my mana gets low I can just swap health for mana. With Essence Link (+2 Symbiote) from Necro my health pops right back up. For times when I need even more personal healing I can drop a Life Leech on a mob.
So that is where I am. Tomorrow, my refined impressions, I promise.
Oh, and for those wondering, yes, Athnamas is Samantha spelled (mostly) backwards. Yes, that Samantha. I was looking for a Draenai sounding name for a mage to go along with my first female Draenai, Avonavi. Yes, Avonavi is Ivanova spelled backwards. I was trying to find a name to fit a female toon with a quasi-russian accent. Yes, that Ivanova. In fact it was those two names that got me started on the series of posts on MMO names. Yes, I need to finish it as I’ve now explained where Avonavi and Athnamas came from before doing so in that series. Now shush.