|Subject: The wall of news...
It has been quite a while since our last news update, way too long to be honest. But despite that we've actually been incredibly busy ingame and have downed all the 20-man raid content that Rift offers so far.
What have we been up to since the last bit of news? Read more to find out!
Oh my... These news have been so long overdue that I am not even quite sure where I should start from. At first, these news got slightly delayed as I felt wrapping up Greenscale's Blight by itself was not enough to write some news about, but once there was more things to write news about, I managed to hit up a proper block on any sort of creative activities and as such, writing the news just kept being delayed and delayed under some briliant excuses of finding something else to do than to actually take some time to write the news.
Anyway, looking back at the past month or so, things have been quite hectic for us, between putting up some proper effort on getting shard first kills on various raid bosses and other things filling our raid schedule as well, we bounced up to full 7 day raid schedule on couple of occasions, which certainly took its toll on the guild and I have to say I'm pretty pleased that we have the 20-man raid content on farm status now - as it leaves time for other things than just raiding on every evening.
Prior to update 1.1 and River of Souls
In the previous bit of news, I talked about how the guild was working on the remaining 2 bosses at the Greenscale's Blight raid instance. Shortly after posting the that set of news, on April 4th we downed Prince Hylas, who back then proved to be quite a fun adversary and a challenge - much due to the fact that there are a lot of things going on in the encounter and there isn't a whole lot of room for error if you happen to screw up things. Even though these days, Hylas is one pulled on our GB runs, but for some reason or another, he still remains among my favourite boss encounters in Greenscale's Blight.
After disposing of Hylas, the only boss remaining at Greenscale's Blight was Lord Greenscale himself. After numerous debates on the subject, we did not quite figure out if the chubby dragon was actually imprisoned in the cavern due to being bound down by the corrupting death magic in his prison or simply because he ate too many things and wasn't able to fit out of the narrow doorway leading to his prison. Regardless of the reasons, Greenscale did not look amused when we first arrived at him:
However, Greenscale's grumpy mood quickly faded away as he realized that a snack (or 20 snacks) had just walked inside his prison room. Suddenly Greenscale burst out of the restraits, followed by a few words "I'm so very hungry!" in a bellowing voice as he charged towards the raid.
After few days of being repeatedly crushed, smashed, strangled, melted, blown up, exterminated, eaten and whatever horrible ways of wiping you can think of, we finally managed to bring down Lord Greenscale for yet another shard first kill on April 8th.
For the very first 20 man raid instance in the game, I would say Greenscale's Blight did a great job - the instance was fun in overall and bosses ranged from basic to slightly more advanced while still saying within reasonable limits for an instance that essentially acts as an introductory instance to raid mechanics in Rift. Obviously as with any new MMO and their endgame content, there were some bugs and issues, even though we happened to be relatively lucky on that department and didn't really encounter many of them.
Update 1.1 and River of Souls arrives (eventually...)
In patch 1.1, Trion introduced a new raid instance River of Souls. But in order to access this new instance, every server had to first take part in a 3 stage world event which lasted for one week and ended up in a two-stage finale - after this event RoS would open up for raiding. Due to some unfortunate technical issues, as well as perhaps the developers underestimating the interest in such a world event - it turned out to be quite a disaster as soon as the two stage finale started.
In phase 2, the entire world was under attack from minions of Alsbeth, zone by zone the sky turned dark and the river of souls was visibly flowing through the sky and some powerful undead minions attacked the major outposts. The problems already begun in this phase, as way too large crowds of people gathered up to defend the outposts and kill the minions of Alsbeth - disconnects, some folks with not quite as beefy computers suffered from bad performance, even the event mobs despawned on occasion when the server decided it is better to despawn them than to crash the server, causing the event to reset over and over again.
It all culminated in to the Phase 3 finale, which happened a top of Caer Mathos, where Alsbeth would tear open a direct passage to River of Souls and then send resurrected versions of various dungeon bosses, but this time as a mass raid event versions to fight the players that were gathered atop the massive castle. Truth to be told, it was clear that the brown substance would hit the fan as soon as something would spawn...
Why is that? - you may wonder, especially when looking at the above screenshot, as it doesn't look all that crowded. The screenshot doesn't really tell the truth, as the client automatically starts to cull player models as soon as there are over amount X of them in an area in an attempt to maintain acceptable framerate, but the area atop Caer Mathos was literally a sea of people. Wherever you moved, seemingly endless amount of people rendered and some estimates were made that on our server there was perhaps a total of close to 500 people packed in that tiny area... I'm sure everyone is able to guess how the servers reacted and what was the overall result when such a horde descended upon the poor mob that stepped out of the River of Souls portal which is seen behind Alsbeth herself in the above screenshot.
In the end, the event ended up being cancelled/delayed, RoS opening postponed by 1 week which as expected caused some pretty tearful posts on the official forum. One week later, the finale event played out again, this time the phase 2 was considerably more stable and for a while it looked like everything would actually work out well - but at the end, the GM's simply had to /kill some of the mobs in order to drag the event through. Phase 3 finale started up and everyone expected the worst, only to notice that the developers had actually cut out the entire mob fighting phase and phase 3 finale simply turned out to be a lore treat.
Which (surprise surprise), caused yet more tears on the forums but Trion quickly responded, and compensated by giving every account/character a RoS finale package that contained some ingame goodies... But far more important to us, the River of Souls was now open for raiding.
What comes to River of Souls itself, in my opinion RoS proved to be a rather fun raid instance as a whole: A rather dark and gloomy death themed instance in an outdoor setting, which features a slight hint of that old school raiding style where you actually needed to consider your pulls carefully while progressing through the zone combined with some pretty creative boss encounters, all in all, the instance was a very much welcome raid content addition only a bit more than a month from the official release.
Of course, there are some things that divide the opinions about the instance, such as the relatively large amount of standard pull mobs, or trash mobs as most people prefer to refer them as (or to be precise, it was a large amount of them, but due to the complaints on the official forums, the amount of them got reduced although by how much - we haven't had a chance to check yet), regardless it didn't take that long to clear the route to the bosses after paying some attention to the patrol movement routes and learning to deal with the somewhat larger social aggro range than the usual.
Aside from that RoS features 4 bosses, Warmaster Galenir, Herald Gaurath, Plutonus the Immortal and Alsbeth the Discordant, as well as 3 Dark Foci, which would be ranked as mini-bosses. On the first day RoS became available (April 16th) we downed Warmaster Galenir rather quickly, followed by the Dark Foci, both as shard first kills. After which we proceeded to work on Herald Gaurath, who proved to be our nemesis at the instance.
After being more or less brickwalled on Herald Gaurath, and refusing to use the exploit that many guilds abused to get their first kills on Herald Gaurath, we simply shifted our attention to Plutonus the Immortal, who according to many was easier than the Herald. Which proved to be quite an accurate statement and we downed Plutonus the Immortal for yet another shard first kill on April 18th.
After Plutonus is killed, Alsbeth lashes out at the raid, she screams angrily about how we had just killed her favourite servant, whose knowledge of machines was only second to Orphiel Farwind. Immediately after, Asha Catari shows up to examine the Soul Cipher Plutonus had created but is soon interrupted by the pesky guardian Cyril Kalmar - after which the two proceed to provide a nice a lore treat for those of us in to reading ingame lore:
After killing Plutonus, we started working on Herald Gaurath again and we were progressing along nicely, but as usual at some point in the raiding progress - the Xanadu luck (tm) we have suffered from in past MMO's kicked in and after a certain hotfix, a bug occured where RoS lockout kept reseting daily for certain raids that were locked to RoS prior to the hotfix (including us). This caused the Herald Gaurath kill to take far longer than we had hoped for, as every day we had to clear the way to Herald again and again, just to have some more attempts on it.
But finally on May 2nd, everything clicked together and we downed Herald Gaurath as shard first kill.
At the end of the River of Souls raid instance, Alsbeth the Discordant, bride of Regulos, who has been portrayed as one of the main villains throughout the Defiant side storyline in Rift awaits for the raid to face her. Titled as perhaps Telara's most powerful sorceress, we expected a fight that would be nothing short of an epic battle.
Although a fun encounter, Alsbeth did not quite live up to her reputation and proved to be perhaps a little disapointing opponent, as she did not offer quite as much challenge as we expected. In fact it seems even Regulos himself had finally got tired of Alsbeth's numerous failures (as the players keep ruining her plots throughout the entire game) and in a somewhat cliche evil overlord fashion he tells Alsbeth that he has had enough of her failures and that he would find a more worthy servant as reply when Alsbeth begs for more power from her master just moments before she is about to meet her demise.
After Alsbeth dies, Regulos decides to share a few words with the raid in a speech that reminded me oddly much from a monologue by a certain villain in a popular RPG, just that only the epic music, Normandy SR-2, dramatic camera runs and a massive explosion were missing.
I suppose most of the disapointment about Alsbeth revolves around the fact that we killed Alsbeth the very same day we started working on the encounter, this is mainly due to the encounter being simply an execution fight without too much of a gear or DPS checks involved, thus significantly reducing the pressure on the raid and allowing some room for small errors to occur mid-fight (unlike with Herald Gaurath for example, which really requires a spot on execution along with a massive DPS check).
That being said, with both Greenscale's Blight and River of Souls cleared, we're done with all the 20 man raid content that Rift has to offer for now. But so far Trion has kept their promise about regular content updates and in fact, yesterday patch 1.2 went live on the EU servers and this update introduced some more 10 man raid content to chew at during those days when GB & RoS are on lockout. This new content comes in form of couple new raid rifts as well as a sliver called Gilded Prophecy, which presents an alternate timeline version of a portion of Shimmersand zone as a raid instance.
But more importantly, on the department of 20 man raiding, we have something to look forward to - as sometime in future, although still at an unannounced date, the doors of the Hammerknell Fortress will be breached and inside the fortress, the next tier of raiding along with a doubledigit figure of boss encounters await. Certainly a worthy reason to keep farming the existing instances and gearing up for the future challenges.
As for the Hammerknell fortress itself, the lore relays a rather grim picture of what awaits inside Hammerknell, but how true to the lore does the raid content stay? Well that remains to be seen:
|The account of Forgul of the Runeguard, put to record in the days following the loss of Hammerknell:|
A large number of our forces were gone, marched off to fight beside Zareph Mathos against his corrupt brother. When the first wave of death magic hit and the rifts started, we were overwhelmed. Moonshade was overrun. We shut the doors, and only a few of us, the Runeguard, stayed out to defend. It was always our place to be outside of Hammerknell, and so we stayed, even though we were sure it meant certain death.
We had no idea what would happen. It was some kind of a cruel joke. Those of us who were ready to die ended up being the only ones to survive.
We fought, and even though sometimes it seemed like we were done for, we lived. General Stanig was lost, but he was lost defeating the worst of the demons in Moonshade - Gorvahlt. And with him gone, we thought maybe we could open the doors of Hammerknell once again.
But when we opened them, we found a terrible sight.
Death. Everywhere. Our families, friends, affectionate rivals... All gone. And feasting on them were some of the most terrible aberrations of death. We didnt quite know what happened then. We would only piece it together later. But the message had been left for us, scratched into the very stone walls of Hammerknell so the dead could not erase it.
"Close the doors. Destroy the wheel. Never let them leave. There is no one left"
So we did. We shut the doors, and the great wheel, the only contraption capable of moving their immense weight, was destroyed.
Hammerknell from a distance
And last but not least... Time for some quotes!
So umm... Those previous messages about "I've had 5 red bulls today" and "eating pizza atm" were about... what!?
I don't even want to know where the idea for this rule came from...
[ Last modified by Ayame 2011-05-12 16:25 (Full Log)]
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