|Subject: Tale of a King, a Slimy Slug & the Kinky Demoness
A Dwarven King who speaks with a female voice, a slimy purple slug which has more spikes and skulls than something... Umm, very spiky and skully! A kinky demoness with fetish for getting her non-existent hooves licked and the evil tentacle monsters from the darkest depths of the abyss - Oh my!
Quite the ingredients for a tale beyond your wildest imaginations, are they not? *Ahem* On the otherhand, perhaps I'd rather remain blissfully ignorant of what sort of tales you readers might be imagining... After all this is about raiding! Short version: Double Regicide, cutting down the slimy slug, spanking the demoness and making sushi out of the evil tentacle monsters - for a longer version, read on to find out what exactly we have been up to and what's going on in Telara in general.
Tales of Telara
A bit less than a month ago, RIFT update 1.5: "Ashes of History" was pushed to the live servers and as expected the contents of the update were aimed more towards the casual players (after all, raiders have enjoyed very regular content updates thus far and Hammerknell is still keeping the majority of guilds busy), as well as fixing some of the issues rogue souls have been experiencing since the launch of the game. The most significant of the new features probably was the Planar Attunement system, which is RIFT's version of the Alternate Advancement system: Rather than going towards an AA system which makes a significant impact on the usefulness of your character for example like in EQ2 or AoC, Trion chose a bit more old fashioned route with the AA's. There is no AA cap, which means you can pretty much grind your ass off for the years to come in an attempt to max out the AA's. But as a tradeoff, the AA's themselves only give very minor bonuses to your characters (with the exception of perhaps a few), which isn't entirely bad idea if you ask me - although as such, it doesn't really encourage you to spend much more time ingame than you did before.
One of the more advertised of the new features are the "Chronicles of Telara" solo/duo instances, which are aimed towards players who have just reached level 50.
Currently there are 3 different Chronicle instances: An Ascension party (Takes place in Meridian or Sanctum depending on faction), Greenscale's Blight and Early Hammerknell one. Out of which the city one offers more of a brief story constructed around the Planar Attunement system and the GSB & HK ones offer a possibility to experience a dumbed down version of the 20 man raid instances for the players who might not be able to experience these instances otherwise. Although it has to be said that the Hammerknell one only contains a tiny portion of the instance and leaves many of the awesome looking areas out (but perhaps there are more of HK chronicles to come)...
In general though, Chronicles aren't all that different from your standard PvE instances: They are fun for the first couple of times, but after that they become rather repetitive and dull. Although one of the redeeming features is that the chronicles are a decent source of PA XP and sometimes even drop a useful consumable or two for your few minutes of trouble.
Similar to most of the previous major updates, "Ashes of History", also includes a world event (which started about a couple of weeks after the update had been released). This time around, the world event focuses on the story of the newly formed alliance between the two dragon cults: The fire cult Wanton and the earth cult The Golden Maw, as well as the long forgotten Travel Stones (which, shockingly enough are ancient means of traveling between point A and point B) which have started to resurface after the defeat of Akylios (which happened already lore wise).
While storyline wise, the Defiants and Guardians are busy trying to figure out why would the fire cultists form an alliance with the earth cult to transport things en masse via the Travel Stones to Ember Isle, where their dragon god Maelforge is imprisoned under an active volcano (Quite a mystery eh? This calls for Sherlock Holmes! HINT: The Butler did not do it!!!) - ingame wise this translates to providing people with a bunch of dailies to grind for a new event currency with which you can buy some new items, including the Ash Strider (sounds better than raptor chicken thingydingy) mount.
As well as bridge the storyline for the totally unexpected and shocking turn of events that occurs in RIFT's storyline upcoming update 1.6. Which will contain a plethora of changes and new things including: More class revamps, Instant Adventure (click to join a rolling zerg at Stillmoor or Shimmersand), Rise of the Phoenix (a new 10 man sliver) and Ember Isle - a new overland zone which features a significant amount of new content from quests, zone events, new factions, achievements to what seems to be a new 5 man dungeon. As a bonus Ember Isle looks incredibly impressive and definitely provides a nice change of scenery from other zones in RIFT. All in all though, Trion continues to amaze with their rapid content deployment speed... But that is another story to tell once Update 1.6 actually hits the live servers later on this year.
If I had a Hammerknell, I would...
The past couple of months were quite a challenge for us as a guild, even though running a raid guild with a relatively small roster has its advantages - things can easily spiral in to nightmarish proportions when you bump in to a period of time where you lose a few members over a small timespan, especially if it happens during a time when several of your members are busy with RL things and are regularly posting AFK's. In a game like RIFT, where server communities are practically non-existent due to the cross shard LFG and free shard transfers - replacements aren't always so easy to find and such was the case for us during September and early October, which significantly hampered our progress in Hammerknell.
After we had killed Sicaron, we started working on the King Molinar and Prince Dollin encounter which at the time proved to be rather challenging - especially when we often didn't even have a full raid. After working on the encounter for a while, we were pretty close to a kill but before we had a chance to do that - a patch that tuned down the encounter was applied and we pretty much killed the King Molinar and Prince Dollin right after it on September 19th (screenie of the King & Prince vs the Faceless man can be found above, in the Chronicles section of the news ).
After defeating King Molinar, a nearby wall collapses, thus exposing the route to demoness Estrode who had been possessing the kings body as her shell. (explains the feminine voice I suppose )
Soon after we had arrived in the crystalline chamber where Estrode awaits, we discovered that the scantily clad demoness obviously has some form of a fetish regarding getting her hooves licked - odd thing is though that she doesn't seem to have any, but I suppose that is just a minor detail.
Either way, the Estrode encounter is one of those things that looks simply awesome on paper and would have quite some potential to be a very dynamic raid encounter.
Aside from the usual stuff that the raid mobs do, Estrode has couple of core mechanics out of which the first one is a mind control mechanic that acts as a soft enrage timer of a sort, as well as brings a bit of the RNG element to the fight (as the amount of the charmed people increases in time and the people targetted by the MC are random). The second one is a Soul Stealing mechanic, every now and then during the encounter Estrode will pick random people and steal their "souls" and gains pre-determined abilities based on the souls she just stole.
As much potential as the encounter would have had to be fun, the current tuning of the encounter makes it a snorefest where people are forced to play relatively horrible specs in order to gimp Estrode as much as possible - after all, why make it difficult for yourself? Plus picking many of the fun soul builds would actually cause her to steal souls that make the encounter borderline impossible to beat unless the raid is significantly overgeared. Which is quite a shame, regardless of that though we made a short work of the demoness on September 22nd.
Thus leaving us with only one more boss to deal with before we could progress on to upper floor of the Hammerknell Fortress.
The spiky purple slug, Grugonim, who resides down in the underground quarry section of Hammerknell. This mob turned out to be our nemesis: Not only we hit the period of time where our raid attendance was at an all time low, but on some of the days it felt like the performance of the raid was so bad that we would have even wiped if we were playing Hello Kitty Online - I have to admit though, I don't know if that would even be possible, but hell... If it is then it must be pretty damn dreadful, unless the characters would bleed rainbows which would be pretty fucking awesome, or maybe not.
Either way though, as far as encounter mechanics go - Grugonim isn't all that difficult as the encounter is simply about positioning and precise movement. However, the mechanics are extremely unforgiving and as such, anyone who fails at the movement may either get themselves killed or in the worse case scenario, wipe the entire raid. In a way it reminds me a bit of some form of an unholy union of a modern day raiding and the old school raids - which makes it one of my favourite encounters in Hammerknell thus far. Finally on October 12th, we managed to bring down Grugonim - which allowed us to progress up to the upper floors of HK.
While the lower floors of the Hammerknell are filled with the death tainted abominations. The upper floor is taken over by the servants of Akylios who are up to something fishy... Crab men, Fishmen, Lizardfishmenwhatever things with tentacles and Abyssal cultists (dragon cult of water) who are attempting to free their master from his prison underneath Hammerknell.
One of these creatures is Inquisitor Garau, who seems to have some dominion over the remaining runebound golems at Hammerknell Fortress. As far as the encounter mechanics go, Inquisitor is one of the easiest bosses in Hammerknell and as such is pretty disapointing fight. After all, one would expect the upper floor bosses would be a lot more difficult than the ones at the lower floor.
Inqusitor fell quickly on October 16th, thus leaving us with only one more encounter, Inwar Darktide, to go before we'll reach the giant Calamari and his deadly servant, the Lobsterman at the dark depths far below the halls of the Hammerknell Fortress. That being said, that's all for this news folks!
Last but not least: Time for some quotes! Due to the complaints that the quotes in the previous news have been far too tame, I figured I'd see this collection does any better.
"That's a great idea!!" "Really?" "NO"
Be careful of the pink bits OMG!
Raiding: Doing wonderful stuff to your head since 1999!
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