Adventures Outside of Azeroth
And not in the real world, although RL kept me away from blogging over the past week. Turns out that resigning a job you’ve held for almost six years (at a company for which you have great respect) is difficult and stressful, no matter how bright the future looks.
My cleric in Rift dinged 50 two Saturdays ago and with some time purchased as a birthday present, I decided to dive into Rift’s endgame a bit, while savoring every bit of Mists news that came my way.
Hitting 50 and getting into expert dungeons (heroics) and raiding in Rift is pretty much an exercise in everything Blizzard wants to move away from in Mists. The class soul system is pretty complicated; selecting from 9 souls and scads of talents in an environment where min/maxing (however limited) is pretty much the norm is a task not for the faint of heart. I dove into cleric guides everywhere and settled on a couple basic builds:
Sentinel/Warden/– (3x/3x/–): Standard healing build that gives you warden’s mana regen tools, plenty of hots, and the AOE healing power of the Sentinel. Decent for raid healing and back-up tanking healing; not very mana-intensive.
Purifier/Sentinel/–(3x/3x/–): Single target healing build that goes deep into the purifier tree to pick up all the tank-saving moves. Average mana investment for single target healing, heavy costs for AOE healing.
Senticar (Sentinel/Justicar): A novel build that relies on a Justicar’s convictions and damage-based healing for AOE healing, while funneling extra heals to a tank via Righteous Mandate (similar to Beacon of Light). Two single target patch heals — Healing Breath and Invocation – that can each be reduced to instant cast with a cooldown.
And that’s just for healing — don’t get me into damage dealing! (Or tanking, for that matter.) Senticar is my go-to for expert dungeon healing; most of the groups are overgeared and between Mien of Honor and Doctrine of Loyalty, I can dish out heavy heavy while still entertaining myself by dealing some damage. I tried Senticar in a raid environment and it felt woefully weak, however — probably due to gear level more so than the actual spec. I don’t have enough mana to keep up DoLing during a boss encounter and my single target heals couldn’t keep up with the other healers.
Ah, yes, Rift raiding. I joined a casual guild and signed up for their Wednesday night alt- raid — Drowned Halls and Gilded Prophecy, back-to-back. Both were easy clears and I picked up a few nice pieces of gear. The next day, however, I was reminded of how quickly I got turned off to raiding in Rift — the sheer cost of it and the time investment required.
My friendly guild officer sent me a note with some items I had requested, directing me to which factions to grind dailies for so I could buy specific enchants (called “runes”) and which planar essences to purchase. Each of these planar essences cost approximately 30-50 (or more) Inscribed Sourcestones. You can gather these stones via Instant Adventure, daily and weekly raid quests, closing Rifts, or doing Events. The average Ember Isle event may take 30 minutes or so to complete and will award approximately 20-30 sourcestones. While you can easily grind out the stones needed by tracking events and basically “farming” them – and completing dailies, I find doing events that often to be tiresome. It’s alot mounting up and riding around; and not alot of time doing what I enjoy — defeating monsters and bosses. If I could convert my Expert Dungeon currency into Sourcestones, I would be happy — but there’s no way to really do that.
And then there are the raiding consumables. On my server, the flasks and weapon enchant for a night of raiding can easily cost 10-20 plat a night. Add in your repair costs and that’s easily 30 plat for a night of raiding, a night in my case spent -not- farming plat. That became incredibly costly before on my mage, to the point that it was largely a determining factor in me deciding to set Rift aside for a moment.
But, Fivequarters, you may say — raiding in WoW has consumables and there are faction grinds. Why is that an easier burden to bear? First, I have it a bit easy in WoW since raiding consumables are provided by my guild. I’ll farm some to add to the pot and bring my own cauldrons/feasts, but largely, the cost of cauldrons and feasts is a non-issue.
And I’ve already stated how I feel about faction grinds in WoW (Deepholme) and Blizzard has basically come out in agreement with those complaints. Choosing a faction to level should be based on which dailies are more interesting or which rewards you like better (such as pets/mounts/tabards), not which has the enchants you need NOW for raiding.
So, after a week assuaging my RL woes with Rifting, I’ve become once again exhausted of the Rift model and heading back into WoW where everything is…well…much easier. Is that a bad thing? I don’t think so. If I only have 2 to 3 hours to play in an evening, I don’t want to spend that time doing things I don’t want to do but NEED to do for raiding/etc. I want to spend that time playing the game and enjoying it! A night of RP in Stormwind is a gazillion times more fun than a night spent grinding dailies.