Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Rift: Ways to level, 1-60

Leveling in an MMO is always a challenge. Often,  it's more of a challenge just to stay awake than it is to actually succeed, but more often than not I find myself poking around to see if there's any cool ways to level. In EverQuest, grinding was all there was. Quests weren't really a way to level and instanced dungeons didn't really exist (they were added late in that game's evolution).

In WoW, your options were: dungeons or quests. If you had some friends with lots of spare time to help you, there was also a grinding method that worked well, but it required a tolerance for boredom that was nearly superhuman. Later on, PvP also became a lesser, but viable option.

In classic Rift, the options exploded. You had rifts, quests, PvP, dungeons, zone events and the usual grinding strategies. Then Storm Legion landed.

In Storm Legion, leveling from 50 to 60 became even more flexible. The level 50 quest hub zone, Ember Isle had introduced "onslaughts" to Rift, and they became a new mode of grinding that large, impromptu groups can now use to gain experience. Also, they broke the questing experience in half. The typical "kill 20 rats" type quests are now no longer given by NPCs. Instead, they are automatically triggered when you kill the first creature of a type that has a "carnage quest". Then, the rest of the quests ranging from simple collection tasks to major story events are given out by NPCs. You can, of course, combine the two or you can do them separately. It's now your choice, and leveling as a non-combat build is suddenly more viable (though still difficult, as story quests still have some combat components).

Even rifts have changed. Now, in addition to minor and major rifts that appear randomly throughout the world, new zones can host "hunt rifts" which are to raid rifts as dungeons are to raids.

Honestly, the only complaint that I have with all of the choices is just that: I have to choose... I guess it's time to level an alt.

Anyway, I hinted at a guide in the intro, so here's my suggestions:

From level 1 to 50, just go to a zone that's appropriate for your current level, find some quests and plow through them. If you get bored, pop into PvP or a dungeon until you're up for questing again. Do zone events when they happen, but don't get caught up in rifts unless you just feel like a change of pace.

Once you hit level 50, you want to head to the new areas and find an onslaught. Make sure you grabbed the "holy champion" in your starting zone (it's one of the first quests). Onslaughts are easy to spot because there are light blue crystals sprinkled around them and there are turrets around a central ward stone. Every time an invasion comes in, let the leader get close to the ward stone and it will start to channel an ability. Use holy champion if the invasions are elite and start bashing on the non-leader mobs. Once he finishes casting and a foothold is established, single-target kill the leader and then the foothold (you'll definitely want holy champion for this phase, as killing these fast is key). You get XP for all of the creatures, plus a bonus for the foothold. If others come, let them join up with you as a public group. Once there's 5 or more other people, hang back and tag things, but don't get involved. Queue for PvP and when the queue pops, run away to get out of combat and go in.

Lather, rinse, repeat and you'll be 60 in no time, plus you'll have lots of PvP favor at level 60, which will really help you get started with gear.

I don't recommend dungeons. They're too difficult for pugs, so unless you have a guild that wants to run full groups, they're just not worth it. However, you can just do PvP or just do onslaughts. Mixing in story quests for gear is a good idea, too.
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