Monday, October 24, 2016

How much does RIFT actually cost?

Free to play (F2P) games are all the rage, but the F2P MMO, RIFT is unusual in that it's basically still a subscription game masquerading as a F2P game. So... how much does it cost? About the same as WoW is the short answer.

The long answer is that you pay nothing to get started, but access to much of the new content for higher levels requires some degree of purchase. Fortunately (and craftily) there's the equivalent of a boxed set that gets you all of the important bits up to, but not including the most recent expansion: RIFT Essentials Edition. For  $50, this gets you everything that you really can't play on the same level without (additional skill trees, an extra calling (class) and two  additional gear slots among other goodies). Once you have that, you should probably play the game for a while and see how you feel. Becoming a subscribing "patron" gets you some nifties, but nothing that's essential. Then there's the most recent expansion ($40) which usually buys you the extra features, levels and content of the expansion.

So, for the complete functionality of the game, once the new expansion, Starfall Prophesy comes out, you would pay a total of $90. The ongoing patron subscription really doesn't add much to that,  but if you wanted to do that, it would be an additional $11/mo. if you buy the annual version.

It's cheap entertainment at that price (especially when compared to going out to movies or dinner) but it's certainly not the free game that they might tease in their ads.

Back to RIFT: The Hybrid Support DPS

The Soul Tree for this build...
Way back in my RIFT raiding days, I developed a hybrid spec that I was very fond of. I wasn't the only (or even first) to develop it, but it was my own creation and I was very happy with it, even though few others seemed to share my joy for it. When Harbinger came out, it got even better and today, it's basically the only leveling spec I'd really want.

While leveling, I routinely out-DPS people who are fully DPS specced because it's so much easier to keep up a full rotation in hectic situations with this build, but I'm also throwing heals that aren't enough to keep any one person alive, but definitely makes everyone just that much more survivable.

In raid situations, this spec is a nice "fill healer" which is to say, someone that keeps everyone's health constantly ticking up so that a main healer can keep up. I've also got alternate builds that have more Chloro for more raid utility (combat rez, decent spot-heals and so on) and a PvP variant that has more control features. I'll publish those when I have the time. This version is mostly for soloing with a bit of dungeon support and maybe a raid light-dpser designed to supplement an undergeared healer while not gimping the raid too much.

What follows are the build details, try and enjoy!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Path of Exile updates and how the game has changed

An exile's hideout
I've been playing PoE for a long time it seems (not as long as some!) It's a great game, and I highly recommend it, but I think it deserves an overview for those who might have heard of it or played it a while back, but not kept up on what's going on.

The game has evolved substantially in the past year or so and there's lots you should know. For starters, the amount of content in the game increased dramatically.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Diablo 3 and Path of Exile compared

I've played a whole lot of Path of Exile, but until recently, I'd only played through Diablo once just after launch and I knew the game had changed substantially since the expansion (Reaper of Souls) was released. That all changed a few weeks ago when I started playing in the recent "Season 3" event of Diablo 3. I leveled two new characters from scratch to max level and got them both geared out for the end-game content: greater rifts. What follows are my impressions of the two games now that I have some more context.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Looking in on World of Warcraft

It's not a good time for MMOs. The PC gaming market, which has always been the core of the MMO world, has become the toy of Steam, and that's not likely to change terribly soon (unless Humble Bundle opens their own game service...), but MMOs are still out there. RIFT is just coming out of a period of re-tooling and will likely have a second expansion in not terribly long; EverQuest Next and Elder Scrolls Online have been announced to much fanfare; and, of course, WoW keeps chugging along.

World of Warcraft 2009-present
Source: WoW Insider
But WoW isn't what it used to be. Its subscriber numbers have gone from a peak of 12 million to less than 8 million in just 2.5 years. So, you would think that they'd be looking at what's changed and trying to move back toward the state that brought in those 12 million? Um... well, about that...

I stopped in to MMO Champion, today, a WoW news site that I used to frequent when I played. I saw, there, all of the same arguments that the Blizzard community managers and devs were having with the community back when I played. "Squishing" the itemization so that damage numbers don't overflow the database; response to claims that the game is being "dumbed down"; and the ever-popular cry of aging games, "why can't I just have vanilla back?"