First Timers Rift Account
Like many others I’ve been hearing about the ‘The Rift’ for a long time. The high level end game content (if I can still call it that given Moria is almost here) has always felt, well, out of reach. Something the really experienced gamers do.
This being the first MMO I’ve played, I definitely don’t fall into that category. But I’ve now completed my first run so I thought that a few words about the experience would be a useful (and hopefully fun) insight for anyone else who has yet to take the plunge. And for everyone else perhaps a giggle or two.
Despite reaching 50 some time ago (level, not age I hasten to add) I’ve been at a bit of a loss caused by the sudden absence of the XP reward and the target of gaining the next level. Consequently I’ve spent more time playing other characters and finding out how the different classes work. However, the comments flying in the Chat channel last Friday finally prompted me to sign up. Or rather, prompted Helen to say ‘why don’t you sign up’? OK then. Given that her main character is at L42 I’m going to have to give this a whirl. Raid Planner here I come.
Having taken the first step and signed up I looked for some background information on the Rift. Whilst I could find a fair amount of guides explaining what to do, I found little to no information on what it’s actually like to go there for the first time and more importantly survive. In short there wasn’t much that I found useful.
Much of what you hear about the Rift makes it seem like a scary place. I don’t mean the monsters or even the place itself, but more the reality of very large multi player groups. After all, getting used to six person fellowships is daunting, but 12? That takes it to another level. There just seems to be so much that could go wrong; correction - that I could cause to go wrong.
Perhaps that’s the problem. I certainly felt apprehensive, probably as I had no clear understanding about what such a large group would be like. Am I ready? Am I likely to survive for long? Do I have the right kit? Is my character class useful for this instance (melee AOE anyone)? Are my traits high enough? Is it going to be overwhelming or am I going to like it? But underneath it all, am I going to screw up and let down 11 other people?
Lots of questions, so no surprises that I was actually nervous as I logged on. And a little late too which didn’t help. Ahem. So, as promised, here’s what happened from my perspective. Apologies for the ‘stream of consciousness’ approach but it seems like the best way to convey what was going through my mind…
The challenges started before we even left the camp. Mark there on Vent, as usual, providing a commentary on events and gets everyone organized. Thank heavens he sounds calm because I’m not. Fellowship invitations appear and the amount of information on the screen instantly doubles. I need a bigger monitor! Instructions to sort out the Raid Assist window next and even more bars appear on screen (what’s a Raid Assist window? How does it work? Why wasn’t this in anything I’d read!). How am I supposed to see anything now? OK - time to rearrange things a bit. Instructions come through to turn some of the combat options off. Very noobish. Feels like learning a new game. Then I find out we’re about to walk into the second half of the instance – the bit with the tougher bosses. This was going to be a steeper learning curve than I’d thought. Hang on a minute; there’s a Balrog at the end of this and even our experienced team has only taken him down once! Oh joy.
So off we go. Like I said, apprehensive; head spinning; no idea where I’m going. Just like a normal day at the office.
Into the instance.
Mark’s commentary continues so at least I know we’re not about to be bounced as soon as we get through the first door. This place is big. Simple task to follow the group. Meet some giants and pick up quests. Don’t hang about as some Orcs are going to appear. Hey, this isn’t too bad. Off we go again. Scratch earlier thought – this place isn’t big it’s huge.
First lava room (I think).
OK then, the fighting starts here. Remember the three golden rules; 1) don’t break Mez 2) don’t break Mez and 3) don’t break Mez. What’s that? Mark talks through the fight. Hey – I’ve got something to do. ‘Clobber’ the Fumarole. OK – I can do that. But what’s a Fumarole? How will I recognise it? Turns out it’s a small volcano that emits lots of swarming mobs – hence the need for an interrupt attack. Another instruction - you need to be at the front (oh great – first time here, first fight and I’m at the front). The fight starts and the screen dissolves into chaos. What the??? I can’t see a thing. How do I select the damn thing? Run around it – but it’s already chucking out baddies. Finally get going. Clobber, cooldown, clobber, cooldown etc. Not sure that spamming the attack is the best way to go but I haven’t worked out the timing of its animation sequence. Main mobs are down and the group sets to work clearing the mobs that I missed. Good start, not. Two more stages to get through so more chance to practice. Marginal improvement. We’re all still standing but it doesn’t feel like much of that was down to me.
Several single mob fights later and I’m starting to like the Raid Assist bars. They make target selection so much easier.
On to next room. First boss fight (I think).
Clear a few mobs then Mark’s talking through the main fight again. Two big mobs behind the gate. Concentrate - Tanks away, focus on mob 1, hey – another clobbering role! (do I have any other skills that will be useful in here?). Get him down to low morale then move onto the other one, then kill them at the same time (don’t know why and don’t find out). Fight goes smoothly. Wear out clobber button in process.
Thrang next. (Thrang! First time in the Rift. Who’d have thought it). Mark talks us through the fight again. He should be paid for this. Quote “this fight isn’t a given” – guess that means we could be wiped out. Major opportunity to screw-up then. Repeat mantra – No AOE, No AOE. 10 minutes later I think it makes sense, but can’t believe we have to do so much before the boss even appears. I can’t remember what is supposed to happen at the start but a quick recap from Mark helps. Orcs start to appear. OK – hit what Irvorn hits. Simple. Us Champs are good at hitting things. By now I’m in love with the Raid Assist panel. There’s so much going on I realise I’m not monitoring my health. A reminder from John followed by a heal quickly snaps me out of that. Realise I don’t have a prayer of monitoring everyone else but figure that’s not my role anyway. Realise I’ve not noticed the healing so far so we must have some good people on the case. Start to get the measure of the fight; rhythm, pace, danger, who needs help and who doesn’t. Hey – this is fun. Realise that’s because everyone is stretched and that all of the classes are interdependent. Massive sense of accomplishment as we make progress towards the boss. More instructions from Mark - no damage over time attacks on the second Summoner. OK, no problem, just avoid the DOT attacks. No AOE, no DOT then… But he takes a DOT hit anyway. At least I wasn’t the guilty one! Er, wrong! Mark says I must have a DOT trait slotted. Doh! (How does he have time to work this out in the middle of a fight anyway?) No time to check so back out of that fight early enough to avoid causing a problem. Phew. Go and hit the adds instead. Then we don’t get a good break on the Uruks. One healer goes down. Suicide the fight and wipe out. Make mistake of retreating. (note to self – don’t retreat from instances).
The fight seems much easier second time around and ta-daa! Thrang appears. Gerry gets to work. Run around trying to get a hit in during the (very) brief lapses in his invulnerability. Then I get the wrong side of him as he decides to play Elf-Golf. He misses the green and drops me straight into the water (sorry lava). Dead Elf. A quick res (don’t know who but thank you again), recover a bit then back into the melee. Elf-Golfed into the wall. Damn, too keen – should have let morale recover before rushing in again. Dead Elf again. He’s below 30k by this point so at least I get to watch the rest of the group take him down.
Then we get a respite. Loot is being divvied up. There clearly seem to be some excitement about the prospect of getting bits of gear. Lots of talk about hats (what’s that about?). Not quite sure what’s going on but vaguely remember something about rift items. Decide not to roll on anything as it seems a little unfair to be going for stuff on my first visit. Anyway, I’m just glad for the experience which feels like enough of a reward tonight.
Then Mark mentions the B word. What? Is he serious? Go for the Balrog? But the experienced team have only taken him down once and I’m not the only Noob here! Oh, OK then. Off we go. Actually I’m quite looking forward to it.
Note to self – bring Hope tokens next time. Thanks John.
This explanation is even longer than for the Thrang fight, made even worse as we can’t see the room. Do we really stand a chance? Not on the first run anyway – I go link dead after 2 mins and come back in to find we’ve wiped. Second go. No idea if this is better than the first but here’s the bit where we have to split up and – oh no – the Tank fails to pull all 4 mobs! Two go free. Pull one, use AOE to get the other and Ohmygodhowfastismymoraledropping? Dead Elf. Wow that was quick. Thought shield were supposed to help? Didn’t have time to use potions or Champion heal or Dire Need. In truth I didn’t even think about using them. Idiot. However, I do get to watch a fairly brief fight with the Balrog. Several people go down fast leading to another wipe. My he’s impressive.
An inglorious end in one way but that really didn’t matter. I learnt a lot in a very short space of time. What surprised me was how quickly the scale and pace of the fights became familiar. I don’t know how frequently I’ll be able to join future runs but what I do know is that I will be back. I’m also very grateful to the experienced members of the Kin who made my first rift run so much fun. And I didn’t think I’d be saying that just a few hours earlier.
So. Jump in – the water’s fine. If I can do it then you can too. And you never know, you might like it.