It’s surprising how fast the levels go when you actually sit down to play Rift – I spent most of my free time yesterday in game, something I haven’t really done since release. I found myself working my way through the quests of Stonefield without too much trouble and before I knew it I had hit level 30 and moved on to the next zone, Scarlet Gorge. No surprise here the zone is red desert like with tall mountains of rock pillars and mining excavations, it looks fantastic. The best part about being in this zone is that while I never once saw a major invasion in Stonefield (and hence never earned any of the shards or stones required for the rare planar gear) I saw a major invasion almost as soon as I entered Scarlet Gorge (granted it WAS prime time US hours, which I don’t typically play) and earned myself two of the blue-type shards. Random note, the icon for the blue shards looks FAR too similar to the purple ones, so when you’re browsing the rare planar merchant it’s difficult to tell which shards you need for which items without actually mousing over the items. I think the blue ones should be given a blue background, instead of the purple one they currently sport.
My crafting is above my adventure level, which is something I’m always happy to see. I can craft up to level 32 items – but I have yet to come across supplies for that tier quite yet, so for now I harvest materials for my daily crafting quests. I’m saving up those artisan tokens for recipes, but I’m not sure if I want to purchase any or just keep saving up until I hit the end levels. So far everything I’ve crafted is far better then my quested rewards – dungeons being the exception along with planar gear and pvp rewards.
The progression is still very linear with some randomness thrown in depending on how you like to play. If you’re in a populated zone you could easily join a raid and bounce around doing nothing but closing Rifts and footholds, and level that way. You could queue for dungeons at the same time, and complete a quest here and there. The problem for me is that if you’re only doing one of these things (or even all three I suppose) it becomes very redundant for alts. I know they’ll have to do the exact same quests that I just completed, and that has put me off playing them. On the other hand they’re also both crafters (I have a mage and scout along with my cleric) and their crafting is far above the levels that they’re adventuring in. It makes doing my crafting dailies quite an adventure as I have to walk from location to location. I try to stick to the roads because being level 7 coming across level 18+ mobs makes for a very painful trip.
When it comes down to it – am I having fun? Yes. I am. I’m excited to be in a new level range, excited that I’m slowly closing the gap between me and my friends, and excited to work on my characters some more. I’ve done a lot of tweaking to my soul specs (I have three now) but I’m going to save those details for another post because I’d like to get into a lot more detail.
Happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!