Getting Back to Rift

So, for a first post I wanted to introduce myself and my character. For this travelogue I will be writing about the adventures of a Dwarf Ranger named Blayden and his adventures across Telara. I know that any calling in Rift can choose from a variety of Soul combinations but I like struggling with pet mechanics so for me I will keep Ranger as one of, if not his primary, soul of choice.

Blayden resides on Faeblight and I have been playing him for a few weeks. Since resubscribing to Rift I have given each of the callings up to level 20 or so to grab me and so far the combination of Dwarf and Ranger is what has kept my interest. I really like the Dwarf race in Rift and having the option to make him more Hobbit-like by pushing the size slider all the way to the smallest setting and choosing to forego a beard.

I have to admit that I am not a big one for the Guardian backstory and I had been a bit disappointed that the different races did not have their own starter areas to flesh out their backgrounds more. I understand why Trion did this with Rift but I still would have liked a chance to get to know the Dwarves as their own people before getting all wrapped up with the Vigil.

He is level 37 as of the time I am writing this first post and he is just finishing up with a few quest chains in the Droughtlands. I have managed to keep his crafting up to date, which does slow his progress but I think it’s worth it not to go back and farm in low level areas for mats. This way he can at least use what he is crafting.

So, until next time I will end with this excerpt from his journal:

I had never spent much time in the desert and I am ill equipped to deal with the cold that comes after nightfall. I have decided to avoid the inn as some of the locals around Lantern Hook have been eyeing me suspiciously. I don’t think they like the thought of a Dwarf among them. I would hate to wake to a blade entering my gut. So, here I sit. The view across this desolate landscape is amazing but that is little consolation as I await the warmth of the dawning sun.

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1.3 and PvP

I have only had time to run a few battlegrounds so far but I must say I am happy with the big PvP change in 1.3 when I PuG Warfronts.

From the Patch Notes: “Tweaked Warfront queues to better match up premades with each other, and smaller groups or solo players with other similarly queued players.”

Prior to the patch my experience in the Battlegroup that includes Estrael has been to loose over 90% of the matches I’ve joined. Now, this has largely been due to facing premades so I guess these results aren’t too unexpected but it did get frustrating to be steamrolled so often. Most of the matches weren’t even close.

This morning though, after 1.3 wen’t live, I had some of the most fun experiences in Black Garden – the only Warfront open to me so far. The games were pretty evenly matched and the only true idiot I encountered was myself.

Yep – feeling intoxicated with the joy of an improved matching system I decided to go and grab the Fang of Regulous right at the start of the match. Sadly, in a moment of AoE special effects confusion, I emerged from the center of the field to run in the wrong direction towards the Guardian side. The comments in chat were less scathing than I deserved but I was mortified nonetheless. In a moment of shame I almost dropped from the scenario but instead I just cleared my head and did my best to focus on healing the other members of our team and take out the occasional Guardian carrier.

Despite my own antics though, Black Garden was much more fun that it had been previously. The difference was almost night and day. I suppose the new server transfers could also be playing a part but whatever the reason I am now finding PvP both challenging AND fun. That is a welcome change.

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A Druid Named Vaul

Over the last week I have been experimenting with the other pet souls to see how the Mage, Cleric and Rogue pet varieties worked. To my surprise Durak got a bit sidelined as for the moment I have switched mains to a Cleric – more specifically of the Druid variety.

Don’t get me wrong. The Rogue (Hunter) and Mage (Elementalist/Necromancer) were definitely fun. I still enjoy playing Durak too but when I decided to try the Cleric it just “clicked” with me. They are just so versatile and by playing a Bhami I also get the nice melee attack animations that I have come to love about this game. The Bhami males have very fluid animations with 2-handed weapons and if I am going to look at him swing thousands of times it helps if the motions have a good feel to them.

He is only level 11 so far but my initial souls are Druid/Shaman/Warden which has worked amazingly well for me. I have had almost no downtime with him and he is the first character I have played that easily handles groups of mobs. I don’t do this by AoE’ing them down but instead by doing single target damage and managing both the health of Vaul and his fairy pet, Faewyn. Most of the points are in Druid and secondarily Shaman. So far I just use Warden for the 0-point heal – but that extra heal has been extremely useful so far.

I typically don’t play healing classes which is why I tried out the Cleric last. I was truly surprised when it ended up being my favorite.

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Telara Through New Eyes

I have been playing games on my old HP Pavilion Laptop for the last 4 years but it has been getting a little dated. It ran WoW and LotRO pretty well but as you can see from my previous screenshots I have to run Rift on the Low-res setting. I can’t really complain as the game ran smoothly and I could enjoy playing even if the visuals were quite simplified.

That all changed last Friday. My Alienware M17x laptop arrived and opened up a new world for me. Cranking the game to ultra settings I could finally see the the game’s visuals as the designers at Trion intended. The laptop is working great and the game runs smoother than I could of hoped.

The only downside was that the color choices I made for Durak’s appearance didnt translate very well. His facial tatoos ended up alomst the same color as his skin and and his hair and highlights were off as well. With so little contrast between these features he looked a bit “blurred” for lack of a better term. As he was only level 13 I went ahead and re-rolled him so I could get him looking just the way I wanted. Trion may yet add a barbershop feature sometime down the road but I didnt feel the need to wait for one at this stage.

I kept his his physical characteristics as close as I could to the original version but with the changes to the coloring everything has the right amount of contrast now. It was also fun going though the starter area again (and seeing in in hi-res) and since I already knew what to do it just breezed by.

One thing I did change were his initial souls. Although I stayed with Beastmaster I choose Riftblade and Paladin as his initial supporting souls. Most of my points are still going into Beastmaster but I put 4 points into Riftblade for the ranged attack (rather than the charge from the Champion) and I will eventually put the 8 points into Paladin that gives him the big self heal on a ten-minute cooldown. This may not give him the highest DPS but it has some nice utility and surviveabilty for my first journey to 50. I know I will probably have all of his other souls unlocked by level 15 or so but I like this combo so far.

That title “The Risen” I received from the Collector’s Edition seems even more appropriate now – for both Durak and my computer.

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Durak the Risen

After playing for just a few days I went ahead and upgraded my account from the trial version to the Collector’s Edition download from the Rift website. I had considered buying the boxed set but the additional perks that came with the digital download were too tempting to pass up.

For any of you considering this upgrade the Collectors Edition digital download has the standard perks of a two-headed turtle mount, larger starting bag and a mini-pet from the regular CE. However, with the download version you also get a trinket that grants a 5% experience buff to level 20 and the title “the Risen” for all your characters. The price of the digital download was also a lot cheaper than the boxed version so I jumped at it.

Durak is now level 10 so he is making steady progress even if I am still learning new things about the game constantly. I am already making good use of the newly added cosmetic clothing feature too. Mainly I have the original scale vest equipped over the less attractive breastplates I have found so far. Tweaking my look as I level is something I loved in LotRO and I am glad I can do it in Rift as well.

I plan on tweaking my build later on but for now I am focusing Durak’s talents in the Beastmaster soul and secondarily in the Riftblade. The third soul I am using is the Champion but I have not put any points into it and I just use it to have the Bull’s Rush ability.

I know I will be tweaking my build as I level and I am excited to get the other souls when the quests open up around level 13. I will be sticking with Beastmaster as my primary soul but I am sure I will try out more than a few different combinations for the other two.

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What is Petagog?

In any online game I play the first thing I gravitate towards is whatever pet-class it has to offer. In WoW my main was a Hunter, in LotRO it was a Captain, in Warhammer a Squig Herder…

…and now in Rift I am playing a Warrior who’s primary soul is that of a Beastmaster.

I have several blogs for a variety of different games and my hope is that this blog will serve as more of a catch-all location where I can post about whatever I am playing. At Petagog I will focus more on my preferred playstyle rather than a specific game.

What is that playstyle? Well, it is that of a soloish character who, along with his pet, takes on what PvE content he can on his own. I don’t raid and generally avoid the “Holy Trinity” of MMO’s but I do love a good battleground. When I group it is usually in a pug for some kind of PvP encounter.

I should note here that as I am playing Rift these days on my old laptop the resolution of the images will be pretty low. That is just how it is on my computer right now but an upgrade is coming soon and along with it will be higher quality screenshots for my posts.

Until then – may the followers at your command always remain true.

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