Two parts to this post:
First, I’m enjoying what I’ve played so far of Rift: Storm Legion. Considering that, a few months ago on TWIMMO, I called then-new Ember Isle “a great place to sit around and wait for your dungeon queue to pop,” Trion’s done a much better job of making the actual world into something enjoyable and not just a pretty WoW clone with occasional exciting bits.
My thoughts on the basic adventuring are summed up here. I’m a little surprised at the across-the-board changes Trion made to DPS, by incorporating bonuses into the souls directly, which has made Ember Isle — which was an absolute nightmare for me, difficulty-wise — and Storm Legion content into a relative cakewalk.
If you’re not aware, each soul (at least for mages — I haven’t looked into the others) now has passive damage bonuses that go up for each point you spend in the soul. For instance, the warlock, who specializes in damage-over-time abilities, gives +1% damage for each DOT and +0.5% overall damage for each point spent in it. For the warlock/pyromancer/elementalist build I’m currently using, I wind up with something like 46% more overall damage and 14% more on DOTs.
There used to be powers in the soul trees that would give you similar bonuses, but having them come automatically seems to make a much bigger difference. 16k HP mobs in Ember Isle used to be a significant challenge to me, chopping away at 1/2 to 2/3 of my HP before I took them down. It’s not nearly as tough now, and the 22k basic mobs running around the beginning Storm Legion zone are equally easy to take down.
I’m not sure how good this is — granted, I really loathed the jump in difficulty from level 50 open-world content, where the mobs had 5k to 6k HP to Ember Isle, where they were about three times as tough. Now, though, it’s almost trivial, unless you accidentally pull more than you can handle. Still, I suppose anything’s better than dying all the time. I haven’t tried an old dungeon yet, but I assume the mobs/bosses have been ramped up a tad to compensate and not make them laughers.
The second part of my post has to deal with, well, what you think about the first part of my post.
It’s no secret that GameBreaker TV is working with Trion to promote Storm Legion. There’s already been one comment about how “convenient” it is that we’re covering it so much when some of our hits are sponsored by Storm Legion (take that, Netflix!).
Of course, you don’t have to believe anything I say, and I will admit to embellishing a touch more on the GB site than I do normally. And when I do talk on GB, whether on a hit or a show, I try to be at least reasonable with my criticism, unless it really deserves to be called out (*cough*TERA*cough*). But on my blog, I’ll say whatever the heck I want, and if I say I like Storm Legion, I like it. If I didn’t think that, I simply wouldn’t write about it.
Now, I still don’t know that I’d rush out and buy a new and shiny six-month sub — I still want to put it through more rigorous paces — but Rift is still a much better game than it was at launch. I’m having more fun now than I did when I let the last four months on my last six-month sub expire without even playing. And that’s me talking, not Trion’s money.
For the record, nobody at Gamebreaker, to my knowledge, has ever received money from ArenaNet either, even for all the Guild Wars 2 we talk about there. We do that because we think people like it — and, yes, we do want to work with ArenaNet in the future, and hope they’ll consider us for advertising, but it’s not the primary reason we talk about it so much. We just love it.
I’ll be semi-intentionally vague when I say that I know what it’s like to work for a media outlet where the money from advertisers speaks louder than the requests of viewers. And there are others out there that are far more blunt about it than anything you or I can imagine.
But here’s a simple fact: Sites like GameBreaker need money to survive. The best way for us to get that is through advertising or content deals with developers, and when we strike those, yes, we’re going to make a little nice with their games. But I have worked in a little criticism about Storm Legion so far, and I’ll continue to do so if it warrants. If I’d gotten into the beta and thought it absolutely sucked, I’d ask to be relieved of most or all of my duties with hits or on Sanctum.
Think of it the same way as when a talk-show host interviews a celebrity. The host may not know or care much about the celeb’s work or the current movie or album or whatever is being pushed, but he’s still going to act nice and try to have a good time. He’s not going to ask, “Boy, you really looked awful during that one scene, what was that all about?” And, after the interview, you’re supposed to want to check out the new product more — that’s why the celeb’s publicist booked the appearance in the first place.
Most video gaming media outlets are like that, too, when it comes to special previews or paid ad deals. Sure, we might be a little more critical, but we rarely go off on a game, and that might come across as overly servile, especially when you just know “that game is totally FAIL u guys r just fanbois!!!1” That’s why you should never use just one source to make your money decisions. Sure, read our reviews and watch our shows, but check out what other sites and what other people — ideally people with a modicum of professionalism — have to say. If they all think something is good (or bad), it might not be them who’s wrong.