Rift’s Alpha Notes balance classes, other random stuff

Whew, dead week with my work load.  Sorry about that guys.  A few things going on the past couple of days worth commenting on that I’ll address in this quick catch-up post.

Rift’s Alpha test notes bring substantial balance tweaks
A few points to draw from those notes:

1. Warriors were nerfed across the board. Champions deserved it, Reavers and Paladins did not. (I play all 3). Paragons likely got a bug fix (not on the notes) so that their 10% armor ignore ability does not ignore 99% armor. All Warrior ranged dps abilities like the Riftblade’s flame spear and the Paragon’s similar ability are on 6 second cooldowns. Ranged gameplay is no longer feasible for these classes which unfortunately removes that fun (albeit perhaps overpowered at times) playstyle.

2. Mages improved, hopefully a lot. Their damage is going up, but there’s no real details on how much. A significant change allows spells to still go off even if the Mage is not facing the target after the spell begins casting. This reduces melee dancing to just about meaningless status — I don’t care either way.  I, personally, feel that Pyros were not bad at all in PvP.  They kicked my trash fairly easily and should be capable of wreaking destruction at a much more significant level.  Might see a slight backpedal on their damage in coming patches.

3. Saboteurs are nerfed like the Paragon because of their armor ignoring. They took a few other hits to range and such.  Bards have their talents moved around in what I’m assuming is an attempt to make going Bard a more committed thing rather than every rogue taking the early bard skills out of necessity of convenience.

Unfortunately, many of these changes carry over to PvE. It’s inevitable that it happens like that in a game with PvP. Any discussion about being on a PvE server or PvP server is meaningless since world PvP is not a factor on either server type. It’s all for warfront balancing. Quite honestly, despite my own classes being nerfed or bug fixed, I’m not too bothered by it. The balance in Rift has been so horrible that I’m willing to try any changes with an open mind.


Kunark comes out for Project 1999 tomorrow.
I’ve been waiting to play on any EQ server until Kunark comes out. I’ll be giving it a try to see if it can rekindle my love for Lake of Ill Omen. I’m going to go the Iksar Monk route since that’s what I played shortly before quitting EverQuest many, many years ago. I have a friend on the server who has a level 49 and deep pockets, so I’ll be mooching off him to get started. Could be fun, so if you’re interested in trying it let me know and we can team up in a game that truly supports playing with other people.


Battlefield Hype
My level of excitement for Battlefield 3 is up there. I’ve been delving back into Bad Company 2 a lot more lately to hone my skills and get back into the mood of Battlefield after a brief CoD jaunt. I’ve been looking at the BF2 free to play stuff which I think just went into beta, so hopefully I’ll get to try that out. My install disks for BF2 are in California, so I am unable to play the original BF2, although I hear it feels pretty dated now… the images in my head look modern, but that’s nostalgia. If you see me playing BFBC2, hop on and we can shoot some noobs together with our Carl Gustavs!


  • I’m interested to see how these changes effect PvP. For the record, though, the inevitability of PvP effecting PvE isn’t necessarily the case here. We got an interview on Episode 6 of Rift Watchers where Scott Hartsman confirms that they designed the game so they can alter abilities. I don’t think that’s the case here since I’d think they’d publicize it, but from the horse’s mouth:

    Jeremy: Are you guys looking more to balance the PvP souls for PvP, than you are all the souls?

    Scott: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Not only that, but we also have the ability to balance individual PvP effects, also. So we have the ability to impact PvP balance without impacting PvE.

  • Funny. My main is a 50 Rogue with mostly Saboteur and what is really killing me in these notes is the Riftblade changes on my warrior alt.

    The whole reason I rolled one is to make a Voidknight + Riftblade hybrid because it’s such a unique take on the class…. sigh…

  • @Syeric: That is lip service. Nothing in Rift shows any signs, and I literally mean absolutely nothing, of being PvE/PvP segregated unless you consider the 4 PvP souls that only impact PvP anyway. Everything else is the same in PvE/PvP.

    I believe any reference to keeping PvE and PvP seperate is directly aimed at the PvP souls. However, the PvP souls themselves are nearly meaningless when weighed against the impact of 2 other souls. For example, my Champ/Paragon/Vindicator build could drop Vinidcator (PvP soul) and still kill people without noticing a difference.

    @Dismantled: Yeah, I grieve for the loss of a uniquer playstyle squashed because of pvp balance.

  • @Keen: Could it be possible that up until now the PvP and PvE values for individual effects had been equal and only now have they begun tweaking them? I’d like to think so, I mean shit, how long has it been since MMOs have been having troubles balancing PvP/PvE without affecting the other. The only logical option is to come up with a way to give abilities two sets of values and so far Trion has been doing pretty good in the logic department imo.

    As for all the crying after not even a month, puhlease. I can’t read the official forums because it is so depressing that people just can’t accept losing every now and then. I mean, come the fuck on already. Sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t, deal with it. But no, we’ve got to raise our arms up in anger because zomg bs hax nowai could that bbq guy have wtfpwned me, cus I am teh uber! Sad sad sad.

    Are there certain class/soul combos that kill me more often? Of course there are, however, I don’t feel like I’ve seen enough PvP to start saying well this specs op, that specs op, etc etc. I play a 39 Chloro, have the 50k favor achievement, and prior to this mage damage buff thought I could already do pretty good damage sometimes being one of the top 5 (as a main healer). So many cry babies.

    Oh Keen, what do you think about the first worldwide invasion? Trion just announced it today.

  • @Bonedead: “Could it be possible that up until now the PvP and PvE values for individual effects had been equal and only now have they begun tweaking them?”

    As surely as pigs fly.

    re: Worldwide invasion,
    I’m not sure what to think since I still don’t fully understand the details.

  • Vindicator is a pretty badass soul if you look over the abilities (slowing people with backhits, blocking with a 2h) The cd nerf on the CC breaker is huge as well, 2m means you can basically use it once every major encounter, even without the CD spec.

    I main a Paragon for PvE, and to me the buffs sounds like massive overkill, especially the removal of the GCD on the combo-dump. We will see, but right now for PvE I put out similar damage to a champ (my PvP spec), so post-patch it’s going to be silly.

    As for the range nerf, if you have the Paragon and Riftblade souls, you should be able to just something ranged at all times, just going to require more variety vs spamming one ability. Anyone who argues those abilities were not massively OP is crazy too.

  • Rift’s response time is consistently impressive…I continue to have doubts about their ability to pvp balance the myriad of soul combinations, but their chances of success improve greatly with fast adjustments.

  • Paladins DID need a nerf, in PvP anyway. Balance of Power alone would kill a melee rogue and there was nothing the rogue could do about it. 160% weapon damage back on each blocked attack with the high block rate of the paladin meant that the rogue or other melee attacker was screwed.

    I must say, I love the shots you constantly take at Rift. ‘World PvP is not a factor’? Huh? You play on the same server as I and I have large PvP battles constantly. Not sure what you are missing but look harder, eh?

    I am not sure why you are even playing Keen. If it is that unenjoyable for you (and it quite obviously is) then quit. No one is forcing you to play. No reason to torture yourself with a game you obviously do not enjoy, there are other options out there.

  • Oh please, you can invent the importance of world PvP all that you want but it doesn’t change the fact that world PvP is a meaningless venture done for no other reason than “for fun” with the hopes that by doing it somehow it will be important.

    There’s absolutely no structure, no purpose, and in a matter of weeks it will be non-existent as all the level 50’s do their PvP gear grind in warfronts (the only viable location to PvP gear grind).

    Your reasoning that “I constantly have large pvp battles” has no wide spread application. It’s not representative of the population. The age-old “Well it’s not that way for me!” argument might earn you some points on a fansite but not here.

    I applaud you for attempting to make this about me, though, even when the overall message I was conveying was even-handed. However, the irony here is that I’ll likely be playing Rift just as long as the majority and dare I say even as long as you. That is to say, until something better comes along. Until then, if I hurt your feelings by calling out faults in the game simply by stating it how it is, that’s your problem not mine.

  • “world PvP is a meaningless venture done for no other reason than “for fun””

    Hmmm, I thought that is single reason we play games….for fun. Sure, rewards are nice and I surely would welcome any world PvP content that Trion provides but at the end of the day, it its fun I do it. I don’t need to be rewarded. The fun is the reward for me. I go out and get into PvP battles because I enjoy it.

    Maybe that is why you are having trouble with world PvP? You need the reward so you don’t go looking for it unless there is a reward in it for you. Thats fine, it is a completely valid playstyle but it hardly means that there is no PvP.

    The best PvP times I had in WoW had little to no reward. The Tarren Mills/Southshore battles. The Plagueland fights. The epic fights in Blackrock Mountain. No rewards at any of them. Just fun.

    That is why I am enjoying Rift. I have PvP battles every night for hours at a time. Simply for the fun of it. Fights over Rifts and invasions. Between quest hubs and just simple ganking and being ganked. I love it.

    YOUR reasoning that World PvP is “meaningless since world PvP is not a factor on either server type” has no wide spread application. Its not representative of the population. The age-ol,d “Well it’s not that way for me” argument might earn you some points with the Rift haters and probably here as well because, well….it is your site.

    I am not trying to make this about you. I just wonder why you continue to play a game you obviously dislike so much. Its a valid question. You aren’t hurting my feelings. Hell, I understand if you don’t like it. I just wonder why you are obviously forcing yourself to play it.

  • You’re misquoting me and using it out of context. You forgot the part after “for fun”. You also put words in my mouth — I never said reward. I said structure and purpose. I also pointed out that the nature of the gear grind makes warfronts the place to be. This happens in every single game ever released that has battlegrounds vs. open-world pvp; sadly all of them favor battleground efficiency.

    Seeing as you butchered my quotes and twisted what I said to suit your agenda, your argument is null and void. I won’t bother responding to the rest of your straw man. Time for you to move along.

  • I love the “holier than thou” attitude of the “for fun” type PvP’ers.

    What happened to these fun and epic battles in Southshore? They kind of stopped, didn’t they? What happened to open world PVP in WOW altogether? Don’t even bother mentioning flying mounts…yes, flying mounts prevented the chasing down of some single people but if there were these fun open PVP events in Southshore at the some point – why didnt people meet up later in the game for these epic type “for fun” battles?

    It was still possible to kill the opposite faction…why did it stop?

    “Just for fun” carries the open world PVP just so long and then it becomes old and stale…yes, I believe at the start you and the other for fun people are gitty like little korean school girls if you enter into PVP but in order to sustain open world PVP long term you need a purpose and a reason beyond fun.

    You cannot sustain any type of gameplay without a purpose. This purpose is a reward of some kind…either something that you get or something that you take away from someone else (quest hubs in Southshore, loot, stat penalties etc.) This is how these types of games work. “Just for fun” is a short sighted and short lived concept and while you seem very noble by not requiring a reward, you are fooling yourself if you believe that works. Keep thinking back of WOW and ask yourself what happened to open world PVP…there is your answer.

    You can make dull activities exciting by giving the player some sort of reward or sense of accomplishment at the end (crafting, running the same dungeons over and over etc.) but that doesnt mean that an inherent fun activity such as open PVP can be sustained without any reward. Everything in MMOs is being rewarded and if it isnt properly rewarded then people dont do it.

    With your attitude – why dont we just remove favor from the game – remove rewards from the warfronts because hey…I am going to PVP in warfronts just for fun. I am a real PVPer and I dont need the reward in warfronts – I do it because I enjoy it. MMOs are about an illusion of fun – making some pixels on a screen go different directions and pushing some buttons on a keyboard is not really a fun activity by itself…the game creates an illusion – part of that illusion are rewards.

  • Brannagar does have a point though, why continue playing a game you dislike? Also, I would venture to guess that many PvPers structure and purpose would simply be derived by denying the opposite faction access to Rifts, Rift raids and the like.

    That is one of the nice things about PvP in a theme park MMO, it can remain almost sandbox and still be fun. How many hours did each of us PvP in WoW when there were no rewards? Yet we did it because it was fun.

    I’m pretty easy when it comes to PvP; give me a character, an enemy and a place to fight in and I will make my own enjoyment. Some aren’t like that and I suppose that is fine too.

  • @argorius

    I would say the massive world PvP battles dried up when the dungeon finder came in and phasing made an appearance. There were still massive PvP battles in Burning Crusade but the RDF, phasing and the world getting so much bigger kind of killed it.

    I would love to see some structure and rewards for world PvP and its early in Rift life. We may see some yet. Right now I am enjoying Pvping for the fun of it though.

  • As a non-Rift sidenote, I have a druid on P99 named Ardenya. Although I’m not playing that much these days, if you need a port or anything, shoot me a tell!

    Now continue on topic 😛

  • @Keen: To be fair, your recent posts could be conveyed as showing disdain for the game. I mean, I know you’re just point out flaws. That’s fine. I’m 100% with you on them. However, that’s MOSTLY what you’re pointing out. It’s not hard to come to the conclusion that you may not necessarily like the game. Even though I know that’s not the case.

  • I am being critical of the game, yes. It’s not because I don’t like it or because I’m not having fun, but rather because I want the game to improve. I’m as tired as everyone else of the same old mistakes being made. I’ll keep pointing them out til they’re fixed in every game I play.

  • @ kiorbki

    As far as my memory serves, the only “massive battles” (compared to DAoC battles they were pretty small) during the BC era I recall were around Hala in Nagrand or sometimes in Terrokar Forest. These areas were specifically designed to encourage open world PvP due to the “structure and purpose” given to those areas. Sure, there were minor skirmishes in the ogre town where the arena quest was and the elemental plateau, places like that, but for the most part “massive battles” in WoW were rare before the dungeon finder was even conceptualized by Blizzard.

    I would say the factors you mentioned only further deadened open world PvP in WoW. Sure, there are occasional gank squads that run into SW or Org or Tol Barad, or the occasional ganker while you’re out questing on your alts or running dailies, but for the most part anything resembling those old school Tauren Mill/Southshore slugfests is long gone.

    Never is a strong word and I won’t say that, but for one who loves open world PvP, it might a well be never.

    As far as P99 goes, I’m playing on Fippy Darkpaw. I played P99 a while back, and it was great too, but I’ve convinced my wife to join me on Fippy, so I think I’ll stay there for now.

  • With all the variables in the game, it’s probably best just to go ahead and realize it’s never going to be anything close to balanced. Just not gonna happen. Math called and said so.

    That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the game, just that the musical chairs are going to be a lot more apparent than a game that has a more traditional skill system. And as long as you are good with that, then it’s no biggie.

  • While invasions randomly spawning and running at me without warning was interesting for a while, and I got some screenshots of rifts that were amazing, it all got rather dull after a few weeks…

    So I’m predicting server merges soon. Because:

    -The itemization is horrible. There was nothing that dropped outside of instances that I even wanted, including all that massive crappy loot I got from closing rifts and stopping invasions.

    -The level 50s looked like level 10s with slightly cooler mounts. Nothing screamed out level up so you can look as cool as me. Armor design is dreadful.

    -You don’t really ever need to group at all, unless you want to grind instances for loot that is just meh and doesn’t look that cool.

    I’ll give them props for trying to do some slightly random things with the invasions, but in the end they just became something to be avoided at all costs.

  • @Keen: I definitely agree with you. However, I can say this. Rift is one of the very few games in the last few years that I feel actually shows promise. They just need to keep pushing and listening. Hopefully they’ll get there.

    @Sanz: Rifts do get tedious, but they do pay off in raid rifts. Zone rifts are mostly there just to be there, though. Some are storyline driven, most are not. I like it, though. It’s nice to have randomness break up the monotony of questing.

    Shiny armor shouldn’t be a reason to continue playing. That a side effect of the WoW generation. If it doesn’t look cool we don’t want it. That’s not a good thing. You should be playing a game for the quality/quantity of fun it offers.

    While I like grouping, I hate-hate-HATE being forced to group. I like being able to choose to solo if I so wish. I’m a raider. I get my grouping done at cap. I do understand where you’re coming from. Sometimes playing solo makes it feel like a single player game. It CAN hurt the community, but i feel being forced to stay together hurts it more. That’s my opinion, though. Don’t take it the wrong way.

    I mean, they’re well on their way to be a quality game I think. As I said earlier. Rift shows loads of promise. It’s the first game in a long time I can compare to WoW (Which will probably always be my favorite even though I can’t stand it now) and be able to say “Hey, this game just might make it”. The first few months will tell the tale, though. They always do.

  • I agree, the game shows promise. When I get bored of games or when I stop having fun I stop talking about them. That’s how you’ll know.

  • Yeah, of course. I’ve been following well enough that I’ve noticed that trend. Such is the trend for most. I actually think it’s nice to see flaws put out there for the world to see. I may not always agree with people, or even with you in the past, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done. If the world stays quiet then nothing changes.

  • “Brannagar does have a point though, why continue playing a game you dislike? Also, I would venture to guess that many PvPers structure and purpose would simply be derived by denying the opposite faction access to Rifts, Rift raids and the like.”
    So basically, World PvP is based upon griefing. What an awesome concept.

  • There are a couple ways I think they could make world PvP more structured and to want to do them would be first to make it so that only one faction can gain rewards from Rifts, unless all members of that faction inside the rift/in invasion are are killed. Or something like that.

    Second would be to move enough quests to get through areas to 1-3 major quest hubs, and while the other areas have quests, make every single non major place (those without ports basically) take-able like ancient wardstones.

    Will they ever do something like that? Maybe. I think we will see a lot of new ideas come out once they feel the game is more balanced than it is. Hopefully they don’t wait too long though as they really only have until ToR, GW2, or the next big MMO comes out to give people a reason to stay over them, or while playing them.

    I’ve taken a slight break from this game recently to play DA:2 and Shogun 2, but I do have to say the patch notes are definitely making me giddy about playing my paragon and mage again. Also, coming out with a fairly major patch like this in around a month at least shows their commitment and dedication to the game to this point. Hopefully it continues.

  • Also on patch notes, playing a sab i understand why the changes were made. Mythic left the Bright Wizard alone for 18 months and many people left because of it. Im sure it wouldn’t have been long before people figured out how to run bomb squads in pvp like was done in war with bright wizards.

  • Quite frankly, no PvP balancing for an MMO like Rift should really have a large affect on your PvE experience but once it does, you’re moving into Blizzard territory. The last thing you want is several classes to take a hit and then one to suddenly become dominant because of either a lack of representation or because they are “the cream of the crap”.

    It’s like a never ending shame spiral.

  • The Alpha notes are fine by me and go should correct some of the crazy (literally broken due to bugs) issues that quickly became apparent in Beta and beyond.

    Personally I’m still taking my time and at Level 45 still loving pretty much all of it.

    The amount of forum angst has indeed depressed and alarmed me though – it’s almost like people have arrived with their baggage from other games and have just transferred that drama directly onto Rift. WoW’s had 6 years of live updates, Rift is not a month old and people are posting ultimatums!

  • I just picked Rift up on Sunday. While I enjoy the game I can’t help but to keep focusing on game’s faults rather than its successes. There are maybe 2 or 3 bugs that are more or less insignificant yet I can’t stop thinking about them. I think it comes from playing so many MMOs and spending so much time on blogs and forums critically thinking about how to improve the genre.

    So I think in a way I share Keen’s outlook on Rift. The game is fun but I can’t help but focus on its faults.

  • It seems a little shizophrenic though to balance and nerf classes based on PVP experience and then not fully commit to Rift being a PVP game but claim it is primarily a PvE game (so I am told if I believe what people say here). If you balance classes based on PVP then provide a full PVP experience. If PVP is something you do on the side then leave classes alone and focus on PvE…obviously it doesnt have to be extreme and one or the other but still…maybe there is an identity crisis.

    As far as the nerfs are concerned – I just feel sorry for bards. I mean…in PVP they did one thing well…and that is to provide unfocused trickling or weak healing that was wildly spread. I dont think it was overpowered – they did it well but that is it. My guess is that any healing cleric would have done a better job than a bard at healing.

    If you nerf the healing in PVP – well – what is there to do? Provide meaningless damage (except every 3 minutes via Virtuoso), provide meaningless buffs (people probably wouldnt notice the buffs anyway), and now provide ineffective healing and less of it? The bard soul tree is actually pretty crappy – until you get to the top skills.

    At the end of the day, the bard skills dont sound very impressive or exciting anymore – it actually sounds very boring – so I guess it could be considered a perfectly balanced class!

    (I am not sure what the impact is on bards – it sort of depends on how the spread heals are distriubuted – if they go to the 5 people that need it the most then that may be ok – if they go to the people that are close then that is lame…)

  • Not surprised about some of the Warrior nerfs as I’ve been hearing a lot how they are overpowered in PvP at level 50. Plus they are common as muck which usually means they are too good 😛

    I can see RIFT having a problem with balancing PvP and PvE even in spite of their PvP specific soul which is a shame. Hope they can sort something decent out.

  • It is nice to see you talking about the changes they are making at the alpha server that will go gold march 30th.

    But you forget the most important feature for talk about PvP. And Rift it is not a PvP game, it is a PvE game with some PvP.

    The big thing coming march 30th is not that nerfs to PvP. It is the massive dead invasion…

    And, IMHO, if you want PvP, go play Darkfall.

  • I remember a post from Ghostcrawler on Blizzard’s rebalancing of skills where he offered that the new talent trees allowed them to “turn more knobs”. During the weekes following that statement I watched the parade of adjustments, some almost daily to skills. Still, the only major ruleset changes made in PVE vs PVP that I have seen on release notes of at least WoW is the duration of CC in PVP. Example: Sheep lasts 8 seconds in PVP (other class CC is along the same lines.) I still saw posts that nerf a single skill in PVP then buff two others to compensate, like the Colossus Smash.

    Why not add twice the knobs? Have the potential to change and adjust how EACH and every SKILL behaves in PVE vs PVP not just for Rift and WoW, but for any other upcoming MMO that claims to be modern and “the future”?

    If you do not have that, then you end up with nerf and buff cycles or further unintended consequences of nerfing one skill and buffing two others to compensate. I think it is the only way of coming even close to getting it right and what saddens me is I have not seen it so far.

    Saying that Rift or any OTHER game is PVE with *some* PVP as an excuse for severe imbalances or lackluster features compared to established offerings is not cutting it. It is also ridiculous to ask people if you do not like it, go play another game. This blog is written by gamers who have played a few games in their life, have an idea of features that worked for them and features that did not and have elevated expectations. This isn’t 1997. This is 2011.

    If you want blogs that praise formulaic gameplay and undeveloped “token” features IMHO blog about it on your own page or go post somewhere else (see what I did there? 🙂 )

  • Keen, I am having issues with the way you are describing your experience in Rift, because opposed to what you did for FFXIV, WoW, Allods, etc you are not describing your experiences on the game.

    Your topics about Rift have consisted mainly of rants about PvP without even detailing what you are enjoying in the game, your activities with your guild in the game among other things that makes you stick to the game despite your dislike for its PvP.

    I would like to see your thoughts and experiences in other things beside PvP of Rift. What you think about the Rifts and invasions at the later levels, the dungeons and boss fights in them (they always have a twist while leveling), if you are doing the zone puzzles and looking for artifacts (activities that genuinely reward exploration of the beaten path).

    I usually like your blogging not because of your posts about what are your thoughts about what an MMO sould be but because you are quite decent at transmiting your experiences in a game.

    With Rift, up untill now you mostly focus on your PvP woes with the game, not to mention your complaints about it being generic. If you are having fun, that is not the idea that you conveying with your topics which makes you sound hypocritical when you say you are in the comments.

  • I have written about those things. I’ll rewrite them here for you.

    Dungeons – Good the first time through. I find them to lack replayability the same way that WoW’s do. The boss fights have all been interesting with maybe three total fights being tank and spank.

    Exploration – I’ve been collecting glowies as I find. I sell the ones worth a lot of money. Why don’t I care to collect them all? Simple: The rewards are meaningless. They used to give great rewards but they nerfed that down to cosmetic pets. I’d rather make gold than pets. Caches I have gathered.

    Questing – Dull, repetitive, generic. Worth part of the game.

    Zone design/exploration/atmosphere – Excellent. I love Shimmering Sands (favorite zone) because of the atmosphere. I think most of the zones are all very well done. I simply like to walk around in them and take screenshots (check my steam gallery).

    Invasions – I share the common outlook on rifts/invasions in that they have lost any appeal that they may have had. They’re just in the way now.

    Honestly, I’m having fun in short bursts. I like the occasional quest that’s difficult, I enjoy small skirmishes (1v1 or 2v2) in the world. Rift has no replayability since it is more linear than WoW and the content itself is generic. The end-game is a gear grind for tokens like WoW.

  • I just wanted to agree about the zones being well done. My favorite so far is Stillmoor. A big part of it is the epic background music there, that just lends it this feeling of a fallen land that your struggling to retake from the undead.