One of the problems with diving back into the world of Telara on an alt or completely new character is the fact that, well, RIFT’s quests aren’t always that exciting. Sure, some of the quest chains are awesome. Some entire maps are awesome. I’m a huge fan of Gloamwood and Iron Pine Peaks, for example. Other maps, for me, prove a little more difficult to muddle through the second or third time around (Scarwood Reach and Scarlet Gorge, I’m looking at you). I don’t know what it is about the 30-40 leveling hurdle, but for some reason, my alts always get stuck there.
I don’t think I’m the only one with similar leveling hurdles, either, because many new players that are trying out RIFT for the first time find themselves a little underwhelmed at around the same levels. Trion was pretty quick to notice one of the glaring issues at these levels and have since changed the entire look of Scarwood Reach. The lush, green surroundings are a huge improvement, believe me, but there’s still… something off about the 30-40 level range.
Maybe it’s the fact that both Scarwood Reach and Scarlet Gorge share similar arid, war-torn environments. Moonshade Highlands always seems like a breath of moist air after questing in other areas, and it, of course, is. Until you know, Droughtlands comes into play. Ugh. As silly as it may sound, our questing environments matter, because they help immerse us and make us feel involved.
I think, in part, that’s why for those of us with characters at endgame, Ember Isle is so exciting to wander around in. Ember Isle has a bit of everything– gorgeous shoreline, lush forests, dangerous peaks, and tons of currency and PA to gather. Trion, take note of this. Just in case, you know, you guys are developing an awesome, new city for us to wander around in the future. Mmm, new city…
Where was I? Ah, yes, leveling hurdles. There are currently a couple ways of overcoming these hurdles. First, players can skip questing altogether, and level through dungeons, rifts, warfronts, or some combination of all of those. All ways are quite possible, and can be pretty fun. I personally am having way more fun than I thought I would by just running around to the nearest rifts and planar tears on my Rogue. I find myself ahead of the leveling curve, and with a solid chunk of planarite that will only help me when I reach level 50.
Leveling through dungeons and warfronts isn’t quite as simple. Possible, sure, but in the case of dungeons, players may have to learn to embrace all of the roles of their class if they plan to make the most of the queue. Not that this is a bad thing– I encourage any player new to RIFT or to a particular class to try out all of the possible roles. That’s where RIFT branches off from the “other” MMOs. We’re free to experiment and do a little bit of everything. It’s encouraged, it’s allowed, and it’s fun. Learn to tank, learn to heal, and learn to plunk away at motifs! Just uh, don’t fall asleep doing the last one.
Warfront queues move quicker, but twinks (players with maxed-level characters who intentionally create a set of “perfect” gear for their lower-level alt in order to perform well in PvP) often get an advantage when it comes to playing against newer players. Many players are frustrated regarding the issue, but unfortunately there isn’t a lot that can be done about it unless Trion decides it’s necessary to do so.
The remaining solution? Powering through the levels with the realization that yes, better things are to come. RIFT’s endgame is where the action’s at, and levels 40-50 are quite amazing as well. Some of my best RIFT memories took part during these levels, where the maps get large, expansive, and there are multiple goodies to start working toward as far as planarite, sourcestones, and crafting materials are concerned.
Speaking of better things, Instant Adventures while leveling, which are currently in development, should be amazing for alts and players new to RIFT. Paired with the mentoring system which is now on the public test shard, I think many of these sluggish leveling spots will easily become rectified. I talked about this subject a few weeks ago.
There’s also always the possibility of Trion going back and adjusting the leveling content again, to help new players look at questing through a different colored lens. World of Warcraft did a complete overhaul to their questing system, and many players found themselves eager to suddenly level a whole bunch of new characters. Sometimes a little creativity goes a long way when it comes to quest implementation.
For the meantime, we’re left with the options at hand– warfronts, dungeons, powering through quests and dynamic content, and the promise of some cool features headed our way. Fear not, altaholics and new players, Trion’s on our side, too.