Wednesday, September 18, 2013

[Off Topic] Patch 2.4: Beyond Infinity


    Well I was a bit surprised (again) when I logged in today and was told I needed to update! It's that time again! A new patch, new content! This one is called Beyond Infinity and apparently focuses on the Infinity Gate and our imminent travel to a different Plane, which I think is coming in 3.0. It's so exciting! I've always wanted to visit another Plane, ever since I first start playing Rift! I really hope it can be done right so it's an enjoyable experience for everyone! And hey, maybe we'll meet some new races and get a new race to play! That would be awesome! And if they think they can't do that cause of the starting zone/lore stuff, well just make the new Plane the starting zone! Have these Ascended be after the events! And than they can go back in time and be part of the fun while lvling! Or something like that..could work, ya never know!

     Anyway, here's some of the features being introduced in Rift's newest patch, 2.4!

  • New Raid: Infinity Gate. As the Ascended all run to see who reaches the Infinity Gate first, so they can control it and use it to access the other Planes, the Gate stirs to live, furiously trying to protect itself with potent magic. Bosses include Breaker XI, Swarm Lord Twins Mordan and Viktus and something called a Karthan Juggernut. Sounds fun, right? Max players: 20.
  • New Dungeon: Realm of Twisted Dreams. For some reason every time I see that name I keep thinking it says Realm of Twisted Realms...I don't know why, that's just what my mind reads. I think it's because Realm and Dream are so close spelling wise. Well, this dungeon is apparently a revamped Realm of the Fae, starring Atrophinius's worst nightmares come true. All the bosses have undergone some cosmetic changes and now appear frightening and twisted, even Atro himself. You have to fight your way through the Realm, just like RoTF. Who knows, could be fun! Max players: 5. Level req...I'm not sure? Probably 60?
  • New Chronicle: Infernal Dawn: Yay, we finally get a Chronicle about Laethys! Having never done any of the raids, I rely on Chronicles for lore and info for my story. I can't wait to check this Chronicle out! Max players: 2.
  • PvP prestige rank 90. I'm not much into the PvP scene so I honestly don't even know what that means lol! I'm sure it will make the pvpers happy though. Or at least I hope so. They are always whining on the forums from what I see.
  • Cross-Shard instant adventure. Well, I don't necessarily care about this one either. I've never been a fan of cross-realm stuff, ever since WoW introduced it. I can see where it would be beneficial for low pop. realms, but it could also get annoying, seeing all numbers of people running rampant all over the zone. I like my zone peaceful and quiet!
  • New hairstyles. Zomg! I've been hoping for some new hairstyles since forever! This is super cool!!! I can't wait to check out the barber and see what's what! It's gonna be fun! From the pictures, it looks like it's not "new" new hairstyles, but rather taking hairstyles from the other races and making them available for the other races. But still, that's wicked cool. Thanks Trion!
  • New UI stuff for noobs. Newbie players get a new help screen, new tutorials, and new special quests for each significant level they gain. Could be helpful I suppose. But I reached end game without any of that, way back when too, when everything was confusion and chaos.
  • New Rift Store section. Trophies apparently. After your character gains a special reward or event, you can purchase trophies of it on the Rift Store. I'll have to investigate that I suppose!
  • The usual changes to classes and races.
  • Changes to questing, items, zones, etc. I never pay attention to that stuff.
     All in all, a pretty exciting update to Rift! I can't wait to dive in and investigate it all!

PS: Apparently the Blood Raptor (Rogue Ranger spec last pet) has a seriously new and wicked look. I totally approve!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

[Lore] XX: Sourcestone

     Sourcestone results when the Planes intersect with each other and with the physical material of Telara. It is believed that the reason Telara is so bountiful is because of its cosmological orientation on the intersection point of many Planes. Unfortunately, this also makes it a tempting target for the Blood Storm and other, more powerful foes, who's ravenous appetite for sourcestone is unquenchable. They would do anything, and have done many countless horrendous atrocities, to get it.

     The Knowledge Collector, found in Terminus, states: "Sourcestone has been extensively studied by our technomancers but little has been discerned about its exact nature. Sourcestone in its most powerful form incorporates the six elements to create an 'ultimate' sourcestone. This sourcestone was used by the gods to craft Telara. Subjected to intense levels of Planar energy, sourcestone will become aligned to one element of another. Examples of such 'single flavor' sourcestone are often found in rifts."
Types of elemental sourcestone:
  • Shadestone=death aligned=violet color
  • Emberstone=fire aligned=red color
  • Tidestone=water aligned=blue color
  • Faestone=life aligned=green color
  • Stormstone=air aligned=white color
  • Earthstone=earth aligned=yellow color
     One theory related to sourcestone states that Telara is a planet which houses a node of pure sourcestone at its center, in the Nexus and Forge of Creation. By itself, this pure sourcestone is inert, impressionable. By itself it can't do anything, but when "touched" by a single element, becomes active and material. Where touched, say by a rift from a certain elemental plane, a field of corruption will spread outward from the contact site. The stronger the "touch", the further the planar corruption and influence spreads. When one element merely passes through or briefly interacts with the sourcestone, a more balanced reaction will occur.
     Before the Blood Storm came, there was no use or need for a Ward to protect Telara from the influence of the Planes. It's been suggested in several books of history that all six elements were present and active on Telara in the dawn of time. Unfortunately, when the sentient races began experimenting with magitech and uses for sourcestone, they drew the eye of the dragon gods of the Blood Storm, who descended upon an unsuspecting Telara.
     When chunks of sourcestone comes in contact with an element, it takes on the characteristics, composition and properties of that element, becoming "corrupted". It will stay this way until it can be touched by the other elements as well.
     And the Elves say this on Sourcestone: "There is only sourcestone. That which does not touch sourcestone is not. Sourcestone shapes the shapeless, materializes the immaterial, expresses elemental energy as tangible places and things. At the Nexus of the elemental planes, the gods found a great mass of sourcestone, which they shaped into a world and named Telara. They gods shaped elemental energy against the sourcestone. Telara was made of 'pure' sourcestone. After it was formed, it became 'ultimate' sourcestone, the strongest and most powerful type of sourcestone, made up of all six elements.
     The Defiant use sourcestone to power their technology. It is a tool they would gladly use to keep Telara safe.
     The Guardians think of sourcestone as a divine and sacred artifact through which to commune with the Vigil.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

[Karazhan's Story] 2.4: I Feel Better Already!

As I made my way back to the sprawling camp that was parked in front of the Ark of the Ascended, my spirits were practically flying along with my feet. Since I'd touched the Sourcestone I'd felt absolutely wonderful. In fact, I'd found myself laughing a few times as I'd ventured back to the relative safety of the camp. I'd giggled as I'd laid waste to any fanatic or undead fiend that tried to stop me, and I snickered as I chucked incendiary devices at those strange obelisks. In fact, if pressed, I'd have to admit that I felt almost...drunk. The power of the planes was literally at my disposal, and with it, I could do anything. Despite my fantastic good mood and the rush of power flowing through my veins like streaks of gold through rock, I knew deep down that this effect wouldn't be permanent, and in fact, could be a bad thing. It was a struggle to think of the negative side of things, but really, what did I actually know about this new phenomenon? For all I know, the sourcestone had poisoned me and I'd drop dead in a few minutes. Or what if I ended up becoming one of those planar monsters that I'd been determined to end? I needed to get some answers about this....aha! Off under one of the beautiful fluttering red canvases that dotted the area, was one of the scientists I recognized, both from the future, and from my brief time here in the past. Da Vidmore, I think his name was. Determinedly, I approached him, trying to keep the spring out of my step and the laughter from bubbling out of me. Really now, Kara, control yourself! The other souls, apparently just as affected as I was, giggled lightly in the far reaches of my mind.

     "Excuse me sir?" I asked politely, dipping my head in the customary Kelari greeting. The man looked up from an ancient manuscript and blinked in surprise.
     "Ah, Ascended! Karazhan was it? What can I do for you my dear?" He blinked owlishly at me and my lips couldn't help spreading upward into a geniuine grin. Although thankfully I noticed that the strange euphoria was finally beginning to wear off. "I have some questions about...well...about something strange that happened to me earlier." I admitted, resisting the urge to fidget. I tightened my grip the smooth wood of my staff. I took the next few minutes explaining my encounter with the death rift that had suddenly sprang up literally under my feet, and what had happened when I'd touched the raw sourcestone chunk. The man was gawking at me when I finished. A strong breeze lifted the tangles of black hair off my neck and cooled my overly warm skin. It was very hot and humid here by the ocean.
      "I see...." Da Vidmore said carefully, now studying me like I was a particularly fascinating piece of magitech. Hells, maybe I was. "Let's conduct some tests shall we? I don't know what affects your unique status has on the Planes, but it must be something eh?" He hurried off toward the entrance to the ancient Eth building that housed the resurrection forges in the future, gesturing for me to follow. I hesitated. A large part of me was desperate to have some answers, but I was also nervous. I didn't want proof that I was even further then normal than I thought. Bad enough that I was apparently some immortal soul cobbled together by machine parts and sourcestone. I took a breath and took off after the shorter scientist. Well, I've always believed that knowledge was power, so best get on with it.

     Inside, Da Vidmore was standing by a strange looking device attached to some tubes. Sanora nodded to me as I walked in, curious eyes taking in what Da Vidmore was up to. Feeling self conscious, I went over and stood on the raised platform in the center of the room where he instructed me. "Now, this shouldn't hurt a thing my dear, but just in case, I've inserted some shadow cores into the matrix. This should help augment your Ascended nature, protecting you against any negative side effects." He pushed some strange controls on the device and they began to glow. A humming noise suddenly thrummed through the air and I shifted slightly, beginning to regret this. I opened my mouth to object when suddenly an arc of lightning shot out of a rod above my head and seemed to crackle down all around me, but not touch me. The air felt electrified, the hairs on my arm standing on end. It felt like the time I'd sparred with my teacher back at the Spirit temples in Atia and she'd hit me with a lightning bolt spell. Except there was no pain. In fact, the feeling euphoria from earlier seemed to be coming back. Suddenly it was over and I blinked, seeing sunspots before my eyes. Off to the side, Da Vidmore was staring at me in open mouthed wonder. On the other side of me, the two women scientists were also staring. I rubbed my arms uncomfortably.

     "Amazing!" Vidmore exclaimed, hopping up on the platform and circling me. "The Planar Reactor gave shocking results! It seems your Ascended Aura is more unique and special than we had ever suspected! You seem to have control over the Planes themselves! With this ability, you can do all sorts of things. You can destabilize planar tears, ripping them into full fledged rifts yourself and forcing the creatures to come to you, rather then you having to seek them out. You have the ability to seal these rifts as well and easily hold off the planar creatures that pour out of them! With this power, you can protect our Telara, Karazhan. You truly are our best hope." He stared at me expectantly, but my mind was blank. Wow. That's all I could think of. Even the other souls inside were quiet and still for once, just as stunned as I was. Control over the Planes? The ability to create Rifts? That didn't seem like something fantastic to me. That was the kind of power that could be used for either good or evil...and I didn't want that kind of responsibility. I stared at the ground, unseeing, as my mind remembered all the things I'd seen and done in my home city. Why was I given this ability? Why had I been chosen for this task? There had to be a reason. I clenched my hands. I would find the answers to that, but also, I would do what I could to live up to the expectations leveled at me. I'd always yearned to make a difference in the world. Well here it was. The chance to save the world had literally fallen on my shoulders and those of the other Ascended.

     "Thank you sir, that helped." I said softly, finally. Da Vidmore nodded, eying me curiously. I slowly stepped off the platform, feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders. All earlier elation seemed to have faded. At least I knew the effects of the raw planar sourcestone wasn't permanent then. I stepped outside, squinting at the sun. Da Vidmore exited behind me, still giving me a curious look, and I sighed. A commotion to the right caught my eye and I strode over to where a tall woman with long blonde hair was having an urgent conversation with a man beside her in strange clothing.

     If we allow the portals to the Death Plane to stay open, the bomani will eventually overtake us! We need to do something!" The man, looking stern, was gesturing to another, younger man standing to the side and holding a strange device. This younger one was obviously a scientist. At the mention of portals and the death plane, I ambled over. With my newfound knowledge, maybe I could help.

I explained my status, and my unique ability involving rifts, to the woman, Optica Fairna Oaks, and she considered a few minutes, eyeing the young man and his strange device. "Very well," she said, nodding gratefully. "Thank you....Ascended." I could tell that the word was something she was having trouble saying. I'd had the same problem when this had all started after all. She plucked the device from the young scientist's hands and shoved it at me. "Take this. It's a Planar Suppression device. Place it near those portals I mentioned and we should be able to seal them. At least, we hope it will work that way. We don't know how long it will last, but we have to do something or we're going to be overrun with these creatures and we can't let the Ark fall!" She clenched her fist, looking like a fierce general and I nodded mutely. The man, who I learned was a Warden Sentoran, gave me instructions of where his scouts had said the two portals were located. He kept giving me strange, unreadable looks, as if he wasn't sure if he liked working with someone like me or not. Well tough, I was the best chance we had. I didn't see any other volunteers. Not that anyone else would have survived getting so close to the wild planar magic of those portals. It seems that rifts put off a deadly aura that mutated anything that came within the vicinity of the rift. They became planetouched, and were lost. Thankfully, that wasn't something that happened to me, probably because of the nature of my creation, out of machine and sourcestone, instead of flesh and blood.

     The first portal, I'd learned, was to the north, by a place called Regent's Cove. The first time I encountered one of the "bomani" that Fairna Optica mentioned, I was so shocked that it took me a moment to react to its attack. The creature was some kind of horrible mutation of hound and humanoid. It was covered in dark fur, walked on two legs, carried a crude spear and wore armor, but it had a dog face, claws on short blunted fingertips, and instead of feet, it had paws. It was like a creature straight out of nightmares. Maybe I shouldn't have been as shocked. Maybe I should have expected such strange things after my experiences thus far, but for some reason, the bomani really threw me for a loop. Of course I'm sure I'd see stranger creatures on my adventures, this was truthfully the first semi sentient being I'd come across that wasn't wholly Telaran in nature. Just looking at it, I knew it some otherworldly being. It gave a sharp bark as it lunged at me and I barely avoided the lunge. Truthfully, the creature looked threatening, but it obviously hadn't had any experience or training in combat and within moments it was a smoldering pile of carrion on the ground. Shoots of electricity sparked at the tip of my staff and I flexed my hand to rid myself of the tingly feeling I got from casting storm magics.

     After that, I didn't hesitate in cutting the doglike monsters down. The portal that they were coming from was easy to spot, after the explanation I'd gotten from the Warden. It was a strange rip of foreign matter up against the base of a rocky outcropping. If I looked really hard, I could even see a landscape in the center of the tear. A landscape like no other, alien, deadly, evil. I shuddered, finding it hard to pull my eyes from the scene within the tear. I needed to focus. Taking a deep breath, I approached the rip in reality. The closer I got, the more I could feel the otherness of the portal. The wrongness of it. This portal was full of dark energy. I really hoped this suppression device worked. I placed the small metal device on the ground as near the tear as I could get. Even with my so called immunity to the rifts, I could feel the madness of the plane plucking at my mind, whispering grand promises in my ear. Thankfully I had the souls inside me to steady my resolve. I clicked off the little catch on the device and hastily backed up, not knowing what to expect. I crouched next to the body of a bomani I'd dispatched earlier, wrinkling my nose at the smell, but keeping my focus on the portal. Nothing happened for several seconds and I half stood, thinking maybe I didn't put the device close enough. Then an invisible wind kicked up, creating a vortex with the device at its center. The wind became incredibly strong, then died down, just as suddenly as it had sprung up, In its wake, the portal was gone. Just the device sitting there innocently. I pumped my fist in the air triumphantly, feeling a grin play on my face. "Yes!" I exclaimed out loud, then scurried forward to fetch the device. One portal down, one to go.

     The second portal was just as successful as the first, although the wind was a bit less strong this time around. I figured that the device only contained so much power and closing the two portals had pretty much been its limit. But it didn't matter, because it had worked! And I'd also managed to kill quite a few of those dog people too. The Optica should be pleased.

     "Very good, Ascended. With the portals disabled, the Endless Court won't be as effective against us and we may finally be able to break their siege on the Ark." She looked so relieved and weary at the same time that I almost reached out to comfort her, but I didn't know anyone here enough to be sure it would be appreciated, so I just bowed low instead.

    "Yes, that's all well and good, but the bomani leader is still around!" The Warden beside her said, not looking that impressed at my success. I frowned at him. What was his problem? The Optica frowned at him. "We will defeat him just like we defeated all the other enemies that had been throw at us." Fairna said, chin rising in challenge at the man. The two eyed each other like strange cats and I shifted, feeling confused. They seemed to be acting like reluctant allies, or people who only barely tolerated each other. I thought we were Defiant, in this together? I said as much out loud, and the Warden snorted, looking down his nose at me.

     "Hardly. Us Wardens are not part of the Defiant. I've been sent here by March Warden Denegar to liaison with you people in defense of Freemarch. And to keep an eye...on things." I couldn't help but tilt my head in confusion. March Wardens? I had just assumed that Warden was another rank among the Defiants. I guess not. They must be...what? The local militia in this land then? So the Defiant didn't always live here? What were we then? An occupying force? That didn't sit well with me. Were we taking over Freemarch for our own uses? Its that what the Defiant were doing here? At my look, the Warden waved his hand, his features softening slightly.
     "I don't mea to sound ungrateful of course. It's just that, we're a traditional people here in Freemarch. In our time of need, we expected the gods of the Vigil to save us. Thankfully the Defiant have stepped in when we needed aid the most, and in return we've granted them safe haven here. They've even built themselves a city, over to the east. It's just that your methods, while effective, were not what we were expecting." He scowled at Optica Fairna, who just shrugged in response. "Your March Warden agreed to our terms, its a moot point now. We are allies for the unforeseeable future, best accept it." The two again eyed each other and I nearly rolled my eyes. Okay I get the gist of it now. The Defiant came when Freemarch needed help. We saved their butts and in return asked that Freemarch be the base of operations. The Wardens obviously weren't too comfortable with the Defiants' means of defense. Well, we can't please everyone. A warm feeling settled inside me at my use of 'we'. I'd definitely accepted myself as being a Defiant, that's for sure. That reminded me of what the Warden had first said.

     "Wait, you mentioned something about the bomani leader?" Fairna Oaks nodded. She pointed off to the north, by Regent's Cove. "Up  there, the bomani alpha usually wanders. The bomani are a strange race. They seem to only loosely follow a sense of military order. Their alpha, the leader of the pack, keeps them in line with brute strength rather then loyalty and rules. We've tried sending troops to kill the alpha, but he seems to be well protected by some kind of magical barrier. Obviously, someone has a vested interest in keeping us pinned down here at the Ark." She scowled at the distant location. With my sharp eyesight, I could see where the land jutted out over the water. A tiny little shack stood at the very tip of the land spear. I just knew the alpha was inside.

     "I think I can get to him and kill him." I said, still staring at the tiny shack. I had to do something after all. These men and women were trapped here, pinned down and exhausted from fighting off the Endless Court. I had the ability to help, so I would. Optica Fairna gave me a hard look, as if assessing my ability to live up to my claim. I tolerated her scrutiny, lifting one eyebrow. Earlier I'd noticed the strange dark tattoos inked onto my face in an elaborate array. I still wasn't sure what to think about that, but since they were not something I could just remove, I had to live with it. Besides, it made me look fierce, confident, and beautiful in a savage kind of way. I actually rather liked my new Bahmi body. Finally the Optica nodded. "Very well Ascended. Luck be with you." She inclined her head at me in grateful acceptance and I smiled politely. I held my staff out, briefly touching it to my forehead in salute, before turning and heading for Regent's Cove, to kill myself an alpha dogman. How strange my life is that I find this a perfectly normal way to spend my afternoon. When your job is to prevent the world from ending, I suppose it would be just that.