Wednesday, November 16, 2016

[Off Topic] Starfall Prophecy Is Go!

     The prophecy has been fulfilled! The Comet hovers threateningly over Telara and the call for aid can be clearly heard throughout the land. Will you answer, Ascended?

     Woohoo, the long anticipated new expansion for Rift has finally gone live as of earlier today! Of course, I had to work today so I just now got a chance to log on and check things out! Lots of new happenings in this expac, including of course, all new content to explore, new mounts, titles, puzzles, dungeons, raids, gear, achievements, and a dozen other things I can't even think of, as well as a whole bunch of new features added!!!

The details on Starfall:
  • New lvl cap: 70! You can now continue on your lvling experience and make your way to lvl 70 by completing quests in the new zones. In order to do so though, you need to pay for the expansion. This one isn't free, and costs you some real life $$, but that's nothing new or shocking to me since I've been playing and paying for Rift since launch, as well as my other favorite game, WoW, so having to pay for an expansion is old hat. I pre-ordered Starfall eons ago back in....August? No I think it was the end of July actually. It was before the flood in my town anyway. And every day when I log in, I get a Starfall Prophecy currency that I can spend to get stuffs. Now that the game has gone live, I'm going to buy my Opie (artifact squirrel mount) and the mystery box!
  • Level 65 Character Pack: I got this in my Rift store mail when logging in after launch. I'm not sure if it's given out with all purchases of SP, or if it's something only the delux edition got, but it sure is handy! I will definitely be using it! It's BoA so I can mail it to any of my characters, which is a definite plus! I also got a lvl 60 boost with the last expansion, but that one was BoE so I gave it to my sister as a present since she is a slow lvler and I wanted her to experience Rift's end content too! :) It comes with:
    • Instant Lvl 65 boost
    • 3 Exceptional Crafting Boosts
    • Boosted 65 consumables
    • Boosted 65 equipment
    • 4 Ascended Sachels
  • Free Heroic Prophecy Pack: Trion is giving a free special bundle through the Rift store to all players who log in between Nov 16th and Nov 30th. Just click on the Rift in game store, and in the upper right corner there should be a little claim box where you can get your Pack. If you are a patron of Rift like me, doing this is automatic when logging in for the day anyway. Included in this pack is:
    • 5 individual reward charges-From what I gather, these individual reward charges are what you need when doing dungeons to get yourself gear and things. They are changing it up this expac to kind of mirror WoW's system. Instead of the entire group getting 1 thing per boss, the RNG gods will give each individual character a 1-100 roll chance at loot, regardless if your fellow players got anything or not.
    • Cosmic Earth Core bundle-Not sure what this is...
    • Void Drake lock box-A box containing currency, artifacts, gear for your lvl, and a chance at the new Void Drake mount, which is kind of like the Etheral Drake, but dark colored and "Void" themed.
    • Scatheran Lily-Not sure what this is lol...
    • Large Artifact bundle-a whole bunch of artifacts!
    • Planar Pellets-the food that Opie the squirrel requires to hunt artifacts
  • New Zones of course: I listed these in the initial announcement post I made, a bit ago.
  • New Features: Also listed in my previous announcement post, and will go into lots of detail with the lore and gameplay pages to come! :) Same with the zones. I'm excited to start the questing and story!
  • New Void Drake Mount: Increases mount speed by 160% which is pretty nice, and looks really cool in game too! Of course the only downside is that they locked behind a random draw on the lockboxes and who even knows how many of the darn things you need to buy before you get a drake. Which sucks. I really wish they would just add a cash shop mount tab, where you can flat out purchase the mounts with $$ instead of spending money on a CHANCE to get one. :(
  • Hotfixes, nerfs, the sort of thing you expect with expacs. Not as many as I was thinking though. I guess I'm just so used to WoW's expansion, where all the classes get flung up in the air and reset at the beginning.

     Some of the things I wish I could see in a Rift expansion would include a new race/calling. It would be super cool to add a new race into the game. I know it's a lot of hard work integrating a new playable race, but it would be so fun and exciting to have something new to play with! Maybe a race that broke off from the bad guys and decided to join Telara in the fight, or a mysterious, hidden away race that had been obscured by the mists of time and now rediscovered? Something like that would be so cool! As for callings, I also know that it takes a ton of effort to keep the callings balanced as it is, and they recently added the Primalist, but it would be neat to have a new fresh calling, maybe something shadowy and sinister, kind of like how the Shadow Priests are in WoW. Just a thought. With a new starting zone! That would be really nice. I'd also like more chronicles for those of us who play solo or at such odd times that it's impossible to be included in raids and guild activities. It really leaves me feeling frustrated and disappointed that I can't get into and experience the content and lore that the raids provide because I play mostly in the graveyard shift hours, between midnight and 5am mountain time, so it's hard to find people willing to raid or do dungeons at that time. I don't mind for lack of gear or things like that, but I would love to just experience any of the story or dialogue that goes on in the raids and high end dungeons!
     On the note of dungeons and raids, I'd like to see different difficulty stages like in WoW. I'm not sure if Rift has this already or not, but in WoW, you have LFG (for the noobs and casuals), Normal (for those gearing up and gaining raiding experience), Heroic (for those who are serious into raiding and a stepping stone toward better gear), and Mythic (the highest and most difficult version, where only the serious raiding occurs.) It would be nice if Rift had some challenge at the end game for raiders to keep their interest. It's hard to keep hardcore raiders' interest after the first few weeks of an expansion, I know, and I feel if we had stronger, more clear cut stages to a raid or dungeon, the serious players would appreciate it, and would hang around longer.
     And the PvP...don't even get me started on that. I'm not an expert at PvP nor do I ever intend to be, but it seems that PvP in Rift is dead in the water, which is kind of sad. Even WoW, which is mostly a PvE and RP game, has a good pvp system in place. It's not the best either of course, but it works. Maybe if Rift offered arenas and championship games like WoW did? They should jump on the Esports idea like other games, and offer prizes and things to the best guild on each server or something. Make challenges, arenas, special combat teams, that sort of thing. Draw people into it, make them want to do pvp! Something is needed desperately that's for sure! I feel like arenas would definitely help! Have a special window like WoW has, where you can sign up players to join your arena team, have it customizable with names, a standard and tabard, and than have a window for the team to sign up to battle against other teams from that shard, and other shards, depending on your teams overall rank and your own individual rank! I would even join in on that and I don't pvp!
     That's just my own thoughts being put down to paper.

     And now I'd like to say, enough with the gabbing, and get on with the playing! I'm off to immerse myself into the awesome world of Telara, and you should too!!! Enjoy Starfall Prophecy and let me know what you think!

     Dark out

Sunday, November 13, 2016



tuath'de coven lore

Starfall Prophecy: Tuath’de Coven

Dark and dangerous, filled with the most powerful witchery yet seen by any Ascended… that’s what you’ll find when you enter the Tuath’de Coven. We bring you this preview in two sections. First, the information critical to your mission, and then a longer tale of the Coven and Una. Read on according to your preference…

Ascended, it is your duty to stop the Ritual of Asklepian. This is indeed but one of the many threats carried by the Comet of Ankhet. Shoud Queen Una prevail, we will face the embodiment of the great Green Mother, cruel and harsh as nature itself can be, but under Queen Una’s control, devoid of any softness, mercy and nurture common to the true spirit of nature.
Our studies have revealed just a little of this Coven’s protectors, and at great cost to our ranks. Many of our finest have perished already, and the reports of the survivors are limited in scope. Heed them well, nonetheless. Knowledge is the edge you need as you enter the Coven.
The Tuath’de themselves are fierce adversaries. This you already know. Their allies are worse.
First among these, Hollowood, the gnarled remains of an ancient and powerful treant. The Coven has reanimated it through darkest magic, and has imbued it with an unnatural ability to withstand assaults. Surely there is some way to bypass its defenses, but our dearly departed allies have thus far failed.
Watch also for Mossclaw, a massive alpha bear, the strongest and most valorous of its kind. He is already doomed, a sacrifice to Una’s plans. He is guarded by the fungus-witch Marsi’etha, and she will work to keep him alive by means of her well-honed magics. That is to say, by any means possible. If you can, put him out of his misery.

We are also saddened to report that the Coven has captured Lanaria, Queen of all unicorns. That Una plans to sacrifice her is certain, and we must do all we can to save her from this terrible fate. If she falls, one of the greatest beauties of all Telara will be no more, for who among us possesses the skill to bring one of such innate, pure magic back?
We have also seized a few scrolls, a few scraps of parchment, a few dying utterances, all of which detail the aim of Una’s great plan. By all the gods, it is horrific: to bring a twisted version of the Green Mother to this very place. It is an affront to all creation, but it would appear that the mad Queen has the knowledge and will to do so.  Should she succeed, we expect the Simulacrum to have power equivalent to the great Dragons, and further, if summoned, she will be under the utter sway of the depraved Queen, Una. Who knows where the madness will stop then?
Let us hope that you can halt the ritual. The alternative does not bear consideration.
Go forth, Ascended. We send our prayers and hopes with you.

The Dwarf rises, a little stiffly, and looks up at the night sky. Battle wounds never fully heal, and they ache a little in the cool night air. She knows that you’re up against incredible odds, and it’s late; your own wounds will come soon enough. She motions toward you with her cracked drinking horn.
You’ll want to rest overnight, no doubt? Certainly; build your strength, you’ll need it.
Perhaps you’d like to hear a little more of the history of these twisted Elven-kind, the Tuath’de? Good. Pour mead and draw closer to the fire…
Long ago, the ancestors of Telaran elves were separated from their kin and evolved along a different line in the Plane of Life. They remained more primal, and more corrupt in their desire for power in their domain of Life. Without the influence of other sentient races, such as the Telaran Kelari and High Elves had, they became increasingly insular and xenophobic. Anything not of them was an enemy to be conquered or destroyed.
Over time, the Tuath’de became witches, in the true, deep, wild sense of those steeped in Life forces so redolent of terror and twisted in power that they ensure not life, but death, for all who opposed them. All in the Plane of Life lived in fear, far out of keeping with the beauty surrounding them.

The Tuath’de ruled the Plane of Life uncontested, until the dragon Greenscale appeared. A gigantic, ungainly, toad-like beast, at first engendering mockery and taunts among the Elven-kind. Soon, however, his immense power and unsatiable appetite struck fear into all hearts. As he began his conquest of the Plane, he found the most unlikely of allies amongst all those whom the Tuath’de had so cruelly oppressed.  Once they saw that he was not only immensely powerful, but also resistant to the previously unassailable magics of the Tuath’de, tribes and beasts flooded in to support the great green beast.
The battles that followed were brutal and vicious, but inexorably, Greenscale and his army pushed the Tuath’de back. The fateful day that Greenscale devoured King Dach brought an end to their reign. The Planar inhabitants settled down to a somewhat nervous, but happier life under the giant frog-lizard-dragon, who was largely content to leave them be, aside from his unfortunate habit of snacking on the occasional supplicant. They came to consider it a final tax of sorts, and accepted it in the general way of death and taxes coming hand in hand.
Opposition did not end there, however – it merely went undergound, with the Tuath’de. They were crushed but far from defeated. Loudest among the disposssed was Dach’s youngest daughter, Una. She was considered quite mad. Just mad enough, perhaps to seize the throne through the sacrifice of her siblings. Her grasp of witchcraft was unmatched, and she harnessed it to sink the skull of the great beast Xarth into the mire that bore his name. There, she created a refuge for her people, where they plotted and rebuilt their power, dreaming of the day they would emerge and retake the Plane.

For much of Telara’s history, the Tuath’de have thus lived in secret, within the mist-shrouded swamps and deep forests of the Plane of Life. The Court of Queen Una held sway over great swaths of the Scatherran Forest and the nearby swamps, and were curiously unmolested. Even the powerful lackeys of Greenscale could not penetrate the cunning, glamor and fear of the collected and growing power of the Court. And so they remained for some time, present but hidden, save for sudden forays to terrorize other beings and seize materials.
It is rumored that the mad Queen dreamt of the Ritual of Asklepian, an unspeakable work that would reanimate the great Green Mother, but under her will. With this Simulacrum, she could encircle an entirely new world with a forever tree, under Una’s sharp-clawed control. Such an act requires relics of ancient, sacred power, perhaps found only in the concentrated glens of the forest of Wyredode.
When the Comet of Ankhet tore through their plane, several things happened at once. Una’s favorite consort, Prince Fionn, was leading a raiding party in the western marches, against Blackthorn refugees. It is widely assumed that he was killed in the massive impact, but woe be to any fae who so much as whispers it in passing.
The Tuath’de suddenly found themselves ripped from their ancestral homelands, trapped on a celestial object with denizens of the Fire Plane, their sworn enemies. One imagines the screams of rage and frustration as they came to fully grasp their situation. Cut off from the other forests of Aevintyr, her conquest thwarted and her love taken from her, Una’s madness threw off its last ties to rationality. Her only comfort is embodied within her sole child and heir, Tristane, and the certainty that all of her sacrifices will soon come to fruition as she realized she had a nearby source of even greater power than the relics of Wyrderode… Ankhet.
The Tuath’de have only ever feared the dragon Greenscale. WIthout his ceaseless hunger to constrain them, they felt strangely liberated. The Tuath’de certainly had no need to hide on the Comet, and were easily the equals to their hated rivals from the Plane of Fire, with whom they shared this strange new land. They worked ceaselessly to increase their skill and magic, bleeding innumerable new thralls on their madstones, creating ever more powerful foci with which to grow their witchcraft.

Most Tuath’de, if you looked beneath the brittle, arrogant surface, were secretly intimidated by Ankhet, in awe of the inherent power of the Tenebrean force that had both freed and continued to held them. Una alone was undaunted by the being, and, whether driven by her madness or fate, soon resolved to seize the Tenebrean as a brilliant tool to achieve her own ends.  Hurtling through space and desperate to seize this new opportunity for freedom and their own dominion, the Tuath’de began to focus upon their Queen’s goal with a fanatical and manic devotion. Together, they seek to bend the will of Ankhet herself and bring about the return of the Green Mother.
The Queen, Una, restless and malevolent in power and intent, stalks about her domain, preparing the rituals to bind Ankhet. Everything must be perfect. Everything must be laid forth with care and executed in unmatched order, for the forces of great magic to be brought to bear. Una heard the news of Ascended arriving on the comet with both anger and contempt; she rages at the thought of lesser beings and the ruin they could bring to her plans.
“Leave not one standing. Butcher them with tooth and claw, with rending power and reeking desolation,” she ordered, and her followers rushed forth to obey. One tends to grow a little mad and fanatical when inspired by such a leader. Her very insanity had a way of seeping into the surrounding environs.

All of the Tuath’de forces have been summoned, and the beasts of the marsh itself are alert and rage-filled in response to her disturbed state. All are focused on protecting the Coven until the ritual is completed and Ankhet is hers. After that, Una mused in anticipated triumph, nothing else would matter and all would be laid forth beneath her sole command. Once she had the Simulacrum. Yes, the Great Green Mother, glorious in her growth, so close at hand now, ready to wreak revenge and tear life from the very corpses of the enemy. And everyone not a full-blooded Tuath’de was her enemy.
“Soon Fionn,” she breathed, “Soon, my love. Our domain is imminent. Our son’s birthright is assured.” She laughed and nodded coquettishly, as if sharing a private joke, but she was alone in the room, save for the corpses of a few foolhardy Ascended.
An ever-increasing number of flies provided a song of joy to complement her reverie.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

[Off Topic]: BlizzCon 2016!

     So, this isn't a post about Rift, but about World of Warcraft. Or rather, Blizzard Entertainment! Because I just got back from BlizzCon the day before yesterday and I couldn't NOT write about my 4th wonderful time in Anaheim, California!! It was so much fun reuniting with all my friends from previous years as well as meeting bran new friends, taking all new fun pictures, and cosplaying in an all new costume! There were some disappointments to be sure, and some frustration, and I barely got any sleep last week, but I wasn't really expecting to anyway lol! It feels like the con goes by so darn fast that I barely even remember anything specific about it! I was actually pretty bummed that for the first few days I was under the weather from a severe bout of motion sickness that left me feeling dizzy and nauseous when I arrived. Note to self, please eat before getting on the plane when you know you have motion sickness problems! Jeez Dark, you'd think you'd learn from previous years!!!! I went to a fun cosplay breakfast and got to meet a lot of the cosplayers I've been following all year, and watched the costume contest! So many amazing and talented peeps every year! I missed opening ceremony because...uhh...I literally can't remember why. But I did watch it online, and I'm really super excited for the new heroes introduced in Heroes of the Storm, as well as the new Necromancer class in Diablo. Also looking forward to the really cool new class mounts and quests in WoW in the newest patch! The priest mount in particular looks awesome. Now I'll have to lvl up my priest, because I need to have that glowing white owl in my life! I'm not into Overwatch so I kinda skipped their new stuff, but I do know that the much anticipated Sombra was announced. Everyone's been dying for Sombra for a while now.

     I also went to Disneyland again for the 4th time in a row, on Sunday following the con. BlizzCon is only Friday and Saturday so I had Sunday free to do whatever I wanted and I flew out of LAX on Monday in the afternoon. But after doing Disney again, I realized that the hype and excitement of Disney wore off after the second go, and it's just not worth the cost. I paid 170$ US for the "park hopper" which allowed me to do both sides of the park, and honestly for how long the lines are, and how motion sickness prevents me from experiencing a lot of the things, it just wasn't worth the cost for me. So next year I shall pass on that, and maybe if I'm lucky I'll be able to hit up Universal Studios instead. I'd really like to explore the Harry Potter section of it! I did get my traditional Disney pin though! Picked Zootopia this year since I really love that movie. Also met my Rift friend for dinner at the Cheesecake Factory since he lives in California and has no interest in Blizzard games. We had an amazing night of catching up on Rift and the past year, and we went to see Doctor Strange in theater at Disney. I also got to meet Christie Golden, who is the author of many Warcraft novels that I own! I didn't know ahead of time that she would be there, so unfortunately I didn't have a book for her to sign so I awkwardly bought a book by a different author and asked her to sign that instead lol. She is an amazing author and so incredibly sweet and friendly! She signed my book and even gave me a hug, even though I was in costume! And she was so sweet enough to allow a picture with her! I literally fangirled all over her, and she was so chill and amazing! One of my favorite authors right there, folks! Life goal complete! :) I am also kinda depressed over the fact that I missed out on the capsule critters from this year, the tiny 1$ items you can buy in the hopes of getting a special item. I like to collect the little characters, and have a set from the 2 previous years. By the time I was able to get up to the 3rd floor to get mine, they were all completely sold out, so I was kinda bummed by that. Also didn't get my pop figure of Tyrande, who is one of my favorite WoW and HotS characters and a character I've previously cosplayed as. I did get her as a pin though for my pin collection. I'm not a pin hoarder or an avid "I MUST HAVE THEM ALL" collector, but I do appreciate having all the pins I want, and I will definitely go out of my way to find the ones I'm interested in. This year I was mostly just interested in Tyrande, and a kind nerd was happy to take my cash in exchange for her! I'm still hoping that I can come across someone with Tyrande at some point either online or at next BlizzCon and I can buy her because I really want her in my collection of figures.

    I got plenty of "epic loot" from this con! Lots of free things as well as purchased things. I do collect posters as well and proudly display them on my wall so I was happy to find some posters I liked at the con! One thing I learned that I have already fixed by buying one online is that I really need a portable phone charger while at the con. Like seriously bad! My phone died many, many times throughout my visit and it was so frustrating to be in the middle of responding to a text or message and have my phone die. Especially when I wasn't near an outlet so I could plug it in. As soon as I got back home, I purchased a portable charger for next year. I think it's because the wifi around the convention center is so heavily used by other congoers, even the hotels and areas, that my phone uses up so much battery power just trying to connect and maintain a strong connection with the wifi signal. And each time I left that area and entered another wifi area that had I had saved on my phone, it would take time to connect and verify and log into that other wifi, which was just using up so much battery life. I was very frustrated by that because the only thing I brought to take pictures with was my phone and since it was dead most of the time, I barely got any pictures of either myself or others! Such a let down, that was! Next year I plan on purchasing an actual official Canon camera so I can take some nice quality pictures of things!

     Also I was sad that I didn't have enough room to bring my laptop with me and since Rift did a presale on Starfall Prophecy, they were giving out daily fragments of Starfall. You need to log in each individual day to claim your Starfall fragment up until the date that the expac is released, and I lost about 5 of the fragments because I couldn't log into Rift during the time I was at the con. I'm pretty sad about that, but I know from previous experience that Trion will just tell me tough luck on it lol. I'm trying so hard to make sure I can get all the things I want to get from the promotional vendor that sells things for fragments! Right now I have 70 fragments so not enough to get Opie (the tiny squirrel mount) on 2 characters, which kinda sucks, but I'm hoping I can gather enough to buy one of each item! We shall see. They haven't released any date or timeline info on Starfall yet except for the fact that it's only recently went into beta, so here's hoping it's sometime in December instead!

    Well that's my conclusion of my trip to BlizzCon 2016 and I'm already looking forward to and planning a costume for BlizzCon 2017! I love the con mostly for the experience of my friends, being surrounded completely by nerds who "get me" and can have the coolest, most fun conversation with a complete stranger and have them understand what I'm talking about when I say "it's so frustrating healing a raid when the dps won't listen and the tank is squishy, and then you don't even get the loot that you want." Most of my friends here at home just give me a confused look and think I'm weird and need to get out of my video game. I love the gaming community in general, I love cosplayers, and I love going to conventions, specifically BlizzCon! Now if Trion (Rift) ever did their own convention, even if it was just a tiny one, I would definitely sign myself up for that too! I see how they say they are visible at other cons and expos like PAX and it makes me wish so badly I could go, but since I live all the way over in Canada, it's just way too expensive and long of a trip just to see Trion. We can wish though, right? :)

       Dark out.