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A user on the official Rift forums has come up with what I believe is an excellent idea for post Tier 3 Planar Attunement leveling. After all, the system doesn't appear to be able to support more than three tiers (at least as of yet). Read on for the details!

So basically the idea is to create what are called “boons.” You may be familiar with these from other games, but if not, they are short term (or long term) temporary buffs. In essence they are pretty much the same as consumable items (like potions), but with a buff form.

Now, the reason this is such a good idea is because it facilitates two things: it gives a way to keep leveling (without having to create a true cap) and it also keeps there from needing to be new skills and such added with more tiers. This means there is more time to spend working on other Rift features, as we have seen what has happened with the normal Planar Attunement system (one delay after another until they were finally released). This is not to say that the Planar Attunement system is inefficient, but consumable rewards would really help spice things up!

For an example of a game that uses boons well, take a look at Guild Wars 2. There are a lot of different skills (both active and passive) that offer their buffs. Lineage II also has some, to a point, but theirs are more long term (20 minutes or longer) for most. A good way to look at it would be to consider their swordsinger and bladedancer classes as being the ones with the boons. They are short term benefits that only work if you stay near them. Once you split up, you will no longer get any boosts from their singing and dancing.

Now, coming up with good enough benefits to keep everyone interested in further leveling, while at the same time not granting too much of a benefit (so that the boosts are not seen as an absolute necessity) can be a little hard. I generally think that small boosts to attack power, defense or even health are not too big of a problem, though for those players who want to maximize each ounce of their power out, this can be an issue. Possibly going with something that helps heal mana or health over time (just increasing the normal regeneration rate) could be a great idea though. It would have to be a somewhat small increase to not become an issue in PvP, so maybe just doubling the rate of normal regeneration while the boons are in effect.

There are really many ways that the boon system could be implemented. I think the easiest one would be to simply allow players to utilize some of their Planar Attunement points to purchase the consumables. Adding a requirement that all of their existing honeycombs are already filled in would possibly be of a great benefit, although some would not like this because it forces you to spend your points in a certain way, rather than being able to use them as you wish. Of course, no matter how this is implemented it would be positive for some people and negative for others. Finding the right balance is what is necessary though.

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