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Storm Legion has been seen as a somewhat difficult expansion pack to work through, especially when compared against the original content in Rift. What many do not know, however, is that this is actually how Rift once was. The difficulty we see in Storm Legion's new content is equal to what we once faced while playing.

When we are looking at the difficulties, we are essentially looking at two different areas:

  • The Zones
  • The Instances

The Zones

There is really only one zone we can compare in terms of difficulty, which is Ember Isle. This is mostly because it was the only one added that is supposed to be end-game. However, there have been a lot of complaints about this being hard to progress through, especially as a fresh level 50 that is playing solo.

In the beginning, Ember Isle was pretty tough even when in groups. But with the zone came new gear, and with the new gear came higher stats. As players started slowly moving through, their stats were being boosted, and as their stats were boosted, the content got easier and easier. Now the zone (for most players) is a breeze! Even in the zones before Ember Isle, like Stillmoor and Iron Pine Peak, the content was hard enough in the beginning that it was much safer to travel in a group than it was alone. If you decided to make the trek on your own, you had to take it very slow and be cautious. This led on to another inherent problem: the spawn rates would often be equal to or above your rate of kills, which made some of the quests overly difficult.

This leads in to the new Storm Legion zones, where the problem is really the same thing, but also includes leveling up. Whereas Ember Isle was released at the same level as most players already were, Storm Legion adds 10 more levels. This means that rather than just gearing, leveling up is also necessary to continue making the content easier as time goes on.

In essence, you could take this as being that each new zone that is in Storm Legion's expansion is like a new Ember Isle. As you level up you are able to go to more areas, so in a very real sense it is just like an expanded progression based world.

The Instances

When the original Rift was released, the instances within were hard for the majority of groups. Four of the instances really come to mind:

  • The Deepstrike Mines
  • Darkening Deeps
  • Foul Cascade
  • King's Breach

Let's take a quick look at these and what made each one overly difficult.

The Deepstrike Mines

DSM was made especially hard because of the final boss, aka “the crystal boss.” His green (healing) crystals were healing him for a lot, while the amount of damage players were able to do to him was somewhat low. The goal here was to take down the green crystals as soon as possible, but even so, there were a lot of times where it could heal him to full prior. Many battles ended up going on endlessly until groups gave up. As a result, groups were falling apart before even getting to the boss just because people didn't want to waste time on him. Some groups would go ahead and be persistent in trying to take him down for the rewards, achievement or even the satisfaction, but as time went on that became more and more rare. Since I enjoy running instances with players I was willing to keep going at it, and through all of the attempts I went through before levels and gear started making the fight too easy, I would say we were succeeding about one out of every ten runs or so. To some this is a big problem. To me this posed a fun challenge. You could actually have pride in knowing you were able to beat the boss so many others had issues taking down.

Darkening Deeps

The boss that made DD rough was the spider. During this battle, she puts players in a cocoon that needs to be broken out of with damage. While this is not tough on its own, she is also poisoning the tank and spawning minions (at certain points in the battle). If she cocooned the healer, for example, the battle became very hard. And if the minions came out at the same time, it was nearly impossible. The result of this was a lot of groups failing to down her.

It was not until people learned to use strong AoE attacks, such as with the Saboteur Rogue soul that this started to become very easy. This was more than likely compounded by the fact that players were also getting better gear and leveling up, and as time went on the boss became very easy.

As an odd side note, I find that the spider boss is even tougher in the normal version than she is in the expert one. It has to do with the fact that our damage scales up but the cocoon's health does not increase at a linear rate, so you end up being able to take down the cocoons much quicker than in the normal mode. This makes the fight much less dangerous, since you do not have to worry about the healer being knocked out of the battle for very long.

Foul Cascade

FC was made hard by two bosses: the ghost and the final spider. The ghost was rough due to its stun capability (which would kill whoever it hit) and the spider because it was spawning a lot of minions and in some groups these were killed so slow that they were spawning faster than they were killed. The result of these is that people started taking alternate methods around the zone, saving the ghost and spider for last. This ensured that if they weren't finished off, at least something was.

The ghost started to become easier once players learned that there was a trick to it. Being within melee range of it at all times keeps it from doing its dashing bleed skill, making the fight pretty trivial. Of course, there are still some players that have problems understanding this, but for the most part the fight is simple as long as your healer and tank know what they are doing. In some cases I have even seen a tank finish off the boss on their own!

The spider was a much more tough one. Using AoE's does not always yield fast enough kills to get all the minions down, and focusing fire on one minion does not always keep up with the spawn rates either. This leads to problems because even if one of these worked, you would still need to find time to get attacks in on the boss.

There are two things that happened to make this fight easier: players leveled up, getting newer, better gear. And it was learned that the tank can simply kite the boss and minions around with them while everyone else focuses solely on the boss. It takes a bit of work to get down the tanking part of this, since you have to keep all of the minions on you while you keep up with the ones that are spawning, but for the most part it is simple enough that groups no longer have problems.

King's Breach

The boss that made this tough was when it came to the dragons. When Autoch spawned, it often became a party wipe. This is because Autoch not only did a killer bleed when he attacked (it would kill players in two ticks, including the tank) but also because it did knock-backs. A lot of groups were able to take him down after a few tries with different strategies, but it was still tough! This was later fixed, as it was apparently not meant to instant kill anyone he dashed at. There was a way around the dashing as well, which was to stay in melee range. With the knock backs this was sort of tough, but wedging yourself up against a tree stump made this possible. If you were knocked a little bit away from it, you could just run back quickly and would never have to deal with the bleed.

The other dragon, Mondrach was so simple that all he did is throw an AoE fire on the ground. The damage done by the fire was minimal, and in fact you could simply stand in it and allow AoE group heals to keep your health up without having to worry. This boss was the preferable one, and many groups would fall apart if it was Autoch that was chosen randomly.

The Changes

What changed to make these dungeons easier? People leveled up and became better geared, as well as learned better strategies for defeating each of the enemies. There was also a damage reduction done on Autoch to keep him from two-hitting players, but for the most part it was just that players got geared up and learned the game a bit better.

And this leads us to today, with Storm Legion. The first dungeon, Exodus of the Storm Queen, really is not that bad but requires players to work together. It does, however, start getting tough when going into Storm Breaker Protocol, but that is because it requires the tank and DPS to be geared well (a majority of groups I have gotten for it had under geared tanks that were dying too quick for progression to take place). The fix for these is not to nerf the content, but rather for people to keep at it, keep earning better gear, and make the battles easier via progression. Just like with the original content!

As time goes on and new players join the game, they will be matched up with those that already know the content and it should make their runs much easier to get completed. Being able to learn from others is a big part of being successful in Rift. For us early adopters, we were forced to learn on our own. While it took more time to do that, you had the satisfaction of knowing you were able to overcome the obstacles and create a good enough strategy that, if nothing else, was good enough to finally beat the encounter you were having problems with. I really hope this continues on in to the future, with new content updates for us to check out and learn about.

Games


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