Stonefield

May 29, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Posted in mmorpg, Rift | 16 Comments
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I like Rift, I do, but I gave up the subscription yesterday since there really isn’t anyone for me to play with.

I wasn’t really clicking with the Faeblight guild, and my Byriel guild is heavily focused on vent. I’m heavily focused on logging into vent with some friends, so I didn’t really fit in. Shatterbone, where I’d spent the most time just didn’t have anyone logging in. It just didn’t make much sense to continue playing by myself.

One of my main frustrations I think was getting SourceStones, one of the zone specific currencies. I have a baker’s dozen of SourceShards, but without the Stones, I couldn’t get the gear I wanted. Believe me when I say it wasn’t a lack of participation that was the problem. I waited in zones for hours collecting artifacts, checking rare mob spawns, working on achievements, long after having finished off the quests.

When zone invasions did pick up after an update, I participated in many, only to be rewarded with shards instead of stones every time.

A lot of the time this happened in Stonefield.

Stonefield is the second zone you come to if you’re playing Defiant and it is a disappointment of a follow-up if you ask me. From the first moments even the very direction I was heading felt wrong. You travel generally West, and a bit South. Yet the whole time I felt disorientated and as though I was moving North.

The steep crags and gorged mountainsides gave me a claustrophobic feeling throughout. I didn’t like being channeled through narrow ravines or difficult to traverse ridges. The dark grey rock everywhere you looked was depressing, ugly, and repulsive. There is very little to look at here.

The main city has some nice waterfalls that roll off the high bluffs of the surrounding mountains. Your first visuals of giants looming over the Quarry Basin camp is impressive. The scene where the Titan comes out of the portal is great. This is also where you’ll see you’re first earth rifts, which look pretty cool as all rifts do. Unfortunately, what else is there to look at in this zone?

Granite Falls

If it’s one thing I don’t like about Rift it’s the lengths I have to go through to avoid mobs. A lot of older gamers, nursed on EQ or other games that no longer appeal to anyone but them, feel like you’re supposed to be mired in a sea of enemies no matter where you go, not being able to travel more than a couple of steps before having to defeat some new enemy.

I don’t like it. Part of being in these games for me is the ability to travel long distances at will. I don’t need to be bogged down by the unfun activities. I want to do what I want, when I want. It’s spoiled, but I’m not paying $15 a month for nothing.

In a bunch of places in Stonefield, and in fact most of the game, I have to fight mob after mob just to get to my destination. What is worse is when I have to do quests to kill 6 Trolls, but by virtue of being in the place where I have to kill trolls, I end up killing 20 or 30 anyway.

It just feels like such an unnecessary waste of my time as a player.

I thought The Last Valley area of the zone was too far off the beaten path. It feels remote and unattached to anything else going on in the zone, even though it’s supposed to be the culmination. The Defiant are researching the power of the Titans and in The Last Valley they actually summon one. Honestly it should have felt more epic or more interesting, but I never felt all that compelled by the storyline.

I guess the problem was there just wasn’t that much to it. A couple of quests, some boring text to read and there was little in the way of strategy or difficulty. The Last Valley feels mostly empty.

Overall I would say there were too many of the same creatures in Stonefield. Trolls, troglodytes, rock creatures, and that’s about it. If they’re not a quest target they’re a rift creature. I got far too sick of the face of trolls before I was done with Stonefield.

There were positive things about Stonefield of course. I liked the idea of the Titans, the lore behind it, even if I didn’t enjoy the related quests. I liked the crypt area and it’s design, even if I’m not a fan of having to kill the undead there until the point of exhaustion. I liked the Titan structures like the well, or the gate. They were grandiose and ancient. The corpse if the Titan was remarkable too, a nice touch. I also liked the large number of rare mobs, virtually guaranteeing you’ll come across one at some point.

The rifts are okay, when the population levels are decent. I found that the closer you were to level 20 however, the more outmatched you were by invasions. Something I found consistent in most zones. The moment you enter a new zone at an appropriate level for the content, you were inappropriately leveled for the best part of Rift.

In particular I thought the invasions were more interesting in Stonefield than in Freemarch. They were more complicated with different win conditions. Harder bosses and I thought simply by virtue of their being hills and landscapes opposed to Freemarch’s plains, they were more interesting fights. The invasion where you activate experiments is over-powered for the zone it is in, but it’s also pretty fun. Defending the wardstones in another invasion can be a bit challenging when a dozen or more invasion parties show up. I enjoyed invasions here more than in Silverwood, Freemarch, Scarlet Gorge or Scarwood Reach.

Even if getting to all the places you needed to go was a pain.

I guess Stonefield is a mixed bag. I never want to have to fight another troll again, and certainly the earth rifts don’t help with that, but there are a few positive things. It isn’t just another generic zone exactly, but I couldn’t help but feel that glazed over feeling I got when staring at the gray walls of Fallout 3. There’s something I hope to never experience again.

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16 Comments

  1. Stonefield was probably my least favorite zone of the game too.

    As for the sourceshards/stones, are you talking about the rare/epic versions you can pick up? The blues you usually get doing your run of the mill invasions, seal X rifts, kill x invasions. The purple ones though only drop from certain types of invasion events, they tend to be bigger in scale and scope. Ever since the patch and being able to see invasions happening in the world using the map and seeing the status, picking and choosing those I know will give me epic shards, I’ve been able to get them again and buy the gear I want.

    • Yeah the thing is i participated in the big events too, quite a bit, and still only got the shards. I’ve only ever got one stone from either SG or Stonefield, and feel pretty annoyed by the fact.

  2. One of the big reasons I didn’t purchase the game after my time in the beta was that you could not go anywhere without running into mobs that can’t help themselves…they just must attack you. I was okay with the rift invasion mobs using the roads and having to deal with them. But when I can’t even use the established road (in fact the central road thru the zone)due to mobs aggroing, that is unforgivable to me.

    The biggest offender I found was in Scarlett gorge-on the road between the lift to scarwood reach (?) and the town with the almost continuous fire rift. The number of times I had to run back and forth over that annoying stretch for quests, etc. is why Trion didn’t get any money from me.

    • I know the road you speak of in scarlet gorge, and quickly gave up all hope of using it in favour of just running along the river to get between the two.

      Overall there are plenty of places to travel without aggroing, but its the places you are forced to go and constantly fight stuff that annoy the crap out of me.

      If I just want to get from point a to point b without being stalled and forced to fight something, its an aggravating experience. And those build up.

  3. I only played Beta, but that quite a lot. I liked the Defiant prologue “Terminus” and the starter area Freemarch somehow more than the Guardian equivalents. Also, ā¤ Eth Clerics. Did not like the Guardian Forests that much and for some reason Stonefield on the Defiant side reminded me of Conall's Valley in AoC.

    You are right, I could barely explore it due to mob density. This said, I am glad that Rift mobs at least fight back but you make a valid point: This is also what people criticized about LOTRO's Moria as most corridors made it impossible to travel without having to dismount, getting dismounted or getting in a fight or dragging a train of mobs behind.

    Sorry to hear you did not connect with the people you were at least trying to play with. But maybe you also felt a bit like me, I did not bother to buy the full version after Beta: Been there, done that, I know the drill. Rifts or not and polish big yeah, the system is old and dated. It sucks in new players all the time, it is good, definitely. But as MMO veteran I want a change and want to point out that I believe the system to be inherently flawed, much more so than the systems Ultima Online or Guild Wars are built upon.

    I hope GW2 ignites the fire in me again. šŸ™‚ While I am very wary of the Charr steampunk stuff and the engineer class, it seems a lot more promising to me also story-wise. Rift's background is a bit too much generic fantasy trash, and a fascinating setting goes a long way for me. It made me swallow LOTRO's "in every zone there is a faction you grind for till you can buy their horse" system for quite a while and also makes me put up with the very trashy parts of STO.

    Whatever. All fingers crossed for GW2.

    • The majority of rift is generic, although i’ll admit there is much that is not. It’s another of my big problems with rift, generic races, stories, enemies.

      People don’t want mob density any more I think. It’s jut a hurdle, an obstacle, get the eff out of the way so i can have some fun.

  4. Thank you Hunter for pointing out what I feel is a flaw in so many games, mob density and lack of exploration without fighting through literally hordes of monsters. I’m mainly the explorer type of player. I enjoy traveling through areas to see the sights as much as fighting things and getting loot.

    Far too many games overload areas with mobs or artificially force you through narrow channels full of mobs you have to fight (one of my main complaints about GW). Some games do better, such as LotRO and Aion (and I’m hoping AoC, which I just bought, so of course it goes Hybrid the very next day), at least in most of the areas I’ve explored to this point. They both usually leave some way to bypass most of the mobs, although they both could still do with less of them, but once you get a feel for the aggro range you can often safely pick your way through more widely spaced groups. Or climb a hill and do a quick glide over them in Aion’s case.

    I’m keeping an eye on the GW2 videos to see what kind of density they have and if they’ll abandon the narrow channel design that some, but thankfully not all, areas in GW1 used a bit too much.

    • Guild Wars I normally forgive for forcing you to fight through narrow channels, mostly because gw has fast travel. It’s a different type of game, and it’s more like the whole point of the game is in those narrow channels. but thats me, and i don’t entirely disagree with you. there are plenty of places in gw where it goes too far and it gets pretty old after a while.

      from what i noticed of the gw2 demo, mostly just starter areas, it didn’t look like they were too tightly packed. certainly near large events there looked to be crowding but those are events.

  5. High mob density tends to not only be annoying, but also immersion-breaking in my experience. Out here in the real world, part of the joy of going new places is that the tempo and feel of a new place is different. In an MMO game world, if you’re just always wading through foes, you don’t get that breather to appreciate your location… and ultimately, they all wind up feeling the same. Sure, they *look* different, but if it’s always “wade ten steps, kill something” repeated ad infinitum, you may as well not be actually going anywhere.

    • Just as an example there is the undead area near granite falls. You have to go through the church graveyard, out behind the church, down through the upper levels of the crypt to the bottom level before you can rest at the friendly quest giver. then repeat the process on your way out, with dozens of undead in the way.

      For me it’s like, didn’t I just kill these guys? That breaks my immersion.

  6. “Yet the whole time I felt disorientated and as though I was moving North.”

    Oh my god you’re absolutely right. I felt the EXACT same thing, that’s so weird.

    I didn’t have as many problems with Stonefield as you did, but everything you mention about being funneled and tripping over mobs on your way to someplace I experienced in the next area (can’t remember now what it’s called). I loved the artwork in that area but getting around was such a headache.

    • I guess its not a big deal but feeling disorientated like that, doesn’t that mean something went wrong?

      Scarlet Gorge. yeah it looks different and nice, very desert in a good way.

  7. i agree; those purple shards are almost impossible to get from doing invasions; I haven’t collected one ever since my lowbie levels in Freemarch, and even then I only had 1. Sure, they shouldn’t be easy to get, but 1 out of 100+ (easily) rifts… ?

    • i have to agree. shouldn’t be easy to get necessarily but i should be able to get one as i level through a zone, otherwise, why bother?

  8. I feel your pain man~

    My first go at the zone was during my trial at the mage class. At first I was very optimistic of where the zones theme was going, hoping that perhaps it would either get a little more verdant or at least less gray. As it went on and the mob clutter intensified I found myself mindlessly trudging along mobs and quests. I think my biggest gripe with Stonefield is how much of a letdown it was when compared with Gloamwood, I was hoping that the defiant equivalent would be as grand after having played through Gloam during open betas.

    Now I take it under consideration that I’m not playing on the best gaming rig available(I play on semi-mid/high settings w/ shadows off and no AA), so the zone may actually look fabulous with all the shinies on.

    On a lighter note, on my second go as a defiant rogue I was able to happily skip past the clutter with a sneaky assassin soul tree combo and jumped into Scarlet Gorge in half the time it took me to finish Stonefield originally on the mage. šŸ™‚

    • I admit I mostly played it on low settings but I don’t think it got any better when I had them on high. Could be wrong.

      One of my first goes at stonefield was on a warrior and it was slow going as hell. It may have been a prominent factor.


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