Scarlet Gorge

June 19, 2011 at 12:46 am | Posted in mmorpg, Rift | 2 Comments
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On the approach to the box canyon in Scarlet Gorge

Scarlet Gorge was an improvement almost straight away upon entering from Stonefield. The colours were more inviting, the canyon walls soared, the view of the valley looking down on the river, the settlements. There are a few problems with Scarlet Gorge, but it is a big improvement over Stonefield.

I think first impressions are important and wandering down that curving trail towards the bottom of the gorge, playing around with an odd quest or two while enjoying the scenery is just what you need at that moment.

There are problems of course.

I’m pretty much done complaining about Rift quests, but I will say that devising methods for finding the best possible way to avoid aggro while trying to complete quests is not my favourite type of gameplay. Unfortunately there are more than a few places in Scarlet Gorge where this is necessary.

There were quests I did like in Scarlet Gorge. They involved the Ancient Wardstones, small interactive markers that give out quests. Having to search for these out of the way locations, use a skill to activate them, and then finish the quest before an invasion party conquers said stone is actually pretty interesting. The only interesting quests in the game seem to revolve around these wardstones. I think the varying time limit (before an invasion party comes along) added a dimension of difficulty beyond your average quest nonsense.

It’s too bad you don’t see any Ancient Wardstones before your third zone on the Defiant side. I know there aren’t any in the first zone on Guardian either.

In the later parts of Scarlet Gorge things begin to take on a cramped and claustrophobic feeling again, but that was mostly in the PvP areas. I didn’t feel like there was a lot of explanation given that you were moving into an area that is meant to be fought over. It took until I saw a blue Guardian portcullum before I realized something was up.

I also thought I was misdirected upon entering the Lift Base to Scarwood Reach. My first reaction was to go up there, complete some quests, and I was sent off to a quest hub in Scarwood. The quests there were a higher level, so I abandoned them and went back to scout out more quests for Scarlet Gorge. Not the most straightforward guidance I’ve ever had in a game but not a disaster.

I did like the story to an extent. It’s a bit cliche, slave traders taking the souls of their slaves and installing them in golems to mine for them. Just a straight forward ‘evil men must be stopped’ thing. I kind of thought they should string that out through the entire zone, but aside from the themes there isn’t anything to string the whole zone together.

I liked a few of the achievements here too. Finishing all the wardstones, the jumping achievement Lover’s Leap, Knock Them Off Their Perch, Barrel of Laughs. All difficult to find which I suppose is part of the challenge.

Finally I do wonder about the choice to have a semi-permanent rift tied to a quest. The whole game centers around them but the important thing about rifts are that they are random and changing. To have a regular quest tied to it means it’s predictable but worse, boring. When I went to do the quest involved with the fire rift in SG, there was nobody around, nobody to help. I suppose it would be strange to have Rift without quests tied to rifts, but I don’t think it really works.

Overall I like Scarlet Gorge a bit less than Freemarch or Silverwood. While Scarwood Reach and Stonefield are nothing but gray and boring. It’s impressive to me just how much atmosphere changes my perspective on a zone. I don’t think Scarlet Gorge is anything spectacularly different than Stonefield but just by having more free travel in a few spots, and the soothingly nice looking scenery, I felt a little more comfortable playing there.

Semi-permanet rift in Scarlet Gorge

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2 Comments

  1. Atmosphere absolutely changes my perspective on a zone too. I’m not a fan of gloomy (Scarwood Reach) or fiery places (Burning Steppes in WoW), for example. I prefer places that are more bright, lush with vegetation, or snowy environments. Just like real life, I like the sunlight 🙂

    I liked Scarlet Gorge a lot too, I remember riding the lift up and down a few times, just taking screenshots of the pinwheel things with the red rocks and bright blue sky in the background. You’re right about the mob density in that zone though. It’s pretty much impossible to ride even down the road without running into hostile mobs…it’s best to use the river to traverse the zone.

    • Its so surprising that games sometimes focus on battle scarred, brutal landscapes that are difficult to imagine surviving in when I think just about everybodys favourite zones are more lush and bright like you say.

      I did the same thing with the lift, and the elevator one at the back of the zone


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