[Rift] We All Fall Down

Jaradcel writes up another in-depth guest post on Rift news. Enjoy! –Ravious

This week marks a massive riot in the world of Rift. The proverbial straw came in the form of news of another new change to PvP, one that was implemented not two days after its announcement. With only a few hours of test realm testing before it was pushed live, many feel like the choice was rushed, sloppy, and a band-aid. Is it true? 

After a weekend of playing around with the new changes, it’s my opinion that Trion is attempting to continue to fix and divide PvE from PvP – which is a good thing – but the speed at which they implemented the change left much to be desired. While forum angst is far from a good judge, the far-reaching changes couldn’t have come at a worse time, with interest in Guild Wars 2 and Star Wars: The Old Republic rising rapidly.

First, a recap on PvP in Rift. I’ve previously spoken on how Trion has worked towards separating PvP from PvE. These initially came about in the form of tweaks to abilities – Use them in PvP and they do significantly less damage, or make players drop the flag, etc. This was great for balance reasons, allowing both PvE and PvP to progress without adversely affecting the other.

There was also the introduction of Valor, a stat that reduced damage taken specifically from enemy players. At the time, players were given a good incentive to rank up and grind out prestige levels, as higher-leveled gear also gave more Valor. This increased survivability worked as a solid carrot to chase.

Cracks began to show, however, when Trion also added two new prestige ranks to grind out. The new prestige level eight gear is hands down the best gear players could earn, on the level with Hammerknell, the newest and hardest raid. Keep in mind that getting the same level of gear from the Hammerknell raid would take players months to earn, as compared to a week or two of PvP. Adding insult to injury, the set-piece bonus of rank eight gear was arguably better than most of the set-piece bonuses that would be eventually earned from Hammerknell`s own armor set. This re-meshed PvP with PvE, exactly what Trion had worked hard to avoid. It didn’t end well, with both types of players raging against the other.

Trion then rushed a new, massive change to PvP to stymie the issue last week. First, all prestige ranks would now have equal Valor. The only difference was in the other stats found on your gear. This was hoped to even out survivability. Higher prestige rank gear would hit just as hard as it did before, but now all prestige ranks could potentially survive equally due to having similar Valor. This was done to mollify low-ranked players who complained that they were completely useless in warfronts.

Next, they added another new stat to PvP – Vengeance. It works as a sort of armor penetration against players. Much as more Valor meant better survivability, more Vengeance means more damage against players. Vengeance, however, is currently found only on a few items as well as worked into set-bonuses. Previously, for example, a four-piece bonus would be 150 added to attack power. It now adds something more like 60 to attack power, and another 60 to Vengeance. Yes, the math is correct. They nerfed all the set-bonuses alongside the change.

After some playtesting, it is true that there is little actual change. Damage has gone down a little due to the nerfs and Valor change, but PvP otherwise feels intact. The hard stats on the armor pieces also remained the same, which means rank eight gear is still some of the best-in-slot pre-Hammerknell. But hard math takes a back seat to what players perceive, and players are so far only seeing nerfs.

PvE players see the nerf to set-bonuses as a slap to their hard work, essentially taking away what they had worked hard for. While arguably this wasn’t intentional design to make players PvP to prepare for PvE, giving a toy and then taking it away isn’t ever considered by the person being taken from fun nor fair.

More than that however, are the issues currently still mired within PvP. Most of these become more obvious now with Valor being equal. Previously, players blamed differences in rank as a reason, but it`s clear that isn`t the case. While the devs have made a (very) vaguely worded statement to “look at” rogues many and varied issues with regards to PvP (And, one hopes, PvE as well) there is no word on any of the other issues currently centered in the PvP scene.

For example, warriors in PvP have been running a build that allows them to teleport to players and stun them. In and of itself not an issue, nor overpowered. However, the teleport works even when they are stunned, working as a free CC-breaker. To make it worse, the cooldown on it resets on a critical hit. And warriors crit a lot. In essence, kiting a warrior (the usual manner of avoiding the raging bull) is essentially impossible. That they also pack a pile of damage, and the ability to full heal themselves every 10 minutes, just adds fuel to the fire. Other issues include the continued inability to kill clerics despite a recent nerf to their PvP heals, mages having better survivability than rogues, and so forth.

It’s difficult to see Trion`s goals because of the speed of implementation and lack of clearer communications when they put the system in. Nonetheless, it is a change that was needed in order to help clarify how the state of the game as is, is rather broken. While 1.5 is on the horizon, there isn`t much time for Rift if it hopes to keep its subscribers against the rise of upcoming MMOs.


14 thoughts on “[Rift] We All Fall Down”

  1. It’s a common misconception that the testing lasted a few hours on the PTS. What people forget is that there are internal and beta group testers so there was a lot more testing done than what the ‘common player’ sees.

    1. True enough, but again remember it’s what players see and perceive. If those months of testing are not conveyed to the player, than the speed at which things get implemented can be quite a killer.

      In this case, it proved to be such.

  2. So glad I unsubbed after the first month. I saw this coming with patch 1.1 and patch 1.2. This is not going to end well.

    I thought I was mad a WoW PvP imbalance… Rift has some cool features, but the PvP imbalance and constant medling (that doesn’t get it right) keeps me away.

  3. Nice write-up.

    The recent changes coincided with my unplanned and unexpected return to EQ2, so I only played for a couple of days with the Vengeance mechanic and the flattened valor mechanic, but it seemed an improvement to me. Should be playing more Rift this weekend, so we’ll see how it’s bedding in.

    From my brief look at it, I’m still very happy with the PvP gear post-nerf. Given that I neither raid nor do dungeons, my rogue’s Rank 4 PvP set is already considerably better PvE gear than she could hope to get in any other way. That may change with the upcoming solo/duo instances in 1.5, of course.

    I think the “plight” of rogues in PvP is vastly overstated. It’s true that I do sort of wish I’d picked my mage as my primary PvP character, but I’m generally happy with my bard/ranger build for warfronts and PvP rifts. I feel useful with my buffing and debuffing, I can put out reasonable ae damage, which is good for flag defense, and my survivability is fair. Even at Rank 1 I didn’t really experience the repeated fly-swatting that so many complain about, and at Rank 4 I don’t die much unless our whole team is being steamrolled.

    On the whole, I think Rift’s PvP is improving. It needed to.

    1. While you’re doing respectable flag denial AOE and buffing the team, the reality is that it’s far from an optimal spec.

      As is, pets in the game (Any pet, be it mage or rogue or cleric, though I’ve never seen any cleric insane enough to run druid in warfronts) have such laughably low hit points, they die in a few seconds. And if the person who killed it has the Bloodthirsty proc (Which almost all guilds who are even semi-serious on PvP will get at least rank 1 in) it’s a free health potion. They might as well state “DRINK ME” on it, unfortunately.

      Fly swatting really comes into play when you match up against a warrior or mage who doesn’t like you. If you attempt to 1v1 them, they generally *will* eat a rogue. Not always, depending again on which spec you run, but for the most part.

      If you’re doing group PvP and trying to hide in the scrum, AE’s do more damage (relatively speaking) to you since rogues have the least health (which is absolutely bizarre) amongst all classes currently.

  4. “Keep in mind that getting the same level of gear from the Hammerknell raid would take players months to earn, as compared to a week or two of PvP.”

    That’s a laughable statement. You obviously have no clue about pvp.

    1. Bob, he’s right about the time it takes to grind out those two ranks. Two weeks of pvping everyday for 4-5 hours will get you those two last ranks and I think that’s what he was referring to. R1-R6 would take approx 2 weeks on top of that. They lowered the prestige required to rank up considerably.

      I played since beta and just recently quit, being R6 before HK and R8 after, having cleared GSB/ROS with 3 bosses in HK.

      1. BS on two levels.

        I have played since launch and just got Rank 6 about a month ago. I admit I split my time between PvP and … everything else: T2’s with friends, daily quests for events, daily quests for zones, inventory management, auction house mini-game, exploring, daily Raid Rifts, PvP Rifts. I have played 943 hours total according to Steam.

        You make it sound like it’s just a hop, skip, and suddenly you’re R8. That’s totally a misrepresentation of the ridiculous amount of grinding it takes to achieve R5, 6, 7, 8 AND not to mention the additional prestige you need to actually purchase the gear.

        Your opinion might be skewed because of all the bonuses from the half-birthday event and the special Whitefall warfront, but if you’re doing nothing but playing warfronts “5 hours a day” – to the detriment of everything else in Rift and your RL, and describing it as game imbalance or common behavior, then we’ve got to talk m8.

        1. Ludo, you’re taking to a whole other level. All that was stated was that you can get R7-R8 in two weeks by pvping 5 hours a day. It’s possible because I have done it AFTER the half-birthday prestige bonus (on an alt mind you).

          And yes those 5 hours did not include anything but PvP (along with the daily pvp quests).

          I did not say anything about game imbalance or common behavior.

          The point that I was making which was relevant to the discussion was that it takes considerably less time to acquire the PvP gear in relation to the HK gear.

          With that in mind, I agree with this blog post! Especially the part about GW2 making every other MMO unplayable hehe <3.

          1. If you are taking the time to do “other” activities such as PvEing, artifact/node gathering etc, then yes, it will take you more than two weeks.

            However, I have personally had friends who, with the help of a 51RB spec or just plain tenacity, done the grind from P1 to P8 in less than two weeks.

            It’s not impossible, just mind-numbingly time consuming.

            I’m personally rank 7 myself because I do other things, but I’m not too far off from 8 because now that I’ve finished grinding out my tartagon I’ve gone back to nothing but PvP with PvE raid nights.

            Also keep in mind that they changed the way you gain prestige gear now, which means said player was getting “better” all the time within that time frame.

            If you want to frame it in terms of your length of time, your one month of on again off again PvP versus, say, a “normal” (I use the term generally and loosely) guild raiding three nights a week. Assuming they only do HK, most of the “normal” guilds are only 3/10 in HK.

            3 x 4 marks x 4 (Assuming they somehow got a bonus mark all the time) = 48, which is still not enough to even buy the lowest priced item from HK’s PvE vendor.

            In the meanwhile, the PvPer now has a full set of rank 6 to rank 8 gear which is arguably better than tier2/3 armor due to synergy crystals (even post nerf)

  5. the problem i see now with r8 gear is that damage is scaling far better than mitigation as volor was capped at the level of an r8. As more people gear up to 8 i am seeing shorter and shorter matchups between groups and 1v1.
    i really don’t know were they are going to go from here since fights that last mere seconds really aren’t that enjoyable

    1. It’s quite true. Due to the way coefficients are calculated, for example, warriors hitting crit cap while still having high valor and plenty of hit in either swordnboard or 2hander isn’t uncommon, while spell power heals are still singularly strong.

      There’s even an exploit I saw mentioned on the forums of people who didn’t upgrade their healing communion spell being able to spam it for 1K heals due to the SP bonus adding that much more heals to the spell despite being only level 1.

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