Rift Warfront Series – Part 5: Whitefall Steppes

Whitefall Steppes is the final warfront in the warfront series. It is also the most traditional of the warfronts in Rift, being a classic capture the flag competition. If you have played capture the flag in any other MMORPG, you know the basics. This warfront is probably also the one that requires the most coordination.

1) Starting Team Build – The traditional build for a capture the sourcestone team follows along these lines. A player who is a traditional tank character with the most valor should be considered the carrier. Other considerations for the stone carrier should include the speed at which they can move across the field and get the stone across to your base. Any buffs that give them a speed advantage is great. With the carrier should be at least one healer to heal him. The rest of the team should move as a group to block/slow down the other team from getting to their sourcestone.

2) Handling Stone Carriers – Once your stone carrier has the opponent’s stone, the other healers should move to help out your team’s carrier. The reason is because the carrier will become number one target for your opponents. DPS should normally not move to help the carrier but should try to find the opponent’s carrier and kill them. If the healers are out healing your DPS, you have to CC/kill the healers then kill the carrier.

3) Handling Attacks on Your Stone Carrier – DPS should not traditionally help the team’s stone carrier because all the DPS will be needed to kill the opponent’s stone carrier. This means it is the responsibility of the carrier to kill carriers. If the healers are support classes that can do damage as well, this will aid the carrier in killing any incoming attacks. If the attack is just too strong, a couple DPS may have to fall back and help with the zerg rush on your stone carrier.

4) Map Mechanics – There are 3 possible paths to get into and attack the opponent’s flag carrier. However, one is basically useless. The middle path into the opponent’s base is head forward and does not allow any element of surprise. This means the best paths are normally the two side paths into the base are best. There are multiple paths from those side paths into the base including behind the carrier. The middle path is usually best for getting the source stone out of the opponent’s base to begin with. However, you will probably want to move to the side to make the DPS and/or healers leave the source stone carrier.

5) After A Stone Capture – Regardless of what team captures the source stone, the entire strategy resets again. The carrier should start heading to the opponent’s base with their healer. The DPS should return back to center to be able to intercept the opponent’s stone carrier.

Whitefall Steppes is also the only warfront that has alternative escalation rules for the weekend warfronts. The difference is that the stones that needed to be captured are in the center and up for grabs. There are two major differences between the normal and escalation tactics.

1) Location, Location, Location – The location of the stone spawns is not random. There is a pattern. Take a look at this map to see the location of the spawns.
It is as easy as 1-2-3. Just keep repeating that pattern over and over. There will never be more than 5 stones spawn in a match since it takes 3 to win.

Escalation Stone Spawn Order

2) Most Aggressive Wins – In traditional Whitefall, the point of the defense in the field is to prevent the other team from getting their stone or preventing their carrier from getting it across the map. If you control the middle, you win. In Escalation Whitefall, the point is to the control the middle as well. The difference is you want to be aggressive enough to keep them on their side of the field and away from the middle. Since all 3 spawn in the middle, that is the most important area of the map.

This concludes the Rift Warfront Series.  The biggest points from all of it that I can stress is coordination and communication.  There is not a DPS requirement, but there is a requirement to communicate and coordinate.   The more communication and coordination there is, the more successful your warfronts will be.

Finally, if you want to watch some PvP, warfronts, or even raids, I would encourage you to check out the Redhawks Gaze UStream Channel.  It will be running nightly and showing off myself playing Rift.  I encourage you to get in chat, which I will be keeping up and tell me what things you would like to see in game.

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Rift Warfront Series – Part 4: The Battle of Port Scion

Many Rifts Players in Port of Scion is Confused

The Port of Scion is probably the most unique of the warfronts in Rift.  The best way I can describe it is part node capturing, part capture the flag, and part PvE.  It is possible to win the warfront by doing any two of them.  All three are not required to win this map.  With the strategy for this map, I prefer to think in terms of plan A and plan B.  You would prefer to win the game via plan A, but plan B is viable if plan A fails.  If all else fails, there is a plan C, but it is a desperation tactic.

Plan A – The Quick Win: The quickest way is for the entire raid to go to the opponent’s closest idol/pillar and destroy it.  Once it is destroyed, wait for the mini-boss to come and try to rebuild it and kill them.  Repeat the process at the second idol/pillar.  You can get the bridge if possible, but you shouldn’t focus on it.  After idols/pillars are down, move as a raid to the opponent’s boss and kill him.  Once he is dead, game over and instant win.

However, there are several things can go wrong in this plan.  The most obvious problem is that you are wiped by a few members of the other team.  You can be wiped at any aspect of it.  The second major problem is if all the team is not on the same plan.  The third biggest problem is if the other team rushes your boss.  This means you have to split your team up.  This is why the quickest path almost never works unless you are in a pre-made.  This is where plan B comes into play.

Plan B – The Semi-Turtle:  This plan involves separating into essentially 3 teams.  One team is a defensive team, one is an offensive team, and one is a shard running team.  The defensive team is set with defending the bridge and any rushes on the boss.  They are also responsible for incomings into the team’s boss.  The offensive team is responsible for trying to destroy idols/pillars and the mini-bosses.  If things go well, you may be able to move on the opponent’s boss, but you will likely need the entire raid to kill him.  The shard running team is responsible for holding the church and running the shards to your boss.  At this point, if all the parts are working, you will win by carrying crystals.  If this plan is failing, there is a desperation plan C.

Plan C – Zerg: If your opponent has a huge lead, your final option would be to group up and raid rush the boss.  Hopefully, your opponent’s defensive team is weak and you will be able to down the boss.  This does not work really well, but it may be enough to pull a team off their plan and move their focus to their boss and protecting him.

This map is probably the most fluid of all the warfronts.  It takes coordination and a raid willing to work together to come away with a win.

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Rift Warfront Series – Part 3: Library of the Runemasters

Although it was not even out yet when I started the warfront series, I want to go ahead and give the strategies for Library of the Runemasters.  Mainly because it plays very much like Black Garden, but has a few great differences that I will go through.

1) Relic Positioning – From what I can tell, the relics that you are carrying in this warfront are on the outer edges of the battleground, which can be best described as a three tier circle.  Tier 1 is the outside circle under the center platform.  Tier 2 is the center platform.  Tier 3 is the outside circle above the center platform.  It appears that they always appear on tier 3.

2) After Relic Positioning – In Black Garden, I talked about staying in the center and moving to your edge as you start losing health.  In Library, it is almost the exact opposite.  Once you get a relic, you should try to hold the tier 2 center position.  Why you ask?  It allows a central place to heal all the people carrying relics.  It allows you to hold a relic much longer. (My record so far is holding a relic for 2 minutes before dying.)  There are a total of 6 relics at any one time. (Although we got accolades for holding all the relics at 4.)

3) Aggressive Offense versus Aggressive Defense – If you team does not have the tier 2 center platform, you are pretty much forced into an aggressive offensive position.  Even if you hold the relics, the other team is coming after you and eventually, you will die and a new relic will spawn.  If they have the center platform, once you do die, they will have the advantage.   If you hold the center platform, you have a choice.  You can go out and kill the people on the other team who has relics.  However, you can also stay at the center platform, play defense and let them come to you, and then you kill them.  This is especially true if you hold the majority of the relics.  Then when either team loses their relic, you are also in the best position to get the next relics that spawn because you have the only connecting stairs to tier 3.

4) Use Line of Sight – Having a multi-tier warfront is incredible for line of sight.  It is even better considering you do not take fall damage.  If you just grabbed a relic, but you are surrounded, your best move is to likely jump down to tier 1 and hope your healer follows.  This gives you a split second to catch your breath and get healed/buffed up.

5) Team Splitting – If I was making a pre-made, I would have my support classes and healer classes in charge of getting the center platform and have the DPS get the relics.   If the support/healers can’t claim the center, but you can get the relics, DPS should move to the center and help.  If you have the center but can’t get a relic, support classes should try to hold the middle and healers should help out the DPS on tier 3.  If my team had the majority of the relics, regardless of whether the center position was our, I would group up our relic holders with the heals and then attack the center platform.  If I had a minority, I would go hunting for their healers and then them.  Chances are, they are trying to hold the center platform so it puts you in a good position if you can beat them and get the center platform.

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Patch 1.5 – Most Wonderful Patch…So Far

My reaction to Rift Patch 1.5

I was excited about the stuff that was coming out in 1.5. From the Chronicles to the Warfront Accolades, I was excited going into it. However, now that I have been in the patch for a bit, I love this patch.

First off, I am so glad I have a reason to run expert rifts, raid rifts, and invasions again. I am constantly keeping my eye on my level 50 chat to see when an invasion pops up so that I can go. I also keep an eye out for any daily raid rift groups or expert rift groups forming to get in with them.

In relation to that, I love the fact that there is only one sourceshard for collecting in the game and that they have added gear to work towards. Really, the main thing I need are the Synergy Crystals from the planar vendors for the raid gear. With my current Champion/BM/Rift spec, I’m thinking of getting the BM Synergy Crystal to get more damage with Fierce Strike. I may also get the Champion Synergy Crystal for AoE damage increase and switch them out as needed.

In relation to rifts and quest, I love the new Planar Attunement. It gives me a great reason to continue doing dailies and quest as well to keep getting experience towards that. You also get a butt load of experience in doing the new Chronicles. If you got any experience vials, use it at the beginning of the Attunement Chronicles. You get a great amount of experience very early.

Speaking of Chronicles, I have tried to solo both of them as a DPS warrior. What is weird is Hammerknell is actually easier then Greenscales Chronicle. Mainly because I have beat all the raid bosses in Greenscale and only downed Murdantix in Hammerknell. However, I couldn’t get past Oracle in the Greenscale Chronicles and I completely finished Hammerknell.

With the regards to PvP, I love the new Warfront Accolades. It is so awesome to hear someone is on a kill streak or a juggernaut. Now, it is never me as an almost Prestige Rank 4, but I do like hearing it. (Also, yes, I will be getting back to the PvP series, I just had to brag about how much I love 1.5.)

In terms of add-ons. I appreciate that they are in the game now. However, I haven’t found one that I love yet. They are very crude right now. If you are gonna do addons, I would say wait for about a month to get them to fine tune them, then get them.

And for crafting, I really regret making the Orichalcum Shell early on Wednesday morning. Especially after I found out they decreased the number of Eternal Planar Dust required. However, I am looking forward to cheaper Crafting Lures. I also appreciate they made the plaques universal. Now, if they just make the plaques bind on account and make it where I could send them to my level 6 bank alt that is a level 300 runecrafters and artificer.

Overall, I love this patch. I really love this patch so much. I can’t wait for the world event to start and for the new warfront to open up. Finally, bravo to Trion for the best patch of the game so far.

Finally, I mentioned the Redhawks Gaze Celebrity Auction for the American Diabetes Association. I have put the first item up for bids, which is the Playstation 3. I encourage you to bid on it as the proceeds will be going to the American Diabetes Association.

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Redhawks Gaze 200th Post Celebration

Well, I never thought over a year ago that I would finally hit this milestone.  What a long strange journey it has been.  Since starting this blog about WoW on April 14th, 2010, I have switched from a PvE focus to a PvP focus to a mixed focus, switched from WoW to Rift, switched from Blogger to WordPress, switched from being independent to being a part of the Grooms Blogging Group, and switched from being single to be married to a wonderful woman.

In this time frame, we have had over 40,000 visits and over 50,000 pageviews.  This is the 200th post in 512 days, which comes up roughly to a new post every 2.5 days.  I have done 3 podcast, all about WoW (And LeetSauced, I’m still waiting to complete the trilogy of awesomeness.)  Also, I’m more than open to coming on any Rift podcast as well.

First off, I want to say thank you.  All of these things would not have been possible without you.  And I know that not every single person ever made comments, but I do know it was looked at, and for that, I thank you. I also want to thank the people who stuck with me through the WoW/Rift change.  If you are more of a WoW player, don’t worry.  I’m sure I will be talking about WoW news as well.  It just will tend to be focused on Rift a little more.

Second, the best way I figured to give back for the great reception of both communities is to do something that is close to my heart and allow you to give as well.  As a pharmacist, I work with diabetic patients every single day.  Because of this, I’m closely associated with the American Diabetes Association.  I have presented research articles as well as been to a few of their conferences.  I’m sure that every person who reads this blog knows someone affected by diabetes.  This is why I would like the Redhawks Gaze community to help give to the American Diabetes Association.

The way I would love your help is to participate in the Redhawks Gaze 200th Post Charity Auction.  Proceeds from this auction will be going directly to the American Diabetes Association.  You may have noticed the auction page at the top of the site.  What you are going to find there for the next upcoming month is a bunch of video game items that you will be able to bid for on eBay once I build the listings.  Here is just a few of the items that you will be able to bid on:

1) An Original 60 GB Playstation 3 – The backwards compatible version released day 1 in the US. 

2) Final Fantasy VII for Playstation – The original game in great condition with the Playstation black label.  Unfortunately, it does not have the misspelling on the back cover, but still a valuable piece for any collector.

3) Parasite Eve for Playstation – Same as with Final Fantasy VII. Black label original Playstation One.

4) Bunches of PS1, PS3, and Xbox 360 Games – Great chances for some great bargains here.

5) Something Really Special – I can’t mention it here, but it is something you would want if you love Starcraft, Diablo, or World of Warcraft.  All in One Bundle with Two Collector’s Editions.   

So I encourage you to give.  Remember that it is for a great charity and will go to help out many patients suffering with diabetes.

So again, thank you for a wonderful reception and thank you for helping me to make it to 200 blog post.   

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Rift Warfront Series: Part Two – Black Garden

In the second part of the Rift Warfront Series, we cover the first warfront you encounter in the game,the Black Garden.  This hectic game of keep away is one of the more innovative warfronts in Rift.  Here are the major strategies behind it:

1)      Scoring – The major tactic to this map is knowing how to score the most points as quickly as possible.  The closer you are to the center of the map, the more points you score.  This means when you have more health or cooldowns, stay as close to the center as possible.  If you are running low on health, run closer to your base where you have more of a strategic advantage.  Usually the best place is behind the tree on the left with a healer and a couple other players who are ready to pick it up when you inevitably die.

2)      AoE is Huge – AoE is strategically important in this map.  A well placed AoE can prevent an opponent’s teammate from picking up the fang.  If you can prevent them from picking up the fang, you place yourself in an advantage because of strategy number 3, which is…

3)      Take Advantage of Resets – If you are trying to get the fang from an opponent, resets are usually your friend.  Since most other teams will move back towards their base as their carrier is dying, they are away from the center of the map, which gives you the advantage in the next carry.

4)      Pay Attention to Fang Carrier’s Health – The game is convenient in the fact that it shows you the carrier’s health during the match.  Regardless whether your faction has the fang or not, the strategy is similar.  When it gets lower, start moving towards the carrier to either AoE to force a reset or to be ready to pick up the fang for your side.

5)      Healer Play – The major factor that determines how long your side has the fang and ultimately the outcome is the healers.  This means if you are on offense, you try to kill the carrier’s healers.  If you are on defense, you kill people targeting your healers.

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Rift Warfront Series – Part 1: The Codex

For the next few blog post (with the exception of post 200, which is gonna be a special post), I want to go through each of the Rift’s warfronts and the strategy necessary to win each.  The way I’m going to present each of these is through a list of rules for each warfront that you should follow at all times.  So let’s get started with probably my favorite (and the bonus benefit warfront this weekend on Sunrest), which is Codex.

1) Know Node Values – If you are coming from some other MMORPGs that have a similar set up to this warfront, you may think each of the nodes in the Codex hold an equal value.  This is not the case.  Your main objective in this warfront is to hold Codex + 1 other node.  Which node is dependent on your faction.  Also, it can change based on the flow of the game.  However, Codex is always your number one priority.  That is why a good strategy is to have most of your team rush Codex first.  If you are Defiant, you can pick up Transition Scope along the way.  If you are Guardian, you can pick up Statue along the way.  However, with both teams, Codex is your number one pick up.  If you win Codex early, you can win this warfront 80% of the time.

2) Defend your nodes – You can usually tell which team is losing because the team that is losing is usually zerging nodes.  Your defense should be broken down along these rules.  50% of your team should be at Codex if you are defending it.  If you aren’t, send 90% of your team to  capture it.  25% of your team should be defending the all important second node.  While I have not independently confirmed this, you cannot win just by holding Codex.  The other 25% of your team should be the moving team.  They can attack a third node to keep some attackers there or they can come help Codex if the other team sends all their people.

3) Do Not Rush The Opponents Graveyard – This is not other games where everybody only has one way to go to get out and you can keep everybody there if you 4 cap them.  They have multiple escape routes and will be able to get around you which means you may not leave your nodes open or you wil be in serious trouble.

4) Healers Are Always Defense – The only exception to this rule is if Codex is not in your possession.  If you have Codex plus at least one other node, your healers should stay on defense.   There is nothing more disheartening then having a node taken because two warriors couldn’t beat 3 opponents because they had no heals.

5) Save the Vault Until Last – The Vault’s node is so far away from where the main action is, it should be the last of your priorities.   It is still good to capture it, but try to get Codex first and foremost.

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