My Defiant Mage Kae reached level 50 in Rift yesterday. Actually, I could’ve done it on Saturday night but there were hardly no guildies on, and I though why waste the big level 50 achievement notice if no one’s around to see it.
Of course hitting the level cap in a game isn’t new for me, but I am very pleased to have done it so quickly. Even more surprising to me is I’m the first level 50 Mage in the guild.
I mentioned briefly why I thought I’d leveled so quickly, but I wanted to add to it a bit. First I want to mention that I don’t think this game is any shorter than the rest of the current crop of MMOs. As a comparison, my played time in STO at Vice Admiral 1 or level 51 was about three and a half days while my play time in Rift is 6 days, 2 hours, and 47 minutes.
Having an active guild has definitely played a role. I know there’s people to chat with every night when I pop in, and I’m more likely to stay online longer each night.
Game design is also important. I didn’t hit any dead spots. Most games have some flat areas on the leveling curve or gaps where all of the quests are suddenly too high. At that point I’m stuck grinding mobs, which I did in EQ and don’t enjoy. Rift didn’t have any dead spots that I noticed, at least on the Defiant side of the content and since I was leveling as a glass canon, I figure that’s a pretty representative example.
Lastly, having a completely new setting to explore really got my wanderer’s impulses firing. Even as fast as I leveled, I spent quite a bit of time wandering around zones. I will admit that part of that was because there are achievements for doing it, but only part. One of my favorite things to do in these games is see something interesting in the distance and then go to see it. Usually this involves climbing mountain peaks, but sometimes it’s just getting to the otherside of a forest or following a stream to see where it goes or exploring a cave to see how deep it is and if there’s a named mob hiding inside.
All of these factors combined to speed me through the leveling cycle on Rift much faster than I anticipated. Of course the big question is, “What now?”
I don’t know the answer to that. If history is any guide, I’ll roll an alt with the intention of going through the game a second time and lose interest after a week. But the game has surprised me once by dominating my attention for the first month, so maybe I’ll get a second character to the cap. I do have a lot to do with my mage still: crafting, world event, PvP instances, and dungeons. Oh, and there’s a few story quests I haven’t finished yet and I need to know what happens with Uriel and Kira.