Beta 6 allowed leveling up to 35 as well as the Scarwood Reach zone, a new instance called King's Breach, and a new warfront called Whitefall.
Scarwood Reach is dark with rolling hills and unexpected chasms. This zone followed the previous zone of Scarlet Gorge in that Defiant played on one end of the zone and the Guardians on the opposite end. The center was where conflict occurred the most frequently and PvP was still fun in general. There were quite a few scenic views in this zone for those wandering to find them. There were plenty of quests for the zone and it introduced a new type of reputation where people hunted special elite monsters for reputation and trophies that they could hand in.
Trion increased mob difficulty this patch and some of the players appears to appreciate this change and some really hate it. I found that while it takes longer to kill npc's in the game, it doesn't appear to be more difficult. There were, however, some exceptions to this rule where Rift invasions gathered at a single point on the map and became overpowering as shown in the image below.
Needless to say, I avoided these areas.
PvP Changes and Changes in General
I'm afraid this beta was a bit of a step backwards for me in terms of class balance. I think what happened is that everybody can now reach the abilities at the top of their soul/class tree and those abilities in some cases are extremely overpowering. As an example, Virtuoso is at the top of the Bard tree and allows a Bard to ignore combo points for 15 seconds. As a 3 minute cooldown ability this can be devastating in a Warfront due to a Bard's specialty of AOE heals to the raid. Just imagine being able to spam AOE heals for 15 seconds without halting. Other classes are having similar issues with their top tree specialties. It looks like another round of balancing will be required to bring these abilities in line with the rest of a soul's/class's abilities. Trion has been very good so far with looking at balance and I have no doubts that they'll fix these issues now that they've fully come to light.
Trion introduced several new racial abilities in this patch as well. The new racials are:
- HIGH ELVES: Tavril's Grace now increases Wisdom by 10. Angelic Flight: Flies toward the selected area. Cannot be used in combat.'
- DWARVES: Bahralt's Mettle now increases Strength by 10. Density: Dwarves can fall twice the distance of other races safely.
- MATHOSIANS: Thedeor's Will now increases Dexterity by 10. Motivational Roar - Increases the movement speed of the Mathosian and nearby group members by 30% for 10 seconds. This ability cannot be used in combat.
- ETHIAN: Sun's Fortune now increases Intelligence by 10. Agility: Increases movement speed by 70% for 15 seconds. This ability cannot be used in combat.
- KELARI: Flame's Ferocity now increases Dexterity by 10. Camouflage: The Kelari transforms into a ghostly fox for up to 30 seconds, giving them a wider radius to avoid aggro with, and despawning any pets the Kelari may have. This ability cannot be used in combat.
- BAHMI: Sefir of Strength: Increases Strength by 10. Mighty Leap: Leaps at the selected area. Cannot be used in combat.
Some racial abilities are much stronger than others. As an example, the Ethian ability can be used to catch players trying to run away from combat as soon as they have been chased for long enough to leave combat (which isn't long at all in this game). Trion will have their hands full both balancing the classes as well as the new racials.
It appears that Trion has separately engaged two different player populations - the PvP population and the PvE population and they appear to be trying to please both of these populations with the exact same game.
This means that the little quest hubs owned by a faction may no longer be taken over by the opposing faction. This pleases the PvE server individuals who were having problems questing due to people taking over the quest hubs. I am glad to see the care given so that people are not being griefed while trying to quest. Unfortunately, this doesn't please individuals who prefer a PvP experience.
Separate "PvP objectives" have been added into the map to please these individuals. Unfortunately, these PvP objectives aren't well marked on the game map, are out of the way, and really aren't interesting for players to conquer. Most of the PvP players that I've talked to would really like the ability to take over small opposing faction quest hubs as they were able to during the last beta. Trion is going to have to make a difficult decision here regarding how different to make the PvP servers compared to the PvE servers. The exact same game may not please both groups.
The Whitefall Warfront instance is a PvP capture the flag map with two flags and a narrow field between them. While the floating rocks in the instance below were interesting, they showed no utility, so the instance was a fairly generic capture the flag experience. The basics of the instance are shown in the player made video below.
Collections and Achievements
The game has a great deal of depth in terms of the puzzles I found last beta along with collectibles that are picked up off of the ground (many on top of mountains) and achievements that are found at odd points. The first title I earned came from falling off of the Sanctum bridge where I obtained the "Base Jumper" title.
I worry that players trying to reach maximum level in the least amount of time will miss a good deal of the depth of the game in terms of these systems that are not linked in with the leveling system.
As an example, I found a title called "the Shroomer", along with an achievement called "Mushroom Soup" in Scarwood Reach this beta. Basically, getting the title involves jumping down the mushrooms growing out of the large tree in the center of the zone. It was very fun to find the top mushroom that sparkled and then follow the sparkles down the other mushrooms to the bottom of the tree.
These little additional feats are currently what makes the game stand out from the competition and they make the game worth a purchase, even though other parts of the game are still being balanced.