Players often say that the community in RIFT is better than the community in other MMOs, but that doesn’t make random dungeon groups any less intimidating for new or inexperienced players. You don’t know the map, you don’t know the bosses, and who knows what kind of temperament the other four random strangers in your group will have.
But take heart! We were all new once, and there are definitely a few ways to prepare for new dungeon runs and improve your chances of it being a fun time for everyone.
1. Choose a dungeon level appropriate to your experience.
If you’re feeling a little unsure about yourself, don’t rush to get into Expert mode dungeons even if your gear is technically good enough to run them. Try it out in Normal mode first instead until you have a feel for the place. There will likely be a few extra mechanics in Expert mode that you’ll have to deal with on the fly, but having a good sense of the map will help a lot.
If you’re returning to RIFT after a long absence and trying to shake the rust off of your level 50 character, consider queuing as a mentor for lower level dungeons. Not only will you still get XP and rewards, but the older content has been through multiple nerf cycles and is easier overall than the newer stuff.
2. Choose a role appropriate to your desired stress level.
Tanks: Tanking characters are often a rare and precious commodity in PUGs, but it’s also arguably the most difficult role for new or returning players. Tanks are often expected to be the leader of a group, making sensible pulls and moving the boss(es) around smoothly, both of which can be difficult if you’re new.
Healing: This can also be tricky, particularly if you’re playing a more reactive healing spec like the Cleric’s Purifier tree. It’s also quite visible when a healer makes a mistake, since it often means that everyone dies.
Support: Unfortunately, while it’s helpful to have a support build prepared, particularly when playing the new Storm Legion dungeons, often in older content or with very well-geared groups your party will prefer that you play a full DPS build rather than support.
DPS: This is undoubtedly the least demanding role in a dungeon, if only because there are multiple characters filling it, and probably the best for nervous new players.
3. Know how to play your character.
We said above that DPS is the least demanding role in a PUG as a new or returning player, but that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. While you can’t be expected to know all the ins and outs of the dungeon, you can be expected to know generally how your build works. This is particularly important in the Storm Legion dungeons, which are still quite challenging for many players.
An easy way to ensure that you’re on the right track without a lot of studying is to use one of the preset builds provided by RIFT. These each come with a description of how to play the build, and what your key spells and abilities are and are a great way for a new or returning player to jump right into playing.
4. Admit to being new or inexperienced.
Everyone was new once! Let your group know that it’s been a while since you ran a dungeon, or you’re new to the game, or inexperienced as a tank, or whatever you’re nervous about. Your fellow players will be surprisingly supportive and helpful if they know what to expect. (Or, if they’re uptight and simply cannot handle being in a less than perfect group they can leave right away without any conflict.)
5. Have fun and don’t let meanies get you down.
While all of the above should prepare you to do your part in a dungeon PUG group, and while the vast majority of players will understand that you’re new or rusty, occasionally you’ll still run into someone who is just having a bad day. Remember that it’s just a game — leave the group if it’s becoming an unpleasant experience, and definitely report people who engage in harassing or unreasonably aggressive behavior.
Keep at it! A handful of PUGs later you’ll be just as much of an expert on the dungeons as the average player. Don’t forget to return the favor, and be nice to the new or returning folks you encounter in your groups in the future.