For the record I am having trouble finding too many faults in Rift. I am not in any way implying that it’s the perfect MMO but it’s hard to be overly critical of a game I’m enjoying so much. It does most things well enough and any significant criticism that comes to mind could be directed at the mmo genre as a whole rather than at this particular game. Hence I decided to drop my previous format of discussing pros and cons and just share my general thoughts about different facets of the game as I experience them.
And so my adventure in Telara continues…
Towards the start of the year Trion Worlds released Rift Lite which allows you to get two characters to level 20. This is basically a trial version of the game. It does not need a separate client or account since I have been playing the version I installed off my original dvds and using my old account details. Clearly this is the right way to do this sort of promotion so hats off. Despite not being able to play as much as I would have liked (what with having to follow E3 and all) I almost reached level 21, meaning now I have to decide whether I want to pay for a subscription or just move on to a different game. It took me all of three seconds to decide in favor of subscribing.
I joined the dungeon finder queue at level 15, which is when dungeons become available to players. It took ages for me to find a suitable group possibly due to the fact that I am a damage dealer (the most common class in any mmo) and I was playing at off peak hours. Sadly Rift adheres to the holy trinity mmo design to a T. I am not lamenting this approach but it’s not my cup of tea. At least I could go on with my errands while waiting which made the 45 minute wait a bit more bearable. When I finally got into a group for Realm of the Fae things did not go too well. We died a few times and people started calling each other names. Primarily the tank got the blame but he was very quick to shift it to the healer as often happens. Soon people started dropping out signalling the end of our group. Not an auspicious start.
Nevertheless I persevered and my second group went much better. Everyone was quite friendly and we did manage to finish the instance. In the process I bagged a couple of good items which led to much happy dancing (or wiggling). The instance itself was quite basic but its unique seasonal theme made it memorable. Likewise the bosses were of the tank and spank variety, which is all too well since this is the instance which eases beginners into the party mindset. The Rift community seems to fall somewhere between WoW (predominantly antisocial and leet) and LotRO (mostly friendly and helpful) but I think its still too early to say for sure.
I also got myself a 60% speed increase mount. It’s an ugly Yarnosaur. Apparently that’s what 2 platinum 50 gold will buy you. Mounts in Telara are extremely diverse so I am looking forward to getting myself something better.I just thought I’d share this since I am of the old school mentality that getting a mount in an mmo is a big deal no matter how aesthetically displeasing it might be.
It’s the rifts, man.
The distinguishing bullet point for Rift on release, and possibly still to this day, is the presence of the titular rifts. These are dynamic events which occur randomly in the world. A rift opens (or is opened by the players) and invaders from the elemental planes start pouring in. The cool thing about them is that as soon as a rift opens the surroundings drastically change according to that rifts’ element. So, to give an example, during a water rift invasion corals sprout from the ground, the terrain is covered in crinkle patterns as if underwater and mood lighting changes to blue green. The invaders pouring out of the rift are similarly water themed with fish heads, fins and webbed fingers. Even the indigenous mobs which happen to be in the area where the rift opens get ‘plane touched’ and slightly change in appearance.
It is up to the players to close the rift by beating varying waves of enemies. If the rift is left unattended for too long it spawns groups of invading mobs which move to a settlement nearby and attack. All of this creates a world which is constantly changing. Taking a look at your map helps keep track of the rifts so you can react accordingly, avoiding them if you are a wuss or adventuring forth and closing them like a proper Ascended should. Players can band together seamlessly by joining a public group if there are other players nearby. Rift makes this easy for you so you can just concentrate on having fun. Those who participate in the closure of a rift get a form of currency which can be exchanged for powerful items.
One thing which impressed me is that these rifts are dynamic, in that they happen more or less frequently depending on player population and involvement. Furthermore the developers can change parameters on the fly. I believe that this kind of thinking is what distinguishes Trion from the rest and it’s something that should be emulated more. Then again one has to keep in mind that Rift is relatively recent so its engine was designed with modern MMO tropes in mind.
I guess that is enough about Rift for the time being. Hopefully I will get some more progress soon, although I might dip into the Guild Wars 2 beta this weekend. So much to do, so little time!