Unless you’ve been keeping your nose to the ground in the MMO news world, you might not know about Rift. I am here to tell you that you should be paying attention to this one. I finally got into the beta for this most recent event. It was also probably the best one since it allowed interaction between the factions. The experience was only for levels one through twenty. While not ground breaking, the game has a lot of potential. The gameplay is a lot of fun and can become very addicting.
When you first create your character, you pick a faction. The Defiant are the technology savvy pricks of the game. The Guardians seem to be the goody-two-shoe hippie faction. I picked Guardian since I had some friends already playing this faction on a PvP server and I wished to join them. From there, you customize your character’s appearance. It’s not the most in depth customization, but you can pretty much make your character look decent. Then you choose a calling. These callings are Warrior, Cleric, Rogue, and Mage. I chose Warrior.
Greeted by a gorgeous cut scene, you are ready to get down to business. You are given a simple “talk to someone” quest to earn your first soul. What is a soul you might ask? Well, I am glad you asked since I am anxious to tell you! Souls are what makes your calling different. They are more or less talent trees, if you are at all familiar with WoW. However, they work a little differently. You have branches at the top in which you put points. Below are the roots. You learn a new root ability for the number of branches in which you put points. If an ability has the number 10 in it’s box, you need to spend 10 points to unlock it. Most of the branches are passive abilities that buff your character, but there are a few activated abilities. The thing that makes these souls very interesting is the ability to have ANY three of the calling’s soul selection. The best way I can explain this is by using another WoW reference. You have the plate wearing classes, so you select three trees from those. You could essentially take the Holy Paladin tree, Protection Warrior tree, and the Unholy Death Knight tree. That’s your character. You can customize them as you wish. You also get four role slots, which means your character can specialize in four different combinations of souls. This form of character customization is pretty interesting to work with. The one minor annoyance is that some of the souls have a few abilities that are pretty much the same, or they share a cooldown. However, when you start putting things together and making your class, you will have enough to work with this may not even be noticeable.
Graphically the game is very pretty. The environments were well done for the areas we had access too. The UI will look very familiar to MMO vets. It’s the standard UI for most MMO’s these days. The characters look nice, and the armor and weapons have looked pretty awesome so far. I did not get too deep into the crafting, but it looks to be your standard MMO crafting, though there was a slot to add planar essence and such to enhance equipment you can make, which might be interesting.
The gameplay flows nicely and the skills and abilities are fun to use, but it’s nothing mold shattering. The one thing that is pretty neat and is pretty much the focus of this game is that as you are questing or even ganking suckas in your territory, stuff is happening ALL THE TIME. The world is very persistent! Rifts will open in random spots unleashing powerful enemies and making the enemies in the area stronger. Your job is to close them. Rifts are kind of like the Public Quests in Warhammer, but much more fun and always happening somewhere. Many Rifts involve Naughty Tentacles, so you know the RoboStaff loves that! Along with Rifts there are invasions from NPC factions, Elemental invasion, even the other player Faction. Each time you succeed in defending an invasion or a Rift, you get rewards based on how well you did during the event. It really is a very interesting system. I mean, at any time you could be running along and then notice something funny out of the corner of your eye. You then turn around and then suddenly a rift opens up. Sometimes Invasion forces run into each other and they start fighting amongst themselves. It gives the world some life, and makes you feel like you need to help in the efforts to protect these towns and people from rifts and invasions. Sometimes they will overrun a quest hub. In order to turn in all those quests you worked hard to complete you will have to battle the forces of evil, or wait for someone else to do it. If you are not ready to accept the rifts, this could be annoying. I think its a breath of fresh air and gives life to a usually stagnate world.
Rift, as it is. will not be considered a groundbreaking MMO, but it has some great content. If the game stays the course past level twenty, it could still be a very rewarding experience. I have high hopes for this one. It’s just fun. Even if I’ve done some of the same things in other games, I obviously still enjoy those things. It’s nice to do them in a different world. It has enough new ideas meshed with familiar ones to get a decent player base… as long as Trion doesn’t screw it up.