Tuesday, November 23, 2010

RIFT: Anticipation

RIFT. I’m pretty darn excited about this game. I’m trying to temper my enthusiasm though a la Vanguard issues for obvious reasons. It’s about time I gave you my take on the new game and what I understand it to be. You can of course visit the official website here, but if you want to see my thoughts on the matter just keep reading.

When assessing an MMO, I first look at the graphics of the game. Most important to me is the ‘feel’ that I’m going to be able to immerse myself in the game and the surroundings. It needs to be believable. I know that sounds kinda weird about a fantasy MMO but I need it to be that way or I won’t connect with the game. To give you some sort of indication here’s a rundown of a few MMOs and what I think of the graphics. WoW: Too Cartoony, EQ2: About spot on, WAR: Nice scenery but characters lack individuality, Guild Wars: Looks pretty, perhaps a little too ‘fairyland’, LoTRO: About spot on, although character graphics could do with a little more customisation, EQ1: great when released, now I can’t help thinking, Udraths a polygon! From the screenshots I have seen and the avatar graphics on the classes pages on the RIFT official website, I don’t think I will be disappointed. The scenery really seems to create an emotive response from me and the avatars seem realistic enough. Hopefully Beta will let me see what the customisation is like, but I’m hopeful.

The second most important thing to me in an MMO is the Class / Race System. If I am to play an avatar, I want to be able to create one that does what I want it to and one that adds to the immersion in to the game for me. Pretty much that means I need to be able to connect and relate to my toon. I am pretty traditional in this. I like the old Fighter, Mage, Scout, Priest basic archetypes with subclasses underneath. OK so it may not be a big departure from what is already out there, but it looks like Rift has a bit of a different take on them with the ability to utilise souls of past heroes to gain your skills. By the time you are max level, you will be able to utilise skills from three different souls. In addition to this each soul tree has branches and roots. So let’s say if I chose the Ranger soul tree initially, I can specialise it as much as I like and as I level I will get more points to spend in branches and roots. Then when I get high enough I will be able to have another soul tree, say I went for Nightblade and then I could assign my points between the two trees, effectively uniquely customising my character. And then when the third tree opens up to me, I could customise more.

I do like this idea. It steps away from the standard skill sets you would have if you had a certain class and effectively enables you to be multi class. Either a jack of all trades/master of none, or a master in one if I preferred. However, I can perhaps predict what may happen with this. I draw this example from my experience with EQ2 and the Alternative Advancement trees. Yes with EQ2 AAs you can customise to how you like to play your toon to your preferred play style. However, go on to EQ2 Flames and you will be able to find the ‘ideal’ setup for certain circumstances depending on class. This is how I see the soul trees going with RIFT. Initially yes it will be a world full of differently skilled toons, but give it a year and there will be the ideal tank setup, the ideal HoT healer setup, the ideal melee dps setup, and so on. I have to wonder how individual the classes will be after a couple of years live. I initially like this idea very much and I hope what I suggest does not come to fruition. I think this is one of the areas I will reserve judgment on, but I’m holding out hope it will be a good setup. I certainly like the amount of classes (soul trees) that are available.

RIFT Class system..there may yet be more classes added.
The Third thing I look at when deciding on an MMO is the play style. I am a PvE player. Although I do like PvP in the right circumstances. Ironically enough one of the most attractive PVE/P systems I have seen is in a game I have never played, and that is Dark Age of Camelot. If RIFT turns out to be like that I will be happy. It certainly seems we have two opposing factions, The Guardians (Dwarves, High Elves, Mathosian) and The Defiant (Bahmi, Eth, Kelari). I guess I’ll just have to see what it is like and how it develops.

The fourth thing I look at in MMOs is the community. I’d be remiss if I failed to say I would not wish to be a part of a community such as in WoW. It is the one community that lets MMOs down in my opinion. Yes, there are surely nice folks there of course, but it seems their voices are drowned out by the idiots. I did play WoW a long time ago and even back then I had to pull out some old one liners to stem the flow of crap abuse I was getting. I recall telling some American youth no older than my new shoes after he pestered me for what seemed like hours for cash that “I wouldn’t give ye the droppings off my nose on a frosty morning sunshine”. I received the educated reply of “WTF you talkin ‘bout bitch”. Just my experiences. Some may enjoy the community there. But not me. From looking at the forums on the Trion Worlds website for Rift, it seems the community is probably going to be ok. There have been a few ‘remove brain’ moments there, but on the whole most seem to be approaching the game with a mature and interested attitude. Again, I hold out hope for this area.

I seem to be saying that a lot. “I hold out hope..I’m hopeful” and so on. I guess the only way for me to see for sure is to get started.

C’mon..gimme my BETA!

Be well.


  1. Go check out the new Souls Volt & Mere, the Riftstalker is a Class I've dreamed of for years & I definately will be playing that , hopefully with a Paragon Soul attached to it.

  2. I agree mate, the Riftwalker looks really amazing. Hehe, I was looking at Paragon too..we're too alike in our tastes. I'll probably be going for a tank class first though, followed by scout as I usually do ;) Not sure which tank class though yet..they all look enticing.

  3. Well PimpJuice, you're in luck, The Paragon is of the Tank archetype & the Riftstalker is of the Scout :D!

  4. I must admit the graphics and class system in Rift are what have me excited. My fear with the graphics is that the engine will run badly (I still think the EQ2 engine is very poor performance wise compared to most others).

    Still hoping for a beta invite though! No idea what class to go for initially, though I normally pick rogue-y types to start with.

  5. "Riftstalker/Blade Dancer/NightBlade/Assassin" 4 Soul combo here Mere & Volt.

    I'm apprehensive for the exact same reasons on the engine concerns Mere & I'm truly hoping it's optimized to take advantage of the current & future technology as much as Trion is able.

  6. I agree about EQ2. 6 years on and they still haven't got it right with the engine..let's hope Trion do their sums right.

  7. After running through 2 betas this game has a lot to offer in a lot of different ways.
    So far i noticed that if you like to solo- you can, they made grouping for rift events(almost noob proof), and if instances are you thing. There are a couple at lower levels to sink your teeth into.
    Lag was amazing( or lack there of), Now if you are running rock bottom level's for World of Warcraft, you might have issues. But, i only think i seen one mob do a glide in a 20 man raid in the public rift area. Which about made me cry after forcing my way through other MMo's. EQ,WOW,Aion,etc... Game play is very crasy with all that can happen in the game so far.
    Starting area and the 19-25 area so far have a good look to them, with that said they put enough into the game to draw you in. and left themselves enough room if they want to add or change things they can.

    As for sound, i made it to the second major area in the mountains and fell in love with the rolling thunder for the storm, clapping through the mountains. a lot of detail for that sound that caught my attention.

    Now the thing i am waiting to see is how they allow you to rift in to enemy zones and PVP. if it is all like aion style i can work with that as well.

    Class spec- you can choose your paths which means, you can fit the character to your play style. With in reason but, you will have a ton of options to choose from. My Priest is part tank, full heal and spell caster. allowing me range, and up close abilities.

    There is an open beta coming up on the Feb 15, 2011, S,o if you are not sure, try signing up at Rift for the beta and GET YOUR FEET WET.

  8. Thanks anon..sorry it's taken me so long to respond. trouble with my comment notification stuff.

    Anyhow, I do play RIFT casually now. Enjoying taking it slow and learning. I'll be posting about my experiences with RIFT soon.