Wot I Think: Rift

By Dan Grill on March 14th, 2011 at 11:00 am.

Trion Worlds’ MMO Rift is alive and online, so we sent intrepid, moustachioed reporter Dan Gril into its midsts to tell us all. How does the self-confessed combination of their favourite elements of MMOs come together? Is it fun? Such answers are yours to be had, as Mr Griliopoulos tells us Wot He Thinks.

I’ve played a lot of MMOs. I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ATVs under fire off the Oshur gate. I watched ice-crystals glitter in the darkness near the shoulder of Arthas. Tiered PvP rewards in the rain… Actually, you probably believe all of those things. So you understand that, after all that, I might not want to start another MMO. Another fantasy MMO. Another fantasy MMO that looks awfully like WoW, Aion, WAR…

It’s so easy to damn this game for its familiarity. Yet, even the developers admitted to us that Rift isn’t particularly original in most regards; they were happy to say that it was a portmanteau of all their favourite games and all the MMOs they’ve worked on (lots). However, as those games were packed with good ideas and as the developers know what they’re doing, learning from experience is not a bad thing. So MMO veterans (which is y’all) will recognise the button-chaining and tab-targetting, the ability to survive ankle-shattering falls with barely a whimper, and the useless pets; but you’ll praise the mounts at zero level, the ease of getting the various currencies and the huge world of optional quests.

I’ll admit, I don’t understand the plot yet. Like Pathologic, I’m not sure if that’s because it’s amazingly well written and I haven’t been paying attention, or because it makes less sense than Colonel Gadaffi’s claims about not being able to resign, because he’s not actually officially in charge of anything. (That, from now on, is the tyrant get of jail card.) Of the two factions, the Defiant and their time-travelling techno-necro-steampunk background are the more enjoyable. They’re the evil-but-good faction that every developer except War has felt obliged to put in since DAOC, and they do some marvellously horrible things in the name of survival. You kick off with them at the end of time, where they’ve finally managed to replicate the good-but-dumb Guardian faction’s superpowered Ascended just as the baddies take over the world of Telara, and you’re one of these revived heroes sent back to change history.


Meanwhile the Guardians’ Ascended start in the past, being the heroes that defeated the villlain Regulos the last time he attacked Telara. Their starting area is worthy if dull, but what the developers don’t do is undermine the seriousness of the world, which WoW was often guilty of. I haven’t spotted any cheesy film references and the quests are rarely referential; this is an internally consistent world. Having experienced the beta, I quickly found that these starting areas don’t bear replay though they’re interesting enough on the first run-through; but given the character flexibility, I don’t think many players will need to replay the game at all.

Let’s be honest, if you’ve played WoW, you’ve experienced Rift’s combat, quest systems, and the kill ten rats meme. But there are notable differences, especially in character creation. There are three races (that have mainly cosmetic differences) per faction but only four classes (called Callings); Warrior, Cleric, Rogue and Mage. Each of these has eight souls (sub-classes) to select from, each of which can be separately levelled, in a similar way to the classic D&D mutli-class set-up. Finally, around level ten you unlock ‘Roles’. These allow you to set up as many as four different combinations of your sub-classes, allowing you to make builds for any situation and change between them quickly. This makes PvP tricky, as you might be fighting someone who looks like a tank, but is playing as a healer or even straight DPS. For example, a player, let’s call him John, might choose to be a healer, but specialise as a Justicar, Templar and Cabalist, which would make him an excellent Tank with a bit of DPS, but a bad healer – but in a second he could switch to a build you’ve never encountered before. Or that the developers haven’t encountered before. We’re betting there will be endless nerfing in this game, as the developers attempt the impossible task of balancing.


The titular rift system itself works well. It’s a more dynamic evolution of WAR’s public quests. Across the surface of an area, ‘Tears’ (rips, not watery eye stuff) slowly appear like bubbles in G&T which, if not closed quickly, can develop into rifts, which deform the landscape and wildlife. Just like G&T. Six types of rift occur, and each has its own fauna and progression. Players can battle the creatures coming out of these rifts and hence close it. However, the longer a rift is left open, the more serious the incursion gets, until it can change into an invasion and then a foothold. In a full blown invasion, a huge number of rifts of various levels open at once, with roving bands of high-level elites exiting them and devastating the area. If players don’t band together to fulfil certain conditions and defeat the source of the invasion, then the other plane overwhelms all the friendly outposts in an area, and establishes a foothold in Telara from which they can further spread their poison. Exactly like G&T.

As these incursions happen all the time in the same areas that players tend to be questing in, everything suddenly gets more dangerous. Low-level players can run and hide (though everyone is rewarded for taking part), whilst the higher levels band together in huge public armies and battle the AI armies coming the other way. It’s certainly exciting, though I worry if it will suffer when the low-level areas empty out; as I’ve not got to the high levels yet, I don’t know if it encourages you to return to older areas, but I doubt it.


PvP is very familiar, but no less fun for that; there’s first open world PvP, which depends on the server type you set, but is the usual ganking in the wilderness and can be done from surprisingly low levels. Then there’s battlegrounds, like WAR or Guild Wars, where players can battle in compact packs for various objectives, like capture the artefact and so on. You can level just through PvP or just through questing, and there’s separate currencies for these, as well as for crafting (a system so familiar I’m not going to bother talking about it) and discovering artefacts (which EverQuest 2 players will recognise).

The world design is worthy of comment; it’s highly compact, meaning the opening areas can be traversed very quickly if necessary. The progression route on the Defiant starting area of Freemarch, for example, is S-shaped, so as you progress along the map, you’re always near to where you started. There’s no flight-paths here, though there are central recall locations in each zone, and mounts are cheap and accessible early. As you move around the world it naturally segues from area to area, and the design is rarely other than classy; SW:TOR and Guild Wars 2 will have a fight on their hands to match this polish.


As I’ve said before, it’s impossible for one reviewer to get a comprehensive view of an MMO; at most what I’ve experienced of Rift is what a casual MMO player will get in their first fortnight. I’ve tried out each of the callings and factions, then levelled up enough that I felt I’d experienced a taste of what the game has to offer. It’s incredibly stable, it’s familiar without being boring, its dynamic content works a lot better than WAR’s did, and it doles out the shinies generously. It would take a truly clean-living soul not to feel a frisson of delight every time they saw the Chthulian tentacles uncurling out of a newly opened rift, so I’m giving this a cautious thumbs-up.

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66 Comments »

  1. Juiceman says:

    Building on ideas that work is fine, but at the end of the day you better be offering me something WoW doesn’t. Otherwise, why bother switching?

    • Choca says:

      This is exactly my problem with this game. I’ve played it for a while in beta and while it isn’t a bad game, I just can’t see why I would play it. If I liked what they offered, then I would be playing something else already, and I’m not.

    • Schaulustiger says:

      Well, it does some things way better than WoW, especially the various options while levelling: Warfronts, Rifts, Invasions, Quests – you can level fairly well with each of those, providing some variety to the usual levelling grind.
      Plus, I really enjoy that you can have four roles. During questing, I take a combination of DPS + survivability. Now a major rift pops up, I switch to my healing role and tackle it with a group of 10 people. Afterwards, I’m heading off to an instance with a few guildies and since we need tank, I switch to my tanking role.

      So, why switch from WoW? Because Rift does some things better than WoW and to be honest, I quit WoW after the community became really, really, really bad.

    • Bilbo says:

      And with Blizzard’s megabucks, you can probably rest assured that any innovation a competitor does bring to the table will be copied in WoW within a few months.

    • Wendelius says:

      “Building on ideas that work is fine, but at the end of the day you better be offering me something WoW doesn’t.”

      But it does. The main problem in Rift is that, to truly experience that, you have to play until level 12-14. Before that, you are collecting your initial souls and playing through a pretty standard MMO.

      Then you get into the teen area and the world opens up. And as the world opens up, the invasions begin.

      And that’s when Rift really becomes something special. You log in to run a few quests or do some crafting when, suddenly, you hear the familiar sounds of an invasion starting. You look at your map and think “Uh oh….”. Before long, you are on your mount running from Rift to Rift, from foothold to foothold, hacking, slashing, grouping with players to hold a camp.

      By the time the last foothold is defeated and the boss has been killed, don’t be surprised to find that 2 hours have passed, your drink is sitting forgotten at room temperature and your quests have not been done.

      Rifts and Invasions truly make the world dynamic, unpredictable and addictively fun.

      And that’s also the kind of level where you start collecting more souls and experimenting with character builds.

      Also, the Wot I Think mentions that the game re-uses ideas that work elsewhere. But it should really say that it’s no half-assed reimplementation, The game is like a best of of the most useful MMO features out there and everything is polished and works really well.

      I’ve played MMO’s since EQ in 1999 and I’m hard pressed to think of another MMO as polished at release as Rift.

      If you do give it a try, do remember that while the quests and intro might be pedestrian , there is a world of excitment waiting for you once the horns start blaring across the zone…

      Wendelius

    • VA1N says:

      It’s got a lot more than simply a WoW clone would have. The Rifts, world events, classes, and more make this a totally different beast than WoW. Sure, there will be a lot of similarities. But honestly, this game is for those people who are tired of WoW and want something fresh and new. I cancelled WoW and haven’t looked back since it came out. My whole guild are previous WoW players and they did the same. Try it out, you just might like it.

    • Sarlix says:

      I much prefer Rift’s art style.

    • earthfx says:

      I agree entirely. I have invested too much time into WoW to leave it for something that’s so similar and has marginally better graphics.

      I tried the beta, it was fantastic. The game is very polished. But it does not innovate. The whole rift gimmick is a novel idea but WoW can implement something like that with a patch. Their boss fights are also seriously lacking in comparison to WoW.

      I can see this game keeping people busy till Blizzards new MMO (TITAN) or possibly SWTOR.

      Trion will make a success out of this though, but I do not see them gaining significant market share.

    • Hallgrim says:

      @Bilbo: I don’t that that is exactly true. WoW is good at copying some features from other games (quest icons from Lotro, quest zones on the map from WAR and WoW mods), but some things just don’t happen.

      Where’s the sidekick/mentor feature? They talked about that back when WoW was still in beta, but there isn’t a single feature that lets me play with a lower level friend without having to keep a character his level (or trivializing the encounter and making it mindlessly boring for me and them).

      Where’s the /level command? DAoC let you start halfway to max level (I’m sure other games did this) after your first character. WoW’s version? Buy another account to get teh faster levelz.

      I wasn’t a huge fan of Rift. I thought it was a crushing shame they didn’t use a “generic science fiction” or “generic steam punk” setting to make themselves a bit less wow-boring. But I can’t see wow copying their classless class system any time soon.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Yes, but it still plays like wow, don’t it.

    • Stupoider says:

      I like to think of Rift as WoW without Blizzard. Think about it!

    • Foosnark says:

      By the time the last foothold is defeated and the boss has been killed, don’t be surprised to find that 2 hours have passed, your drink is sitting forgotten at room temperature and your quests have not been done.

      Sounds exciting in theory, but honestly, with my schedule and attention span, I much prefer gaming that can be broken up into short chunks. I have no interest in extended battles, or raids or Battlegrounds-like sessions or running instances (other than maybe with my wife).

    • RandomGameR says:

      It’s hard for me to put my finger on why I like this game much better than WoW, but I do.

      @Foosnark: You can play this game in small chunks, at least as much as you can any other themepark MMO. Log on, do a few quests, log off. Closing rifts themselves take minutes, not hours.

      Wendelius wasn’t saying that you had to spend 2 hours to get anything out of the experience. The issue is that you end up getting swept up in what you’re doing if you’re not focussed.

      Last night the b/f and I were trying to get from point A to point B in order to visit a vendor. Walking between the two locations should have taken us minutes. In the end it took hours because we kept getting distracted by other things we also wanted to do.

    • vexis58 says:

      You log in to run a few quests or do some crafting when, suddenly, you hear the familiar sounds of an invasion starting.

      At which point I go “aww man” because my 15-minute break at work is ending and I can’t participate in the awesome invasion =(

      I definitely understand the argument from people who are currently happy with WoW — why switch when you’re having fun with what you’ve got? As for me, I stopped playing WoW last summer due to boredom. Even with a new expansion out now, it’s still the same world, still the same classes and spec combinations. I loved WoW for five years, but I had done pretty much all there is to do, explored everything there was to explore. A few new leveling zones and a new raid instance at the level cap don’t interest me any more, and Blizzard is going to take years to finish creating their brand-new world for me to explore — and even then, I have my doubts that it will be the kind of game I’m interested in, as I’m not much of a fan of games with sci-fi settings.

      RIFT gives me a whole new world to explore, entirely new classes (and combinations of eerily familiar classes) to learn, while using mechanics that are similar enough to me that it’s not difficult to pick up quickly. The game amazed me with how polished it was even during beta, as well as the speed at which they release patches to fix things that I personally complained about using their handy in-game bug reporting tool. Pretty much anything I’ve been unhappy about so far has been fixed within a matter of weeks, instead of years in Blizzard’s case (or never, with them instead just telling the players “you know you can install an addon for that if you don’t like it”)

      It’s WoW, but better, in my opinion. WoW feels like it’s dying, and despite my addiction for several years (I had an addon count my playtime once, over 300 days) I have absolutely no interest in buying the latest expansion and playing it again. But Rift? It’s going to take me a while to get tired of this one.

    • Danarchist says:

      I soldiered on into my 20′s in the beta, but even being able to play for free I did not feel that urge to log in immediately after work like I have with so many games in the past. There is just something…bland about it. And for some odd reason the colors seem really muted and washed out to me which is also annoying. I know the common thing is to compare it to another mmo I got bored with but it really does remind me of WAR. The public “rift groups” are fun at first, but just like in WaR they become redundant far to quickly. A rift always seems to open in set areas and from set realms. If you fought a nature rift somewhere before you can pretty much guarantee if you stand around that same spot long enough another nature rift will open there.

      The lack of randomness to the loot tables is also incredibly frustrating. The main thing that eventually drove me away from WoW was knowing exactly what might drop off every single mob in the game. I guess I really miss asherons call’s randomness sometimes and keep hoping someone else could see the common sense in NOT having set loot tables. The problem is forum trolls heads will explode if not every single little stinking thing is “balanced”. A sword that provides both str and int!?! GAMES BROKEN! To the forums!

      In fact I will go as far as to say people expecting everything in an mmo to be balanced and equal have pretty much ruined the experience. I blame games that try to provide for both PVE and PVP at the same time for this. It is not impossible to have different rules for different server types you know….

  2. SuperNashwanPower says:

    Loving the Bladerunner paraphrasing at the beginning of the article :)

  3. RaytraceRat says:

    RIFT offers a nice, hassle free, way to sit for an hour or so and kill some mobs in pretty environment without having to think too much.

  4. DevilSShadoW says:

    I tried it. I wasn’t impressed. Waiting for Guild Wars 2 and TERA.

    • Wulf says:

      Likewise. Rift just seems as unimaginative and unchallenging as one of those MMO thingies could be to be honest and I’m a bit tired of that. If it’s a fantasy MMO especially, then I want at least part of it to take the fantasy genre to places we’ve not been before. GW2 definitively does this in multiple ways, and TERA looks like it might, too.

      Rift feels too much like more of the same, to me, and for me, gimmicks can’t save what’s essentially being spoonfed stuff I’m familiar with. I’ve said this before but I’m getting really tired of familiarity. It’s not that hard to do crazy things with fantasy. I love the fantasy genre – mostly in books, anyway, because in games it’s getting more and more stale. I don’t think it’ll be long before we’re back with the oldest Wizardry games again (before Wizardry actually went batshit crazy and got interesting, I loved the later Wizardry stuff, but the earlier stuff was just typical fantasy pap).

      I want batshit crazy, really. I crave bravery. My mind seems to feed on raw creativity, and normality and xenophobia are elements which starve it. So… looking forward to Guild Wars 2 especially. I have high hopes there. I’m going to throw together a Charr and revel in their oddly dystopian dieselpunk-ish section of that world, marveling at their Roman-Samurai-Mongol (???) mixed culture. Then I’ll give the Asura a try, and enjoy their cities made from floating geometric shapes, their Mesoamerican inspired culture, and their bizarre quantum reality-bending magicks, and so on.

    • The Great Wayne says:

      Not a valid point imho, comparing actual MMOs with stuff not yet released. Rift and those two aren’t actually competing until they’re all released, and there’s a good chance a lot of people playing Rift right now will switch when GW2 come out (or not).

      It says nothing about the game quality in itself, it’s just how the MMO playerbase fluctuate. And I’d even go as far as to say that, with GW2 not being sub based, they could very well cohabitate in the future.

      That said, if you’re just talking about the mmo world in general, I’m pretty sure devs could go much further in the originality department, and that’s why I’m waiting for world of darkness online above all, if you ask me.

    • Commisar says:

      well, I am most excited about GW2 due to the lack of subscription fees, I am also looking forward to Firefall, since it is completely free. Also, it may not be a traditional MMO, but World of Tanks is pretty good.

  5. Flappybat says:

    I really love the invasion system. The public quests and zone wide public quests are fantastic and mixes up what would otherwise be forgettable regular quests. The entire map can light up with rifts and invasions with players swarming around in impromptu raid groups until clashing with the raid level boss.

    It’s a shame the game is lacking some flavour, with the triple class system it’s much fuzzier about what any character you meet can do. The relative lack of class flavour is compounded by the limited amount of armour.

    Even taking the games recommended combinations on Mage and Warrior has left me with messy skill bars and a lack of clear rotations. Mage also might be a bit broken, from my experience and the forums only a couple of soul combinations work or the class is left with serious mana issues.

    • Blaq says:

      “I really love the invasion system. The public quests and zone wide public quests are fantastic and mixes up what would otherwise be forgettable regular quests. The entire map can light up with rifts and invasions with players swarming around in impromptu raid groups until clashing with the raid level boss.”

      And in the original article: “its dynamic content works a lot better than WAR’s did”.

      I beg to differ. While the public quest system is much more polished design-wise in Rift, it’s lacking something vital to be considered an upgrade from the original (WAR). Content. Rifts are an interesting concept if you haven’t seen a similar one before. Until I’ve participated in 20+ rifts I saw them as a nice distraction from grinding and questing, but after participating in a certain number I find out they’re incredibly repetitive.

      On the defiant side you have water and death rifts in the starting areas with fire and life ones on the guardian side. A death rift won’t be much different from another death rift, with it following a formula of kill weak mobs -> kill stronger mobs -> kill the boss, with a possible bonus stage which is just killing stronger mobs again. This means there will be 4 marignally different versions of Rifts.

      As I understand it, because of the randomness of rifts, they couldn’t have been designed by hand. Instead a chart was made with restrictions and variables that apply to different strenghts of rifts which will spawn the number of mobs depending on the size of the rift.

      I realise WAR had a ton of problems with it’s PQs, but at least they weren’t randomly generated public kill quests. Most of them were designed by hand and some of them require strategy, when facing certain PQs with the intended number of players you could consider them equal to mini-instance encounters.

      The only thing I would consider really innovative and exciting in Rift are the invasions. Those too, create a lot of already mentioned problems though. But that’s just my opinion.

    • Wulf says:

      This is exactly why I’m so excited about Guild Wars. In Guild Wars, every dynamic event is a storylilne. I love giving examples of this, so here’s one…

      - Bandits are attacking, it starts with attacking some pipes that supply water to nearby crops.
      Branch: You defeat them and push them back.
      …or…
      Branch: They defeat you and the guards.
      – In this case, the bandits have destroyed the pipes and are now guarding them to ensure that they can’t be repaired, starving people out, essentially.
      – You have to go in with some of the local militia to take them out.
      Branch: You fail to take them out, so they strengthen their grip there.
      …or…
      Branch: You take them out.
      —- In this case, you now have people repairing the pipes.
      —- Bandits attack, you have to guard the people repairing the pipes.
      Branch: You fail to guard them, and the situation falls back to 1.
      …or…
      Branch: You guard them successfully.

      And whilst this is going on, a secondary bandit group is setting fire to a bunch of nearby crops, all part of the same thing. You need water to actually put out the fires they’re lighting, without that, the crops get destroyed. All of this leads to more branching.

      That’s how dynamic events work, and whether you succeed or fail actually makes a difference to the world. And it gets better…

      In a recent interview, they told us explicitly that someone exploring could unlock a new event that hasn’t been seen in two months of playing the game. Example: You’re exploring a corner of the map – you jump behind a waterfall to see what’s there, and what you find starts off a chain of events. Perhaps you’ve found some treasure, or disturbed a pack of dangerous predators, or something else entirely. And these things effect the nearby world. Towns, NPCs, and so on.

      What this also means is that you could walk through an area of the world twice and it could look quite different the second time than what you saw the first time, due to it being at a different stage of the content.

      That’s why I’m so very excited about GW2′s dynamic events.

    • John P says:

      “Rifts are an interesting concept if you haven’t seen a similar one before. Until I’ve participated in 20+ rifts I saw them as a nice distraction from grinding and questing, but after participating in a certain number I find out they’re incredibly repetitive.”
      Glad I’m not the only one who feels that way. I levelled to 17 or so in beta, and by then the rifts were wearing thin. Since you can barter for stuff with the loot from them, I can see them even becoming a dull grind eventually. But people who have played more would know better there.
      Guild Wars 2 is also doing this dynamic event stuff, and I hope they add more to it so it doesn’t grow dull, otherwise it might have the same problem. Supposedly GW2′s events will result in more ebb and flow and knock-on effects in the world than Rift offers, which sounds promising. (Edit: as Wulf says above.)

    • ScubaMonster says:

      I also agree that the Rifts are really underwhelming in this game, which is pretty bad since that’s basically the idea behind it. From what I saw, all of them were quickly and easily defeated. And there was no invasion of any sort. Unless you consider monsters standing around in a spawn location an invasion. Maybe I didn’t get high enough level, but I asked on the beta forums, and while the major ones might be a bit more difficult, the general consensus is the rifts are too easy and lacking. And from what I saw, basically exactly the same except for the type of monsters. At least WAR’s public quests had a bit more variety.

      So, I just don’t get how these Rifts could ever spread causing any sort of change in the environment. I saw a dev video talking about rifts, how they can spread across the map, and rival planes of monsters can even start attacking each other if they run into each other.

      From what I witnessed, that will never happen. This hype about monster invasions is exactly that; hype. People swarm to these rifts and shut them down in minutes. And even if they are left alone they are relatively inconsequential. People were saying in early closed beta, the rifts were actually something you had to look at for. But they later nerfed them to the point where they were just a distraction you could entertain yourself with if you so chose, but otherwise could quest in the zone uninhibited.

    • The Great Wayne says:

      In the rift feature’s defense, lvl 17 as far as rift goes is nothing even from what I saw in Beta. It’s still the first zone and you can’t really have a full fledged invasion in the newbie zones. The higher you get the harder and more impressive the invasions.

      I’ve witnessed a fire invasion in the third defiant zone (scarlet *whatever*), fire attacks on every outposts, rifts everywhere, a handful of lesser bosses to down under 45 minutes, with the necessity to have a special protection buff prior to that, buff you could only gain by downing an invader outpost. After that A big water elemental was spawned, with the necessity to escort it to a major rift where it’d blow the fire HQ away and make the last huge boss spawn.
      All that with Guardian players running and pking in the middle. Pretty epic as far as theme parks goes, imho.

    • Oasx says:

      ScubaMonster : Either you have only played the game a very short while or you are simply on at odd times because you are just just about the only one who hasnt experienced an invasion. Rifts and invasions spawn based on the number of people in a zone, i have experienced them atleast once a day and they happen in all zones.

    • RandomGameR says:

      Yeah, before I got out of the first zone (which runs roughly from levels 6-20) I had seen a pretty good, but not great, variety in rifts themselves. The basic concept of what a rift is probably is going to be rinse-repeat for a while, but what currently differs is the mechanics the enemies use. The rifts spawn out boss encounters, similar to what you’d see in a raid in other games (there are raids and bosses in rift, too, mind you).

      For instance, one boss spawned in as a group of skeletons and then formed up as a big skeletal guy for a bit before exploding back into his composite skeletons. Another would run up to things that made him invincible until you destroyed them.

      Invasions are different than just a rift opening in the sky and spawning waves of enemies at you in place. Invasions offer a zone-wide quest and vary based off the scale of the invasion (major or minor I think). You’ll see bosses a few times the size of your character running around with a large group of minions, attacking, and taking over your cities and quest hubs. If the zone completes the quest objectives an even larger boss spawns, requiring major amounts of people to take down (though little in the way of cooperation from what I’ve seen).

      One of the most enjoyable was in the second Defiant zone, where a large group of Guardians showed up at the boss battle and attacked us while we were trying to take down the massive boss. It was chaotic and it was fun.

      Lastly, I think that people who say the game is easy didn’t give the game a fair go. Even with the best builds you’ll die a good amount. The game is much harder than WoW. I wouldn’t say it’s Demon Souls level of hard, but it’s harder than any of the other MMOs I’ve played. Lower level enemies (even 10 levels below you) can and will kill you if you get enough of them on you.

  6. Edawan says:

    What is G&T ?
    You refer to that a few times but I have no idea what you’re talking about.

  7. Tei says:

    RIFT is like MMORPG++, where ++ means better. It has all the good ideas of all the other games in a single game that on top of that has a lot of polish. The thing that make the game feel his own game is the Rift things. All the map is at times under attack by hordes of mobs, on a day with a lot of players in a area, the trumpets can sound 14 times one after another. And you know a lot of going on around. The game seems to have a progression similar to AION, where both factions grown to finally be put together in the maps, so hare forced to fight. (note: The game have a quick travel system between maps, the porticulum. )

    • Hallgrim says:

      The problem is that its a MMORPG ++, but many of us have spent (literally) thousands of hours playing MMORPG, or MMORPG+. Or even (*shudder*) MMORPG—

    • The Great Wayne says:

      Once again, there are plenty of other stuff unlike your generic theme park around here. Play EvE, Mankind, PS, Perpetuum, Darkfall, Stronghold kingdoms, etc.

      But most mmo players won’t. The conundrum is as follow: they want originality in a theme park genre which is based on simple and recurring concepts. They just can’t have that. Live with it, switch genre and go play EvE or another non-theme park mmo or just stop playing mmos.

      If you don’t, you’re just shouting nonsense.

      “BULLETSTORM IS TOO MUCH LIKE DOOM, I’M STILL SHOOTING AT STUFF WITH GUNS”

    • RandomGameR says:

      But what if you tried EVE but hated it because you don’t find nondescript space ships mining rocks at all fun?

      Themepark doesn’t mean bad, and sandbox doesn’t mean good.

  8. ghiest says:

    I’m actually enjoying it more than Wow at the moment, but I’m not sure how long it can keep my attention. It needs some serious open world pvp at 50 (capture-able towns, pvp based dungeons, sieges) or something because BG’s are boring as hell after the first dozen times you play them. I don’t think it’s as polished as WoW (but obviously they’ve had 6 years :P) but it’s the best release of any MMO I’ve played in years.

    Oh and the game has changed massively since beta.

  9. trjp says:

    The problem is – as everyone has said – that it’s so much like Wow that you’d wonder why someone would switch from WoW where they’ve presumably got a tonne of time invested already!?

    Talk like “community going bad” translates to “my friends stopped playing” or “I expected people to carry me” and that means you’re a burn-out from one game and you’d start playing a near-identical one with a fraction of the players because!?

    It does feel a bit more dynamic than WoW BUT the Rifts contrast with regular solo and group play which is very very very linear and dull (worse than vanilla Wow – let alone the leaps and bounds made since then).

    You will get sick of being asked to kill X of these and click this rock etc. etc. for sure…

    • Archonsod says:

      Perhaps they’re looking to pick up players who haven’t played WoW? Just a thought.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      Their main advertising tagline was ‘We’re not in Azeroth anymore’. They are not trying to pick-up people who haven’t played WoW.

    • RandomGameR says:

      It’s definitely not worse than vanilla wow content. It’s not as good as cataclysm content, though. Vanilla WoW had the horrid desire to send you across continents and into other zones to pick up a single item for one stupid quest that gave throwaway rewards.

      Cataclysm has adopted the strictly linear approach to quests, which is MUCH better for a themepark game, but it interjects a wide variety of mechanics and cutesy cleverness to the quests themselves.

      This game steers you through the zones but the quests themselves are only occasionally interesting. It’s made slightly better by the fact that mobs have more interesting attacks early on. I do see this as an area they can improve, but I wouldn’t complain if they spent all their resources making the rifts as awesome as possible.

  10. Drazyr says:

    I found this article confusing to read. If I have to leave the page 6 times just to understand the acronyms, the message becomes diluted. I was always taught to explain what acronyms stood for when they first show in a piece of work, then I can be lazy.

  11. lunarplasma says:

    As with most MMOs, I don’t think I could possibly invest the time into it to justify the monthly price tag. This (and the genius of the design so far) is why I am looking forward to Guild Wars 2.

    • Commisar says:

      seconded in full, that is why I am excited to see more MMORPGs go free to play, such as Global Agenda and Champions online and APB

  12. Mac says:

    I’m enjoying Rift for what it is … good fun at the mo, and deserves a sub from me.

  13. ScubaMonster says:

    I played the open beta of rift. The game wasn’t bad, but the rifts were pretty underwhelming to me. I thought the armor and models were pretty dull or outright bad. WoW might have fewer polygons, but more polygons doesn’t mean your models look better (see EQ2). It’s the style and textures you use.

    The game might do somethings better, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t do enough differently or better to justify me jumping ship. After 5 years of playing WoW, I don’t want to quit playing for a slightly better version of WoW. I want something totally different, which is why I’m waiting for Guild Wars 2. If GW2 fails to deliver then I’m done with MMO’s for the foreseeable future. I guess until Blizzard releases their Titan mmo.

    • Jumwa says:

      Pretty much my thoughts exactly.

      Sadly, I have lost some good friends to Rift, and I am tempted (despite the beta not exactly barreling me over with its non-WoWness) to give it a go. But I have five years invested in WoW, a sizable guild of friends and fellow RPers I have over four years of history with. I couldn’t just up and ditch them so easily.

      I’ll hold off until Guild Wars 2. Though I hope that Titan’s nothing grand, as I’d rather not get stuck in the claws of Activision-Blizzard again. I want to see the MMO market more diverse and evenly divided.

  14. Vexing Vision says:

    I really like the character building. At least for now, everyone is still experimenting around, and it’s fun to see a DPS-cleric for example.

    Then again, I managed to build a tank-tank, a tank-cleric, a tank-rogue and will most likely get away with building a tank-mage one day, too.

    I find Rift surprisingly enjoyable, mostly due to the incredibly high level of polish. I wanted to look at the game, play my free month, then move on and wait for the Secret World. Instead, I subscribed for three months in the first week, and I’m still not sure how this happened.

    I also love the many, many WoW-players who complain that Rift is too complicated. That means they’re doing something right.

  15. AnesthesiaCat says:

    I really like Rift, and I hadn’t been looking forward to it at all.

    The rifts do get more interesting as you move up through the levels, especially the zone events. There are also a few quest lines that cap off with a rift quest. Also nice is the exploration rewards like hidden burial mounds and puzzles in each of the zones that give superior pieces of gear for your level.

    Rift has become my main MMO right now, and I hope more people will check it out. It’s quite good.

  16. Ganabul says:

    A few thoughts, I guess.

    I came to Rift pretty much by accident, having been feeling the mmo itch a little recently (previously, DaoC, WoW, WAR, & Champions Online), but trying to pick up my 70 in WoW after Cataclysm, and simply disliking it. A lot of my general feelings have been covered in other people’s posts, but there’s a few things worth mentioning. It boils down to ‘good fun – worth a shot, and see if it sticks’, but that in itself is not much of a comment.

    The first thing to note is that it is possible to gimp yourself. The difficulty level is set low in one sense, granted, but you (I’ve been playing Mage, and although the class has some issues, I suspect it applies across the board) really can screw up your build. No, you’re not going to find it impossible to level, but the class build system is complex, rich in synchronicity, and seems to offer in any one class a wide range of options. Yes, you can level, but after you’ve collected the different sub classes of your main class you might (and I’m taking a rough stab at the general mindset of RPS) suddenly become intrigued by the possibilities of combining this with that, and splashing a few points there, and maybe jumping from one even con mob to three, with the tantalising possibility of 4, if you manage the cooldowns just right, send the pet here, drop this on that, and that there. The flip side of a involved system that allows you to gimp is the possibility of rewarding gameplay that so far seems just a wee bit more complex than button mashing. Granted, the time I spend strategising a pull, sucking up the death penalty when it goes wrong, and cursing the fact that I need just a point or two more to make the build really sing may mean I would be better off grinding one mob at a time… but nah.

    Connected to this are the complaints about the generic feel of your character. I sympathise; I felt that, initially, but once the power system really started to bite, the quests to pick up the extra sub-classes (souls) picked up retrospective meaning. The role system, with the four possible builds you can switch between with a 2 second CD, meant that I suddenly stopped identifying with one particular soul, but instead started seeing my character as a conduit for the collected magical disciplines of the world. Being able to select a pet based class for solo grinding, an odd healer/damage doer (one which leaves the current wow disc priest looking like the unsubtle bolt-on it is) for instances, and a complex debuff/cc beast for PvP suddenly stopped seeming odd, and instead, a natural consequence of the world rules. For a system at bottom designed to allow you to play through all the content conveniently, that’s an achievement both subtle and immense.

    Moving on to the world beyond your character, Rifts has, I think, two things worth particular note. Like a couple of other commenters noted, the Rift system itself can seem a little repetitive. After the first zone, I thought I was done with them – but then the wandering invasion mobs blindsided me in the second zone, with a major attack on the town I was questing around. First one group, then two, then three, & initially just me and one other player in a (smoothly implemented) public group trying to fight them off, then 4 mob groups, 5, 6 (40+mobs of varying level, normal to elite, wandering around) and a trickle of reinforcements for the players, and a sudden switch into pure game blur of resource management, on-the-fly tactics, deaths, respawns, mechanic insights, and half an hour gone fighting off the invasion. The special rift rewards add up to something better than the quest greens for my level, but that’s hardly the point. It was gloriously bonkers, and enormous fun. I don’t expect heights like that every time I log on, but it’s the promise of that kind of peak gaming experience that makes the draw of any game.

    The second is the artifact quests, I understand that EQ, at least, had something similar. The artifacts are just little world spawn sparklies that collect into sets. That’s all, but someone on the development team thought very carefully about where they went (under a bridge, on a wall, behind a house, nestled in the branches of a tree you have to look at a couple of times to work out how to climb, up on a plateau by a deserted lake you’d never have visited if you hadn’t wondered if there was a sparklie at the top of the slope you though you might be able to inch-jump up – there wasn’t, but the lake was just over the next ridge) & as a result, half an hour later, you’ve done nothing in game terms, you’re half way across the map, and you don’t give a damn, because if you want exploration, there it is, right there.

    What I’m getting round to is this. Rift is most certainly not a triumph of art direction. There are tons of nice touches, but yes, it’s generic mmo territory. What it reeks of is craftsmanship, on every level, from coding through to implementation. I don’t know if it has the end-game legs to sustain a million disappointed wow raiders; there may be ‘balance’ issues; there are a few bugs (that I’ve heard of, not experienced), but from a casual mmorpger’s perspective, it is far above anything I’ve played or heard of in the market right now.

    Everything works; it runs fine (not pretty, but fine) on a 3 year old lap top; and if you want to make it clear to publishers that the era of buggy, badly thought out rubbish foisted off on us as finished products is over, you could do a lot worse than invest in Rifts.

    Yeah, so, in short, “good fun & worth a shot to see if it sticks.”

    • Commisar says:

      hey, speaking of Champions, how is it now since it has gone free to play? I created an account, but I can’t seem to get the installer to work properly.

    • Vexing Vision says:

      It was the sparklies that did it for my wife.

      No, really. Being able to collect sparklies again broke her Aion-addiction, and for that, Rift will always have my gratitude.

    • frymaster says:

      You definately can gimp yourself, but it’s worth pointing out that not only do you get alternate roles (swap-on-demand to different soul/point combinations) but respec’ing an existing role is VERY cheap (and you can change souls as well as points)

    • ScubaMonster says:

      Thats one thing I always kind of didnt like about games that had multiclassing or skill selection. It almost always ended up where there were a few good builds and the rest sucked. I like the idea, but usually the implementation didnt work due to lopsided or relatively worthless skills.

      I want to be able to play around with different builds and actually have them viable. I’m not saying every combination should be equally powerful, but they should at least be workable.

  17. Wozzle says:

    For me, Total Biscuit hit the nail on the head with this. All of his boisterous, semi-inflammatory rants aside, I don’t see how yet another jam buttons, ignore physiscs MMO is going to appeal to me, or a large audience. It’s boring to me.

    I think WoW is still a success because, well, it’s WoW, but the core of the game, the combat system, is also it’s weakest part. I just can’t get excited about something that’s been done, and done to nearly perfection, so often and is so tiring.

    With all that said, I always welcome a good game, especially in a genre that so desperatly needs competition like the MMO one. I wish it all the success in the world, but I have zero interest in playing it.

  18. luckystriker says:

    With so many sub-classes I can’t see how they’re going to balance the game properly.

  19. utharda says:

    Couple counter points. Look most MMO’s are built around DnD style combat… ie hit points.
    That does require some serious suspension of disbelief. On the other hand a non physics ignoring mmo would be pretty action oriented, and generally result in a lot of insta-gibbing of your character. Last time I checked, even a guy in plate mail dies from an arrow to the eye, or throat, or giblits. Its sort of a trade off. You either have combat that lasts a while, or combat thats sort of realistic. I prefer it to last a little bit, so I can feel heroic -) rather than say, running into a room in ut 2 and turning into a cloud of meat pellets. anyway, thats what i want out of an mmo. Understand that for example, Wozzle wants something different. (And not necessarily to be a cloud of meat pellets.)

    Off hand… the idea that a game should appeal to a wide audience… dunno. Honestly for me i find a correlation between breadth of appeal and weakness of play. But then again I like eve. and I hate humanity.

    As for balance… its crazy but it works. I think its a mixture of smart devs, players evolving their way towards effective builds, and balancing for group play rather than 1v1. Of course the other key to percieving balance in any online game is to not read qq threads on the forums, which helps.

    anyway i should be asleep, but I’ve been on something like 12 planes in the last 7 days, not to mention 4 continents, and all of the time zones. I’m going to go drink a beer, pray for death and try to figure out what day it is.

  20. Kaltano says:

    I couldn’t figure out what G&T was referring to so I pretended it was Guns and Tomatoes.

  21. adonf says:

    What’s WAR ? I tried to Google it but no interesting results came up. (Contrary to the MMORPG called Love that I Google Imaged and got lots of interesting results though none related to the game)

    • Archonsod says:

      Warhammer Online

    • adonf says:

      Ok thanks. Any ideas why it’s shortened to WAR when World of Warcraft is not shortened to WOR ?

      Edit: Age of Reckoning, got it.

  22. porps says:

    yep its very much like wow, but with one main difference.. it’s actually fun.