Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The other grass: Rift

After entering the competition I mentioned in my last post I received a Beta key for Rift on Sunday. Wednesday rolled around and after a quick install and a 7.5gig update I was into the game.
(Sorry for the image size for some reason Blogger is not accepting the thumbnails)

After watching through the intro cinematic I was greeted by half an our of failed server connections as every man and his dog with a key tried to get in at once. However after some persistence I was able to progress to the Shard (server) screen.
Initially the Shards were very hard to choose as every time a server's information updated it would just that Shard to the top of the list, this made trying to log onto the unofficial Oceanic Shard a game of 'Whack-a-mole' as the Dev's described it. This has been fixed since and is now much less taxing to do.

The Next step is character creation. While you have more options than in WoW this feature feels more limited, leaving everyone looking the same. It is defiantly nice to free pick skin hair and eye colors, slightly modify height and while the facial tattoos are very nice but there are only a handful of hair styles and many of them look alike. With very little physical customization and the limited hair styles your toon still ends up looking like everyone else around you.

Although all the races are very human like and look mostly the same, race will play a big part in how you play your character. In Rift races have very unique and powerful racial's i.e. 'Heals for 30% of damage taken, up to 50% of your total health.' or a 40% boost to Spell and Melee haste for several seconds.

Once your Character is made you can enter into your starting zone, each faction has one starting zone, however with how classes are set up you really should not need to play through it anymore than 4 times. Your first quest will be to choose your first Soul(Talent Tree), there are NPC's around the starting area to explain how your souls work if your new and have done no research.

From there its into your typical questing and lore experience.

There are 4 different classes to choose from in Rift, the Warrior, the Cleric, the Mage and the Rogue.
Each of these classes has 9 different PvE souls and 1 PvP Soul. You choose your fist Soul at level 1 right on your first quest then again at level 3 and the third Soul slot shortly after.
While 9 Souls might sound daunting you can ignore some as they apply to different Archetypes i.e. Warrior has Tanking and DPS Souls so DPS does not have to worry about the Tank Souls.
Like in WoW you can reset your points via a trainer and like WoW you can by additional Specs except where WoW only has DuelSpec, Rift has QuadSpec.

Your skills are also determined by your Souls. Rather than learning new spells as you level you learn them by going deeper and deeper into a given Soul, the deeper you go the stronger the spell i.e. At 2 points in Paladin you learn an attack to hit for heavy damage after you block and at 4 points you learn a Power Word: Fortitude.

For a better idea of how the trees work try the Zam Soul Calculator.

Once you finish your starter zone

It is onto regular questing.
Questing in Rift is very linear, you go to one hub get 2-6 quests in the one area, do them, hand them in and move on. If you finish a hub then the last quest will lead you into the next quest hub to hand in there so that your not back tracking.

After the starter zones the questing is broken up and made more interesting by the constant Rifts and Invasions.
Rifts work similar to Public Quests in WAR in that raids of random people in the area work towards a goal, Exp and Loot. Unlike Public Quests, Rifts are random in location so they may be next to the quest hub or out in the wild somewhere. Each rift will show on your map so that you can find them.
Rifts come in stages, alternating between trash packs and mini bosses before you kill the final Elite mob and seal the Rift.

Once the Rift is sealed everyone who participated will get loot based on how much work they did, loot can range from combat items to Planar currency used to buy character enhancements and powerful gear.
Rifts will also scale with the number of people in a zone so populated zones get many major Rifts and as the population moves on and the empty zones end up with only a few Rifts that can be handled by those still hanging around.

Invasions on the other hand are like very large Rifts except that instead of being in a single location Invasions will move towards camps and even citys killing all in their path.
Invasions require many more people to finish, have a lot more Elites, give considerably more and higher level loot and if not stopped will move in and attack NPC's.

Another of Rifts unique features is that it comes default with a customizable UI.

Rift also comes with features called Antiques and Collections. Think of these like Archeology except without the grind and surveying. Collections will be things like Books you find lying around the starting zones . Antiques are similar except that they show up ether from Invasion loot or as little randomly placed sparkles on the ground beside rocks e.t.c. as you explore.
You use the picked up item of ether kind and if it is a collection it is instatly added to your collection, Antiques will bring up a new screen that shows the collection you are working on and shows which slot your item goes in. When you complete the sets you are rewarded with new items or even epic gear.
The Antiques are not farmable however due to the somewhat random nature of their spawn points.

The rest of Rift is very much like WoW, you move the same, gather mats the same, chat the same, craft the same, it even has an achievement system.

This is not a bad thing though, It means that anyone coming from another MMO particularly WoW will know exactly how to do a lot of the functions and can focus on the game rather than learning basic functions again.

Overall I think this is a really polished game for just being in the Beta stage and most issues are fixed very quickly by the Dev team.
The Dev team has been very active in the community to date and seem to be listening to their customers well.
While Rift has a lot of unique features they have not tried to do anything to new which looks to be working well.
The game does take a bit to get into and is nothing special until you leave the starting zones and start encountering Rifts. The core gameplay almost needs a bit more work to come up to scratch and become addictive as with the more unique game aspects but are not bad in any way.

This game has a lot of potential and I am really having fun playing the Beta, from all the MMO's I have played recently Rift has the most potential to succeed, is the most clean and polished and its still in Beta with a releace date not for another 2 months.
I swore off buying new MMO's on release after Aion and FF XIV but with how Rift is going I think I might pre order the Collectors Edition for it and possibly play for more than the free month.

I will leave you with a screen cap of my level 13 Paladin-Reaver-RiftBlade Tank not tat the gear looks quite good and yes that is a one handed mace.

No comments: