RIFT Open Beta Impressions

Rift Faerie

Turns out the "hide UI on screenshot" option isn't working

Like the rest of the known world (I’m assuming Atlantis hasn’t been discovered yet) I’m playing the RIFT open beta and, as I’m looking for an excuse to write a blog post, figured I would share my first impressions of it with you (just like everyone else is doing). And when I say first impressions, I really do mean first impressions. I’ve played the game for about 5 hours so far which isn’t bad going for a single player game but obviously a drop in the ocean for MMOs. I’ve dicked around with a few classes on both sides enough wet my whistle but there’s still a ton out there to experience all of which will undoubtedly change my opinion of the game at a later date so don’t take this list as being a definitive judgement by any means.

So in no particularly order, here we go…

  • Kinda reminds of me Aion
  • The intro movies really are cack
  • The choice of races is far too limited
  • Graphics are nice and performance is slick
  • The soul system really rocks
  • Some of the souls seem hideously unbalanced
  • Only two starting areas makes me cry
  • Why does every MMO have to be about goodies vs badies now? What happened to the games of old that had tons of races and factions? Vanguard did this well…
  • Shinies!
  • Love the fact that classes can perform multiple roles (i.e. Rogue tank)
  • The entire game seems to be a huge amalgamation of cherry-picked features from other MMOs
  • My Druid fairy pet is awesome
  • Quests are pretty dull
  • Kinda makes me appreciate just how immersive the WoW newbie experience is
  • Rifts are cool
  • I have no absolutely no idea what the story line is about

-Gordon

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39 Comments

  1. Genda says:

    You pretty much nailed my impressions too. The big problems for me are the lack of variety in the noob zones and frankly the graphics. They make my head hurt. :/ I think it’s the way they are doing the lighting.

    I’m taking a wait-and-see on this one. I think it will do much better than Aion did but I still can’t help but think it’s another FOTM.

  2. Creep says:

    My favorites are”

    “The entire game seems to be a huge amalgamation of cherry-picked features from other MMOs”

    and

    “The entire game seems to be a huge amalgamation of cherry-picked features from other MMOs”

    But I totally agree that the Rifts are cool. There’s a lot about Rift that is very cool, but there’s so much about it that is pretty similar to what’s already out there.

  3. browolf says:

    The intro movie on mine had extreme flickering. good thing I don’t have epilepsy. The classes/roles/souls thing looks pretty interesting otherwise it seems wow-like. It could have been different if auto-attack did more damage and abilities cost more/had longer cooldowns and it wasn’t another spam fest.

  4. João Carlos says:

    “Why does every MMO have to be about goodies vs badies now? What happened to the games of old that had tons of races and factions? Vanguard did this well…”

    Sorry, Rift is not about goodies vs. badies.

    It is about not so goodies “I am more holier than you” vs. not so goodies “we need save the future and the world, any sacrifice that need be done”

  5. wilhelm2451 says:

    Only two starting zones cuts both ways. Sure, there is a lack of variety. But you brought up Vanguard (not the strongest case for mass races/factions… try EverQuest next time) which had quite the selection of starting areas, the quality of which were quite uneven. There was the fun half-elf area, for example, and then there was the dwarf starting area… bleh.

    I’m more in the quality camp versus quantity.

  6. Utakata says:

    “My Druid fairy pet is awesome”

    Druid fairy pet? O.O

  7. Sithinious says:

    I was getting a bit bored with WoW, and was hoping for something different. Sadly, this is absolutely nothing different. Pass.

  8. ScytheNoire says:

    Not sure how you get goodies vs baddies? Unless you are referring to the Rift baddies? But neither Defiant or Guardians are good, nor bad. It’s tech versus religion, which isn’t often done. Heck, WoW won’t even touch religion.

  9. Stubborn says:

    I agree basically word for word with your post; I found very little to be innovative about the game other than the group dynamic that the rifts provide. That’s not do say I dislike it; I don’t, I’m enjoying my pure dps rogue and my very mixed-bag mage (chloromancer actually means green magician, but it’s one of the more innovative souls – phytomancer for plant magic or dedromancer for “wood” magic – lol). I’m not too clear on the plotline either, but from best guess from the two intro movies, the guardians broke machines the defiants were using because they thought they’d bring dragons and the defiants say the machines were keeping the dragons out. Either way, dragons came afterwards along with tentacles. Lots of tentacles. Looks like an octopus orgy.

  10. Rift is one of those games that for, lack of a better term, kinda grew on me over time. I agree with the cherry-picked features and dull quests assessment when I first played and I didn’t think I was going to really get into it. But I stuck with one character through the beta and maybe it’s just me, but it seems the higher level I go, the more fun it gets (though, well…the quest text is still kinda boring).

    I think the nature of the rift events seem to get better and more elaborate as you increase from each level bracket, and a big part of it is too, of course, that you get more abilities the higher you go, letting you do a lot more cool stuff. I’m thinking of rolling a Cleric at launch and giving that druid fairy thing a go :P

  11. gametester says:

    Rift is definitely drawing near to its launch date this Next month, and i also feel to some degree thrilled with this… We will be giving it an attempt. Need ideas of in the event the way it could look when placed against wow, but by demo, it can be really superior.

  12. slowthought says:

    I find the combat system a bit bland. Different spells having exactly the same effect – why would you want to train that? I don’t know if this gets better, but it seems to me that it undermines the whole souls idea. I noticed that a shadow-oriented cleric has more variation with dots and channeled spells, so perhaps it works differently for different classes and builds.

    • Gordon says:

      I know what you mean. I was a little annoyed that my Cleric ended up with 3 attacks, 2 of which were identical and both of them less decent than the 3rd one (and they were all on the same timer). They’re kinda flooding us with action bar spam.

  13. Bhagpuss says:

    Rift has one really big problem, which Gordon’s mini-review exemplifies and which I’ve seen over and over again on blogs. It’s this:

    Rift makes a TERRIBLE first impression.

    I have no idea why they’ve done it this way, nor why they seem dead set against changing it. The two tutorial levels bear no ressemblance at all to the game itself, the storyline is incredibly convoluted and confusing and even the first few levels after that are quite unrepresentative.

    I do think it’s a major design failure to not only require your players to get their character to the mid-teens before you really begin to show them the game they will be playing, but to give them a very much WORSE game to play until then.

    The quests, for example, get a lot of criticism, both for their blandness and their “on rails” nature. This is fair comment on the tutorial experience and the first couple of levels after that. The thing is, though, once you get into the actual game, quests fade right into the background. You won’t be concentrating on them. You won’t be following them. The linearity will disappear. So, often, will the entire quest hub.

    Coming back to do a hand in only to find your hand-in guy fighting for his life against a giant satyr or running away from a fire demon, screaming for help, puts the position of the quest in the game into context. The quests aren’t primarily content, they are infrastructure.

    On seeing your quest hub under attack, you don’t have to stand powerlessly by, frustrated. You can buff and heal NPCs. You can summon more NPCs to help you. Any players in the vicinity can instantly band together at a single mouse-click. The content ceases to be about handing in the quest and becomes about saving the questgiver. This sort of thing happens all the time, everywhere.

    The depth and complexity of the zones is amazing. They are packed with incident and intrigue. The whole world of Telara is a an MMO explorer’s dream. You can go anywhere you like and exploration is frequently rewarded. While you’re exploring you have to be constantly alert, because the environment changes and what was safe on the way out may not be safe on the way back. There are caves, mines, villages, forts, castles, mills all kinds of places to go inside and explore, everywhere.

    NONE of this is apparent until you’ve been playing for quite a while. I didn’t really begin to realise how complex and non-linear the concepts behind Rift are until Beta 3, so that would be after maybe 30 or 40 hours of gameplay. I think that is FAR too long to be hiding your light under a bushel.

    Fortunately for Trion, MMO players tend to be dogged and so long as word gets out that there IS a vibrant, thrilling game after the first 10 or 12 levels of routine, unoriginal tedium then many players will grit their teeth and grind their way towards it. But they really shouldn’t have to.

    • Daria says:

      While their approach isn’t good for obtaining max # of customers, I hope it will be a boon to the community in the long run. I’m thinking the people who feel entitled to get everything “nao” and early will not subscribe. You know the spastic “this is not enough like WoW” or “this is too much like WoW” crowd who can’t see the game for what it is and don’t know the concept of slowly developing your character over time. It would be great to get an “old school” community going!

    • Gordon says:

      I wouldn’t say the first impression is terrible but yeah, it’s not as strong as Age of Conan.

      Still, I’m going to persist because it is fun and I have faith in the developers. Plus comments like yours, Bhagpuss, really make me want to experience the higher levels.

  14. amcl says:

    It’s just another single player game! So fed up with MMORPGs trying to be co-op multiplayer games. The folk that play them are so not interested, and I’m sad to say I counted you amongst them when we “played” the other night.

    Also, I did a dungeon this morning and once again no one spoke and once again someone threw a hissy fit! It’s a game FFS!

    • Gordon says:

      Brother, the problem is that you don’t want to play with other people, you want them to stop what they are doing and babysit you and then whine constantly if they don’t. And you so conveniently forget that I started several character from scratch in WoW to play with you, giving up the characters I wanted to play when you rerolled, and then you left me all by myself when you lost interest in the game! Then when you finally returned you complained that I was too busy playing with the character that I had continued to level instead of starting all over again with you! And you wonder why I have no patience any more :)

      Family eh…

  15. João Carlos says:

    I think I need return to the game lore. Teh game story line is too much complex, so need time for get it.

    For make things easier to understood:
    1- the guardian tutorial area is 20 years in the past, when the Kingdom of Malthosia had a civil war;
    2- one side used the defiant machines to crack the world magick protection and Regulos and the other evil gods return to Telara;
    2a- take note that Orphiel (defiant side) say he was used as a “tool” by the evil king… and the evil king notes show it… but the guardians blame the defiant for crack the ward;
    3- the good gods send the guardian ascended (ressurrected persons with more than one soul) for fight the evil king;
    4- the guardian ascended return 20 years after, when Port Scion (Malthosia capital city) fell after its magick protection, that was build by the defiant (Orphiel too make good things, see, he can be a mad scientist, but he is not an evil mad scientist), was destroyed by a guardian working for Regulos;
    4a- now start the the timeline I name “The Dark Future”, the guardian ascended blame the defiant for the losing of Port Scion and invade Freemarch and destroy the city of Meridiam;
    4b- the defiant don’t have ascended at that timeline, so they are forced to retreat;
    4c- the guardian ascended are not strong enough for stop Regulus, and he conquer and destroy the world;
    4d- the defiant build a machine that makes their ascended (defiant tutorial area) and they fight their last stand while send their ascended to the past for change the timeline;
    5- the defiant ascended return to the past for appear near Port Scion, just after the city was conquered, at same time the guardian ascended return;
    6- the defiant ascended stop the guardian invasion to Freemarch (the first quests at Freemarch zone) and so change that “Dark Future”;
    7- now there is a new timeline, and both guardian and defiant make a war between them and against the invasion rifts.

    See… it is not hard to understood!

    Oh… wait… I don1 understood all above…

  16. Daria says:

    I agree with MMOgamerchick and Bhagpuss, the game gets far more interesting the longer you play.

    Based on the starter zones alone I was feeling disappointed, but as you slowly get into more of the lore you do start to feel more immersed in the world. Also with the Rifts and PvP, it feels a little “sandboxy” at times so you aren’t feeling so bogged down with running quests. There’s also reason to explore with the “collections” system and I’ve heard there are neat little puzzles to be found in each zone. Being that this is beta, I haven’t bothered too much with the exploring aspect but will definitely slow down and do so on launch.

    You also can’t judge the community yet. I think most of these people who are trying the game out because it is free right now and are whining that it isn’t WoW will leave us come launch. Then we can really get down to business.

  17. Epiny says:

    Rift looks cool, but I have no reason to leave WoW.

  18. Dril says:

    The WoW opening zones are immersive?

    I found Rift’s Defiant one far more interesting than any of the new VEHICLES HOOOOO WoW starter zones.

    Also: I kind of thought it was Atheists vs Blind Believers, not really good vs evil per se.

    I like Rift. A lot…

    …At this point anyway.

    • Gordon says:

      I think the Worgen zone was very immersive and I actually really like the way WoW handles the newbie zones. They very clearly define what you are, what you’re doing and make you feel like you are the race you picked. I love unique starting areas and cities for races.

  19. Zaeni says:

    So… is anyone here starting an eu guild ?

  20. Katmi says:

    Rift is compelling in that it offers new scenery to WOW players which I’m bettin make up 99% of the Rift Beta players lol. However.. I have to agree that the game does not have the finesse at this point to even be compared to WOW. I think it could with a lot of added content and tweaking. After playing the Rift beta I decided that I would most likely not pay a monthly fee that could possibly be more than WOW’s for a game that has 1/3 the content. I may possibly consider it on down the road when more content has been added to Rift, but for now it is definitely not worth the money to me. I will continue with good ol’ WOW.

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