Returning To RIFT
I’ve been playing RIFT again for just over a week now, ever since Trion launched the 1.7 patch which makes it free to play up to level 20. A great idea, in my opinion and very, very welcome. I rolled four new alts on a new server and am enjoying the game thoroughly. Chances are I’ll probably resubscribe for another month or two soon. I gotta say, I really like the free-2-try model as it combines the huge benefit that free-2-play brings of being able to play a game before you fork out any cash, combined with the discreet monthly subscription model – no cash shops, no wallet nudges.
It’s almost a year since RIFTs release and Trion have been working hard for their players, something which is not only admirable but very noticeable. Aside from making the game free-2-try, the last patch also made a few changes to the soul system, granting access to every soul right from level one and letting players use pre-set combinations if they so desire. It’s just a small change but something I really like as it means you can get stuck right into playing around with soul combinations, one of the best aspects of the entire game, right from the get go.
After playing WoW and SW:TOR for the past few months, I have to say I’m loving the class flexibility that RIFT offers. Not only can all classes (sorry, callings) fill more than one Holy Trinity role (although their potency at high level is apparently debatable), being able to switch between souls and soul combinations on the fly is pretty fantastic. Not only that, but I forgot how fun and unique a lot of the souls are. There’s a Bard soul for crying out loud. A Bard! More MMOs need Bards.
It’s not all sunshine and roses however as I still find the lack of variety in the playable races very disappointing. I’m honestly getting tried of this new trend in MMOs to just give everyone bland, boring races. These are high fantasy and science fiction games for crying out loud – let’s see more gigantic Ogres, exotic Rat Men and hairy, warbling Wookies. Likewise, the character models in RIFT are pretty lackluster with something curiously bizarre about them all. I mean this in the nicest and least offensive possible manner but every human male I created somehow looked like he suffered from Down syndrome.
I could continue to comment on how I also still find the lack of areas for progression rather repetitive or just how good the public quest and rift system is but I won’t bother because you’ve heard it all before. Suffice to say, I’m having a lot of fun and am glad I went back. Well, actually I’m gald Trion gave me the opportunity to go back and try it out again for free. It’s a really solid fantasy MMO that I think (and certainly hope) has a bright future ahead of it.
Finally, I will end on an interesting comparison to SW:TOR. In a game that utilises almost no voice work, do I miss the cutscenes and ’story driven’ element that The Old Republic offers? Yes and no. No in the sense that I’ve come the conclusion that I don’t really care about listening to someone ramble on about why I need to kill ten nasties or collect five piles of crap – I don’t need that, I just need the quest and then the killing, hinging on a fun (and interesting) gaming experience. However, I do find myself missing the larger sense of a story, one that cutscenes and voice acting do actually help bring alive. I still have no idea what the story in RIFT is. So I guess ultimately, for me, the perfect balance would be to have some cutscenes and voice dialogue around the main story quests but then just forgo it for the side ones.
Hmm, maybe Age of Conan had it right all along?