Returning To RIFT

Rift Angel

I'm starting to wonder why I ever stopped playing 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?

-Gordon

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26 Comments

  1. bhagpuss says:

    Yet again you read my mind! I was (and still am) going to post tomorrow on returning to Rift.

    I’m totally with you on the unimaginative selection of races in Telara. Nearly all mine are either Bahmi or Dwarves because those are the only ones that don’t look like people I can see when i look out my window. I’m not asking for pandas, but something that isn’t just another flavor of human would be nice.

    On cut scenes, the MMO that I thought did it best was FFXI. I didn’t play for long (Mrs Bhagpuss loathed it) but I was there for a few weeks and the highlights were each new cut scene as i revealed them. There weren’t all that many but the quality was exquisite. I never felt that I wasn’t watching my own character, rather I felt I was learning about my own character. Unique in my experience.

    I also liked Guild Wars cut scenes but more because they fall into the “so bad it good” camp.

    • Gordon says:

      “I’m not asking for pandas, but something that isn’t just another flavor of human would be nice.”

      Totally. It’s probably my biggest gripe with RIFT right now and something I hope an expansion will address. Fingers crossed they announce one soon!

  2. Lycanthrope says:

    Have been thinking of giving RIFT another try, but honestly have no idea how I could. I am trying to complete achievements on one main in WoW; gear another on different server, and level another to max on yet another. I could just give up sleep altogether, since I am having trouble with it anyway, but I hear there are a few complications to that.

  3. Kelindia says:

    One of the biggest reasons why Rift has trouble adding races is because they decided to add a height bar. What the height bar does is force all armor designs to have to fit into a nice neat collaspable piece. This means that the pieces of armor that they design for any new race have to be able to do the same thing. Keeping the models similar makes this process easier and allows the armor to appear relatively the same across all the races. I imagine we won’t see new races for Rift until they release an expansion because of the work involved.

    The very dry storyline has been a problem since day 1. Pretty much everyone understands 2 things by the time they reach 50. First that Regulos is really evil and is trying to invade Telara and that Alsbeth is his main lackey you are trying to stop. The rest of the stories along with the invasions are more local based stories. If you are trying to figure out what is going on in the world of Telara currently the answer is based off the latest world event. The ongoing world events tell the true story of what is going on. The current endboss of Rift is still Akylios who was launched in patch 1.3. Officially lore wise we are at a transition before any real threat has emerged. In lore Akylios, Alsbeth and Greenscale are considered slain and the Wanton and Golden Maw alliance has been beaten back.

    The biggest problem that has emerged lore/story wise is that it is becoming increasingly hard to follow where the story has gone.

    The main problem I had with the game is just how much of the content doesn’t have alot of depth to it and simply becomes a grind to accomplish before reaching a state where you can be useful or engage in the activity you desire to. The other problem for me is how much Trion removed movement alterations in general as a factor in pvp compared to WoW pvp.

    In general it frequently feels like Trion makes alot of correct decisions from a design perspective but for what ever reason seem to fall on the why do I care platform or lose sight of their intended goal. Chronicles in particular come to mind. Their stories are pathetic at best and for being designed for duo and single players they messed up. They ended up being made for duo players or single players with better gear then they will drop as opposed to allowing a companion style chronicle allowing you to do them solo or bring a buddy instead of a companion. I’m would be particularily interested in the game if they were to say that they were going back and rehashing some of their ideas that became disoriented with redone questing altogether. Guild Wars 2 style events that replace questing would be favorable to me with a large overarcing chain throughout leveling and continuing throughout endgame.

    • Gordon says:

      No idea about the height thing but hopefully it won’t stop them from adding new races. I’m not really sure why it exists anyway, it’s pretty unnecessary.

      As for the content, it’s very similar to WoW in that regard. But that’s really where all MMOs are heading – max level treadmill grinds.

  4. Ulfast says:

    I´m also going to get back into Rift after this week. Been missing it as it was around 6 months ago I cancelled my sub. But two things that Trion need to do is, as you point out, bring in more races that are not humans and give them a new starting place. I have played throu the starting area for the Guardians around 10 times, it´s not that funny any more.

    Second, give the options for more beards. THe Humans can´t get any good beards, only a litlte one and I want to make a Gandalf look-a-like!

    Otherwise, carry on Trion :)

  5. Gazimoff says:

    I’ve also been looking at getting back into Rift (I have unfinished business there), but I’m hit with a couple of problems. The first being time – I’m spending a large chunk of time at the mo playing SWTOR and other games, although once I’m finished with my 3rd alt I’ll be wrapping up with that one.

    The second is laziness – I’ve locked myself out of my account three times now due to smartphone related issues that it’s seriously beginning to annoy me, and the final time I elected to quit the game instead of contacting support to get the issue resolved again. It’s my own fault for continually messing with the innards of my phone, but I like the keyfob authenticators for a reason.

  6. amcl says:

    So bro? Are we going to take part in this weird marriage thing in Rift, so that we can get into the Guinness Book of Records? Don’t worry, I’ll collect the divorce papers at the same time!

  7. amcl says:

    … On second thoughts … It costs too much.

  8. Overflow says:

    I 100% agree with your point about the voice overs. I’m leveling 4 characters in SWTOR and I never feel the urge to hit the space bar when the conversation pertains to the characters personal story, but I frequently space bar through the side quests. While I did listen to most of the voice overs for the side quests with my first character, I did occasionally want to skip over them. I never want to skip my main story cuts scenes.

    It makes me wonder how many other features could have been added or enhanced in the game had they not spent so much time and money on the voice element. Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying the game, but I do think it was overdone. Age of Conan was on to something, I concur!

  9. vortalism says:

    I actually did try Rift and after a couple of levels it does seem a bit monotonous once you get a couple levels in. The Soul System seemed cool and all but the setting was just too boring for me. I like the fact they had class flexibility but I just couldn’t grasp what the heck was going on or why I cared and what is the point of it all. I guess I also I like SW:TOR from a roleplaying perspective since I am the DM who is so story invested my players think I spend every waking minute making adjustments to my campaign setting.

    Some of the stuff that Rift has in their game I think WoW does better, and both games are really just WoW clones that turned out well. Also to say that one is less of a WoW clone for having a unique class system where you invest points in various archetypes is like saying your not a WoW clone for having long class quests, “engaging” storyline, Mass Effect styled morality options, and generally being in Space.

    Final verdict: both are equal WoW clones I guess I’m getting SW:TOR since I liked Knights of the Old Republic and would like to see more of it without having to learn anything.

  10. Bronte says:

    Time to try RIFT I guess, especially if freaking Gordon is into it now.

    Tell me, these new alts, you are playing them under the F2P banner on the same account you used to play on before?

  11. Taken says:

    Once I got to 50 in SWTOR my only options were to basically roll another alt. Seriously? After only a month or 2 thats all I can do? They are heralding changes in future patches with things that should have been in place for launch. Rift has 6 roles you can spec into for the various souls you have (and you’ll need them all). Then end game continues to only get better with the next world event dropping soon, the Planar Attunement for lvl 50’s, Ember Isle, new raids and dungeons, addons, etc. I have 3 50’s and I don’t even have time to leave my main to work on gearing the others up because we’re raiding Hammerknell, or doing a 10 man, or experts or trying to beat the master modes of the 5 mans. Hands down I think Rift is much better than SWTOR and I”m regretting I ever picked it up. Should have waited till summer to see how it was faring imo.

    • Gordon says:

      This is where I think Trion were really smart. They went for a game system that is obviously relatively easy – and cost effective – for them to update and enhance, meaning they can keep a steady stream of content coming. I think a lot of MMOs could learn from this.

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