By CornBREDX 19 Comments
I decided to write a blog overviewing Rift. I just started playing a couple days ago, and have settled on a class I think I will enjoy (I tried cleric first, as I prefer to heal, but leveling on it was dull and I didn't like it at all- so I started a mage).
Anyway, this is not a review by any means, just my thoughts on the game.
We'll start at the beginning. Rift is a fantasy MMO boasting that "We're not in Azeroth anymore". While I quite enjoy the Wizard of Oz reference, most have taken this to be a gloves off throw down between World of Warcraft and Rift. WoW will probably win that fight, but I'll get to that.
First thing you do before purchasing the game is see if your computer can handle it (if your like me and cant afford right now to upgrade to a current PC- if you have a beast machine you probably don't check). My computer is 7 years old now, was high end when I bought it, but quickly became not so much and is now probably more low end. While I can run things like Bioshock or Assassin's Creed fine, anything after said games generally requires I start lowering graphics settings. That being said, the requirements for the game on steam (and the often not to be believed systemrequirementslab.com) said I meet at least (if not a little above) the minimum requirements.
First thing you do, if you're like me, after downloading and installing the game (which didn't take long comparing to other recent releases such as DCUO, and current MMOs out there like WoW, the patch downloader for Rift is faster from what I've seen, which is great) you want to set your settings to your liking. It wanted me to use the low res textures (because my computer is old) I didn't believe the game though and fiddled with it for about an hour until I found it was right and have since settled on the lowest settings for my best performance.
Anyway, character creation is ok, but not great. Yes, you have some facial customization, a height slider, color, and make up changes- as well as a few facial tattoos to choose from for your character. What strikes me as interesting, though, was- while it's better than WoW (which had basically no customization) it's not really better than some other MMOs (like EQ2 for example, or SWG). When you consider the best customization being still CoX, and SWG being below that and then EQ2- this being below that still says something. Yes, you can make your character look kind of unique, but it's still very limited. That being said, it's not terrible customization and if you spend enough time fiddling with the sliders you will probably be fairly happy with your character.
You will immediately find, when playing, that the quest system is fairly monotonous on it's own. There's really not much difference between it and EQ (some would say WoW, but WOW just reiterated on EQ so I'll stick with that. Others would say Ultima, I know, but I don't count that one as while there is some similarities EQ is more prevalent). You get a quest, you go find the creatures to kill or things to collect, rinse and repeat. For about 8 levels you'll be wondering if maybe this isn't so great and maybe you should just give up again and cave in to playing WoW again, but then you encounter your first rift (it will be around level 8 or 9, guarantee it).
Now Rifts are really just a story integrated way of giving players a Player Quest (a quest for all players in the Area to partake in). I think they're much better handled than Warhammer (if you're curious to know), but they are still just PQs. When you are in the area of one you get a large "Join Public Group" button that groups you with everyone in the area instantly- basically rallying everyone to the PQ (if you are doing the same quest as someone near you, you can also target them and click the "join public group" button over their picture). The cool thing about them is they can appear at any time, almost anywhere (they do have specific spawn points but there's a ton of points and it's random where and when they spawn), and sometimes even send another event out called "Invaders" (which is basically an attacking force sent from the Rift to attack a settlement or City consisting of 1 Leader and 2 or more companions depending on the amount of players in the area). Minor Rifts can generally be soloed, and the system will up the difficulty if more players are around. Major Rifts require a group to take down, are often epic, and if you do them fast enough generally culminate in a nice boss battle.
The nice thing about Rifts is the game makes them important to take out and rewards you well for doing so. I'm only level 20, but having done Rifts as well as Invasions (which I'll cover in a minute) has netted me enough to earn one epic piece of loot so far- in 25 hours of play (on the specific character I refer too; i stopped playing at lvl 20 on my first character and have about 45 hours in game total). If you don't take out a rift it sends invaders to take out a settlement or city which means you will have a problem when trying to get quests. This makes it necessary to defend the Ward Stones. If you don't you can't quest without getting killed in a normally safe area within a city or a settlement.
Another really neat thing they do are Invasions. Basically, a plane will randomly decide to attack the zone and the Zone's Leader will call out for everyone to attack. This gives a zone wide PQ to meet certain requirements. If you do this in time, you will spawn the Invasion Leader which is basically a huge World Raid Boss. These fights are epic and a lot of fun to do. There is very little in the way of failing to fight off an invasion, really all that happens if you fail is you don't get a reward for completing the World Event. Same as a singular Rift, you can ignore these Invasions, but it's even more important you take care of invasions- as, if you don't, all the settlements and cities will be over run and you will not be able to quest until the invasion is beaten back. I have never found the Invasions or Rifts to not be fun to do, though, so really the only times I haven't done them is when I'm in the middle of a quest and no where near the Rift or Groups taking on the Invasion.
This is where I'll talk about graphics. Graphics are not a big deal to me, and really you only need to know this if you have a low end PC (as a lot that play WoW do, as one big reason so many play wow is just about any computer can run it). Rift will lose ultimately to WoW because it does not cater so well to low end computers. While I can run the game fine at lowest settings, the game begins to chug badly when an invasion starts. Just the act of the invasion being around makes my frame rate drop, and being in a battle of epic proportions that often come from the invasions slows the game to a crawl. I generally just spam my fireball spell until it ends as I'm pretty useless other than that. Now I know my computer is old, and I know that makes me less likely to matter, but just the fact that I can run WoW on high settings fine but chug on low settings on this leads me to believe this game could never win in a fight against wow. A large portion of WoW players don't have computers that much better than mine so my speculation is most wouldn't switch to a game their computer can barely handle during it's most fun event.
I already know I need to upgrade, give me money and I most certainly will (haha). Until I can afford to build my new computer, though, I will personally deal with the chugging. The game is still fun for me. My only point, really, is this does not seem to be a WoW Killer for this reason (there are others but this is one that stands out for me).
The class system is interesting, but not ultimately new. Some will be interested in the amount of what the game calls souls (which are basically just specializations) as they have things like Bard or Justicar- but may be disappointed in some of the skills (at least as little as I have seen).
Druid, for instance, is tied into the Cleric Class. It's less of the wizard/shape shifting class in WoW, and more of a melee DPS/spells/heals/fairy pet class. I found that a bit disappointing- as I really enjoyed the way it played in WoW- but Trion decided to take a different approach and in that I can't really fault them, but it's just something to know.
Anyway, each class (Mage, Cleric, Warrior, and Rogue) has 8 souls (and I hear 1 pvp soul although I don't know anything about that- sorry I don't PvP much). You start with 3 that you get from quests when you begin, and can earn the other 5 at level 13 doing quests to obtain them (which is extremely easy to do). You can buy 3 additional roles (alternate class specializations that you can switch to at any time out of combat- similar to WoW's secondary role you can choose to buy) totaling 4 specializations you can have when you can afford to unlock all the roles. You can also respecialize anytime from a trainer for a (what I can tell anyway) decent fee so if you don't like your setup you can always change it and getting other souls if you don't like your soul is also no big deal (as said earlier it's easy to get these, I just got all 5 on my mage in about 30 minutes at lvl 21).
All in all, the game at it's core is not much different than it's predecessors. It's a lot of fun when Rifts (and especially invasions) come into play, but other than that it doesn't do much to innovate on MMOs as a whole. It is a really good start, as the developers are quick to patch up any issues, but if your looking for something different than what the Normal MMO has to offer you won't necessarily be impressed.
Hope you enjoyed my thoughts; Please feel free to share what you think of the game and/or to critique my grammar if that's your thing.
Telara ain't bad, but it's nothing new either.