Developer: Trion Worlds
Players: 1 / Mass Multiplayer Online
Genre: Fantasy / RPG
Australian Release Date: March 2nd 2011
Australian Rating: M
Rift is a little different to previous MMORPGs. This difference is interaction based with random rifts opening up spewing out planar creatures that you need to work together with other players to close, and invasions from any of the 8 primal forces fighting for control over the world of Telara. These occurrences happen at every level of the game, and when nearby you have the option to ‘Join Public Group’, which you can leave once the battle is complete. These public groups make for a very involved community, as players are encouraged by the game to help others and work together. The ease of grouping (the big button that pops up at the top of the screen) doesn’t hurt either.
In Rift character creation, you must first choose a side. You can either pick to be a Guardian, believing in and chosen by the gods to save the world; or a Defiant, those who’ve turned away from the Vigil and believe that their fate is in their own hands, and thus have become somewhat technological. Contrary to what you may think based on these descriptions (I know I did), the choice of side does not affect what classes are available to you. Each side has three races to choose from, each with a male and female counterpart, and each race has access to all four classes. These classes are the generic Warrior, Mage, Cleric and Rogue (no tech based one – the Defiant technology is story based only). Don’t let this seemingly limited choice deter you, for once your character is created, it has 8 ‘Souls’ to choose from in any combination of three. These are special for each class, and you choose how each soul is levelled, and thus what skills you particular character learns. For such a simple concept, it allows for a wide range of skill/class customisation. As for cosmetic customisation, there are more options than in Lord of the Rings Online, and thus more potential outcomes. And with the wonderful graphics that come with this newer generation game, each character looks amazing, whether they are delicate or rough. The detail and scenery is also obviously brilliant.
Which side you choose affects game play quite considerably. You start in not only a different area, but a different time (one before the rest of the game is set, where you are brought back to life by the Vigil, and one after, where you are sent back in time by use of technology). As well as this, you are feed a different side of the same story, led to believe that your side is the true side and the enemy side is wrong (just like in a real war). Ultimately, there is a common enemy, so why the two sides continue to fight is beyond me, but it makes for fun gaming and more involved story. This story also continue throughout the game, from the get go. You are an Ascended, one of those destined to save Telara, and throughout the game you get the feeling of being part of the whole. There is never one hero, and quests are about each hero doing their part, e.g. a quest may involve killing some wolves, but the story for the quest states that they are constantly getting help from the Ascended, so if you could also kill 10, that would help thin the numbers out. Small touches like this really affect how you feel about the story and the community.
Game play and combat are very similar to other MMORPGs, being keyboard and mouse based. Much like the others you can assign buttons to different attacks, moves or commands. It is nothing special, but why dramatically change an effective system of play? One thing that does affect this is your choice of souls. Can I recommend you choose one healing based soul for each character, as it is very difficult at times to stay alive when you do not have someone else to take the beating or a way to heal yourself when potions are “cooling down” after use? Each class has at least one soul that has healing abilities and at least one soul that has summoning abilities. Each of those make playing the game much easier, so it is worth taking them into consideration.
Levelling involves opening your “Soul Tree” and choosing where you wish to allocate the point(s) earned once achieving that level. Every two points allocated in a tree, opens up new abilities in the roots. This is just basically how you learn more abilities. Crafting is simple as well. You can pick a maximum of three crafting professions, in any order you like, and can level them when and how you like. Much less complicated than in LOTRO, but still encourages working with others.
Rift is currently the only subscribe pay per month game I play, but as soon as the lifetime subscription comes to Australia I will be jumping on it. I find it more fun to play by myself, casually joining with other people for short amounts of time and then continuing on my way. But there is nothing to stop someone playing in groups the whole way through. The map gets cleared just by following the quests, and there is absolutely no need to grind as you level appropriately for the area you are up to. It is probably the most balanced game I have played online. Rift is what World of Warcraft should have become. There are many similarities, and many ex-wow players have converted to it. You can see where Trion Worlds has gone “What makes WoW so popular? How can we make that better?” because it is better than WoW in every way imaginable. If you are not a fanboy of Wow, but do enjoy playing it, you will love Rift. You will find what you have been missing. If you are looking for a casual game to play online, Rift is probably even better than LOTRO, as LOTRO is very involved, and when you play, you want to immerse yourself for hours in the story. It is just a fun, light game, which still has enough story to hold your attention.
Character Creation 10
Game Play/Combat 9
Ease of Play 9
Links of Interest:
Official Home Page