Date: May 24, 2011
Well that sucked! I think it was almost guaranteed that as soon as I started my 7 day trial for Rift, that every single second of my day got sucked up by doing what felt like every other thing. So the original estimate of around 24 hours of play time actually transpired to be around 5 in total.
Those 5 hours were still enjoyable, but I feel I have only just scratched the surface.
I did get to experience more of the game though and here it is in all it’s brief glory.
I climbed to the heady heights of level 9. I know ‘steady on there, with such awesome levelling I’m gonna get dizzy’. Saying that, despite my low-level I was able to at least see some of the different areas of the game.
The opening few levels were set in the future. The world had been pretty much destroyed by the rifts that the Defiants had no small part to play in opening. The only hope was to send me back to the past to avert the disaster happening in the future.
The climax of these opening quests showed you the first signs of a rift, which in simple terms is a large purple swirly thing that monsters of varying levels come out of. After destroying the monsters I was able to jump through the portal and back in time to “put things right that once went wrong. Never knowing if the next leap would the one that took him home”.
The opening quest line was engaging and it did set the story well, the introduction of a few well scripted cut-scenes also helped to produce a certain cinematic feel. Once I got to the past, everything was nice and green; calm almost, with birds singing, gentle breezes and large periodic sounds of explosions and warfare. Yeah, here was I thinking the past was going to be dull.
I picked up more quests to help show me around the place and then I was off helping the war effort. Nothing too taxing though; firing cannons, killing a general on a bridge etc. I could see a few PvP places to visit on my mini map, but I figured my level 6 (at this point) would probably not have much luck at actually staying alive for very long.
However, I did see some purple blobs on my mini-map and the odd alert about points being about to fall or being under attack. They were rifts, proper ones as well, not the fake rift I saw in the opening quest hub. As I got closer to the rift I saw a horde of people, fighting what looked like large skeletal mammoths in a purple swirly thing. “Nice, better get into a group” I thought, but no sooner had I thought that when a button popped up on my screen asking if I wanted to join the public group. I did and without any more fuss I was fighting along 20 or so other people helping to defend Telara from the nasty undead elephants… (I’m sure they have proper names, which are probably more terrifying)
I had to be careful being as low-level as I was, but as this was only a level 10 rift I was actually being of some help and for my trouble I got some planar items which seem to work like PvP currency, and a random item that I can’t open until level 10. I strongly suspect that these rifts are the idea that the entire game has been built upon, it’s called Rift after all. It’s a nice idea, but not sure whether it would still be as novel in the later levels, though at such a low-level there is so much more scope for change, it’s difficult for me to see.
I helped close a few rifts, but found that I died a few more times than I should have when I got over-confident and tried to take on a level 10 by myself. Though that does bring me to another point. The difference between levels seems to be more significant than other games. For example, fighting someone three levels higher on another popular MMO would only be tricky if there was more than one mob. I tried to take on one wolf only 3 levels higher than me in Rift, he killed me and I only managed to take him down to around 40%.
A few more ‘kill a few of these’ and ‘collect some of these’ type quests, and I obtained a quest which would start me down the crafting path. I was given a quest to speak to the gathering skill trainers and choose one. There are three skills, butchery (which allows you to remove animal leathers and parts such as teeth or claws), Mining (Which allows you to acquire base metals and gemstones) and foraging (which allows you to acquire plants and items for potions and the like.) Unfortunately, I didn’t really have any chance to investigate this much. It looks like other games’ crafting. Once you have the skill you just need to right-click on the various nodes or corpses to use your skill, each use of the skill increases (or has the chance to increase) your skill by a point, which will then in turn allow you to mine/butcher higher nodes and corpses. I didn’t need to buy a tool to gather either which is nice, I hate having to carry around gathering tools with me. Even worse, when they have a durability and you have to repair them.
So? How was Rift?
Well, that was it. I’m hoping I have time to play for at least a few minutes tonight to be able to get to level 10 at least for my ego. I’m not hopeful though, time being what it is. If I get too itchy I can always sign up for another 7 day trial with a different email address (hopefully)
The question I suppose is, is this a WoW beater. I don’t like really phrasing it in that way, as it seems to suggest that WoW is the greatest benchmark to which all MMO’s should be measured. Though, be it by luck, design, business sense or a deal with the devil, it is probably the most well-known.
Anyhow, In all honesty, from what I’ve seen (and I know I’ve not exactly had a full and in-depth experience) I don’t think it is. There are certainly some points where it wins, the 3 difference subclasses, the rifts that pop up and the nice cinematics to name a few. But ultimately what you have here is still something that didn’t (or couldn’t) break away from the World of Warcraft mould, it looks and plays a little too similar for my
There probably isn’t a win-win situation here. If you make it too similar to wow, then people wonder why they should play it, when they can just play wow. Make it too different and people don’t recognise it for what it is, and it gets overlooked or chastised for being too different.
Sorry, I kinda sidetracked myself there. I think that if Rift had a price tag of around £20 rather than £40 I could be convinced to try it for real, at the moment I’ll have to give it a disappointed…. No thanks”.