The Gravity of RIFT

Posted: April 20, 2011 by Raparth in Uncategorized

This week I would like to briefly comment on what I’ve been playing most lately: RIFT.    If you’ve played a MMO, and particularly if you’ve played one like World of Warcraft, it is instantly comfortable to play.  This is perhaps the best observation I can make about the game:  RIFT has very little, if any, true innovation, but seems to do everything so well.  In many ways, it looks (game-play-wise) just like Guild Wars, or World of Warcraft, or Champions Online, or a number of other MMOs (I list those 3 because I’ve personally played each one).  There are the core rolls of “healer,” “dps,” and “tank.”  There are multiple classes, specifically the four core archetypes of fantasy: Warrior, Cleric, Mage, and Rogue.  Each class has very skill trees, specializations, or (as they are known in RIFT) “souls.”

The Classes are something I fundamentally prefer to more traditional ways of having them.  There are only 4 classes (compare to WoW’s 10), but each class has 8 souls (compare to WoW’s 3 specs per class).  This is a whopping total of 36 talent trees; WoW has 30.  The difference, however, is that in World of Warcraft, every mage has the same three trees active all the time.  In RIFT, a given mage has 3 of their 8 trees active.  This creates a great deal more variation in play-style without requiring players to level 10 different characters (something I hate about WoW et al.).  I’m leveling my cleric, for instance, as Inquisitor/Purifier/Cabalist.  This seems to be a great soloing build (I can handle multiple mobs, but I’m better at single targets).  Instead of a “dual-spec” (i.e. 2 ways you can have your talents picked out, that you can switch between when out of combat), RIFT has up to 4 (or 5, I don’t quite recall) sets of souls.  I bought a second “spec” (called roles in RIFT) for my cleric, though I haven’t played it yet.  It’s Purifier/Warden/Sentinel (meaning I’m a healer, with particular emphasis on single-target spells, but with a fair bit of flexibility).

The Rifts are, frankly, even cooler that I’d anticipated.  At any time, a portal to one of the six elemental planes (Life, Death, Earth, Air, Fire, Water) can open up on top of me, or an outpost.  These rifts will expand, send out groups to attack nearby bases (both of PCs, NPCs, and even other elemental types) which they can destroy and take control over, giving them a foothold to launch further attacks.  It is a dynamic landscape that keeps questing even more fun and gives a true sense of urgency to the meta-plot of RIFT (i.e. that the planet, Telara, is under increasing stress and attacks from invading elemental forces, endangering the survival of the planet as a whole).  It gives a great reason (particularly to me as a roleplayer) to fight different wander groups of monsters, because, well, they’re probably on their way to lay waste to some town/village/outpost of friends of mine.  If the Quest NPCs aren’t there (since they were driven out or slain by the invaders), you aren’t doing the quests, after all.  To seal a rift you fight different waves of monster, and the better you do (as an individual and as  a group) the better rewards you get.

The game itself has so many great little features that I can’t truly list them all.  Individually, each is something so small that it isn’t a serious decider, but these little influences pile up every hour I play.  There’s a reason player characters can resurrect (when resurrection spells being used so often would totally change how life was lived by a society)!  If you die, you can “soul walk” (cooldown 1 hour) which gives you 15 seconds to run around before you resurrect.  This saves you from the vast majority of running back to your corpse.  Characters who cast spells actually use their equipment, something that’s a super nice change from games like WoW where a weapon just sits on my character and never gets used.  “Public transit” (done by giant portals) is instantaneous, instead of the long wait taking a gryphon(or equivalent) taxi in another MMO.  There’s a chat channel specifically for every 10-level range (e.g. 10-19, 20-29) which is great for finding other people to quest with.  You can get a mount from the very beginning (I didn’t have the money {or collector’s edition} get mine until level 17, but I enjoyed running around for a while), instead of having to run for soooo  maaaany leeeveeels.

The main drawback I’ve found is that, well, I don’t know anyone else who plays.  So far, my server (Faeblight, Defiant side) seems to have a great population of nice people willing to answer newbish questions without trolling.  Added to that, I haven’t really yet been looking for a guild/group to play with.  Still, with WoW being the heavyweight in terms of total population and in terms of people who I know who play… The social aspect (as I’ve told many people many times, the only reason I play WoW is this fact) always leans towards WoW.  Still, I’m really enjoying RIFT, particularly since I seem fairly burnt out on WoW (don’t get me wrong , raiding is still hella-fun, but daily quests, leveling, professions, even daily dungeons… they bore me to death already…).

If anyone plans on trying out RIFT, try out Faeblight and we should quest together.  I’d love to have people to chat with online and talk about the game.  If you already play, drop me a line (in the comment section or send me an email) letting  me know what server you play on (if you are already pretty established).  The more people who play RIFT, the more likely I am to play it.

Next week (or, maybe, before next Wednesday), I’ll write about Portal 2.  I’ve already completed both the single and cooperative campaigns, and thoroughly enjoyed both.  I’ll give more detailed feedback some time I’m not feeling so vaguely ill.

This is the part where he kills you,

~Mr. Pacman


  1. Cynthia says:

    You did not just type “hella-fun” … lol.

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