Thursday, January 27, 2011

Flavors of RIFT

Yesterday morning I ran out and picked up a new video card and headed home happily. I popped it in and finally got the chance to get my hands dirty with Rift beta. I was sort of hoping to not like it, not wanting to pine for it through the next month if I did, in fact, like it. I ended up having a lot of fun and thoroughly enjoying the game. So let me share some first impressions, the game may change and be a whole different ball park at end game, like WoW, who knows. For now here are my impressions on what I've seen so far.

Every other blogger will tell you it's just like every other fantasy MMO game and it's nothing new and innovative. I'm not looking for new and innovative, I want something I enjoy that's fresh and fun. Rift is just that. I think the big selling point with me is just the variety of classes. You have four basic archetypes, or callings, which branch out into different trees. You pick from three of these and they can be changed, say you make a mistake and regret the choice. With the soul system you put points into three different trees and according to how you assign your points determines what abilities you get in the 'root' of the tree. It's pretty nifty in my opinion.

There were so many different options for classes. A bard, how many MMO games offer this anymore? Pure awesome! Rangers, which function like WoW's hunter class. A beastlord type class, EQ vets may appreciate this as even EQ2 never worked in a class like this. For pet lovers, like me there are mages, necros, even druids get pets along with rangers and bestmasters. There seems to be something for everyone in Rift as far as choices go. I love variety in classes and choices of how to spec. I was very impressed by all the flavors of play you could choose from.

I did try out many classes but in the end I settled for a ranger/bard/something else ranged [head is killing me this morning] and it was really a blast. I had a hard time deciding and almost went with a necro but I just wanted to try to see as much as I could in the beta event and went with a quick choice. I managed to get level eleven thus far.

Lets talk about some of the things like combat and UI. I thought the combat was very fluid and smooth. I really enjoyed killing stuff and questing, it was very engaging and not too slow where I wanted to fall asleep. Overall I really like how the combat works. I think the UI is pretty nice, not confusing so you shouldn't have any problems figuring anything out. There is even a built in quest helper, I love having this in a game. Call me lazy, whatever, I want to knock out quests and enjoy myself.

Graphics. They were not too shabby but maybe not my style so much. It's not that they were bad, I can't explain it. The races had nice looks to them, some better looking than others. Finally a game where dwarves are cute?! The graphics sort of reminded me of WAR. They were pretty but nothing really to write home about. I hate to say it but that's probably my biggest beef with games these days, too much realism, I want fantasy fake looking worlds with tons of vivid colors. But that's just me. If i want real looking trees, I'll go outside, thank you! But is an option for lower end computers to run it smoother and I think that is a plus. Things like mounts.. They were fantastic and some of the armor is pretty sweet looking too. The rifts are pretty cool looking too.

Speaking of rifts. I have read about Rift but not extensively, so I went in not knowing what to expect. The rifts are really fun! Rewards at the end are in a little bag icon you click when the rift is sealed. Sometimes I got currency other times materials and the occasional armor/item. I love how the button pops up to join a public quest group then it converts into a raid. This really makes things work out smoothly. Very nice addition as I heard in previous betas it was a bit of a pain without it.

Basically when a rift hits you kill mobs in different phases, each phase seems to get harder and you will need other people to help take these down. Very fun, very refreshing. I found myself looking for them and running to them every time I saw one. You don't have to engage in them, which is nice too. That's as far as I got with rifts and invasions, I saw some mobs wandering around, which they killed me but then kept going in the opposit direction.

Enough fluff? I am sure the cool looking mounts count and there will be vanity pets but there isn't much fluff, otherwise that I've seen anyhow. Being big on fluff I would have to say I am a bit disappointed but I knew it before hand.

I think I will be picking up RIFT and probably pre-ordering it to get in early. I really was impressed at how much fun it is. Sure it's just another fantasy game but I LOVE ME SOME FANTASY! So it's right up my alley. Maybe I won't like high end, who knows, I just want to have fun for now. Only time will tell.

Chit-Chat. I didn't even notice chat, when I did it was your basic free for all full of spam. It's not often that I am so engaged that I don't bother with reading chat, it was nice. There were tons of people but it was still fun and not a lot of waiting on re-spawns, yay.

Could it be a contender for WoW? Well it's one of the most polished MMO games I've seen in beta in recent years, besides hrmm... maybe Allods- who shot 'themselves' in the foot with the cash shop. So maybe being a subscription based MMO this game can offer us another MMO that really has substance. I didn't have to ask for help on any quests, much of anything really, everything is really well explained and some may call it hand holding... I actually like having some footing starting out in a MMO. Being lost in an MMO is no fun and can turn people away. As far as having substance I'll have to wait and see how high end is, when it's released.

So, I give RIFT a thumbs up. It's a sleek and polished game that delivers a lot of choices with classes. It's entertaining and the rifts keep things fun.I look forward to it's release. I'm so hooked...


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