I have to say it, if Rift was a vampire, it would be one of the Twilight ones. All pretty and sparkly. But still a vampire. Still with the same urge to suck blood.
I spent last weekend playing it, courtesy of a free trial code valid for one weekend only. And managed to get both a Guardian and a Defiant cleric up to level 15.
I didn’t want to spend money on it without trying it out, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to do so because I might have been a bit disappointed otherwise. It felt like the love-child of WoW and LotRO. With the UI and keybindings and a whole lot more identical to WoW, but with the prettiness I’d missed from LotRO.
It meant I was able to wade straight in, and not have to worry about what key opened what, I automatically used the WoW ones, L for questlogs, C for character stats, O for social etc. Hell, even the screens looked pretty much the same. Good for useability – they knew where they’d be getting most of their playerbase then…..
General chat, still the same as WoW, but with less “lol n00b” comments. That’s because so many are still noobs to it, I guess….ever the cynic here!
Playability, good – same as LotRO, WoW etc. Same sorts of quests, same style mechanics even in places. Outfits, a hideous mish mash of a lot of different ages and places, from Roman, medieval, Renaissance. There was some Persian style, some tribal bellydance outfits, all sorts. You name it, it was there. No discrimination. And yes, it fell straight into the trap of females not wearing much too – my poor cleric had at one point pantless pants. They were bare leg pants. But then the male characters also had to suffer an exposed nipple or two.
I spent a lot of time in Rifts. I liked the mechanic of being able to join a group, and help out. I wasn’t so sure of the number of events that were going on. Also, when when you had an on-level group dealing with a Rift, it was good. But throw in a few overpowered characters into the mix and it wasn’t so good. Plus there were times when there were so many in the group it felt like a complete slogpile clusterfuck. Like PvP battlefields without the PvP element, but still the confusion. It reminded me of the Ettenmoors in LotRO…..
The cities – both sides – were pretty. The scenery was pretty. But then graphics have improved considerably since I first started to play MMOrpgs.
Now to the bit which was puzzling me. I felt a bit …unenthused. It SHOULD have grabbed my imagination and made me want to go out and buy a copy NOW….but it didn’t. Instead it made me wonder about how long I’d get out of the gameplay, if I DID buy it. And I couldn’t work out why until I did a bit of review reading. And it hit the nail on the head for me. A good few of them said much the same, and I’m forced to agree. It’s pretty. It’s polished. It knows what it’s doing and what it’s for.
But a lot of it’s pretty much unoriginal.
It’s grabbed all the best concepts out of all the major games, and put them together. For example the crafting was a mix of WoW and LotRO, with almost identical craft careers of WoW, but with the added LotRO requirements of workbenches. Okay, it tosses in artifact collecting – but that’s pretty much akin to archeology, with no digging and more random luck….More an “”oh look, a shiny”. It allows you to collect things like books too…..again, luck I suspect….
Guardians are whiter than white, holier than thou with gods on their side, and use blue. Hmmm. Alliance much? Defiant are the ones who are struggling, they have had to fight their way the hard way…..hmmmm. And definitely a feel of the Horde about them, with their banners of red…..
The introduction and background was hard and fast, and OMG, you’re a hero and Ascended, and OMG…..insta-fame. RP-wise I didn’t like that at all. I like my characters to grow into their roles – and I definitely don’t like super-sparkly at the start.
Okay, so we DO have the souls thing, and that we can be oooh, more than one thing. Well, I have a hybrid in WoW, and for me it felt like having to spec out a dual spec, with the one amount of points. There are some intriguing ideas there, but would need more than a weekend to see if they were worthwhile. I don’t know how it’ll work out in the long run, but….
Overall, I think I’d hoped for something a little bit more dazzlingly original – the familiarity and comfort of knowing instantly what kind of keys to press was all well and good, but you know what they sometimes say about familiarity breeding contempt…..I think I’d have enjoyed just a little more floundering at the start, thank you very much! It didn’t feel new and shiny as it should have. As I’d have liked it to feel.
I guess I’m being just a little harsh on the game. It IS very playable, and I did enjoy the trial a great deal. But I wasn’t sure if it warranted the gushing in general chat of how much BETTER it was than WoW, how this was Teh Best Game Evar. And some of the highly disparaging remarks about WoW. Well, of COURSE it’s going to have better graphics and gameplay. Of course it’s going to be more polished. It’s a new game. It’s like comparing an 18 year old model to one who’s in her thirties. They’ll both be beautiful, just not in the same way. Everyone seemed to forget what had been one of the major foundations for this new and BRILLIANT game. And that it wasn’t really all that original. And that really pissed me off.
I’ve not decided if I’ll get it yet. I need to think on that, long and hard. Had I not been playing WoW, I would have definitely gotten a copy following my experience. But I am glad I have had the chance to try it.