Rift: Head Start Images To Hold Us Over

Trion Worlds certainly knows how to play an iTZKooPA. The strong showing of Rift in beta and a discounted Founder’s Price are enticing, but the stupid companion pet once again sealed the deal, causing me to purchase the Digital Collector’s Edition. Bundled in there faux package was an extra four days of playtime – assuming I could stand in a queue for hours on end. In fact, I did, and here’s what I encountered during my early travels.

The User Interface (above) is the first feature everyone notices about a game. EverQuest gave birth to WoW’s UI and that design has pretty much become standard – action bars at the bottom and to the right, map to the upper right, character and enemy portraits on the left with combat damage and healing cascading over your head at center screen. What blew me away by Rift’s implementation is the incredible amount of customization the default UI allows. Placement, size, scale, docking, it’s all there out of the box. I was a bit overwhelmed by the scope, to be honest.

Hit the jump for the rest of the gallery. Don’t forget to click to enlarge.
Here’s Kieron encountering her first rift. The world really does open up and let a flood of baddies in. Also included are some of the general environments – you know, when they aren’t being ripped apart by extraplanar beings – and the dangers they can naturally possess, or helpful beings that inhabit them. Random environmental damage makes the battlefield feel more realistic, and random chit chat adds to the aesthetics.

If you’re computer has been limping along when playing WoW, then you’ll need to upgrade for Rift. You’ll be able to play it at low settings, but that will rob you of the full experience of the art style, graphics, architecture and stunning vistas.

Lastly, the oddest quest text I’ve read in quite some time. The gist I took from it: “Only we get to shove our arms up our comrade’s butts and use them as puppets!”

The servers should be back online for the Official Launch any moment now…