After playing RIFT since the time it was in beta, I have had the time to form many opinions on how the game is run and the direction in which developers seem to be heading. I hope that this introductory post will help give you an idea of why I enjoy this game so much, as well as update you on some of the new developments that hit the servers this week with the release of Patch 1.2.
One of the biggest aspects for me in the new patch is the introduction of an LFG tool similar to that in World of Warcraft, from which I think this game will greatly benefit. RIFT‘s version seems like it will be a bit fancier and more expansive, and I am excited about the convenience of being able to queue up for rifts or multi-person quests — pretty damn handy, I must say. The only thing I’m worried about is that the LFG tool isn’t cross server like its Warfront counterpart. Trion has mentioned that this is because they want to test the new feature a bit first and use it to try to strengthen the bonds between players on any given server; but if that doesn’t work out, they have said that they would go the multi-server route.
As for the game as a whole, I’ve enjoyed pretty much everything except for the questing, which seems to be a common dislike among players. I would equate it to questing in vanilla World of Warcraft, and I’m afraid that anyone who has played and enjoyed WoW: Cataclysm has been spoiled by fantastic quest design through and through.
If you are one of the people who hasn’t enjoyed the new Cataclysm quests, then maybe RIFT is for you. This game really deserves the praise it has received for stepping out of the ordinary MMO boundries and daring to be different in a market so polluted with WoW clones. The Soul-based “class system” itself is something that is so game changing and magnificent that it makes me happy talking about it. The rifts themselves along with the joining together of players who help you take them on are what make this game a blast. Who needs quests? Pshh!
Another hugely promising aspect of the game, in my opinion, rests with Trion Worlds. Developers seem to keep a very open level of communication with the players and actually listen to feedback, then carry it out within the game. Everyone who had been playing on the alpha test server insisted that Trion add a dungeon queue similar in the way they handle Warfronts in the game — and as I already described, now it’s here.
For a developer who is pretty new to the realm of MMORPGs, Trion Worlds is definitely stepping out on the right foot. Just take a look at the first actual content patch they released. It wasn’t 6 months down the road like for most freshly launched MMO’s; it was only a few weeks before Trion introduced a giant, wide-scale server event that opened up a raid for hardcore players. Now all of us RIFT players know it wasn’t the smoothest or fairest event, and the development team seems to have learned from that, too. Immediately, they gave everyone with an active standing account a goodie bag with the same loot as players who were able to participate in the actual event, which lasted only between 20-30 minutes early in the day, when most players were working. Not to mention, they gave everyone 250 otherworldly sourceshards to buy whatever you wanted from the world event merchants.
Trion has impressed me since the beginning and even more-so now. Their customer service is top-notch; their commitment and love for their game really shows and that is something you don’t see from most developers these days.
So in all, if there are any of you out there on the edge about RIFT, I’d recommend giving it a whirl (we’ve even had a couple of Lore Hounds post recruitment links in an earlier post). It is a hell of a lot of fun if you play it right — Get in a good guild, make some good friends, go rifting together, do some dungeons, do some PvP. Lurk the RIFT forums and spend hours trying to figure out an amazing spec. I’m definitely guilty of spending hours upon hours messing with soul calculators to try and find the right builds. With the ability to choose between 8 different classes in your archetype and 3 souls for your character, it gives thousands upon thousands of variations to choose from. You’re also given “Roles” that are basically dual specs like in WoW, but you can buy up to 5 of them, and you can switch to any of them on the fly to meet your needs according to specific dungeons or bosses.
I could go on and on about how I am deeply impressed with the way Trion is shaping up as an MMORPG developer — but I won’t. At least, not this time. My hat is off to you guys Trion, keep up the good work.