Tuesday, September 6, 2011

[Rift] Take Two

I was in Rift beta. That's about all I can say on the matter, I got to level 8 on a defiant character, but my old computer was suffering under the strain so my experiences of the game were curtailed. With the recent half-birthday celebrations giving a week of free playtime and having acquired a reasonable powered computer I gave the game a more thorough trial. Initial impressions were positive enough that I bought the game for a tenner and subbed for a month.

I started off on a trial server, which I found to be a big mistake, it was the MMO equivalent of wandering around a ghost ship. I got to about level 14 before heading to Meridian, only to find it strangely devoid of life, NPCs don't count. I couldn't find any larger bags or any item at all on the auction house. Some vague recollection of having casted a glance over Rift news brought to mind that the trial servers are defunct and players can't transfer to them. Despite the undeniable logic that trial players should be on trial servers. The situation was very easy to resolve, just transfer my character to another server, which turned out to be such a quick and straightforward process, I ended up on a bustling RP server in minutes. As far as I could tell, only one high population server was unavailable but all the others were available. All sub games should have this functionality for free, no ifs or buts or please wait.

It's been about one week of my sub, and so far I'm still enjoying it. Questing is only tolerable, I can't take any more of this style of MMO gameplay, finding drops or quest items out in the world is alright but working through a zone quest hub by quest hub is not. The story is interesting enough, there is some quests that are marked with gold backgrounds which I root out and skip the rest, some places I take an interest in the story, other hubs I just skip. On the other hand I love collecting artifacts, attempting to find the cairn and the zone puzzle without cheating. I like the landscapes presented so far, not bland at all despite what I've heard, exploring them and attempting the achievements (especially the ones to find certain places, or jump off heights) is more to my liking than questing.

Rifts are still fun to me, the rest of the population might be ambivalent on occasion, but if I start working on one, then more than likely someone else will pitch in, major rifts are usually avoided. Invasions on the other hand are a different matter, in Silverwood they fire off all the time, and there is usually a few groups working together on them. I've taken part in a few in Stonefield, while there is plenty people who pitch in, there is a higher failure rate so the source stones are harder to acquire, in comparison I managed to kit out a guardian alt in the rare planar gear in Silverwood. There seems to be some new water rifts involving dwarves that are harder than normal rifts, unless I'm mistaken and they are not tied at all to the latest raid, hopefully Trion continues to add new rifts to fill out this aspect. I'd also love invasions to persist for longer when they fail, or for the boss to not despawn after a time, or to spill from one zone to another.

One of the things that annoys me is the lack of instant travel, recall abilities on an hour cooldown just don't cut it anymore. With GW2 out next year with instant travel to multiple places all over a zone and with no cooldown, Trion would be really remiss to not address it. For instance, last night I was working on an invasion in Stonefield, I was in a group of three and we closed three rifts and took down several invasion units. All of the wardstones save one were destroyed, and this last one was at the opposite end of the zone from us, there was never the chance to rally there for a last stand despite flicking the map and seeing about ten invasion forces on their way. Then when we pulled through the boss spawned down at that end too, it was probably designed that way. Even riding straight there, I got there with the boss almost down, merged with the raid, managed a few hits but never received an achievement for my efforts. It was certainly disgruntling, I suppose I must be content with the experience.

The soul system is a case of love/hate, even in beta I was of the opinion that they should really have cut down the talent trees. Is it really engaging to most players to decide the value of + 5% crit chance or +15% dexterity, when you are just starting off and don't have much dexterity it might seem obvious but when does it change, maybe the additional crit is always effective, oh you know what who cares. Or trying to determine the cumulative value of a bunch of talents is better or worse than another. I've always been of the opinion that talents should only be qualitative effects, I've seen the future and it's Diablo 3 and GW2. The ideal for me, is a limited set of abilities and then to add runes or traits that alter these abilities in a distinct manner, even giving an ability a new name. In addition, it would have been more interesting if while you pick three souls, only one could be active at a time, but you can swap freely at any time and adapt to changing combat.

On the plus side the roles feature is great, I've only just bought the first two and already have all three filled and would love if the last two were more affordable. Being able to switch up the style of play between different activities or situations or just for the sake of a change keeps things really interesting.

Will I be subscribing for another month, I'll just keep that under consideration for another three weeks, I'm hoping to see what expert rifts, crafting rifts, the hopefully soon to be released chronicles are about and the escalation of the current world event first to make my decision.

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