Fighting massive invasions, shutting down planar rifts, and triple-classing are all major and important features of Trion’s first MMO, RIFT. Although there’s not a huge game-changing difference between this MMO and several others, RIFT does something that many MMOs do not. It makes playing fun.
Dynamic rifts are engaging, rewarding, and pure fun. Rifts open somewhat randomly either through world events or by players opening up the spawning tears on the map. There’s almost always a rift to close; however, the game shines when a full-on invasion happens. When an elemental plane decides to really attack a zone, rifts open every few yards, and everyone in the zone gets a quest to shut them. If enough are shut, a new objective will begin; usually to bring down a world boss. Rifts progress in stages with anyone and everyone helping to close them. Public grouping makes this easy and attractive to the solo player, small groups, or even full groups. The rewards for completing rifts and invasions are planar essences, special rift consumables, gear, and even fun consumables and mini-pets.
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The ascended soul system is stellar. It’s essentially triple-classing that is super flexible. Characters can really specialize in what they want and players can take on pure or mixed roles with ease. Do you want to be a tanking rogue? Excellent, it can be done with the Riftstalker. Do you want to be a healing mage? Good deal, pick up the Cholormancer soul. The only real problem with the ascended soul system is that you want max level as soon as possible. Some of the souls don’t really come into their awesomeness until 25 or more points are spent in that soul. That means the player needs to be at least 25 to make the character they want. Of course, you have to progress in any MMO. RIFT’s system lets a player customize their class so heavily that it makes you want to level. I can’t say that for some of the MMOs I’ve played. Ultimately, the way the ascended soul system works is one of the best parts of RIFT.
Rifts rape quest areas. After a rift closes, its vanquishers often try to knock out any quests they have in the area. Enemies get annihilated and questing is almost impossible directly after a rift. It’s sometimes beneficial to stay in a raid for a moment and get credit for mob kills around the closed rift, but that isn’t always the case. Luckily, you can usually wait a moment and people start to clear out. The respawns aren’t bad, but you will have a little bit of down time.
The contribution system is kind of funky. If you’ve ever played Warhammer Online, you’re accustomed to a game judging you oddly and then selecting a reward for you. Since your contribution determines what level of currency you receive from rifts, it can be frustrating to play a certain way and not be rewarded. Players must really adjust to others around them if they want their contribution to rise. If there aren’t too many people at a RIFT, you can usually do what you need/want to do and your contribution will be high. If there are a few raid groups at a rift, you’ll need to watch the contribution bar and adjust to what it wants to see. In that case, it probably wants something you’re not used to or it will want something you don’t necessarily want to do.
The aspects of RIFT that I really don’t care either way about are features I don’t usually play through. These include dungeons and raids. I’ve never been a big dungeon runner or raid conqueror. There’s a chance I would participate in dungeons if a Looking for Group tool was implemented, but that chance is slim. I truly believe the game needs a Looking for Group system akin to Dungeons and Dragons Online’s. This is widely different from the Looking for Dungeon system that some players may desire. The LFD tool feels unnecessary for a game like RIFT in its current form, especially if the game added a standard LFG tool.
PvP doesn’t really start until max level. If you’re on a PvP server, then sure, there is open world PvP to dominate, but a PvP soul is damn-near worthless until max level. That’s going to make for some awesome endgame if you like PvP, but it makes PvP uninviting before then. There is a little bit of PvP gear to get on the way to max level. A handful of PvP quests also exist, like dailies and those of the warfront-specific variety. You’ll need to work on your warfront specific factions and starting earlier will help your cause. If you’re interested at all in PvP, you should enjoy it and participate in it before max level. There’s no harm in stockpiling favor on your way to max level. All of this is a part of the Neutral section for one reason: PvP progression doesn’t start until max level. There are PvP ranks you can start earning at level 50. I really believe that’s a good idea, but I can see how that might turn a player off.
RIFT is crowded. Although that’s a positive, it’s also a negative. Having so many people around means lots of rifts open and players can usually find help when they need it. Unfortunately, it also means questing is a pain and collections are almost nonexistent. A high population means a healthy game, though. Whether or not the MMO retains these numbers is still in the wind.
Basically, RIFT is fun. I haven’t had this much fun in an MMO in years. There’s nothing new or genre-changing in RIFT, but it’s a solid MMO with aspects taken from other MMOs and almost perfected. At the very least RIFT improved most MMO conventions. The game is stable, enjoyable, beautiful, and extremely customizable. There’s amazing PvE and worthy PvP. It’s definitely solo and small group friendly, but offers content to guilds with guild-specific rifts. RIFT is worth your time and I highly suggest you try it.
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