Tumbling down the RIFT

It’s all over blogger town, the new MMO on the block: RIFT by Trion. And it couldn’t have come at a better time, it’s probably had the best timing than any of its brethren over the past 5 years, being released few months into Blizzard’s quickly aging Cataclysm. The MMO market isn’t endless: it’s rather a pie where every contender is greedily trying to lure customers over to his small piece – or at least that’s how it usually is, unless your name is Blizzard and you have such a long history and reputation that you can recruit whole masses of genre-noobs for yourself. This has no doubt always been one of WoW’s greatest achievements. Time to steal some of those people.

Within the first pre-launch week, RIFT has registered over 1 million player accounts and we’re not even talking official launch yet. You can call that a success or not, it catapults RIFT up there among the other top MMOs which are WoW, Aion and Eve Online. It’s certainly a very promising start and one can only hope that with growing subscriptions the game will continue to get better, which is the endless story and dilemma of online games.

For those of you that expect their next MMO after WoW to be groundbreakingly different, you’re probably looking for the wrong game though: RIFT is classic. It stays true to the concept and looks that make MMORPGs. Personally, I’m not sure that’s such a bad thing considered what Trion is up against and what people want and are used to.

After playing the open beta and registering for the early launch week, I am still duly impressed: this game is coming with a polish. It looks beautiful and I have yet to see a bug, disconnect or lagspike despite all my settings being maxed (a thing I was never able to do in WoW). This has gotta be the smoothest MMO launch I have ever witnessed from install to ingame, a few crowded servers aside. Gameplay is intuitive and engaging, the class system offers flexibility and variety. The rift events make the world around you feel alive – there’s something happening out there for a change.

Most of all however, RIFT is that: something new. Not so different maybe, but new and so needed and overdue for the tired and fed up in WoW’s playerbase. A new world to explore, new races, factions, skills, quests. A new take on an old concept. A new surprise around the corner, sometimes familar, sometimes strange. And enough eye candy to go with it, even if I miss proper soundtrack (again) on the side.

I don’t care if it isn’t mind-blowing, I don’t care it comes in a classic wrap. New is all I want right now.

Breaking with old habits

Breaking up and reaching for pastures new has been all over WoW guilds and the blogosphere these past few weeks. It certainly has been all around me and I’ve added my share by kissing my raiding career in WoW goodbye since. The right choice has never been more apparent to me. I need to get away, I need new – so much in fact that my RIFT character turns out to be as diametrically opposed to my old self, as possible: for over 6 years I have played and alliance healer in World of Warcraft. A pale human priestess with dark hair, a healing coordinator, a diplomat, a founder and leader.

No more. Defiant all the way. I love the drowess I created, tall and dark-skinned with the obligatory white hair and red eyes, the way R. A. Salvatore imagined them and made the race what it is for today’s fantasy genre. I play a potent Pyromancer with some Elementalist and Dominator thrown in the mix. A pure DPS, an offensive mage spec. She looks every bit the way a mage should look: dark, evil and unsettling (and if you prefer your chars to be ugly, you’ve plenty of chances to do that too). The only qualm I have is that I’m still a cloth-wearer or the transformation would be complete.

I’m enjoying running solo, exploring new maps and joining random groups for rift campaigns. No guild chat, no agenda, no progress list. I haven’t seen much yet by any stretch of the imagination and I’m very curious about the whole PVP side of the game which seems a lot more than just an afterthought. What I have seen so far has pleased me well and I am not in a rush.

More importantly: there’s not a thing that has managed to annoy or frustrate me yet in RIFT and that counts for something. I don’t care what happens in one month, for now I’m entertained and turn my foes into squirrels (yes you heard that right, squirrels!). I also die quite a lot and am loving every minute of it – well met death, what’s been taking you?

Pushing all the right buttons

There are rare artefacts hidden all over the world of Telara which you can pick up and store in your private collection. It’s a tiny thing, a silly trifle and I love it. It screams classic RPG too, the ones I used to play when I was younger – a sparkling bauble randomly found under a rock or stone, a treasure chest buried deep under the sea, a dusty old map lying in a dark corner. No silly tools to go with though, no map markers, no skill-up grind. Just a thing to chance upon.

And then I ambled into Meridian last night, the main city of the Defiant – turns out there’s an Artefact Master there who will award special currency for your completed artefact sets. The thing you can buy in return: companion pets.

Damn you, Trion! I dare say I shall play this a little longer. Some habits are hard to break.


  1. Of all the posts and tweets out there on Rift.. this is the first one that’s actually tempted me to try it πŸ™‚
    Glad you’re having fun πŸ™‚ *hugs*

  2. I do, I do! ^^
    and to make it even better, we discovered that there’s armor dye in the game tonight – can you believe it? you can dye your own armor pieces in 2 different layers and in any colors you wish!!

    Amagad! =D

  3. I’ll admit, I cracked and paid for Rift last night just to see what everyone was going on about. Now we have to decide if Voss should get a subscription too and try it.

    Like you’ve said, it might be the *newness* of it that has captured me. I don’t know if it’ll stick, I don’t know if I WANT it to stick, but for right now it’s fun.

  4. Which server are you on? πŸ™‚ *poke* Because, you know, a little green text is healthy πŸ˜‰
    Glad you’re enjoying it. I did plan to write a post about Rift today but I looked for rares instead /shrug. Will get round to it!

  5. @Vidyala

    I keep hearing the same thing from many people at the moment – let’s give it a go, no pressure or expectations, and they end up being positively surprised. It doesn’t have to last forever, but for now it’s good fun and something different to look at. πŸ™‚


    I ended up on Sparkwing UK, mostly because it was the only PVE server without huge server queues in the evening. No doubt it will be full by next week again, but until then I expect to be safely in 20+ lands! ^^
    you’re on an RP server though, right?

  6. Dominatrix!!!

    Having played 3 of the betas and the headstart (when i could get on my server) the only thing starting to grate a bit is the constant stream of Rift and zone wide events. 1 major rift clears, only for another major one to take it’s place. I’ve no idea if these are based on character level demographics or if they’re quest related or just poorly designed – but for god’s sake, I want to level and not have every single quest hub being taken over by planar beings every 20 minutes!! This sounds a bit harsher then it actually is. It is quite good fun if you’re in the mood for it, running over the landscape chasing down the offenders. But if you over do it, people are just going to ignore it as a hinderance rather then a fun design mechanic.

    The PvP is surprisingly good fun. The first BG (or Warfront) is your typical capture the flag affair – but with a twist. There’s only 1 flag and it deals increasing damage to the holder. They are short games as well, which keeps it fresh. Yes you can come against premades, but them’s the breaks.

    After talking to Syl, there are some concerns about late game stuff, but it’s new and good fun at the moment. The crafting is well thought out, with shitty items that are actually useful if you level it as you level. The world is much larger than you think and the lore is pretty good too.

    Overall, it’s not WoW – and for that 1 reason, it’s pretty awesome to me at the mo.

  7. Dominatrix!!!


    endgame can wait, soooo not interested at the moment anyway. if the game manages to make leveling up meaningful and fun, which it does for me, am in no rush at all to get to max level. WoW has completely lost touch with this part of an MMO which is a great pity. it rocks being a noob.

    you definitely have a point about RIFTs though – one more thing I’d add is that it’s hard to understand what’s going on sometime, on what stage of the overall event are you, where are the big bosses, where do you need to go next etc. is there even indications like that? I noticed the big skull sometime on the map but am still not sure whether they’re the ‘end boss’ or what lol – but then I haven’t really payed much attention to it so far. πŸ˜€
    enjoying the chaos atm, but I can see it getting old. maybe it’s also not the same for all maps, as you said.

  8. from what i’ve seen, the “major” rifts (those which have shouts and voice acting) the final boss is a quest objective on the map. The second to last stage may well have marked objectives too, but i can’t confirm that. These are the mobs that take between 5 minutes and 4 lifetimes to kill depending on how many people there are.

    I also love putting “aren’t we all” in the general chat when people go “pft noobs”.

    I’m still loving the whole exploring thing atm, but not too happy with how easy you can get knocked off your mount by mobs 10 levels below you *sigh*

  9. stop complaining =P
    am all for more punishment in MMOs, so bring on the deaths, nasty chases and knock-offs!


    be glad there’s no exp penalty! think my mage would still be lvl 1 if there was one haha…

  10. I had planned on giving RIFT a go, and so I loaded it onto my computer yesterday…and it was all smooth sailing. Easy to install and get going, and so far the gameplay has been both easy to play and I quite enjoy much of the animations.

    I also enjoy having some tools to work with. That is, more than 3 spells through the first 10 levels. I’m still playing wow, but this new game has been pretty good so far as well. We shall see where it goes from here.

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