MMO revisited: Rift

Another LJ entry? Madness! Blame work musings inspiring me and dusting off a 10 year old Elisabeth musical OST cd. Been on repeat for the 3rd time now, singing along loudly. Stanley Burleson and Pia Douwes, you are awesome. I may prefer English versions of musicals nowadays, but the Dutch classics of said musicals are the ones that introduced me to this wonderful genre, so it's hard to dislike the version you grew up with. I can pretty much dream the lyrics of Elisabeth and The Phantom of the Opera in Dutch =P

Anyways, as Rift has gone free to play, I reinstalled the game, moved my chars to a new server (as my old server got turned into a Trial Server). Plenty of people around, already had random guild invites from people, resulting in promptly turning on 'decline all guild invites', as random invites out of nowhere are annoying as hell. Seems I got various gifts for being a veteran player with 3-4 months paid subscription. Hurrah for a free horsey, saves me quite some platinum for a faster mount. Also got myself a cosy lil' house in some desert location, with an oasis. It's quite fun to decorate it with all kinds of stuff. It's pretty interesting to visit the creations of other people too. Some spend hours/days building entire docks/bars!

My two main characters would be these ladies. Why yes, I like dwarves. Most of the humans and elves are too dull in design. Female dwarves are so cute and cuddly!

There is my rogue, whom is specialized as a Battle Bard. Playing tunes, keeping up various buffs/debuffs. Stealthing around when needed, bashing mobs with my regular weapons when they get close or even with my bow and arrow. It may not be a huge dps role, but for group play in instances, rifts and battlegrounds, it's awesome. Recently got myself a second spec that focusses more on ranged dps with bow and arrow and a pet as support, but haven't tested it yet, aside from setting up the spells on my interface.

My other dwarf is mage, specialized as a Chloromancer, which is basically healing by damaging mobs with nature spells. It does have some some direct healing spells, but they tend to be single target or got a pretty long cooldown. It's a challenging spec to master, especially in battlegrounds it feels like I am terrible player, but can't be arsed to worry about that, as I am only in the level 30 range anyways, so many talents haven't been unlocked yet.

I got some other characters in the the level 20 range, but still experimenting with various specs. That's what I like about Rift, there are so many talent builds to try. I am pretty sure that at the max level there are some popular raiding talent builds, but since I am unguilded and no plans to try raiding atm, I am not too worried about that either.

There are various ways to level up in Rift. You got questing, which is fun for those whom like lore and exploring new areas. Nowadays it's not the fastest way to level, but it does give plenty of gear upgrades, reputation and money. While questing, you will often run into rifts. Said rifts come in many varations, all the elements are present, each offering their own kinds of mobs and challenges. The minor ones can be soloed if you play smart, the major ones got elites mixed in, requiring group play. Rewards for closing a rift are some planarite (a common currency to buy blue/purple quality gear upgrades) some consumables and some experience. You can avoid these rifts if you want, but they can be pretty fun to break up the monotone gameplay of questing. Especially the giant rift invasions that take over the entire zone can be quite epic, resulting in 10-30 man raids, depending on how populated the zone is at the moment. And you don't even need to ask for an invite, it goes all automatic with a button popup if you wish to join the raidgroup.

There are dungeons, which can be queued for with the help of the looking for group tool. It can be pretty interesting, but the wait times for damage dealers can be up to 1 hour, making it a rather unreliable way to gain experience as a solo player. The quality of said groups can also vary. Said zones tend to be nicely designed tho, so it's certainly worth checking it out.

One of the newer ways to level is through Instant Adventures. You queue for a random adventure, get a popup and then you simply get teleported to the zone, where you follow the instructions on your screen on what do to. Kill some mobs, plant some flowers, catch some cows, kill a big nasty enemy...the map shows you where to go, it's pretty much a nobrainer. It's fast and random, awards the best experience out of all leveling options and completing the final objective of an adventure awards a lootbox with a random greenie/blue for your class and other potential rewards.

The final way to level is through Warfronts, aka player versus player battlegrounds. It may not be for everyone, as the group you end up with can be either people whom actually know what to do, or end up with a bunch of braindead monkeys, making you want to ragequit. Winning your first 7 random Warfronts each week awards you an equipment box with blue quality gear tho, so it's a pretty nice way to get some gear, if you are unlucky with dungeon drops. You also gain some valor to buy gear from pvp vendors. The experience from winning a Warfront is quite high too.

Now you may wonder, with so many ways to level, won't you level up too fast? Yes, you certainly level too fast in the 1-50 range. However, there is this wonderful Mentor tool nowadays, which allows you to lower your level (all the way down to 10, if you wish) simply by rightclicking your portrait and selecting said option. It allows you to still do that level 15-20 dungeon even if you are level 40, your stats and attacks will be scaled down to a proper level, while still keeping all your abilities and keeping your gear. For Instant Adventures you even automatically get scaled down to a proper level the moment you arrive in the zone, while still gaining rewards for your true level. It keeps stuff fun and challenging.

The last 10 levels to 60 however, are slow. I haven't hit said level range yet, but on the forum there seem to be many people complaining how long it takes. Supposedly level 50 to 60 takes just as long as 1-50 does. Heaven forbid that it takes more than just sneezing to gain a level! Kids these days are really spoiled. Why the need to rush? There are so many zones to explore, treasures to collect, puzzles to solve. The zones are gorgeous, not surreal like Aion, but got a certain realism instead. The colors tends to be more muted, but at least they actually got a day/night cycle and weather changes, unlike some MMO.

Er...realism as far as it goes, with elemental rifts, spraklehorses and fairies =P

And for the multitaskers among us, there are plenty of professions to level. The basic gathering and crafting professions, some secondary classes like fishing and cooking. Only 3 primary professions are allowed, but you can purchase more through the Rift Store. It's not really a musthave, but at certain profession levels you unlock titles. So yeah, it all depens on how badly of a completionist you are.

The eating animation is rather adorable, btw. Speaking of titles...the game has achievements as well. They award all kinds of things. Completing artifact collections also award coins, which can be used to purchace some pets and mounts. In other words, questing and exploring is certainly worth if you love achievements!

So, what's the deal with the Free to Play status? What are the limitations? Well, surprisingly it allows you to play the entire game (as far as I can tell, it's hard to check the difference when you got a Veteran status yourself). It seems you cannot sell on the auctionhouse (but you can buy and you can use the trade channel to advertise your sales), you got a limit on the amount of currency you can have, you can only have 2 character slots, only 3 bag slots. By simply purchasing goods worth 5 euros in the Rift store, some of these limits are gone tho. Purchasing the original game for 20-25ish euro unlocks all except the Storm Legion expansion classes.

In other words, this is one of the best free to play MMO games out there, with barely any limitations. If you feel trying out a new MMO, do give this one a try. There is no unwanted pvp. While there are two factions, which was a pretty big deal on launch day (story wise), nowadays you can group up with the opposite faction to do stuff. I have been told that you can even join each others guilds, but haven't personally tested it. You just cannot enter the city of the other faction without getting murdered by the NPCs, nor will the NPCs of the other faction offer you any quests in most zones (50-60 range is neutral for both factions tho).

I really should stop writing these huge posts, it takes hours of editing it over and over again (I hate being a perfectionist sometimes). Sorry for the wall of text, but it didn't feel right to hide these posts behind a LJ-cut. Not many interesting MMO left to write about tho!

  • Current Mood: creative creative
  • Current Music: Elisabeth OST (The musical)
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I guess I really should give RIFT a try. Somehow it has never appealed to me though, not the way GW2 has, or WoW. I tried it once, long ago... Got it installed, so I'll give it a try one day :)
If it didn't appeal to you then, it may still not appeal to you. While there have been some improvements, it's not exactly an entirely different game. They simply added additional options to level/play.