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Rift Impressions

I’ve been playing Rift since this past summer and now that the NDA on the beta is down I would like to share my thoughts on the game.  I’m not going to give you an all-encompassing in depth look into the game because you can find that stuff on your favorite fansites from people they pay to take screenshots.  Take the following as a real opinion from someone who has played the game a lot more than most and who has been around the MMO block.

Let’s start with some general impressions of beta.

Rift is an all-around good game.  That’s something that needs to be said up front since I will be delivering a few harsh truths to you as you read on.  Look at what has released over the past five plus years and you won’t find much better.  It’s polished up quite a bit and continues to improve with each patch that I have been through — and that’s a lot of patches.

My biggest issue with Rift is that it isn’t terribly unique or even new.   It really is, at its core, the same game that you’ve been playing for the past six years.  The questing, events, PvP, and even the class system are all very familiar because they have been done before.

This may be a rude awakening, but Rift is a themepark that acts and plays like a themepark game.  The world is much more open than Aion, but not any more than WoW.  In WoW you’ll have several options for leveling up and several starting areas, but in Rift you have just one for everyone and you move through content 100% linearly from quest hub to quest hub.  Thankfully the world isn’t truncated like WAR’s.

I would be happy to answer any of your specific questions about the game or certain mechanics.  Let me try and address a few of the big ones.

The Class System – It’s the single best feature in Rift.  However, if you’re not new to these games you’ll easily pick up on the fact that 1) It’s not “Be anything you want” or 2) Even a TRUE multiclassing system.  It’s a system that allows you to pick a main archetype like a Mage and then choose classes that specialize in things a mage-type might do.  Granted, some of them are extremely diverse and will offer you the ability to heal as a mage or damage as a mage, but it’s still less like multi-classing and more like having some extremely diverse talent specs.

That’s the crux of the class system: It’s a talent spec system like WoW.  Once people realized this from the beta events and complained, Trion decided to try and alleviate the realization and its negative impact by saying “We’ve looked at it and decided not to constrict you within yada yada and give you more points.”  Whether or not you think it’s a good idea (I think it’s a bad one because there is less specialization) or a good thing, it’s still points into talent trees.  The classes literally look like talent trees in WoW that have been named different and broken apart and named into classes.

I like my Bard/Ranger combo and my Necromancer in beta.  My Bard can shoot a bow at range, have a pet in the fray, buff a group considerably, and do decent heals.  You don’t get that a lot in most games.  Is balance great?  No, but it’s getting there.

Questing – It’s not very good.  “It’s the same questing that you see in Lotro, WoW and other games like that, Keen!”   It’s very similar to those, yes.  However, it’s nowhere near WoW’s Cataclysm quality questing and no, I’m not even referring to the zany quests for the goblins.   It’s boring and repetitive in Rift.  The questing is generic and bland.  The world around you feels more like a shell when you’re out questing instead of feeling like you’re interacting with it.

I find myself getting burned out very quickly doing quests.  There’s a lack of soul, pun not intended, in them as you go through the motions.

Dungeons – I like them.  They’re sorta tough and involved at lower levels.  For example, we went into the beta dungeon and spent well over an hour working our way through.  The final boss had a movement mechanic to protect you from this massive aoe he does.  I think that some of them would have made for great open-world dungeons, but they’re all instanced.

Rifts – They’re only “meh”.  I know, that might shock some of you given the game is called “Rift”.  They’re exactly like public quests in that you work through stages and get rewarded based upon your participation.  Imagine if PQ’s from WAR could move around and appear randomly and then grow larger if no one did them and take over a zone — that’s a Rift.  Later on the rifts become less important to you as you get gear from dungeons.  You can use currency that drops from them to buy items or socket gear, which helps, but it’s not an end-game mechanic or one that will last long.  People will get bored and so far I haven’t found any reason for Rifts to remain in the forefront of peoples minds.

PvP – What PvP? There are scenarios and some open-world stuff (not in Beta), but if you were to ask me if this game is a PvP game then I would have to answer no.  Imagine WoW’s world in vanilla where people want to fight each other and you have Rift.  The variety of classes makes for some possible spicy PvP encounters (love those guys with lots of CC in beta).  There are talks of sieges and what not, but I have yet to experience them.  You’ll have to ask someone who has — if you can find them.  Right now it’s more of a PvE game, and I’m okay with that.

Notes:

  • Good game, but nothing revolutionary or evolutionary.
  • The Class System (Soul System, whatever) is more like a very diverse and customizable talent spec than it is a true multi-classing system.
  • Questing sucks and burns you out quickly.
  • Dungeons (instances) are fun.
  • Rifts are fun the first time but have a pattern, are not dynamic beyond appearing random places, and aren’t integral to the game.  Think of PQ’s and how they were good until they weren’t.
  • The world is standard themepark with more options than WAR but with less options than WoW.


Current Verdict: If you like WoW, you have absolutely no reason to play Rift.  If you’re looking for a real PvP game or one with an open world even remotely like a sandbox then you have no reason to play Rift.  If you’re wanting something different then definitely do not play Rift.  If you want a good game (that isn’t WoW) that is more of the same then Rift does a great job of delivering probably the best available. It’s better than Aion, WAR, anything from Cryptic, has a lot more that I like than LotRO, and some potential if the PvP is more fully developed.

Again, if you have questions please ask.

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Chris (Syeric) - December 22, 2010

I wasn’t expecting anything on the level of WoW for quests, but I’m curious how it compares to the variety in LotRO? LotRO’s questing is also less exciting than WoW but is fun enough to get you to the endgame. If Rift is good enough so getting to the end isn’t a total slog, it’ll be better than many others.

Also curious, how high did you get and did you have any chance to play through the higher end dungeons/raids or battlegrounds?

Yogi - December 22, 2010

I have a hard time thinking of any WoW quest that was that fun. Most of the time I felt as though I KTR’d or traveled across the world. The few that were different didn’t make up for the gross majority of fairly bland, and I usually am happy with grinding.

I think honestly this game will be measured by your expectations going in. If you expected a lot, you will hate it. For the rest of us it is a solid package with a new story, something this genre has needed for awhile.

Carson - December 22, 2010

Yogi, I think the point is that if you think the majority of WoW’s quests are bland KTR quests, then you will absolutely, definitely not be impressed by Rift’s quests.

Romble - December 22, 2010

Good write up Keen. You are very even handed and balanced on your take on this game which is good and rare for you on a first impression 🙂

So I’ll summarize the game for you for those who don’t like to read lot of text. The game is “Meh”….

Fenlock - December 22, 2010

What’s the gear like? as a Warrior class does it feel good to find/loot a new sword? is the gear customizable (dyes?) and is there a lot of variation in the looks of people a few levels in? Oh and is there an auction house system? Ta 🙂

Syklonis - December 22, 2010

The gear is nicely designed, except for the cloth robes for mages..they were pretty ugly. And one thing I found lame was same looking drop/quest loot for both factions..kinda let down. I would have thought goo/bad sides would have different looking gear..guess that’s just me 🙂

The game doesn’t try to re-invent the wheel, it’s just trying to take different parts of other games and make them their own. If that’s enough in this market we’ll have to see…

Shadrah - December 22, 2010

I personally thought the Rifts alone were enough to make this game great. They’re well more involved than a simple PQ. Because they DO change the world around you. If you leave invasions unchecked they spread across the zone like a plague steadily taking over hubs and turning them into small battle camps for the enemy. That alone gives a sense of urgency when a Rift develops. Either go to battle with them, or lose this oh so important quest hub. Or even mob spawn to an invading horde.

They’re no where close to PQs. PQs are static. Rifts are ever evolving and random.

Xorakis - December 22, 2010

Good review Keen. It’s pretty much how I feel about the game as well.

I would describe the class system as a ‘build your own rotation’ type of system, which makes it feel a bit different than the typical talent system. You have your filler ability then your looking for mainly cooldown, proc, dot, and nuke abilities that would add to the DPS of your rotation. At least that’s what I found myself doing. My main complaint was that it progresses too slowly which I’m glad they’re going to address.

The Rift system needs to be more than just throwing more numbers, more hp, and more damage at the players. I feel making Rifts more appealing will be a huge hurdle for the designers to get around.

Green Armadillo - December 22, 2010

Thanks for this, Keen, you’ve clearly put some thought into a balanced presentation.

I’m curious whether you’ve seen high level class balance yet (assuming the classes are even stable enough to evaluate). Is content balanced assuming that the party will switch roles for every encounter (or, if not, do encounters break if players change to some unexpected combination)?

JayP - December 22, 2010

Keen
Was there any PVP in alpha? I think the Rifts have a nice potential. Left unchecked maybe the invaders could build outposts and do city invasions that could include world pvp. Trion seems to be taking testers input to heart.

Keen
Keen - December 22, 2010

@Chris: I played into the high 30’s. I didn’t do any raids, but I’m in a guild that said they were decent encounters very similar to WoW. There were “more being added soon” last I checked. Also the main raid people were doing at the time was just a single boss encounter was was quote “Very, very easy”.

@Yogi: Carson is correct. If you don’t like WoW quests, then you’re going to hate Rift quests. WoW quests are just better… and that’s being kind of WoW quests.

@Romble: It’s Meh, but it’s the best out there (other than WoW) of its kind. It’s a PvE Themepark.

@Fenlock: Gear looks okay. The higher you get obviously the better it looks. People do tend to look exactly the same like in WoW. There are dyes, I think. I’ve never died my gear though.

@Shadrah: Like I said, they’re PQ’s that move and grow. That sense of urgency fades quickly though. There’s really no point in worrying about them once the gear on them sucks compared to what you’re using or they’ve taken over a questing hub you want to go into. They’re better than PQ’s, but still the same idea.

@Green Armadillo: Balance is better than you would expect given class customization. I expect it will be broken now that they’re going to add more points to let everyone have it all so to speak. Some class combinations are simply better than others, but there isn’t a bad class that I’ve played or seen yet. I did feel a little over-the-top being a Bard/Ranger that could out heal pure healers, though.

@JayP: There was/is PvP in Alpha in battlegrounds. It’s like WAR/WoW. There’s some open-world pvp like you would see in WoW. You’ll see it in the next beta phase.

If they can take the rift system and make open-world PvP more about taking over territory, then this will change things completely. I don’t feel that emphasis right now, though.

Phandy - December 22, 2010

Good write up Keen!

I’ve heard a few times that the questing experience in Rift is like Vanilla WoW. Agree/Disagree?

Chris - December 22, 2010

How would you rate Rift’s questing compared to LotRO’s (epic quests not included)?

Keen
Keen - December 22, 2010

@Phandy: On par with the more boring and generic ones.

@Chris: Like the quests to kill boars. On par with the most generic form.

Rift Take Me Away « Casual Is As Casual Does - December 22, 2010

[…] seems everybody has something to say about Rift, so I’m not sure I have much to add. Since I don’t play WoW, many of the […]

Shadrah - December 22, 2010

@Keen: I agree. I just feel that the Rift system is pretty solid as is. Rifts are going to be relevant to you from level 1-50. They’ll always be in every zone you encounter. At one point or another you WILL have to participate in them. That’s the urgency I speak of. If you don’t, then you’re going to spend a lot of time looking at a quest hub that used to be available.

Also. If you’ve noticed. There are Defiant invasions as well. Could this lead into a world PvP aspect later in the game? I believe it might. However, only time will tell. Though, I see no reason to have opposing faction invasions without their being a PvP incentive to them.

Keen
Keen - December 22, 2010

@Shadrah: Rifts are not -always- relevant from 1-50, nor are they always this looming destruction on your doorstep. In fact, only in beta were they turned up to even spawn more than once in a while.

They do get to the point of being obsolete. They just do. That’s not to say they’re bad. They’re, at most, in the way later on. Time doesn’t need to tell me about the invasions and rift mechanics. Again, from experience, I don’t see the focus being on them. The focus is, in fact, almost off of them entirely later on and placed squarely on a goal to get gear — gear that can be obtained in ways that yield better gear than rifts.

Chris - December 22, 2010

@Keen: Man, that last comment reminds me a LOT of WAR’s PQs. Ignored later on while everyone else is doing other stuff.

Caleb - December 22, 2010

Are all the rifts handleable for on level players in a zone? And can single players deal with them eventually?

I mean, we all know how undone PQs ended up going in WAR, and those definitely didn’t affect the area. Thats my worry. What happens if a zone gets unpopular for whatever reason?

Holgranth - December 22, 2010

Amazed no one has asked this yet but do Rifts suffer from the same problem as WAR’s PQs? Do they scale depending on the number of people fighting in them or are they static?

Because my least favorite memories of WAR involve PQ’s with either too few people or too many. Too few and its impossible, too many and its meaningless. Besides that you confirmed every theory I’ve had about the game.

How fast do you think the “*OOOH* SHINY” is going to wear off the Rift system? Also What is the AI like any improvments over WoW? How responsive was the interface?

And most importantly of all how *with it* are the developers? You and I have both seen how Mark Jacobs, David Allen, Tanaka, ect, ect can tell themselves and everyone else that their games are the greatest thing ever and refuse to address major issues.

esloan - December 23, 2010

Rifts: Players have currently only seen the tip of the iceberg in regard to Rifts and Invasions. There are group Rifts, spawned intentionally by grouped players, that give much higher rewards and are much more difficult. Remember in the old days of WoW you could get a group and go grind in an elite area of mobs? Well, this is the substitute. Get a group and go grind out a few Group Raids. These have yet to be seen in beta.

There are also Raid Rifts. Think of them as the World Dragons in WoW. Large Raid mobs that are much harder to take down (and they are NOT tank and spank!) and require a full raid. These are also spawned intentionally by players but we have heard of the possibility of random ones as well.

Finally, they have been adding new and interesting types of Rifts fairly quickly. There are Rifts that act totally different than the ones we have seen thus far in Beta. Ones that build “villages” or encampments and ones that have a “story” when taking them down. In short, the Rift system in beta is a rough sketch of what we will finally be seeing later on.

@Holgranth: Yes, they do scale, though not all that functionality is in the game yet. They scale on an individual basis and the amount of Rifts/Invasions in a zone scale with the number of players in the zone.

How with it are the developers? This is an easy answer, and one I think Keen will agree with me on…simply put, Scott and Trion are the absolute most responsive dev team I have seen in any MMO. They are very quick to respond to feedback and much quicker than any dev team I have yet to see.

Chris Braun - December 23, 2010

I was also in both of the beta events and your review was spot on.

Rifts right now are just a gimmick that just barely change the world and hardly inconvenience players. Eventually I feel that most players will just ignore then as they go about their merry way completing the “on rails” quests.

Dungeons? What dungeons? There are only 2 to speak of and they are instanced and there is only one per faction from levels 1-20. There are not any serious mini-dungeons to speak of.

Even worse, there is just no reason to ever group in this game. I’m afraid within a few months after release Rift will be just another failed MMO with dwindling subscriber numbers.

esloan - December 23, 2010

@Chris

Read my post above yours. There are group Rifts not seen in beta, as well as open-world Raid Rifts. There will be reasons to group up, though there are less reasons as low level.

Yes, there are only two dungeons at low level but there are a whole lot more as you level up. Rift will release with a ton of instanced dungeons, Raid Rifts, Group Rifts and 2 instanced Raids, as well as heroic level 50 versions of all the previous five man dungeons.

There are things that you can complain about in Rift, in fact I have and do, but the amount of content is not one of them.

Daily Blogroll 12/23 — Christmas Eve Eve edition - West Karana - December 23, 2010

[…] has a strong sense of deja fail about it. Keen liked the dungeon he tried, but considers the game a tired variation on the WoW theme. Chris at Level Capped thinks Rift and Warhammer are two halves of one really great […]

Merketh - December 23, 2010

Did i miss something or when did the Alpha NDA drop? I thought it was just the beta one, just a heads up Keen 😉

Sel - December 23, 2010

The NDA drop is definitely only for the Beta, not the Alpha.

coppertopper - December 23, 2010

Crafting?

Thomas - December 23, 2010

I beta test like many other people here. Are MMO’s in general just about at their limits? Just about all the MMO’s are made from the same mold. They are all pretty much the same with a tweek here and there.

Wow will be around for a while and SWTOR will have players pumped for a year when it gets out of testing. What else can be done from the developement side that has not been done before?

Is the cost of developing a game so extreme, that something outisde the box will never be developed?

Dril - December 23, 2010

@coppertoner: From what I saw, it was WoW’s crafting with an extra profession slot. That probably won’t do it any justice at all, but I didn’t try it very thorougly in either of the events.

@Keen: I agree practically 100%, especially the last part. I do, however, have reservations about the people that will be playing this game, although it’s odd: on the one hand, the forums are full of idiots who bypassed most info about the game and thought it would be EQ1/a better version of EQ2, but on the other hand when I was in game (Sunrest-RPPVP, or something like that. I know you and Bartlebe were on it during the Defiant beta) the people there were actually pretty awesome. Of course, I made the mistake of going to an EU server for half of the second Beta. Blech. I don’t know why, but they wre just either incredibly dull or tiresome on the EU server, but, hey, I can always move the Australia and play on US realms 😛

As far as the game goes: it was, essentially, like WoW, with better graphics and meatier combat, but everything else was just a bit worse. We’ll see if it’s worth leaving Cata later on.

Rift testers: your thoughts and feedback (NDA dropped) - Page 4 - The Older Gamers Forums - December 23, 2010

[…] Keen and Graev’s Gaming Blog Blog Archive Rift Impressions Keens write up and impressions __________________ […]

Shadrah - December 23, 2010

@Chris: You’ve seen 1 dungeon in 20 levels. You’re basing dungeons off of that assumption? When there will be at the very least 15 in the game. One for each zone. As stated by Trion themselves. You obviously didn’t play WoW. The first dungeon you encountered was Ragefire Chasm, and it was hardly that. The next dungeon was, guess when, level 17-20.

Who cares if they’re instanced? Do you know the sheer amount of griefing that comes from open dungeons? If you want an open dungeon, run a Rift. That’s why they’re there. Dynamic dungeons that happen anywhere and anytime for anyone to participate. Though, they’re not so much dungeons right now. However, later into the game they should be. Rifts are in their very basic form in the game at the moment. Simply to give us a feel for them and see how well the server stands up to zone wide rifts and invasions.

@Keen: Rifts will ALWAYS be relevant. The basic Rifts we’ve seen are just touching on their true scope. Raid rifts and group rifts are still to come. On top of invasions that will literally change the landscape of a zone. We’ve not seen them yet, but we know they’re there. We’ve already been told they were. This is a beta. I know, I hate that argument too. But right now, Rift is like an infant. Constantly growing and adapting to the world around it.

We can’t simply just a game based on what we’ve seen only halfway into it. None of us know what’s happening at 50. It’s hard to make assumptions on a system that hasn’t been fully fleshed out yet. Which is why I’ll continue to hold judgement but understand that the system in it’s basic form is still a very nice one. I personally loved WARs PQs. Rift has improved on those by giving them a life of their own. Is it to say that it will be the best thing ever? Of course not. However, I think RIFT is on a pretty good start.

I’ve come to find it far more entertaining that WoW was when I started it. Like I’ve said before. We’re comparing RIFT to a game that took 6 years to develop into what it is now. A place that RIFT is fairly close to and it’s just in beta. If they would change up the questing a bit then it could be a serious contender. Though, it is, in my opinion… the second best option by comparison. Even now.

Krister - December 23, 2010

Help me, Star Wars: The Old Republic. You’re my only hope.

Keen
Keen - December 23, 2010

@Caleb: They are not soloable later on. Early on they can be.

@Holgranth: I like the devs. They seem like they’re on track with what they want to deliver and they’re making good changes, for the most part, throughout development. Rifts do suffer from numbers. Too many people and they are 100% meaningless because they’re too easy. Too few people and they take over. If you’re interested in doing the rifts then you’ll find them to be ‘just right’ with ‘just the right’ amount of people.

@Coppertopper: Like WoW’s. I like the interface more, though.

@Dril: At this time I have no complaints about the people. Like I said, there’s no reason to play Rift if you like WoW or to play it if you like any MMO currently available… so chances are the crowd that will play is either tired of their current games or the MMO hopping crowd. It’s a crapshoot at this point.

@Shadrah: I think it’s safe to say you CAN judge the game by the beta.

Once again, Rift is better than just about anything else released post-WoW. PvP game? No. Better than WoW? No. Different? No. If I had to give it an award it would be “Best game that didn’t do anything different but did the same stuff better”.

Keen
Keen - December 23, 2010

Let me put it another way that might reflect more kindly on Rift. If I wasn’t playing WoW, I would definitely be playing Rift. When Rift comes out, Cataclysm might be boring. I would definitely play Rift if that were the case.

esloan - December 23, 2010

Great Rift “raid” video from beta:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=EXDUCkxqPdE

Note that this is not a true “Rift Raid”, it is only an elite mob spawned from a Rift. The real Rift Raids are at the level-cap and are much more involved. They are not tank and spank and are closer to a WoW-style Raid boss but in the open world.

esloan - December 23, 2010

Check out the dragon:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2XxpoX-c8Q&feature=player_embedded

To hell with Deathwing! 🙂

Shadrah - December 23, 2010

@Keen: Yeah, definitely. Of course, I think the only real thing it’s missing over WoW is a more intuitive system of questing. Everything else is pretty close. PvP aside for me. I don’t typically play games for the PvP. WAR was the ONLY exception because I really do feel it has some of the best PvP in current games. Do I think it’s a WoW-killer? Of course not. Do I think it can give WoW some decent competition? Most definitely.

I don’t typically like judging based on betas. Especially betas that I’ve only been able to experience a small portion of the game. However, if I were basing this on beta alone. Rift is probably, as you’ve said, the best game released in the past 6 years short of WoW.

Branith - December 23, 2010

I said if I was wrong in a previous blog I would be man enough to correct it. So here goes. The game is downright horrible IMO. I played beta 1 to level 20 and didnt even bother past level 7 in beta 2. The game is everyway less polished then WoW with a boring and uninspiring combat system, that is reminescent of WAR. The gameplay is no where near as polished as WoW.

The one upside of the game though is the class system, contrary to what you think, I feel the class system gives you enough freedom to mix and match soul callings to pretty much build any type of character you want. I built my DK from WoW, Champion, Reaver & Beastmaster. A guildie of mine built a Bard, Ranger, Sabetour and had fun with it. There is “just” enough freedom and if your imagination is decent then you could in theory build any sort of class (within reason) that you could play in WoW, AD&D (minus the staff or UA brawler types), or DAoC.

My biggeset issue thus far with the game is its poorly optimized and a vast number of players are having horrible FPS issues in the game. the best I could get was 17fps on low settings running on a Vista32, 4gb, QuadCore 2.44, with a GTS 250 gfx card. By all means not state of the art but good enough to get 60+ FPS on high visuals in WoW or AION, or 60+ FPS in Black Ops or Fallout New Vegas on medium settings. There has been ZERO develpoment feedback on these issues as well.

bhagpuss - December 23, 2010

I think ““Best game that didn’t do anything different but did the same stuff better”” as Keen sums up is fair. I’ve only played the two betas so I haven’t seen all that much, but what I did see I a) recognised from other MMOs I’ve played and b) liked a lot.

It looks well-thought-out, polished and coherent. It’s a lot of fun to play. I’ll be buying it and knowing that I will is actually taking the gloss of the MMOs I’m playing while I wait.

It may not be anyhting new or innovative, but so what? It does the things I already know I like really well, with different scenery. That’s more than eough and more than anyone else has offered for a while.

Valtray - December 23, 2010

I agree completely Keen, i felt the same way. But one thing i can mention is that i dueled a pyro mage on my ranger.. i got him, he was not a pro to say it mildly. He got me to half hp, i ran around shoting arrows – pushing abilitys while i somehow kited him in a way that made him unable to target me appropriatly and fire off spells. I was always behind him or out of range of his abilitys. The verdict; the dueling felt as smooth and easy like WoW, I had full control over my char and that’s a huge compliment. So am not worried that the pvp is gonna be a big disappointment.

RIFT: To beta and beyond « Welcome to Spinksville! - December 24, 2010

[…] Keen gives the game a resounding meh, but not because it’s bad, finding it too much of the same old same old. […]

Scott Hartsman - December 24, 2010

Hey, Keen — I’d definitely be interested in your impressions from the beta events, if you get a chance to take a look next week. 🙂

(The closed test server you’re referring to above actually still has the NDA on it. Most of the dynamic/interesting/social elements aren’t running there since it’s just a tiny server. That server is for baseline/core stability and balance testing. Beta is where the real action is happening.)

Drop a line if you need in!

– Scott

Keen
Keen - December 24, 2010

I’ve been in the beta events as well. Essentially everything I have said about the game is from information already known or visible from the beta events themselves. That is where these impressions come from.

I am definitely interested in trying the more PvP oriented event coming in the next beta and already have my access set up and ready to go. It will be good to see what has changed or been set up for it.

Scott Hartsman - December 24, 2010

In that case, thanks for being extremely thorough. Seriously appreciate that you took the time.

(BTW, the focus of the next one isn’t PvP, since B3 is more of a “by popular request, sure we’ll add one during people’s vacation week,” but there will be more PvP focus coming — We’ll make sure it’s prominently in the announcement when it happens.)

Keen
Keen - December 24, 2010

Since both factions are playable, will Warfronts be turned on?

Shadrah - December 24, 2010

@Keen: Most likely, yes. It would make sense that some manner of PvP will be turned on given both factions are available. There’s nothing really left to test in the 1-20 aside from that.

werewood - December 24, 2010

So … I agree with every word. I played it in both betas and got to the SAME same same conclusion on all counts. Well summarized.

If it had pvp I would have played.
Alas installed DCUO today and deleted after 2 hours. I can’t play action games. So the question is – what will a non action MMO can offer me these days?!

Its all on the shoulders of GW2 and TOR I guess.
Who is sick enough to think that a Sandbox, skill based, non-action and RvR (not pure pvp) can go together?! The first to get to this x4 odd combination will earn my $s for a long time.

Intruder313 - December 24, 2010

It does not sound like many people will “Shift to Rift” then!

I’m pleased to that on the whole it sounds decent but the grim reality this will be yet another MMO that will attract a modest following for 1-2 years then offer a lifetime sub mere weeks before going “Free to play”.

Roll on KOTOR and then Titan.

Keen
Keen - December 24, 2010

I don’t foresee Rift being a short term game only or being one to go Free to Play so readily. Then again, LotRO going F2P threw me for a loop so who really knows.

Rift will likely last many years, but its success will hinge greatly upon how good or bad GW2 and KotOR do… “Titan” will destroy everything, regardless.

Shadrah - December 24, 2010

@Keen: You put far too much faith in Blizzard. I wouldn’t be so quick to judge a game just because of who made it. Especially given Blizzard’s track record of dumbing games down to the point that a 5 year old can play them.

Argorius - December 25, 2010

Blizzard’s track record of making successful games that fly of the shelves like hot cakes…

Dumbed down…yes (for WOW at least…I dont think that applies to SC2 or that it would apply to Diablo III) but it will be a blockbuster and Blizzard has a beg enough reputation that the “Who” has some meaning and most likely will deliver a successful title.

It may not be something we consider to be great (as “true” MMO fans) but for the masses it will be good.

Keen, what would RIFT have to do in order to be “successful” or all it could be?

Canuckde - December 25, 2010

Not to mention Blizzard has the stable cash flow from their cash cow WOW to be able to take their time to create a newer, better cash cow.

Dril - December 25, 2010

@Shadrah: name me a themepark MMO’s levelling game that a 5-year-old COULDN’T play. Hell, name me a game, full stop, a 5-year-old couldn’t play in some capacity. I know I was ripping things to shreds on my PS1 when I was five (side note: anyone else play Hydro Thunder? That was a hawt racing game.)

“Track record?” You mean one game; let’s not forget everything else that Blizzard has made. If you don’t like the rest of their games that’s great, cool, whatever, but they don’t have a “track record” of dumbing down at all.

Shadrah - December 25, 2010

@Argorius/Canuckde: No MMO Blizzard releases from here on out will be met with the same success as World of Warcraft. World of Warcraft was not only an exception to the MMO rule, but it’s already done everything. So there’s nothing new to add. The only way this new project will be seen as more than just another game is if they make a true MMOFPS out of it. That’s the ONLY option they have. If it comes out another MMORPG with FPS elements then it will be just like any other game.

Shadrah - December 25, 2010

@Dril: Except that their Track Record has to do with MMOs. As in, WoW. Why would I even start to consider Starcraft II for how they would treat any MMOFPS/RPG? Blizzard is NOT the be all end all. Not matter how many of you like to think it is. They had one massive success over a game that they made so easy it’s not even an MMORPG anymore. Grats. Blizzard is king because WoW is so accessible that anyone can play it. At least they’re trying to fix their mistakes with Cata, though.

Keen
Keen - December 25, 2010

@Shadrah: You can’t argue whether or not Blizzard games will be a success. You simply can’t. You lose. Good day sir. The end. Their games are winners, regardless of what you or anyone else reading this website may think. It’s like Call of Duty at this point. They could be horrible and break records.

@Argorius: I’ve seen enough of Rift to know that it will launch as a good game and from that it will be a successful game. They would have to drastically alter the game from the state it is currently in, whether to appease people or because of a drastic change in mindset.

Perhaps the part of the game that no one has seen (the true end-game) isn’t great. That might hurt retention. The big problem is really the “what now” condition that many of us hit in these games. We reach the end of the prescribed gameplay and we wonder “what’s next?”. If you’re playing WoW you can expect some major patch with lots of content. If you’re playing something else you just never know.

If Rift doesn’t provide an end-game or any sort of successful implementation of PvP then they’re going to feel the hurt when GW2 comes out.

Pedro - December 25, 2010

This game seems to be very promising to me. The fact that it barely brings something new isn’t very worrying for me. I just want to play a new game that entertains me and plays similar to traditional fantasy MMORPGs.
The lore of Telara seems fun, the graphics atractive and the Rifts and the Soul system interesting.

However, the merit of this game will not be how well done is the starter experience – It seems polished and quite stable – but the midgame and endgame. WAR also has a great starter experience but that was the peak of the game, afterwards it went downhill.

For Rift to be successfull, the endgame will need to be more interesting than the starter experience and give players a sense of progression as well as a big variety of activities, plus the Rifts will need to be much more complex by then.

werewood - December 25, 2010

Ohhh dear as stated above by Hartsman we are not getting any PvP on Tue 🙁

werewood - December 25, 2010

@Pedro …
Honestly I wouldn’t mind at all if it was more of the same if the Theme-Park and quests were so boring. really boring. I would give both aspects 2 out of 5. And again, I would be thrilled to get rid of WoW.

Keen
Keen - December 25, 2010

If the questing wasn’t so bad then I’d be way more excited. I just don’t have it in me to get excited about bad quests. As much as I loved the 1-60 new quests in WoW, Outlands almost did me in.

Lee - December 25, 2010

First, I had a LOT more fun playing the Defiants than I did the Guardians. The Guardian starting areas seemed much more claustrophobic to me. Everything happened in a small space and there were often too many mobs piling on me (I am hoping that is due to spawn rates being cranked up for the beta events, and that they will be dropped back down for live).

The thing that appeals to me most about Rift (and I hope I don’t end up being wrong about this) is the ability to gain a goodly number of souls and then have (at cap) four builds that you can use. This would allow you to only have one of each of the base classes. You could use an A/B combo for soloing, then a straight A for DPS, then an A/C for aoe groups, and then a B/C for crowd control. I hope that makes sense. You start out with a combo for leveling, then add souls and builds as you go.

Dril - December 26, 2010

@Shadrah: Right, so one game ISN’T A TRACK RECORD. Blizzard do not have a continued, noticeable and well-known trend of “dumbing down” every game. They have one game where such an occurrence is, at best, debatable, and at worst another steaming pile of male bovine manure that people like to cook-up about WoW.

You’re nothing special telling me that Blizzard isn’t the be all and end all, but the fact is that no, it isn’t a one-off success. Starcraft (1 and 2), Warcraft (1-3), Diablo (1-2) were and are successes, and not because a 5-year-old can play them.

Oh, who am I kidding? EVE is by far the greatest game in the world, it’s simply unappreciated and is only not super-huge because everyone apart from EVE players has a low IQ and thus can’t stomach the game. Word, brotha. Let’s go mine some asteroids!

We Fly Spitfires - December 27, 2010

I’m very curious about Rift but I’ve yet to see or hear anything to really make it stand out of the crowd for me. I think it’s success will depend a lot on how bored people are of WoW when it comes out 😛

Trimethicon - December 27, 2010

I played the beta and you summed up my impressions pretty much dead-on. Do we really need this game? I swear, you fanboys really need to take a reality pill, there isn’t anything going on here that hasn’t been done before.

My MMO Outlook for 2011 « The Ancient Gaming Noob - December 28, 2010

[…] made by people with solid track records who have proven they can do good things.  Reports about the game, now that the beta NDA has been dropped, tell a tale of a polished and really good looking game, […]

Gatormane - January 6, 2011

@Keen Just curious, at the end of your write-up you say it’s better than WAR. How can you say this when by your own admission, Rift is not a PvP game?

Keen
Keen - January 6, 2011

Because a game doesn’t have to be a PvP game to be better than WAR.

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