You remember how, a couple of week ago, I said I was tempted to jump back into World of Warcraft because I was intrigued to see how the game had evolved and improved in many years since I last played it? Yeah, screw that, I’m going to play Rift instead. I just finished my review of the game last night, after playing it for around 2-3 weeks, which you can read here. In short: It’s quite good.

I mean it’s not perfect – take away it’s unique take on dynamic content and it could be any generic fantasy MMO (albeit with subtle steampunk) motifs. It doe experiment and push boundaries, like with the open approach to classes, but there are many areas that are pretty standard and lack the same innovation. What really clinched it for me though is the pacing. When it comes to reviewing an MMO, you naturally have to play it for far longer than any other game, even JRPG’s, and if it’s not designed particularly well or just boring, it can be a real effort to force yourself to play through. I remember the original version of All Points Bulletin – a game I liked in concept but loathed when I had actually had to play through it.

With RIFT though, everything just seemed a lot more… smoother. The starting areas for both factions are very unique, and actually help set up the story rather well (although the Defiant’s is way more interesting than the Guardians), and once you’re out of those, the game keeps you moving along at a steady pace so that you don’t get bogged down too much. Before I knew it, I was level ten and wondering where all the time had gone.

The soul-system is very diverse – at minimal cost you can essentially ‘re-spec’ your character using one of 8 combinations of sub-classes, so you can have a support-warrior, a tank-rogue, healer-mage, a DPS-cleric… because of these sub-classes, the four class archetypes are very flexible. The only problem is, being a bit of a MMO noob, I haven’t really experimented much because I haven’t been given much direction on what each soul does, but I’m sure I’ll learn.

The really great thing about this game though is the dynamic content, the Rifts that the game draws its name from. You can liken them to portals, dimensional gates, tears in the fabric of the world… whatever you like, but basically, a hole opens, and mobs pour out of it that you need to take care off. These Rifts can appear anywhere as well, and are not confined to set locations (Although there are some places where they won’t appear, but not many). The rewards for helping seal a Rift are worthwhile and in terms of XP comparable to questing or even grinding (just with more purpose), so there’s real incentive to take a break from the main questing and help seal some Rifts, especially when things escalate into area-wide invasions.

It’s a good game, and well worth checking out. All I need now is some friends and a guild to join…

Oh, and their ad campaign I think was just a little bit genius – “We’re not in Azeroth anymore”. Hah!

Until next time.

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