Thursday, 1 September 2011

Rift: back for 5 days

I spent 5 days back in Rift and it was educational for me.

I found out two main things.

1) Rift is a superb game of its type with a number of clever features that I remember and some new ones that I don't.

2) It's not my type.

I have a number of characters spread across different servers, the most advanced being a level 50 with raid/t2 gear. Which I barely touched. There seemed no progression because the character can only progress through loot, can only get usable loot from raids. I've advanced that one too far to be able to do anything with him on this type of casual visit. And I didn't really fancy progressionless play.

Server transfers have come in since I stopped playing. I am in a battlegroup which has all the busiest servers EU-side so after some investigation I decided not to move. I was pleasantly suprised that many very active servers were available for transfer. It's not at all like the rather desultory offering in WoW where you occasionally are invited to move to a server which is deader than a parrot. (For example Argent RP-PvE server was there).

I played my Rogue a little but the main thing I wanted to do was dungeons and they weren't popping. Rift has cross server LFD now but it's still possible to queue for 4 hours on a Friday night as dps in the busiest EU battlegroup and not see a group. (That might have been a one-off. I got much better results with my low level mage even when I queued as pure dps).

So I mainly played a mage, which started at level 28 and finished at level 33. I did a little questing but i'm not terribly interested in questing these days. I did quite a lot of warfronts and those are quite fun. Somewhat pale compared to Eve pvp though. There don't seem to be any stakes at all, or at least that's what I felt. Everyone progresses and the winner progresses a tad faster. I have no sense of who I played with or against. A lot of what makes team sports fun has been sacrificed for accessibility. I found myself seeing the battles pop and missing them or clicking Ignore because I couldn't be bothered.

I did like the LFD. I was limited to 2 possible dungeons and farmed them fairly heavily. (As I leveled precisely which 2 I had access to changed). I probably did around a dozen dungeons runs. The wait is much longer than it was in WoW if I queue as dps only. However the wait wasn't bad at all when I queued as Healer, Support and Dps. Better yet, it lets you alt tab and the Rift tab at the bottom of the screen will flash when your group is ready if you're doing something else in windowed mode. That's very convenient. (It also does this for warfronts).

Probably the most interesting part was respeccing the character. I tried all sorts of different builds and still have new ones to experiment with. As someone who likes creating characters in different ways Rift is one of the most entertaining games out there. It's also taught me that games where you have to spend a significant sum to respec are less fun for me. I want to tinker constantly with my builds.

Would I recommend Rift? Very much so. It remains as far as I'm concerned the pick of the diku-types. It's better than WoW, AoC and Lotro.

Would I play it? No. I have problems with the content and progression:

solo pve (quests, rifts, etc) - bores me quickly

world pvp - no one does it much. I murdered one guy in a level 30 area, he got me back and I got him back again which was fun. But I had to initiate it, I don't think he would have attacked if I hadn't. And no one builds groups to go off fighting.

group pve (dungeons) - excellent, waiting is a lot less excellent. I do like the alt tab feature but I'd rather play a game that kept me playing because I'm hooked, than a game that makes waiting around more bearable.

group pve (raids) - still too much investment for the fun returned. Having had two raid guilds collapsed I don't want to sub and try to get into another one. Plus starting at the bottom of someone's dkp system sucks. Plus I guess I'm too burned out still. I see raids as a close community and tend to feel committed. Having had two collapse 4 months ago when I played Rift is very offputting. If I were to raid at the moment I'd rather raid casually perhaps in WoW's cross server raid pugs. I cba to work hard for a raid guild unless I feel there's the prospect of longevity.

group pvp (warfronts) - ok but aimless. It can be fun dotting people, burning people and the heal by nuking rift mage gameplay. But it doesn't suit my need for a strategic sense to pvp. How does running around what is basically a football field playing sport lead to us conquering their capital, burning their villages, seizing their treasury? It's not player AGAINST player, it's player WITH player in an endless round of pat-a-cake.

I'd certainly play another Trion game, it's a beautifully crafted game of its type. But playing this made me realise how much I want Diablo 3 and Prime instead. In fact after a few days I found myself thinking don't play Rift, play Diablo 2 and had to make myself get the maximum out of the free time instead of playing a game that's always available to me.


  1. I'm right there with you. I actually took the initiative to reactivate my account yesterday - reset my password, got my wallet, started putting my CC info back in ... and then it hit me.

    Why am I doing this? I thought it might be fun to try again and got the urge to do so, but when I really, really thought about it and was at that moment of committing, realized ... I left because I hated it.

    Boring, PvE play is just not my thing anymore. I'd rather test my wits against real people in something like LOL, or enjoy some casual coop in something like LF42, or zone out on my own in something like Deus Ex.

    Can't wait for some GOOD mmos in the near future.

  2. Agreed. I got a 50 warrior with T2 gear, was spending heaps of time rifting to get all the essences and stopped right after it. Got bored of it after. Reckon it almost comes to an end for all triditional MMORPGs. People get bored of doing the same stuff over and over for no satisfiction. Entertaining companies need to figure out a better way to bring their customer joy, else they will follow the gaints from publishing industries who have recently lost their business to e-books/media.


  3. I agree with you in general, it's one of the most polished DIKU MMOs on the market, I would easily recommend it to anyone. However, I just don't find it very compelling. The stories I experience and the setting just don't suck me in.

    Where I disagree is that it's the clearly best Diku on the market. Based on mechanics and polish Rift arguably is the best diku MMO out. If you hate questing, I can definitely see where you are coming from.

    However, the solo questing game is pretty much all a Diku does better than a pure sandbox like EVE. When I played Rift I almost never encountered a quest-line or NPC I found at all compelling. I actually prefer the questing games in LoTRO, EQ II, AoC and even WoW to that of Rift just because the narratives they convey are usually more interesting.

  4. Hey Holy, reading the rift forums, thought of you then decided to look you up. Interesting to see Rift is still the same. Sad that there is still nothing for me there for the very reasons you listed. Playing APB Reloaded (a F2P game) until Battlefield 3 comes out. Hopefully see you in D3 if nothing else!

  5. @ Whamo That would be awesome :)

    @ everyone thanks for your thoughts.