Thursday, June 30, 2011

Rift in Review, Part 3

The final wrap up of Megan's extensive review of Rift. This is the clincher - the part where she...well, I won't ruin any surprises. We certainly enjoyed having her as a guest blogger! If anyone out there wants to post, please email us at achievos @ and let us know!
I’ll go straight for the throat now – why, despite enjoying this game, did I go back to WoW? There is no singular, big, unifying answer; more of a lot of small things that gave me the desire to head back to Azeroth. Keep in mind that most of these centers around end game complaints, which will never be an issue for many MMO players. One issue I had was each server, or shard, is not assigned a time zone. This initially didn’t strike me as too much of a deal breaker until I had reached max level and wanted to proceed into more end game oriented activities (the more difficult 5 man dungeons, and raids). It’s quite disheartening to put all this time into leveling only to realize that there are no guilds wanting to raid at the times you have available.
My major debilitating feature was the lack of add ons. Anyone who has actually seen my interface in WoW can tell I’m an add on junkie. Now don’t mistake me, the game is quite playable as is. It’s perfect for the beginning player, as anything that gives you more information or customization inherently becomes more complex. But, there are ways to do it so much better, and add ons are a great way for this to happen without having to waste developer time that is better spent on creating new content, or running the risk of confusing new or more casual players. My character is a cleric, and I wanted to heal end game content, and I didn’t want to heal it just any way, I wanted to heal it as a warden, which is a heal over time based healer. Healing on a character who relies on HoT spells is absolutely infuriating when you have no way to track what characters have your spells on them already without clicking on the person and searching through a massive buff list to try and locate what might be your spell. Possible? Yes. Makes me feel frustrated, annoyed, and incredibly inefficient? Yes, yes, and hell yes. And it is so much easier with a threat meter to tell as a damage dealer when it is ok to go all out or when you need to hold back, and tanking so much less stressful when you can tell how far ahead of your group you actually are. I could go on and on preaching about how much I love add ons, but this isn’t the article for that.

A heavily modified WoW healer UI, from WowInsider.  Rift has some basic UI customization in game, but add ons allow much more customization for you to tailor to your specific needs, whether you need easier to read health bars or just want something more aesthetically pleasing.
I’ll limit this to the big three of my complaints, since this post is growing to epic proportions already. Last of the three is how rifting tapers off as you get higher level. In the first few zones you quest in, rifts abound everywhere, and if you log on for three hours in an evening, you can count upon a zone invasion happening for you to participate in. I love the zone invasions; the entire zone banding together to force back the enemy, and a certain amount of tactics having to occur to be successful is exciting. However, the zone invasions suffered an abrupt drop off once you reached a certain point; I went from approximately level 30 to level 50 without seeing more than 1 or 2. Once I reached 50, the only time I actually saw any was when I decided to forgo my entire Saturday or Sunday, and then maybe I’d be online for one. For something that I enjoyed so very much, it was, to say the least, a disappointment for them no longer occur much at all.
With that said, I expect I will give it another go in a few months. Of my major complaints, I am quite aware the Trion is either in the process of fixing or has pushed some fixes for all of them (there have been numerous tweaks to try and get zone invasions to occur more frequently, there is some sort of free server transfer service for your character (though I’m not clear on the specifics of how it works), and support for add ons is coming soon). With these complaints addressed, I would expect my interest in the game would solidify much more. All in all, Rift is a sold game that shows all the signs of sticking around for a significant period of time, and I expect that most anyone that has enjoyed WoW will enjoy Rift as well, and I think it has some innovations built in that even Blizzard could learn from and adopt. 
The tentacles from beyond are going to get you!

1 comment:

Linz said...

The tentacles from beyond are definitely trying to get me. Since I have quit WoW there is a giant MMORPG sized hole in my heart. Rift wants to fill that hole, but my life politely requests that I not pour every spare moment into an MMORPG. (Read "life" as "Xbox" since I've been logging some serious hours on there.)