RIFT Beta Event First Impressions
By Tully Ackland, OnRPG Editor
RIFT is on the radar of the majority of MMO gamers out there right now and you don’t have to look too far to be swamped by player’s first impressions of the game. So here I am to add to that ever increasing list to give my two cents on what I’ve seen so far.
If you’ve played Warhammer Online you’ll have a familiar feeling starting up in RIFT. This isn’t a negative per-say. Warhammer nailed many aspects of early environmental and atmospheric tones in the starter zones and RIFT takes inspiration from that quite clearly. While many out there will compare the two games and make similarities in a negative fashion. I’ll be avoiding such comments as the most important factor is: Has it been conducted correctly?
RIFT takes the medal for most complete and polished post-release of a MMO that I’ve ever seen. I participated in the BETA events as a Druid/Warden/Justicer in an attempt to recreate my most beloved class from Dark Age of Camelot, the Friar. RIFT’s Soul System (Which is the process of selecting classes) is a fantastic take on the tired old repeated class choices featured in most games today. It allows the player to tailor character creation to their own preferred play style. Of course it goes without saying that there will be cookie cutter builds bound to pop up and it will be a tough job for Trion to ensure that no specific Soul choices will be miles beyond the rest.
Spending the weekend moving through the starter areas was a pleasure with a clean User Interface and spectacular character animations adding to the overall experience. Graphically RIFT is dark and dirty. In a good way, she might not have the extremely high polygon count of Aion but by no means is it an ugly looking game.
In RIFT there are events called rifts (I know, just stay with me), and these are Trion Worlds’ take on Public Quests with a twist: Dynamic events which give you the feeling your making a difference in the world, it is here where a firm opinion of the game will start take place and mine was an exceptionally good one. It felt extremely engaging defending a city against an invasion with a group of fellow players.
I’m well aware that PvP is what the majority of people looking at the game are interested in the most right now and I’m afraid my initial impressions were rather neutral. While fighting against Players in any game is an exciting experience in RIFT you can already see the severe impact that poor class balancing will have on the entire game if Trion don’t regularly tweak soul combinations. It’s far too early for me to say at this point; as I’m sure the experience is entirely different at a higher level.
I’m keeping an eye open for RIFT’s retail launch, it’s a game that doesn’t make promises to change MMOs forever but is a good candidate to house another of my virtual lives. With launch just around the corner, it won’t be long to see if this is a world where I can grow roots.