My Initial Rift Impressions
So all over the gaming blogosphere we’re getting people talking about Rift. So many that I’m not gonna link to any of them — they’re easy enough to find, after all. For myself, I’d heard a little about it over the past few months, but other than 1 time of going to their site and seeing what it had to say about their various classes and thinking some of them sounded kinda fun, I didn’t think much of it (though I did sign up for the beta), at least, not until the beta NDA came down and everyone and their dog started blogging about it.
Initial buzz was good, so I was very jealous that I hadn’t gotten a beta invite, but I figured such was life and I didn’t worry about it. But then the pre-order announcement came out and pre-orders have guaranteed beta access, so I figured “Why not? I can always cancel the order if I don’t like it in the beta, after all. . . . ” Sp I pre-ordered and whaddya know? Just like magic an email appeared saying I was invited to the Beta 4 event. I registered and started the client download after I got home from work on Friday and was able to log in a couple of hours later — download speed was most excellent. I spent quite some time with the game over the weekend and my biggest overall impression is this:
I’m not canceling the pre-order becuz the game’s an absolute blast to play, and I’m very much looking forward to the launch.
So with that said, let me get my complaints out of the way:
As currently implemented, the game’s namesake rifts are rather pointless. I’m praying that they will copy Warhammer’s open-group model for them, else I’ll probably only be doing them when certain gateway quests require me to do them. They don’t award gear, they award tokens that you take to a vendor to buy gear with. On the one hand, that’s awesome since it means you can get what you want and not a useless drop, but on the other hand, I hate token grinds. The other problem is that when you aren’t in a group, you don’t get quest credit for kills that are tagged by others players and/or their groups, you can’t see who needs healing, etc. I know…. 6+ weeks left until launch, so plenty of time for them to implement something, so I’m not terribly worried about it (yet).
I also don’t like how certain quests (I’m looking at YOU soul acquisition quests) require you to a) complete a rift and b) get a random quest item drop as part of the reward for completing it. Someone was saying in chat that as long as you have the quest that you are guaranteed the drop, but. . I got one before I’d ever seen the quest, and I’ve only gained 2 more since then, in spite of having done 5 rifts while having the quests. Drop rate seems a bit low on those. . . .
Another complaint is that the movement speed is really slow. The 40% runspeed bonus you get when dead while running back to your corpse feels “good.” Regular running feels slow. Of course, this could be done on purpose in order to ensure that once you gain level 20 you’ll be shelling out for a mount. Time will tell.
And of course, the utter dearth of equipment as you’re running through the tutorial and low level zones is annoying too. It seems a direct ripoff from WoW that you can’t even equip BASIC PIECES of armor until you reach a certain level and it’s an utterly stupid design decision, IMO. I should have full and complete armor/jewelry sets available at level 1, not have to wait until level 15 to equip shoulders, level 20 to equip a helm, and so forth.
Only bug I’ve found is that certain spells don’t like to queue up. Well no… they queue up and then stick. . . . . Easily worked around via clicking it again, but still a minor annoyance.
And that’s it for my complaints. On to the good stuff!
Due to my lack of prior research, when I 1st logged in I had no idea what to expect. I did think that the “melee cleric” subclass called the Justicar sounded really good to me, so I made a Mathosian Cleric and selected the Justicar “soul” to be his primary class. Started following the Guardian side’s quest line and got a few levels under my belt rather rapidly and was thus able to rapidly improve my self-healing. I also got a group heal fairly early on. Before I knew it I was being asked to add in a 2nd subclass to my repertoire so that I could actually spend my 4th soul point that I got at level 3. The game very helpfully suggests classes that should synergize well, and since I was already a melee cleric and apparently a tank, rather than a true healer, I went with the melee dps class of Shaman — one of my self-heals has its amount set by how much damage I do per hit, so obviously I want to boost my dps, and the Shaman seemed to fill the bill there.
The tutorial zone was fairly standard “fantasy rpg” fare. Nothing earth-shaking lore-wise, but the gameplay was solid and I felt it was a good intro to the world. The tutorial missions eventually took me through grabbing a 3rd subclass. Suggested ones for the Justicar and Shaman were things like Purifier or Sentinel, but I went with the Warden, since my favorite EQ2 healers is a fury, which uses HoT’s and the Rift Warden does as well. That actually worked out quite well as one of the “zero point” abilities that you gain with the class is an instant-cast nuke with no refresh time. Between that and the Justicar’s 15 second cooldown ranged bolt I can have most mobs down to half health before they even enter melee range, and then in melee they simply melt due to the Shaman’s buffs stacking well with the Justicar’s and buffing up the melee damage and crit rate. I’m really liking this combo.
After getting to level 11, I decided to go try out a lot of other builds. I wanted to try each archetype, after all. It was mostly a case of “run through the tutorial as fast as possible to get 3 souls and see how well they work together” thing. I’ve found several I didn’t care for, a few I did like, but found myself gravitating back to my Justicar as my favorite. As a result, while I’ve gotten each archetype at least through the tutorial (and thus to level 7 or higher) it’s the Justicar that I’ve done most of my participation in the rift and invasion events, and that’s where my observations above about the rifts needing to copy WAR’s open groups up above come from.
Overall, a very enjoyable weekend, and I look forward to more. I don’t think the game’s “earth shaking” and definitely not a “WoW-killer” but I think it ought to do well, based on my initial impression.