Rift Beta 5 Impressions
Rift had their Beta 5 this past week, running from Tuesday through Saturday. I’m largely in the same boat as Syp and Stargrace — I’m planning on playing the game at launch, so I don’t want to level to much or see too much of the world so that once it’s live and my character(s) aren’t slated to be wiped I can actually be exploring and just plain enjoying myself. As a result, this time around I just tested out various souls as “primary” in the low levels.
Sadly, due to IRL issues meaning we had to take my 13-month old to the ER at the local children’s hospital I was quite tired a couple of the nights and a bit grumpy, so I know that colored my perceptions a bit on those 2 nights. Even so… it was my reaction so I’m gonna write about it.
In beta 4 I hadn’t really found a rogue or a warrior spec that I liked, so I wanted to explore their options a bit more. I went with what I’d seen as the Flavor of the Month in beta 4 this time and picked Ranger as my primary, coupled with the Marksman as secondary. And I loved it. The pet pig is a rather good tank, the Marksman has a point-blank shot for if you actually do pull aggro or the pet dies… worked nicely. I took Saboteur for the 3rd soul thinking it’s got a reputation for high dps as well and I was going for maximum shot power. And it worked quite well. That said, I think a more melee oriented 3rd soul might work better. Your skills recharge fast enough that there’s not really a reason to use the Saboteur bombs in their present incarnation unless you’re planning on only using them, in which case why be ranger/marksman? And the few times I actually had mobs on me I was wishing for more melee skills and finishers.
Still…. it was fun enough to play that I actually realized I was going farther than I had before in the quest lines on the Defiant sign, simply becuz I didn’t want to stop playing the character. I think that’s a good sign.
Something I found and I’m not sure whether it was good or bad was that I somehow skipped a quest hub and went to the “next one after” and. . it was purely level appropriate and was giving me nicer gear than I’d otherwise seen up to that point.
But anyway, after I caught myself I went and tried several other soul combos — Warden/Purifier/Sentinel for a pure healing build (yet Warden does surprisingly good dps, at least in the low levels), swapped the Purifier in as the 3rd soul in my beta 4 Justicar/Shaman/Warden becuz I loved the 0-point ward you get. It definitely makes it a “tankier” build — I even was holding my own just fine vs an even-con elite mob during a rift. It wasn’t dying that fast, but it wasn’t hurting me at all either. Tried the Necromancer as a primary, but was too tired and grumpy to appreciate it, I think, and I deleted it before even getting to level 2, much less adding more souls to it. Same for the Inquisitor. Checked out the Stormcaller mage soul as a primary, then added the Elementalist and Dominator souls to that and felt like I’d become a god among mortals.
Tried the Riftstalker soul to see about being a rogue tank. Added the Bladedancer and Nightblade to that and found I enjoyed it, though not quite as much as the Ranger from earlier. Tried the Champion warrior, adding Paragon and Riftblade as the additional souls and kinda liked that too.
Based on all of this, I’m finding I love all the customizability. It will be interesting over time to try “oddball” builds and such. and I did really like on my level 15 cleric that had quested all her souls that I could just swap one out and another in, not needing to re-roll the character. I can absolutely see why one could argue (and very reasonably, I might add) that you only need 4 characters since once you have one of each archetype you can just swap the souls in and out to do whatever role you want/need to do in a group or raid, while still having your solo build. And foer the pvp people a pvp build as well.
I can see some concern that there will eventually (shortly?) be “optimum builds” for certain archetypal roles that people will be expected to know and to use, but I still think that even if/when that happens that there’s enough flexibility in it the system to allow for “suboptimum” builds to successfully complete dungeons/instances and such.
And for the final part here — I did try out a bit of crafting. It was the simple “have materials so click button to make a thing” type, so there’s not much to it. What I do like about it is that (at least from what I’ve seen so far) that the crafted items are comparable to but slightly better than comparable level quested/dropped items, making it so that it will actually be useful to people for self-use and also should allow for a market for the stuff.
I don’t really have much to say in conclusion except that it’s fun enough that over the weekend I was wishing the beta was still going on so I could play more . . . .