Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Rift: To Play or not to Play

I'm on the edge of a precipice, or so it feels. It's the same feeling I get whenever I start a major new MMO. I felt it when I started Aion, when I dabbled in WoW and even a little bit when I tried DC Universe Online. If I commit myself, I spend the money on the game, pay for a month, spend 3 hours downloading and installing the stuff, 5 hours queueing to get into a server and then if it all falls flat - well, then I'd feel like a right plonka.
The blogosphere around which I orbit has been a'buzz with Rift information for the past few weeks and I can't help but feel like I'm missing out on something new and exciting. Unfortunately, for every good review I get, there is a bad one. Now, I'm a fairly level headed guy and I know that I should take most reviews with a pinch of salt, but when the evidence is so conflicting it's difficult for me to make up my own mind.

I was speaking with TashaDarke earlier today and she explained it thus:

Think the Guild Wars profession system (you get 3 which you can change at will) and Guild Wars 2′s dynamic events & grouping (has a few issues but that’s another blog post), with Aion’s looks and WoW-post-Cataclysm feel & crafting. Its not better than other MMOs, its just a less broken system than the others.
Tasha's assertion is supported by other reviews:

Generally speaking this game plays virtually identically to warcraft, even to things like the menu options to switch on extra bottom and right hand menu bars!
I tried the game because I dont like where warcraft has ended up, I prefer a more perenial immersive sandbox experience, rather than spoon fed button mashing repetition experience. But this game is so similar to wow its ridiculous. (Unfortunately all developers seem to be desperate to emulate warcraft and so are all of this ilk).

And so if you love warcraft, you will like this.... but erm hey warcraft has years of content under its belt so erm.... just play warcraft instead.
It's inevitable that most popular P2P MMOs (and MMOs in general) will be compared with the big Daddy of them all. WoW has taken the MMO genre to its highest level yet and many a game designer could learn a lot from the tomes in Blizzard's dusty halls. I also understand that a lot of the old school WoWers are looking to Rift to be a replacement to what they view to be a severely broken game. Consequently, if Rift is going to be trying to tap into the disillusioned WoW player demographic (a big one, I'm sure) then I'm confident that it will flourish at first - although I don't have much faith that it'll nab many real loyal fans.

I think my main concern about Rift is that it doesn't appear to be adding anything new to the MMO genre, and I'm not sure I should reward this cowardice with my playtime and my hard earned moolah. I'll probably give it a few months for the dust to settle and to find out what the players think about the game in it's entirety.


  1. I got invited to the beta and couldn't be arsed to play, however some of my friends have played it and are playing it and they say it feels like WoW but better. However it lacks the Lore WoW had prior to its release which is the only thing really holding it back. In my opinion it really doesn't bring anything to the field to make it extra special but my days of MMO gaming are numbered I don't find them as compelling as a good single player game or a competitive Multiplayer game.

  2. It's obviously going to depend on what games you prefer to play. I dislike questing and pve (for the most part) so I didn't get into RIFT despite the fact I pre-ordered! I got caught up in the hype and ended up in the Alpha. Haven't played it since and canceled by sub :)

    It's just a bit underwhelming imo but again, I might not be the best person to advise you one this- I prefer the Sandbox and/or pvp when it come to MMO's.

    That said it was polished, bug-free, and Trion provided good customer service. I may not be playing but I don't regret my purchase...well, maybe a little.....

  3. If you like WoW-type games you'll like RIFT. It's very well made. If you don't, you won't. There's nothing new or interesting in it beyond even more grinds than most games have.



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