Posted tagged ‘Rift review’

Rift Beta 4: So Far

January 9, 2011

HeMan1

By the power of Grayskull! I have the power!

Beta 4 isn’t over, but I’m taking a small break from my powergaming session to give you my impressions so far. Luckily both me and my wife were able to get beta access this time without preordering, so we’ve been able to play together like we usually do. What do we think? Let’s get to it.

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Rift is an amazingly beautiful game.

We started two new characters for this beta, since we would be playing together. We went with red headed, green eyes dwarves without really talking about it at all. What we did talk about was what classes we would be. I chose a tanking warrior, Reaver to be specific, and she picked a healing Cleric. Eventually I added beastmaster which I don’t plan to waste any points on, I just wanted the pet, and then I chose the tank soul that is focused on magic, which turned out to be pretty cool.

We’ve been running around, leveling as quickly as we can and closing all the Rifts we come across. It’s been a blast, but I’m not going to lie and say that there haven’t been some issues. Less for me than for my wife, but they were still there.

One of the major issues is PVP balance. Trion decided to go with the 10-19, 20-29 brackets for PVP, which means you won’t be PVPing for most of the game. This is the stupidest decision you can make in a PVP game. A level 10 is completely useless against what will quickly be all level 17-19’s, just like WoW in the past. I can imagine it quickly becoming a scream fest when you load in at level 11, and everyone starts cursing you out for gimping the team and telling you to come back at 17. They don’t even have Warhammer’s “fake level up” thing.

Another issue is figuring out what classes people are. As far as I can tell there is absolutely no way for me to see what souls someone is using. That means I have to take someone’s word for it if I’m looking for a healer or tank for a dungeon. This doesn’t matter to me right now, as I’ll be tanking while my wife heals, but I can imagine this becoming a HUGE issue once the game launches.

My wife noticed something I hadn’t, and while it wasn’t a negative for me it certainly was for her. Once you get to the city of Sanctum you’ll run around and get a ton of quests. These quests vary wildly between PVP, PVE, and Dungeons. They also vary wildly in location in which they can be completed and level range. While some out there will love this random assortment of quests, my wife found it immensely annoying that this quest hub didn’t give her the normal small amount of quests that could be completed relatively close by.

Some professions we discovered were much harder to level than others. For example, I chose to go Armorsmithing and after I make something I can destroy it for a chance of getting my matts back, so I can use those e for the next item. This system is amazing and I wish I had it in every game. Unfortunately my wife went Artificer, and quickly found out that not only is it harder to find the materials to make Artificer items, but you are unable to break them down into their component parts. This means that, while I might get 20 skill points out of 15 ore, she could at most get 15. That might not seem like a lot, but it does add up. Silly? Yes. Annoying? Yes again.

Bag space is extremely limited as well. It almost feels like a Free to Play game that sells bags on a cash shop with how limited you are in bag slots. I spent every bit of money I had on the highest level of bags I could find and I still ran out of room constantly. I’ve never liked limited inventory in RPGs in the first place, but this is extreme. Why should I be forced to run back to town every few minutes to sell stuff when I would rather be out enjoying the world and NPCs I come across?

The worst offender so far though is that the Rifts can quickly get out of hand. You may find, once you move into the level 18+ areas, that all of your quest hubs are conquered by invasions, and that unless you have a large group of high level players you are going to be grinding for a while. This leads to many players banding together to defend and retake quest hubs, but it can also be annoying if you’re one of the only people around. For those that don’t know the Invasions aren’t like Rifts. The Invasions spawn dozens of monsters, all ELITE. This means you can’t pick them off one at a time solo either, so you WILL need MANY players to help you retake it. Especially if they are all level 17 mobs and you are level 12, at the level 12 quest hub. Yes this can and DOES happen.

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Lines for quest mobs are a fact of life in the beta.

With all that said I am still extremely excited about Rift. Will my wife be preordering and playing my pocket healer when the game comes out? It’s too early to tell, as there has been some issues between the game and her, but we’ll see by the end of this beta event. As for me, I’ll be preordering as soon as I can, though I may try and avoid the next few beta events, so I don’t suffer burnout. Or perhaps I’ll just play the Defiler side, since I like the Guardian side a LOT more and will be playing that at launch.

After the end of Beta 4 on Monday you’ll see another post from me discussing the things I disliked, AND the things I liked from Beta 4. I just wanted to hop on and give you all something to chew on while I continue playing this wonderful game. I can’t wait for it’s launch.

Rift Beta–Stuff I Didn’t Like Edition

January 2, 2011

RiftCharacterCreate1

The best looking humans in any MMO I’ve played.

So here we are, my second rundown of the Rift beta 3, and this time it’s all about things I didn’t like, or things that worry me because I don’t know anything about them. Here we go.

The Bad:

Kill stealing. Rift takes mob tagging back to the basics. The person or group with the most damage on a monster when it dies gets to loot it/get xp. I’ve never liked this type of loot system because it can lead to some serious griefing. Imagine going around questing, and instead of someone corpse camping you they just follow you and anything you attack they one shot, preventing you from getting XP or loot. There are a few reasons I can think of to have a system like this, such as rare boss spawns like in Final Fantasy XI, where guilds would camp these open world spots for hours or days hoping to get some rare loot. Can you imagine having one asshole tag it before you can? Oh I’d be pissed off. Is Rift going to be a open world, non-instance dungeon game? I hope not, but I’d be able to deal with it.

1, 2, 3 combat. I’m generally OK with this style of combat, so it’s not exactly a massive negative. On the other hand would I have liked to see something new? Perhaps, but it might have gotten old after a while, and it might be a blessing in disguise that Rift went with something familiar. Then again this will drive off a lot of people who seem to be in a rage over this system, so there’s that.

You’ll need a high end computer if you want to run it on max. Trust me, it looks unbelievable on maximum settings, but you’re probably going to need to upgrade your “WoW Killing Machine” if you want to see all the pretty pretty lights. Is this a negative? For some. In fact, until I upgrade my graphics card it’s a pretty sad negative for me. Hopefully I’ll upgrade when I buy the game, and really get to enjoy the amazing graphics this game is capable of.

The soul system for classes could get REALLY confusing. How so? Well first of all you have the ability to pick three classes, and then you must split your talent points between these three trees. Is it best to pump them into one tree like in WoW? That kinda kills the customization of choosing your second and third soul. So what’s going to make a good spec? More importantly, what is going to gimp the shit out of your character? How many people will quit halfway to endgame because every fight is SO DAMNED HARD, when it’s only because they’ve severely gimped their character. Add to this the fact that PVP is going to be insane. Imagine only seeing one of four classes when you attack someone. Now imagine that this means they are any one of hundreds or thousands of combinations/specs that could completely change the way you need to go about attacking them. This could be fun at first, but if it means you’re never going to be able to have high level strategy against enemies because you never know what the hell you’ll be facing, well that could seriously hurt the game.

This part isn’t really the developers fault, but I eventually had to leave general chat because it was almost as bad as WoW’s Trade chat. People spent hours slinging racial slurs, making foul ass comments or just bashing the game for being an MMORPG (How DARE they include 1,2,3 combat! And leveling! who wants leveling? Or stats? It’s all recycled!).

The Nervous:

What is the focus of Rift’s end game? Is it itemization ala WoW? Dungeons and raids? PVP? At this point I really don’t know, and if it is PvP then will the massive amount of classes and spells cause more frustration that fun, ala end game Warhammer or Aion?

What about late game? All I’ve seen so far is level 20 and below. Will the great quests crap out halfway through like Age of Conan? Will there even be ANY end game content? Will we be forced to grind for weeks to get the last few levels?

There are only two starting areas. This is seriously going to be a problem for alt-aholics like myself. Sure, it may be great the first or second time, but I’d be willing to bet that by the 20th time I’ve gone through the level 1-10 quests I’ll be giving up any idea of rolling a new character. At least games like WoW, Warhammer and Everquest II give us plenty of starting areas to explore. Sadly, no matter what race you pick, you’ve only got the one starting area per faction. I’m sure they did it this way so that they could make it as fun and polished as possible, sacrificing options for polish, which is acceptable for now. Let’s hope the first expansion adds some new starting areas for us level loving alt-aholics.

RiftSquirrelTear

The game does have a sense of humor. I got this squirrel tear for slaughtering an innocent level 1 critter, as I am want to do. This made me smile.

Well that’s my list of things that either worry me about Rift, or are downright crap. Let’s be clear here though, nothing on this list even makes me think about NOT buying Rift. I went from not even kind of excited or interested in Rift to blown away and eager to experience more in just a very short week. Stay tuned for more information on the game as I (hopefully) get accepted into further betas, and after the game comes out. Did I touch on the things you disliked about the beta? Did I miss something or flatout get something wrong? Let me know in the comments.

Rift Beta

January 1, 2011

I managed to sneak into the 3rd Beta event for Rift. Sadly my wife, who I always duo with in games, didn’t get accepted. Still, below is my take on the Rift Beta.

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Between me and my wife we quickly filled up all six character slots.

What I Liked:

The first thing you’re going to notice is going to be the graphics. If you have a rig capable of running this bad boy with all the bells and whistles it’s a truly beautiful game. Far better than the now aging Age of Conan, and almost into the realm of single player RPG graphics ala Dragon Age on PC (I hear on consoles it wasn’t as nice looking). Screen shots don’t do it justice either. Until you see the plane of fire open up with tentacles of flame the sear into the ground, slowly spreading and charring everything in it’s path while it spews forth fire monsters, well you can’t really appreciate the beauty of it.

The classes are amazing. You have four archetypes to choose from, but this isn’t one of those shitty games where you start out as a generic mage and have to work your way to level 10 in order to finally not suck. No, once you’ve logged in as either a Warrior, Mage, Cleric or Rogue you’ll be given a quest to go collect your first soul. Souls are the classes, as you’re taking the souls of fallen warriors to fuel your own power. Anyway, you can then choose one of six classes from inside your archetype. That’s a total of 24 classes, but seeing as how you will be getting other souls, for a total of three at a time, you have a near limitless number of classes to choose from. Want to be a dual wielding melee warrior with a pet and the ability to creates spears of fire, stone or wind to hurl at your enemies as you close the gap, only to ignite your swords with fire as you tear through the enemy, perhaps using your pet for added dps or to keep another enemy busy? Well, you can do that. I haven’t been this excited about class selection since Vanguard, which had the classes right but not much else.

Looting. There’s not much you can do to make looting better, but Trion has managed to improve this very basic interaction. How so? Well imagine you’ve just gone to a lowbie area, or maybe you grabbed far to many mobs and just barely managed to take them all out. You loot your first body and you will get all of the loot from all of YOUR KILLS within a certain radius. This is called AOE looting and it is a simple change, but MUCH appreciated. This can also be turned off, for those who want an old school, slowly picking through the bodies of the fallen approach. +Rep for giving us choices!

Crafting is another thing I really enjoyed. Sure it may be very similar to games you’ve already played, but again Rift just does it a little better. Imagine you get to your first town and decide you want a profession. Perhaps you decide, being a mage, to go tailor. A couple of silver later and you’re a tailor. The first thing you’ll notice is that all of the things you can make are green, useful, and probably better than what you are wearing. This seemed to be true throughout my leveling experience in Rift, and it’s a welcome change. Add to that the fact that you can create shoulders VERY early on, and I am in love. Of course, Trion wouldn’t stop there, you see they also gave you the ability to break down armor you’ve made or gotten from quests. This isn’t like disenchanting either, that is a separate profession. Lets say you break down a low level robe. You might come away with some gray frayed twine and a couple of burlap cloth. In some cases I managed to get back all of the cloth I had used to create an item. Of course sometimes you don’t get any back. This ability to reuse items, to grind for skill ups, then tear those works down and use the pieces to get even more skill ups, has me revving my engine for more Rift.

The combat is one of the most important aspect of most games, and as long as you like the traditional 1,2,3 MMO style combat you’re going to love Rift’s system. It doesn’t stray far from tradition, and others have put it down for that. To them I say that this game is a lot like Super Meat Boy. The controls may be the same old tired run and jump we’ve seen in every platformer ever, but by perfecting them and taking it to that ‘sweet spot’ both Team Meat and Trion have managed to make it feel fresh and fun again. The spell effect are stunningly gorgeous, the attack animations are fluid and devestating, and the pacing is right on the money. It’s not as fast as WoW’s combat, and not quite as slow as Warhammers, but it manages to make me feel like a badass each and every fight. Will that wear off? Perhaps on my fifth alt, but that happens with every game.

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You start off looking cool. In many games you’ll start off looking either horrendous or somewhat ok, but you quickly progress to looking like a clown for the rest of your leveling experience. In Rift I found that no matter what piece of armor I got it may look different, but it still matched the overall scheme. This allowed my character to get even cooler looking, while never looking like a complete tool. It’s not as drastic as Warhammer’s ‘new look every 10 levels’, and it’s better off for it.

The quests, while not as cinematic as WoW’s new lowbie experience, are contained. You’ll get four or five quests for an area and you’ll clean that area out before heading back and moving on to the next. If you’re the type of person who reads through new quests the first time, you’ll also be treated to a very interesting, tightly woven story that gives a good reason to be doing what you’re doing, at least in the lower levels. If you fear that this means you won’t be exploring or seeing anything new, then you haven’t experienced the Rifts.

Rifts are basically Warhammer’s Public Quests, but done right. Instead of a long, slow fight in a static location that yields a set reward which, after receiving you never go back to, in Rift you’ll open your map to see where you’re going and see a rift off in the distance. As you close Rifts you get ‘currency’ to buy good equipment and buff items, so you’ll drop what you’re doing and haul ass right through whatever’s in your way to reach the rift in time. This means you’ll actually be exploring areas of the map that may or may not have quests associated with them. Rifts are pretty fast events, ranging from three to six stages from what I saw. You’ll quickly burn through them and it didn’t seem to take many people to utterly decimate the rifts when they appeared, giving me hope for early level rifts late in the games life cycle once most people have reached level cap.

That’s it for this post as it’s getting kind of long. There are plenty more things I loved about Rift, but next post will concentrate on the things I didn’t like, or am worried about.