Unleashing the Rift: A Ten Ton Hammer Review (Page 2)

Updated Mon, Apr 04, 2011 by Medawky

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Rift combat
Rifts offer quality public group content
A funny thing happened to MMOGs in the past few years; developer’s efforts to make their games more accessible have morphed them into glorified single player games inhabited by multiple players. While a few next-gen titles have attempted to remedy this, none have been very successful. Rift looks to change all that and the implementation thus far is spot on.

The large scale invasions from which the game draws its name are the most compelling multiplayer experience in the game. Using an innovative form of public grouping, one that auto-groups you and handles the merging of multiple groups into raids, makes the experience seamless and eliminates the burden of having to organize strangers. In addition to the squirming tentacle porn looking rifts, there are also invasions by opposing factions to deal with. Both forms of gameplay range from small group encounters to full blown raids.

Rift raid

There are also several dungeons to explore through the levels, and with Rift’s unique soul system it is easy to cobble together a viable group. At level 50 all of these dungeons gain a heroic version which ups the degree of difficulty and unlocks some prime loot. At the time of writing there is only one 20 player raid zone in the game, but another is being added shortly in patch 1.1. Even though, as players, our expectations are higher now than they ever have been – it’s a rare commodity to have so many group play options at launch of a new game.


90GreatValue is a hugely subjective idea when it comes to online gaming. With so many titles going the free-to-play route, or offering the initial client download for free, it makes the traditional model seem rather expensive. But the initial investment is only part of the story, and the old adage that you get what you pay for takes longer to realize in an MMOG. On the initial cost side Rift is something of a bargain for a AAA title, with a collector’s edition that comes in at the price most others charge for the standard edition. The monthly cost is standard for the industry, but trion had a special offer for early adopters that lowered the cost to around 10 dollars a month for a six month plan.

The inherent risk in making such a long term commitment to a new game is the recent trend of players abandoning them after the initial 30 days. Rift looks to buck this trend and given the amount of content at launch, the lack of technical issues, the quick resolution to the account security issue and the pending launch of patch 1.1 – it should have no problem retaining and even growing its playerbase.

Lasting Appeal

77Pretty GoodThe only area to receive anywhere near to a “low” score, lasting appeal is hard to determine and predicated on the whims of the playerbase.  A solid combination of a smooth launch, tons of content and a quick reaction to a potentially fatal security hole have Rift poised for long term success. Back in 2004 the majority of reviews stated that WoW, while fun and engaging, would fall out of favor quickly due to a lack of content and overall ease of gameplay. History has shown even the most informed reviews can’t accurately predict the long term success of these types of games – but the upside of Rift only continues to grow. Rift should have a long and prosperous life, even if it never rivals the overall subscription numbers of WoW.

Pros and Cons

Pros –

  • Soul system allows near infinite builds in a finite point structure
  • Dynamic invasions keep world feeling alive and unpredictable
  • AoE Looting
  • Perfectly executed public grouping system
  • Tons of features at launch
  • High quality graphics engine renders a beautiful world
  • High level of transparency and open dialogue make Trion Worlds among the best in the business

Cons –

  • Quest system feels like a step backwards in MMOG evolution.
  • Another fantasy game, sword and board is now sword and bored.
  • Games popularity has made it a mark for unscrupulous hackers


Taking the best aspects of the games that came before it, improving on them and adding its own unique elements has Rift poised to be a long term power in the MMOG community. Led by one of the best development teams in the business and a customer service team that maintains transparency and promotes open dialogue gives Rift all the tools it needs to succeed. Now it’s up to the players to show that there is significant life left in the fantasy genre and that they truly want the multiplayer experience.

Rift Alsbeth

Medawky Review at Ten Ton Hammer

  • Game Name: RIFT
  • Review Date: March 28th, 2011
Back to Page 1Metacritic

I am looking forward to playing Rift. I haven't played a MMO in almost three years since i moved to the land of the dial up. I miss EQ2 but I hate what it has become I also hat WoW. so to me Rift looks like the best choice out there and it really isnt that hard of a choice to make.

awesome review. thanks , i really wanted to see some info about the game before buying it and u covered a lot of important points (u would appreciate a PVP-oriented review tho, coz that's what i care the most, but i guess i will find out soon enough)

The good: Some of the dungeon mechanics are refreshing. The environment and UI both are pleasing to the eye. The music in some of the zones is excellent. The in game community is both helpful and friendly.

The Bad: The class system is still under development. It should have been handled in alpha. Itemization needs some work. Crafting system still needs some work as the numbers on the green gear are bellow quest rewards and random green item drops. Mats for some of the crafting tiers are sparse and are in zones higher than what your questing in. End game is the standard grind dungeons and BG's for faction to get gear for next tier of faction grind. Gold spammers are a little more prevalent than I would like.

Overall leveling was fun until about level 40. That is where it went stale for me as I did not see too many new quest types or mechanics. New MMO players will like it . Vets that expect something more might not. If you have a interest I recommend the 7 day free trial before you drink the cool aid…

double post*

I won't respond with a boring "Rift is awesome!" tag, though personally I am enjoying

However, I can respond as a hard-core, dedicated WoW fan of 5 years, with a husband who has played since 2 months into beta. And with a true understanding that Rift is only entering it's second month as an MMOG...

The scores given by Ten Ton Hammer are reflective of what we are finding in Rift. It does not matter where the UI came from, it does not matter what elements were borrowed from other a standalone statement of the features offered in Rift, it is a good score. The review is not based on a comparison model, it is based on the gameplay as offered on it's own. I understand how easy it is to compare, but that is not a fair basis to use when writing a review, as this is a month old MMOG.

That said, a truthful analysis of any game is "find it, kill it, get rewards". I have not necessarily found leveling to be quick and easy, but neither is it slow and repetitive. If gamers choose to lose part of the experience by not reading the questlines and not wandering around exploring some, that is their own fault, and they have no right to complain if they get into a mind-numbing state of kill, turn in, kill, turn in.

Regarding the same elements used from other games? I loved the fact that I didn't have to learn a whole new wheel, just a few adjustments needed and I was moving along. Though Trion will take flack over it, I feel they did something absolutely brilliant and long overdue-->they actually listened to their audience. And I don't mean the QQ you see in trade channels. I mean thoughtful discussions and logical explanations of "why this doesn't work, why this is frustrating, why this is awesome".

Also brilliant? Their timing. My husband and I run a raiding guild in WoW, which I would classify as semi-hardcore. Which means we're on almost every night, we enjoy raiding and refuse to deal with stupid gameplay, but we also all enjoy just running together and doing silly things too. Our base core has been running together for about 3 yrs, we've all ended up friends on facebook, and several of us now run together in Rift. But back to Rift's timing...very nicely done by Trion. This is what happened to us, and from trade chat, to our entire server. Cataclysm came out-->we all rolled along enjoying the new quests and new zones-->hit level cap and went thru the agony of replacing our hardwon ICC heroic gear with greens-->hit the new dungeons, but discovered the McDungeon finder was even worse than before unless you used it for lower levels-->began only running with guildees after one too many times of queing for 45 min just to have the tank/heals leave after the first boss dropped their item-->ground through dungeons that were significantly harder while trying to relearn nerfed toons-->ground thru heroic dungeons while WoW continued to nerf/buff/change/destroy any toon other than a mage-->began to raid once geared enough for it, but starting discovering that what was listed as raid-ready geared was NOT. And where you used to be able to pug in to learn raids or get a little more gear? Not happening. Because everyone else was running into the same problem. Literally for a month the only one I saw a pug for was Tol Barad, and no one in the guild wanted to waste the time with it after the first time because it only dropped one item for PvE. By this time, we were regulated to farming rep to make up for limited raiding...and thats all we did...for our limited hours in-game, we farmed. Cata was finally burning us out...and about that time, there's an advertisement for Rift, like a beacon of light thru the darkness...

Rift did steal alot of things from other games. The difference is, they incorporated them into one game, where all the wheels actually work. And for those of us that are old D&D gamers, Rift gave us the customization that was sorely missing in WoW. And I don't have to have a $5000 system to enjoy it. I PvP'd in WoW maybe once a Rift, I hit warfronts regularly, to break up questing, or check out the map for where the closest rift may be. In Rift, I have viable OPTIONS. I have a company that responds immediately to problems in game...not within days, but within hours.

To me, Trion is treating this game and gearing it more toward adult players...and if they are smart, they will continue to do so. All of us adult players don't switch back and forth constantly trying to get a new fix, we stick with you, we pay ahead on subscriptions, and we don't cancel them for the latest and greatest thing that comes out. We don't need instant gratification, we don't mind working toward a goal, and we're willing to take more than 2 hours in a night to do it, as long as it's actually do-able. Most people on our server are college-age and up, and stupid crap in trade is shut down quickly. And when people group up for a dungeon, they stick it out...and get it done...and make some new friends in game.

I can adjust my roles to fit MY playstyle, and ignore the cookie-cutters. I can REALLY learn this toon, and not be forced to level a whole other toon just for a different spec. Which means when I start another toon, I actually get to enjoy it, and learn it, and not be just chasing level cap for whatever I want to do with it.

In short, Rift's only true crime is being the game that WoW SHOULD be by now. And apparently I'm not the only one who thinks so...subscriptions are climbing entering the 2nd month, instead of declining as is the norm for a new game.

As a life long guitarist this is just so wrong:

"Similar in the way that jazz musicians incorporate familiar bits of other songs into their solos, Rift takes public quests and open world encounters and infuses them with their own style and phrasing to come up with something unique".

Have you ever written, composed, or played any type of Jazz music Med? This game is the farthest thing from anything remotely structured as Jazz. It's more like a crappy punk band that can't get out of the key of A.

Outrageous scoring. Rift is the most linear on-rails MMO I've played to date, and I've played a lot of them. You barely touch upon one of the most important factors in MMOG's, questing, relegating it to a scant mention at the foot of what is practically a two page advert. Rift takes so much from other games and hardly even gives them a Trion twist, such as the click by numbers WoW inspired crafting/gathering. So many UI pieces are clearly inspired by WoW, there's even a fatigue bar. There's no synergy between souls, the abilities have been ripped from other MMO's so blatently it's painful and there are even Hessingwary Big Game Hunter achievements.

I understand Rift's whole tilt was not to reinvent the wheel, but you ought to at least put trimmings on it. Rift plays like a tribute to World of Warcraft. Yes, WoW plundered other MMO's but no other MMO sports as many features from one game as Rift does.

How you can score the gameplay at 97/100 when the questing is just so mind numbingly poor, I cannot fathom. I'm so bothered by this review I am unsubscribing as a Premium Member and deleting my bookmark to TTH. If you cannot be honest, or you feel obliged to knock out a review that just lavishes praise because you and Trion worked out a deal for beta keys, then you do not deserve my business.

By the way, it's spelled "Conclusion". Or "Shill Mode", if you prefer.

spirited, you are an ass. Plain and simple. You're calling this "outrageous scoring". Guess what? THAT'S YOUR OPINION! You're kicking and screaming about how TTH "cannot be fair". Please. Just because you don't agree with their review doesn't mean they're scoring outrageously. If you really were a premium member, I'm glad you're not anymore--TTH's fan base shouldn't be composed of morons.

This is like saying that all the bands of today should just pack up their bags and quit because they sound too similar to those they grew up listening to. It's like saying that all the cars in this country are trash because they all have the same crap - body, seats, I mean... dear gods... the windshields are all the same!!!

Seriously, Rift pulls a lot of cool things from a lot of different games, and not just WoW. Which by the way, took more from the games of the time than anyone else ever had before as well. I see more Vanguard, LotRO, and EverQuest in Rift than WoW (by far). And making the argument that the UI is too similar... that's because it works well.

In any case, it all boils down to fun. Do I enjoy the game? Yes. Score seems fine to me because I like to play. And the idea that someone here is in cahoots with Trion just because they gave a good score to a game is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard.

I wish I was on the dole to Trion, we can't even get a mention as a community site on their forums - so I assure you there is no collusion. If you read the cons, you would notice the questing is the top knock on the game. However as you mentioned, the game is on rails and most of it takes place post level-cap. Questing does tell the story of the world, but most people don't read quest text and I'm not sure you can do anything to make most gamers care about the "quality" of the quest system in any modern MMOG. I suppose it's a difference of opinion in what makes a game fun - to me quests are just a means to an ends and not the defining factor in what makes a good game.


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