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.
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.
Value 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
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 Appeal77Pretty Good
The 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
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
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
- Soul system allows near infinite builds in a finite point
- 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
the best in the business
- 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
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
- Game Name: RIFT
- Review Date: March 28th, 2011