The RIFT beta events are getting more and more open. Its at the point now where anyone who has interest can get in.
Last weekend I got a beta code, downloaded the client, and loaded it up to see what all the hubbub was about. Naturally, when given the chance to choose a character type I went with a rogue. (really, I don’t know why anyone would choose anything else!)
Background: I am a one-game person. WoW is the first and only MMO that I have ever played. Therefore, I have no context about how WoW compares to other games that have come before, during, or after WoW.
I was really surprised at how similar the rogue experience was in RIFT to the way it is in WoW. It had everything – right down to the combo-point-then-finisher fight structure. Some of the various rogue builds even smacked of assassination and combat. Even the talents had the same names. I saw Ruthlessness, Serrated Blades, and others that were lifted directly from WoW.
I decided to try a bit of a variation on the rogue theme to see how much their system deviated from the WoW rogue model. The soul system allows you to customize your character’s strengths within its archetype. They had options for your rogue to have a pet (like a WoW hunter) or to specialize in ranged attacks. You could even choose a soul that gave tanking abilities, or even healing/group support abilities. I chose a soul that combined magic and physical combat (Nightblade).
Most of the play seemed very familiar. Attack with combo point builders, then unleash a big 5-combo-point finisher. Stealth was not a baseline ability, but was learned relatively early on in leveling.
My favorite RIFT-rogue feature that I would love to see in WoW… the ranged combo point builder. My Nightblade soul had a baseline attack that allowed me to hurl a fiery dagger at an opponent from range. This was great because (1) I could do it while running, and (2) it granted a combo point. When I used that to pull from range, I usually had three combo points built up before the mob even reached me! That’s a lot different than the stun openers we are used to in WoW. It was quite fun and made combat fast-paced.
The group questing was a neat feature. When I got to a place at the end of a questline with a large culminating event, there were three other players there and a window popped up giving me the option to group with them. That was nice. It felt very cooperative.
Unfortunately, my computer doesn’t really meet the minimum specs of the game. I didn’t get far before I started lagging out (due to my system, not their servers). I never got to participate in the RIFT battles that are supposedly so much fun. Still, I thought it was a good experience and a nice change from WoW. Even though the gameplay was very, very similar (down to the UI elements and commands) the graphics and general theme were different enough to give it a fresh feeling. I’m not going to play RIFT after beta, but it was a good distraction for the weekend.
If RIFT fails, it won’t be because of the game. It will be because of the people.
The game is not released yet, and already people are complaining about the endgame raids. They are complaining that there is too much questing, or not enough instancing, 10 man vs 20 man, blah blah blah.
I read one review where the person gushed on about how good the game is, but then found one flaw and decided that he was canceling his preorder. Really?
This is the WoW-ification of game expectations. Every new game has to be polished and complete. It must have options to appeal to crafters, questers, instancers, raiders, casuals, hardcores, grinders, socials, pvpers, roleplayers, leaders, followers, collectors, and every other possible variation or a gamer. If not, then it is labeled as “FAIL” and cast aside. Its all black-and-white. A game can’t be “pretty good”. Its either amazing or terribad.
What irks me the most is that the game isn’t even out yet and people are already figuring out how they will avoid all of the content to get to the endgame as quickly as possible. To each his own, of course, but I just cannot in any way relate to that outlook. I think that those people are setting themselves up for disappointment. A new game must devote most of its developer resources to the leveling process. That’s where you are going to catch and hold (or lose) your subscriber base. No game can put all of its resources into endgame before release. Yet people are already judging the game based on endgame raiding. Some people are just not happy unless they are complaining.