Trion’s RIFT launches next week, but those who pre-ordered actually get to start playing this Thursday. After months of beta events, the game has won over the hardcore MMO player base. However many people chose to not take part in the beta events, and they honestly don’t know what they’re missing. Below are ten reasons why RIFT should become your new MMO.
It’s not WoW
RIFT is not World of Warcraft and it’s not a clone of WoW or Warhammer or any other game fanboys of those or any upcoming MMO will try to tell you it is. Anyone who does that has either not played RIFT or not played the game beyond level 5 or out of the newbie tutorial zone. They haven’t experienced all the things that make the game as awesome as it is, and anyone who calls it a WoW clone or “WoWhammer” shouldn’t be listened to. Then again people who have their hopes and dreams pinned on an unreleased game they never played aren’t the most rational people to talk to.
The big feature of RIFT is its dynamic content in the form of Rifts that randomly appear throughout the game world. This takes the Public Quest idea that Warhammer had, but perfects it by removing every single problem that system had. As they’re dynamic, and as the game has complicated math in play to ensure they only spawn where they should, it adds an extremely addictive element to a MMO that already has a lot going for it.
The Soul System
The other big system of RIFT is the Soul System. Each of the four main class types (Warrior, Cleric, Rogue, and Mage) has multiple souls that you are able to combine three at a time. At an outside glance it may look like the talent system in other MMOs, but it goes much deeper than that. The way your gain your class abilities is by spending points in the trees and you can swap out souls at any time and right now you have have up to four saved “roles” so no matter what your group needs you can fill that role.
There’s no “Right Way” To Play Your Class
Going along with the Soul System is the fact that there is no “Right Way” to play your class and there is no “preferred” Soul Spec. That sort of stat mongering and class elitism actually won’t work in RIFT, so all those people who kick others from groups for not having the perfect cookie-cutter spec should just save their money and stay in WoW as RIFT will just frustrate them. In RIFT, you play what you think is fun. With the ability to have up to four saved roles, groups are always able to adjust to challenges without forcing people into specs that they don’t find fun.
Leveling Conventions Shattered
In other MMOs, you basically have two ways to level; questing and grinding experience in dungeons. RIFT shatters that idea. From the dynamic content with the Rifts and Invasions to more traditional ways such as questing, you’re not limited on a linear treadmill when it comes to leveling. In fact, it’s entirely possible (and pretty fun) to level your character all the way to the level cap with just Rifts. Also, PVP Warfronts give you a nice chunk of experience and it’s entirely possible to level just from that as well. Add to all of that that you get phat lewt from any leveling choice you make; and you have a lot of choices when it comes to leveling your character.
It Looks Amazing
RIFT uses the much maligned Gamebryo engine, but Trion has done amazing things with it. Throughout beta they’ve been optimizing the graphics, and by the end of Open Beta; the game looked and performed amazingly. I was able to run in full raid groups with max settings and still have the game running smooth. It’s also the first MMO that when I go back and login to WoW I’m actually shocked at how bad it now looks. It’s hard to go back to play most other MMOs after experiencing Telara.
Raiding…At Low Levels?
That’s right. You can theoretically experience a raid group as low as level 7. The game has a public grouping feature that will automatically create groups around Rifts/Invasions and it will convert it into a raid if needed. During an Invasion, raid bosses are common and these guys are so tough it will usually take a full raid group up to twenty minutes to beat him down.
Invasions are part of the dynamic content that makes RIFT great, and when they happen it can be awesome (or chaotic). Basically an invasion not only spawns Rifts everywhere, but raid bosses and smaller invasion forces. The entire zone works together in zone-wide quests and everyone fights off the bosses and the rifts.
Once you reach level 50, you unlock a Prestige leveling mode that allows you to put points into PVP-specific souls. Each class has one of these souls, and they specifically tooled just for PVP. While you could theoretically use them in a PVE soul build, their abilities only work against other players. This is what the most hardcore PVPers will be using.
The Dev Team
Every MMO lives and dies by the strength and experience of its development team. Thankfully, the team at Trion (lead by EQ/EQII vet Scott Hartsman) has both, and has done a shockingly good job at communicating with the community throughout the betas and into launch. While not everyone may like what they have to say about certain decisions, they’ve shown that they know what is best for the game and how to craft a polished MMO that has everything a MMO player could want.