Into the Storm: A Rift Review

Telara was once a world ravaged by war. A war between those who believe in the Gods of the Vigil and those who believe in science and technology or simply that the Gods are wrong. This is the original basis for the two faction system in Rift. High Elves, Dwarves and the Humans called Mathosians make up those on the side of the Gods, the Guardians.

While those who favor technology, the Defiants are made up of a sort of dark elf race called the Kelari, desert dwelling Humans called Eth, and the big warrior race Bahmi. The two factions are no longer at war with eachother. And though players cannot enter the capital cities of the opposite faction it is now possible to do everything else with the former enemy. Players begin Rift dead. They are then brought back, either by the will of the Gods or the technology of the Defiants. This is done through souls which are the basis for all combat and character development within the game.

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Souls give characters flavor and skills. Once a player picks which class they want to play they’re given a choice of several soul combinations. This has been done to simplify what was previously a complicated matter as some souls work better together than others. But more advanced players are able to work around these soul templates to create whatever they’d like. Ultimately players get to pick three souls, each with their own variety, weapon combination, and abilities. But also players are able to at a click of a button change from one role to another. Using different souls to do things like shift from DPS to tanking.

It is this system that gives Rift players the ability to play a Tanking Cleric with a hammer or a Healing Cleric with a Staff. Unfortunately, by not following any of the soul combinations it becomes obvious that the basics of the souls aren’t really all that different. And you end up with bars upon bars filled with repeated, and sometimes useless abilities.

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That being said, combat does vary greatly depending on the soul combination and where you spend points in them. As a result players can easily roll up several different characters of each class should they want to and still be playing a different character each time. One of the hardest things to get used to in Rift after playing more modern MMOs is the nitpickiness of the combat. You must be facing your enemy and you must stand still to cast. But once you’ve been playing this, as with most things becomes second nature.

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Rift features many of the classic MMO bad guys; wolves, fae, and fish. But the main focus is on the invasions from planar creatures. Beasts who come from one of the six planes. Most often these are encountered in the feature from which the game gets it’s name, Rifts. These holes in the fabric of reality allow creatures from the planes of Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Life, and Death to enter the world of Telara. They are by far the most innovative feature in Rift. Rifts open randomly or can be forced open by players looking for a fight and come in many shapes and sizes. The longer rifts stay open the more enemies pour out of them until a point is reached when the rift simply seals itself if it has been ignored.

They also form the basis for zone wide events when one particular plane will target a zone and open dozens of rifts all at once. Rifts can also be raids which require large amounts of people to organize together before the rift is opened if they hope to close it. Another popular type of rift are the crafting rifts. These rifts are specifically tailored to give a certain set of drops depending on what crafting skill it is the person who opened the rift picks. Though they can be done at any level they’re only really heavily done at level cap.

If rifts aren’t your thing there are still plenty of other ways to see Telara. There are of course the usual quest lines to follow. But sometimes you just want to run around the world killing things, right? Rift has you covered. All you have to do is click Instant Adventure and you’re whisked off to adventure in your level range. No need to hunt down your excitement, the game will take you straight to it.

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And of course one cannot talk about Rift without talking dungeons and raids. Raids are the main vehicle for story telling. It is there you face off against the leaders of the planar creatures, dragons. While dungeons tell side stories which add to the richness and depth of the zone they’re in. Thankfully Trion recognizes that not everyone is a hardcore raider and so they’ve made shorter, easier versions of some of the raids for players to do solo or with one other person.

If PvP is more your style you’re in luck. From level 10 rift offers several flavors of PvP. Naturally, some are more popular than others. And they do get remakes for the holidays. There are also the options of duelling and open world PvP. Starting at the lower levels there is a simple game of capture the flag. While the higher levels offer zone spanning massive battles which is similar to World vs World in Guild Wars 2.

It has recently been announced that PvPers will have even more to look forward to with the introduction of PvP dimensions. The details of this are still in the works. This includes everything down to how it will work and when it will be released. But it is going to bring an exciting new element to the world of PvP which fans are eagerly awaiting.

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Rift has been fortunate enough to have an expansion. It tripled the size of the world and raised the level cap from 50 to 60. Storm Legion came out in September of 2012. The entire focus of Storm Legion was in an all new area of the world using new lore that had been forgotten through the years. Each class got a new soul which completely changed the dynamics of how the game is played. There are still mixed feelings about these changes amongst players. There were 7 new dungeons and 3 raids introduced along with the introduction of Grandmaster level crafting. Though it was hailed by Trion as a success with 13% of the player base picking it up at the time of launch it wasn’t enough to save the game from going free to play.

In June of 2013 Rift dropped the regular subscription model for a free to play model. Those who have continued to subscribe benefit from faster mount speeds, veteran rewards, daily experience boosts, and many other things. Free players are limited in that they cannot use the auction house and are limited to 2,500 platinum. These restrictions are lifted if a player buys credit or REX. Rift Exchange, or REX is an item which is purchasable using real money to be traded in game to be used for credits and loyalty. The in game store offers mounts, wardrobe options, boosts, and the ever popular lock boxes. New things are added to the store constantly, including seasonal items.

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One of the things that makes Rift stand out is customization. You get it first in the character creator, then with the souls, and it continues in the open world in the form of wardrobe slots, mounts, and companions. Rift allows players to have multiple wardrobe slots which allow players to keep a certain look on them while maintaining their stats no matter which outfit they’re currently appearing to wear. Customization continues with mounts. There are many different types of mounts available in Rift and obtained a variety of ways.

From mechanical spiders to ghost horses, Rift really does offer a wide variety of mounts to fit the needs of every player. Unfortunately, none of them fly or go with you underwater. And the last way Rift offers customization on a personal level is with companion pets. Every character can have one companion following them at any time. These range from balloons to undead cats. They are non-combat pets but offer a bit of spice for characters. Or a decent whack of change if you sell them on the market.

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Additionally Rift offers an in depth crafting system for everything a player could need. Instanced dimensions which allow players to create homes, bars, guild halls, and anything else you can imagine. Rift is really such a complex MMO that talking about all the features and highlights in one article is simply impossible. As with any game though it has its ups and downs, and may not be everyone’s cup of tea. The good news is that it is now free to play so there really isn’t any reason not to give it a try.

To find out more about RIFT or to begin playing now, visit the game page.

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About Shannon Doyle

Shannon first discovered MMOs in 1999 when she picked up the newly launched Everquest. This started a lifelong love affair with online gaming that has taken her around the world and brought her to MMOGames.com. While she still pines for the streets of Paragon, the City of Heroes, today she spends most of her gaming time walking across Tyria in Guild Wars 2, roleplaying with anyone who says hello.