Rift, a monster MMORPG from Trion Worlds, is a game I’ve wanted to get my hands on since the beta all those months ago. As soon as the disc fell into my grubby mitts and its contents transferred to my PC I was lost. Lost in the world of Telara, fighting everything from un-dead warriors to a huge dragon – I didn’t think of much else for the next week or so. Finish the quest, mine more ore, reach the next level. It dominated my mind. That’s how addictive Rift is and that’s why I loved it.
Telara has had a scared and bloody history, plagued by the Blood Storm, a pack of not very pleasant dragon Gods that embodied the six elemental forces of Life, Death, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. Under the leadership of Regulos, the big bad dude, they were freed from their own planes of existence to feast and create devastation upon Telara. However, they started to bicker and fight amongst themselves for leadership of the land. The people of Telara began a campaign to fight back, eventually beating Regulos and the dragon Gods and imprisoning them behind elemental forces.
Unfortunately, it’s not easy to keep an evil dragon God down. Regulos has gained in power and has managed to free his buddies. Once again they wreak havoc, culminating in the destruction of the world. The denizens are unable to stop the dragon Gods as they have separated into two warring factions, the Guardians – who follow the way of the Vigil and are comprised of High Elves, Dwarves and Mathosians (like Humans), and the Defiants – who have shunned the Gods and place their faith in magic and technology, they consist of the Eth (Human like, again) the Bahmi and the Kelari. Choosing one of these factions is only the beginning. Become reborn, travel back to the time of the Rift.
What is a rift? Well, a rift is a portal or an elemental instability where, once opened, all kinds of nasties can pour forth to kill and pillage. It’s up to you to fight off the scourge from the rift and seal it off, which isn’t as easy as it sounds.
The story is as heavy as Lord of the Rings, and you’ll be forgiven if you find yourself immersed up to your armpits just reading into the legends and lore of Telara. But this is an MMORPG, so enough of the wonderful story and onto the main course: character creation.
The versatile character creation process is something that Rift has prided itself on. You choose your race from the aforementioned humanoids, then the class from the usual menu of Warrior, Cleric, Rouge or Mage. But, as you now progress into the game you have the ability to unlock souls, which can alter your character’s abilities and skills and give you the chance to enhance your chosen class or combine several together – there are over 1300 – to form a unique character based on your preferred playing technique. It’s really quite awesome. Each soul has its own soul tech tree with which you can spend your accumulated points on when levelling up, turning your character from a dangerous weapon wielding lunatic into an extremely dangerous, armoured, magical, weapon wielding lunatic with healing powers.
Everything about Rift is big, the game world is big, the number of available quests is big, and the levelling and soul combining process is big. Thankfully, the game doesn’t seem to suffer from this, despite the total bigness of the game, each quest flows nicely along with the main story, growing in pace and difficulty up to the first major boss battle. The world is occupied with enough re-spawning sword fodder so you’re not left wandering around without anything to hack up. There are plenty of opportunities to mine, craft and upgrade all your available equipment. All this and no lag, even when the servers are packed full of other players, it’s quite an achievement considering other MMO’s out there seem to struggle when only half a dozen players jump on-board.
The greatest aspect of Rift, as with any other MMORPG, is of course the PvP and raiding. The PvP combat is based between the two factions and played out in warfronts and in the open world. The warfronts are tiered by level and feature capture points, CTF and a keep-away. However, crack level 50 and you’ll have a city raid available, where you have certain objectives to complete and the ability to go head on with some very high ranking NPC’s. The PvE’s are equally fun, join up with other players to help close a rift, or combat an X amount of creatures. Again, it’s very easy to lose yourself in the game.
We all know MMORPG’s, we know how they work and how they feel. Rift, although unique in many ways, follows the same well trodden path that every fantasy-based MMO walks down, and as we also know every fantasy MMORPG wants to either steal the crown from WoW, or at the very least, take a slice of the action. Rift manages the latter very easily. It looks very pretty, the music and sound effects are great, the story is immense and captivating, the world is big and dynamic. It is easily the best MMORPG I have played in a long time. There are hundreds of hours’ worth of play, even just as one side of the faction coin, and when you’re done there, start on the other and follow a different story line and set of quests.
Rift has room to grow; the potential is there for some truly wonderful additions to take place. There were a few gripes, mainly with the repetitive side-line quests and the relative ease that the early main quest stages are completed, but that aside, Rift is excellent and a game I’ll be playing for many more months to come. A very good MMORPG, well worth the asking price and monthly subscription.
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