rift: planes of tolara by zoidberger

PLATFORM: PC

RELEASE DATE: 03/2011
DEVELOPER: Trion Worlds
ESRB RATING: T (for Teen)
Progress: Lvl 50 Bahmi Cleric-Warden

Unpolished features, massive bugs and server crashes are all things we have come to expect when a new MMORPG hits the market. In a genre dominated by what is actually available and working at launch, Rift stands out as being 100% playable on day one. The game play in Rift is not revolutionary, in fact you can make the point that is has nothing new to offer. What developer Trion Worlds did was take already existing facets from multiple MMOs and improves on them; Rift proves that a game new to the genre doesn’t need to reinvent it to be great.

Rift is set in the world of Telara, the focal point of different planes (worlds). You play as one of two factions opposing the death god Regulos, whose actions have caused rifts to open on your world threatening to destroy all who inhabit it. You play as an Ascended: a resurrected soldier with the task of defeating the forces of Regulos. As an ascended you get to choose between the Guardians or the Defiants. The Guardians are made up of the Mathosians (humans), High Elves, and Dwarves. On the Defiants side you choose from the Eth (humans), Kelari (Dark Elves), and Bahmi (look like giants).

The User Interface is very polished and looks visually amazing

Once you choose your faction and race its time to choose your “calling”. Callings are the class system in Rift, you choose between Warrior, Cleric, Rogue and Mage. As you level up you start to unlock points in your “soul system” which lets you add an unreal amount of customization to your class. This is where Rift starts to shine compared to other MMOs, with the soul system you are able to branch off into many subcategories for your class. I play a Cleric, a spell casting class but within my Cleric class I can choose to sub spec into one of 9 subclasses. Without a doubt this is the most customization of your character I have ever seen in an MMO. You also are not limited to only picking one soul tree, Rift allows you multiple specs which allows you to switch from one soul to another at a moments notice depending on what the situation calls for.

Although overwhelming at first glance, it’s actually pretty easy
to start speccing into your desired gameplay style

Rift‘s gameplay may not be anything ground breaking but once again it’s incredibly polished for a new MMO. The quest system is your standard “Kill 20 of these monsters” and “My daughter has been kidnapped and I need your help to get her back” quests but that’s not to say they aren’t immersive. As you quest through the different areas in Telara you get a very nice mixture of areas, from forest and mountain areas to desert and snow areas. The great thing about Rift is at any moment while you are questing a rift invasion or a world rift can open at any moment. A rift invasion is a smaller rift in which enemies come in waves and you are encouraged to help push them back. Rift succeeds in the sense that you actually care about stopping an invasion, you are rewarded with items and by purging the area you get to continue doing whatever it was that you were doing. A world rift on the other hand takes that to a whole other level. The skies darken, the ground trembles as a rift opens, as waves of monsters are unleashed to destroy anything and everything in their path. After you defeat the monsters a “mini boss” type monster appears which is considerably harder than that of a normal rift. Anyone that is in the area and helps take part in the slaying of the mini boss is rewarded with higher-level items and currency.

Not all enemies are so easy to look at

Adding to the huge world of open world PVE are the group dungeon and warfronts in the game. I mean what are MMOs without the group experience of 5 man dungeons and PVP? The dungeons in Rift are properly tuned not too hard so that a casual like me can’t complete it, and for the hardcore they are able to enter these dungeons at max level (50) as an “expert dungeon”. My favorite dungeon at the moment is The Iron Tombs; the complexity of the encounters and the mobs is impressive for such an early level dungeon. For those who want to kill fewer boars and more players they are able to enter Warfronts, Warfronts are the battlegrounds of Rift where warfare between the two factions takes on games of capture the flag and resource capping. The maps are fairly balanced with nice choke points and terrain strategy (always take the higher ground, duh), as with all MMOs you are reliant on other players so it can be frustrating to see AFKers and people who are less capable at the PVP aspect of the game.

A rift is truly a sight to behold

If I had to describe Rift in one word it would be “complete”. I have never played such a polished MMO right out of the box. With the open world rift invasions, the solid 5 man dungeons and the competitive PVP Warfronts it’s hard not to always be busy doing something in the game. Tolara is an immersive world, the player customization is robust, and the quest system has a nice leveling flow to it. I recommend Rift to veteran MMO players as well as those new to the genre, it has a little bit of everything with a world that is ever evolving.

B+
Fire is bad, don’t stand in it, don’t get near it, in fact don’t even look at it.

1 Comment

  1. Welcome to Gamedae, Zoidberger! Great post! I enjoyed the captions you included with the images.

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