Six Things I Hope Get Fixed In Rift

I think it’s fair to look at the drawbacks, issues and negatives of games that you’re excited about — at least, from time to time — not as an exercise in cultivating cynicism, but to stay realistic and balanced (Pete at Dragonchasers and Rift Watchers had the same idea here).  Thus, here are six things I really hope get fixed in Rift, if not before launch, then soon thereafter.

1. Defiant starting zones

I’m torn on factions at this point (and I’ll probably just go with whatever the guild I pick chooses).  I like the concept, look and mounts of the Defiant a lot better, although the Guardians have dwarves and a much, much better starting zone — here I’m talking both the initial tutorial and the 1-20 level area.

The Defiant tutorial is a lot longer than the Guardian one, and then you come out in a starting zone that reeks of non-personality.  If you’re at all familiar with World of Warcraft’s Lich King expansion, you know that there were two starter zones for Northrend: the bland Borean Tundra and the visually stimulating Howling Fjord.  The Defiant area is so the Borean Tundra it gives me flashbacks — just a jigsaw puzzle of nondescript locales.  When you compare it to the lush forest that the Guardians explore, it’s like night and day.

2. Combat sounds

I tend to agree with Wolfshead when he says:

“The actual audio of the weapons themselves such as the swords hitting mobs is less than spectacular. It seems that Trion’s sound designer has recycled the same metal clanging sword sound over and over. I could barely hear the sound of my ranger shooting an arrow with his bow. The gunshot sound effects were even worse and sounded more like a peashooter than a real shotgun going off.”

In this, Rift is a paradox.  Sometimes Rift’s audio is just incredible and detailed, like how you can hear your character panting after a jog if you zoom up close, or how the sound is muted a bit underwater.  But yeah, many of the melee combat sounds are quiet and uninspired.  Even some of the magic spells need a bit of oomph behind them.

3. Better explanations

Rift is okay — just okay — in explaining things to you as you level up.  Mostly it’s all front-loaded at the start, but by the time you’re in your teens, the game sort of gives up trying to teach you things that seem to be important, such as collections.  There’s also some other system in place that uses buffs in an item (a planar thing?) that I haven’t figured out because I don’t recall the game ever taking the time to tell me about it.  Just kind of, hey, here it is, have fun.

4. Public grouping

Word on the street is that some sort of public grouping system (or open grouping) is in the works, and that’s good as it is sorely needed.  Due to the proliferation and nonstop nature of the dynamic content, there needs to be a way to quickly jump into a group or raid without having to spam the chat channels.

5. A larger diversity of armor models

At least in the beginning zones, everyone looks alike because all of their armor looks the same because everyone’s getting them from quest rewards.  In my experience, I didn’t get a lot of usable armor through drops, although I could just not be looking in the right places.  I’d love to see more variety in looks, however.

6. More races

I have to say, for a game that prides itself on a hugely flexible class system, its racial choices are dull to the point of uninspiration.  Two humans, two elves, a dwarf, and a slightly larger human.  That’s… wow.  It’s just bad.

I don’t think we have any shot of seeing any other races before launch, but this would be one of my top wish list items for an expansion.

 

14 thoughts on “Six Things I Hope Get Fixed In Rift

  1. Elementalistly January 21, 2011 / 10:31 am

    You will be happy to know both (some) combat sounds and public grouping have already been adjusted in the private Alpha builds.

    http://leakerz.net/wp/2011/01/20/rift-alpha-patch-notes-24-12-b/#more-8230

    “A new ‘Join Public Group’ button will appear on-screen when fighting an event (Rift, Invasion, etc.) with someone willing to group.
    * You can toggle your availability for public groups by right-clicking your character portrait. Your setting will persist through logout.”

    “* Bows and Guns have new sounds for their abilities!” (thats a step at least)

    I expect these in the next beta test.

    Also, THIS is why Trion deserves every cent for their game. The one thing they are doing no other company seems to grasp.

    Give customers what they want.

  2. Corwynn Maelstrom January 21, 2011 / 11:02 am

    I’ve also got a strong preference for the Guardian zones . . .

    Sounds are “ok” enough, but I’m not anti-improvement. My bigger wish for sound is the tuning the some of the NPCs. 😉

    Not sure about explanations, as I am no “screw your tutorial give me death” that I skip them all.

    Public groups were confirmed as coming in some form so I welcome them (original forum discussions on them I was heavily involved in as a supporter) . . .

    I like visual diversity, so I’d say bring it on.

    Torn on races. I like Swords and Sorcery: I don’t need non-humans to game. If it works well for the lore (and I question that at this point) I’m ok with it.

  3. Dril January 21, 2011 / 11:50 am

    @Elementalistly: Frankly, looking at some of the Rift “suggestion” threads (i.e. rewrite the entire game to be about PvP, PvP and more PvP) makes me hope Trion don’t listen to their customers. At all.

    @Syp: Agree with everything but 1 and 6. BLAND Borean Tundra? Sorry, Howling Fjord (which is literally exactly the same throughout the zone and so uninspiring it hurts) compared to the beauty, the brilliant music and atmosphere of Borean Tundra, especially Valiance Keep? No, no, I think not.

    Also, I’d rather have less races but all of them having different animations rather than EQ2’s “more races, crappy generic animations” approach.

  4. PeterD January 21, 2011 / 12:43 pm

    I agree with most of your points. The biggest thing for me before release is a better way to form groups in general, but especially for the dynamic world content. My next big request would be more races. As you mentioned, the choices right now are shockingly bland. I have to agree that the chances of that happening before release seem slim to none sadly.

    On the armor diversity, I agree, though you can get some diversity if you craft your own rather than use the quest rewards. Mostly I hope there’s more diversity at higher levels.

    As to the Defiant starting zones, as a Guardian player I say leave them alone. If they’re bland and uninteresting maybe more people will start playing Guardian. As it stands, most servers seem to be heavily slanted in the Defiant direction.

  5. pkudude99 January 21, 2011 / 1:05 pm

    1 — I didn’t mind the Defiant tutorial zone, but I do agree that the starter area leaves much to be desired, though I can’t really say what. It just feels dark and open and that’s it. Like it’s just missing something.

    2 — Sounds don’t mean much to me, so I’m fairly neutral here.

    3 — I do think that a tutorial explaining the planar stuff would be helpful, but since I turn the tutorial popups off the second I start a new character after the 1st one. . . I don’t see how that would help. Perhaps a “don’t repeat tutorials, just show me new ones” option?

    4 — Definitely needs this option. I did a ton of rifts and invasions, but only once was actually invited into the raid group and thus got quest credit for it. Really annoying to be “helping” but not getting any benefit from it other than perhaps a token to trade for gear later.

    5 — God yes! I’ve found a few decent-ish drops, some of which I could even use, but then I’d finish a quest and get something just as good if not better. Dropped loot needs to be kicked up a notch for sure. I also hate the whole “you start with 3 pieces of clothing and a basic weapon/shield” trope that most MMO’s use. And the level limited item slots. Puh-leeze! If I have a slot I should be able to use it from level 1. This is definitely an area I wish more games copied EQ2 and less from WOW.

    6 — I don’t know. . the races as they are seem pretty vanilla, so when people on the forums talk about the “superior” racial abilities of the Defiant, I just go “huh?” Adding more races doesn’t seem like a big deal — even in EQ2 the races are more a cosmetic thing than anything, and that’s why I have mostly high elves — I like how they look. I don’t care about the racial abilities becuz they don’t really mean anything, and in Rift I didn’t see them meaning much of anything either so. . . . fairly neutral here again as well.

    As it is. . I recall being annoyed by a few things while I was in the 4th beta, but since overall it was a blast to play, I didn’t focus on them and for the life of me, other than what I mentioned above I don’t really remember them. I’m sure I will next week in beta 5, and I’ll try to remember to write them down then so I can post about them on Nomadic Gamer and see how people shred my thoughts then 😉

  6. Genda January 21, 2011 / 2:41 pm

    One other thing… the lighting. It’s driving me nuts, the way characters “glow” is very distracting to me.

  7. Zygwen January 21, 2011 / 3:34 pm

    I prefer the Defiant Tutorial over the Guardian Tutorial. In my experience, the Defiant Tutorial is more Linear but actually takes less time. The Guardian Tutorial is like a Coiled Spring. The Defiant Tutorial is the same Spring stretched out.

    I find that the experience from 7-20 is reversed. The Guardian 7-20 zone is fairly linear in comparison to the Defiant one. If you start crafting as a Guardian, all the crafting stations are in Argent Glade. If you start crafting as a Defiant half your initial crafting stations are at King’s Retreat and the other half are at the Kelari Refuge. My first reaction to that is WTF but after playing both side I realize that this is part of the way they differentiate the two sides.

    It should also be noted that it feels like it is much easier to reach Meridian than it is to reach Sanctum. This feel is due to how the two zones Freemarch and Silverwood are designed. However it’s easier to navigate Sanctum than it is to navigate Meridian in my opinion. Furthermore, you can use the portal between Sanctum and Argent Glade but to my knowledge, you can not portal from Meridan to Freemarch since I haven’t found a portal in Freemarch.

    Oh and the Defiant logo looks like the Rebel Alliance logo.

    With respect to explaining Collections, you have to go to Sanctum and Meridian to get the explanation. The two quest are fairly different. One can be completed in a loop and the other had me confused for a while in its recursive not so linearity.

  8. Stormwaltz January 21, 2011 / 4:26 pm

    I haven’t been following Rift with any great interest, but I’m puzzled by the call for more races.

    Given that a clear majority of players choose to roll “pretty” humans and elves, it seems to me they’ve made a wise investment of resources in that particular case.

  9. Llokki January 22, 2011 / 12:05 am

    While I don’t at all expect them to put this sort of thing in (it’s likely far too much work for far too little gain), sets of armor that change appearance according whatever soul you have the most points in (for example, if you had most of your points in Necro, your armor would morph to have skull and bone decorations, and take on a more sinister appearance) would be awesome, and allay any fears I might have on the lack of visual diversity.

  10. Bhagpuss January 22, 2011 / 2:00 pm

    The only one of those points that really matters to me is “More Races”.

    I strongly prefer to play non-human races in any MMO. The current selection really doesn’t suit me – it’s 4 flavors of human, pointy-eared human and short human. I’ll be playing a Dwarf on Guardian side and a Bahmi on Defiant as the least “human” options available, but it really isn’t satisfactory.

    The Sound thing I simply don’t get. I find the sound in Rift almost overwhelming. It’s certainly at least as good as any other MMO I’ve played. What exactly is supposed to be missing?

    The other four points are “Yeah, whatever”. The Defiant starter area vs Guardian is a matter of taste. I’ve read as many Bloggers saying the Guardian area sucks and the Defiant is great as vice versa. Public Quests would be fine but I don’t need to be grouped to know I am doing my part in repelling invasions. Armor types, well we always get more of that than we know what to do with as MMOs grow. Rift has plenty enough for the stage it’s at. Explanations seemd fine to me, although more detail rarely hurts. So, yeah, if you like on those four but if not I won’t notice.

  11. Wolfshead January 23, 2011 / 5:37 am

    I agree with you Syp on all of these points. It’s good to see some articles where people are being critical of Trion instead of the usual uncontrollable drooling fanboy/girl content that often accompanies the beta period of a new MMO. (There’s one RIFT site in particular that comes to mind.)

    </emZones

    The Defiant zone of Freemarch is rather bland and devoid of personality compared to Silverwood which is the Guardian zone.

    I think one of the biggest problems is that the zones are just too big which leads to environmental fatigue. Even the Guardian zone of Silverwood felt very oppressive after being there for 12 levels.

    Ugly Character Models

    The Defiant characters are probably some of the ugliest character art I’ve ever seen in a MMO. It seemed no matter what I did in the last beta event I could not get my Defiant character to look like someone who was not a degenerate, a criminal, a junkie or a homeless person. It was pretty demoralizing and whatever urge I had to make a Defiant soon vanished.

    The Guardian side was much better leading me to thinking that Trion created both the Defiant models and even the Defiant zones far earlier than the Guardians.

    It goes without saying that it’s very important that players bond with their avatars. Personal appearance is a huge factor in MMOs. If the avatars are ugly than it is going to cause problems getting people to keep playing and paying.

    I really hope RIFT is successful but they still have a lot of work to do. Releasing it so soon on March 1st is a big mistake in my opinion.

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