For someone who’s a little over a day away from a game he’s been anticipating for months now, I’d have to say that I’m a paragon of “cool as a cucumber.” It helps that I’m terrifically busy this week, and trying to get everything done so that I’ll have an afternoon or two to play without interruptions means that I’m working like a dog right now.
As I type this, I’m reinstalling RIFT (if you have a beta or alpha version, you need to uninstall that and then hit up the site to get the new version) in preparation for tomorrow’s head start at 1pm EST. No doubt the servers will get slammed, there might be problems, and I should just steel myself for potential frustration, but these things too shall pass.
I’ve finally settled on a starter character: I’m going to play a Dwarf Guardian Rogue on Faeblight. Why a Rogue? I went back and forth on this a lot, but ultimately decided that it’d be good for me to get out of my typical groove and go for a more action-oriented class. The fact that Rogues can use rifles, spec for healing/support, and even tank if needed appeals to me, plus I love the bomb-chucking saboteur soul. It’s not like I — or anyone else — isn’t going to roll three other characters anyway.
Generally, I think most people who were interested in RIFT are pretty jazzed at this point, particularly because there are no major red flags that we can see. Sure, some folks just don’t like what’s offered or think it’s more of the same, but that’s more personal preference than genuine criticism. It’s not perfect, of course, and there are people poking hard at it to see if they can find that soft spot of disillusionment they need.
For example, Game Genus is down on RIFT for the number of at-launch zones compared to (sigh) World of Warcraft’s list of 2004 zones. Okay, putting aside how tiring and frustrating it is for people to constantly be comparing everything to WoW (and whether having “less” than WoW makes something “not good”), let’s look at this and see if it has merit. Is RIFT anemic in zones and size, and will that bite the game on the butt in the long run?
I think the most legitimate complaint are the number of starting zones (two), although most players will probably only go through these four times, so it’s not as major of a problem as other games. It’s just a little thin.
As for the rest of the world, sure, it’s smaller than some game worlds. I think it has to be, and I think it’s ultimately best for the type of game world that Trion is making. What Game Genus doesn’t get is that the bread-and-butter of RIFT is the dynamic content, not the size of the world, and if everyone gets too spread out, then the fun of that dynamic content is reduced dramatically. Case in point, WAR. WAR had a great idea with public quests, and they were fun in the first tier or so — when everyone was in the same areas and level range. But after a while the population got spread out, the zones got far bigger, and the popularity of PQs took a severe nosedive. You simply need a critical mass of players for these events to be fun.
And — pardon the cliche — but it’s not the size so much as what you do with it. We all know RPG and MMORPG worlds that can boast absolutely vast square footage but have little content to fill it all. Size for size sake — or many more zones just for numbers’ sake — can be a detriment rather than an asset. I’m always of the opinion that whatever space is in the game should be used and used well, and from what I’ve seen so far in RIFT, that’s the case.
Plus, there’s nothing stopping Trion from expanding the world as I’m sure they will be. If 14 zones are a dealbreaker for you, then, yes, RIFT’s probably not for you. Personally, it’s a bit of a non-issue.