RIFT reborn

Speaking of returning to older MMOs, yesterday I reinstalled RIFT and rolled a brand-new female dwarf cleric named Herbie.  The pull to check RIFT out again came from the awesome video Trion posted yesterday as well as Stargrace’s nattering on about the new festival.  And I am a complete sucker for in-game festivals, carnivals, and fairs.

It’s always strange coming back to a game after an absence, because there’s a lot of catching up to do.  And when it comes to RIFT and Trion’s insanely packed update schedule, there’s more changes than you’d expect after six months.  Lots of little things, really, like preset “classes” during the character creation that give you a build of three souls, changes to the map to make things clearer, instant adventures, and so on.  What definitely pleased me is how quick I was able to go from not having the game on my hard drive at all to playing it — about 15-20 minutes, really.  Considering how large the game is, I’m guessing this is due to a new streaming client downloader or something, or else Trion’s just gotten really good about packing that code in nice and tight.

In some ways, it was like I never left.  Everything about RIFT is so familiar that I just slipped right back into it.  Like SWTOR, the combat is quick (which I can never say about LOTRO) and the animations are engaging.  And while SWTOR may have a huge edge in story, I still feel that RIFT’s character building system is way more interesting than the paltry few talent tree choices that BioWare’s MMO offers.

What was really cool about returning was the bounty awaiting me in my mailbox.  Seriously, I think my new character had about fifteen pieces of mail, all with goodie attachments.  Some were from the CE, one from the six-month anniversary, many from veteran unlocks, one from the account security snafu, and so on.  I love the feeling of loading up a newbie character with all of these material possessions that can be used right away, and I quaffed an XP boosting potion so that I could speed level to 10 and enjoy the festival.

Speaking of which, the carnival is just a hoot.  It’s pretty compact with three (I think) games, some booths and vendors and a hilarious fortune-telling witch (“you will slay many monsters and find a lot of gold!”), but it is just sheer fun.  I noticed that everyone was ignoring two of the games to play the balloon-popping one, due to the fact that if you join a raid for it, you can complete the quest (and get the prize ticket) in mere seconds.  Rinse and repeat.  I think this may be a tad bit of an exploit, but considering how expensive the prizes are, I don’t care.

Another cool returning moment was checking out the RIFT Mobile app on my iphone.  Not only does it have pretty nifty guild functionality (chat and a message wall, for starters), but the “lootables” section is something I’ve never seen before in MMOs.  Basically, it’s like lottery scratchers that can give your in-game character certain rewards if you win.  You get one credit (attempt) every hour, and up to six credits can be stored at a time.  I’ve already won several beads for the festival rewards, so I’m not complaining here!  It’s not a huge feature, but I gotta admit, it’s one of those things that makes me love Trion all the more.

So will I subscribe to RIFT or just stay a perpetual level 20?  That’s hard to say.  I’m definitely committed to my SWTOR subscription for a while to come, and I don’t like the idea of having two subs if I’m playing several games at a time.  Then again, it’s not bank-breaking either.  Then again again, there’s a lot coming up in the near future, so I may not even have time for RIFT.  But for now?  It’s really neat to return and see what Trion’s done with the place.

P.S. — Every MMO needs to have a post like this on the official forums to bring returning players up to speed with all of the changes.  Seriously, this is a no-brainer.

11 thoughts on “RIFT reborn

  1. DocHoliday March 6, 2012 / 9:07 am

    Rift always seems to do things just a bit better, but I have to admit the videos I’ve seen of the festival do look VERY fun.

    Their mobile app sounds very cool and I really wish more games would seriously support at least mobile chatting. The “lootables” section sounds very similar to the LOTRO lotteries but more mobile and more frequent.

  2. turnbullr March 6, 2012 / 9:14 am

    There were a ton of things I loved about Rift, but what made me leave was the lack of end game content and the extremely unbalanced PvP. If you get that far, mind letting us know how it is now compared to a year ago?

  3. Asmiroth March 6, 2012 / 9:46 am

    Rift has a few levels of end game content now. When the game launched you had expert dungeons and 2 raids (2nd one after a month or so). Now there are master dungeons, chronicles (2 players), raid rifts, 3 tiers of raids and slivers, gear sets, synergy crystals. A new PvP instance, similar to the Black Garden one. Alternate Advancement at 50. Lots of balance tweaks, new crafted gear too. UI mods are in game. It really has all the tools you would need for a themepark (except perhaps a LFR tool).

    PvP got a boost in the most recent patch. It’s a bit more fair now and you no longer have PvP souls – they are integrated into your base character. There are still builds that dominate (Warden for one) but it’s better.

    The best part for me though is the collectibles in Rift. Artifacts, achievements, mounts, saga quests and pets. The feeling of constant progress, even at 50, is what I enjoy the most.

  4. Skron March 6, 2012 / 10:50 am

    I’m planning to return to RIFT sometime soon too. Maybe after playing Mass Effect 3.

    I visited my guild’s website last Sunday to check and see whether my guild mates are excited about Guild Wars 2 (and they are!). But I was intrigued by the posts about RIFT. Apparently, in my 8-month absence from the game, a lot of good things have happened in the game. Your post confirmed that too. So, I’ll definitely check it out.

  5. Shar March 6, 2012 / 1:12 pm

    They have the best staff in the business by far. From Mr. Hartsman on down. Other mmo companies (I’m looking at you SOE) could learn everything about creating and sustaining a gaming community using Trion as an example.

  6. Dael March 6, 2012 / 2:31 pm

    I’ve been thinking about trying Rift for the first time. I’m fond of world and warzone pvp along with questing in a very casual manner. So far I’ve loved Swtor and recently given up on DDO and Lotro – turned off by the store and lack of meaningful pvp. Would appreciate any input from folks with a similar experience – will likely try the trial but wanted to know if it is worth it beforehand. Thanks!

  7. Gazimoff March 6, 2012 / 4:07 pm

    Because of you, Syp, I have just gone and got my Rift account fixed. Damn you 😛

  8. Shar March 7, 2012 / 8:48 am

    Dael –

    If you’re still reading in this post, I’ve read in other blogs/forums that the best thing to do with Rift if you want to start up a sub is to use the free to play option to level up one or more toons to 20 and then buy the game so you get 30 days free at that point. Pretty good value and another reason Trion is so far ahead of the other companies.

  9. Aldarionn March 11, 2012 / 5:38 pm

    Thanks Syp. Because of this post you convinced me to try out the free trial of Rift. Downloading as I speak. ATM I’m only playing LOTRO and don’t have any subs, but if Rift is everything people are posting here I’m definetely gonna sub. Looks like a very interesting game.

    BTW, I love your TLDL podcast. Weekly listener here. Keep up the good work ^_^

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