While the MMO industry as we knew it apparently died or something last week, I went on vacation. It was the first such vacation my wife and I had in about two years, and even though it was just a few days away from the kids across the state (no air travel due to pregnancy, alas), we unraveled and enjoyed unplugging from work and the internet. Even as a guy who loves to write, it was so relaxing just not writing for a few days at all.
I’ll admit that I didn’t completely unplug — I brought my laptop, because I knew that the pregnancy gremlins dictate that 8:00 p.m. is apparently Lights Out for the mom, and I was not going to indulge in hotel TV surfing for the remainder of the evening. So I limited myself to a few quick play sessions, and surprisingly enough, found myself subscribing for a month in RIFT.
Once more unto the breech, my dear friends…
Why? I know I mentioned that I was flirting with the idea of coming back a little while ago, the time didn’t quite seem right. Yet RIFT kept popping up into my radar more and more this past month, and you know how that goes: The more you start thinking about a game that you were once favorable toward, the more you start wondering if it’s time to go back.
RIFT and I parted on very amiable terms. I greatly enjoyed my time in the game, and my biggest complaint was that I had more difficulty identifying with its classless characters than in other MMOs that had more structured classes. I’ve never stopped rooting for it, even though its time as the new kid on the block was over the second SWTOR hit, because Trion time and again is showing us just how hard-working and responsive a studio needs to be to deserve a subscription-only MMO audience in this day and age. Now with rumors of an expansion and a massive list of new features that I’ve never seen, I felt it was worth at least spending a month to see if it sticks. If not, TSW is here in July anyway, and I’m still rocking LOTRO like mad.
A smooth reentry
Getting back in was completely effortless. Nice to see that Trion cared enough to coin lock my account since I wasn’t logging in from home (and easy enough to unlock it). I rerolled yet another cleric (my sixth or seventh, I believe) and have decided to completely eschew quests this time around. That’s right — no quests for me! Instead, I’m going to divvy up my time doing dynamic events, instant adventures, chronicles, and dungeon runs, all of which sounds like more than enough to get me the loot and levels I desire.
The problem with this is that there’s little in the way of dungeons/instant adventures/chronicles from the get-go. I’m not 100% sure when these unlock, but I’m fairly certain that dungeons open up when you’re 15. So until that point, I have to jog around either grinding on mobs (which is fine — it allows me to experiment with different builds) or looking for rifts to smash. Fortunately, my veteran rewards included a few vials of XP-boosting potions, so those are helping me get the levels I want.
It’s a madhouse! A madhouse!
One thing that did make me eye-roll in a huge way was that the regional chat got into another one of its group bitching sessions about Our Game vs. Other Games. Depending on the moment, RIFT sucked, RIFT was awesome, RIFT was dying, RIFT was salvation for those sick of TERA, SWTOR sucked, SWTOR was awesome, GW2 is going to dominate all, GW2 is a RIFT knock-off, the White Spy was far better than the Black Spy, Pepsi trounced Coke in taste tests, and all of the other groupthink drivel that goes nowhere and does nothing other than provide fodder for trolls to feast upon. Whether folks were attacking or defending various games, it just made me think that (a) these people need blogs if they’ve got these pent-up essays lurking inside of them, (b) those blogs would not have a captive audience the way that the general discussion channel does, and (c) very few people seem to comprehend that you can like more than one game at a time.
Other than that, I’m having a lovely time, and I’m definitely curious if this game will stick or just slide right off me by the end of the month.