Getting back into RIFT introduces the same-old dilemma that I face in return situations: whether to roll a fresh new character or pick up my old main and go from there. Logically, I should go with the latter, right? I shouldn’t want to waste the time and effort that I put into the progress of that character, not to mention that MMO characters don’t degrade or get dusty or anything when you leave them. Sypi the Cleric was just as I left her in February, level 53 and facing a room full of Alienesque eggs.
But the temptation to reroll is strong, because so much has changed. I have this desire to drink full of the cup of an MMO and not miss a single (soloable) drop from the start to finish, and that’s really only possible if I’ve been playing constantly through the updates or make a new character. Otherwise it’s some backtracking and the nagging feeling that I missed something. Plus, jumping into the shoes of an old main is initially overwhelming, since it’s a little difficult to remember the builds, combat rotations, current questlines, and so on. Starting over seems easy.
While I did putter around on a new mage for a week, eventually I returned to see my Cleric and decided that I was just being silly. I love this character and would like to see her through the end of the Storm Legion content. She was, I think, an achievement hunter at one time, and that’s something else I’d like to revive. And her builds are tremendously fun, all of them.
I’m glad I’m going back with the old, because after a day or two getting reacquainted with her, everything’s rushed back and I’ve enjoyed reconnecting with my guild. Plus, I can’t believe I left when I did, because I was on the cusp of one of the coolest quests in the game.
RIFT gets knocked around a lot for weak quests (sometimes deservedly so), but there are several pretty interesting missions. This one, in which you jump into a dreamworld to investigate the past events of a local estate, was right up there with anything I’ve experienced in The Secret World (which is the highest honor I can think of, story-wise). The tale that you discover is quite sordid and downright macabre, involving the son of a lord who went from torturing animals as a kid to becoming a full-blown psychopathic killer. He gets away with it because his father is more worried about protecting the family name, and dozens of people suffer because of it.
The voice acting is sometimes chilling, and I was quite surprised how dark RIFT was willing to go with this quest chain. I mean, implied rape, animal mutilation, corruption, and the cultivation of evil was something more sinister than anything I’ve seen from the big baddie in the expansion so far.
It wasn’t a good storyline because it was dark, but because it was quite well-told. The dreamworld is suitably “other,” sort of real and sort of off-kilter in a way that you only get in your dreams. I was giddy to discover that your character can jump super-high in it, which made me pine for the days of super-jumping in City of Heroes.
It was also pretty challenging. One of the final quests involves sneaking past guards who are constantly patrolling and shifting stances, and if you get seen just once you are returned to the start. Ugh I hate missions like that — I just was banging my head over a similar one in Dracula’s castle in TSW. I’ll give it to the devs, though, the mechanics were really well-done and quite reminiscent of Metal Gear Solid and the like.
Anyway, I’m feeling pretty good about how everything is going. Last night I participated in a zone-wide event that was just loads of fun, and at least with RIFT you can directly attack these big zone bosses instead of GW2′s dragons, which often just involve using some local clickie to attack from afar. We’ll see how it goes. There are scads of achievements that I’d like to get that I passed over, so I might be doing some backtracking in the near future to get them.