Rift is a dynamic MMORPG released on march 2011. Compared to World of Warcraft, Rift is not a revolution, but an evolution. It has kept many features implemented by the giant of the MMO that can be considered as essential nowadays : achievements, quest tracker, warfronts (battleground), auction house. Rift has also kept a similar UI, improved and customizable. If you have played WOW, you will not feel lost while binding your spells, or searching for your autorun key. That make the gaming experience very comfortable and the change from one game to the other, very intuitive.
The likeness will stop there. Rift is a very different game, whatever can pretend some joy breakers.
First, the style and the atmosphere are completely different. When World of Warcraft propose a cartoon like graphic style, with humoristic quests and NPC, Rift keep it very realistic and focus on the atmosphere of its zones. The light, for example, evolving all along the days and nights, had been created with a lot of care, and bring the landscape to life. You see the sunrays pierce the forest roof and fall on the grass, the shadows of the leaves are moving with the wind. Something that I really appreciate is the cycle of night and days shortened. The player who can only play during the evening will not be stuck in nocturne areas unless he takes one day off from his work! I also enjoy the fact that all zones are open, and the landscape is fully explorable. You can climb on top of a mountain, and discover a higher lvl area, and lost in the distance the towers of a fortress you can visit later.
Obviously, one do not play Rift for its landscape only. We play it for two things : the soul system and the Rift invasions.
Instead of proposing series of classes lightly customizable by some sort of talent tree, in Rift you have four callings : Cleric, Warrior, Rogue and Mage. To build your class, you pick up three soul (three talents trees) among the eight proposed by your calling. You spend point in the talents, which unlock spells and abilities. That give a lot of possibilities, and the enjoyment of really build your class as you like it. You can show yourself intrepid and original and find the combination no one have thought about before you. You can obviously fail and get a clumsy spec, or succeed and find the rare pearl! In any case, the feeling of freedom is great and the possibility of experimenting new spec will keep you busy while you are grinding your 50 lvls. Each calling will give you the possibility to be healer, tank, melee DPS or ranged DPS (okay mage cannot tank, and warrior cannot heal). Note that you can buy four roles, (the first three at a reasonable cost) which make the party hunting for dungeon a bit easier. It's also fun to experiment different aspect of your calling.
Article "Making a new character": on
The Rift invasions add another dimension to the game. It's not only a series of quests, dungeons to perform to reach your maximum lvl and start the end game. The planes open Rift randomly in the world and need heroes to seal them. They spawn creatures, those wills invade the map if no one fight them by building footholds and killing NPC. It's not rare to see your quest giver camp wiped by an invading squad of planar.
While there is rifts opening all the time, sometimes a Invasion occurs. That is the real fun pat of the game as even higher lvl can participate and seal Rift in lower lvl zones. When an invasion happen, the whole area seem on alert. Dozen of Rift appear on the maps, and planar squad tent to destroy the precious wardstone. Those need to be protected meanwhile the Rift need to be sealed. If the invasion is successfully turned away, a raid boss will appears and need to be killed.
No need to say that sealing Rift, defeating foothold and participating to the boss kill give you some special token to buy equipment to the Planar vendor.
The negative points of Rift
I will speak in my name only. I think the major weakness is the population. The most fun part of Rift : the invasions, can only be done with a lot of players. The problem is that the shard (server) are relatively low populated. The community in Rift also tent to be silent and shy.
This is something very disappointing, because the game itself is extremely promising, and defeating Rift invasion with a small raid is something extremely fun and not seen in any other game.
To end I will repeat what I've said earlier : Rift is an evolution, not a revolution. That mean the game doesn't dare to go too far and keep his universe relatively classical. There is still elves, humans and dwarves, castles, zombies, dragons and centaurs. Some players can find it boring.
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