Rifting on the WoW
I’ve been playing MMOs for a good portion of my gaming history at this point, going all the way back to Ultima Online. So when I tried out the Rift trial a friend of mine tossed my way I was in no way exaggerating when I fired the game up, played it for a bit and matter of factually declared “I’ve played this before” to an empty room (I really need to stop talking to myself so much). This is in no way dismissive nor is it a backhanded slam against the game, in fact I actually enjoyed the game for what I played. Anyone who knows me, however; knows I’m a pretty hardcore WoW addict. Was Rift enough to break me of the habit? Find out what I really thought about Rift and how it stacks up when compared to the current behemoth that is World of Warcraft after the break.
Did I like Rift? Well my instant knee jerk reaction was one of having played the game before, and I was not incorrect. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like it, which I did. The game is fun, intuitive (especially if you’ve played WoW as much as I have), and instantly immersive. Alright, lets just address the elephant in the room. This game is WoW. Granted with prettier graphics, certainly more “realistic” or “gritty” looking, a trend of games the last few years. Believe it or not I prefer the WoW style over Rift. When I play a fantasy game such as these I want it to look fantastic and veer away from realistic slightly; when I play a Call of Duty game I’d prefer realism. Still, the game has borrowed nearly everything in some form or another from the reigning MMO king. Hard not to do though considering WoW has set the model standard for the genre and every game since 2005 that has had any success has borrowed from WoW in one form or another.
Alright, I liked the game, but I’m not going to be paying for a subscription or playing it much past the trial. Why? Because of the main reason I still play WoW: all my friends are doing it. Seriously its impossible to toss a rock into a crowd and not hit someone who has played or is still playing WoW. The Multiplayer part of MMO is what draws me in and keeps me hooked, having people I know and like to play with makes the game infinitely more fun. I would love to borrow some things from Rift though and bring them back. Public grouping is one thing I’d love to bring to WoW, huge groups of people running around and just cooperating would be phenomenal. Of course you’d also need to bring over the global threat mechanic from Rift as well to give people a reason to be out in the world in huge groups, protecting the world from destruction. I also really liked their spirit system, the UI for which looks like someone took WoW’s talent trees and just slapped in new icons. The depth and level of customization for it was deceptively vast from when I first glanced and began slapping points where I thought looked good.
WoW pretty much owns my soul at this point, but Rift made a good grab for it. It just didn’t have the people behind it to drag me in and carry me off, I went running right back to BGs and Raids in Azeroth. Despite WoW’s problems (and it has them, trust me) the people keep bringing me back. If WoW isn’t your thing you can always give Rift a glance, Rift is a solid game; well designed, intuitive, in-depth gameplay and mechanics, and if you can bring some friends along it might just have all you need to become your digital heroin of choice.