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The Adventures of Pokket

Part Rift Fanfic and telling the tales of a young, brave adventurer named Pokket. Part Game Ramblings =)

Author: Pokket

It's just another WoW clone? Part One.

Posted by Pokket Wednesday February 9 2011 at 2:54AM
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I am starting to get the feeling that, no matter the MMO that is to be released, fan-boys and trolls (mainly trolls) will join the beta and start throwing out the “IT’S LIKE WOW!” babble in chat. I am willing to bet that most of them 1] do not even play WoW anymore and haven't since Vanilla or 2] never have, but just go from MMO beta to MMO beta picking fights out of boredom. It quickly becomes obvious that these people just want to start a heated argument with one tiny statement. And yes, successful trolls are usually successful. However, after seeing this multiple times while playing beta I must ask myself, is Rift like World of Warcraft?
 
 
Now, I am one to give games a fair chance and I try not compare it to the last three games that I have played. I can enjoy a game for what it is and don't look for things that are, or are not, like WoW, Warhammer, etc etc etc. In fact, I have enjoyed nearly every MMO that I have played, to some extent. I could make a blog post stating that Rift is or is not like WoW, but instead I will explain…
 
 
 
 
How Rift is like World of Warcraft:
 
 
It is an MMORPG (Oh, nooo!). Surprise! So, what does this mean? It is a massively multiplayer online role playing game that thousands of people can join and interact with one another within the game. Most MMORPGs have some sort of lore, questing, dungeons, a community, and various forms of regular PvE and PvP. Well, WoW has this and so does Rift. So does Aion and Warhammer and so will SWTOR and so on… Naturally, these games attempt to make their questing, dungeons, PvE, and PvP encounters different, and yet familiar to players at the same time.
 
 
The genre of WoW and Rift are similar, they are Fantasy MMOs. Therefore, since they are fantasy, they share a few things in common, like dragons, magic, elves, villages, trees, birds chirping, rifts spawning... oh wait... babbling brooks, this list could go on... but that does not make them the same game. Why? I will get to this point in a moment.
 
 
In the rest of my comparisons between WoW and Rift I would like to point out less similarities and more differences and so I move on to...
 
 
 
 
How Rift isn't like World of Warcraft:
 
 
Questing: Rift questing already has the reputation of following a strict linear pattern. While some people have complained about this, others have not said a peep. Why is this? Well, there are multiple reasons, one of those being that players desire linear questing. So what makes me say this? As I mentioned in my previous blog, before Cataclysm and two continent revamps, WoW used to have a very tedious quest system.
 
 
For example, Fred wants you to go find Dora and give her the necklace he bought at Kay Jewelers. Well, okay sounds easy enough, until you find out that Dora is all the way on the opposite side of the zone and you have to walk there. Finally, you made it to Dora, but now Dora wants you to go back to Fred. Now Fred wants you to propose to Dora. And finally Dora wants you to reject Fred (she was a gold digger all along). Need I even mention Shaman or Druid class quests that often had the player travel across different zones?
 
 
Needlesstosay, WoW gradually got better with this as their questing got more linear with each expansion. In Burning Crusade players saw a slight improvement and by the time Wrath of the Lich King came out, it was obvious even Blizzard had gotten the picture. So having linear questing in a game is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, the majority of players responded more positively towards linear questing, from what I am able to gather.
 
 
What sets Rift apart from typical questing, however, are the events that take place while leveling. Let me quickly paint a picture for you: It's a wonderful, warm, and sunny day and you're helping Eliam clean up some pests in his fields. Suddenly, the sky turns darker than night itself and a low roar thunders all around you. You turn around and quickly try to make it back to Eliam's helpers, but tentacles rip out of the sky above and you are suddenly surrounded by monsters from the Plane of Death. Do not fear, though, for a raid of brave warriors have come to save you. You quickly join arms with them and engage in what turns out to be an epic battle for which you are greatly rewarded. You didn't even notice that a full hour has gone by and you've likely gained over half a level.
 
 
With rifts, invasions, zone events, world PvP, instanced PvP, and dungeons, there are numerous things that often detract from typical questing to the point questing becomes something a player does on the side. Also, as seen in Beta 6, players can now buy their first mount at any level as long as they have the money for it and can make it to the vendor (*a giant sigh of relief is heard throughout all of the crowd*).
 
 
 
 
The Genre is the same, but the lore is significantly different: I do not have much to say on this because I believe that many can actually agree with this. The lore in Rift is new and refreshing. Do not get me wrong, the lore in WoW isn't bad by any means, but some players are ready to start reading a different book. Without going into an in-depth explanation of the lore, the Guardians and Defiants used to be united as one.  Turning more to their machines, the Defiants foolishly are what caused the rifts to opened. Wanting to prevent further terror, the Guardians destroyed these machines. Now defenseless, both start warring each other as well as the monsters that tear through the six elemental planes (fire, death, life, water, air, earth).
 
 
Due to their traitorous king turning to the power of the machines, the Guardians now only rely on the strength of their gods. Whereas the Defiants have abandoned the gods and still rely on the strength of the machines. The player gets a strong sense for the lore of their faction while questing, as well. This is shown through the quests themselves, the NPCs, the dungeons, and the environment (i.e. cities, villages, and art style in general). Nearly every NPC has a story to tell, just ask Poor Tom of Sanctum.
 
 
Rift has a better sense of community: What I mean by this is that communication between players is efficient and easy no matter the location of your character, or the level. They have the chat dissected smart and effectively. There is General chat, Zone chat, LFG chat, Party, Raid, and Warfront chat, then there are the level tier chats (1-9, 10-19, etc). I believe the tier chats to be an amazing implementation into the game and, if you're not the player to like these kinds of things, then you have the option to toggle them off or put them in a separate window. At no point past starting zones does the player become completely separated from communicating with the rest of the server simply because they are in a certain zone.
 
 
There are only two main cities (that I know of), Meridian for Defiant and Sanctum for Guardian. What importance does this serve? I believe it serves an extreme importance to the game. It keeps players together, rather than separating them throughout several different cities. Certainly players will still be separated throughout the zones, but for us banksitters who like to show off our new epics, having only one main city on your faction makes it easier for us to afk while flossin' our new shinies.
 
 
Disregarding the trolls who only compare Rift to every other MMO ever released, mainly WoW which, to them, was the first MMO in existence, the community has proven to be quite strong. Besides, most of these trolls will disappear once the game is no longer in beta phase and they have to buy it in order to troll in-game again =)
 
 
 
 
The last topic I want to cover in Part One of this blog is the art style, it is not like WoW: Or rather, should I say Warhammer? The art, in my opinion, does have hints of being similar to other games, but comes nowhere near being an exact copy. There are the beautiful high-fantasy zones that are sunny and gorgeous, then there are the dreary and war-ridden zones, such as the starting zones. I believe the starting zones to be the closest resemblance to Warhammer and nothing more. If anything, I think that people are confusing the realism of the art, rather than the actual environment and NPC style (realism being that many things in game look good enough to seem realistic and believable - even the faeries). And, technically, the factions are in a war against one another so it only makes sense to make it seem like a war is actually taking place (this contributes to the setting of lore, as well).
 
 
I have also heard quite a few people compare the art to Aion, which, in my opinion, it comes nowhere near. If anything, the only thing that comes close is the character customization, which Aion is slightly more in-depth and many people take advantage of to make microscopic rogues and goliath warriors (both with unproportionally large chests). Aion is heavily loaded with high-fantasy and has a giant dash of an anime feel in the mix. I'm not bashing this style, for a lot of people enjoy it. I'm just stating that it is not the same and, for me, didn't even feel realistic.
 
 
Now, I'm sure there are ample retorts to be made and I look forward to hearing what many have to say, but I will conclude Part One of this blog on this note. In Part Two I am eager to dive into PvP, Dungeons, the Soul Trees, and who knows what else? I have no idea when I will write Part Two, but I'm aiming for after the last beta which takes place on February 15th and is an open beta. For those more interested in trying Rift for yourself I urge you to create an account and give it a chance.  I, myself, want to get my Defiant as high as I can before giving a final analysis before release.
 
Cheers,
Pokket

Rift: Planes of Telara - rebuttal against many arguments made.

Posted by Pokket Wednesday February 2 2011 at 2:48AM
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I'm taking a moment away from my fanfic to write a separate blog entry on Rift. I am not writing this as a "fanboy" or to bash any other game. I am simply writing this as it is a game that I have played in 3 of the betas and have built some of my own opinions based on these experiences. I have leveled characters on both the Guardian and Defiant side. I've noticed that there have been quite a few rants, blogs, reports, tweets, facebook updates, random people yelling in the streets, v-blogs, etc etc on everyones' take on this soon-to-be-released MMORPG. Now, I've decided to play devil's advocate. Why? Because I have time on my hands...

 

 

... and I enjoy playing the game (and I have time on my hands).

 

 

Argument number one: The soul system is dynamic.

I disagree. The soul system, from my experience, creates some rather unusual matchups when playing a class. Now sure, it is easy to argue that the base functions of the classes aren't dynamic, but that's only looking at this from the surface and not diving deeper into your character's potential. Take, for instance,  my favourite DPS class, the Rogue. I thought to myself whilst sipping from my cup of tea, hey... why not pair Riftstalker with Marksman? Oh that's a great idea, and to top that off, add on Saboteur.  

 

Riftstalker is a "tanking" soul with endurance stacking, armor stacking, and "planes shifting", or teleportation, abilities. The Riftstalker also has talents that proc after teleporting, buffing the Rogue for x amount of seconds, one if which is a speed increase. Marksman has many speed increases, abilities that break CC, and soul tree talents that give the rogue immunity to CC for x amount of seconds. This soul specializes in range combat, but has a spell that enables all ranged abilities to also be used in melee range for x amount of time (riftstalker mainly consists of melee range abilities). Saboteur is a heavily based DPS soul that puts multiple DoTs/stacks on a target and, at the Rogue's command, "detonates" those stacks to deal damage. These together are quite a perfect trio.

 

So, let's say I want a pet instead? I want to be a teleporting, bow-wielding, pet owner. I swap out Saboteur for Ranger and suddenly I'm a pet owner.

 

But the pet smells funny and I think I want a stealth instead... so now I'm Nightblade who, not only can stealth, but can enhance my weapons, teleport, gets a speed buff, and specializes in DPS combat.

 

Okay so shifting gears for a moment,  in game I've actually decided that my favourite class for my play style is the Cleric. I have a Cleric that has the Justicar, Warden, and Sentinel souls. Warden and Sentinel compliment each other excellently for heals (my name is Pokket and I loves to heal). Warden increases HoTs and instant cast heals, where Sentinel buffs heals in general. Justicar compliments well in that it has armor increase, for survivability, as well as heal increase. Warden increases your Maximum Mana, Sentinel decreases the amount of mana heals cost... this list could go on...

 

Now, I've read some people who commented on the Warrior's pacts, similar to the Rogue's combo points. The Void Knight's aren't solely "OH I GOT PACTS LOL"... there is more to it than just that and if you haven't picked up on this by the time you've gotten your character to level 20 and have been in a few Warfronts (or PvP fights) then you're probably doing it wrong.

 

What do you do when you go up against a mana user? Use your pacts. What do you do against melee? Not quite the same method, now is it? What do pacts do? Generally, they buff the warrior. So... you wouldn't want to dispense of these pacts so easily against someone that isn't a mana user (seeing as Void Knight abilities are typically geared towards mana users/casters).

 

 

Argument number two: PvP combat isn't lacking:

My questions are: have you played the Warfronts available? Have you not noticed that even in beta there have been quite a few world PvP encounters? Perhaps you haven't played enough to realize this, but I've witnessed 4 major invasions and multiple minor invasions from PLAYERS just in the last two betas and I wasn't logged on 24/7.

 

Rift actually encourages world PvP, but yes there are PvE servers for those that don't prefer PvP. There are Defiant invasions (NPCs) in the Guardians zones and vice-versa. Players can also summon these invasions. There have been multiple attempts to storm Meridian or storm Sanctum just for the fun of it, seeing as there are no benefits from doing so at the moment. It's absolutely amazing to see 2 raids of the opposite faction running into your city and destroying what they can before your side unites. They do eventually get destroyed though :P 

 

Argument number three: The questing is linear, but that isn't a bad thing.

Yes, I agree. The questing is linear, but the invasions, rifts, and zone events really distract from the fact that the questing is linear. Also, I seem to remember players in WoW complaining about questing (before Cataclysm). Remember the zones where you had to run from one end to the other just to give some dude his lunch he forgot, then you had to run all the way back? Or what about the shaman totem quests? How could any Troll shaman forget those? I'm not trying to talk bad on WoW, especially since it seems that they changed this in their recent expansion, but I am pointing out how a lot of people often complained about these quests.

 

So with that in mind, would you think differently? Also, I've yet to get bored of the questing in Rift, and this is rare for me. I normally hate questing with a passion. I haven't gotten bored because I've had so much to do and questing sort becomes an "on the side" job. Whilst questing an invasion takes over my quest hub. Then I queue for a Warfront. Oohp. I got a pop. Now I'm back to questing, oh but Guardians are invading Meridian! And now there is a zone event. Awesome.

 

 

Argument number four: Ability scaling isn't a pain.

Ability scaling is put in the game for a reason. It's a time sink. More time playing = better for the game. Do players necessarily like it? Not all of us, but once we get our new abilities what do we do? We go and test them out. At least, from what I've noticed, there are enough accessible trainers to not make it too much of a hassle and it is usually an easy run. Did I mention players get a mount at 20?

 

Also, I haven't noticed a HUGE difference in DPS, heals, or tanking from someone only one level above me. He may have newly upgraded skills, but that does not guarantee him a win against a player one level below him. Is he a better player? Does he have better gear? What are his soul trees? I still have a chance at winning, regardless. I did multiple warfronts at level 14 and I was killing level 15-16 players, often with ease. It may be because I've leveled two different rogues and clerics (guardian and defiant), but thats my advantage I suppose.

 

Argument number six: There are changes in the weather.

I've seen the weather change. I've seen it rain. I've seen sunny skies and I've seen cloudy. You have to look up more often to see these changes. Unless, of course, it's raining =) I've seen it grow dark and I've heard the crickets sing.

 

Argument number seven: The character customization is acceptable.

While most of the points made for this argument are worthy, I will say that character customization does not truly affect gameplay and therefore someone like me, and I stress "someone like me", won't be swayed by the fact that we can't make a 6'2" DD High Elf. If players want this then who knows what the future will bring? But, in my opinion, it shouldn't be something that makes or breaks the game upon release.

 

 

Also, take into consideration that the game has dyes. That's something that quite a few games lack.

 

Argument number eight: Glitches, crashes, etc, are found in any game.

Well, it's an MMO and this is bound to happen regardless of what stage the game is in. It is still in beta so there is still time for all the major issues to be fixed (if there are any). They've done an excellent job at churning out fixes during and between betas so far, so I'd go as far as to say they are going to keep doing this before and after release.

 

Update:

 

Argument number nine: The crafting isn't lacking.

I actually haven't seen many posts regarding this, though there are a few people who have brought it up to me after making this blog. So, the crafting is boring. It should be more appealing to the player. This, for me, is a  tough subject because I've always thought of crafting to be boring (I won't lie). No matter what game I played, the last thing I wanted to do was level up something aside from my character and her abilities. And when people say "make crafting less boring"  I picture aliens coming down from space and fighting you over a mining node. That's certainly less boring.

 

So, in Rift a player can have 3 crafting skills. Typically it is best to choose two gathering skills and one actual craft, seeing as most crafts require the gathering of different resources. As soon as a player accepts their crafting skills there is usually a quest available for them to complete for loots.  Throughout leveling as a character and leveling as a crafter these quests continue to open up to the player.

 

Rift crafting, on the surface level, boils down to this: go gather iron with Mining and animal hides with Butchering. These nodes are found throughout the world and are often taken by that jerk who waited for you to pull aggro on the mob near the node. Now go get Armorsmithy, which can require both ore and hides to make plate armor for, say, a Warrior.

 

Crafted items can be augmented. This means that if I create a sword with endurance, but I want to add strength to it, I can augment it to basically increase its value. Augments are found by defeating rifts and invasions. Honestly, for crafting questions I suggestion people look here. This site provides a lot of insight on Rift and the crafting system =)

 

 

Keep in mind this is all a matter of opinion and yes, some of it is bold. Some of it may make you shed a tear and you may think this is sadness, but it is only the riftdrawl you are experiencing.

 

Cheers,

Pokket

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