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.
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.