Welcome back to Tripping the Rift! It's been a while readers but we're back to dive into all that's interesting in Telara. This week we're heading into hostile territory to take a look at the latest exciting addition to RIFT, PVP dimensions! Are they all they're chalked up to be? We'll let you know! Not sure where to begin? We've got you covered! Buckle in and prepare for murder, mayhem, and a weapons-belt full of new gadgets to play with.
First off, folks, let me take a minute to apologize for our absence these last few weeks. Your happy host here has had a baby. The kind folks in the leadership of MMORPG were nice enough to give me leave, but now that the bonding is done, I'm good for at least 18 years. That is how it works, right? Anyhow, I'm sure I'll be fine, because now that I'm back and have mastered the art of playing with one hand – from holding the baby – I'm ready to roll and better than ever.
RIFT has been in the news a lot lately, which is great for us RIFT fans, and even better for players still on the fence. Som is right: there has never been a better time to dive in and give the game a shot. With four new classes in the pipeline and a new expansion just around the corner, there's a lot to look forward to. But why wait?
Two weeks ago, Trion surprised us all by releasing PVP dimensions on the live servers, giving players a brand new way to customize their game and for the first time ever allowing real gameplay elements to be added to our dimensions. Coming in the form of a set of tools to allow players to develop the settings for their very own deathmatch, this new system is rife with potential for exciting new maps and unexpected gameplay moments. If the core dimension system is any indication, exciting times lie ahead as Telara's resident dimensioneers push the limits of expectation.
This is our review.
What is it?
PVP dimensions are not new dimensions of themselves. Instead, it is a set of tools that allows you to turn any dimension you own into an arena for structured PVP. All of the power of the dimension system is at your disposal and already players have developed some exceptionally cool areas to rival even those Trion has created.
Up to three teams can compete in dimension PVP. At the moment, only deathmatch is enabled and players who purchase one of the starter bundles receive a free Black Garden dimension to start. Black Garden is a good start to rework the parameters of a classic map.
Where do you begin?
Crafting your own PVP dimension means paying a visit to your local RIFT Store. All of the items you'll need are contained under the Dimensions → PVP tab. There you will find everything you need to set up your own battleground. For structured PVP you will need a minimum of two team select banners, two starting points, two graveyards, a scoreboard to determine the length and type of match, and two kill counters to cover earning points for kills on either side. All told, this will run 1750 credits or roughly $12 and more if you opt for the three-faction versions of these items which are universally more expensive. To add excitement, Trion has also made hazard and kill zones available, which apply ticks of damage or outright kill effected players for 125-350 credits a piece.
Once you have these items, it's as simple as placing them in your dimension and waiting for the sweet, sweet rivers of blood.
What do we think?
The system is undeniably cool but there are still a number of issues that handicap its true potential. Trion has nailed turning dimensions into battlegrounds but without changes there is a very real fear that they may become a novelty rather than a core attraction. Let's look at the issues.
1. There is no easy way to find them
Right now, the search tools are woefully inadequate. The only way to find a PVP flagged dimension is to search for “pvp” and hope the owner put it in the title. Even then, there is no way to tell if anyone is actually playing in that dimension. Sadly, every single dimension I visited on Greybriar was empty. In their current state, PVP dimensions are purely for pre-organized groups or the incredibly lucky player who zones into an active match.
2. One mode is nowhere near enough
Deathmatch is great and can be a lot of fun, but with the wide array of dimensions, and the supreme creativity of their creators, it's disappointing that capture the flag and domination aren't also available. While these modes are sure to come, right now the possibilities of the maps don't quite match the possibilities of the game mode.
3. There needs to be more options for dimension makers
Now that players are able to meaningfully interact with each other, dimension makers need a wider array of tools to bring their battlegrounds to life. Making maps is fine and if it never goes beyond that, this is still a revolutionary system. Still, the lack of meaningful interactable objects for PVP dimensions seems like a missed opportunity. Dimensions are no longer just places to go and tour, they are arenas to experience gameplay found nowhere else in Telara. Dimensioneers need more ways to customize that game experience for their players.
4. There is no reason to play them
Lastly, there is just not meaningful reason to keep coming back to player-made PVP. Due to the potential for exploitation, Trion has disabled any form of reward for participating, but in doing so has made the experiences of their players feel more forgettable than they should. When the search system gets brought up to snuff, it will be easier to find matches just for the fun of it. Right now, you spend a lot of time hopping between dimensions without ever actually seeing the fun of the system.
What they can do
If I were to render a score for this system if would be an “A” for effort and a “B-” for execution. The fundamentals brought into the game are sound but the elements still in development really undermine the player's ability to engage with this system. In time, or with a premade group, I believe this system will be a lot of fun. For now, it's best to gather your guild, and go at it as friends. Approaching PVP dimensions like normal battlegrounds just leads to a lot of aimless searching.
Christopher Coke / Chris has been an MMO player since the days of MUDs. He began playing RIFT during closed beta and has never looked back. Hear him on the official podcast each week and tweet at him: @gamebynight.