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The Grinding Gamer

I'm writing about a hodgepodge of topics about whatever game I'm playing. While some of the early blog topics have been about Rift, I'm currently branching out into TERA, GW2, and D3. Hope you enjoy.

Author: Totec

Rift's PvP; It's the Little Things that Make the Difference

Posted by Totec Saturday February 5 2011 at 7:11PM
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I'm sure many of you replying and reading this will have various opinions about what you like and don't like in PvP combat. While I know there are many different reasons out there to like, or dislike, a PvP system I want to share with you why I'm excited about the PvP in Rift.

At first glance the PvP doesn't really seem any different than a lot of the other fantasy games that had PvP in their games. In particular the combat seems to feel a lot like the combat in WoW or WAR at first. You have your standard melee classes using charges and stuns to keep the target in melee range, and you have your ranged classes using snares and distance to protect themselves from being ripped apart by a sword.  There really isn't anything that makes Rift unique in this area... The mages and rangers still want to stay as far back as possible, and the warrior and rogues want to get in close to deal damage and control their targets.  

The one thing that makes Rift different is HOW they implement this system, and this is the really the big difference in Rift's PvP. One of the things that makes this implementation so different is the collision in the game.  Now collision seems minor... You walk into a wall or a box and it just seems like any other game. However, Rift's collision is very precise... There are individual branches of trees that each have their own substance for the collision engine. There are small objects and items that all have their own rendering in Rift's collision detection system... This combined with Rift's level of detail means that this game has a much more intricate and complicated world than most I've played...

This collision engine is especially useful for me, because I love being a raged damage dealer... I love to hide, and then snipe off people. The possibilities to do that in Rift are exponentially higher than most other games I've played...  For example.. In the first contested zone you play in is called Scarlet Gorge. In the gorge there is a building in the middle  that has always been a favorite place for mages, like me, to ambush people riding through... Eventually the melee classes start to head straight for the building, and you are stuck in it with little room to escape. This is what happened to me. I might have flung one too many fireballs at a certain warrior, and that certain warrior might have yelled obscenities about my mother, and swore to ransack my corpse. As he charged towards that house I quickly realized that I needed to get out. Now, at this point in most other games you would have to run down stairs, and mount up as fast as you could... But not in Rift.. In Rift I just jumped out of the window onto a little plank no wider than a 2x4, and started lobbing attacks  through the first and second story windows... Once the warrior figured out where I was,  he tried to come out after me, he charged at me, but he charged from the wrong window... While the charge landed he didn't have footing on the plank, and this ended up in him falling down to the ground where I was free to kill him off without losing any health. That taught him to insult my mother...

The point I'm trying to make is that the collision engine is really something unique, and is going to be used by smart players very strategically.... Here's another example...

This image is the center of the first warfront available in Rift, called the Black Garden. You see all those spikes around the fang.... each one of those has it's own collision model. So not only can you run around and dodge through them to try and get melee characters off of you, but you can also use them to block line of sight from ranged units that are trying to shoot you down... Positioning is everything, and it's made possible through the incredibly detailed collision models in Rift.

Now the second reason I love PvP in Rift is because strategy and teamwork are very important aspects in this game...

In many games I've played in the past.. the group just zergs around from one point to another... One of the best examples I have of this is Arathi Basin in WoW. Everytime a flag would get capped this group would all run to the flag and take it back. Each team seemed to do this, and on the map it just looked like a dog chasing it's tail. the lumber mill would get taken by one and then they would go to the stables and take that, then go to the mine and take that.. at the same time the other team would be going clockwise as well from the mine to the farm to the lumbermill... Ugh...

Now let's look at Rift's version of how they do this same battle scenario... There version of the strategic resource map is called the Codex and here's a map of it...

Now the objective is the same... there are 4 nodes that give you resources.. they are labeled on here as 1,2,3,3, but with a twist... IT takes 30 seconds to capture a node, and during that time it is still going to be awarding points to the other team... This dynamic makes the pacing of the codex a lot slower, and you don't see the zerging that you did in Arathi Basin. Also this long timer gives an advantage to a defending team... Meaning that if you're trying to go on the offense you usually need to have a stronger force. 

The 1 on the map is the Codex this is the big one... This resource is worth MORE than any other single resource.... This means that if you hold the codex and one other node... You win. At the same time, if you only hold the codex node, and the other team has control of the other three nodes, you are going to lose. This makes the codex the focus of this map, but not the only way to victory. Moreover, the arrows on this map are 2 ledges where range users can see the node and defend it with ease. These ranged users can also hit one another on these ledges. So, if both armies zerg this spot, it turns into a range battle on top and a melee battle on the bottom. this makes for some very crazy battles at the codex.  I should also mention that the 4's on this map are choke points that help the defending team... But the entrance to the ledges that overhang the codex node are much further down the path... right below the "O" and "s" in the word "Overhanging ledges"... Meaning that an army can have the advantage on offense, if they go up the ramp and come down from above, unless of course the enemy has ranged units on their own cliff... then you have to go through a ranged fight and a melee fight  before you can get to the banner all the while they can get support. It's strategy at it's finest. 

The 2 on this map is the Vault, and as you can tell it's surrounded by water... This makes it a very difficult node to capute, but at the same time it's easily defended. Because of the layout, there can be enemy forces at any of the #5's on the map, and if your opponents are smart they can just knock any enemy into the water, where they are harmless... This makes this node very easily defended, and it can usually be held by a handful of people.  However, just like the overhanging cliffs at the codex, there is a trick to the vault as well... The 6's on the map are rocks that can be traversed by warriors, mages and any race with a leap mechanic.  Though not everyone can get up this path... you shouldn't need very many, since most of the defense will be forward around the 5's you will only have 1 or 2 people all the way back at the banner, or in some cases no one, then it's just an easy capture...

The other two nodes are labeled as 3 and are very open... Moreover, the number 7 on the map is a route you can take, and not even get dismount between these two nodes, though you will still need to watch for people trying to snipe you from the codex (number 1).   These two open nodes allow for some open field combat, and aren't as easily defended... So if you want to overpower the enemy this is the spot to do it. 

To sum it up. The strategy and teamwork will win you matches in this war front You re going to need coordination and communication. Zerging may work on the 3 nodes, but it will fail on 1 and 2. This means that if all the team does is zerg from banner to banner they are probably going to lose, and rightfully so.  With so many different strategies to take you really need to be aware of the constantly changing battlefield, and it really keeps you on your toes...Which, in my opinion, is what makes PvP so great. 

Now I could talk about the offensive and defensive possibilities the soul tree provides, and how the multiple roles allows you to easily adapt your group composition for PvP, but I think I'd rather go kill some Defiant. So, I hope you all enjoy the warfronts, and if you'd like to hear some basic strategies to black garden I suggest checking out the BFF report on Rift's PvP...

Thanks for taking the time to read this , and I look forward to discussing more about warfronts in Rift soon.