Oh hello! I am a little busy this week with work and real life things but earlier today a guildie asked me “What’s new in RIFT and why are a ton of people joining up again?” and I wrote a teensie little 500 word treatise in response. Clearly I have something to contribute on the matter, and I figured I’d share it here, too. Just to be clear, this post is in response to folks who are curious about RIFT or played and quit at some point and are thinking about going back, and is totally not intended as any kind of “my MMO is better than your MMO” posturing.
Trion does have a “welcome back” bullet point list of everything that’s changed since beta on their official forums, but while it’s comprehensive it’s pretty easy to get lost in all the details.
Some old stuff that is still good
The biggest reason I went back to RIFT as my primary MMO is Trion, the company that runs it. Given that I generally enjoy the themepark MMO genre, Trion is the only company that actually releases content in a way that warrants my paying a monthly fee. Yes that firehose of content means that some stuff becomes a beloved fundamental feature and some falls by the wayside but every 2-3 months something has changed in the land of Telara, and that means a lot to my subscription dollars.
RIFT also has the same “dynamic content” that they had at launch. Nothing is permanently changed, but repeating events pop up relatively unexpectedly as you travel around the world. So often I run out into Stonefield to level my gathering skills, bump head first into a major zone invasion or a rift, and suddenly it’s 90 minutes later and I forgot all about harvesting yew branches or whatever. I love the feeling of logging on and not knowing exactly what I’ll encounter.
Finally, I have to continue to give props to the soul (class) system. As you probably already know RIFT is extremely flexible with creating class builds and switching between different ones, and also has a great macro system to help you manage all those crazy spells. If you are a person who enjoys theorycrafting, particularly in relation to abilities and mechanics, there is a huge amount of depth here.
As someone who is very much into healing, I love being able to decide exactly how I heal. For example, right now my level 38 cleric is toting a full ranged DPS spec (Inquisitor), a dungeon healing spec that focuses on HoTs (Warden), and a more hybrid, PvP-friendly healing spec where I turn damage-based combo points into gigantic AoE heals (Senticar). Non-theorycrafters who just want a lot of character flexibility should also enjoy themselves with the new official build templates.
Stuff from the last six months and the next six months that is good
Bullet points because I am lazy!
- Fishing and Survivalist (cooking) professions for all classes. Yes, I like having the option to just chill out, chat with guildies, and fish for a while.
- A huge array of structured level 50 solo or small group activities have been added, including master and expert mode dungeons, Chronicles (solo instances), Instant Adventures (invasions you queue for), new warfronts (instanced PvP), Conquest (3-faction huge zone pvp), the level 50 quest hubs on Ember Isle.
- Mentoring: got 5 friends or guildies online, but everyone is at very different levels? No problem! Everyone can mentor down to the lowest level and then run something together while getting rewards appropriate for your real level.
- Planar Attunement: much like AA points in EQ and EQ2, these provide additional grinding and character improvement after 50.
- PvP rifts: Oh Mister Guarrrrrdiaaaaan, I believe that’s my sourcestone you’re carrying. Temporary PvP matches set in the open world.
- OODLES more wardrobe options: Trion has been great about adding in fluff like more outfits, costume weapons, mounts, and pets. For example, the new festival that arrives tomorrow puts 11 new pets in the game!
- The content is older and more of it is under the current progression tier, which means pugging older 10 or 20 man raids is entirely doable and happens frequently.
- The expansion (coming this Fall) will have personal and guild housing, huge outdoor bosses that can open up new zones for the server depending on how you fight them, and add triple the current land mass. And cloaks. CLOAKS.
Things you might not like
Clearly I am pretty pro-RIFT, but I don’t think the game is for everyone.
If you are totally so very very over old school WoW, then I’m not sure you’ll enjoy this game at all. As I recall it, once you finished levelling in Vanilla and TBC WoW the game became about running stuff with small groups of friends and grinding your way through personal projects, whether it’s for crafting or reputation or festival points for a pet or whatever. I remember spending two hours killing worms in East Plaguelands for mats for my first epic (Hide of the Wild!), and although the environment and technology and the gear has moved along considerably that kind of attitude is very much alive and well in RIFT.
And I, for one, am pretty okay with that.