The main reason for alting is to test other classes or builds, In City Of Villains you would need 99 character slots just to create one of every powerset combination of the Brute archetype. So getting the right one for you is rather important as you are locked into that choice forever, this results in many low level characters being deleted and re-rolled time and time again.
I was very pleased to learn that in Rift you should only need to create one of each class, as all souls become available to you as you progress through the game. This reminded me of the Guild Wars approach, where other classes are unlocked as secondary allowing you to have a wide and varied pool of powers to choose from.
The other big reward with this system is that you don’t have to abandon your invested time in one character in order to modify your build slightly or to try something different. Plus being able to switch between 4 different combinations as easily as using a skill, makes jumping in and out of public groups more fluid and easier for those who play differently within a large group.
I’ll not pretend that everyone in the world hasn’t already blogged about this game already. So I’ll not bore you will tales of “better than X”, “similar to Y” & “copied game Z”. No, what I though I would do is explain the game (no spoilers hopefully) through my eyes and what appeals to me as a MMO gamer.
I’m a Beta Tester
Lets start off with a small talk about beta testing, I like many other have been among the “select thousands” carefully selected to help test a new game. We have all seen the scope of beta testing change over the years but not as much as the last 5 years.
I’ve tested some games that were terrible and some that I didn’t just click with, but the common factor of these beta tests was that the game was far from ready.
This is the first areas that Rift and the Trion team have gone back to the roots of the beta tester role. I shouldn’t be there to say “that toolbar is too confusing”, “My starter area quest is bugged making me stuck” or “the interface doesn’t scale with resolution” etc. Those issues should be far from my mind as a beta tester, I should have to actively seek issues and flaws rather than having them served to me on a plate at each corner.
I’ve previously talked about the locked in skill-trees that you encounter in game progression, little room to diversify outside of the weapons and armour or your crafting skill. I was rather surprised when I started playing Rift that you have alot of freedom in how your character progresses. I know what your saying, skill are unlocked in a set pattern, which is correct, but spending points over 3 skill tree and using those points in numerous traits means that you my have similar powers to someone else but your bonuses,buffs, enhancements are all down to the player.
Another factor which enhances this is the classes and there unique abilities granting your melee character ranged characteristics or buffs. I think we could roughly compare this to the way that City of Heroes offers certain Archetypes a ranged and melee powersets.
From the areas I’ve played the quest hubs appears nicely laid out and I didn’t have any (that I recall) ”messenger missions” and those that you can see are wee group so you aren’t travelling miles just for a small amount of XP. Additionally there are quests from very unlikely sources and not forgetting the wonderful Rift events that draw in players from nearby locations.
This game makes me feel heroic and that my character plays a part no matter how little, this also ideal for those player that prefer to solo but don’t what to miss out on the action. I didn’t once feel lost or confused as to my goals, and when an event started I could choose to join in if questing got too much.
The game won’t be to everyone’s taste and others may want to stick with their current MMO of choice. I’ll be purchasing the game when the time comes, as for the longevity of the game and future subs, we’ll have to see, but for the box cost alone I’m certainly going to get my monies worth with this well presented game.
If you have on the fence about trying the game the last Beta event is open and should give you a great taster of what is to come, It starts on the 15th of Feb.