“Help! My God, we need Help! Help NOW!!!”
Those were the exact words I was greeted with upon logging in to Rift Beta Three today. Typed in General Chat no less.
Now, stop for a minute and think about that. Just think about it for a minute. How many themepark MMOs can you imagine that being said in? Not many I would bet. Now how many of those could you imagine that being said when it does not involve PvP and when the person saying it is level 12?
I bet there is not one. WoW certainly never has any real danger at that level. Ditto for LotRO, Aion, Age of Conan or any other themepark MMO I can think of currently. Yet, you see it all the time in Rift. Constantly.
The world of Rift is a dangerous place. Much more so than any other MMO I can think of that is not named Darkfall or, perhaps, Everquest. There are constantly invasions happening and an invasion will wipe the floor with a solo player of the same level. It is really a whole new experience.
Syncaine, of Hardcore Casual, got into the Rift beta this go around and I really look forward to what he has to say about it. I know that he will say that it is a themepark MMO because it very much is one. However, this one is a bit different. You see, in Rift the rides sometimes come to you. Quite often, in point of fact.
Imagine walking around Disney World with your family, merrily eating your cotton candy and talking about what ride you want to hit up next. When, suddenly, a trap-door opens underneath you and whisks you off to some random roller coaster.
That’s Rift in a nutshell. Its a themepark but one so different from the norm.
One second you can be merrily going about your questing business and the next you are smacked upside the head by a Fire General and his elite minions. It is really a unique experience that I have not seen in any MMO to date. Guild Wars 2 might have this feeling but we don’t really know yet and its a long while until its out. Right now, Rift is it. It is the only MMO that encourages grouping this way. It is the only MMO in which you could be crafting one second and fighting elite mobs the next.
I have heard many complaints about quests in Rift and I agree; they aren’t anything special. They are your normal “kill x of these” and “take this to that bridge” type quests. But on top of that is a layer of dynamic content that can make you forget all about questing.
I spent the majority of my night fighting off invasions, destroying footholds and closing Rifts. Questing was reserved for the “in-between” times. I still leveled fast and I still got loot but I did not feel a slave to the quests. That is a nice feeling.
The footholds and invasions are such a unique feature and they react in such interesting ways, that I soon forget about questing. When two Invasions come together some really cool things happen.
Tonight I found myself unable to turn in a quest due to an elite Fire Invasion taking over my quest hub and my little Guardian Bard was stuck. Unfortunately, there was no one around at the time to help, so I stayed at the periphery and attempted to pick off the elites one by one. Suddenly a Defiant NPC Invasions attacked the Fire Rift from the side and the battle was on! I stayed back and helped the Defiants by picking off the Fire minions in the back. After the fight was over, the Defiants stood victorious but seriously wounded and weak. I was able to finish them off and destroy their foothold, thus freeing my quest hub.
There is nothing else like this out there. Nothing. The fight was amazing to watch and a far cry from any other MMO experience I have really had before. The fights can get really chaotic. Just wait until you find yourself in the middle of a fight between Life, Fire and Defiant forces! It can not be described. It is so chaotic and dangerous and all around fun that I can not help but love it.
Yes, Rift has its problems. I still have a few issues with the Global Cooldown. I still think that the world suffers from a distinct lack of “fluff” and could use some farms, village and signs of every day life to spice things up. I still believe it is too linear and could use some racial starting areas. I still have my problems.
But, in the end, none of that really matters because what Rift does well, it does really, really well. It creates a very unique, dangerous world to level in, with constant activity and real reasons to group. What other theme park MMO gives you that?
None, I tell you. None.
To end this post, I leave you with some video I shot outside Sanctum. I arrived to Sanctum to find the small encampment right outside destroyed by a Fire invasion. I was invited to a group and we began valiantly defending our City. Everything was going well, when a Life Invasion attacked our flank. Take a look and see if we survive!
A little warning though, I am terrible with video editing. Thus the video is pretty much raw footage, with no music and no real edits. Still, I hope you enjoy!
Filed under: Beta Test, General Rift Commentary, Screenshots, Video | Tagged: Disney World, Guild Wars, Massively multiplayer online game, pvp, rift, Star Wars: The Old Republic, The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar, world of warcraft |