Sunday, January 30, 2011

RIFT Beta 5 Impressions and Adventures

A bit long the post. Over the past several weeks I had been hearing about this new MMO currently in Beta called RIFT via some of the other blogs I read. The game wasn't on my radar by any means. So being curious about the game decided to check it out a little well eventually signed up an account. A few days later I got an invite to RIFT Beta 5 event which took place over almost a week and ended on this past Saturday.

I wanted at least to try the game at least most importantly with an open mind, no game bias, and give the game a fair try and effort. And that's what I did. Needless to say I really had a lot of fun playing and testing RIFT the game in the Beta 5 event.

Rift Beta 5 event was my first time playing RIFT, I made it to lvl 24 with the max level in the Beta capped at lvl 30. So I did a lot of PvE questing, rifts and fighting major rift Invasions as well also did the first dungeon which was Iron Tomb which was a lot of fun and quite well done. However what I didn't like wasn't so much the game of RIFT itself but more less some people in the player community in zone chat who constantly chatted about WoW non stop, comparing the game to WoW in what seems a million different ways and a million different other things they seem in comparison to, game likes or wish game had this and that similar to WoW. Quite frankly I was tired of hearing all the constant WoW talk for what it seemed almost every other thing someone said at certain times of the day.

Funny enough as it is, this was mostly in the very first starter lvl zones and if shift mouse clicked over most the people chatting up WoW in the zone chat vast majority of them was less than lvl 8. Since i had played RIFT at all kinds of odds hours of the day, most of that chat disappeared real late at night into the early morning before it all started again in a WoW fest. But that's most of the negative feelings i had trying and testing out the rift.

Launching the game it has a great intro cinematic that really gives a welcome to the world of RIFT, Telara and the lore of where the forces of the world stood against the death god Regulos and your somewhat place in it in Telara.

There are two factions and you get a choice of either the Guardian the devoted of the gods of Telara or the Defiant who shun the gods efforts or lack of it and put more faith in their technology which they love. I decided to go with Defiant as playing the do good side just isn't my style and I love playing the underdog side in a game. You have a choice of classes between a Warrior, Cleric, Mage or Rogue. Warriors wear plate, Rogues wear leather and Clerics wear a mix of cloth or chain mail, and I guess Mages wore just cloth i guess but not entirely sure.

I all around most usually prefer a melee class style of play so decided to go with playing a Bahmi Warrior and play sword and board. The game basically starts off in the world of your faction and doing some simple quests or meet someone here or there, deliver this there for a reason just like most typical quests but mostly the quests are tutorial as well introducing you to the world you reside in. You pickup your first soul almost immediately which is part of how you talent spec class wise and they eventually gives you a lot of options of deciding how to spec across several souls of various kinds for your class which gives a lot of options in play style.

Eventually I went Paladin/Void Knight/Reaver for soul trees and picking up skills across all three spec tree. All three souls is highly defensive styles with a range of offensive options as well. Paladin being highly defensive with a lot of blocking, shield slams of various kinds and righteous melee attacks and various throwing of hammer pulls highly physical. The Void Knight being interesting in that its defensive as well but it thrives on turning spell casters magic back against them in various forms of attacks which can be quite damaging as well. The Reaver best I can describe trying it out seems to me to best I can relate to is a Death Knight with various forms of infectious attacks, dots and hard-hitting melee strikes.

Later on in Beta I did make a new character started it from scratch to get the feel learning the soul abilities again but bit with a different soul combo in the mix. I tried out a Paladin/Void Knight/Riftblade with the Riftblade being a bit more offensive soul that dealt with various form of elemental attacks. That was a bit interesting and took a while to get the hang of it. So I had those souls to play and try out and learn their various forms a bit while leveling.

The first few levels go by fairly fast helping out some folks in a town along your way to and area and then soon the story evolves as you reach an area and have to fight back evil forces at a rift that threaten to destroy the world. This was really fun and. was really the first encounter with the public group system.
Most the early levels is kinda following the lore and story of the world doing quests and learning where to pickup skills and all that. Quest system is quite easy to follow and UI easy to use and configurable. Some zone invasion quests are automatic to all zone wide as an Invasion quest.

First real rift happen to spawn right in the area around where I was questing at and area just turned dark the ground charred and quite a bit of invading mobs at my level and around my level appeared. I was tripped out by it. So I just stopped questing and started beating back rift invaders right away I got a message on UI to join a public group as other players was right there or close by as well. Eventually everyone around started to beat back the rift invaders and was a lot of fun.

When you closed the rifts you would via the UI receive various kinds of rewards and shards though the very first time it occurred it wasn't so obvious. Wasn't immediately apparent what the shards were for either, but it seems the more rifts invaders you killed and the more rifts you did the more shards and various kinds you got. Eventually over time you could turn the shards in for exchange for various items at a merchant and some nifty gear upgrades. It seemed that the Rifts that form in zone and in the areas they spawn in are closely related to the level of the quests in those areas best I could put it.

As rifts close I went back to questing as usual and everyone else seemed to also back to whatever they were doing before. Over time you would get pop up notices and messages in zone via the UI either a kind of rift is spawning or a major invasion force was imminent while questing along various quest hubs. There were rifts that would spawn and if left unchecked for a good duration of time. They would eventually spawn more invaders that would become invasion forces and go wandering around attacking anything they find including normal mobs in areas as well as NPC outposts with the NPC's fighting back as well.

Rift Major events
There were also major invasion zone events with objectives which shows up on your UI as an automatic quest zone wide where major invasion forces would spawn all across the zone and if left unchecked would eventually wreak havoc across a zone towards anything they find until defeated. These invasion events if objective is met killing XX of invaders and sealing XX rifts all shows up on your UI as they are met across a zone and when met would also spawn an invasion boss that's at the level of the zone that you also have to kill to win the invasion objective often via a public raid group together.

These bosses of sorts when spawned would require quite a bit of zone participation to take down in the form of full public groups. You could show up where the bosses are on the map join in on the public group option or get invited as well and help kill the invasion boss. Everyone that joined in to help or via the public group when the boss dies get some amount of various kinds of rewards and various amounts of shards which can add up to allot. These events are quite a lot of fun to participate in.

So really was fun during invasions to just quit questing and join in or beating back invasion forces for a while for the fun, rewards and XP as well as they usually drop nice stuff the invaders. I did that for a few hrs and gained a bit of XP. There is an achievement system in-game as I remember getting one for fighting back 30 rift invasion forces.

Rifts shows up on maps and of various kinds and there are quite a few different kinds of rifts. There are also rifts that just existed as tears not fully formed rifts but left unchecked can form major rifts of one form or another. In time leveling you learn an ability called Planar Lure I think via a quest I can't remember which allows anyone to find these rifts. When found use the ability to somewhat crack the rift, defeat the forces and then seal it for good. Somewhere in my mid teens leveling I was wondering around on a quest and spotted what looked like a rift tear. The ability lit up and clicked it, which caused the rift to fully spawn and was now up to me alone since was the only one around to try and seal it solo.

This was quite a lot of fun trying to seal a rift all by my self just picking off the mobs one by one or two when can. Eventually after around 15 minutes or so I did and for my reward got several items, artifacts, scrolls and over 25 shards for my efforts I was quite excited.

Questing and leveling seemed to get much more fun around mid teens and much more action to get involved in with rifts and invasion forces. Rifts could appear and their forces eventually threaten quest areas. No place is safe! I remember going aft at a quest giver by the road and thought it was safe as no mobs was around by the road. Well while afk an invasion has spawned and an invasion force was making its way down the road that eventually killed the NPC and me as well while afk. Often just one or two players in a NPC area just acting when a few invaders arrived could make all the difference.

Questing & Exploring
Questing at times can somewhat seem linear. Completing some quests would activate the NPC next to the other who previously didn't have a quest before. I did find you were also able to wander around and explore a bit and find quests in other areas. Some quests you would also find just randomly killing a certain mob while on another quest in the form of an item. These you would have to take to someone or return to complete the quest.

Though at times it was fun to quest for leveling and quest rewards it was just as fun to stop questing when a major rift invasion showed up and get in on the action which is a lot of public fun time to collect lots of shards from rift creatures. Some people in zone chat seemed annoyed and just wanted to just do quests and avoided the rifts entirely and even asked how to remove them from their game map. Why you playing RIFT anyway I'm thinking. Once you understand what the shards can be used for when kill rift invaders its even more fun to see how much you can collect for the effort.

Other Zones
Freemarsh was fun but the second zone Stonefield was even more fun which was now the very late teens and early 20's. Wasn't long after I had entered this new zone to quest in I got an invite from someone a higher level player that said they was going to be a major invasion event in the zone and they were forming up for a public group raid and doing invites. Cool. So I accepted while still doing some quests. About a few minutes later a major invasion started and wasn't sure where it was and couldn't tell all that well since most of my zone map was yet uncovered.

So stopped doing the quests and headed off via the location of other members of the group on the map to catch up with them while trying to avoid area mobs some 3-4 times my level. Took awhile to get there and meet up, but in that time much the invasion had been fought back and they had spawned an invasion champion boss of some kind. We only had a group of maybe 9-12 people mostly lvl 22-26 that was fighting an invasion boss. It was awesome!

We couldn't get more people to come and help fight a boss that had over 650K HP and I'm umm lvl 19 with barely 1300 HP. I died quite a bit to say the least. That boss was relentless in its attack. I believe a lvl 26 rogue if I recall tanked the boss. I couldn't remember what level the boss was exactly either. But the rogue had an awesome cleric healing for what it seemed as well. Eventually the boss was kited a bit to a close by town where more people were and NPC's. We got the boss into the little town everyone helped chipped in to kill the rift invasion boss. That took about an hour or so due to not having enough people to make it faster or help. We lost the invasion battle or failed the quest due to time but we did eventually kill the spawned boss which was fun enough. That was just fun!

After all that excitement it was back to less excitement and more quiet time questing or whatever else I did. Numerous times I had to return to a NPC outpost to turn in a quest and a rift invasion force had taken over the NPC area. Whats a good hero to do, kill the invasion force even if no ones around to help. Eventually sometime more than often someone else shows up and join in to help via the public group option and you clear the area of rift invaders and retake the NPC areas and get rewarded with more shards. Not too long after any NPC that had died quickly respawned. But for at least trying to take back the rift even solo you get rewarded well with shards, rare artifacts and other items that's quite useful to use.

Instance & Dungeon
Was able to finally get into a dungeon run as the Tank for the Iron Tomb dungeon on Defiant side. We got a group which turned out to be a very good group of players. It was me Tank a 2H Warrior of some kind, Rogue, Mage and a Cleric. We completed the instance which didn't seem to take all that long and at best maybe an hour or so.

The dungeon felt like a real dungeon dark and dingy dungeon and was a lot of fun. But it was also a good time in a dungeon to try out my class as a tank and worked great. We did have times when we had quite a few mobs to attack and was hard to aggro them all but the rogue ended up tanking some and did quite well on his own it seemed, which does seem to me that the class with mix of soul combinations is a bit resilient even though they wear only leather. In RIFT it seems every class can do a lot of different things in a group and with the way you combine different souls that seem like a lot of combinations of talents and abilities.

But Iron Tomb dungeon was fun, the last boss was a flaming boss and just awesome. Boss died and dropped a nice blue shield which was an upgrade but the Warrior won it. I still ended up with a nice blue sword for the dungeon reward for the other quests I had. Overall was a lot of fun the first dungeon and great group.

Guild & Interface
After having done the dungeon run, the rogue who was in a guild invited us to check out the guild interface. Someone had initially asked to see what kind of interface the guild had or check it out. So the rogue invited everyone that was apart of the dungeon run to the guild to check out the guild interface as a result.

The game does have a really nice, easy to use and quite simple to understand guild interface. Nothing really innovative about the RIFT guild interface it has most if not all and similar functionality as say compared to a WoW guild interface quite simple in display setting. Has various tabs all the way down the interface and category pertaining to guild members, ranks, recent achievements, roster, locations, status, and all that.

There is a tab for Guild Quests which i totally wasn't even aware of till I saw it as it had the guild quest the guild leader had picked up for the guild wide quest. Thus seems that guild can complete quests as a guild wide effort though one quest at a time from the guild quest givers in a city. So guilds in RIFT can earn levels and level up just like a person can level with XP from completing guild quests as far as i can tell. I'm not sure how high the guild level goes but it seemed quite a bit with the amount of points you would need to get all the guild buffs and benefits via the interface.

Guild can put points via the guild GM into various guild abilities as it level up with points. These abilities mostly give some really nice buffs depending on what the buff was for, various kinds and some that give increase rewards guild wise like increase gold on quests. So quite a variety of benefits for guilds and similar to WoW guild interface/rewards.

You can pick 3 professions. I did most gathering so really didn't do all that much crafting though i did try out Armorsmith a little. Works similiar to to crafting in other popular mmo's really. You can use some items some found via rifts to augment items stats after you craft them as well for enhanced stats.

Auction House
Game does have an Auction house system. But the Auction House is functional and similar to that in other games or WoW in interface ability. I did sell several items on the AH so it works quite similar and with mailbox.

Overall RIFT is its own game, though it has a lot of elements of other games and nothing all that new overall. But it does seem like a really fun game. I had a lot of fun testing out RIFT Beta and various parts of the game. For a game in Beta to me it was rather bug free mostly for me. I did file some suggestions on various things as a Beta tester for improvement like really improving the bag system which was the thing had most problem with on the UI overall.

The game it was very stable and didn't have much problem at all nor did I have any graphics problems. My PC is also fairly new as well. The game is very well put together for a game still in Beta, quite well done so far, stable, quite polished at this point before launch and that's much better than most if not almost all the games i can remember that launched in the last year at least from Beta. Overall my view of the game is quite positive having played to the level of 24 since the max level of Beta 5 was level 30. It will definitely be on my MMO playing list at launch as something else different to play. At this point I'm looking forward to RIFT Beta 6 event which should be soon.


Anonymous said...

Wow, I can't believe you got all the way to 24 this beta! Nice. i haven't done any of the dungeons yet, even though I've been tempted. I figure that's something I'll save for launch, though I'm glad to see your overall impressions of IT were positive.

People are always going to talk about WoW in the chat in any new game, I think it's been like that with every one I've tried. It gets a bit better I think once you're out of the early zones, I've avoided the level 1-9 chat like the plague since that's where it seems to be worst.

BMeph said...

I'd rather talk about Tabula Rasa. Man, I miss TR, that was a fun system, too. But I digress.

I especially like the way that NPCs are allowed to actually affect game play and events in the world. No as much as TR, but impressively so, as far as other MMOs compare. It's good to see that the Beta events are attracting the attention of actual testing players, and it looks like it's working; I agree, Beta 5 looked well put together, even with the mid-series patch. I hope to see more of Stonefield in Beta 6, although I'm still not sure if I'll play for real.

Ardent Defender said...

Well the game was fun, so just kept doing stuff and before i knew it was lvl 20+.

Yeah the NPC's do fight back which surprised me allot. When invasion forces attack a NPC area they be fighting the NPC's so even if just one player is around that area it can make allot of difference in helping the NPC quest givers defend their area. Of course you could die too but its all fun.

I think from what i head the next Beta 6 event starts around Feb the 4th or somewhere around there. Whether one decided as a choice to play or buy the game, at least if you get a chance to get a Beta Key give the game a try at least.

If i get any free Beta Keys like I did for Beta 5, i'll just throw them up on the site for whoever to get them first and use.

Vyaaren said...

Thanks for a very informative post. Looking forward to this one.