RIFT officially launches it MMO game today and with it the newest and one the most polished new MMO game I can remember hearing of as well as having played in a long time. However I've have been playing in the Head Start launch for about a week now and so far have made it to lvl 28 on my Tank. Having a blast of a time leveling, questing, dungeon, rifting and exploring. Its been a while since I've had so much fun playing a new game.
RIFT as many have mentioned don't really add that much new, mostly borrowing some the best feature and concepts from allot of other MMO's and adding its own game lore and twist on things with their own MMO. And so far I really have enjoyed the story of the game even though I really never usually get all that caught up in geeky lore conversation of things. I've just been enjoying the game world for what it is as designed and the world in which my character exists.
So I've been playing on the Faeblight server a PVE-RP server with a few other bloggers all playing with the great friendly folks from Multiplying.net. I can't say i really know everyone well in our fairly new guild Circle of Trust except mostly the few friendly bloggers. But so far everyone been great, helpful, friendly, respectful, funny and welcoming. And that's rather nice to have a great bunch of folks to journey in a new game with. And so far I've just been having a great time.
I'm playing a tank named none other than well "Ardentdefender". For obvious reasons if you been reading my blog for a while i do enjoy playing the role. I do like to melee and hear stuff slam into my shield and because I'm also good at it as well a role I truly enjoy playing and trying to master. Always have! Anyway I started my primary souls as a Warrior for tanking as a Paladin. I eventually also picked up the soul for Warlord for some the complementing defensive abilities and some the great group buffs it provides in a group. Then also picked up the Void Knight soul to add great anti-caster defensive as well as offensive abilities. I had played back in RIFT Beta all the souls I picked up so it was what I went with for my primary first soul build. Overall I think with all the abilities it fits well for a build all the way to the end. Back in RIFT Beta I primarily played as a Paladin/Reaver/Void Knight and really enjoyed the dots and aoe the Reaver provided and with all its aoe abilities while being a defensive soul.
Playing thru as a Paladin/Warlord/Void Knight though stronger in build defensively felt more mechanical in play and felt more like work to me and allot less fun to me and in my style of play. I played that thru all the way to lvl 20 at least because I really wanted to grow into and get the feel of play style from my own personal experience. I feel its a great soul to have tanking a boss. But it felt less fun leveling, questing generally all while still playing with fairly good tanking souls. So at lvl 20 I bought another "role" or more like a second spec from the trainer which wasn't too expensive. A character can have up to 4 roles with various souls combination which gives a person a whole lot of flexibility of play all in playing just one class. Buying a 3rd role will cost you quite a bit more and a 4th much more expensive.
I completed the Reaver quest and the others to pick up the other souls and then made a 2nd role as a Paladin/Reaver/Void Knight for optional play style while still being able to tank on demand fairly well. So currently have both tanking roles to play with and test and at least learn to master the play styles that also fits my style of play. So for the most part I've normally been playing not my main role but as my second role which for me is also allot more fun to me to play. I'm not sure what I'll make as my 3rd role build but I imagine i probably make a dps warrior of some sort for flexibility in a group.
RIFT does get allot more fun the more you level and going into new zones. Starting out in the starter areas can seem unimpressive and is probably the most underwhelming part of the game experience getting thru lvl 1-6 at least. However in my experience it really don't take you that long to get thru those levels or the very initial starter zone. I tend to call it more the initial tutorial zone. Because to me in my opinion the real starter zone starts for Defiance starts when you get to Freemarch which is around lvl 6 or so and it don't take you long to even get there. At around lvl 8-10 the game starts to ramp up in fun as you encounter Rifts and Invasions.
The game does get progressively more fun the higher level you get to. Zones are quite huge and quests are plenty if not many. You can quest or do rifts to level up or a mix of both. Questing got you down, hey drop questing and go fight back a Major Invasion when one spawns. Try and beat back some Invasions when your just hanging out in a quest area for a little while and a invasion mobs come rolling thru. You just never know when a Invasion is gonna come rolling you way which all of a sudden can change your game play suddenly. Many times i've just been at a NPC area picking up a quest or vendoring stuff and a invasion force incoming. Easy to quit doing that and get into action.
For most of my lvl 20's which have been spend mostly all in Stonefield zone so far and currently at lvl 28, I've just been rifting as much as questing. I've been enjoying the story and lore of the game and doing quests and dungeons. However no matter where I'm heading in the zone I always take the time if any rifts or invasion cross my path to get in on the action and fight the fight. You can get allot of XP just doing rifts. Needless to say I've spend several levels doing nothing but beating back rifts when many are spawned, fighting invasion forces, beating back footholds, tearing open a partial rift and have me my own rift to fight back.
That's allot of fun. Especially when your in a area and a rift tear appear and your the only one seemingly around. What do you do? For me I decide to go have some fun and tear the rift open with my Planar Lure ability and have me a rift with mobs to fight back.
Sometime I've been there alone fighting the rift and it spawns a invasion force before its sealed and that invasion force runs off immediately to wreck havoc across the zone area or heading to a NPC area. Sometime and often someone jumps in on the public grouping and helps out for the fun. But if you do seal the rifts you get allot of nice stuff, gear drops, artifacts, consumable stuff and lots of planarite shards and some rare ones for the effort which all adds up. All the shards adds up to being able to purchase some very nice gear from the planar vendors. That has allowed me to purchase at least 2 Epic pieces, several blue gear just from doing allot of rifting so far which were way better than quest gear.
Biggest issue I've had so far in game is tanking allot of rifts and invasion bosses with a group and no one in group can heal or wants to heal the tank or just no healer around to do so. That has lead to many a times I have died tanking various rifts and invasion forces in a group where no one is around to heal whoever is primarily tanking the invasion forces. That has lead to many a visit to the NPC healer to restore soul vitality which drops 10% on every death which makes you ineffective if it gets to 0. As a result so far would have to say my biggest gold sink is at the NPC healer paying to restore lost vitality which can add up allot if you visit often.
As for profession you get a choice of three professions. I decided not to craft anything or spend any time at it but instead do all gathering with Mining, Foraging and Butchering. That fits my style for being a bit the explorer type and usually roaming all over chasing rifts and gathering stuff that I come across in the process. And so far I'm enjoying doing just that.
So far its just been a fun time leveling up and getting in on the action of questing, rifting, dungeons, exploring for artifacts which leads to fighting invasion forces and footholds wherever I've found them. Artifact finding is a whole mini-game of exploration all of its own and a whole lot of fun. But so far the RIFT has just been running smoothly, rather bug free as I haven't encountered any and rather allot of fun. Only real issue is the daily choke on the server queue that happen at peak login time but that issue has being getting better daily as Trion have added more servers and as the server loads get balanced. So far Trion seem to be working relatively hard and doing a rather impressive job in having a smooth running game, even if they didn't add anything all that new with a new MMO.