Rift beta: initial thoughts

Last weekend, I participated in a beta event for Trion's upcoming MMORPG, Rift: Planes of Telara. If you've been keeping up with this blog since I first started it, then you'll probably recall one of my earliest posts, expressing my feelings about MMOs. Let's just say that I'm generally not too crazy about them. While I have a pretty good idea of what makes them appealing to a lot of people, games like WoW and Final Fantasy XI/XIV tend to lack practically everything that I find makes video games enjoyable for me. However, despite this, I am determined to continue to expose myself to the genre as it evolves and changes, in the hopes that I will find something that I like. This being the case, when I received an invitation to take part in the three-day beta event for Rift this past weekend, I gladly accepted. Afterall, at the very least, who doesn't like freebies?

Given everything that I had seen/read about the game, Rift actually piqued my interest somewhat. One of the central concepts of the game is that, in order to make things more exciting and less "same old, same old" for players, in places where the barrier between Telara and the other dimensions are weak, openings called rifts appear at random and unleash all sorts of fearsome creatures. This idea was a major plus for me. I have always found the typical MMO formula--accept quest, grind, grind, grind, complete quest, level up--to get old real fast. In addition to the rifts, the process of creating your character and determining his/her class emphases seemed like an improvement over that of other MMOs. And it is...kind of. Ultimately, from what I've experienced so far (about four or five hours of gameplay), Rift is essentially a more polished and somewhat more advanced version of World of Warcraft.

While it's very difficult for me to pick out any specific flaws with the game, I can't really say that it's anything special. Another typical MMO, really. Though, it seems to be one that many MMORPG fans are thoroughly enjoying. While I would not be so audacious as to suggest that Rift is likely to boot WoW off of its throne--a claim that many players are already making--there is no denying that Rift is striving to take the genre to the next level. The game's premise is actually semi-interesting, the soundtrack inspiring, the artwork and animations appealing, the characters unique, and so on. That being said, as someone who has a very difficult time getting into MMOs, I would not pay for this game, as its central design is the same as always with a few perks, here and there. However, for those of you who enjoy games like WoW but are looking for something new to delve into, I would definitely suggest giving Rift a try.

Rift: Planes of Telara is due to come out March 1st, this year. I'll play as much of the beta as I can before the game comes out, and if my opinion of it changes, I'll be sure to make an update in a later post.

Website: RIFT

Image property of Trion Worlds.

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