Rift: The game to take the MMORPG throne?

Posted By | On 20th, Feb. 2011 Under Previews | Follow This Author @GNReith

Like it or hate it, there is no denying that the MMORPG genre is completely dominated by one game: World of Warcraft. In terms of critical reception, commercial success and influence on popular culture, World of Warcraft is here to stay reigning from its lofty throne. Yet, with the introduction of Trion World’s upcoming Rift, this reign of terror may soon be challenged.

So what is worth getting excited about in the upcoming MMO? Rift is an MMORPG focusing on the eponymous Rifts that dot the world of Telara. The idea is that they are the natural disaster that occurs when other worlds attempt to connect with the home world of Telara. The problem is that when a Rift opens, monsters begin to spew forth that slowly destroy the surrounding parts of the world. It is thus up to players to prevent these monsters from spreading too far and harming other players, and to shut the rifts to prevent the destruction from repeating itself. Rather than this just being a loose plot around which to base your merry social questing, Trion Worlds have incorporated the rifts to become a core part of the game’s mechanics. The rifts come in six varieties of earth, fire, air, water, life, and death with each type spawning different monsters. Yet monsters of opposing rift types will combat each other, adding a depth of strategy in choosing which fights to get involved with. The most interesting part of this mechanic is the seemingly spontaneous nature of it. Many MMO’s lack a sense of urgency but, if a rift randomly appears near your favourite shopkeeper, you’re going to want to rush and save him from an inevitable (and potentially costly) demise.

The world is like many you've seen before, but with a few twists

Impressions of the recent beta tests have been strong so far, particularly in regard to the dynamic rift system. Closing rifts is possible on your lonesome, but the game offers good incentive to team up with others. Greater loot and experience are offered to those who work well in groups and the specifics of the class and skills systems means you need to rely on the unique abilities of your team mates to combat rift monsters effectively.

There are four main classes, or callings, from which players can choose: The Warrior, Cleric, Rogue or Mage. Though this may sound limiting in comparison to other MMOs, there are also eight souls that help specialize your character class further. Players can choose three souls from each calling to help push their character builds in certain directions, and you can assign up to four sets of souls to roles that you can swap between whenever you’re out of a combat situation. Fighting a boss with huge defence? Back out of the fight and swap to your de-buff role, then when the boss is slain you can just change back to your DPS role. It all adds up to help teams bond and work together with their unique skill sets, and it opens up a deep world of strategy and tactical planning.

The dynamic and random rift generation looks set to alter the way you play drastically

Things like questing and guilds/clans that show up in most MMO’s are present in Rift, but don’t appear to be the only way to play. Whereas in other titles in the genre quests are the only real way to level up quickly, Rift seems well balanced to the point where PVP and rift hunting will be just as lucrative as ploughing through the game’s main quest line.

The idea of specialized classes working together to close dynamic and randomly generated rifts already sounds awesome, but the whole thing is improved by the attention to detail and high production values of Rift. The game just looks really good. No two ways about it. This is where a few concerns start to creep in though regarding the game. For with great visuals comes great minimum spec requirements. Even at the lowest graphics settings the game looks like it’s going to be a bit too taxing for lesser powered systems and, with few entry level laptops containing dual core processors, a large demographic of gamers won’t be able to enjoy what Rift has to offer. There are also other concerns about the gameplay style in Rift. As interesting as the randomly generated Rifts sound, it could get really irritating if left unchecked. Say you want to just do some quests, but a Rift pops up and spawns a tonne of powerful demons in your way. I can imagine that kind of thing would get old pretty quick. There is also the issue of the souls and roles for, whilst it sounds like a deep and intriguing skill system, we didn’t get much of chance to experience what it has to offer in the beta events so far. There is also the pricing issue. Most MMOs worth their salt require a monthly subscription, but it still kinda sucks. I love playing these types of games with my friends, but trying to convince your mates to pay a monthly subscription fee is often more hassle than it is worth.

As far as MMOs go, Rift is a sight for sore eyes

Regardless of the few proverbial skeletons under the staircase, Rift looks set to be a game worthy of your attention. Whether your a fan of the MMORPG genre or not, Rift seems able to offer a little bit of something for everyone. Yet only time will tell if the full Rift experience lives up to the hype. Until its release date on March 1st (or 4th for us lucky buggers in Europe,) I will be holding my breath for Rift to have what it takes to beat WoW as the king of MMOs with its unique and dynamic game structures.

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  • Played through the various betas and the current open beta. While a good enough game to waste some time on I seriously doubt it will have the impact on MMO’s that is being reported.

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  • I doubt it will topple wow. I’d put money on it.

    I do think it will do better than Aion. At least I hope. If it’s better than aion I might play it. (i dont care for wow meself)

    And as far as laptops go, its not the processor you need to worry about. Even cheap 300$ PoS laptops come with an intel core 2 duo in them. Dual core is the standard now.
    It’s the video card thats the issue. You’ll end up paying at least 1k-1.5k for a laptop with a decent enough video card to play this and newer games.

  • aquaman22

    I have my reservations about whether or not Rift can take down WoW. It’s too bad that WoW is not in consoles and only on PC, i dont want to sound selfish but i would try it if it was in console. people say the game is freaking addicting, i like to know what the big deal is. Aqua Out!!!

    • CL

      its addicting, but repetitive. when new stuff comes out for it, it gets old imo

    • Rift won’t ‘take down’ WoW. This isn’t my opinion, it’s just not reasonable to assume the millions of subscribers are all going to say “RIFT OMG /quit WoW!!” That’s like saying “Oh man this new flavor of Mountain Dew is going to take out the original flavor. It’ll be done!” Not gonna happen.

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  • Played beta. Also a 4 year WoW player. Rift will not even come close to what this article claims can happen. It’s like this…you can go down to McDonalds and grab a cheese burger…or you can go to Red Robin and get a real, gourmet burger.

    There just really isn’t much competition. Rift looks like it can be a great game. They did their homework. But they are still just another franchise trying to start playing a game in the 4th quarter while the other team leads by more points than can be scored in that last quarter.

  • Played through a few betas. Nothing really innovative about it. I really think the characters are bland/boring. Weapons and armor don’t look too impressive either. Combat seems slow. Class system has it’s pros and cons. I won’t be leaving WoW for it and highly doubt it will even be close to the number of subscribers.

  • Nah, I still think World of Warcraft will be the thing to beat. I though Earthrise had a good chance of at least matching it, but no, not AS good as WoW. The only upcoming MMO that can beat WoW is The Old Republic.

  • RIFT won’t kill off WoW. People still play UO and EQ, so of course WoW will survive. However, there are a lot of people who are tired of WoW and Blizzard. There are a lot of people who are really happy, and relieved, to find a game fun enough and complete enough to let them leave WoW behind. Practically my entire guild is quitting WoW, gleefully, to play RIFT.

    And anyone who says something in RIFT doesn’t look impressive didn’t bother to pay attention to the details. The creators of RIFT did however, because the textures on everything are highly detailed. The saddles on the mounts have stitching along the seams even. No lack of detail there.

    RIFT is releasing at a great time. A lot of players are disillusioned with Cataclysm. SWTOR isn’t out yet. It’s the best looking MMO to release in a long time. Of course it won’t topple any of the games still out there, but it will quickly build a solid player base and be around for a long time as long as Trion provides quality customer support and keeps the end game content fresh.

  • The characters are not that interesting. Over all it imparted me a boring session.

  • But it was ok. Still better than many other options.

  • Graphics are amazing and do not look cartoony like World of Warcrafts does. Required minimum specs is only 2.0 ghz Duel Core,if you don’t have that then you are probably still on dial-up.
    Class and role variety choices are much more than WoW and you aren’t forced into one role.
    While WoW lets you duel spec Rift lets you Quad spec.
    Rift has more quests and I mean massive quests.You complete a bunch then more open up in same area it is almost overwhelming with the amount of them.

  • Want to be rich in game? just visit goldsceo&com .they will help you to make this in reality 2.11 for Ten platinum.

  • Musser64

    good review


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