Review by Chase_Payne

"Rift is a great MMO, but lacks content and potential to become the next generation."

Rift has been an under-advertised MMO that most people have probably never heard about. It was announced in E3 2010, and it had a small fanbase for their next hope of a next generation MMO. In other games, when you mentioned Rift people would have no idea about that game or quite frankly have never seen or heard about the game from anyone else. The game didn't start to get a large fanbase until the closed beta, which tons of keys were given out. It was largely known for their pun at World of Warcraft with "We're not in Azeroth anymore"

The gameplay of the game is the typical standard MMO grind, you go out and kill a few things and return it to a quest giver. Which quite honestly, I would prefer that route compared to Aion where it became clear the game became a mass grind after level 22. On your journey to level 50 you will have many options to do other content such as rifting. The rifting in this game is basically a raid of PvE monsters attacking towns. When you slay these monsters, you get planarite to buy gear, which isn't a concept we've never heard of before. However they are quite fun, and they promote PvP heavily.

When a rift spawns inside the world, it is shown on the map and it's animated. Ideally, most people slay these rifts for a chunk of experience in addition to planar focus, which is closely related to the sockets of gear. Because they are shown on the map, it's not uncommon to find the opposing sides faction. so if you're interested in world PvP, the best locations to find it is definitely rifting. However, these rifts spawn so often in the lower level zones they become a tedious grind.

Quite often these rifts would spawn on top of quests, and you had to slay these rifts in order to continue questing. It wasn't much of a problem since most of the rifts could be soloed, but it was very time consuming. A lot of the times these rifts would have elites, and you could not solo them and had to wait for the wave of players who were grinding rifts to come to your rift and finish it off. Typically if that happened, you would have to wait around 5 or 10 minutes.

Also, despite seeing many players participate in these events, the monsters had no advanced scripting or anything that makes it remotely challenging or interesting other than they hit hard. And asking around the average level 50 in my guild, they didn't seem to interested in rifts anymore do to them being a tedious grind and being boring. It seems many people slain a lot of rifts during their journey to 50, that they were just burnt out on rifts. Quite often in my guild, people would complain that they were tired of having questing interrupted for such booring mobs.

Rifts aside, there were also dungeons in the game. Which in my opinion was another weak point in the game. It was very difficult for the average person to get in a dungeon in the game, as there is no random looking for group tool or anything that promotes dungeons such as a list like LOTRO used. Because of that, it became clear that most people didn't even bother with leveling through the dungeons because it just too long to form. I will give it that they are the best coded normal instances I ever seen, they are not your typical tank and spank instances that we've seen in Aion and Warhammer.

They were also rather difficult for the average person if you were to do the instance, however the trash is annoying. There's so much trash in some of the Rift instances that it will make you yawn through the entire instance until you reach a boss. And even then, there's not much to do other than hard hitting boss and a flashy mechanic here and there. I believe if the game had less trash, the instances would be perfect... but my guild tends to avoid instances like the plague because they're just so boring.

It is clear thought that grinding dungeons are a great source of gear, and they have high drop rates, unlike Aion. They also give a ton of experience, and if you're hardcore you're best bet is to farm instances the entire way to level 50. That's how powerful they are in experience.

Questing in this game is intelligent, despite being very linear. These quests aren't as linear as Cataclysm, so I'll give it that. It's also possible to reach Level 50 in this game without grinding a single monster, there is no "ack, I'm a half a bar off, need to grind" as long as you do maybe 1-2 rifts a level and a few warfronts in the game, grinding will never be a problem. This game has the most polished leveling content I have ever seen in a [releasing] MMO.

The games biggest selling point is the class system of course, which used to be a very great system.
Archetypes are basically the "Main" class much like AION, however you have 8 souls per archaetype, which are basically subclasses. You can spend points in all 8 souls (Only 3 can be active at once though), and change them whenever you would like.
Due to recent changes however, for each point spent in souls over level 20 (or in some classes 36) your base abilities increase by a certain percentage. It's much like mastery in world of warcraft, except instead of increasing by gear it increases by the amount of points you spend in one tree.

Because of that it made an extremely dynamic class system into something very linear and static. Many of the best builds is to simply put as much talent points (51) as possible in a soul for maximum dps.

It wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for the fact that 51 points simply means fill out the entire tree, even the talents that do not benefit you in any way. Also, many of the souls in the game are either extremely bad in DPS/Healing or Too strong compared to other archetypes. Take for example, if you played a priest in World of Warcraft you could go shadow and if you where great you could score top DPS. In this game the cleric class is actually really bad at dpsing compared to other classes. Your friends would have to play their class seriously wrong in order to be outdpsed by a cleric. Clerics aren't the only Archetype that suffers from this, as other souls are also just terrible overall compared to another soul inside their own class.

When you hit Level 10, you are able to queue for warfronts which basically is the only PvP content in this game. You will be surprised how balanced it seems when you are playing as a level 10. It almost seems perfect, except for one class, named as sabotuer. It's not as bad as we've seen in other games we're you had no shot of winning simply because of the class. These Warfronts give a ton of experience, and you could level to 50 by just PvPing without being too far behind than one who did quests. However, if the ques are longer than 10 minutes you're better off doing questing + PvPing.

Which brings me up to the state of endgame PvP. Don't expect PvP as good as the other games, it's far from balanced or plentiful in content. When you reach 50 you are left with 4 warfronts to do, and for each win you achieve you get around 600 prestige. A loss awards 200 prestige. There is no group PvP such as GvG or rated warfronts, and the developers stated that they did not want their game to become and e-sport.

Prestige is not a currency, instead it's more of a reputation. The first prestige rank is 45k, so you can get the general idea of how grindy it is. It increases substantially over each rank, and each rank gives more rewards. You don't get a full gear set until prestige rank 6, which is a very intense grind.

For each prestige rank you get, you increase a tier in your PvP soul that you spend many of your 66 talent points in. However, many people think this is a failed concept since you have to sacrifice a large amount of dps (due to the class system mastery) for such paltry PvP benefits. The CC in the game is so overspammed, that the "trinket" of the game isn't just worth the talent points compared to losing around 30% dps or healing. Because of that, many people don't even talent in the PvP tree or just spend very little to no points in it.

Which brings my next discussion on warfronts:
The Black Garden is basically a relic in the middle of the map, which both sides have equal ground of getting. When you take this relic, depending on your location you get passive points over time for your team. The kicker is though, the holder of the relic takes a massive amount of damage over time on how long he holds it. The problem is though, due to being able to re take the relic after someone dies, many teams are able to hold the relic for a very long time. Causing massive amounts of point difference, such as 500-40. However, I do not believe it's 100% of the designs fault, I just believe it could use some adjustments.

The Codex is basically an Arthi Basin with worse balance, one of the bases on the map gives considerably more points than the other bases. Many of the matches comes down to this base, unlike arthi basin were if you lacked defense in one base, it would cost you. Most teams over defend this base and end up winning simply because it's unlikely to win without capturing it. It's a design flaw in my book, simply because this base gives so many points that even if you were able to capture the other 3 bases you have plenty of time to recapture it without losing as much points as to say if you didn't have this base.

Whitefal Steppes is the capture the flag game, and it is more balanced than any other capture the flag game I've played in an RPG. If you die, you are able to retake the flag, but the kicker is it has a capture time, so if you are hit while trying to take the flag... it interrupts you. It's not a mass click spam. If someone dies, they can recapture it without breaking their mouse. However absorbs in this game ignore damage and do not interrupt capturing, and balance falls apart on that aspect. The map is also very large, and the mounts travel really fast and it's easy to catch up.

Port Scion It's much like AV, but you don't assault towers. It's a combination of all of the above warfronts, however many of the matches come down to who has the bridge since it's linked to the church, which has sourcestones that you can turn in. It has a balance issue though because rogues are able to steal the stones and carry them while stealthed. Sourcestones are in the church and are basically flags that you take in for points.

Endgame PvE in this game is lacking, and is very similar to world of warcraft. When you hit level 50, you basically do the heroics of the game. They are much like the normal instances, except with harder trash and one extra flashy mechanic. Because there is no LFG tool, you will spend lots of time spamming in chat to join an instance which may or may not come for you. The raids in this game are pretty standard, nothing is really new and they are hardly challenging. Top guilds cleared them within 2 days of stepping inside of them, which is okay I guess, but Cataclysm raids were never finished within 2 days.

At level 50, you will be standing in town with nothing to do all day simply because the raid instance only has 5 bosses, on a one week lockout timer. PvP balance in this game will make you pull your hair out, people die in stuns and the mana drains in this game are unbearable. A mana drain class can go on you and drain your entire mana bar in 7 seconds. IN my opinion, level 50 is just overall demotivating since the content of the game before level 50 was exciting and fun. But ever since I reached level 50, warfronts have just become a booring grind overall with some clear balance issues with people one shotting each other, or dying in a single stun.

My biggest concern with PvP endgame is there are a few abilities in this game that do not belong in a PvP game,ever. Mages have an ability that makes them immune to silences, stuns, knockbacks, things of that sort. AOE in this game is a bit extreme, which includes silencing people while AOEing, RNG stuns with NO DR while in an aoe and such. Even if they were to normalize damage, they would have to remove abilities from the game. I do not find that likely since the majority of the crowd is from PvE, and they do not like removed abilities.

A large part of the community seemed to hate world of warcraft for trying to balance both at the same time, which is understandable. However as mentioned before, not only damage is out of control, but things that really do not harm a PvE environment is also out of control. Things like mana drains, stuns, and area of effect silences barely have any damage on PvE. Many say the game has only been out for a few weeks, but this game was tested for 6 months to a private crowd, as well as open.

Really fun leveling, has dynamic world content however over time it gets bland and annoying. The game has lack of content for both PvE and PvP compared to past games.

The audio is great however there are clear bugs with it, sometimes audio cuts out during combat and the music tends to skip also. There is also no way to repeat music, unlike other games. When you're in a zone a long time, which typically you are you tend to feel to not be connected with the music at all since it rarely plays.

This engine is not up to the level of graphics this game dishes out. There are tons of problems with ATI and anti aliasing that it makes games in the past with a different engine out perform this game easily.

A lot of classes are doing significantly less damage compared to another class, making you feel worthless.
Some skills in this game, do not belong in an MMO with PvP at all. Things like Aoe silences and silences while mana draining is just too strong. Even if you were to normalize the damage between classes abilities would have to be removed in the game. It is unlikely that the game will ever fix the abilities since it's strongest point right now is actually PvE.

Endgame Content:
This game does not have much endgame content at all compared to past MMO's. It also does not have enough PvP content to compared to launching titles later this year or next year. For a next generation MMO, it does not match up in levels of content.

I'm closing the review here, and I give this game a 6/10, simply because it really doesn't have anything new, it's best content gets old fast and you will end up in town trying to get an instance... only to turn out it's an aoe grindfest. For a game advertised as the next generation, it does not keep up to its name.

Some will say a 6 is really harsh, and I'm sorry if people are offended by it. Six out of ten is a fair rating to give this game. I would rate it higher if actually put out the content and kept it's name. I'm not one of those people that rate games an 8 just because I can. There are obvious flaws in this game, it does not match up to games released 7 years ago. In a business world you must improve the past, not be behind.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 03/15/11

Game Release: Rift (US, 03/01/11)

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