Review by kckkryptonite

"Rift may delight the casual gamer, but is shallow at it's core"

Rift is basically like WoW with a few different things. Quests and raids function the same, however there are these things called Rifts that randomly spawn in zones; you have to basically kill stuff to close the rift and you get rewarded with items and a currency called Planarite used to buy stuff.

What I liked:
-Class system
The best thing about Rift for me was the class system. Much like a talent tree, you can customize your characters from three “souls”, that act as sub-classes. It's really cool customizing your character the way you want and being able to purchase additional roles allowing you to spend your points in a different set of three souls. In addition, you can switch roles on-the-spot provided you are out of combat. You can switch from a DPS spec warrior to a tank spec, a Mage specced for support or one specced for healing.

There are many many quests and while doing group dungeons does get you some nice gear and EXP, you can still solo your way to 50 relatively fast.

What I disliked:
-Class system balance
I guess this isn't too big of an issue as it will eventually get balanced (hopefully), but it feels like some classes just get the shorter end of the stick. For example, Warriors have generally two specs: Tank or Melee DPS. Clerics on the other hand, seem to be able to do everything. Leveling my Cleric to 50 was an ENTIRELY different experience from leveling my Warrior. There was always a spot for you in the rare amount of dungeon parties that ever seem to be going on and having constant heals. Mana recharges so fast it's barely noticeable and there are spells to replenish it if need be. I could literally run into a huge group of mobs and kill them faster than my warrior without the worry of ever dying. When playing with my Warrior, it felt like I always needed to tip-toe everywhere being careful to not aggro more than 2-3 mobs, always having to sit down and replenish my health through items after a big battle. Currently, in the end-game a DPS/support Cleric will out damage a DPS Warrior which is quite mind-boggling.

-Too many currencies
There is your typical normal money and pvp money (favor). But Trion had the ingenious idea of creating even more currency types. Normal craft currency, rare craft currency. Currency for finding artifact sets (found throughout the world), rare Rift currency, and the list goes on. I thought it was cool at first, but eventually it ends up feeling gimmicky and pointless.

-Crafting system sucks
You can choose three professions in Rift out of nine. Three of them are gathering professions that is simply a must or you will be spending a lot of money at the Auction House. There is an odd intertwinement in the materials you need for the crafting profession. For example, you might think Weaponsmithing would go good with mining, but mining only provides you with half the materials needed; Foraging providing the other half. This was Trion's failed attempt to encourage trade and the Auction House. However, the prices are so inflated that you are eternally better off creating alts to provide yourself.

Another problem that is perhaps tied into how fast you can reach the max level, but things you can craft are worthless until you've mastered that profession and everything before that is just a grind. You progress through levels so quickly anything you make becomes obsolete very fast through drops or quest rewards.

-Finding a Party
If you don't have a big guild by Level 50, you'll spend most of your time farming, mobs or farming crafting materials. Until the population of Rift rises significantly, expect to sit around spamming the chat for hours looking for a party.

I love the competitive aspects of games and the competitive nature of any game is always the most important to me. Rift PvP takes place mainly in Warfronts where two large teams battle it out. To be taken to one, you queue up until one is “ready”. There are multiple modes like CTF, King of the Hill, etc., but generally devolve into big battles. The PvP is terrible. There is no intricacy, no decisions, and very little skill involved in anything. You make a spec to DPS, a spec to Heal, or a combination. Then you make a few macros and spam it over and over again hoping the other guy dies. What is even more frustrating is that it seems like one side always out-levels, out-gears, or outnumbers the other and every subsequent Warfront you queue up for you end up losing no matter what you do. It was extremely common for me to lose 10 WF's in a row, then log on at a different time and win 10 in a row. This is what PvP in Rift is: Who has the most DPS? Who has the most heals?

Don't get me wrong, this game is very polished, looks great, and very playable. I felt the PvE was overall good until I hit 50. The PvP felt eternally shallow and broken. The dungeon instances are well-voiced and fun for a while, but that gets old. I don't know why MMORPG game devs insist on copying WoW, you don't have to in order to be successful and I hope they stop putting out all this cookie-cutter garbage with a couple of *new* things thrown in. Most modern developers are just not creative anymore or don't want to take risks. They have only dollar signs on their eyes. There is nothing special about Rift and it fails terribly when you realize how weak its core design is.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 04/11/11

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

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