‘RIFT’ shines in lucrative genre

by Cody Franklin

RIFT

Will Trion Worlds’ game cause a rift to form in gamers’ wallets any time soon? For those looking for something a bit different from traditional massive multiplayer online role-playing games, it probably will.

“RIFT” is a fantasy-themed MMORPG set in the world of Telara, a planet created by the gods at the focal point of the five different planes of the universe. All went well for the gods’ creations on this world until Regulos and his dragons attacked the planet thousands of years ago. The people of Telara defeated the dragons and the gods created a barrier to stop Regulos from reentering, but now the dragons and their minions seek to break the barrier once more. Gamers play as either the Guardians of the Vigil, who are still loyal to the gods, or the Defiant, a group who has abandoned religion and hopes to use science to defeat the dragons once and for all.

The starting zones immediately immerse players in the game’s vivid story. Defiants begin in a future timeline when most of Telara is destroyed; players are sent back in time to warn the earlier Defiants and arm them with new technologies. Defiant players have the ability to create beings who are a hybrid of different souls, allowing them to become Ascended warriors of great strength. The Guardians also have Ascended, though the gods of the Vigil created these great warriors.

This hybrid-soul system creates a great freedom in “RIFT,” keeping gamers from feeling stuck in a certain type of gameplay. Players first pick an archetype, such as rogue. Then players collect different “souls,” or subclasses, for that archetype. Players can spend their points in any combination of the three souls they want and are granted the ability to save five different combinations that can be swapped out at any time. Playing a rogue and bored with being a sneaky assassin-type? Transform into a skilled archer in a matter of seconds.

Group content is where “RIFT” really shines. The game boasts five very different player-vs.-player instances that have attracted many to the game. In player-versus-environment, apart from the usual assortment of dungeons and end-game raids, the game’s namesake comes into play. Different “rifts” in the fabric of the universe open, allowing groups of enemies from the five different planes to pour through. Players must work together to fight back invasion forces and close the rifts. The game will match gamers with other nearby players, allowing groups to tackle this open-world group content and get some nice rewards. Rifts vary in size from small encounters that can be soloed to huge raid-rifts. There are also special PvP rifts, where the two sides must fight each other as well as the non-player characters. Besides rifts and invasions, zone events happen frequently throughout the game that are thrilling and very rewarding, with more introduced every patch.

Trion Worlds is providing patches at a rate most other massively multiplayer games can’t match. In the eight months since release, five major updates have already been introduced. The 1.5 patch, released just days ago, added “Chronicles,” dungeons that can be beaten by one to two people, a new PvP instance, a brand new alternative leveling system, veteran awards and more. The developers are listening carefully to player concerns and developing content and changes directly related to feedback at a very fast rate; other MMO makers would be smart to adopt such a close relationship.

Overall, “RIFT” is an exceptional experience all gamers should give a try. With a lot of content that aims to break away from traditional MMORPG ideas, a huge amount of player freedom and a developer that actually seems to care about the players by providing content and changes at a break-neck speed, it’s hard not to fall in love. This writer doesn’t see a rift forming between him and the game anytime soon.