Rift Review


posted 3/24/2011 by Shawn Sines
other articles by Shawn Sines
One Page Platforms: PC
Trion Worlds first game, Rift is making waves with players who've grown tired of wandering the hills of Azeroth, scouring the Shire and soaring the skies in Aion. The latest subscription-based title to hit the market introduces the world of Telara, a world under-siege by elemental foes where players are the resurrected souls of heroes brought back to offer salvation.

Iteration, not imitation it seems is the sincerest form of flattery in the MMORPG market. While Rift follows the accepted template laid out by the leaders it takes many of the systems introduced among those various games and tweaks them just enough to make them coherent and in some cases better.

The setting of Rift includes the usual epic fantasy conceits – Elves, Dwarves, humans and a few differently colored races fight against unspeakable evil to save the world. The game features mages, knights, priests and rogues as you'd expect but mixes the formula a bit by giving players not 1 class with advanced options, but three distinct skill trees – called souls – which can be configured to allow for more versatile abilities.

Players choose from two factions – the prig-like holy-roller Guardian factions and the techno-magical Defiant. The two factions are in opposition philosophically due to the nature of the players existence. Guardians believe the gods sometimes send back the ascended spirits of heroes to defend the world of Telara while the Defiant eschew all that faith mumbo-jumbo and employ pseudo-scientific means to forcibly resurrect dead heroes.

Aside from the starting background though the two factions play very similarly. Sure, there are variations in the races available to the two factions – Guardians have humans, high elves and dwarves while the Defiant allow humans, Kelari “dark elves” and Bahmi “giants.” Mechanically the races differ a little, but it's mostly an aesthetic choice.

Players potentially choose from eight options in each class (dependent on the faction some choices are limited) – for instance the Warrior includes some diverse choices that cross traditional MMO class roles like the Beast master (a pet class), Riftblade (an elemental swordsman), and the dual wielding Paragon. The choices you make allow you to customize the game to better meet your individual  or session play style.  Players who prefer pets but also want to do area damage can choose souls that grant these abilities, while those who want to be tanks with some debuff can choose a completely different set of souls.
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