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RIFT Headstart Preview - Part 1

Posted by: Shawn Sines at 2/25/2011 9:46 AM
Trion Worlds' first massively multiplayer title is officially out next week, but for those of us who are lucky (or who preordered a digital copy) the gates to the anticipated fantasy game are already wide open. RIFT has some hype associated with it indicating it might be one of the few games with the potential to challenge World of Warcraft for the top spot. Read on for some background on the game's first day.


Let's get something out of the way right now. RIFT is not going to unseat WoW. It's unlikely anything will at this point, except maybe WoW2: Electric Boogaloo. So, potential players of RIFT should go in with eyes wide open.

What is RIFT you ask? (or maybe you don't and can skip this obligatory explainer graph) Well RIFT is a massively multiplayer fantasy RPG about a world that is coming apart at its seams. An evil destructive force is penetrating the barrier surrounding the world and all sorts of "planar invasions" are happening, endangering the peoples of Telara. Players assume to role of either a pious Guardian or technomagic Defiant. Resurrected from the dead, your soul given form as an ascended, it is your task to travel back to the beginning of Telara's RIFT crisis and change the future.

Necessary background done, yesterday was the first headstart day for pre-order and press. The game has experienced a fairly well publicized beta (open and invite only) but yesterday the doors opened and Trion began putting up the server shards in preparation for launch. Somehow, based on my experience, I doubt they were prepared for the results.

The servers went live at 10am Pacific time and by 10:04 most of the initial servers had high populations. I can't remember a game pre-launch, including World of Warcraft, where so many people were standing at the door ready to pounce. It was like waiting in line at a Best Buy Black Friday event.

Over the course of the day the company brought up lots of shards to meet the unexpected demand, but there were reports of players needing to wait 2-10 hours in a queue to even create their first characters. Today it seems the rush has abated a bit, and I had little trouble getting into the servers.

Over the next few days I'll be sharing some of my notable RIFT experiences. Talking about the world as I discover it and comparing it to some of the other more popular outings. If you've been interested in RIFT but have yet to commit, I hope these daily blurbs can help you make up your mind.