This is not an in-depth review with exotic details or anything. It’s my impression of the game in the time that I’ve spent playing it. I’ve experimented with each class in the game, spending about 50 hours playing during open beta and the 7 day trial. I do not own the game.
I signed up for the trial to give the game an adequate chance to win me over since open beta didn’t do the job. In the first day of open beta, I felt that the game didn’t pull me in at all. Honestly I was bored within a few hours. The question is: has my mind changed now that I have played the trial?
Rift is by no means a bad game if you don’t mind doing the same thing you’ve done in countless other titles in the genre. If you have enjoyed other similar titles you could very well enjoy Rift. If you’re incredibly bored with similar titles (as a lot of people are) then playing Rift might feel like a chore.
I (and others that I’ve spoken to) have compared Rift to Warhammer Online and World of Warcraft sort of morphed together with a touch of Age of Conan. Everyone is tired of hearing the words “World of Warcraft clone” but in Rift’s case I can see it. Menus and very obvious details are nearly identical. A lot of features of the game are also direct copies of other titles. Such as Warhammer Online and it’s public quests.
I’m not a huge fan of Warhammer myself, but can’t deny that the game offered a few new and interesting ideas to the genre. If you enjoyed Public Quests in Warhammer, you will enjoy them in Rift. If you’re able to find other players to do them with. Rift didn’t doesn’t offer a solution there.
My question to the developers is this: Why do what everyone else is already doing if you’re not going to at least do it better in some way or another?
Rift was difficult for me to push through simply because I’ve done this all before. Quests offer nothing new. You will find yourself doing pointless errands and killing x monsters and farming for this or that drop no differently than in other titles. Honestly, I don’t care. That’s fine. It is an mmorpg of course. I’m just personally burnt out on doing another 8000 mindless quests right now.
Though I was not able to explore much of the world in Rift – I could tell by the map that it was pretty large. I definitely approve of large open worlds. I hate it when things are heavily instanced, but at the same time I did enjoy Guild Wars and I’m looking forward to Guild Wars 2 (which has less instancing). If it’s done right, it’s totally fine.
Is Rift’s world interesting visually? Well it looks pretty good graphically and that’s enough to make me want to see more of it. Unfortunately I was unable to do so on a trial account.
Faction player ratio is an issue for some servers if you’re on the wrong faction. It appears that The Guardians population heavily outweighs The Defiants on some servers. I really wish that developers would find a solution for that.
The real issue is that Rift suffers the same old dilemmas. Not much has been improved over what other titles offer. Common sense feature polishing that should have been addressed before release is simply left as is.
I just don’t feel that there is any excuse for an LFG system that is nearly worthless or a PVP match making system that doesn’t appear to do any matching at all. The little obvious things that developers should know better to neglect at this point in the genre’s history.
The developers portray the game much differently. According to Trion, the game was polished on day one and does things better. The game does run exceptionally well. It’s stable and I have never experienced technical issues whatsoever. There is far more to polish than stability.
If you’re only looking for a new landscape and no new original ideas or even fresh takes on the old ones then give the Rift trial a try. If you’re expecting Rift to do anything differently you will be disappointed.
That said, Rift is a great looking game, it runs well on older systems and it’s worth picking up if you’re tired of looking at the same textures in your current MMO. As long as you don’t expect much else to change.