Quick notes from Rift beta 5

Aria and I put in some time with the Rift 5 beta last night and enjoyed ourselves. The Guardian starting area is IMO much better than that of the Defiant in terms of feeling MMO-ish rather than super on-rails. After the initial hour or so it won’t matter, but as a first impression the Guardian zone does a nice job of pulling you into the conflict while also playing somewhat like a traditional themepark MMO zone. I still think that’s the market for Rift; the people who really enjoy a more zone-like free-form MMO, rather than the step-by-step handholding that is the latest trend.

I’m playing a cleric this time, and I like that the different souls all play more like a warrior priest from WAR than a robed wimp who does nothing but heal like in WoW. I also like how each of the souls is clearly defined in terms of healing style (AoE, HoT, Single Target burst, etc) and fighting style (ranged, melee). It makes selecting what you want initially a bit easier/faster, while still allowing you to switch things up later thanks to the respecs. It only takes reading a few short descriptions to make that melee-driven, buff-wielding, HoT-healing character you believe will duo well. And since I know I can respec, I’m not pouring over very tree making sure I don’t ‘do it wrong’ and get something that’s either gimped or not fun to play. Again it’s a small detail, but so far Rift seems to be getting all of the small details right.

Aria is playing a warrior, with the first soul being a beastmaster. Note to players: if you don’t summon your pet at level one, you can’t beat the first mob the game asks you to fight, and you will die. Leave it to the super noob to die on the first mob in a themepark, but at least it proves it CAN be done. That’s worth something, I think. I will say her character does have a very fancy Charge move similar to WoW’s warrior, but Rift’s version just looks more impressive, as it’s somewhat more to a Diablo 2 Barbarians’ leap than the ‘sprint really fast’ move in WoW. Devil/details/blablabla.

Likely more tomorrow as we move on from the starting area and into ‘the real game’.

12 Responses to Quick notes from Rift beta 5

  1. pkudude99 says:

    I tried out a “pure dps” warrior last night and fell in love with the charge move myself. Andmy favorite play so far has been on my melee priest — Justcar/Shaman/Warden. I could have gone “full melee” and taken druid instead of warden, but I didn’t want the pet, and the warden’s 0 point nuke is rather powerful, actually.

    I also tried a chloromancer on the Defiant side. While I’m in total agreement that the Guardian tutorial zone is the better of the 2, the Defiant’s “on rails” version that gets you to your 3 initial souls in a hurry, and for me is therfore ideal for testing several different combos. TBH I haven’t even tried “the real game” on the Defiant side yet. I don’t want to burn myself out on “the real game” before launch, but I do want to have an idea of what soul combos “do it” for me.

  2. Bhagpuss says:

    The attention to detail in the wider world of Telara is excellent, as well as in the gameplay. I’ve spent a great deal of time watching the NPCs go about their daily business, watching them interact with each other, with the wildlife, with planar invaders. Fascinating.

    I do agree with other commenters elsewhere that Telara lacks the infrastructure you’d expect of a representation of a functioning world (like farms, villages, children etc) but other than that it really does feel like a living world. That Telara does go on whether you’re there or not I can attest from direct observation.

    Last night I rode up a fantastic corkscrew lift in Gloamwood. From the top I could see into the currently unavailable zone of Iron Pine Peak. There was a massive battle taking place in there, which appeared to be the villagers in the settlement across the zoneline trying to repel an attack from some kind of enemy tribe. Didn’t need players, just got on with their own local feuds.

    The last game I saw that had this degree of complex, self-organizing AI environment was Saga of Ryzom. It’s about time.

    • SynCaine says:

      Looking forward to experiencing some of that.

      From my time in Beta 3, I did notice that the ‘zones’ felt more like sections of the world rather than separate ‘places to do stuff’ like EQ2 has them. Very similar to how the early WoW zones progress really, where the setting changes, but it still feels like one world.

    • smee, T says:

      I completely disagree.
      The world in Rift feels dead to me, there are no little things or attention to detail at all. There is nothing to explore. The NPCs are pre-programmed, what can you say about that? They can ‘fight’ against other mobs just like in every other MMORPG.

      Didn’t need players? Of course it needs players, even single player RPGs NEED a player. ‘Not needing players’ voids the point of a videogame so your point is invalid. The NPCs are not alive there, they cannot win or lose. They are only there for the players. NPCs do not ‘repel’ attacks, they do what they are programmed. I don’t want smarter and more effective AI, I want smarter and more effective ways to interact with REAL PEOPLE. AI is ONLY EVER THERE TO SUPPORT THE MULTI-PLAYER ASPECT. You don’t do PVE so it can be you and 20 other NPCs against a boss, don’t you? No you team up against it with other players.

      Either way, just saying that programmed NPCs doing battle isn’t anything to boast about. Whether or not Rift has good endgame or w/e I don’t know, I just know that it was horribly boring/generic when I played in two betas. Maybe the game will be good, so far it is all hype however.

  3. bonedead says:

    In Cataclysm they actually gave Warriors a Heroic Leap ability. Reminds me of the D2 baba leap so much, that’s why I’m gonna make one and jump on people.

  4. Dril says:

    I’m in love with Rift. I haven’t actually played the beta all that much because I don’t want to spoilt it, but I really do see myself playing it for a good deal of time.

    Only problem is I can’t find a Defiant EU guild that fits me, which is really starting to worry me now.

  5. Aria says:

    i was just testing my character’s limits…..

  6. Saylah says:

    Is anyone concerned that the one map we see is all there is??? It freaked me out when I swam over to a level 45 zones by mistake. That made me go looking for the maps and what we hav is all there is. That’s like what just the Eastern Kingdom fromw WOW – if that. It’s easier to have so much polish in such a small map. Realizing that i’m done questing til launch. It’s on to PVP and mess with some crafting in the lowbie zones.

  7. So far the beta is going well. Trying out the Rogue class and it seems promising. Lot of lag until server reset, I assume they were stress testing. Doesn’t seem many are beta testing though. More of just trying out the game.

  8. RPG TITLES says:

    Loving Rift so far and it is just a beta. Now if we can get a game that has sieging like Shadowbane had.

  9. Loire says:

    Unfortunately after Beta 4 and now half way into 5 I’m bored. Right from the get go the quest grind did it for me but the Rift’s kept me entertained for a week. Then it just became the same thing, over and over again. Its not as dynamic as they make you think.

    I’m going to take some steps into PVP. Hopefully that will improve things but I’m definitely getting the same feeling I got with WAR right before the 800k to 300k subscriber drop. It’s just “alright”.

    I’m hoping Rift doesn’t suffer the same fate as WAR.

  10. cirdanx says:

    @SynCain: felt the same way, i really enjoyed my time and i was playing as a cleric too, Justicar/Shaman/Druid…and it´s hell of a fun, i´m a buffed up machine :D I also like the mage souls a lot.

    The warrior was not so impressive to me, but i haven´t played that much and so far i have found the Defiant starting zone very nice, i may like it more than the other side.

    @smee,T: well fine, dead world, you should get glasses because you are totaly blind. in fact there is a lot of detail love, but if you run around blindly you won´t see it.

    Of course AI is scripted, that´s always the case genius, and saying that AI is only there to support the MP aspect is also wrong, it´s more about making the world believable and immersion. Good thing is, you will save yourself money and time if you allready dislike it.

    @bonedead: yes it´s very much like the D2 barb, they wanted to include this skill long before, took them years to get it right….ha.

    @Saylah: yes the world is not that big, but like Eastern Kingdom? Hardly. As long as there is a lot do, i don´t see a problem with it. It also has a very good side, which is that players won´t be spread out that much, so grouping and finding help should be easier. I can also imagine that we will see more of other “realms” like entering the Fae world thru a portal.

    @loire: i don´t belive WAR has anywhere close to 300k these days, but i get your point. Anyway, i´m sure this won´t happen, WAR didn´t turn out as promised by Mythic, so it was no wonder people bought it, saw it, went “great where is x,y they promised” and then left. I still want to smash the responsible people for this IP rape.

    I guess Rift will fit nicely into the existing market, it won´t get too big, but should stay for a whole if they don´t screw it up after release.

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