Quick Rift observation for today, and next week I’ll wrap up the PvE Sandbox MMO series (which, btw, I think has gone really well, so thanks everyone for the feedback so far).
Last night we ran expert Iron Tombs again, which for me is now 6-8 runs, but this time we had a very different setup than our normal 5. Three rogues, a mage, and myself, a warrior. Our mage went Chloro (healer), we had a bard (healer), and two dps rogues with two different builds, both which could go bard if we needed more healing. Our normal group is warrior, warrior, cleric, rogue, mage/rogue.
While it was still the same instance, it felt different during the boss fights, and even trash was not identical. It was, honestly, pretty refreshing. Bosses that would give us trouble before went down easy, while the boss that we usually steamroll caused a wipe and a razor-thin second attempt victory.
Now granted, in other themeparks you can do something similar by bringing different classes, but Rift makes it much easier thanks to the soul system and how easy it is to switch up not just specs, but entire roles. Usually our mage goes dps, and if he was a mage in another themepark, odds are the best he could do would be to switch to a different flavor of dps. Not so in Rift, and this not only adds an enjoyable option for him, it allows our guild to combine more groups of 5 and still successfully complete an instance. Our guild roster, which is rogue heavy, would be a total disaster in WoW. In Rift, it’s perfectly fine and does not limit us in terms of content.
It sounds like just a ‘nice to have’, until you are faced with the fact that your rogue-heavy guild is forced to sit some people more than others based on their character creation choice. That crappy leader/officer decision is averted here, and to me that’s way more than a ‘nice to have’.
To tie this into the current blog-o-sphere hot topic (again) of cross-server matchmaking and the general issue of a tank/healer shortage, it’s nice that Rift makes this so easy. If I want to sit out from tanking, we can have a rogue step in, or a cleric. If our cleric wants to take the night off, in comes a mage or rogue. My warrior can dps, as can the cleric. It’s not “any class you can image”, that was stupid PR speak (and most of us knew that), but yea, it is a solid step up from locked-in DPS classes having three flavors of DPS, tanks that can only tank, and healers crippling the group if they don’t heal.
Class system 3.0.