Rift, beta4 analysis

I do believe Trion has something here…

I played in beta4 over the weekend as time presented itself, concentrating mostly on the game between levels 1 and 10 to play with the multi-class system.

In my previous post you got to read about one of the characters I managed to come up with, here's a couple more examples:

A Dwarven engineer using rogue talents to dual wield hand axes but his main form of combat is tossing explosives at things. Rogues in Rift use the same sort of point system that WoW rogues do… One type of explosive is 'sticky' and as I apply them, I get combo points – they're also remotely detonated… So I toss five of these sticky bombs (with associated cackling and “The mad bomber what bombs at midnight” line) and then push the button…

The resulting crater is mighty impressive! Seriously. Being as I've taken talents that allow my explosives to bypass about 50% of something's armor – there isn't much my level that lives through the boom.

And of course the Dwarf in question has an extremely deranged look, a mighty mohawk, and this huge frazzled beard – both fire engine red.

Another character I created was a Elven mage, but the mage is essentially one half warlock and one half druid – so I have nifty things like plague spores that spread disease and these obviously anime-inspired seeds that when they hit the target erupt into these cool looking writhing vines that suck the life out of the target and give it to me.

Throughout the time I was in the game, the thing that impressed me the most was the system the game runs on… Sure, the graphics are pretty, the UI is responsive, the quests are top-notch, etcetera – but it's the games 'engine' that really makes me think there's something here.

For example, Saturday night Trion decided that beta4 was going so well and that so many people were actually playing that they needed two more servers (adding servers in a beta? inconceivable!)… It took them less than 5 minutes to spin up two more servers, get them synced to the rest of the servers, and added to the login page. And they've been doing things like class balance live – you'll just get a note pop up in the middle of the screen from a GM stating that “X” has been adjusted, please try it out.

Speaking of GMs, that's another very impressive thing… The game was obviously built so that GMs can easily interact with the players. Everything I know about the lore of the world I learned by watching two GMs (piloting powerful NPCs) yell at each other, in character and unscripted, across a PvP battlefield. The GMs have also been driving the occasional major rift event, so we've gotten to see some pretty cool things like giant 'ents from the plane of life and such.

And the GMs themselves are made out of pure awesome – witty and funny with a slight touch of snarky, and really good role players. I think Trion hires GMs based on play-testing their tabletop RPG skills. 🙂

So, yeah. I think I might actually invest in this one. I've been burned before though (Aion, Age of Conan, Champions Online, Vanguard, etc, etc) but this one feels like it has the right stuff as it is more than pretty graphics.