Monday, July 15, 2013

JL 2 - RIFT Noob Review Levels 1-20

This originally appears on my mmosite Blog found here:

I had wrote an article in this blog about my first experience in RIFT; found here:

I promised I would continue to level 20 and update. It took awhile because I have been playing on and off on vacation, but, I enjoyed my time to carefully take notes and screenshots to get this second part of my RIFT experience.
I start each critic below in chronological order as I played. I would stop and write down what was going on in my head.
Without further delay, here are levels 10-20: 

"I like that things are still pretty diverse as I level up. Different tasks etc. Takes the edge of bad graphics and boring combat.

Level 13 so far stuck with boring city quests. Rifts are so not cool any more." - 
  As mentioned in my first article, this game was feeling cloned experience and brought nothing new to the MMORPG table (except the RIFTS, which, for me, get boring right away). However, as I was pushing on, I do have to say THANK YOU developer for hiding the grind in amusing quest events. Such as putting out fires, confronting the dead, trying to collect pieces of this and that. But over all it was not TOO dynamic and basic "Kill X and Y" and collect this and that. I mention the graphics because there were times things just were so ugly or out of place that it made this game "Funny", funny enough for me to stop and say "WOW, this is so bad it is good!" Like those cheesy hollywood films that know one knows about. It is so bad, but good.
  One example: I arrive to the burning entrance of a city under siege...a NPC runs past me screaming: "I know a short cut"! I slowly turn around to see where he is running to. He then suddenly stops, gets thrown violently up, and back and to the ground, and explodes in flames and dies. What just happened? IS this a glitch? This makes no sense. Sure the city is under siege but what killed this poor guy? Was it just an animation and the producers said "oh, screw it, we do not have time to think all this out." THAT is RIFT so far...Love it or hate it, I can see why people paying would be a little upset at this quality. F2P makes sense now.
  Level 13ish, you do lots of "talk to this guy" in the main city area and it dragged on, and I did not care. And it did NOTHING to orient you around the city, it just lade you run around the library looking for crap and using the teleporter instead of the stairs. After all the city quests were over, I still was using the map to figure out who is where. Thanks for nothing useless city quests hub. After you gain a level there, you are pushed back out into the wild, so it is just a phase...a very boring unthoughtful phase...
 (Lord of the!)
"Seems like events and pvp and other off main game play elements keep this title glued together." - 
  Events and "goings on" are forced upon you very early. I did not pay attention lvl 1-10, and I had no care in the world at level 10-20. It is spammed in text across you'r screen: "15/200 'mobs' killed"...I guess this is something I should be apart of? I guess something is happening somewhere that I can do? It seems somewhere my fellow players are killing things and I am getting world credit for it.
  This is a two edged sword: 1) It is great that "live" feel of things are happening in the cookie cutter game play. But 2) I do not care one single bit. I am questing and leveling up for every hour of game play, why in the world would I detour at level 1-20 to do any of this stuff. Thank you for forcing it in my mini map, my main screen, and my large map....but it is cluttering my questing objectives.
  I think there should implement dynamic going on's in a better format. Perhaps speak to an NPC that officially engages you in the action and allows your map to be spammed. Otherwise, I care less who is invading what...I am leveling up and getting l33T gears dang it! 

"I still have an urge to play the other games this one  is copying." -
  I can't emphasis this enough. Despite the rift's opening up. This game feels cloned. But it feels like it just cloned to typical things of other games and left out the good things that made those other games great. I will start with WoW: The progression and presentation is very WoW like. The gear progression and how to suit up felt wow like. The combat feels exceptionally WoW like. But it leaves out the large armor selection wow offers and pigeon holes you to chose certain sets only. In wow I had so many choices, I would keep doubles because of color differences etc.. This game does not present a "Pirate cave" first group dungeon, or solo dungeon early on, and just keeps progression very linear. There are other elements not WoW cloned that set it aside, but not for the better.
  Lord of The Rings Online: It copies the color pallet and targeting reticles and other details almost to the T. The character design and stiff combat and animations as well. the lay out of the land. However, they seem to have left out the ambient touch that made LoTRO feel unique it is world. Those starry constalations at night. The lore tying in beautifully with LoTRO. In fact, RIFT felt like they were confused to make a fantasy game or steam punk game more on that below...

(The first BUTTHEAD npc I have seen...)
"So far ambience Steam punk like. Chords and magic fantasy mechanics everywhere." -  Level 1 - 20 I saw allot of unbalanced graphical models. I had this huge sense this game was fighting itself to be high fantasy or steam punk. Allot of chords and machinery and engines powered on magic in allot of areas...on the other hand I found myself clad in animal fur armor, swinging my pole arm like a barbarian, and attacking a stone fortress with sword wielding skeletons. AFter a few hours of this, I return to a city to take quests to repair cable lines for a magic powered motor thingy...What? I could not help but have flash backs of my experience in City of Steam. 
 As I pass higher level characters, I notice they are very lack luster. We all seem to be humanoid models, stuck in the middle ages. Fur robes, leather pants, metal basic looking weapons. Nothing has an EPIC feel to it and I sort of lost motivation to mission grind to the end just to look like a level 1 character. This is a good and bad thing depending how you look at it.IF you do not like glowing armor pieces and oversized axes to show at level 60, than you will like this. But if you want to show the world you have achieved something, you are not really special. YOu look like a level 2 noob, and I was forced to "inspect" to see what that level 60 was wearing...because it looked just like me at level 2...
  Mounts are sort of just there and make no sense as well. I saw over sized spiders, Horses, and some random creatures… Dinosaur looking thing…So you end up with this “Dark Age of Camelot” look, in a Steam punk world full of fantasy elements and you ride dinosaurs as “rifts” appear (something you could care less about very quickly)…. That sounds epic on paper, that sounds cool as I write it, but the “hmmm, yeah….no” feel in the actual game just leaves me “meh” feeling. That said, it would not take much in one direction or the other to make it a great game. Exploit the steam punk side and call it “RIFT: Steam punk expansion” or use dinosaurs and say “Rift: Dinosaur madness expansion”. Until then we are what feels like an amateur “player made content” world.

(Please tell me, where do you load the cannon? Because it is not going to fit in the back end...)

"Things are still happening. I still do not care." -Invasions. Rifts opening up. Something about do something. Nothing takes away from the fact all these statistics and events are spammed across my screen as I play, and they seem to resolve themselves naturally. I would have to be in the know to understand it all. And at level 15, to have all this spammed across the screen as I level up and showered in EXP and rewards through questing…what is the motivation to side track to this crap? EXP? Items? Reputation? Like crafting, I am leaving all that to the side to “do one day later one at a higher level or totally bored”. Until then, I am fighting my hardest to get out of this mundane map."
(I am level 15 and doing great questing...Why should I care about all this crap? I do not, please GET IT OFF MY MAP!)

"Worst community ever." -
I understand this is subjective to the player. My misery does not apply to all. YOu ight have a great social expereince in RIFT, and I fell on the bad end of it. So take this lightly.
   In TERA, I can troll, and have people play along. Here, there are trolls and no one understands. Everyone takes it so serious. I do not understand. For example, if some one says: “How to find the auction?” and a troll responds: “ALT + F4”, you will receive letters, private messages, and global chat calling you out. No one got the joke. Then you will see “serious debates” like: “To many noobs ask to many questions I am so sick and tired of it”…well, tell them ALT F4…don’t harass the trolls profiting by adding humor and good time to a game that suffers from design flaws…This game just lacks a huge part of community. I have the feeling it is for disgruntled wow players that just had their credit cards removed.

"I die more indirectly than directly." -
Can’t tell if bad design or just not caring enough…With your skills, you are basically invincible. I can kill anything and anyone in my quest log. There are a few times I deserved to die, like attacking a rift 2 levels higher than me solo. However, there are times I was AFK, or lag spike, or I did not care do one thing before the next...and I look at my screen and dead...huh. I die more by being AFK or not caring what is going on than if I plug away. It is a small point, but probably the most bizarre death expereince in game I ever encountered.
  I do like the game in window mode flashes as an icon when attacked while AT+TAB out.
 (This is a big pile of poop these guys died in...probably a metaphor for hte game?)
"Skills thus far: DPS class is not faster than my casting class…" -
This is important because fan boy's cry this is the saving point of RIFT (the skill tree). I played level 1-15 as a Cleric. I read and understood that there were multiple classes to swap out and that "I could play as many roles at once". I was thinking this would copy games that do this successfully already like Runes of Magic, Eden Eternal, etc...but no, they have to go and try and re-invent the wheel. So here it is. You have one class: Warrior, Cleric, etc...In side these classes are sub classes or roles as they are called. Example: Once I chose my Cleric, I had my first choice of "3 heal builds (Heal over time, group, or buff) - 3 DPS (Big damage, fast damage, damage over time) and 1 Tank (tank)"...
  I start with all heal as I like that. so in my group heal choice, I now have 3 trees to build in. You can only chose points in the top point of the trees. THIS IS ALL PASSIVE. Because, as you build in PASSIVE points you unlock ACTIVE points. So below, or the "roots" as I call them, are the icons you actually drag and drop into your hot bar. Easy to get to know...makes you try and think out your build etc. But all and all, all the points are really useless. LOTS of "1%" increases and that kind of crap. The heart and the goal of a good build is just chose the best "ROOT" or active point to get. Then build in the top or "leaves" how you want to get there. Sure, some extra passive crap helps boost to be better, but all and all, they just took the regular roles of each mmorpg class and broke them out into 3 PIGEON HOLED versions.
  So, as I built my healer with 3 attacks (Fire blast, water blast, and a damage over time. I noticed I had about 4 different heals...which I never really used. MY main fireblast takes a long time to cast. So around level 15 I was bored with it and notice I never take enough damage to be healed, and I have no group to heal, so forget this crap. I want to try a DPS build, but how?
  It is not explained. So I experimented and found out. Go to Class trainer, they only offer "Buy role" option for 30 gold pieces. I did it and it basically just adds a button and resets all the points to 0 to build in your new role (guarding your old role intact). I took it, but you do not change MAIN CLASS. Meaining, I am always a CLERIC, I will always use CLERIC weapons, and armor and fight like one, but now I just chose the sub class (role) of the roles I mentioned above (3 heals, 3 DPS, 1 tank). I chose one of the Clercs DPS build. I was kind of upset I would not change weapons. I do not get to swap out gear to use daggers etc... I am, using everything I had, but just get different skills or (roots)... This is disappointing, because of this BIG PROBLEM: PIGEON HOLED GEAR and SKILLS ARE NOT FASTER: So, now that I am a fast DPS (rouge) Cleric, I still could only wield Cleric forced weapons...My big staff...and armor...well this is awkward..but ok, I can live...I have new skills, so that is cute... But I did not like that I felt like I was just being forced to use certain armor and builds a very LINEAR way. It does not feel as dynamic as all the fan boys claim this game has to offer. Just super MEH.
  My Rouge skills...I was now swinging my staff instead of casting magic bolts. I was rushing and bashing...This is actually very comical. MY robed magic casting Clerc, is now RUSHING and BASHING enemies like a mad man! This is very funny to watch, and again, feels like a design quirk they just said "oh forget it, it is to late to fix, let them play this way". And finally, I timed it...My casting magic attacks take the SAME TIME to kill as my new Role as DPS...This sucks. This means the only difference between you and other classes this far in the game is just animations, not roles...but why call it roles??? I guess end game this will be more evident, because some one somewhere will want my magically delicious heals...on that note, I have 4 heals...all spells on the same cool down...that is probably the most game breaking feature here. Why have all these heals if they are all on refresh??? Something feels pigeon holed (forced), linear, broke, and LAZY. 
" Although the map is very linear and straight forward. I climbed enough hills, and had enough interaction in quests…as quirky and odd as they were, to make me just curious enough to discover the next one. At a decent pace so far as well." - The maps are VERY linear and force fed. Exactly at level 20 I got bored of this ugly mix n mash plains of this territory (just grass and rocks and trees). I looked at the map and noticed EACH REGION IS CLEARLY MARKED with a level REQUIRED! noooo! no diversity! Just linear progression. Oh well. On a positive note, the area you are in does go vertical! Allot of hills, towers, mountains to climb and quest in. Again, I felt it was not genious of a design, but allot of flops. I found yself completely enjoying jumping off a tower, rolling down a hill and landing in a castle below me wihtout fall damage. Just a woop! That was fun! moment. In other mmorpgs I could have died, or been blocked. On that note, it is hard to take it serious and the general feel of the game is superficially plastic. No amount of RIFTS can save it. 
  On a final note. I did enjoy doing this...I can say I can not think of another MMORPG I want to be in. So many just not that interesting right now. I am still enjoying TERA, AION, and Star Trek...and I Think I will keep RIFT installed. If I happen to run up on level 30, I culd do a level 30 Article, but I won't be aggressively playing as much as I have for this pre-review.
(Welcome to the world of Linear. No detours, no alternative routes. People Subbed to this before? ouch!)

Keep that in mind. This is a PRE-REVIEW, I can not judge this game entirely if I have not gotten at least close to end game. Once I have the map more filled out I can give a final score. As of now, as a noob looking to spend his first week in the game I give it:
Very mediocre - Rifts and skills cant save it and are not at all as game changing as it is presented - Lots of bad design that actually lead to good times (bad or good, up to you). - Music forgettable - Standard Tab combat - There seems to be a RIFT in social aspects - Graphics very sub par - You can modify the settings allot - No real motivation to log in except it feels cloned enough, like I have a free WoW...

No comments: