MMORPG Info Logo Rifts of Telara

RIFT is a fantasy MMORPG from Trion Worlds based in the world of Telara, which is recovering from the Shade War, including the damage done by a huge magical explosion.

The after-effects of this explosion include mysterious rifts – doorways from other planes – which allow dangerous beings to enter the world. The Telarans are struggling against these attacks but unfortunately the resistance is split into two factions, the Guardian and the Defiant, with different beliefs and conflicting methods for protecting Telara.

Trion Worlds has announced that RIFT is launching on the 1st of March 2011 – only a few months away! Blogs and fansites are full of excitement and I’ve been reading the raves and reviews from the beta test after the NDA was dropped in December. The initial response seems good.

As a player, you are revived as a member of the Ascended. The Ascended are Telarans who have been resurrected to combat the rifts. There are four callings (otherwise known as archetypes): Warrior, Cleric, Mage and Rogue. You must choose your calling, your faction and your race at character creation.

As one would expect, these callings are gateways into more specialized classes (six specialized classes per calling have been announced) which you access through attuning souls. You end up with three souls that you can attune to at any one time as a blend, so you are augmenting or even replacing your resurrected soul with other souls of the same calling when you attune a soul.

In addition, there is a specialization system called the Soul Tree. Your Soul Tree consists of branches and root abilities. The root is the “core power” or class skills. Branches expand according to your choices, offering extended traits and abilities which you can master by spending soul points as you level up. As you continue, your tree’s soul-level increases, offering further options, including the ability to attune yourself to further souls. You can also switch between souls allowing you to swap your specializations, depending on the type of encounter you are expecting.

RIFT Sellings Points for an MMO Veteran –

You can take aspects from different play styles and incorporate them as you see fit. Want to tank but also cast DoT’s and add buffs to the group? Who am I to stand in your way? Want to be a melee caster who also drops HoT’s and can debuff? Go for it! There is really a lot of flexibility. Once at max level it would seem you could transition very easily from multiple roles as needed without a total overhaul of your talent tree mid-raid. This level of customization is something that can draw you into your character and stop the need for needless re-rolling.

The Guardian and the Defiant factions in the game are not only fighting the rifts but also each other in direct battle. The factions are kept separate (you can not group nor join a guild with members of the opposite faction). The factions define your racial choice: Guardians are Dwarves, High Elves and Mathosian; Defiant are Bahmi, Eth and Kelari. Each race has a unique racial ability and, although they can play any class, there are clear benefits and detriments to the different classes.

RIFT also includes the standard trappings: quests, epic storylines, quested and looted equipment, tradeskills, exploration, and collections.

The RIFT Test Drive: First (and second) impressions « Bio Break

RIFT is best seen as a melting pot of some of the better MMO designs and features in a highly-polished package (and, yes, from what I’ve seen, it’s an incredibly polished game already). It certainly has the feel of many MMOs that’ve come before it, particularly WAR with its war-torn fantasy landscape, the PQ-like Rifts and even several of the classes. There’s a bit of EQII’s collection system, World of Warcraft’s brand of achievement system, and so on.

However, the gameworld is constantly shifting as rifts shift into existence without warning.

RIFT – The Rifts of Telara

The rifts occur when another plane of reality intersects with the magical Ward protecting Telara. Rifts create doorways for planar invasion, destroying the lands and people of Telara, but they may also grant otherworldly power to those brave enough to seize it.

Rifts offer special magical abilities and spontaneous adventure areas for groups and guilds. Rifts are the key aspect of the game garnering enthusiasm for being original and fun.

Rift: The Realm of the Faerie – West Karana

The Rifts change EVERYTHING! They tend to eventually concentrate people in the zone, make them come together. If you’re smart enough to start or join a Rift group, you can pretty much skip a lot of the questing and level very quickly by closing major rifts. The rewards are pretty good, too – if you’re one of the top contributors, you get a nice piece of gear for your class. Other random loot drops, as well as the motes everyone gets, which can be traded in for planar gear. The meat tenderizer in the top picture is a planar reward; my character also has a couple of non-visible rewards. Almost all her armor is level 19 stuff I crafted myself; most of the crafted armor was better than the stuff I got via quests, especially once I added planar drops into the crafting process.

The death penalty is based on Soul Vitality, which drops every time you die. Once you run out of Soul Vitality, you receive a reduction in stats. Cleric classes can restore your Vitality.

The starting experience is clearly very linear and I’m slightly concerned by the accusation that the quests themselves do not allow for meaningful choice.

Trion has really fumbled the ball here. Instead of being courageous and creating a MMO that has a unique take on questing they have opted to copy WoW and the result just another predictable and mindless MMO experience with on rails gameplay and the typical quest hubs. Even worse you have only to look to the map to find where to go to complete your quest. These aren’t true quests at all rather they are paint by numbers Simon Says tasks aimed to appeal to children.

On the other hand, I am thrilled to find out that the Trion development team believe that players should choose who they wish to play with rather than being locked into specific servers. I’ve been complaining about this for a long time and it was a key reason why I didn’t play World at Warcraft at launch.

Will Trion World’s Rift online game kill World of WarCraft? (interview) | VentureBeat

It is a game with shards. But we are being very careful about not locking people to particular servers and things like that. MMOs have always had that kind of problem. MMO’s, by their nature, are incredibly social experiments, right? And people in Europe want to play with people in North America, and people in North America want to play with people in Australia, and that’s just how these communities have been built online as opposed to a pick-up basketball game in your neighborhood.

So if you lock those servers and you’re not letting those people play with friends, then you are, by definition, fracturing those communities. We have to do this well because we are going into a territory where there are well-established brands that already have communities rallied around them. We want to win with the people who play these games regularly. If they have a guy in their group who is in New Zealand, you have to bring them all into the game together. This is something we’ve been really focused on.

This Gamebreaker video is from Beta 3 so some of the details may be out of date but it gives a good feel for the gameplay and the appearance of a rift.

I’ve not truly been immersed in a strong MMO over the past year and I’m somewhat reluctant to get my hopes up too high. But RIFT sounds like a strong mix of tried-and-true MMO gameplay with new ideas and dynamic worlds to be appealing. The images I’ve seen look gorgeous and the class system sounds like it will allow me to create a strong character based on my interests rather than following a standard template. The key question in my mind is whether it offers enough original content to get me hooked.

Would you like to know more? Read about the factions: The Guardians and the Defiant


1 comment

  • Telara Leveling Guide wrote:

    Rift seems like it is going to be one of the hottest mmorpg’s I have ever come across. I have not had the chance to check it out yet,but am on my way to purchase the rift game as soon as I am done writing this.
    I can only hope that like the person above has said, The content is original , and interesting enough to keep us going for a very long time.
    Thanks for all of the great information,
    Happy Gaming

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