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RIFT’s Star is Here to Stay

By on Dec 14, 2011 at 9:00 am, in Article, Editorial, RIFT  |  Comments: 14 comments

It’s hard to ignore the commotion Star Wars: The Old Republic has been making as it stampedes around the MMO scene. Sure, it’s big. The game’s bound to make some noise. Mix the massive Star Wars franchise with the extremely solid reputation BioWare has and SWTOR is the result. Hello, huge gorilla in the room. With the game due out within the week, many gamers are questioning the future of their favorite current MMOs– including RIFT.

RIFT has had a tremendously successful run so far. Fans have seen a huge array of new content since the game’s release, and Trion has been extremely receptive about figuring out what the fans really want and delivering just that. The future of RIFT looks bright, and will continue to look that way as long as Trion keeps up the good work. RIFT’s not going anywhere.

There’s also the fact that MMOs are more popular than ever right now. It doesn’t matter how many games there are and how popular they might be. There’s always someone looking for that special something that other games just aren’t offering. RIFT has a lot of special somethings, because RIFT has a lot to offer. I’ll say it again– RIFT isn’t going anywhere. Let’s take a look at some of RIFT’s best features to find out why.

Quality Graphics

RIFT is absolutely gorgeous compared to most of the MMOs on the market right now. Play the game on high settings, and there’s no mistaking the beauty of Telara. Ember Isle is a fantastic example. The scope of the land and the sheer size of the environment is amazing. The rich flora, the deep sky, the tiny details– everything stands out. And oh man, the water effects. RIFT has amazing water effects.

It’s difficult to go back and play an MMO with older graphics after getting spoiled by RIFT’s. The graphical style of the game is definitely realistic compared to some of the more cartoon-style games. Both The Old Republic and World of Warcraft– two giants– have more of a cartoon style than RIFT. All gamers are going to have different graphical tastes and preferred styles, but it’s hard to deny the immersion that RIFT’s graphics provide.

Character Role Flexibility

The Old Republic seems to be pushing players toward creating alts in order to experience the game’s story from all of its angles. It’s a good marketing strategy given BioWare’s story-driven RPG history, but not all players enjoy alts. Some MMO gamers enjoy sticking with one character exclusively, and building that character to their strongest potential.

RIFT’s flexible soul system is perfect for gamers who enjoy one character, because suddenly one character can have up to five roles. A Rogue can tank, provide melee DPS, ranged DPS, or support their group. There’s no need to respec and reroll just to experience the game with a different flavor. RIFT is awesome for gamers who enjoy doing a bit of everything, and love breaking boundaries. There will always be a market for MMORPG players seeking this experience.

Variety of Character Specs

Along the same line, there will always be a market for players seeking new talent trees to experiment within. Just inside the Cleric class, for example, a player can not only play with different roles, but with different specs as well. Healers can try out Warden, Sentinel, Purifier, the various Justicar hybrids, and any combination of all four. DPS Clerics can experiment with melee, ranged, dark damage, light damage, pet builds, AoE builds, and more. For many RIFT fans, coming up with new specs is the best thing about the game. Most MMOs simply do not offer that freedom.

Fantasy Setting

A large portion of RPG fans will always have a soft spot for MMORPGs with a fantasy setting. The reason is simple– that’s where D&D all started. Swords, bows, axes, shields, and magic. Mix it all within a solid lore-filled package and a quest to bring an end to the chaos threatening Telara, and you’ve got an awesome world that RPG fans will devour.

SWTOR is taking a nosedive into unknown territory with the science fiction/fantasy blend that makes up Star Wars. Not all MMO fans want to see a raid 3/4 full of lightsabers. Not all fans agree with the approach BioWare is taking. There will always be room for a setting like Telara.

Player-Friendly Features

RIFT is extremely user-friendly. The user interface pops open and players can immediately adjust where everything is and what information is readily available on it. No need to download addons, and no need to spend hours fighting with the UI. For players who want more, they can download addons.

SWTOR’s UI is not currently customizable like RIFT’s, which is something high on BioWare’s priority list. But the fact remains– it’s not customizable. RIFT also features its extensive macro system, which is something many gamers place high value in.

Strong Solo Content

Many current MMOs, including RIFT, are including features for the gamer who enjoys solo and small group content. Developers are realizing that some players get more out of a game when they’re able to get in, have fun, and get out– without having to spend hours looking for a group. RIFT’s dungeon finder tool assists with this, as do the brilliant Chronicle feature and recent Instant Adventure feature. Any lasting MMO will have features like these, and RIFT is no exception.

Dynamic Content

Trion tried something new in developing RIFT’s dynamic content. Rifts, invasions, and zone events are still some of the game’s best features, and that’s because they make the world feel alive. Telara’s more than just NPCs and set bundles of wandering mobs. Danger lurks, and it’s never completely safe to AFK in the middle of nowhere. More MMOs need dynamic content. It’s hard to imagine a game without it, after having played RIFT.

Constant New Content Releases

After having played RIFT since its release, it’s also hard to go back and check the patch notes for a game like World of Warcraft. New content in other games sometimes takes years to develop. Trion has done an amazing job in pushing out new raids, dungeons, maps, quests, warzones, features, dynamic content, crafting updates, gear, and events. Content never gets stale. A RIFT player can stop playing for a month and return to a fresh set of features and raids to explore.

Fans aren’t entirely sure what rate BioWare will release new content after SWTOR’s release, but the company has their work cut out for them if they are to compare themselves with Trion. To be fair, of course, gamers shouldn’t expect SWTOR to ship with the same features of a game that’s been out for a while. Time will tell the true tale. Remember that the emphasis here is placed on why RIFT will not disappear.

Developer Stability

Along the same note, Trion has also been extremely receptive when it comes to player feedback. They keep fans in the know about most of their plans and visions for the game, and players receive this well. RIFT had a smooth launch thanks to Trion, and the company didn’t stop there. Week after week fans see patch notes and developer feedback on the official forums. The game’s developer team keeps in close contact with its community, and that’s the best way to ensure a healthy playerbase.

Community

What would any MMO be without its community? Non-existent, most likely. A successful MMO is brought to life by its community. The RIFT community, in general, is awesome. Most players are respectful and helpful. Most guilds are welcoming to new players and there are guilds out there to fit everyone’s needs.

Not all RIFT servers are as bright and vibrant as they could be, but with a little patience, I think most players will find that the game’s true fans will return to Telara. Will RIFT players try out SWTOR? Of course. As I said, the game’s a gorilla in the room– it’s going to be hard for most gamers to resist at least trying it. But will they stay? Not all will. Some will miss the beauty of Telara, the game’s community, and all of the user-friendly features.

Some gamers, like myself, will actually be enjoying both games. In cases like this, it’s important to remember that we’re all members of a larger community– a gaming community. We all have particular likes and dislikes, but at the end of the day, we’re all fans hoping to find the perfect virtual world to get lost in. There’s no crime in enjoying and supporting multiple games. It’s my preferred way to game. I’m a fan of the game BioWare has to offer, but I’m also a fan of RIFT for the game it already is. RIFT’s quite a game. And it’s not going anywhere.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/gabrielwolf Gabriel Wolf

    Can’t fault anything written here, what a wonderful story!   :)
    I’m not anti-SWTOR by any means but I AM anti-SWTOR-Hype.  If I could play both games, I would certainly try… though I have a young family and time isn’t easily spent on such things.  That and money is tight and so only allows for one subscription based title and Rift, by a long shot, is the one that keeps my interests.   One of the points being, the development and community team are top notch!  

  • Daka

    Great article! I agree, there will always be a spot for Rift.
     

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=39601847 Jesse Garza

    Very nicely written and well informed. A lot of players are just jumping on the SW band wagon cause its the next big thing. The game looks okay, but I just don’t have time to play two MMOs or the money. I’m going to stick with Rift cause of the level of polish and quality they’re bringing to the field.

  • Luna

    Most of the points are simply invalid. Even mentioning solo content is just ridiculous, comparing it to SWTOR – which has… 200h+ main story for each of 8 classes BEFORE the endgame. While Rift has, what, one linear leveling path for each FACTION, not even racial zones… And that was just one of the points mentioned.

    I don’t mean to be a hater, but Rift has honestly not been not successful after first couple of months, it is dying, accept it or not. Future of this game is hands down dark, as it is for that matter for wow, the reasons for this are ironically same. Nearly everything (excluding graphics in rift) is outdated and gets repetitive very fast, you run out of content, especially solo, story is bad etc. We’re entering the next generation of MMOs – the old ones will soon only have place in freemium market – Rift, Warhammer etc. Hate on me all you want, I know truth may hurt. ;)

  • anuerin

    @881331a414e669703ae55333a857b3ab:disqus  The way you talked
    about rift was fairly single minded in the sense of are certain that rift will
    fail 

    Personally I think
    your argument has some fairly big holes in it

    I’m not looking for
    an argument just sharing an opinion of your response

    “Even mentioning solo content is
    just ridiculous” I don’t understand why it is ridiculous no one is able to have
    the time to run a multiplayer group all the time and the chronicles and solo
    play have each had time and lore layered into it whilst on the other hand SWTOR
    has had 200+ hours of story play through for each character its lore is pretty
    much all pre written and all the Devs have to do is create a quest that adequately
    reflects the storyline.

    “one linear levelling path
    for each FACTION, not even racial zones” this I part understand partially as
    the game world itself is not as expansive in the sense of Wow or SWTOR and many
    players will have linear paths throughout the world e.g.
    silverwood->Gloamwood->Scarlet Gorge. This however does mean that the
    path is linear a player is often given a choice of north or south in the zone
    and each piece of an overall zone will often allow a player to level in a
    different place within a familiar setting.

    “Rift has
    honestly not been not successful after first couple of months” how has it not
    been a success? No it did not retain a massive player base and the subs went
    down however a fair majority of first timers remained with RIFT and the subs
    are rising again and will rise again post-holiday season.

    “Nearly
    everything (excluding graphics in rift) is outdated and gets repetitive very
    fast, you run out of content, especially solo, story is bad etc.” out of
    everything you said I would have to disagree with this the most how is its
    unique soul levelling system outdated? It’s a case of don’t fix what aint broke
    in the sense of controls and mobility the content will not be massive or as
    expansive as other paid MMO’s that have existed for longer and the key point is
    that they have existed for longer and has a large developer pool that can constantly
    churn out content to be released at a later date and the solo content is aimed
    for 50 in the sense of chronicles and dailies and while there is not a massive
    amount if you looked at WoW when it was in vanilla you would see a similar design

    Im not
    going to even get into the argument of the story side of rift because I know
    and understand that the developers have had to create an entire unique world to
    base their story on and that in itself is a massive undertaking so while there
    may be some iffy bits of the plot its purely because it’s a brand new world
    that the developers are having to create on their own without outside help

     

    Sorry for
    the 528 word wall I just felt that this needed to be looked at in greater
    detail and a counter argument had to be made

    • anuerin

      and for some reason line spacing in MS word does not agree with this format…
      sorry guys

  • Czar

    Rift is great.  Period.  But if SW (or any other MMO) development brings different ideas to the Rift world, then even better.  For me, it comes down to development teams that are flexible and responsive.  Rift’s team is both and has shown they can adjust on the fly.

    Sorry Luna… I was hearing the same thing from WoW PvP’rs when Rift started.  It’s still here.  I don’t believe all of this is a ‘zero sum game’.  You can like more than one style of music, books, movies and MMOs.  :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/apla.8eos George Lolas

    SWTOR is ridiculously over hyped. The whole SW universe is. All Bioware wants now, is to get as much money as they can out of the name of the game… not the actual game. The $150 collectors edition tells me exactly that. I will never pay that much for a collectors edition, even if they had bundled a real car in the box… well, I would think about it if that would ever happen :P

    The think is, they know that SWTOR will have “blind” fans of the SW universe, so Bioware can tag any price they want for the game. Even the monthly sub is expensive. Nearly 19€…What the hell… For what? For a mediocre game? I want to play an mmo, if I wanted to get through 15 millions of text walls every half minute, I would read a book or I would play a single player RPG.

    I played in the beta and all I was thinking was to alt+F4 out of the game. Outdated graphics, boring dialogues (for the non-star wars elite fans at least), boring quests etc.. OK, I get it, you make your choices in a 10mins dialogue so you can go on killing… the same mobs you could have been sent to kill even if all the talking was “Go kill X monsterous monsters and come back, kkthxbye”.

    The immersion isn’t there as well… Cutscene…you see a guy, you talk with him. Don’t try to press Esc button. The whole thing will reverse back! Yeah! I have the ability to control the time! Now I will have to watch all the cutscene and get through the dialogue once again. SO CLEVER! You had me there Bioware. You did something that none of the mmos in the history has done. Ever! What a geniously done mechanic.

    Btw, did I mention that collectors edition costs $150? One hundred and fifty forking dollars! Seriously? Wait what? Seriously? OMG, I will preorder 1687 pieces so I can melt all that plastic and make an Awesome-Plastic-Tree-house™! Dibs on the idea!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOhsSqOYsmc

    • Mallagant

      Hit the space bar idiot..THAT clears the cutscene to text.  ESC replays it if someone wants to for whatever reason.  $150 bucks for a collectors main pack, that offers more ingame and out of the box, then the $110 cataclysm EXPANSION or the Starcraft 2 CE.  Saying Bio-Ware cashed in on the built in star wars franchise?  Well, no shit..exactly what WoW did with their built in customer base.  Or any fantasy type D&D game for that matter.  Go kill X amount of monsters?  Thats typically the bonus quests that pop for you to complete as you fight your way to an objective for a separate quest.  Your already killin em, may as well get xp and rewards for it right?

      Opinions are one thing…not knowing the facts, half of which you ignore, is another.As for the cutscenes in general..well, every other mmo has the kill x amount of shit previously mentioned, and what happens?  they all feel the same, be it rift, wow, eq or whatever.  This is simply a way to make the player feel more…connected..to his toon.  and it DOES actually..especially since those cutscenes are tailored to different responses.  its kinda like making, watching, and playing a movie all at once.  if you dont want it, again, hit the space bar, go back to the grind.  As to the console game feel?  I doubt I’ll “beat” this in a week.I’m still a RIFT fan, love the game.  I’ll still continue to play it, since it does have features I enjoy. However, I do feel that SWTOR is a superior game.  that is MY opinion.  I like the graphics, love the actual orchestrated soundtrack music ingame, love the fight sequence moves, right out of the movies, and the customization.

      WoW has had 7 years to get shit right, and they keep screwin up.  Now, you wont even be able to really customize your toon anymore, since for the most part, they let you pick 6 talents, and theyll handle the rest.  2 worlds, multiple cartoonish zones, rehashed crap.

      Rift is still fairly new..but has had what, 8 months now?  to see what people like, want, need.  one world, zones kinda blend together.  beautiful, no doubt, but..well…ONE.  Dynamic raid rift content is pretty cool though.

      TOR has been out..2 days..this is day 2.  ok..7 if you account for the preorder early access.  With what they are workin with so far, yeah, id say many mmo’s are in trouble.  you dont need to be a sw geek to really enjoy the game.  Before I can comment on the development teams response, gonna need to see as time goes by.  I will say they have work cut out for them if they want to compete with rifts team.

      And as for a horrible pre-launch?  dont link 13 year olds bitchin and moaning cause they feel they should be entitled to shit and have everything handed to them and them only.  No matter what any game does, people are gonna whine and bitch.  They do it on wow, rift, and here.  they always will.  

      I thought rifts release was great, this was even smoother.  some queues?  of course..they suck, and they are also in every launch.  But the servers where stable, play was smooth, people that where playing and made it in where quite happy (least from the many people i saw and played with).

  • Anonymous

    I really really hope that Rift continues as a p2p MMO for the following years. IMO Trion should release a big content patch at the end of the first month of SW:TOR. And release an expansion expanding on the dynamic events when GW2 comes out.

  • Kaeyon

    SWTOR had a terrible early access launch.. SWTOR is NOT gonna kill Rift like some few select people keep stating.

    http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=12777

    come on now..

  • rift is decent

    Very desperately written article. Most of it sounds like… “WE HAVE THIS!!! They only have this so… HA! Take that!”. Articles like this only point out the fact that the future of Rift pretty much depends on the success of SWTOR. A.K.A. the future of this website depends on the success of SWTOR. Sure, people will always play Rift, but there is a very, very good chance that SWTOR will claim MMO’s #2 spot, leaving Rift to die a slow and sad death. 

  • Svisher

    i dont think you can compare something nerdy as star wars and something evil and occult as rift ;)

  • Silentwolf

    I have been playing swtor since early release and just about a month in I can honestly say us Rifters have nothing to worry about.  Swtor is buggy, unfinished and starting off badly with LOD clamping and false advertisement.  The end game content is a joke, the MMO aspect of the game is…practically non-existent at its current release model.  The game looks terrible in comparison to what they advertised in beta testing and in the videos.  In fact I will be cancelling my subscription before my free month is even up as well as many others. Be seeing yall back in Rift soon I need a few showers though, I feel dirty after wasting my time in SWTOR.

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