Somewhere in a forested corner of Telara, lies a newly-opened level 17 rift. Not an uncommon thing, nor surprising, but yet– there it is, shooting tendrils of light toward the elemental planes. Waiting for a dangerous denizen to journey through and stake their claim in a seemingly-peaceful land. Kinda like me. Except, you know, I’m not that shiny.
Welcome to Reopening the Rift, a weekly column about rediscovering the lost corners of Telara’s wilderness, and enjoying the game from the ground up– for the second time around. Most of you know me as Serrain, and have seen my goofy editorials around Rift Junkies for a while now. After taking a break from my Cleric main and the raiding scene, I decided it was time to dive back into RIFT on a completely new character, and figure out what the game has to offer for returning and new players at this post-first-year moment.
This column will be largely focused on the highlights of that dive, as well as my personal observations and opinions on RIFT’s current state as a growing MMO. I don’t believe MMOs should stagnate at any point, but the leveling process and early endgame aspects of an MMORPG are some of the most important to a game’s success. There should never be stagnation in RIFT– only growth. As such, my opinions will at times be positive, negative, and everything in between. Take them for what they are– merely opinions. You may also at times see my goofy side, and for that, you have my apologies!
For the first installment, let me travel back to my opening paragraph. An early-level rift. Why is this important? Rifts are what drive the entire storyline of RIFT, obviously, but they also represent the entire dynamic force that shapes the reality of RIFT. Or, rather, they should. I think, at times, the overall endgame progression table loses its sense of the dynamic, which is a dammed shame, but credit should go where it’s due– Trion generally attempts to keep the vision alive.
It’s interesting leveling again from the ground up, without the hundreds of players I leveled with originally after the game’s release. Silverwood has lost some of its dynamic-ness, that’s for sure. Zone events could happen a bit more frequently, if you ask me, but the overall population of rifts in general is pretty fair for the amount of players I see. Rift tears respawn frequently enough, and it seems possible, at least before level 30, to level from running from tear to tear and rift to rift as an alternative to questing. I did that for a while on my new character, a Rogue, and it was fun, and profitable.
New players are still encouraged to poke around, open rifts, close rifts, and chase down invasions because of the quests given. The addition of the quest-granted [Holy Champion] is a huge help to new players attempting to solo dynamic content. The difficulty adjustments to dynamic content seems very on-par. Most dynamic content is soloable except for major rifts and zone event bosses, of course, which is actually quite suitable because of the fact that most new players are on their own at least part of the time.
Speaking of, that brings me to another subject– low level population. Before the last batch of server merges and the addition of RIFT Lite, many servers were quite desolate in the beginning zones. That honestly isn’t the case at the moment, and that’s one of the things that actually made me excited to start from scratch. And for those wondering, no, I’m not hurrying through the leveling stages. I’m also on a fairly-average medium population PvE server.
RIFT Lite was pretty successful, in my opinion, and there are almost always new players questing and completing dynamic content in the beginning areas. Paired with the future implentation of worldwide Instant Adventures and the illusive mentoring system as discussed in a recent interview with Trion, I’m pretty confident that the folks at Trion realize how important new and returning players are to the sustained success of RIFT.
And let’s not forget about the fact that soon, players will be traveling all over Telara to fish. The more players in the beginning areas, the more life in those areas. And life is, well, a very good thing. It’s a good time to pick up RIFT. Try the game, try a new class, try a new server. Bring a friend or two. Pop open some rifts, and enjoy the shiny.
Stay tuned next week, when I’ll be going into detail about the preset specs, and discuss if they’re actually helpful or not for new and returning players.